Early Years, and Two Upcoming Events
By David Sturdevant
Although Lincoln Academy was founded in 1801, the school first conducted classes in October of 1805. In that first school year, the school included three terms. The first term began on October 5th and ended on December 30, 1805. The second term began on January 24 and ended on May 4, 1806, and the third term began on May 22 and ended on September 2, 1806. The classes were taught by the Preceptor — Daniel Haskell, in a two story building on the River Road in Newcastle. Students’ families paid the yearly tuition.
One should note that terms in most early educational institutions were not uniformly scheduled, as they are today. Rural schools often avoided spring and fall terms, due to agrarian considerations — students had to help plant and harvest crops. While some schools were open essentially year round, many schools were open about five months a year over a winter and a summer term. Some schools scheduled rather sporadic terms, as they could arrange them. Remember that school attendance was not mandatory, and students who did attend would not necessarily attend every session, for a variety of reasons. In a future article, I will explore current trends and models of school calendars.
During that first school year, 74 students attended Lincoln Academy over the course of the three terms. They came from Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Newcastle, New Milford (Alna), Nobleboro, North Yarmouth, Warren, Wiscasset, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. By the mid 1800’s the school served around 130 students, and they were taught by relatively few instructors. The catalog lists a Preceptor, a Preceptress, and a Teacher of Music in 1852. In 1853, the catalog lists a Principal, a Preceptress, a Professor of French, Italian, and German, an Instructor in Painting and Drawing, a Teacher of Music, and an Assistant. Fees were charged by course and by term. For example, the fee for languages was $4.50 per term, the fee for “High English Branches” was $3.50 per term, and the fee for Common Studies was $2.75 per term.
Over the years, the number of students rose and fell, based on the events of the times. The same can be said for the faculty. The number of students and faculty members has grown substantially in the modern era, and many of my readers can remember some of these times.
In 1944, there were eight faculty members, including Mr. Bailey, the principal. Mr. Bailey was still principal in 1951, when there 12 faculty members, and in 1960, when there were 15. In Mr. Bailey’s last year as principal, 1967, there were 21 faculty members. By 1974, that number had grown to 34. [“Lincoln Academy: A History 1801-2001, is my source for many of these facts]
Next week, I will continue to look at the history of student numbers, courses, trustees, Headmasters, and more.
Now, I want to let you know about two events coming up in the next couple weeks here at LA. First, on September 18th, I will be hosting the first of several “Breakfast with the Head of School” events. Please consider joining me for coffee and pastries at 8:00am in the Dining Commons, to chat about what’s happening at LA. Also, we will be holding our second annual Town Hall event, here in the Poe Theater, at 7:30pm on Wednesday, September 20. During the town hall, we will be presenting facts about LA today, including information about enrollment, programs, finances, new initiatives, and more. Please join us.
As always, should you have questions about Lincoln Academy, please feel free to make an appointment to meet with me. You may contact Carole Brinkler, Assistant to the Head of School at 207-563-3596, ext. 102.