Society to Encourage Studies at Home

The Society to Encourage Studies at Home (often abbreviated as SH) was the first correspondence school in the United States.


The Society to Encourage Studies at Home was founded in 1873 by Anna Eliot Ticknor (1823–1896), daughter of George Ticknor, historian and Harvard professor. Its purpose was "to induce among ladies the habit of devoting some part of every day to study of a systematic and thorough kind.. The society was voluntarily dissolved after the death of Anna Ticknor in 1897. The courses were open only to women and over the 24 years of its existence it served 7,086 students and had over 200 correspondent teachers. Among those involved as teachers were: Ellen Swallow Richards (science), Lucretia Crocker (science), Katherine Peabody Loring (history), Alice James (history), Lucy Elliot Keeler (history), Florence Trail (ancient history) and Elizabeth Thorndike Thornton (history). The Society maintained several thousand volumes in a lending library which was paid for by the small fees charged to students. Instructors offered their time and services free.


Sally Schwager, "The Silent University," in "Harvard Women": A History of the Founding of Radcliffe College (Ed.D. diss., Harvard University: 1982), pp. 30-78.

Bergmann, Harriet F. “The Silent University”: The Society to Encourage Studies at Home, 1873 – 1897 in The New England Quarterly. Boston: September 2001. Vol. 74 No. 3. pp 447-77

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