Mary Mason Lyon: The Most Influential Women In American History

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Mary Mason Lyon was one of the most influential women in education in American History. Despite her struggles she had in her childhood to go to school, walking a mile at the age of four was just the start. She did everything possible to attend school from living with relatives to helping her brother in the farm. She went from farm to farm, door to door asking for funds, had campaigns, and looked for support so she could built what is now Mount Holyoke College. She was the first women to open the first women’s college so that women could continue their education at an affordable price. (Diece) Mary Lyon was born in Buckland, Massachusetts on February 28, 1797. She was the sixth of eight children born to Aaron and Jemima Shepard. Her father died in 1802, leaving their 100 acre farm to be managed by her mother and oldest brother Aaron. Mary started school in a near town at the age of four walking a mile just to get there. The school Hog Hollow moved farther away and the responsibilities at the farm made it difficult…show more content…
In 1817 she enroll in the fall semester at Ashfield’s Sanderson Academy. Mary spent most of her time either teaching, at lectures, or going back and forth between the two. Lyon had a hard time earning money to pay her education that she often traded blankets she made in exchanged for room and board. (Diece) The next few years Mary became an assistant at Sanderson. She was the first women to teach there. As her reputation grew, Mary’s teaching became a demand and in 1826 she was appointed preceptress at Sanderson Academy. Since she gave classes only in the winter there, the rest of the year she had the opportunity to each elsewhere. In 1828 she was offered a job at Ipswich Seminary by her friend Zilpah Grant and later in 1830 she became the principle. During this time Mary became convinced of the need for a permanent institution of higher learning for women.

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