The following is a Woman of Courage profile written and produced by the St. Lawrence County, NY Branch of the American Association of University Women.
Potsdam College has marked more than 175 years of educational service. As the college evolved from the St. Lawrence Academy begun in 1816, many people helped it to become the fine institution it is today. Among those people were pioneer women educators who each helped establish the "Potsdam Tradition" of encouraging individual students to develop their potential. The college has an enduring reminder of these women in names of buildings and scholarships.
In 1869 Amelia Morey joined the Potsdam Normal School faculty in a brand new building which had replaced the original St. Lawrence Academy. She had just graduated from the Oswego Normal School. Earlier she had attended the Susquahanna Seminary and Binghampton Academy. At age 16 she had passed the necessary examinations and taught her first term of school. She coped with 70 pupils "to the satisfaction of all except herself."
Morey was principal of the intermediate department in the Practice School, with responsibility for instruction in arithmetic and grammar. She was noted for her executive ability in managing the department and was made Preceptress of the Practice School in 1876. Although Morey was offered other positions, often at higher pay, she chose to stay in Potsdam. She retired in 1901; Morey Hall is named for her.
Kellas Hall is named for two sisters whose academic careers started at Potsdam. Eliza Kellas graduated in 1889 and stayed to teach for two years at the Normal School before leaving. She eventually graduated from Radcliffe College and gained national recognition as principal of the Emma Willard School in Troy from 1911-15. In 1915 she was appointed the first president of Russell Sage College.
Katherine Kellas graduated from the Normal School in 1892. She was preceptress from 1901-17 with responsibilities comparable to a modern dean. In 1917 she became the first dean of Russell Sage. Kellas Hall was named for the two women in 1961.
Anna Patten Draime came to Potsdam Normal School in 1892. She joined the faculty in 1901 and became the Dean of Women in 1919. She was the first to hold such a title in a New York State normal school. She was instrumental in starting student government at Potsdam and was advisor to the Intersorority Council. She served the college until her death in 1927. Draime Hall is named for her.
Jessie J. McNall came in 1917 to take charge of the Nature Study work at Potsdam and to teach biology and ornithology. She became chair of the science department, a position she held until her retirement in 1944. The Jessie J. McNall Science Center was dedicated to her in 1986, and included Timmerman and Stowell Halls. She endowed a scholarship fund in her name and was an active member of the St. Lawrence County Branch of AAUW.
Eunice L. Badger, better known as "Brownie," served Potsdam College from 1921-53. As an assistant professor of physical education, she helped to establish the physical education program at the Normal School. She was coach of the freshman basketball team, advisor to the riding club, and a member of the ice hockey squad. She was one of the first four athletes and the first woman inducted into the Potsdam College Sports Hall of Fame.
Patience Haggard, a distinguished scholar of Greek mythology, came to the Normal School in 1931 as the Dean of Women and professor of English. She had a strong commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and was determined that rural students should have the opportunity to experience cultural events. She organized a program for freshmen in 1948 called "Expression in the Arts" which continued till the early 1960s. The culminating experience of the program was a week-long visit to New York City. Dr. Haggard was instrumental in bringing to the college many well known poets and writers and organizing foreign film festivals.
Thanks to Eleanore Haggard Baldwin who generous shared the following biographical material about her ancestor, CLARA PATIENCE HAGGARD.
Clara Patience Haggard was born August 25, 1892 in Mexico, MO, the eighth child of William S. Haggard and Nancy Patience Bradley. She received a BS in education in 1913 from the University of Missouri and was a member of Pi Lamda Theta, an honorary sorority in the School of Education. She taught high school for two years and then became an instructor in Latin and Greek at Hardin Junior College in Mexico, MO.
From 1921 to 1927 she was associate dean and instructor in English at Stephen Junior College in Columbia, MO. In 1922 she received a Gregory Scholarship from the University of Missouri and completed her Masters in English in 1923. From 1925 to 1926 she studied at the American Academy in Rome and the America School of Classical Studies in Athens. She became Dean of Women and professor of Latin at the State College for Women at Montevallo, Alabama. She received her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Missouri in 1930.
In 1962 she said of the “Expressions in the Arts” “The purpose...is that they (students) feel the wonder, awe and exaltation as they contemplate significant works of art - all in the effort to help them to become perceptive adults with enduring interests...” Mexico, MO is a very small town where Patience grew up. Growing up in such a rural environment would have influenced her determination “that rural students should have the opportunity to experience cultural events.” Patience Haggard died in December of 1987.
The Crane School of Music, which was founded by Julia Crane in 1886, also gave the Normal School a number of influential women who helped to shape its history. Julia Crane, who served the school from 1884 to 1923, founded one of the first programs in the United States for training teachers of music. Marie Schuette graduated from the Crane Normal Institute for Music in 1914 and served the school from 1923 to 1948, as both an instructor and as its Director from 1923-30 after the death of Julia Crane.
Helen M. Hosmer, another Crane graduate, became director of the school in 1930, a position she held until her retirement in 1966. A pioneer woman conductor, she founded the prestigious Crane Chorus which performed under many distinguished conductors. Miss Hosmer lectured and conducted in 27 states throughout the country and wrote numerous articles for professional journals. When Hosmer Hall was dedicated in 1973, it was the only building in the State University of New York to bear the name of a living person.
Collectively these ten women, and other early college women equally determined to be educated, had a profound influence on the Potsdam Normal School, later Potsdam College, as well as on education in New York State and the nation.
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