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Burroughs, Nannie Helen (02 May 1879–20 May 1961), school founder, was born in Orange, Virginia, the daughter of John Burroughs, a farmer and itinerant Baptist preacher, and Jennie Poindexter, a cook. After moving to Washington, D.C., with her mother in 1883, Burroughs graduated in 1896 with honors in business and domestic science from the Colored High School on M Street. When racial discrimination barred her from obtaining a position either in the Washington, D.C., public schools or the federal civil service, Burroughs worked as a secretary, first for the Baptist ...

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Gill, Laura Drake (24 August 1860–03 February 1926), educational administrator and reformer, was born in Chesterville, Maine, the daughter of Elisha Gill and Hulda Capen. Following the death of her father in 1873, Gill’s maternal aunt, Bessie T. Capen, brought her to Northampton, Massachusetts, where she matriculated at Smith College, graduating in 1881 with a degree in mathematics. For the next seventeen years, Gill taught mathematics at her aunt’s school for girls. While teaching at Miss Capen’s School, she earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Smith College and in 1893 pursued additional graduate study at the Universities of Leipzig and Geneva and at the Sorbonne....

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Mills, Susan Lincoln Tolman (18 November 1825–12 December 1912), educator and college president, was born in Enosburg, Vermont, the daughter of John Tolman, a tanner, and Elizabeth Nichols. She graduated from Mount Holyoke Seminary (now College) in 1845 and taught there until 1848. Introduced to Cyrus Mills, a Presbyterian minister, by Mount Holyoke’s founder and principal, ...

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Pendleton, Ellen Fitz (07 August 1864–26 July 1936), college president, was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, the daughter of Enoch Burrows Pendleton, a merchant and later Westerly’s postmaster, and Mary Ette Chapman. After graduating as valedictorian of her Westerly High School class, Pendleton’s long connection to Wellesley began with her own undergraduate education in 1882, continuing almost until her death fifty-four years later. She never married....