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List of Graduates A - C
List of Graduates D - I
List of Graduates J - R
List of Graduates S - Z
List of Graduates by Year
Teachers of Ithaca High School
Historical Summary of Board of Education
THE OLD ACADEMY
The Ithaca Academy was incorporated in 1823. It was built largely by subscription and was afterwards maintained principally by the tuition fees. The brick part was built in 1840, the old wooden structure being still preserved and used as a rear annex and recitation room. The first floor was given up entirely to a chapel, in which the school always assembled in the morning for prayers, and in which once in each week there were public exercises consisting of music, declamation and the reading of essays. The second floor consisted of two large study rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls, while the third floor, fitted up for students' rooms, was for many years occupied as a dormitory.
The Academy continued in active existence until the year 1874, when it was merged into the present High School. Of these fifty odd years nearly all the catalogues have been lost, particularly those of the earlier years, but from those now accessible, it is apparent that during that time between fifteen and twenty thousand different persons received a part of their education within the walls of the old building. These catalogues furnish a very interesting study and contain the names of many persons who have since become prominent in the business and the professional world. Thus the catalogue of 1840 contains the name of Edward S. Esty, who did so much for the schools of Ithaca, and who the very efficient President of the Board of Education from 1874 until his death in 1890. His successor, Roger B. Williams, graduated in 1864. Here too, are to found the names of two Yale professors, William H. Brewer, then of Enfield, and Henry S. Williams, of Ithaca.
The catalogue of 1845 shows that there were during that year in the Ithaca Academy, three boys who afterwards became distinguished as judges, George B. Bradley, of Corning, C. C. Dwight, of Auburn, and Francis M. Finch, of Ithaca. The catalogue of this year also contains the names of Frederick K. Andrus, D. W. Bailey, John Rumsey and S. H. Wilcox.
In the catalogue of 1857 are the names of: Edgar K. Apgar, famous in his life time as a politician and speaker Colonel Walter S. B>Schuyler T. F. Crane, at present and for many years professor in Cornell University, and recently is acting President. From 1860 to 1870 inclusive the catalogues are complete and they contain the names of: John H. Cunningham, Haines D. Cunningham Ward Gregory, all of whom became prominent as editors and newspaper men. To those students of the old Academy who may read this article the following names taken from the few accessible catalogues will bring up many recollections. Martin F. Hollister, a Presbyterian minister now deceased John F. Shaw, now in the ministry George H. Northrup Calvin D. Stowell George R. Williams Nichol Halsey Amos S. Hixson Henry A. St. John, E. M. Treman William McD. Halsey H. Wiseman Hodson, now a prominent Episcopal divine Fox Holden, a successful teacher John J. Robins, now deceased, but in his lifetime a successful business man and banker in Iowa LeRoy H. VanKirk, at present and for many years past the Clerk of Tompkins County Asa B. C. Dickinson, now deceased, who will never be forgotten by those who knew him Charles H. Hyde, now a successful business man on the Pacific coast Howard J. Mead, County Judge of Tioga County Bradford Almy, Tompkins County Judge and Surrogate the Todd brothers, of Danby, the survivors of whom are now all successful business men Nicholas Pearson Charles S. Seaman, the present Sheriff of Tompkins County Thomas G. Miller and Charles J. Rumsey, prominent and successful business men in Ithaca William H. VanOstrand, for several years supervisor of the town of Newfield Leland O. Howard, celebrated as a naturalist Henry W. Sackett, a prominent lawyer in New York City J. B. Kline, the present District Attorney of Onondaga County Dr. John S. Kirkendall Dr. Edward J. Morgan and Dr. Martin Besemer, all of Ithaca Mynderse Van Cleef, Jared T. Newman; Frank E. Tibbetts; James L. Baker;Judson A. Elston, and David M. Dean, prominent attorneys of Ithaca.
With these names before them, many other students of the old Academy will, in imagination at least, readily re-people the old chapel and the old class rooms with the other students of those days, who names cannot be printed within the limits of this article.
Among the principals of the Academy during those fifty years, the following probably exercised the greatest influence and will be the longest remembered, namely; William S. Burt, James Thompson, S. D. Carr, and S. G. Williams. There are hundreds of persons now living, who to-day are profoundly thankful that they received their instruction in the Ithaca Academy under the direction of so able and so successful a teacher as S. G. Williams.
No history of the Ithaca Academy would be complete without the name of Miss Harriet W. Thompson, whose gracious ways, accurate scholarship and aptitude for teaching, exercised for so many years a wholesome and lasting influence in the old Academy. S. D. Halliday
THE ITHACA HIGH SCHOOL
The Ithaca High School grew out of and assumed the work of the old Ithaca Academy. It began its career in 1875 upon the organization of the separate schools of the village of Ithaca into a public school system. The work of the Academy, the graduates it had sent out to become judges, congressmen and Governor of the State, and to fill successfully and honorably important positions in the various departments of business and professional life had made that institution of great influence in western New York. It was therefore deemed inexpedient by the Academy Board of Trustees to make an unconditional transfer of its property to the new and untried Board of Education, so recently created by an act of the State Legislature. The old board accordingly decided to give a limited lease for a "period of five years" as a trial, and if the experiment proved success of the new board that the transfer was subsequently made; and the High School building now occupies the historic site of the old Academy.
The work of the High School began in the old Academy building, the transition from private to public secondary education being thus made easy. The first faculty consisted of five members as follows: Fox Holden, B.A., principal; Miss Sula S. Eddy, preceptress; Mr. A. B. Humphrey, Miss Eunice Chisholm, Mr. James H. Stubbs. One hundred fifty students were registered during the first year. The curriculum offered a preparatory course including arithmetic, grammar, geography; an English course of two years; a scientific course and a classical course of three years each. The first class graduated in June, 1876, consisted of six members: William A. Finch, now Professor of Law in Cornell University; Fred W. Smith, now practicing law in Rochester; Frank C. Whitney, now a clergyman in Austin, Minnesota; Miss Estelle McNeil, now Mrs. Alfred P. Camp, of Durango, Colorado; Miss Ella A. Pinckney, now Mrs. Ella A. Stanley, of Fort Smith, Arkansas; Miss Nancy Wallenbeck, at present living at Applegate, Tompkins County, New York.
In 1876 Miss Harriet Wood Thompson was elected to the position of preceptress, the position which she continued to hold until her death October 10, 1898.
In 1884 a new building became necessary. The corner stone was laid in that year; and on September 7, 1885 the building was dedicated with appropriate ceremony, a full account of which was given in the Ithaca Journal the following day and reprinted in the annual report of the Board of Education for that year. At the time the building was considered much too large for the city, but time has proved that it was much too small. Accordingly in 1893 the Seneca street annex was constructed at a cost of $15,000.00, and this year sees the completion of the Buffalo street annex which is nearly as large as the original building and its cost of the first building make the cost of entire plant about $125,000.00.
The Seneca street annex contains four large department rooms for 50 pupils each; the Buffalo street annex contains rooms, viz; Basement - Gymnasium, society room, boiler room, lavatories, shower baths. Ground Floor - Library, reading room, Assembly hall, with a seating capacity of 800. Second Floor - Study hall similar to the one in the main building, four class rooms, principal's office, faculty room, two cloak rooms, and waiting room. Third Floor - Physical laboratory and lecture room, shop, photometric room, heat room, suite of four rooms for commercial department.
The new annex is fire proof, is heated by steam and with the main building and Seneca street annex makes a building large enough to accommodate 1200 students including those in the grammar school, which occupies the first floor of the main building and all the Seneca street annex.
The following table shows the growth of the school by years: 1875---------------150 1888---------------304 1876---------------200 1889---------------354 1877---------------175 1890---------------373 1878---------------207 1891---------------411 1879---------------203 1892---------------408 1880---------------192 1893---------------419 1881---------------171 1894---------------440 1882---------------169 1895---------------447 1883---------------223 1896---------------483 1884---------------237 1897---------------520 1885---------------254 1899---------------580 1886---------------308 1900---------------650 1887---------------304
From the first the High School has been an important preparatory school for Cornell University. It now sends from 40 to 60 students annually to college. It has just cause for pride over the State and University scholarships which its students have won, and the positions which they have taken in the affairs of life.
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