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A Note from the Editor: Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Student Records Online

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock

Increasingly, biographical information about students who attended educational institutions of higher learning is being made available online. A colleague recently alerted me to an important new database on the Litchfield [Connecticut] Historical Society website: The Ledger.


The Ledger is a comprehensive online searchable database that presents the stories of two nationally significant educational institutions, the Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy. The Law School, founded by Tapping Reeve in 1784, was the first of its kind in the country and attracted over 1,200 students from thirteen states and territories. Sarah Pierce founded the Female Academy in 1792 which drew an estimated 3,000 girls to Litchfield over the school’s forty-one year history.


"The words, artwork and personal belongings of the students together with biographical and genealogical information will now be available at a user’s fingertips. The Ledger links materials held in private collections and by various public institutions together, providing users with as much information as possible on each individual student.”


Genealogists should particularly note the following request: “If you have any additional information on an existing student or feel that you may know of a student who attended one of the schools and is not included in the database please contact the Curator of Collections at 860-567-4501 or”


The Litchfield Historical Society owns the Reeve House and Law School, open to visitors from mid-April to November. For more information, visit


Colonial Collegians, a database on, features 5,477 biographies of students who attended American colleges before the American Revolution. The colleges include Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), The College of William and Mary, Dartmouth College, King's College (now Columbia University), Rhode Island College (now Brown University), and Queen's College (now Rutgers University), the medical schools at King's College and the College of Philadelphia, and the Reverend William Tennent's "Log College" in Pennsylvania for prospective Presbyterian clergymen.


Another school database is available on the NEHGS website. Pupils and Teachers of Mrs. Rowson's Academy, 1797-1822, was complied by Jane C. Nylander. The database contains the names of 658 pupils and teachers known to have attended Mrs. Rowson’s Academy, a school for young ladies, in Boston, Massachusetts.

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