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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Mary Lyon

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And the repose came soon. The last of February, 1849, a young lady in the seminary died. Miss Lyon called the girls together and spoke tenderly to them, urging them not to fear death, but to be ready to meet it. She said, "There is nothing in the universe that I am afraid of, but that I shall not know and do all my duty." Beautiful words! carved shortly after on her monument.

A few days later, Mary Lyon lay upon her death-bed. The brain had been congested, and she was often unconscious. In one of her lucid moments, her pastor said, "Christ precious?" Summoning all her energies, she raised both hands, clasped them, and said, "Yes." "Have you trusted Christ too much?" he asked. Seeing that she made an effort to speak, he said, "God can be glorified by silence." An indescribable smile lit up her face, and she was gone.

On the seminary grounds the beloved teacher was buried, her pupils singing about her open grave, "Why do we mourn departing friends?" A beautiful monument of Italian marble, square, and resting upon a granite pedestal, marks the spot. On the west side are the words:--

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    BORN, FEBRUARY 28, 1797;
    DIED, MARCH 5, 1849.

What a devoted, heroic life! and its results, who can estimate?

Her work has gone steadily on. The seminary grounds now cover twenty-five acres. The main structure has two large wings, while a gymnasium; a library building, with thirteen thousand volumes; the Lyman Williston Hall, with laboratories and art gallery; and the new observatory, with fine telescope, astronomical clock, and other appliances, afford such admirable opportunities for higher education as noble Mary Lyon could hardly have dared to hope for. The property is worth about three hundred thousand dollars. How different from the days when half-dollars were given into Miss Lyon's willing hands! Nearly six thousand students have been educated here, three-fourths of whom have become teachers, and about two hundred foreign missionaries. Many have married ministers, presidents of colleges, and leading men in education and good works.

The board and tuition have become one hundred and seventy-five dollars a year, only enough to cover the cost. The range of study has been constantly increased and elevated to keep pace with the growing demand that women shall be as fully educated as men. Even Miss Lyon, in those early days, looked forward to the needs of the future, by placing in her course of study, Sullivan's Political Class-Book, and Wayland's Political Economy. The four years' course is solid and thorough, while the optional course in French, German, and Greek is admirable. Eventually, when our preparatory schools are higher, all our colleges for women will have as difficult entrance examinations as Harvard and Yale.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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