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Harriet Abbe

Other Name:
August 19, 1793
August 30, 1865
Home Town:
East Windsor, CT
Later Residences:
Richmond, VA
Lebanon, TN
Henry County, IA
Biographical Notes:
Harriet Abbe, daugher of John Simmons Abbe and Hannah Billings Abbe, was born in East Windsor, Connecticut on August 19, 1791. She was one of eleven children. It is believed that from 1808 until 1810 Harriet may have attended the Litchfield Female Academy where she studied to become a teacher herself. After completing her course work in Litchfield she taught in Richmond, Virginia, and in the 1830's she and her sister Mrs. Ann Kilbourn of Connecticut went to Lebanon, Tennesee and opened a school for young ladies. The Abbe Female Institute was chartered in 1846, and not only accepted female students, but male students as well. Following her two sisters' deaths she relocated to Henry County, Iowa where her brother-in-law Myron Kilbourn was an early settler and Justice of the Peace. She remained there until her death in 1865.
Additional Notes:
“In the 1830's Miss Harriet Abbe and her sister Mrs. Ann [sic] Kilbourn from Connecticut came to Lebanon and opened a school for young ladies comparable to Campbell Academy for boys. It was located a few hundred yards south on the boys’ school, on the west side of North Cumberland Street. The schools operated with one board of trustees but this relationship was severed in 1846 when Abbe got its own charter. Dr. F. R. Cossitt was named Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Professor A. P. Stewart, later to become a Lieutenant General in the Army of the Confederacy, was principal of the school in 1856.” - Merritt, Dixon, ed. The History of Wilson County (Lebanon, TN: The Tennessee Historical Commission,) 1961, 96.

Years at LFA:

Profession / Service

help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
[We are currently working to update and confirm citations of attendance.]
Secondary Sources:

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