Catharine Esther Beecher

September 6, 1800
Home Town:
Litchfield, CT
Later Residences:
Hartford, CT
Cincinnati, OH
Biographical Notes:
The daughter of Lyman and Roxana Foote Beecher, Catharine Esther Beecher was born in East Hampton, New York on September 6, 1800. In 1810 the Beecher family moved from East Hampton to Litchfield, Connecticut when Lyman became minister of the local Congregational Church. From 1810 to 1816 Catharine attended the Litchfield Female Academy, and she became an assistant teacher at the school after completing her own education.

In 1821 she took another teaching job in New London, Connecticut, where she taught girls music and drawing for a time. She returned to Litchfield in 1822 and was interested in teaching at the Female Academy. After returning to her hometown however, her fiance Alexander Fisher died and Catherine entered a deep depression. Later that year, she opened the Hartford ...
"Thus while Judge Reeve's law school attracted the young men from all quarters, the town was radiant with blooming maidens both indigenous and from abroad."
(VI, p.90)

"In consequence every pleasant evening witnessed troops of young people passing and repassing through the broad and shaded street to and from the favorite Prospect Hill. Of course the fashion extended to the law students, and thus romances in real life abounded on every side. Multitudes of fathers and mothers in this nation have narrated to their children their evening strolls as the time when their mutual attachment began."
Emily Noyes Vanderpoel, Chronicles of a Pioneer School from 1792 to 1833, Being the History of Miss Sarah Pierce and Her Litchfield School (1903) pp.179-180.

Beecher ...
Additional Notes:
Additional works authored by Beecher:

Suggestions Respecting Improvements in Education (1829)

An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism with reference to the Duty of American Females (1837)

The Moral Instructor for Schools and Families: Containing Lessons on the Duties of life (1839)

A Treatise on Domestic Economy for the Use of Young Ladies at Home and at School (1841)

The Duty of American Women to Their Country (1845)

Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book (1846)

The Evils Suffered by American Women and Children: the Causes and Remedy (1846)

Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families (1856)

Woman Suffrage and Woman’s Profession (1871)

Educational reminiscences and suggestions (1874)

Years at LFA:

Profession / Service
Educator; Arts

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
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.
"Rules for the School and Family" and Names of the Young Ladies belonging to Miss Pierce's School in the Summer of 1814 (Litchfield Historical Society - Litchfield Female Academy collection).

In the Autobiography of Lyman Beecher, his daughter Catherine Beecher writes "Miss Sarah Pierce . . . Found frequent occasions for seeking cousel and aid from her pastor. In return she gave gratuitous schooling to as many of our children as father chose to send, for occassionally young boys found admission." (Beecher, Charles, Ed. Autobiography, Correspondence, Etc., of Lyman Beecher, D.D. Vol. I New York: Harper and Brothers, 1864).

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel transcribed of copy of "Jephthah's Daughter" a play written by Sarah Pierce. The students who acted in the play are ...

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