Thursday, October 9, 2014

Peirce Academy in Decline, 1876

The following letter, published in the Plymouth Old Colony Memorial in early 1876 was written in response to reports that Peirce Academy, Middleborough's noted college preparatory school located on Center Street where the Post Office now stands, was in decline. With the departure of Professor John Whipple Potter Jenks as the school's principal in 1872 and the establishment of Middleborough High School, enrollment in the once popular academy that had been founded in 1808 fell abruptly. Efforts were undertaken in the 1870s to establish an endowment fund for the school and though these met with some success the school was ultimately discontinued at the conclusion of the 1880 spring term in the face of declining enrollment.

Middleboro', March 31, 1876,

Mr. Editor: - As stated in your last issue, Peirce Academy began its Spring term with but twelve pupils. However, tall oaks from little acorns grow; and this little acorn is already assuming the proportions of a very small oak. This week closes with twenty names upon the roll. The school is equipped and ready to fit students for any college in the land, in the shortest possible time, and in the most thorough manner. Young ladies or gentlemen may find here the best of instruction, in any branch or branches, which they desire to pursue. French and German are taught by a competent instructor, a Frenchman, who was for some time a resident Professor in Germany. Excellent instruction is provided in music, piano or organ, in drawing, water colors, and in oil painting.
Peirce Academy is still alive and expects to be fully up to the times. The helping hand is always welcome.

You may hear from us again at some future time, meanwhile, if you hear of any who desire assistance in ascending the hill of knowledge, tell them that Peirce Academy stands ready to assist.

Yours truly,


Peirce Academy, stereocard, John Shaw, Middleborough, publisher, 1870s.
Peirce Academy is depicted from near the corner of Center Street and Thatcher's Row (which the columned front of the school building faces).