New Jersey Women's History



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Evelyn College Students, c. 1890
Courtesy, Princeton University Library.

evelyn.jpg (97370 bytes)

Evelyn College, the first women's college in New Jersey, was founded in Princeton in 1887 by the Reverend Joshua Hall McIlvaine, a Presbyterian minister, with the help of his wife and two daughters. Evelyn College was designed as a coordinate college to Princeton University, at that time known as the College of New Jersey. Princeton trustees sat on its board, and Princeton professors taught its students, who were also permitted to use the Princeton University Library. Evelyn College was initially successful: by 1890, it had 46 students and similar entrance requirements and curriculum to other U.S. women's colleges. The students resided in a house about a mile from the center of Princeton. Reverend McIlvaine's two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth, served as principals. The college, however, was essentially a private enterprise of the McIlvaine family, who tried to run it for profit. With no endowment, and no core group of supporters, Evelyn College closed in1897 after Reverend McIlvaine's death.

Women's Project of New Jersey
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