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Eighteenth-Century Archive from Hartford Free Grammar School, the Second Oldest Secondary School in America
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This small archive includes promissory notes for tuition and a series of accounts with teachers and others from the late eighteenth-century for the Hartford Free Grammar School, the second oldest school of secondary education in the United States. Items include the signatures of Thomas Seymour (1735-1829), who served as the first mayor of Hartford (1784-1812); Solomon Porter (1753-1821), principal of the school; Joshua Leffingwell (1762-1811), Hartford architect; and others.

[EDUCATION]. Archive of 21 documents related to the Hartford Free Grammar School. 28 pp., 5¾ x 5 in. to 13 x 15½ in.0/0/0.

Inventory #24151.01       Price: $1,800

May 18, 1749: “I the Subscriber, John Risley Junr of Hartford promises to pay or Cause to be paid to Nathll Stanly of Hartford and the Rest of the comitte of the free School in Hartford the sum of four. pounds money of the old Tonour, att or before the first day of March next....

March 24, 1755: “I the subscriber for value received do promise to pay unto Nathaniel Stanly Daniel Edwards George Wyllys and Samuel Tallcott Esqrs all of Hartford as they are a Committee of the free Grammar School in said Hartford or to heir successors in that Capacity, for the proper use and Benefit of said School the sum of Three pounds four Shillings & nine pence in Coined Silver of sterling alloy at six shillings & Eight pence pr ounce or Bills of Publick Credit Equivalent thereto at or before the 24th Day of March Next

March 17, 1757: “We the subscribers for value Recd promis Joyusly and Severally to pay or cause to be paid to Daniel Edwards Esqr & the Rest of the Comtee of the Gramer School in Hartford the full Sum of Twelve ounces & three Eighths of an ounce of Coined Silver Troy weight Sterling alloy at or before the first Day of March which will be in the year of our Lord 1759

December 3, 1807: “Whereas The Trustees of the grammar school in sd town recovered judgment against John Chenevard of sd town formerly junior before the County Court, 0holden at Hartford with the County of Hartford, aforesaid, on the 1st Tuesday of Decr Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and seven for the sum of 207 Dollars 92 Cents damages, and for the sum of 4 Dollars 97 Cents costs of suit, as appears of record, whereof execution remains to be done. These are therefor by authority of the state of Connecticut to command you that of the goods, chattels, or lands of the said debtor, within your precincts, you cause to be levied, and the same being disposed of or appraised as the law directs, and satisfied unto the said creditors the aforesaid sums being 212 Dollars 89 Cents in the whole....”                                                             

Historical Background
Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), the Puritan minister who founded Hartford, Connecticut, established a Latin School there in 1638, which relied on a mix of private and public funding from student tuition, philanthropic donations, and town government appropriations. During the colonial years, the school provided the only secondary education in the state, and offered a classical curriculum of Latin and Greek, primarily to prepare young men to study theology at Harvard and Yale and to become ordained ministers. The state legislature incorporated it as Hartford Grammar School in 1798, with Thomas Seymour, Jeremiah Wadsworth, Rev. Nathan Strong, Rev. Nathan Perkins, Rev. Abel Flint, John Trumbull, and Thomas Y. Seymour as trustees. The institution expanded from one to four teachers, and from 30 to 100 students by 1828. In 1847, it became the Hartford Public High School that offered education to “all male and female children” in Hartford who wished to attend.

Condition: Some toning, edge tears, and seven with clipped or torn signatures missing.

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