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93 Alice Elvira Freeman Palmer

Page history last edited by Waynne James 9 years, 1 month ago

 February 21, 1855 - December 6, 1902







Personal Data


Born: Colesvile, NY

Died : Paris, France

Married: George Herbert Palmer, late 1887 






1870    Classical Preparatory Curriculum, Secondary Education, Windsor Academy, Windsor, NY

1876    Baccalaureate with Honors, University of Michigan; also completed graduate work in history

1882    Honorary Ph. D. at University of Michigan






1876                             Taught girls' seminary in a private secondary school, Lake Geneva, WI

1877-1879                head of the high school at Saginaw, MI

1879                          Head of History Department, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

1881-1887                First female President of Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

1887                          Trustee, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

1889                          President of Massachusetts State Board of Education 

1889-1890                 President of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae

1892-1895                 First Dean of Women at University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1893-1894                 President of the Woman's Education Association of Boston

1900                          Trustee of Bradford Academy, New England


Awards and Honors


Alice Freeman Scholarship Fund was created in her name to give to women who graduate from Wellesley college


Membership-Professional Organizations


American Association of University Women, helped found Association of Collegiate Alumnae which later became known as AAUM. Served as President form 1885 – 1886

Member, Massachusetts Board of Education after 1889

Supported the Harvard Annex, later known as Radcliffe College

Advisor to Barnard College

Director of the World's Columbian Exposition

Education Hall of Fame in 1920






1897                                      Why go to college?: An address. TY Crowell.

1908                                      The Life of Alice Freeman Palmer. Houghton, Mifflin.




Professional Interest Areas


Higher education of women

New Woman

Coeducation by gender




Major Contributions to Adult Education


Advocated for women to attend higher education institutions



Additional Resources



Kenschaft, L. J. (1999). Marriage, gender, and higher education: the personal and public partnership of Alice Freeman Palmer and George Herbert Palmer, 1886-1902 (Doctoral dissertation, Boston University).


Tonti, L. (2014, February 26). THE HOURGLASS: Who was Alice Freeman Palmer? The Wellesley News. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://thewellesleynews.com/2014/02/26/the-hourglass-who-was-alice-freeman-palmer/


Photo Gallery










Bordin, R. B. A. (1993). Alice Freeman Palmer: The evolution of a new woman. University of Michigan Press.

Linenthal, A. J. (1995). Two academic lives: George Herbert Palmer and Alice Freeman Palmer: A compilation. Privately printed.

Palmer, A. F. (1925). Why Go to College? TY Crowell.

Palmer, G. H. (1908). The life of Alice Freeman Palmer. Houghton, Mifflin.

Palmer, G. H., & Palmer, A. F. (1908). The teacher: Essays and addresses on education. Houghton Mifflin.

Wein, R. (1974). Women's colleges and domesticity, 1875-1918. History of Education Quarterly, 31-47.





Interesting Facts

Her father left the family while he studied in medical school until he completed his MD.

First generation of women college student

Husband, George Herbert Palmar was a Harvard Philosopher

She rarely saw her husband before and after they got married.

Died at age 47 because of heart failure for intestinal obstruction surgery

Her ashes rest behind a white marble facade in the Houghton Chapel.




Kenschaft, L. (2002). Palmer, Alice Freeman (1855–1902). Encyclopedia of Education. 2002. Retrieved from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403200479.html


Leavitt, J. A. (1985). American women managers and administrators: A selective biographical dictionary of twentieth-century leaders in business, education, and government. Greenwood.


Palmer, Alice Elvira Freeman. [Photograph]. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/143633/Alice-Elvira-Freeman-Palmer 



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