Sunday, November 8, 2015

Women in Gardens at the 1805 Salem Girls School (later Salem College in North Carolina)

1805 Salem Girls School later Salem College.

Salem College began in 1766, when the Moravians, established the village of Salem. Among the town's early residents were 16 girls & women who walked more than 500 miles from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to join the new community. Salem Girls School, later Salem College, was run by the unmarried women, the Single Sisters, of the Moravian community, who were economically self-sufficient, a rare condition for women of the 18th century. Moravian records show that Salem educated African American girls as early as 1785. The gardens at the Girls’ School in Salem, were described as “designed for literary repast, & evening amusement.”

1912 Photo of Tableau on the Lower Pleasure Grounds at Salem College.

In 1858, Principal Robert de Schweinitz (1818-1901) transformed the Lower Pleasure Grounds from a heavily-wooded ravine barrier between Salem Academy & Salem College into a beautifully landscaped garden, creating rose gardens & pavilions. An amazing photo of this area, where amusement & theater were still a serious components, from 1912 exists at the College.