Early Illinois schools were private. In 1825, the General
Assembly passed the first public school law. In 1836, the
Assembly levied optional school taxes, and in 1883 it first
legislated compulsory school attendance.
IRAD has some twentieth-century education records. The
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has historical material
related to education in its
Jonathan Baldwin Turner Papers 1836-95).
Jacksonville Female Academy. The first educational
institution for women in Illinois, was chartered in
1835. Its 1836-1903 catalogs list students and their
McKendree College, Holman Library. Founded in 1829,
its records are in the library. McKendree College is the
oldest college in Illinois. It is located in Lebanon,
Illinois. It is a private liberal arts college
affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Monticello Ladies' Seminary. The classes at
Monticello College began in April 1838, and a charter
was granted by the state of Illinois to Monticello
Female Seminary. The Monticello Female Seminary was
later renamed Monticello College. Captain Benjamin
Godfrey, the father of eight daughters, was an advocate
of higher education for women and made a large donation
of funds and land for the college. Monticello operated
as a two year college for women until the campus was
sold in 1970 to establish Lewis and Clark Community
College. Monticello's final class graduated in 1971.
Shurtleff College, established in 1827 as Rock
Spring Seminary. Opened 1827, closed 1960. Shurtleff
College was the oldest Baptist college west of the
Appalachians until it was absorbed by Southern Illinois
University at Edwardsville. Its records are at Louisa H.
Bowen University Archives and Special Collections,
Lovejoy Library, SIU, Edwardsville 62026. Course
catalogues name students by class. The Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library also holds some Shurtleff College
Visitation Academy. In 1833 in Kaskaskia, Illinois,
eight Visitation Sisters from Georgetown, Washington,
D.C., arrived to establish a convent and school in the
St. Louis Diocese.