About the Circle
Wilson College was founded in 1869 as a college for women by the Rev. Tryon Edwards and the Rev. James W. Wightman. The original charter was granted on March 24, 1869. Sarah Wilson, for whom the College is named, provided the initial gift for the establishment of the College. She was the first living woman in the United States to endow a college for women.
The purpose of the college was described as an effort to provide for the education of young women in literature, science, and the arts. The Oct. 19, 1870, edition of the Franklin Repository stated that the “effort will not be to cram the minds of pupils with facts, but to spend the time in the development of thought so that the pupils will learn to think for themselves, and thus become leaders, instead of followers, in society.”