Colvin, Mary Noyes--Mrs.

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Mary Noyes Colvin was born in 1850 in Cayuga County, New York. An extraordinarily accomplished woman, she graduated from Mount Holyoke College and became a teacher. In 1888 she earned her PhD from the University of Zurich, the first woman in the history of the university to do so. After spending time in Europe translating and working closely with the Old English Text Society, Colvin returned to her work in schools, and in 1889 was secretary of the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School for girls in Baltimore. Colvin was a member of the WLCB only from about 1890-92, but during that time she spearheaded an effort by a Club committee to investigate gender equity in Baltimore schools. Her efforts resulted in changes that made girls’ education more equal to that of boys; female grammar schools "were raised to the curriculum of male grammar schools," noted the Baltimore Sun at the time. She also set the stage for female high schools to provide college preparation for girls at the same level as male high schools. In 1893, Colvin was appointed a professor of romance languages at the Western Reserve University, prompting her to resign from Bryn Mawr and move to Ohio. She was nationally recognized for her accomplishments, and though only in Baltimore for a brief time, certainly left her mark. 


Colvin, William M.

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  • Tilson, Carol Page. “Mary E. Noyes Colvin.” Find a Grave. May 6, 2014. 
  • Our School System." Baltimore Sun, Dec. 22, 1892: 8.
  • "About People and Things." Indianapolis Journal, Dec 15, 1893: 4.
  • Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), Aug. 7, 1882: 2.




“Colvin, Mary Noyes--Mrs.,” The Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore, accessed May 25, 2020,