Stuart Seminary collection, 1875-1890s, 1970-1976, 1989
Stuart Female Seminary opened in Austin, Texas at 1212 East 9th Street in January 1876. The school was founded by Rebecca K. Stuart Red, who served as principal until her death in 1886. At that time, the position of principal was taken over by her daughter, “Miss Lel” Red.
Although Stuart Female Seminary was not officially connected to the Presbyterian Church, the teaching was influenced by the religious beliefs of the Red family. All students were required to take Bible study courses and to attend church every week. The school offered a B.A. degree for the students who took the standard classical course and a B.S. degree for the students who completed the scientific course. Subjects taught at the school included music, art, modern languages, physical education, natural sciences, and Latin.
Stuart Female Seminary closed in 1899, and the property was donated to the Synod of Texas, Presbyterian Church of the U.S. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary used the site from 1902 to 1907, when it moved to its current location.
After Austin Seminary vacated the property, the building was used as a professional training ground for mental health from 1916 to 1926. In 1926, the land was acquired by the Catholic Diocese of Galveston. From 1951 to 1964, the building housed the Our Lady of Guadalupe School. The structure was demolished in 1964.
The Stuart Seminary collection is an artificial collection that documents both the school and the historical markers in Austin recognizing the school and the Red/Purcell/Hawkins family.
The first series, Stuart Female Seminary, consists of photographic, printed, and bound material, as well as three artifacts. The books are two textbooks that were used at the school in the late 19th century: A Fourteen Weeks Course in Astronomy (1875) and Hamilton’s Metaphysics (1881). Hamilton’s Metaphysics includes handwritten notes about the textbook by Lel Red Purcell, the daughter of the founder of the seminary and later the principal of the institution. Also included in this series is an oversized photograph of the students at the Stuart Female Seminary in 1895, and a clipping describing the photograph. The oversized photograph was originally framed with a printed key to the students hanging below. The photograph was removed from the frame for preservation reasons. See the archivist for a digital picture of the photograph in its original frame.
The artifacts in this series are a balsa wood model of Stuart Female Seminary, built by Bill Darter in 1976, and two large framed portraits of George Clark Red (the husband of Rebecca K. Stuart Red), and Samuel Clark Red (one of their sons). The model represents the building as it looked before 1902. This model is one of many that Darter created of historical Austin buildings, including the Driscoll Hotel and the Texas State Capitol. The model was commissioned by Mabelle Purcell (wife of Stuart M. Purcell, a descendent of the founders of Stuart Female Seminary), and then donated to Austin Seminary by her daughter Martha Lel Purcell Hawkins in 1997. The portraits appear to be drawings and are of an unknown date. They are in matching large wooden frames and originally hung in the Purcell house near the model of the Stuart Female Seminary. They were donated to the Austin Seminary Archives by Patt Griffin and William Edwards in 2014.
The second series, Historical Markers, includes two photographs and additional printed material relating to the school’s historical markers in Austin.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Stuart Seminary collection, 1875-1890s, 1970-1976, 1989, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Processed by Mandy Sutton, Archives Assistant, January 13, 2014. Additional material processed by Kristy Sorensen, June 30, 2015.
Detailed Description of the Collection