Today in 1635, the Boston Latin School became the first public school founded in the United States. Now WE know em


The Boston Latin School was founded April 23, 1635 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today, it is still the oldest existing school in the United States.

The Public Latin School was a bastion for educating the sons of the Boston elite, resulting in the school claiming many prominent Bostonians as alumni.

Its curriculum was modeled after Boston Grammar School in Lincolnshire, England (where many of Boston’s original settlers came from), and held the classics to be the basis of an educated mind.

Four years of Latin were mandatory for all pupils who entered the school in the 7th grade.

Some assert that Harvard College, founded a year later in 1636, was created for Boston Latin’s first graduates.

On December 29, 1670, Ezekiel Cheever was invited to become Head Master of Boston Latin. This famous schoolmaster led the school until his death in 1708.

Boston Latin has produced four Harvard presidents, four Massachusetts governors, and five signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin and Louis Farrakhan are among its well-known dropouts.

Boston Latin School initially admitted only male students and hired only male teachers. Then in 1859, Helen Magill White became the school’s first female student.

Helen M White also went on to become the first American woman to earn a Doctorate.

Helen Magill White,1873

Helen Magill White,1873

However, soon after White’s graduation, Girls’ Latin School was founded. For nearly the next century, all qualified female students would attend the all-girls institution. It wasn’t until 1972 that Boston Latin admited its first co-educational class.

Boston Latin School House on Avenue Louis Pasteur. 1922–Present.

Boston Latin School House on Avenue Louis Pasteur. 1922–Present.

In 2007 the school was named one of the top twenty high schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

The school was named a 2011 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, the U.S. Department of Education’s highest award.

As of 2012, the school is listed under the gold medal list, ranking 62 out of the top 100 high schools in the United States.

Now WE know em


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