During the nineteenth-century, residents of New Albany made strong commitments to religious education. Two women’s seminaries, DePauw College for Young Ladies and Anderson Female Seminary, illustrate the importance that citizens ascribed to the religious and moral instruction of young women.
In 1848, Indiana Methodists established Indiana Asbury Female College. The school opened in February 1852 with nine faculty and 117 students. According to one historian, the institution prepared daughters of well-to-do residents for future roles as wives and mothers. After tuition and charitable contributions failed to meet operating expenses, a group of businessmen led by Washington C. DePauw, one of Indiana’s wealthiest men, stepped in and paid off the college’s debts. DePaw subsequently provided additional funds to secure the future of the institution and financed construction of a handsome new building. To honor its leading benefactor, the school changed its name to the DePauw College for Young Ladies. During the same era, DePauw also endowed the institution that bears his namesake, DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. DePauw College for Young Ladies operated into the early twentieth century, when the growing influence of secular education led the trustees to shut its doors. In 1908 the New Albany Business College moved into the building.
Anderson Female Seminary opened in 1841. Founded by John Byers Anderson, it operated in tandem with the Collegiate Institute for Boys, a small preparatory school. Both institutions occupied buildings located at the northeast corner of Scribner Park. Anderson Female Seminar offered courses in subjects such as English, Latin, and mathematics. Tuition cost $31.25 annually. Anderson closed the school in 1858 to pursue business ventures. He remained involved in children’s education by opening a small library for working children. The former seminary building became a tenement house and fell into disrepair. It was demolished by 1895.