Thursday, April 3, 2014

200th Anniversary of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire

Pinkerton Academy was founded in 1814 by Major John Pinkerton and Elder James Pinkerton, who had previously been financial supporters of the classical high school in eastern Londonderry, New Hampshire (now Derry, New Hampshire).   The new academy opened on December 4, 1815 with the Pinkerton's contribution of $16,000.    This new school accepted both girls and boys. Later, when the Adams Female Seminary opened in 1821, Pinkerton stopped accepting girls.

In 1881 the academy received another financial contribution from John Morrison Pinkerton, the son of Elder James. The school was expanded with new buildings and a library. 

Pinkerton Academy was an independent school until 1948 when it entered into a new agreement with the town of Derry to educate all the high school students.  The town paid tuition and the academy remained a private school. Over the years students from Chester, Hampstead, Auburn, Londonderry and Windham all went to Pinkerton Academy under the same agreement.  Over time, Londonderry and Windham eventually built their own public high schools and withdrew from the Pinkerton agreement.  

The campus of Pinkerton Academy is 170 acres with 23 buildings.  Their mascot is "Astroman" in memory of astronaut Alan Shepard, who was born in Derry and attended Pinkerton Academy (class of 1940).  Other famous alumni are Samuel Colcord Bartlett, president of Dartmouth College; Samantha Brown, TV host on the Travel Channel; and Tricia Dunn-Luoma, Olympic ice hockey player. The poet Robert Frost was a teacher at Pinkerton Academy 1906 - 1911.

Old postcard of Pinkerton Academy

This year the academy is celebrating it's bicentennial year with special events for students, alumni and the community.  Click here for a calendar of bicentennial events: 

Pinkerton Academy 200th Anniversary Store online website:

The Pinkerton Academy website  You can take a virtual tour of the campus from the link on the home page.

A previous blog post about the Adams Female Seminary in East Derry:

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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