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October 1766

Four Single Sisters and 12 Older Girls, ages 13 to 17, forsake
the warmth and comfort of their homes in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania. On foot, they travel more than 500 miles to
the wild frontier of North Carolina. For 29 nights, they sleep
under a cold, open sky. In villages along the way, onlookers 1785
gather to watch this curious group pass by. One of the Salem enrolls
travelers is young Elisabeth Oesterlein. its first African-
American
They join the settlement of Bethabara for the next few years
student.
while they wait for a new town, Salem, to be carved out of
the wilderness. Seeking God’s will in all that they do, the
Moravians establish a school for girls in 1772.

From these humble beginnings emerges Salem Academy and
College. A powerful legacy, an incredible journey, has begun.

Following are just a few of the
many events that have occurred in
April 1772
history since Salem Academy and The Girls School opens with three students
College was founded in 1772. For and one teacher, Elisabeth Oesterlein, in
more details, read Frances Griffin’s
book, Less Time for Meddling: Salem the Congregation House.
Academy and College 1772-1866.
1805 South Hall Door

South Hall opens to house boarding students.

1819
The Single
Sisters House
addition is
dedicated.

April 5, 1786
Accompanied by a trombone salute, 33 Single Sisters
and Older Girls move into their new residence, the
Single Sisters House.
1861-1865
The Civil War rages,

1826 but unlike other

Salem admits its first Native schools, Salem never

American student, Sally closes its doors.

Ridge, the daughter of 1856
a Cherokee chief. She Main Hall is completed on the Square in
graduates from the school, place of the old Congregation House.
but in 1838, the daughter
of another Cherokee chief,
Jane Ross, leaves Salem to
join her family on the Trail
of Tears.
1886
The Salem Alumnae
Association begins.

Students in gym suits, 1884

1866
The school is
officially chartered
as Salem Female
The class of 1891, the first to graduate
Academy. in cap and gown

1890
Seven students
1879 receive Salem’s
Salem Organizes a music department. first baccalaureate
(Music instruction has been an integral degrees.
part of the curriculum at Salem since its
beginnings.)

Upper Campus, 1890
Picnic at Bethabara, c. 1890s

Student alcoves, 1886

Hay Mow on Academy and
College grounds, c. 1900s
May Day
Queen, 1929

Varsity basketball
team, 1925

1912
Salem Academy and
College separate
academically.

1909-1949
Under the leadership of President
The daisy chain, a highlight of graduation from Howard Rondthaler, the campus
1901 to 1935
grows from 3 1/2 to 56 acres.

Cooking class, 1912
1930 The College class of 1940

Salem Academy’s Mary Patterson Hall
is completed with Emma Bahnson
and Carrie Schaffner wings.

Salemite editorial staff, 1956

1933
Salem College School 1957
of Music receives The Mary
accreditation. Weaver
wing at the

1951 Academy is
completed.
The Rondthaler Science
Building is constructed
on the College campus.

Memorabilia: Panoramic view of campus
1971
The January Term 1991
program begins for both The College grants its
the Academy and College first graduate degrees.
students.

1965
The Salem
Academy and 1991
College Fine During Salem Academy
Arts Center is and College’s first 219
constructed. 1971 years, each of its 17
The Academy completes “inspectors” or presidents
the Mary McCoy was a man. In the early
Hodges dormitory wing years, all of them had been
and Lucy Reynolds Critz Moravian ministers.
classroom wing. In 1991, the trustees
selected its first
female president,
Dr. Julianne Still Thrift.

College Swim Team
1997
Salem marks its
225th anniversary.
2003
The Academy

1992 renovates the day

Renovation of student lounge
the existing gym and expands it to

into Bryant Hall include a sunroom,

and completion cyber café and

of a new gym, fitness area.

swimming pool
and commons
area improve
facilities for
sports.

1996
On October 10,
1996, the Salem
College Center 2004
for Women Salem purchases 7.5
Writers holds Students outside the Academy acres of Central Park,
its opening expanding the
celebration. Academy and College
campus to 65 acres.
2007
The community
gathers to
rededicate the Adult student
Single Sisters
House, using
the same music 2009
and liturgy from The College finishes the
the Moravian three-year process of joining
lovefeast service the NCAA Division III.
for the first
dedication on
April 5, 1786.

2005
Salem launches
capital building
2007
Salem Academy and College
projects to renovate
celebrates the inauguration of
and restore some
Dr. Susan E. Pauly as Salem’s
campus buildings,
nineteenth president.
including the
Academy’s Mary
Patterson Hall, the
College’s Bitting
Residence Hall, the
Salem Fine Arts
Center and the
Single Sisters House. Students on back porch of Main Hall