Concord Academy, grades 1 through 12, was established in what is now Haines House on Main Street in September 1922. Selected to lead the new school for girls was Elsie Garland Hobson, who in fifteen vigorous years as head would stress academic effort and see that scholarship was rewarded. During the brief tenure of Miss Hobson’s successor, Valerie Knapp (1937–40), a less rule-bound but no less demanding spirit was admitted, a spirit that Josephine Tucker (1940–49) encouraged. It was Miss Tucker who introduced the advisor system and abolished prizes at commencement, innovations that remain central to the school’s philosophy.

Classes through those early years were small. The class of 1924 numbered three girls, fifteen girls were in the class of 1938, twenty in the class of 1948. Not until the administration of Elizabeth Hall (1949–63) did Concord Academy grow markedly in size and achieve national stature. Mrs. Hall shaped the Academy into an independent high school, and the numbers in the boarding department expanded until boarders exceeded day students. Later in her administration and through that of David Aloian (1963–71), Concord Academy was regarded as perhaps the finest independent secondary school for girls in the country.

Coeducation arrived in 1971, and the Academy adapted to its new role under headmasters Russell Mead (1971–76) and Philip McKean (1977–80). When Thomas Wilcox became head in 1981, he was presiding over a school well on its way to becoming fully established as a boarding and day coeducational institution. The nineteen vibrant years of Mr. Wilcox’s tenure enlarged and beautified school facilities while diversifying the faculty and student body. Under Wilcox’s successor, Jacob Dresden (2000–09), the Academy’s commitment to community and service was strengthened, the endowment was increased substantially, 13.6 acres were added to the campus, and the Chapel—the non-sectarian New England meeting house and communal “soul of the school”—was renovated at last, with great sensitivity, so as to accommodate the entire school membership comfortably. Richard G. Hardy was named tenth headmaster of Concord Academy in 2009.

Philip McFarland
Teacher Emeritus

 

1922

Concord Academy founded for grades 1-12; Elsie G. Hobson named headmistress

1923

First Commencement, “outdoors, in the gardens back of the academy buildings”

1927

The Chameleon, the school’s literary magazine, begins publication

1930

First Alumnae/i Day composed of twenty graduates

1937

Valeria Addams Knapp named headmistress

1940

J. Josephine Tucker named headmistress

1947

T.S. Eliot speaks at Commencement; twenty seniors graduate

1949

Elizabeth B. Hall named headmistress

1950

First issue of the Bulletin (nowConcord Academy magazine) is published

1952

Alumnae Association formally established

1956

Annual Giving program launched

1956-57

First Freewill Baptist Church of Snackerty Brook, New Hampshire, dismantled, transported to Concord Academy, and rebuilt on campus as new Chapel

1959

Classes open with the school’s first international student from Hanover, Germany

1963

David Aloian named headmaster

1963-64

The Centipede, the student newspaper, is founded

1964

First Hall Fellow, Archibald MacLeish, spends three days at the school

1968

Howard Nemerov reads poetry to initiate Davidson Lectureship

1971

Concord Academy becomes coeducational

1971

Russell Mead named headmaster

1977

Philip McKean named headmaster

1981

Thomas E. Wilcox named headmaster

1984

Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel dedicated

1987

Latin teacher, Doris Coryell, becomes first teacher emerita

1997

J. Josephine Tucker Library dedicated

2000

Jacob A. Dresden named head of school

2004–05

Renovation and expansion of Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel

2007

Purchase of Arena Farms

2009

Richard G. Hardy named head of school

2015-16

Construction & Renovation of the science building, renamed CA Labs