Lower Merion Academy: A Legend in Learning

Jacob Jones – Devout Quaker

title page: A New Spelling Book
John Comly’s Spelling and Reading Book

Jacob Jones, a devout Quaker, seemed to believe in education for all children whether they could afford it or not. Since he had no children of his own, he left an enduring educational legacy to the entire community.

Jacob Jones provided a trust and appointed trustees to make his dream become a reality. The Trustees fulfilled Jacob’s wishes by constructing a building, hiring teachers, governing the free school and admitting as many poor and orphan children from the Township as the proceeds of the trust would dictate.

After the Township became part of the “general system of education,” the Lower Merion Academy became one of the first centers of learning. While the Academy has passed through as many changes as society has, the Academy always remained a constant symbol of education and benevolence.

Through contemporary words of the 19th century, we learn the history of the Academy through primary sources and are able to witness again the real issues and events.

front of Academy, engraving
Front of the Academy around the turn of the 20th century. The building also served as residence for the Headmaster and his family.