The First 300

The Baldwin School

The Baldwin School, an independent school for girls in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, was founded in 1888 by Florence Baldwin as a preparatory school for young women planning to enter nearby Bryn Mawr College. Assisted by her sisters, Anna and Helen, Florence conducted classes in their mother’s house on the corner of Morris and Montgomery Avenues. In 1896, the school leased the Bryn Mawr Hotel, located across from the Baldwin home, for the winter months. In 1922, the school purchased the hotel and its grounds and within three years added the Schoolhouse which now houses the Middle and Upper Schools. The last boarders graduated in 1974, and the Residence, or main building of the former hotel, was converted into offices and faculty apartments as well as art and music studios.

In 1975, the Lower School was added to the Baldwin campus, and in 1998 a new Early Childhood Education Center was opened especially for pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten girls.

Today, there are more than 4,000 Baldwin alumni, and they live in nearly every state of the United States and in many foreign countries. Many of them return every spring for reunions.

In 1998-99, 604 girls entered the familiar wrought iron gates to study at Baldwin. Of those, 22 percent receive financial aid, including full scholarships. As a college preparatory school, Baldwin sends all of its graduates on to higher education. Seniors choose such colleges and universities as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Stanford, Williams, Wellesley, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998-99, 38 percent of the senior class achieved recognition as both National Merit Scholars and Commended Students.

Baldwin still honors the aims set by Miss Baldwin, adapting them to the needs of today. The school’s commitment to remaining a single sex institution assures young women the opportunity to develop competence, confidence, and responsibility in a diverse and caring community.

Formerly the Bryn Mawr Hotel, The Residence of The Baldwin School was designed by the distinguished architect Frank Furness and constructed in 1892. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Florence Baldwin was born in 1858 in Wisconsin. After graduating from the Howland School in upstate New York, she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan College and studied at Cornell University. She founded Baldwin as a prep school upon the request of Dr. James E. Rhoades, president of Bryn Mawr College. After its first year, Miss Baldwin’s School sent four of its five graduates to Bryn Mawr.
By 1896, the school had grown to over 100 day and boarding students. Florence left the school in 1906 and married James Nugent. She died in 1926.
Young Baldwin students.
Sports at Baldwin School.
Lab class.
The Residence may be Baldwin’s most famous building, but it is not the only one on the 25-acre campus. A three story science building was opened in 1961 and enlarged in 1995 to accommodate the growing number of girls interested in studying the sciences.
The four story Schoolhouse was completely modernized to provide for technological capabilities in 1998, but the elegance and warmth of its architecture were maintained. Today’s campus also includes a gymnasium, indoor pool and outdoor pools, tennis courts and several playing fields.