Lower Merion Academy: A Legend in Learning

The Committee

Research at Swarthmore College of several years of the Radnor Monthly Meeting Minutes (of which Merion Meeting was a part) indicates that a committee, which Jacob was appointed to, was started on October 13, 1778. Although a lot of discussion was reported in the following years, there was not much progress. Not only was Jacob aware of the 1778 directive, but the Jones family knew Anthony Benezet who co-authored the directive. Benezet had also begun a Quaker school in Philadelphia. This directive offered constructive advice, for example, that

…a lot of ground be provided, sufficient for a garden, orchard, grass for a cow, etc. and that a suitable house, stable, etc. be erected thereon: Such a provision would be an encouragement account of boarding him [the teacher], from one house to another, amongst themselves…

And if to what has been proposed, Friends were willing to add the promoting the subscription, towards a fund, the increase of which might be employed in paying a Master’s salary, if necessary, and promoting the education of the poorer Friends’ children; such a fund, tho’ it might be small in the beginning, being a fixed object, would draw the attention of Friends to contribute, whereas so long as there is no beginning made, this weighty service is neglected, by many who would be glad of giving encouragement to so necessary and good a work. People frequently appear to think it is at their option to do what they will with their own substance, which they call their own, to give or withhold, at their pleasure, forgetting that they are but as stewards accountable to him who has entusted them…

head and torso photo of Israel Irwin head and shoulder photo of Clifford Levering
Early Photos of Israel Irwin and Clifford Levering who were Headmasters of the Academy and Superintendents of the Union Sunday School.
handwritten lease
Lease agreement (1828) between Headmaster Newton M. Boggs and Trustees; D. Roberts, P. Jones, I.W. Roberts and John Levering.