Skip to main content

1754-1783: Education: Chronology

1754-1783: Education: Chronology




  • The Anglicans establish Kings College (Columbia University) in New York City; Samuel Johnson, an Anglican clergyman, is the first president.
  • Eleazar Wheelock founds the Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut, and receives funding from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.).
  • The Charleston Library Society is incorporated.
  • The New York Society Library is established in New York City Hall by 140 wealthy citizens.
  • 25 Apr. Anthony Benezet opens the Morning School for Girls in Philadelphia so that young women can learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and English grammar.


  • Georgia passes a law to prevent slaves from learning to write.
  • According to the terms of the Additional Charter, the Academy of Philadelphia receives collegiate rank and becomes the Academy and College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania).
  • The Winyaw Indigo Society, founded in 1740 in Georgetown, South Carolina, receives a royal charter. In 1756 it starts an educational program by endowing apprenticeships and establishing a free school for poor children.


  • The College of New Jersey moves from Newark to Princeton, New Jersey, and is the largest college in the American colonies at this time.
  • Daniel Dowle writes A New Gift for Children, the earliest known storybook for children published in America.
  • The New York bar requires college education for admission.


  • 17 Apr. Francis Williams, the first black college graduate in the Western Hemisphere, publishes a collection of Latin poems.
  • 20 Nov. Thomas Brays Associates opens a trial school in Philadelphia for blacks, directed by the Reverend William Sturgeon, a Society for the Propagation of the Gospel catechist.


  • Thomas Brays Associates opens schools for black children in New York City and Williamsburg, Virginia.


  • Thomas Brays Associates opens a school for black children in Newport, Rhode Island.


  • 10Feb. William Rind of Annapolis, Maryland, starts the first circulating library in the colonies. In England fifty-three circulating libraries have been established by this time.
  • 16 Feb. George Wood advertises the opening of the first circulating library in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 29 Aug. Bookseller Garrat Noel opens the first circulating library in New York with several thousand books.


  • The College of Rhode Island (Brown University) is founded in Providence. It is affiliated with the Baptist Church.
  • Alexander Gardens school for black children, which was started in 1743 in Charleston, South Carolina, by Garden and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, closes.
  • 26 Jan. Harvard College Library is destroyed by fire, and only about four hundred books out on loan are saved.


  • At commencement exercises at the College of New Jersey, the senior class wears homespun clothing in support of the boycott of British goods.
  • John Morgan establishes the first formal medical department in the American colonies at the College of Philadelphia.
  • A school for black children is opened in Fredericksburg, Virginia, by Thomas Brays Associates.
  • Sodalitas, a voluntary society for the study of law and oratory, is founded in Boston.
  • 31 Oct. John Mein opens the first circulating library in Boston at his shop called the London Book-Store. He has twelve hundred books with seven hundred different titles.


  • Thomas Clap resigns as president of Yale College following student demonstrations.
  • 10 Nov. Queens College in New Jersey (Rutgers University) is granted a charter. The college, named for Charlotte, the Queen Consort, is affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church.


  • A medical department is established at Kings College.
  • 14 Sept. Lewis Nicola opens the first circulating library in Philadelphia with approximately four hundred volumes.


  • Student unrest occurs at Harvard College, and pupils wear homespun clothing at commencement exercises in order to protest English duties.


  • The first commencement ceremonies at the College of Rhode Island are highly political, with disputations such as Whether British America can under Present Circumstances Consistent with Good Policy, Affect to Become an Independent State?
  • 2 Jan. The American Society for Promoting and Propagating Useful Knowledge Held at Philadelphia merges with the American Philosophical Society to become the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge.
  • 13 Dec. George III grants a royal charter to Eleazar Wheelock to found Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Wheelock becomes the first president of the school.


  • Christopher Docks Schulordnung is published. It is the first book on school management published in America.
  • Georgia outlaws the teaching of slaves to read.
  • A voluntary society, the Moot Club, is founded in New York City for the study of law.
  • 20 Mar. A new charter is granted for Queens College.
  • 28June Anthony Benezet opens a free school for blacks in Philadelphia.


  • The first publication of the American Philosophical Society, Transactions, appears.
  • The Massachusetts Poor Laws are revised to allow females to be taught writing as well as reading.


  • The Virginia Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge is established, with John Clayton as its first president.


  • The Abolition Society of Philadelphia starts a school for blacks, which flourishes for one hundred years.
  • The first law school in the American colonies is established by Tapping Reeve in Litchfield, Connecticut.
  • Students at the College of New Jersey burn tea on campus and in the streets of Princeton. They also burn Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson in effigy, ceremoniously boycott the drinking of tea, and form a militia company. Other colleges participate in similar patriotic activities.


  • The minimal cost for annual college education ranges from £25 to £35 in the colonies, compared to more than £100 in England.


  • An academy in Virginia is established under the direction of Samuel Stanhope Smith and five trustees, all graduates of Princeton College. This academy receives degree-granting status in 1783 and becomes Hampden-Sydney College.
  • Twenty-two students have graduated from the medical schools of the College of Philadelphia and Kings College since their founding in 1765 and 1767, respectively.


  • New Jersey initiates the separation of blacks and whites in education.
  • Quakers in Salem, New Jersey, approve the creation of schools for blacks.


  • Phillips Andover Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, is founded.


  • Thomas Jefferson introduces a Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge in the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the legislature rejects his proposal to establish the first free public school system in America.
  • Jefferson also writes A Bill Concerning Slaves, a plan to train slaves in agriculture and artisanship so that they can be prepared to live independently when they are freed.
  • 11 May Slaves in Connecticut petition the state for freedom. One of their grievances is the masters holding us in gross Ignorance, so as to render Our Subjection more easy and tolerable.



  • Philips Exeter Academy is founded in Exeter, New Hampshire.
  • The New Jersey Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Commerce and Art is established.


  • Washington College in Chesterton, Maryland, is founded.
  • Liberty Hall Academy (Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, receives a charter from the state legislature.


  • Noah Webster publishes his popular blue-backed speller, A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language, which he hopes will standardize the American language and instill republican virtue.
  • Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia is chartered to grant degrees. As the first president, John Blair chooses a curriculum similar to that of the College of New Jersey.
  • Transylvania Seminary in western Virginia (present-day Kentucky) is chartered to grant degrees.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"1754-1783: Education: Chronology." American Eras. . 22 Jan. 2019 <>.

"1754-1783: Education: Chronology." American Eras. . (January 22, 2019).

"1754-1783: Education: Chronology." American Eras. . Retrieved January 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.