In 1862, at age 18, Helen F. Spaulding was one of 15 women students attending Westbrook Seminary.
She was, however, the only female student from out of state.
Helen Spaulding was born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and attended public schools there.
At an early age she began teaching, alternating teaching with furthering her own education.
During the 1862 spring term at Westbrook Seminary, Helen took French and enrolled in the Normal Class.
A Normal Class was offered during the spring and fall terms for those who were preparing themselves to be teachers.
"Special attention" was given to this class.
Helen also served as an assistant to Principal S. H. M'Collester and Associate Principal Charles S. Fobes.
Classes were held in the Seminary Building. Tuition for Languages, per-term-of-12-weeks, was $6.
The price of board per week in the Boarding Houses was $2 to $2.25 and did not include wood and lights. Helen supplied her own quilt, linens and toilet soap.
Westbrook Seminary rules and regulations were strict. Students were expected to "rise at, or before the ringing of the bell, and retire and have their lights extinguished by half past ten in the evening."
Students were "not allowed to use tobacco, intoxicating liquors, or gunpowder, or to have them in or about the Seminary Buildings."
Students were expected to "refrain from scuffling and all improper conduct in the halls and rooms of the Seminary Buildings."
They were not permitted to "enter other students' rooms without rapping and receiving permission to enter; nor were they permitted to "lounge or sit upon the beds."
A daily record was "kept of each student's standing in recitations, deportment, and moral conduct."
In 1864, at age 20, Helen F. Spaulding graduated with a Laureate of Science degree and was appointed head of the Woman's Department at Westbrook Seminary and Female Collegiate Institute.
She served in this position for six years and taught geometry, algebra, English and drawing.
In a letter to the editor in the May 1923 "Westbrook Seminary Messenger," E.I. Elder, class of 1868, recalled:
"The two lady teachers, Miss French and Miss Spaulding, were popular with the school. .… Miss Spaulding was our teacher in Mathematics, and it is owing to her insistence, perseverance, and utter lack of knowing the word 'fail' which finally gave me a smattering of the beauties of Algebra and Geometry.
"She was a good teacher. After she left the Seminary she went West, and I was told, died in Portland, Oregon, some years ago."
From Westbrook Seminary and Female Collegiate Institute, Helen Spaulding went to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where she was first assistant in the high school.
When Westbrook Seminary principal Rev. Sullivan Holman McCollester was called to be the first president of Buchtel College, founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1870, Helen Spaulding became Buchtel's chair of English literature, a position she held for three years.
Several years later she accepted a similar position at Portland (Oregon) High School where she taught for 13 years.
Though Helen retired from active teaching in the late 1880s, she remained an educator throughout her life.
An entry in the 1905 edition of The Souvenir of Western Women, edited by Mary Osborn Douthit, described Helen as "a busy woman, active in good works and ever ready with good words, she is a dependable force in all lines in which true womanly endeavor is enlisted for the public weal."
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