List of current and historical women's universities and colleges in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following is a series of lists of women's colleges in the United States. These are institutions of higher education in the United States whose student populations are composed exclusively or almost exclusively of women. They are often liberal arts colleges. There are approximately sixty active women's colleges in the U.S.

Current women's colleges are listed in bold text. Colleges that are closing or transitioning to coeducation are listed in italics. Former women's colleges that are now coeducational or have closed are listed in plain text.

Alphabetical by state[edit]


  • Alabama Central Female College, Tuscaloosa August 22, 1923 the main building burned down and became a park in the 1930s. No mention of the school after this date.
  • Alabama Conference Female College, Tuskegee (originally Tuskegee Female College)[1] From 1854 to 1909 college was in Tuskegee, then moved to Montgomery. Co-ed in 1934, then renamed Huntingdon College in 1935. Also known as Woman's College of Alabama.
  • Athens Female Academy, Athens (founded in 1822)[2] Co-ed since 1931, later renamed Athens State University.
  • Auburn (Masonic) Female College, Auburn (operated 1852–1870)
  • Auburn Female Institute, Auburn (operated 1892–1908)
  • Barber Memorial College, Anniston, Alabama Founded in 1896 and merged with Scotia Women's College in 1916 to create Barber–Scotia Junior College for women in Concord, NC. In 1954, Barber–Scotia College became a coeducational. Today, the college maintains close ties to the Presbyterian Church.
  • Florence Synodical Female College, Florence, Alabama[3] (operated 1855–1893)
  • Huntsville Female College, Huntsville, Alabama (operated 1851–1895)
  • Judson College, Marion (operated 1838–2021)
  • University of Montevallo, Montevallo (co-ed since 1956) (also known as Alabama Girls' Industrial School)
  • University of West Alabama, Livingston (co-ed since 1915; officially women-serving until the 1950s)





District of Columbia[edit]








  • Green River Academy started in 1834 by the Cumberland Presbytery, now a museum run by the Green River Academy Preservation Society.
  • Beaumont College, Kentucky started as Baptist-affiliated Greenville Female Institution (1841-1856). When Dr. Samuel Mullens sold the school to John Augustus Williams (the founder of Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, and president of Bacon College when it was located in Harrodsburg), Williams changed the name to Daughters College and advertised that it could handle 100 students offering Philosophy, English language and literature, mathematics, natural science, history, ancient and modern languages, Bible studies, and fine arts. The college graduated classes of 2 to 17 each year; and after they added a regular normal department, produced more than 1/3 of all its graduates as teachers. In 1895 he sold it to Col. Thomas Smith, a graduate of University of Virginia and Confederate veteran, who taught the students seven different languages. It was he who changed the name to Beaumont College. It closed in 1917 and one of the graduates turned it into an inn to accommodate the high demand for accommodations from its graduates who wanted to return for vacations and class reunions.
  • Bethel College, Russellville chartered by the state in 1854 as Bethel Female High School in Hopkinsville, the Green River Educational Convention named it the Bethel College for Women in 1858. The Russellville Convention used the college building for one of their meetings to establish the Kentucky Confederate government and soon thereafter was occupied by the federal army during the rest of the Civil War. The school finally opened again in March 1864, offering curriculum from five departments of languages, mathematics, mental and moral science, and belles-lettres, natural science, and fine arts. The college had a faculty of 6-10 teachers with an average attendance of approximately 100 students. By the 1890s the administration aspired to model the curriculum after that offered at the University of Virginia with an aim to make it equal to any of the male colleges in the state. It became Bethel Women's Jr. College in 1917; it became co-ed in 1951; and it closed in 1964.
  • Brescia University, Owensboro, started in 1925 as Mount Saint Joseph College for Women, a junior college in the nearby rural community of Maple Mount. Shortly after the school opened, it established a coeducational extension branch in Owensboro that over the years became a second campus. The school became coeducational in 1950 when the two campuses were merged at the Owensboro site.
  • Caldwell Female College, Danville, Kentucky, was originally chartered by the state as the Henderson Female Institute in 1854; changed its name in 1860 to honor the principle donor, Charles Caldwell who was an elder in the Danville Presbyterian Church. Consolidating with another local girls' school, Bell Seminary, Caldwell Female College gained its first woman president in 1886, Miss Charlotte A. Campbell. Under her leadership, a gymnasium and four new classrooms were added to the building's original site – and she gained a charter that allowed for the school with its 11 faculty to confer college degrees. In 1913 the charter was amended to consolidate with the Princeton Collegiate Institute and became Kentucky College for Women (see more on this below).
  • Campbell–Hagerman College, Lexington (founded in 1903; closed in 1912)
  • Cedar Bluff College, Woodburn, led by Rev. B.F. Cabell who also started the Potter College in Bowling Green (see more on this below); closed in 1892.
  • Clinton College, Clinton, founded as Clinton Female College in 1873 by Willis White, a Baptist preacher and funded through the West Union Baptist Association (later the West Ky. Baptist Association); it became co-ed in 1876; and it closed in 1915.
  • Elizabethtown Female Academy, Elizabethtown, incorporated in 1848,[5] grew out of the boys-only Hardin Academy, established in 1806.[6] Robert Hewitt, married to a local Methodist minister's daughter Eliza Ann Chastin, led the academy until his death in 1850. He was replaced by the 18-year-old Lafayette Hewitt until the Civil War broke out. Hewitt returned to Elizabethtown in 1865 and took up the principalship of the Female Academy for one year before moving to Frankfort.[7]
  • Georgetown Female College, Georgetown, founded in 1846 by J. E. Farnham, a natural sciences professor at Georgetown College; and by the next year a new building was constructed on Hamilton Street by the next year to accommodate 100 students. That building burned in 1865, and a professor of mathematics at Georgetown College, James J. Rucker, used his own private property to continue the school. For two years Prof. J.B. Thorp served as principal. In 1869 Professor Rucker stepped in as principal once Georgetown College built a new building on the college grounds. It was incorporated into the college in 1893 when it became co-educational. The building then became a dormitory.
  • Hamilton College, Lexington was founded by banker and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) member James M. Hocker in 1869. Originally named the Hocker Female College, in 1878 the name of the school changed to Hamilton College. By 1896 the graduating class was 24 women. In 1889, the nearby Kentucky University, (later Transylvania University), bought a stake in the school, taking total control in 1903. It remained a private, women's college affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and closed in 1932.
  • John Lyle's Female Seminary (founded in 1806)[2]
  • Kentucky College for Young Ladies, Pewee Valley, was chartered and opened in fall 1874 with Professor E.A. Sloan, A.M. as president, 8 teachers offering a two-year preparatory school and a four-year collegiate course of studies. The college gained a new library donated by suffragist Mrs. Brutus J. (Ann Field) Clay. That year there were 68 students in attendance, most of whom were in the collegiate department, and the first class of nine graduated. In the 1880s, Rev. Erastus Rowley, D.D. of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, purchased the school and added a primary department as well as sciences, business and a normal department in the collegiate division. Boys were allowed for day classes when in 1896 the new president G.B. Perry combined the primary and preparatory departments into a preparatory course of four years and added a one-year postgraduate department which included then history, mathematics, science, Latin, mental and moral philosophy, English and "the usual ornamental branches." The faculty numbered 10 by the end of the century when the building was destroyed by fire. This school was the inspiration of "Lloydsboro Seminary" in one of the popular Little Colonel books by Annie Fellows Johnston, The Little Colonel at Boarding School (Boston: LC Page & Co, 1904). In 1902 the state purchased the school building for the use of a Confederate veterans' home.
  • Kentucky College for Women, Danville, formerly Caldwell Female College, merged with Centre College in 1926 (as the women's department) but did not formally consolidate with Centre until 1930. Women students didn't move to the Centre campus until 1962 as part of a strategy to increase the size of the student body overall (from 380 to 700) and major revision of the curriculum.
  • Lexington Female College, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Logan Female College, Russellville grew out of the Methodist-affiliated school for boys and girls known as "The Academy" and was chartered by the state in 1856. Led by a succession of ministers out of the Louisville Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the college was granted in 1860 by the state to confer diplomas under the name of the Russellville Collegiate Institute, but it returned to the name Logan Female College after the Civil War, graduating its first class of seven baccalaureate degree earners in 1869. It became famous in the 1870s for the curriculum in English and Anglo-Saxon. With a faculty of 12 in the 1890s the college curriculum included the departments of Latin, English, mathematics, natural science, history Bible studies, philosophy, political science, elocution, Anglo-Saxon, Greek, French and German – offering a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and bachelor of laws. In addition the school offered primary and preparatory studies as well as departments of music and art. The Louisville Conference voted to close Logan Female College in 1931 due to financial problems.
  • Lynnland Female Institute or Lynnland Female College, Glendale, Kentucky started in 1867 under the leadership of a local Baptist minister, Rev. G. A. Colson. In 1869, a former Confederate general, William F. Perry of Alabama (once the president of the East Alabama Female College in Tuskegee) came to serve as president of the Lynnland Female Institute and introduced a classical education for collegiate level learning. This was favorably received and he recruited support from John Peyton Hobson who was recommended by Washington College president, Robert E. Lee. In the 1870s Perry and Peter Eppes Harris turned the school co-educational as the Lynnland Military Institution with the women taught in a separate department. But it closed in 1879 and Perry left for Bowling Green where he taught at Ogden College until his death. By 1888 the school returned to its former status as a college for women and renamed "Lynnland Female College" growing to as many as 60 students and a school library that rivaled Barnard or Rutgers in the north. After the 1914–15 academic term, Lynnland was sold and became the site of an orphanage, the Kentucky Baptist Children's Home (later named the Glendale Center). Today the site is empty - the Glendale Center was relocated to Elizabethtown.
  • Midway University, Midway — first opened in 1847 by the Disciples of Christ as the Kentucky Female Orphan School, it grew into a junior college and after World War II it offered baccalaureate degrees as one of Kentucky's few remaining women's colleges. By the mid-1970s, following the closure or change to coeducation of the state's other women's colleges, it became Kentucky's only remaining all-women's college. The school gradually transitioned away from being a pure women's college, establishing coeducational programs for evening, weekend, and later online students; during this time, it also abandoned an attempt to start a pharmacy school. The transition was completed in 2016 when men were first admitted to Midway's daytime undergraduate program.
  • Millersburg Female College started first as a Female Collegiate Institute in Georgetown in 1837 by Thornton F. Johnson, affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, and run by his wife, Margaret Fauntleroy Johnson; he was also founder of several other colleges, including Bacon College, the precursor of University of Kentucky. Mrs. Johnson hired three sisters (Caroline, Sarah and Harriet Stanwood). They moved the college in 1849 to the Batterson residence in Millersburg, and through the 1850s it was coeducational. In February 1860 the state granted a charter to the Millersburg Female College, and in June 1867 it graduated its first class of four women. By the 1890s with 13 teachers, the graduates typically became musicians and teachers. In 1908 a new building replaced the structure that had burned down the year before and a basic junior college curriculum offered an associate of arts degree. In 1915 the Female College was renamed Millersburg College and in 1931 the nearby Millersburg Military Institute purchased it and offered there an elementary school for its junior cadets. College and a normal department was established in 1862.
  • Nazareth Academy, Nelson County — Founded in 1814 by the Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth; moved from its original site outside of Bardstown to Nazareth in 1822. Received authority to grant degrees in 1829; later designated as a "College". For further history, see Spalding College below.
  • Owensboro Female College opened in the fall of 1890 and chartered on March 26, 1893, to offer literary degrees: mistress of arts and mistress of belles-lettres. By 1931 the building was taken over by the Owensboro Trade School, and in 1939 the building was demolished in favor of a new building.
  • Pleasant J. Potter College, Bowling Green opened on September 9, 1889, with Rev. B.F. Cabell as president. The charter assured no sectarian control by stipulated that not more than two of its ten trustees be members of the same religious denomination. In addition to music and art, the preparatory and collegiate departments offered English, history, natural sciences, Latin, mathematics, philosophy, elocution, Greek, French and German – offering certificates of proficiency as well as an A.B. Eleven faculty and 200 students many of whom transferred in from other institutions in the South and the West and at the end of the first year 9 graduated from the various departments of the college. Potter College closed in 1909, and Western State Normal School moved to the Potter College site in 1911 (which became Western Kentucky University in 1966).
  • Sayre Female Institute, Lexington was founded by David A. and Abby Hammond Sayre in November 1854. Sayre, meeting in the offices of former Kentucky Secretary of State George B. Kinkead with several other prominent members of the "McChord" (now First Presbyterian Church) including John C. Breckinridge, drew up the articles of incorporation. Originally named the Transylvania Female Seminary, the school opened first in the old Bank of the U.S. building on the corner of Mill and Church then moved to the current location on Limestone Street. In 1855 the trustees changed the name to the Sayre Female Institute, and the state granted its charter in 1856 to confer collegiate degrees. By the 1890s the yearly attendance reached over 300 students with a faculty of nearly 15 teachers. Sayre graduated as many as 20 students each year, many of whom became teachers. It became co-ed after World War I and became a college preparatory school in 1962. See the National Register nomination form for more details about the historic significance of this former college and its historic building designed by Major Thomas Lewinski.
  • Spalding College, Louisville — Founded in 1920 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth as the Louisville campus of Nazareth College. Instruction continued at both locations until 1971, when all instruction was moved to Louisville. The school became Spalding College in 1969, and became coeducational in 1973. It adopted its current name of Spalding University in 1984.
  • St. Catharine College, Springfield (co-ed in 1951; closed in 2016)
  • Stanford Female College, Stanford, chartered in 1871 by a joint stock company; in the fall of 1872 it opened with Mrs. Sallie C. Truehart, A.M. as the first president, offering collegiate degrees with 11 teachers and approximately 100 students in primary, secondary and collegiate classes. In 1885 A.S. Paxton reformed the curriculum to model that of Washington and Lee University, and the school offered its graduates a diploma without degree from four of its departments, the degree of M.E.L. from completion of the English department and with additional work in Latin, a degree of A.B. The college closed in 1907 and the building housed the Stanford Elementary School until 1931 when it was converted into an apartment complex and since 1939 has served as a funeral home.
  • Ursuline College, Louisville (merged into Bellarmine College in 1968)
  • Villa Madonna College, Covington, was founded in 1921 by the Benedictine Sisters of Covington and chartered by the state in 1923. While Villa Madonna was a women's college, it ran many coeducational classes through an affiliation with the all-male St. Thomas More College. In 1945, Villa Madonna became coeducational and St. Thomas More was abolished. The school changed its name to Thomas More College in 1968, the same year it moved to its current campus in Crestview Hills, and adopted its current name of Thomas More University in 2018.










New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

North Dakota[edit]





Rhode Island[edit]

South Carolina[edit]

South Dakota[edit]







West Virginia[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Encyclopedia of Alabama article". Encyclopedia of Alabama article. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kristen Welch; Abraham Ruelas (2015). The Role of Female Seminaries on the Road to Social Justice for Women. Wipf and Stock. p. 53. ISBN 9781620325636.
  3. ^ Steiger's Educational Directory. 1878 Edition. E. Steiger. 1878. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  4. ^ Seibert, David. "Hamilton Female College". GeorgiaInfo: an Online Georgia Almanac. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  5. ^ Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Frankfort: A.G. Hodges & Co. 1848. p. 421.
  6. ^ "This History of Hardin County". Hardin County History Museum. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  7. ^ Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Philadelphia: Dalcassian Pub. Co. 1896. pp. 108–09.
  8. ^ Wong, Alia (June 18, 2019). "The Surreal End of an American College". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "City of Lansing page on Michigan Female College". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Steiger's Educational Directory 1878 Edition. E. Steiger. 1878. p. 27. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  11. ^ "Whitworth College Archive with complete list of functions of school". Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Forbes, Tina (September 14, 2016). "SNHU to continue academics, employment for Daniel Webster College students and staff". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  13. ^ "1867 post card about MFC". Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "historic marker about Wesleyan Female". 1974-09-12. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  15. ^ "OCLA," University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Accessed August 31, 2015.
  16. ^ "Becoming USAO," University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Accessed August 31, 2015.
  17. ^ "article on Cumberland Female College". Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  18. ^ "postcard mentioning Mary Connor Female College". July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  19. ^ "article from site on old Virginia architecture". Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Alderson Broaddus University". Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  21. ^ "Greenbrier College for Women". Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]