Packard attended local district school and from the age of 14 alternated periods of study with periods of teaching in rural schools. In 1850 she graduated from the Charlestown Female Seminary (Massachusetts), and after teaching for several years she became preceptor and a teacher at the New Salem Academy in 1855. After a short-lived attempt to operate her own school in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in partnership with her longtime companion, Harriet E. Giles, Packard taught at the Connecticut Literary Institution in Suffield (1859–64).
From 1864 to 1867 she was co-principal of the Oread Collegiate Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. She then moved to Boston, where she secured in 1870 the unusual position of pastor's assistant under the Reverend George C. Lorimer of the Shawmut Avenue Baptist Church and later of the Tremont Temple. In 1877 she presided over the organizing meeting of the Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society, of which she was chosen treasurer that year and corresponding secretary the next. (P: Spelman College Archives. Harriet E. Giles (©1))
In 1880 Packard toured the South and decided to open a school for African American women and girls in Georgia. With a gift of $100 from First Baptist Church of Medford, Massachusetts, and a promise of administrative and financial support from the Boston-based Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society (WABHMS) that sent them, the two women opened a school in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church, an African-American church in southwest Atlanta.
Spelman College Archives. Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard
Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard, two teachers from the Oread Institute of Worcester, Massachusetts, established The Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary on April 11, 1881, in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Giles and Packard had met around 1855 while Giles was a student and Packard the preceptor of the New Salem Academy in New Salem, Massachusetts, and fostered a lifelong friendship there. The two of them traveled to Atlanta specifically to found a school for black freedwomen.
Harriet E. Giles & Sophia B. Packard are buried together at Silver Lake Cemetery, Athol, Massachusetts.
Enrollment at the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary increased rapidly. In addition to teaching in the school, the two women also held prayer meetings, conducted Sunday schools, and taught sewing classes. The American Baptist Home Mission Society (parent of the women's society) made a down payment on a permanent site for the school in 1882, and early in 1883 the school moved to its new home. The balance due was paid in 1884 by John D. Rockefeller, who had been impressed by Packard's vision, and the school was named Spelman Seminary in honour of Rockefeller's wife and her parents. Rockefeller Hall, with offices, a chapel, and dormitory rooms, was built in 1886, and Packard Hall was erected in 1888. With the granting of a state charter in the latter year, Packard became treasurer of the board of trustees. She continued in that post and as president of the school until her death, at which time Spelman Seminary had 464 students and a faculty of 34. Spelman Seminary became Spelman College in 1924, and in 1929 it became affiliated, along with Morehouse College, with Atlanta University.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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