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Mount Vernon Seminary and College Office of the President records

Identifier: MVC0036-RG

Scope and Contents

This collection contains administrative files and files from the Office of the President at Mount Vernon Seminary, Junior College, and College. The materials date from 1929-1989. It is likely this collection will continue to grow as more records are transferred and uncovered.


  • Creation: 1929-1989

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Mount Vernon Seminary, later Mount Vernon College, had eight presidents from its founding in 1875 to 1999, when it was acquired by George Washington University. The eight presidents were: Elizabeth Somers, Adelia Gates Hensley, Jean Dean Cole, George W. Lloyd, Peter Pelham, Victoria Schuck, Jane Evans, and LucyAnn Geiselman.

The Mount Vernon Seminary began in 1875 as a private high school and junior college for women, founded by Elizabeth J. Somers. The George Washington University initially affiliated with Mount Vernon College, and ultimately acquired the college's property and legacy in 1999.

The first school of higher education available to women in Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon Seminary and College had five different locations throughout its history:

1875-1880: Elizabeth Somers began tutoring the young daughters of prominent Washington men in her home at 204 F Street, NW in Washington, DC.

1880-1917: The school moved to 1100 M Street, NW where it expanded rapidly to include three additional houses, a courtyard, tennis court, and basketball court.

1917-1942: Having outgrown its M Street location, the school moved to a 15-acre campus on Nebraska Avenue, NW. In 1942, the United States Navy took over the Nebraska Avenue campus to use its facilities for the war effort.

1943-1946: The school resumed courses in February 1943 at the top floor of a Garfinckel’s department store building in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

1946-1999: Between 1944 and 1946, the school built a new 21-acre campus located on Foxhall Road in Washington, D.C. using money granted to the college by the United States Navy in compensation for the military takeover of its property.

The last Seminary class graduated in 1969, and the school was then officially renamed to Mount Vernon Junior College. In 1976, Mount Vernon College became an accredited four year college. In 1997, the Board of Trustees decided that the College would close as an independent institution. As of June 30, 1999, Mount Vernon became affiliated with The George Washington University.


3.5 Linear Feet (7 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The Mount Vernon Seminary was officially established by Elizabeth Somers in 1875 and a two year junior college was added in 1927. The Junior College remained open until 1969, when Mount Vernon College became a four-year unversity. The university was an independent institution until 1999, when it became affilated with The George Washington University.

This collection includes files from the Office of the President that cover a range of topics, including but not limited to commencement, development, enrollment, inagurations, and finances. The materials date from 1929-1989.


Arranged into 2 series: Administrative files and Photographs.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Mount Vernon Seminary and College archives were acquired by GWU upon merger with Mount Vernon College. The collection was transferred to the Foggy Bottom campus in 2009.


Guide to the Mount Vernon Seminary and College Office of the President records, 1929-1989
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America