The Winsor School
A leading school for academically promising girls in grades 5-12


In 1886 Miss Mary Pickard Winsor started a six-month school in Boston, beginning with eight girls in a private home on Beacon Hill. The school grew quickly and began sending graduates to college in 1895.

Unlike many girls' schools of the era, Winsor persevered. Today, Winsor remains a school with high aspirations and a clear sense of purpose, now living and evolving in a new century. It is a complex and active community, shaped by its history, inspiring faculty and talented students.

Winsor's Timeline

1886- Mary Pickard Winsor opens “Miss Winsor’s School,” a six-month school for eight girls, 334 Boylston Street. Ahead of her time, Miss Winsor wanted to prepare women to be self-supporting and hoped they would be competent, responsible and generous-minded.

1887- Miss Winsor’s School becomes a nine-month school.

1895- The school’s first graduates begin attending college.

1899- A biology lab with individual gas jets is installed at the Beacon Street location.

1900- The student body grows to 99 girls.

1907- A group of parents forms the Winsor Corporation and purchases land on the Fenway. The incorporators hire Boston architect, R. Clipston Sturgis, to build "the most perfect schoolhouse."

President Eliot of Harvard, an original incorporator and grandfather of two Winsor girls, suggests the motto: "A sound mind in a sound body."

The Graduate Club of Miss Winsor’s School is established by young alumnae.

1908- The student body grows to more than 200 girls.

1910- Gretchen Howes Waldo '02 writes the song "The Lamp of Learning," selected as the school song by two committees of the Graduate Club and presented at the opening of the new schoolhouse.

The graduating class presents the Lamp and the banner to go to the new school building.

Miss Winsor’s School relocates from the Back Bay to the new building in the Longwood area and opens with 225 students. It includes a library, science laboratories, art studios, a gymnasium and swimming pool.

At the dedication ceremony, a young 1901 graduate, Susan Hallowell Brooks, spoke not of a building but of how Winsor teachers nurtured "clear thinking and pure lives."

Up until the move in 1910, the school had been simply known as Miss Winsor's School. When leaders suggested The Winsor School as the name of the newly incorporated institution, Miss Winsor questioned why "this big enterprise" should be "tied to the name of one small individual." The issue was finally settled when students and members of The Graduate Club petitioned the incorporators. They wrote, "As we associate the school with the name of Miss Winsor, we feel very strongly in favor of having the new school named for her, the Winsor School." And so it was.

Miss Winsor is officially named the first Director of the school.

1915- The first edition of the student-run publication, the “Lamp,” is published in December.

1918- “School City” student government is started.

1920- Class I performs the first of many musicals, “The End of the Rainbow.”

1922- Katharine Lord is named the second Director of The Winsor School.

Winsor holds its first alumnae luncheon.

1923- Winsor acquires the land owned by the Longwood Cricket Club when the club moves to Chestnut Hill.

1924- The first Gymnasium (“cage”), built on the former Cricket Club land, is dedicated in October.

1931- The Class IV Shakespeare tradition begins with the production of “Twelfth Night.”

1936- The first Class banner is created for the Class of 1936.

1939- Frances Dorwin Dugan is named the third Director of The Winsor School.

1951- Valeria Addams Knapp ‘16 is named the fourth Director of The Winsor School.

1952- The first Annual Fund Appeal is made to alumnae and friends of the school. Two-thirds of the 121 donors are alumnae.

1963- Virginia Wing is named the fifth Director of The Winsor School.

The Franklin Dexter Wing (“New Wing”) is completed, adding a new dining room, kitchen, five classrooms, restrooms and a faculty lounge.

1964- The Graduate Club becomes the Alumnae Association.

1971- The first African American students graduate from Winsor.

1973- The first issue of the joint Winsor-Belmont Hill “Panel” is published.

1974- “Jan Term,” a four-week inter-semester program, is established.

1980- Two additional floors are added to the Library.

1983- Pilgrim Road is closed from Short Street to Longwood Avenue, uniting the campus. Girls no longer have to run across the street to the gymnasium.

1984- Winsor begins offering study terms at the Mountain School.

1986- Completion of a new, state-of-the-art science center above the Dexter Wing.

1988- Carolyn McClintock Peter is named the sixth Director of The Winsor School.

1990- The Computer Curriculum Committee begins teaching BASIC programming and use of online library databases.

1993- The student body grows to 400 girls.

1994- The 1923 Gymnasium is renovated and renamed for May P. Fogg, leader of the P.E. department from 1938-1960.

1998- Expansion and renovation of the Virginia Wing Library includes a two-floor extension for shelving and study areas.

2004- Rachel Friis Stettler is named the seventh Director of The Winsor School.

Peter Hall opens, offering a new space for the dining room and kitchen, and adding science laboratories, faculty offices, a photography laboratory and faculty workroom.

2008- New turf fields are installed to replace the grass athletic fields.

2010- A committee of teachers and trustees formulates a new mission statement: “Winsor prepares young women to pursue their aspirations and contribute to the world.”

2011- Winsor celebrates its 125th anniversary with hundreds of alumnae, students, past and present faculty, families and friends.

2015- Completion of the Lubin-O’Donnell Center for the performing arts, athletics and wellness. The LOC sits on the footprint of the original 1920s gymnasium and provides state-of-the-art facilities to match Winsor’s 21st century education.

2016- Sarah Pelmas begins her leadership role as Winsor's eighth head of school.

School Archives

The Archives welcomes memorabilia of any kind, including reminiscences, written or oral. If you have something to share, please contact archivist Margaret Warren ’84 .

95-96 Beacon Street Location
Mary Pickard Winsor Portrait
Indian Clubs Drill 1920s
Lamp Cover 1943
Mary Gay Art Class 1922
Girls on the Terrace 1910
Gym Class-Archery
Commencement Photo--Class of 1971
Tennis Court 1950
Round Table 1967
Shakespeare 1967
Baseball Team 1930
Valeria Knapp
A Squad Field Hockey Team 1961
Lower School Music
Track Team 1938
Virginia Wing
Early Architectural Drawing
Byron Parrish
Ariel View Circa 1970's
Louise Packard 1948