Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Anniversary Issue: 125 Years. Our Stories. Our School.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 163

Background: The gymnasium in 1906. Young Josephine Wilkins in 1896, Latin's first female student. The student-to-faculty ratio was less than 4:1. Astor streets. At that time, the school had 25 students and seven teachers. Chicago Latin originally was parentowned, but when McClurg, who was one of the school's leading sponsors, left, Miss Vickery realized she needed to strike out on her own to ensure that the school would remain open. She hired Robert Peck Bates, a classicist who had just graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, to be her assistant principal; under their management the school became independent. The school moved to another home on Elm Street, rented by Mrs. Cyrus McCormick in 1896. At the request of McCormick and Mrs. Emmons Blaine, another early patron, Miss Vickery began teaching a small group of girls in the primary division. The first female student was Josephine Wilkins, the daughter of one of Miss Vickery's teachers, because the McCormicks did not want their child to be the only girl. Elizabeth McCormick joined the primary division soon after, and three additional girls came in 1898. In 1898, Miss Vickery and Mr. Bates officially incorporated the school as the Chicago Latin School, a private college preparatory institution that admitted boys of all ages and girls in the primary division. The school adopted the motto Fidelitas. (Fidelitas, which translates to faithfulness or loyalty, continues to be the school motto today and is at the center of the school crest.) The next fall, Chicago Latin School, with an enrollment of 125 boys and five girls, moved into a new building at 18-20 Division Street that was owned by Miss Vickery and Mr. Bates and became the Graduating class of 1908. ΒΈ 30 L AT I N M AGAZINE Mabel Slade Vickery "She was a quiet lady, gentle and unassuming yet dominant in any situation without being domineering.'' In writing about Mabel Slade Vickery, Josephine Wilkins, Class of 1907, described those qualities that made her teacher, mentor and long-time friend a nurturing yet powerful presence at Latin School from its founding until her retirement in 1929. Miss Vickery was 34 years old when she arrived in Chicago to head the parent-owned school for boys that later became the Chicago Latin School. She was born in Winchester, MA, in 1854 to Jonathan A. and Esther (Bosworth) Vickery, Her father was an architect, and she had one brother and two sisters. Miss Vickery's baptismal name was Mary Isabella, but she changed it to Mabel Slade when she was 30. According to the book Chicago and its Makers (1929), she was a direct descendant of Boston's earliest settlers. In 1636, one of her relatives resided where Boston Latin School was later founded. A letter from Miss Vickery.

Articles in this issue

view archives of Latin School of Chicago - Latin Magazine Anniversary Issue: 125 Years. Our Stories. Our School.