Biographical / Historical
Helen Sheldon Judson was born November 22, 1885, in Vernon, New York, to Salmon Sheldon Judson and Helen Lydia Dean Judson. She had two younger brothers, James and Sheldon. Helen Judson graduated from Vernon High School in 1903 and spent the next school year studying in the home of her Aunt Cornelia Frances Dean Merritt and her husband Arthur H. Merritt, who was a professor at Trinity College in Durham, North Carolina. In 1904, she entered Wellesley College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1908.
In 1909, she joined the staff of Sherwood Select School. Sherwood Select School was established in 1871 at the request of Elizabeth and Samuel Otis. Their children previously had been taught at home, but now they were ready for high school. The Otises provided a house to serve as the school and hired Hepsibeth Hussey as the first principal. Initially only the children of Wilburite Friends were to attend, but there werent enough in the area to form a class, so the children of other neighbors were invited. Fourteen pupils studied at Sherwood the first year, but by 1882, the population had grown so large that a new building was necessary. Emily Howland, (1827-1929) who had served as the schools primary benefactor since its opening, provided the new building.. She was a Quaker humanitarian and educator particularly known for her work with freed slaves in Virginia during and after the American Civil War. Starting around 1895, attendance dropped off because the school was not under the jurisdiction of the State Regents. In 1906, most of the school closed, although one class continued for an additional year.
The School was reorganized under the New York State Regents requirement and reopened in 1909 under Principal Louise Billyard. She hired Helen Judson as her assistant. During her time at Sherwood, Helen taught algebra, ancient history, geography, spelling, and biology. She also served as principal for two years. Around 1919, Helen Judson became a teacher at Syracuse Central High School, where she taught biology until her retirement in 1956. Helen S. Judson died August 5, 1973, at the age of 87 at the Presbyterian Nursing Home in New Hartford, NY.
Although Emily Howland paid Sherwoods annual deficit for almost forty years, she became concerned about the future of the School as she became very elderly. In 1926, Sherwood combined with six other schools to form a consolidated public school which was named Sherwood Central School. Emily Howland served on the first board of education, and Miss Phebe King, who had been a student, teacher, and principal at Sherwood Select, became the first principal of the new school.