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Helen S. Judson Collected Sherwood Select School Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-228

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of Helen S. Judson, including correspondence while at the Sherwood Select School and from Emily Howland. It also contains typed transcripts of writings by Emily Howland, 1836-1929, and Sherwood Select School memorabilia.

Organized in 3 series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Typed transcripts of the writing of Emily Howland and memorabilia; 3. Sherwood School Memorabilia.


  • Creation: 1909-1973


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

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 weren’t 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 school’s primary benefactor since its opening, provided the new building.. She was a Quaker humanitarian and educator particularly known for her work with formerly enslaved people 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 Sherwood’s 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.


0.75 linear ft. (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Sherwood Select School was a Quaker high school in Sherwood, New York, established in 1871. In 1926, it became part of a consolidated public school system, renamed Sherwood Central School. Helen S. Judson (1885-1973) served as a teacher and then principal between 1909 and 1919. Emily Howland (1827-1929), Quaker educator and humanitarian, was a long time supporter of the School until her death in 1929. This collection contains the papers of Helen S. Judson, including correspondence while at the Sherwood Select School and with Emily Howland. It also contains typed transcripts of writings by Emily Howland, 1836-1929, and Sherwood Select School memorabilia including photographs of some of the teachers.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Libraries' online catalog:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sheldon Judson, 1997-98, nephew of Helen S. Judson.

Related Materials

Emily Howland Papers, RG 5/066

Processing Information

Correspondence and papers were organized, put in folder boxes, and placed in RG 5. One of the two copies of A Historical Sketch of Sherwood Select School (1871-1911) by Lucy Jacobs was removed from the collection and added to PG 2, Schools. Individual photographs of Emily Howland were removed to FHL Individual Portraits. Photographs of students and teachers of the Sherwood School remain in Series 3 for ease of access.

Sherwood Select School Papers, 1909-1973.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.

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