Sources exist in the collections of the Nina Heald Webber 1949 Archives for each fact on the timeline. The Archives also maintains separate timelines for campus buildings, faculty years of service, and for other interesting events in Dana Hall’s history. Sources and additional timelines are available on request. 


Charles B. Dana purchases the old Wellesley Square Congregational Church and moves it to his property at what later became 66 Grove Street 


Wellesley College, founded by Henry Fowle Durant and Pauline Durant, opens in September with 314 students


Henry Durant persuades teachers Julia and Sarah Eastman to help him found Dana Hall School as a preparatory school for Wellesley College


The first day of classes at Dana Hall School is held on Sept. 8th, six years to the day after Wellesley College opened


A south wing is added onto Dana Main: this includes a schoolroom, gymnasium, recitation rooms, and dormitory rooms


The first reference to Spread in the 1885 Class History


The first reference to a school color, “Dana Hall blue”


The first reference to a Dana Hall school pin


A north wing (“School Building”) is added onto Dana Main: this includes a schoolroom, music rooms, and a gymnasium


Class of 1895 is the first class to plant a tree for the Tree Day tradition 


  • One hundred thirty alumnae return to Dana Hall for its first reunion
  • The Dana Hall Association [for Alumnae] is formed with 150 members


Sarah and Julia Eastman decide to retire as of June 1, 1899 and on May 27th enter into an agreement to sell the school to Helen Temple Cooke and Marcellus Wheeler for $60,000


  • The Eastman sisters retire, and Helen Temple Cooke and Marcellus Wheeler of Rutland, Vermont purchase Dana Hall 
  • Alumnae number more than 600 worldwide


The “Day School preparatory to Dana Hall” and established in 1899, is replaced by “Rutland House,” a boarding school for fourteen girls, ages 10-13


  • A large Dana Main addition on the east side of the existing building is completed. It includes the massive Living Room, with the Dining Room below and the Court between. Also added is the French Dining Room. New dormitory rooms are added on the floors above
  • The first “yearbook,” The Tattler, 1902 is published
  • First mention of a ceremonial Spade
  • Founding of the 13-member Senior Society (later Tau Kappa Delta, or TKD)
  • First mention of the Athletic Association  


  • Field Day tradition begins
  • Step Sing tradition begins  


Eastman Reference Library, a gift to the Class of 1905 from the School, is built inside Dana Main


The Dana Hall School is incorporated in Rutland, Vermont. Signers of the incorporation agreement and stockholders are Marcellus Wheeler, Henry Houghton, and Frank Partridge of Vermont, and Helen Temple Cooke, and her sister Mary Foster Cooke, of Wellesley, Massachusetts


George T. Abell of Wellesley designs a seal for Dana Hall based on the Amor Caritas of Augustus Saint Gaudens


Helen Temple Cooke founds Tenacre School, a boarding school for 24 girls in grades 8-9


  • Helen Temple Cooke founds the Post-Graduate Department of Dana Hall (later known as Pine Manor) and build a home (Pine Manor House) for the 28 pupils who enroll for September 1911
  • Tenacre, Dana Hall, and the Post-Graduate Department merge to form the Dana Hall Schools


  • A new gymnasium, connected to Dana Main, is built
  • The Dana Hall Association Quarterly is first published


Grove House, built as a residence for Helen Temple Cooke, is completed


Wheeler House is built as a dorm and meeting space for Pine Manor


Saint Francis Keeps Christmas at Greccio, 1223: A Christmas Pageant by English teacher Constance Grosvenor Alexander is first performed. In subsequent years the play is known as Revels


On December 30th the property, assets, and business of the Dana Hall School of Vermont are transferred to the Dana Hall School, a corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


  • The Class of 1923 standardizes the style and design of the class ring. The Class of 1924 is the first to wear it and thereafter three stone colors — red, black and green — in a gold setting are used successively to coordinate with class colors
  • Lathrop House is built for Pine Manor Principal Adele Lathrop
  • The Orchestra is formed, made up of members from Tenacre, Dana Hall, Pine Manor and other “friends” of the schools


Helen Temple Cooke founds the Dana Hall Graduate School of Music, under the direction of Miss Laura Henry, and located in Westlea. It is the precursor of the Dana School of Music  


  • The Dana Hall Riding Club is formed by Frederik Boswell, Riding Instructor and Director
  • Marcellus E. Wheeler, Miss Cooke’s business partner since 1898, dies on February 1st, thereby giving her a majority ownership of the school


  • Bardwell Auditorium is dedicated on May 5th and a Bardwell Series of concerts, lectures, and readings begins in December
  • Arthur P. Dana sells Helen Temple Cooke the remainder of the Charles B. Dana estate, including all the land between Grove House and 160 Grove Street (now Maple Manor)


The Dana Hall Post-Graduate Department, known as Pine Manor since 1917, receives a charter as an independent junior college by the American Association of Junior Colleges and becomes Pine Manor Junior College


Dana Hall celebrates its 50th anniversary May 23rd – 25th with 250 alumnae in attendance for Reunion


Dorothy Waldo becomes Principal of Dana Hall School and Associate Head of the Dana Hall Schools


  • The student World Affairs Club is started
  • Charles B. Dana’s barns are renovated and become “Westlea” (later Beveridge), a New England version of a Greek temple
  • Alnah James Johnston becomes Principal of Dana Hall. She and her family move into Beebe Cottage
  • The hurricane of September 21st downs many trees on campus and in Wellesley while Principal Alnah Johnston is holding her first faculty meeting. School opens for the year the following day
  • Marcellus Wheeler’s heirs are persuaded to sell their interest in the School and Helen Temple Cooke donates her interest and much of her property to Dana Hall
  • Dana Hall become a non-profit corporation called The Dana Hall Schools, and a Board of Trustees is formed to oversee its affairs


  • The Dana Hall Bulletin starts in February 1939 with Volume 1, no. 1
  • Helen Temple Cooke and the Board of Trustees decide that the School (now a non-profit corporation) will give a gift of $28, 000 in lieu of taxes to the Town of Wellesley. Miss Cooke has been the largest taxpayer in Wellesley, and wishes to bear her “share of expenses”
  • To better represent the entire student body a Student Government Association is created in which all students are members and elect a president and executive council


  • The Parent-Teacher Association is formed in February
  • Ellen (Sahlin) Hartshorne 1913 is the first alumna to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Dana Hall Schools
  • The first members of the newly-formed Dana Hall chapter of the Cum Laude Society are announced in June
  • The yearbook is named Focus


  • The Dana Hall Association Quarterly “merges” with the Dana Hall Bulletin, and the new Bulletin is produced by the Alumnae Office. The last issue of the Dana Hall Association Quarterly is June 1941
  • Tenacre adds Nursery School and Kindergarten to its primary department, and admits boys up through the second grade
  • In October the Dana Hall Alumnae Association is incorporated with new by-laws. Dues are abolished and a voluntary Alumnae Fund is established to build an endowment and free the School of debt. Reunions will be held annually with the help of class agents
  • Miss Cooke moves from Grove House to a home at 138 Benvenue Street on the “The Mountain.” She calls the home “Shamballah” after a poem of the same name by Canadian poet Bliss Carman


  • The first Dana Hall May Day tradition is celebrated
  • To minimize student travel during wartime, school is closed December 6 for over a month
  • Joint Glee Club concerts with boys’ schools begin with a concert with Phillips Academy, Andover


The Spring vacation is eliminated to comply with a request from the railroads to conserve fuel


  • In January a group of alumnae meet with Miss Cooke and volunteer to begin a fund-raising campaign
  • The Dana Hallmanac (student newspaper) begins publication with Volume I, no. 1, in March
  • First annual New England Preparatory School Choral Festival, with seven (later eleven) participating schools, is held at Symphony Hall in Boston
  • By student request, an Inter-Racial Club is formed, and also a Dana Hall chapter of the League of Women Voters


The Building Fund campaign brochure “Make No Little Plans,” is endorsed by the Board of Trustees, printed and mailed to 5000 alumnae, as well as to parents and friends


The first annual Dana Hall Father’s Day event is held on April 19th


  • The first annual Mother’s Day event is held in February
  • Helen Temple Cooke retires as Head of the Dana Hall Schools but retains her position as President of the Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Alfred T. Hill is appointed Director of the Dana Hall Schools, and serves until January 1956


  • Dana Hall Junior School is established for grades 7-9
  • The indoor riding arena opens


  • Advanced courses are offered in several academic subjects
  • First Christmas Bazaar to raise money for the Building Fund


Helen Temple Cooke dies on April 12, 1955 on the eve of her 90th birthday. A memorial service for her is held in Bardwell Auditorium on June 4th with alumnae, parents, seniors, faculty, and friends representing all four Dana Hall Schools


  • The new Classroom Building is dedicated in June, and opens for classes in September
  • Dana Hall marks its 75th anniversary in September
  • The Congdon Chapel in the Classroom Building is dedicated on September 30, 1956, and named in honor of the Congdon Family
  • In October, Edward B. Hinckley, former President of the Babson Institute of Business Administration, becomes Executive Coordinator of the Dana Hall Schools, and serves for three years
  • In October, books are moved from Eastman Library in Dana Main to the “new” library in the Classroom Building
  • The first College Board Advanced Placement exams are taken by some seniors


The Art and Science wing of the Classroom Building opens in the Fall


  • A full-credit course on Far Eastern Studies is offered by John Schuler, a member of the History Department
  • The first East Coast Model United Nations Conference is held at Yale University. Dana Hall is the only girls’ school to be singled out for an award


  • Russian is introduced into the language curriculum
  • The voluntary “Senior Plan” introducing independent study and new student privileges and responsibilities is inaugurated
  • Reorganization of the Dana Hall School is announced and will take effect in June 1962. An Upper Division (grades 9-12) will include boarders, and a Lower Division (grades 7 and 8) will be solely day students
  • It is announced that Pine Manor will become independent of Dana Hall and leave Wellesley for the Dane Estate in Chestnut Hill by September 1, 1964


  • Dana Hall becomes a single school with a 7th & 8th grade Lower Division and a 9th through 12th grade Upper Division
  • The Dana Junior Class of 1962 is the last class to graduate from the Junior School. Many become members of Dana Hall’s Class of 1965
  • Alnah James Johnston, Principal for 24 years, retires on July 1, 1962, and Dorothy Orr Farmer, Head of Studies and former Head of the Mathematics Department, becomes Acting Principal


Edith Blakeslee Phelps becomes the fifth Principal of Dana Hall in July and moves into Grove House with her family


  • Computer processing coursework, lectures and demonstrations are arranged by Dr. Frank Weinert, Mathematics Department Head
  • The Helen Temple Cooke Library and the Alnah James Johnston Residence Hall are dedicated in April
  • The last crowning of a May Queen, a Dana Hall May Day tradition since 1942, is celebrated
  • Pine Manor is fully moved to its Chestnut Hill campus, and begins classes in September


The new Dining Center is completed for the opening of school in September


The first outdoor graduation takes place June 5th


  • Parents Weekend replaces Mothers’ Day in November
  • School uniforms are no longer required, as of the start of the winter term


  • 60 Dana students and 53 students from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire participate in a co-educational exchange for nine weeks, from January to March
  • The Dorothy Dunning Mudd (Class of 1921) Gymnasium is dedicated on October 30th


  • In January and early February the Dana Main building and the attached Schoolroom are demolished
  • During the summer the home base of the seventh and eighth grades (formerly the “Lower Division”) is moved to Wayside, which has been remodeled into 3 classrooms and an office
  • Tenacre is chartered as an independent school, separate from Dana Hall and with its own Board of Trustees


Dr. Patricia A. Wertheimer is appointed the sixth principal/headmistress of Dana Hall. She moves into Grove House and begins work in July


After much review, the Board of Trustees officially states the School’s intention to continue to be a college preparatory school for young women


Purpose and Personality: the Story of Dana Hall, written by former English teacher Winifred Post, is published


The first annual International Day is celebrated at Dana Hall with student presentations, a convocation, art show, international food, handicrafts, and student performers from six countries


  • Dana Hall celebrates its centennial in May
  • Eastman Circle outside Beveridge Hall is dedicated, and “The Grandmother Steps,” sculpted by Louise (Heublein) McCagg 1955, is unveiled as part of the centennial celebration
  • Dr. Barbara Schieffelin Powell becomes Dana Hall’s seventh headmistress on July 1st


Academic Dean and former science faculty member Ann E. Bekebrede is named Interim Headmistress for the 1983-1984 academic year


  • Elaine Wiswall Betts is named eighth Headmistress and begins her tenure on July 1st
  • In September, a sixth grade is added, and the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades become the Middle School


  • The Wannamaker Lecture Series, in memory of Lyall (Wannamaker) Plumb 1955, begins
  • The first Dana Hall all-school Harbor Cruise in Boston Harbor takes place


Cabaret becomes a ninth-grade tradition starting with a performance by the Class of 1992 on November 11th


The Middle School moves from Wayside to the original Helen Temple Cooke Library building, its current location


Dana Hall celebrates the 125th birthday of Helen Temple Cooke in April


  • Bridge, one of the first gay-straight alliances in Massachusetts, is established in the spring with Jacqui Bloomberg, Latin teacher, as its faculty advisor
  • A six-week student exchange program with Ruyton Girls’ School in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia begins. Dana Hall hosts two students from Australia in the fall, and two Dana students visit Ruyton in the summer


Dana faculty members begin using e-mail in October with access from the Helen Temple Cooke Library and the Middle School computer lab


  • After sharing leadership with Headmistress Elaine Betts for two years Blair Handley Jenkins is installed on October 28th as ninth Head of School


  • The Lucia Farrington Shipley Science Center, the new Helen Temple Cooke Library and the newly renovated Middle School are dedicated
  • Dana Hall is named a charter member of the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado where students may do an intensive semester of study in the Rocky Mountains
  • SHADES (“Sisters Honoring All Diasporas and Enlightening Society”) is established as a club at Dana Hall. It evolved from the Women of Color Club which began circa 1991/1992


The indoor Larson Arena at the Dana Hall Riding Center opens


Ground is broken for the Shipley Center for Athletics, Health, and Wellness on May 14th after the School receives the largest financial gift in its history, a commitment of $5 million from Lucia (Farrington) Shipley 1938 and her husband Charles


The Shipley Center for Athletics, Health, and Wellness is dedicated on Oct. 21st


  • Mandarin Chinese is offered as a language course to Dana Hall students for the first time
  • On May 18th– 20th Dana Hall’s year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary culminates in an All-Alumnae Reunion, Convocation, and a Gala Dinner and Auction


  • Blair Jenkins retires, and the second Dana Hall faculty chair, The Blair Jenkins Faculty Chair for Math and Science, is fully endowed
  • Caroline Kent Erisman ‘P2011 begins her tenure as Dana Hall’s 10th Head of School in July, and is installed on Parents’ Weekend in October
  • School enrollment for the school year starting in the fall is 500 students in grades 6-12, a record number


A student exchange program with the Tokyo Jogakkan Middle School and High School in Japan begins. Students entering 10th and 11th grade are eligible to apply


The school receives a $10,000 matching grant from the Margaret Hall Foundation to support existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs


  • Dana Hall celebrates its 130th Anniversary with the publication of The Little Blue Book: 130 Years of Dana Hall Traditions and Celebrations by the Parents’ Association
  • The inaugural Amor Caritas Day, a day of community service by members of the extended Dana Hall community, takes place in May
  • Dana Hall launches the Girls Summer Leadership program, a residential program for rising 9th-graders designed to build confidence and self-awareness as students transition to high school


  • The Hallmanac, Dana Hall’s student newspaper, ceases print publication in May, and goes digital with its first online issue in December
  • Dana Hall hosts its first “She Sails: Inspiring Dana Hall Women” women’s leadership conference with addresses, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities for students, alumnae, faculty/staff, and parents


  • In the fall Dana Hall launches its 1:1 iPad program for students and faculty
  • The Riding Center is renamed The Karen Stives ’68 Equestrian Riding Center in appreciation of Karen (Wennbergh) Stives’ $3.5 million gift


In June, Dana Hall launches the Girls Summer Entrepreneurship Program to offer Dana juniors and seniors first-hand exposure to the business world


Spring 2015 is the last season in which golf is offered as a varsity team sport


  • Katherine L. Bradley begins her tenure as the eleventh Head of School in July, and is installed on Parents’ Weekend in October
  • A fifth grade class of 14 students (Class of 2024) is added to the Middle School


Parents’ Weekend is renamed Family Weekend


  • In response to recommendations by consultants from Diversity Directions, Dana Hall creates a new Administrative Team position, Director of Community, Equity and Inclusion, and names Erica Ramirez to the position on July 1st
  • In October the newly opened outdoor riding ring in the Karen Stives ’68 Equestrian Center is dedicated and named the Cookie DeSimone Riding Ring to honor Cookie’s 44 years of service as a riding instructor at Dana Hall


  • The first home game is played in September on the new turf field which is officially opened during Family Weekend in October, and subsequently named “Sisters Field”
  • Cabaret, a 9th grade tradition since 1988 is performed on November 23rd instead of the usual late January or early February date to accommodate mid-year assessments


  • Mid-year assessments of student academic work are administered late January – early February in place of first trimester exams before Thanksgiving Break
  • March 5th is the last day of in-person learning for the 2019-2020 School year. March Break begins on March 6th. On March 12th, in the midst of a world-wide Covid-19 pandemic, administrators decide school will not re-open in person after March break. Virtual learning (via Zoom) begins on Thursday, March 26th
  • The campus remains closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. All events take place virtually including the May 30th Commencement
  • In response to the police killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests, the first post in an Instagram account, @Blackatdanahall, appears. Students and alumnae share their experiences as students of color at Dana Hall
  • In August, in a four-page letter to the Dana Hall community, Head of School Katherine Bradley provides details of the School’s commitment to anti-racism with its “Anti-Racist Action Plan”
  • School begins in September with no boarding students on campus. Classes are in person in a hybrid model with an alternating cohort system, with one class cohort on campus one week, and the other cohort taking classes via Zoom. Many classes are held outside in tents. Weekly surveillance testing begins for faculty, staff, and students. All are required to attest daily to a lack of symptoms before coming to campus


  • In January some boarding students return to campus, and in March more boarders arrive to finish out the school year in person
  • On May 29th, commencement takes place for the first time in a tent on the Wayside field
  • On June 4th, members of the Class of 2020 and their families return to campus a year after their in-person commencement was canceled. The graduates throw their 2020 pennies in the Pond, plant their class tree, and dedicate a new stone bench at the school’s main entrance on Middle Road 
  • In September in-person classes, sports, and events resume with precautions. Masks are required indoors

Last update Jan. 18, 2022