Monday, February 23, 2015

Pittsburgh Female College

The Pittsburgh Female College was established in the mid-1850s in the Wilkinsburg area of the city. According to the Annals of Old Wilkinsburg and Vicinity, the college "had a fine class of students--boarders coming from many states in the union--as far west as California and from Minnesota to Texas. The day pupils came from the best families in Pittsburgh and its suburbs." The building pictured below burned in 1891 and was not rebuilt.

Genealogy and Old Advertisements
Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Cities, 1863


  1. I am enjoying the information on Pittsburgh so much! Here is a link to a digital scrapbook page I made about a school my grandmother went to in Pittsburgh:
    I am privileged to have the bookkeeping book she used in class.

    1. What a family treasure--thanks for sharing!

  2. I lived in Allegheny County most of my life and I never knew it existed. What was the time frame and did it become another institution?

    1. One publication said it was founded in 1854 and another said 1856. After the building burned in 1891, they used private houses for two years and then the school was "united" with Beaver College in Beaver, PA. Thanks for your comment and question!

  3. There was an article on page 2 of the 01 April 1853 Pittsburgh Daily Post referencing a Mr. Darsie who introduced a bill to the PA Senate to incorporate the Pittsburgh Female College. Another mention of that bill appears on page 2 of the 03 February 1854 Pittsburgh Gazette.

    On page 3 of the 27 September 1855 Pittsburgh Gazette, and advertisement for the "First Session of this Institution" will open under the direction of Professor S L. Yourtee.

    I am looking for information on the Ida M Smith, a teacher at the College in June 1892. Trying to verify that she was the daughter of Alfred B and Letitia (Flynn) Smith.


    1. Hi Terri, thanks for reading my blog! It appears that the Ida Smith who was an art teacher at the Pittsburgh Female College was not the daughter of Alfred & Letitia Smith.

      I started my search for her at the Historic Pittsburgh website (, which pointed me to her father's name of C.B.M. Smith, Esq. Then I went to and found that C.B.M. Smith had died at his Mt. Washington residence in 1877 but no children names are listed.

      But then I found an article (page 6 of Pittsburgh Post, 31 May 1907) showing that Miss Ida Smith passed away and that her parents were "Attorney C.B.M. Smith and Hannah Washburn Smith." It lists her name as Ida Adaline Smith but I am certain it is the same Ida M. Smith you reference in your comment, since the great article mentions that she was an instructor at the Pennsylvania College for Women, among other schools.

      Please email me (jecowden2 -at- if you'd like me to send you the link to the article. And I'd love to know more about how this fits into your family tree! Feel free to contact me directly with more questions and I'll see if I can help. I really enjoyed looking for Ida Smith!



Do you have a genealogy problem or need guidance on where to search next? Send me a message if you'd like me to help!