Awhile back, I posted interior sketches of Academy Hall (home of the Jacksonville Female Academy), ca. 1890. Lamenting the lack of photographs and the ability to see what these rooms really looked like, I remained hopeful that one day photos would surface. The wait is over. And yes, there are photos of women’s dorm rooms.
The JFA and the Illinois Conservatory of Music merged with Illinois College in 1903. Women continued to live at Academy Hall, but those pursuing a liberal arts degree attended co-educational courses with the men of Illinois College. This left the classrooms in Academy Hall for music and art courses through the Conservatory.
The 1907-1908 catalog for the Conservatory continues to promise students and their parents that Academy Hall is a state-of-the-art college facility. Centrally located in the “most desirable” part of town and equipped with modern and “sanitary” comforts, the “advantages of living in Academy Hall are many and positive.” Parents could rest assured that “the systematic use of time is secured; irregularities and exposures dangerous to health are avoided; habits of order, neatness, and punctuality are cultivated. Living with others in a fine home gives a breadth and polish that a young woman can scarcely acquire elsewhere.”