59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute Collection

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum, Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU523
Creator Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute
TitleMartha’s Vineyard Summer Institute collection
Date1878-circa 1905
Extent1 box (0.504 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection includes course catalogs, school workbooks, and articles about the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 523, Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute Collection.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Miss Grace Meleney in 1968 (Accession no. 1968.009). Gift of Edith Blake in 1987 (Accession no. 1987.024). Gift of Mrs. Richard Kaltenbacher in 1991 (Accession no. 1991.061). Gift of Mrs. Helen Field in 2000 (Accession no. 2000.056). Gift of David Wilson in 2005 (Accession no. 2005.040). Individual folders are labeled with accession numbers when known. The immediate source of acquisition and date of accession for the rest of the material is unknown.


Pillsbury, A. "New England Educational Institutions. IX.-The Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute."  The New England Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 31 (June-July, 1887).

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Lara J. Ullman and machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in May 2015.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

See also: Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute Records, 1881-1905. State Library of Massachusetts Special Collections.

Index Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute (Cottage City, Mass.)


  • Clippings (informational artifacts)
  • Course catalogs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cottage City (Mass.)
  • Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.)


  • Education--Massachusetts--Dukes County
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--History
  • Summer schools--Massachusetts--Martha's Vineyard
  • Teachers--Training of

Biography/Historical Note

The Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute at Cottage City was established in 1878 by Colonel Homer B. Sprague. Colonel Sprague, Headmaster of the Girls’ High School in Boston, Massachusetts, along with a group of colleagues devised a plan for a “vacation school” or “Summer School” where actively employed teachers could attend sessions led by specialists. Classes were offered in the arts, academic fields, and in teaching methods. The Institute was incorporated in 1881 and a permanent building for the school was finished by the start of the 1882 session. The Institute thrived through the end of the 19th century but when colleges and universities began offering summer courses for academic credit in the early 1900s the Institute could not compete and it closed in 1907.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection primarily consists of course catalogs, school notebooks, and magazine and newspaper articles about the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Contents of Collection


Magazine and Newspaper Articles, 1878-1897, 1953, 1959 


Membership Card and Meeting Memorandum, 1879, 1902 


Fliers, 1880-1889 


Course Catalogs, 1882-1884 


Course Catalogs, 1885-1887 


Course Catalogs, 1888-1892 


Course Catalogs, 1894-1902 


Student’s Notebooks, 1894, 1898 


“The Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute: An Historical Sketch” by William A. Mowry, circa 1905