Mary Julia Baldwin

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Mary Julia Baldwin (4 October 1829 – 1 July 1897) was a Virginia educator for whom Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, is named.

Baldwin was one of the first students to enroll in Augusta Female Seminary, in Staunton, Virginia, after its founding in 1842. She graduated four years later first in her class. In 1863, when the Civil War threatened to close the seminary, Baldwin became its principal. She reformed the curriculum and remained at the school's helm for thirty-four years. In 1895 the school was renamed Mary Baldwin Seminary in her honor.

Baldwin suffered a high fever as a child that permanently twisted and paralyzed the left side of her face. She never permitted a photograph or portrait to be made of her. She died in 1897 and was buried in Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton.


  • John T. Kneebone et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography (Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1998– ), 1:301-302. ISBN 0-88490-189-0.

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