Kidd-Key College was a college and music conservatory for women located in Sherman, Texas. The college was formed in 1919 after first being a private high school and then a college under a different name. At the time, having a college for women was a new idea but one of the reasons the college closed in the 1920s was due to the old-fashioned rules and regulations that were enforced. Other names for the school included the Sherman Male and Female High School and the North Texas Female College. The Mary Nash College sold their campus to Kidd-Key College in 1901.
In the 1860s, the Sherman Male and Female High School was opened in rented space in the Odd Fellows Hall. The trustees bought some land and a two-story building was constructed to house the new school. In 1877, the State made a contract with the North Texas Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which changed the high school into the North Texas Female College and the males who used to attend the high school attended other schools. The purpose of the school was for “the support of a female college, a school of fine arts, and a conservatory of music”. Lucy Ann Thornton Kidd, a widowed teacher from Mississippi, was selected to be the president of the College, becoming Lucy Ann Kidd-Key after marrying Bishop Joseph S. Key in 1892.
During Kidd-Key's time as president of the college, the rules were very strict and emphasized the arts while Kidd-Key focused on maintaining the virtue of the women who attended her school. They were only allowed visitors on certain days and at certain times, chaperoned walks, and all students were required to attend church every Sunday. In 1912, the college gained membership into the Founders Club of Southern Methodist University. They had correspondence with SMU and had a genial relationship with them. The president of Kidd-Key College even offered SMU some advice and gave them some pointers on what to expect as a new school. However, the opening of Southern Methodist University in 1915 resulted in a decline of funding from the North Texas Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The enrollment rate began to decline with the loss of funding as well as fewer students being drawn in by the strict rules and regulations in place at the college. Kidd-Key died in 1916 and her son, Edwin Kidd, took her place as president of the college.
In 1919, the name of the college was changed to Kidd-Key College and Conservatory. Due to the decline in enrollment, Edwin Kidd coordinated with the president of Austin College to share facilities and programs. The curriculum at Kidd-Key College was also reduced to a few choice classes to try to preserve the college as much as possible. These efforts worked temporarily, but the campus was eventually closed and liquidated. In 1933, the North Texas Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church gave full backing to Southern Methodist University and no longer wished to support Kidd-Key College.
Notable faculty and students
- Harold von Mickwitz, concert pianist
- Maxwell, Lisa C. (15 June 2010). "Mary Nash College". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Society. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
- Handbook of Texas Online (accessed September 24, 2010)
- Kidd-Key College and Conservatory records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 1.
- Kidd-Key College and Conservatory records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 2, Folder 33.
- Kidd-Key College and Conservatory records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 3.
- Domatti, Ruth O. "A History of Kidd-Key College." The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 63.2 (1959): 263-78. JSTOR. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.
- Saenz, Brandy; Eubank, Alexis; Vise, Ruth (2012). "Kate Moore Brown: A Woman of Many Firsts" (PDF). Borderlands. 30.