Sarah Pierce was born in 1767, the fifth child of a farmer in Litchfield, Connecticut. Three years later, her mother died leaving the family with their father, John Pierce. Two years after Sarah's mothers death, John remarried and had three more kids. Devastatingly, Mr. Pierce passed away in 1783, leaving Sarah's brother, John to care for his step-mother and seven younger siblings.
In order to find a spouse, Sarah and her sister Mary, were sent to New York schools, by their brother John, to specifically train to become teachers to support their big family. Later, Sarah decided she wanted to return to Litchfield. She brought a few students with her from New York and established her own school for girls.
Litchfield Female Academy
Litchfield Female Academy was ran by Sarah Pierce as a private school for thirty-one years. The school's curriculum was limited at first. Pierce was accused of only teaching the girls "ladies" work like painting and needlework but Pierce was integrating both ornamental subjects and academic subjects together for girls to further understand what they are learning. She pushed reading aloud and having serious conversations on the topic. Also, the presence of Tapping Reeve's Litchfield law school created a more successful school for Sarah. If a family had a son traveling to Tapping Reeve's for education, they would send their daughter over to Litchfield Female Academy. Also, parents of the students would know there would be suitable men for their daughters at the law school.
Sarah believed greatly in the intellectual equality of men and women but she did not think women should be going to an all male school or working towards a male job position. She believed working at home as mothers and for charitable organizations was equally as important, if not more, than the work of men. She thought, in order for women to develop their own opinions, they needed to be educated. She always thought women needed to educate the youth because "the future of the new republic depended on them to be spiritual and moral guardians in society" and she preached this to her students.
Sarah Pierce died when she was eighty-three years old. She had never been married and had an obituary published in the Litchfield Enquirer.