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Haskell Named Distinguished Woman in American History

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Article by: Jan Dona, L&C Marketing and PR, jdona@lc.edu

GODFREY – The Ninian Edwards Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) has recognized Harriet Newell Haskell as a Distinguished Woman in American History.

Haskell, who was honored in an Oct. 9 ceremony at the Evergreens on the Godfrey campus of Lewis and Clark Community College, served as principal of Monticello Female Seminary (now L&C) from 1868 until her death in 1907. She is still considered one of the most influential educators of her time.

Monticello College alumna and former foundation executive director Linda Nevlin expressed her happiness that Haskell is being recognized as an important woman in history.

“Haskell was a particularly outstanding woman, considering the time in which she lived,” Nevlin said. “She took the job providing she had full power to run the school as she saw fit, with no interference.”

Perhaps Haskell’s greatest display of perseverance came in November 1888 when a fire destroyed the main building, which housed the dormitories and classrooms. Haskell arranged for a temporary structure and classes resumed just two months later. Through Haskell’s determined fundraising, the cornerstone of the present structure was laid in June 1889.

In Haskell’s honor, a memorial gate with an imposing arch was finished in December 1910 and stands at the college’s entrance as a testament to Haskell’s influence on her students and the community.

In 2004, the NSDAR initiated a project to document women like Haskell for posterity. This database includes women, both living and deceased, who are suffragists, reformers and innovators in many categories. Approximately 50 women are added each year.

In 1970, Monticello College was sold to the state of Illinois and became Lewis and Clark Community College. The Monticello College Foundation manages the proceeds from the sale and, by providing scholarships, continues Haskell’s legacy of educating women.

For more information on the Monticello College Foundation, contact Executive Director Laura Shansey at (618) 467-2370 or lshansey@lc.edu. Visit their website at www.monticellofound.org.