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Mary C. Judson and Stella Rossignol Postcard Collection, 1905-1920

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Biographical Sketch

A Connecticut native, Mary Judson (1828-1920) was highly educated, studying under private tutors and in the Yale library. She was not allowed to enroll at Yale because she was a woman, which influenced her lifelong desire to promote female education.

In 1857, Judson moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where her brother, Charles, taught at Furman University. She served as Lady Principal of the Johnson Female University in Anderson from 1857 to 1859 and then taught art at the Greenville Baptist Female College. During the Civil War, she taught English and French at the Blythewood Academy near Columbia. In January 1865, when federal troops were nearing Columbia, she returned to the Female College, which Charles Judson then headed.

In 1868, Judson returned north to teach at private schools in New York and Pennsylvania. In 1874 Charles Judson invited his sister to return to the struggling Female College, where she became Lady Principal in 1878. Judson taught nearly every subject in the college curriculum, including English, French, art, astronomy, botany, and elocution. Judson was Lady Principal until 1912, but even after she retired from teaching at 83, she continued to live at the college until her death on December 29, 1920.

Estelle “Stella” Rossignol (1874-1968) was the daughter of Dr. Henry P. and Harriett A. Rossignol of Habersham County, Georgia. In the 1900 U.S. Census, she and her older sister were living with their widowed father in Clarksville, Habersham County, Georgia.

According to a newspaper account, Rossignol was traveling in Florida with Charles Judson and Miss Mary C. Judson as early as 1904, and she appears in the 1905 Greenville City Directory living at the Greenville Female College at 420 College Street.  In the 1910 U.S. Census, Rossignol is listed with Mary C. Judson, occupation of servant, chambermaid.  Miss Rossignol could have been Judson’s private secretary as her poem “A Study in Cranks” in the 1916 Entre Nous yearbook describes shorthand cranks taught to her by Miss Perry [Jeanne Perry, Professor of Business Course, 1917-1918 GWC Course Catalog].

After Mary C. Judson died on December 29, 1920, Rossignol is found in the 1922 Georgia City Directory living near her brother and sister in Atlanta. Rossignol died in Tampa, Florida on December 18, 1968.