Julia Ann Tevis (Shelby,
Opened Science Hill Female Academy in 1825. She
directed the school for more than 50 years with a
philosophy that science and math were important for young
women to study.
Julia Ann Hieronymous Tevis was one of America's great
educators. In 1825, Tevis founded Science Hill Female
Academy in Shelbyville.
Julia Ann Hieronymus, a Virginian by birth, married John
Tevis, a Methodist minister, in 1824. The girls' school
they operated, initially with support from the Methodist
Church, was unlike any other in Kentucky. Unlike the
curriculum in many girls' schools, the study of chemistry
did not give way to embroidery and the study of
mathematics did not yield to the making of reticules and
By 1857 the school boasted 230 students. John Tevis died
months before the Civil War broke out. His widow shocked
her supporters by sheltering Union troops at her school.
''The state must hold together,'' she told those who
condemned her. ''The Negroes must be freed.''
In 1879 Tevis sold the school to Dr. Wiley Taut Poynter.
The Poynter family ran Science Hill Female Academy until
it closed in 1929, always espousing its founder's creed:
''Woman's mind is limitless. Help it to grow.''