Founded in 1835, the Marion Female Seminary was one of the earliest colleges for women in the United States. It was the first of four colleges established in Marion (see note at bottom).
The present Marion Female Seminary building was erected in 1850. It contained the art studio of Nicola Marschall, a German-American artist, who designed both the first official Confederate flag and the grey Confederate army uniform.
In 1935, this building was photographed and recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1973.
From 1916 to 1970, the building served as a local public school. Today, it is the home of the Perry County Historical and Preservation Society.
The Marion Female Seminary building is located at 204 West Monroe Street near downtown Marion (32°38’04.4″N 87°19’16.4″W – Google Maps).
Source: The Marion Female Seminary Historical Marker
B&W photograph courtesy U. S. Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: Alex Bush, date: March 15, 1935.
Following are the four colleges that were established at Marion, Alabama.
- The Marion Female Seminary: established in 1836; operated until 1908 and then became part of the Perry County school system
- Judson College: founded in 1838; suspended its academic operations on July 31, 2021
- Howard College: founded in 1842; relocated to Birmingham in 1887 (now Samford University)
- Lincoln Normal School: established 1868 by freed slaves as a school for African-Americans; the school expanded in 1887 to include teacher training and for a time became known as the Lincoln Normal University for Teachers; Lincoln Normal University for Teachers was relocated to Montgomery and became Alabama State University; the Lincoln Normal School that remained at Marion closed in 1970 when it was consolidated with the newly built and racially-integrated Marion High School.
Also located at Marion is the Marion Military Institute which traces its origins back to 1842 with the creation of Howard College in Marion.