Country School's Founding Families

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In the spring of 1916, a group of New Canaan parents met to decide what they might do to provide for their children’s early education. The small school their children were attending, operated out of the one teacher’s private home, was closing. The course of action they chose, both bold and ambitious, would lead to the founding of New Canaan Country School (originally named—appropriately enough—the Community School). On October 16, 1916, the new school welcomed its first 17 students.

The New Canaan parents wanted not simply to replace the school that had closed. They sought to form a school that would best prepare their children for a new century of rapid scientific, technological and social change. They delegated two of their number—Mrs. Margaret Streit and Mrs. Margaret Holmes—to interview prospective teachers at a prominent educational placement agency in New York City. Two women—Miss Edith Dudley and Miss Effie Dunton—were most impressive and possessed the requisite qualifications to set the new school on a forward-looking path. Following a visit to New Canaan, the two women were offered the position of co-principals. Three years later, those same parents would incorporate the new school and establish a board of trustees to manage its affairs and plan for its future. Succeeding generations of parents would add to their legacy, providing the leadership and funding to acquire and build on the Ponus Ridge campus.

All of us here today celebrating Country School’s centennial, and those who came before us, are the beneficiaries of the foresight, civic-mindedness and philanthropy of those founding families of New Canaan Country School. We owe them our gratitude and our shared commitment to add to their 100-year-old legacy.


Paul and Alma Colbron

John and Lida Ellsworth

Edgar and Genevieve Frothingham

Lawrence and Alice Frothingham

Louis and Georgia Hall

Clarence and Margaret Holmes

Rupert and Grace King

Merle and Beatrice Murphy

Marshall and Charlotte Stearns

Raymond and Margaret Streit


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