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Manuscript Group 024: Jane Leonard (1840-1924) Collection

Identifier: MG024


  • Majority of material found within 1840 - 2000


1 box Linear Feet (During Jane Leonard’s 46 years of service to Indiana State Normal School, from 1875 to 1921, ISNS had nine principals. The one person who alumni said embodied the school during that time was Jane Leonard. According former IUP President Dr. John D. Welty, “Certainly, the devotion that Jane Leonard gave to students set an example that has made caring and concern a tradition at IUP.” Professors Ron Juliette and Dale Landon wrote that Jane Leonard, “more than anyone else, is to be credited what is called the Indiana spirit, this epitomizes her relationship to the institution’s history.” Jane Elizabeth Leonard (December 27, 1840-April 5, 1924) was born in Clearfield County. Her parents were Robert and Lydia Wilson Leonard. In 1860-1861, she was enrolled at Millersville State Normal School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she excelled in her studies. After graduating, Jane Leonard was invited to join the Millersville faculty. From 1868 to 1875, each History and Geography. She remained on the faculty until 1875. Leonard accepted a position at the newly created Indiana State Normal School in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and she arrived in Indiana on May 18, 1875. Her apartment and office were located in the main building, which was later named John Sutton Hall. Jane Leonard served as the Preceptress, a position, which after her retirement in 1921 became the Dean of Women. During her tenure at ISNS, Jane Leonard also taught History, Geography, and English. One of her students, Martha Cameron, Class of 1881, recalled, “When I entered Indiana Normal in 1880, it was with meager foundations for the work upon which to build a career … Miss Leonard was one of the first really well-informed women I ever knew.” Jane Leonard received an honorary B.S. degree from Indiana State Normal School in 1893, and an honorary M.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1916. In 1903, the Indiana State Normal School Board of Trustees named the Jane E. Leonard Recitation Hall in her honor. The original Leonard Hall, which was built near the Oak Grove was destroyed by fire in 1952, and a new Leonard Hall opened in 1954. In addition to her role as Preceptress, Jane Leonard taught History until 1907, and she taught English until her retirement on July 1, 1921. After retiring, she was continued to reside in John Sutton Hall, which was the only building on campus when the school opened in 1875. Her residence in John Sutton Hall became a center for returning alumni, many of whom remained in contact with "Aunt Jane." Jane Leonard was actively involved in supporting women’s suffrage, and she was a member of the Democratic Party. She chaired the Indiana County Ladies Democratic Committee and the Women Voters League, and she belonged to the Ingleside Club of Indiana. After retiring from Indiana State Normal School, at the age of 81, Jane Leonard ran for Congress to represent Indiana County in 1922, using her campaign to challenge women to become involved in politics. That year, one of her former students, Sarah “Sadie” McCune Gallaher (1864-1964), ISNS Class of 1888, was one of eight women elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Jane Leonard was always active in the Indiana community, and she belonged to the Ingleside Club and the Shakespeare Club. Indiana State Normal School, alumni, and the community mourned the passing of Jane Leonard on April 5, 1924. The Indiana Evening Gazette headlined “Miss Jane E. Leonard, 83, Beloved Preceptress of Indiana State Normal School, passes away during sleep. Everyone regrets the passing of “Aunt Jane” the world was made better for her living in it.” In 1950, in memory of Jane Leonard, Dr. Willis E. Pratt said, “No other person has had so great an influence on the development of Indiana.” Only a handful of employees have surpassed her in the longevity of their employment at the school, but it can be said that no one else epitomized the traditions of Indiana State Normal School more other than Jane Leonard. The Jane E. Leonard papers are housed in 1 archival box. The collection contains correspondence, books, and photographs that belonged to Jane Leonard, as well as miscellaneous newspaper articles and testimonials about her life and career at Indiana State Normal School. )

Language of Materials


Manuscript Group 24: Jane Leonard Collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Repository

Indiana Pennsylvania