Office of the Dean of St. Hilda's College

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Office of the Dean of St. Hilda's College

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Description area

Dates of existence



St. Hilda’s College was created in 1888 by Provost C.W.E. Body to enable the education of women, in
tandem with the male students at Trinity College. A Council was formed in 1888 and a Charter, dated 11
February 1890, contains the declaration of incorporation. St. Hilda's College was originally incorporated
under the provisions of Chapter 172 of the Revised Statues of Ontario 1887, and subsequently in 1956
was continued by "Letters Patent Continuing St. Hilda's College”. Provost Body appointed Ellen Pattesen,
later Mrs. Oswald Rigby as first Principal Miss Patteson and two students moved into a house on Euclid
Avenue. In 1889 the College moved to two houses on Shaw Street, to two larger houses on the same
street in 1892, and a third adjoining house was added in 1895. In 1899 the cornerstone for a new building
was laid on the grounds of Trinity College, designed by Eden Smith. Miss Mabel Cartwright succeeded
Mrs. Rigby in 1903. By 1908 the student population had outgrown the new building, and St. Hilda’s
expanded into the Provost’s lodge across the driveway, with Miss Mary Elizabeth Strachan presiding over
the students in residence there. Some students also lived with Professor and Mrs. Duckworth in their
Crawford Street house.
For the first few years, students at St. Hilda’s were lectured separately, but by 1894 all lectures at Trinity
were open to women. After the First World War the Principal of St. Hilda’s became a permanent member
of the Trinity teaching staff. In 1915, the Principal of St. Hilda’s received the additional title of Dean of
Women, giving her jurisdiction over the non-resident students, who increased in number after federation
with the University of Toronto.
The move to Queen’s Park in 1925 resulted in the purchase of first one, later three houses on St. George
Street. Finally, in 1938, St. Hildians moved into their present home, a Georgian residence on Devonshire
Place. Miss Cartwright retired in 1936 and was succeeded by Dr. Mossie Mae Kirkwood. Subsequent
Deans were Miss Katherine M. Darroch (1953-1963), Miss Melinda H. Seaman (1963-1978), Dr. Elizabeth
M. Rowlinson, (1978-1991) and Dr. Elizabeth Abbott (1991-2004).
In 2004 Trinity became co-ed and the office of the Dean of Women/Dean of St. Hilda’s College ceased to
exist. Kelly Castle was named the first Dean of Students, Trinity College.


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Trinity College Archives

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