1646 The town of Andover, Massachusetts is incorporated.

1777 Initial purchase of land by Judge Samuel Phillips in the South parish, now site of Andover Hill.

1778 Phillips Academy is founded for boys by 26-year-old Samuel Phillips Jr.
Now the oldest incorporated boarding school in the United States, Phillips Academy initially accepted boys of varying ages and first enrolled 13 students.

1780 8:00am devotional exercises are required of all students.

1781 Phillips Exeter Academy founded by John Phillips, Samuel Phillips’ uncle.

1782 Paul Revere is commissioned to make the Phillips Academy seal. Around the symbol of a rising sun and a hive of industrious bees, he engraves the educational faith of Andover’s founders: “the end depends upon the beginning.” The founders’ religious and patriotic commitment to the common good is symbolized by the second motto on the seal: “non sibi,” meaning “not for one’s self.”

1783 Howell Lewis, a Virginian, is one of the first students from outside New England to attend Phillips Academy. He was the nephew of George Washington.

1786 Ebenezer Pemberton becomes headmaster.

1789 President George Washington stops at Phillips Academy during his tour of New England.

1789 The first scholarships from John Phillips are recorded “in consideration of further promoting the virtuous and pious education of Youth.”

1805 Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph and originator of the Morse Code, graduates.

1808 Andover Theological Seminary founded on property adjoining Phillips Academy.

1810 John Adams becomes headmaster of Phillips Academy.

1825 Philomathean Society, oldest secondary school debating club in the United States, founded.

Philomathean Society records, 1825


1825 Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet and doctor, graduates from Phillips Academy. He immortalizes Bulfinch Hall in his 1878 poem The School-Boy.

1828 A group of “high minded and far seeing citizens of Andover resolved that the time had come to give young women educational opportunities similar to those given their brothers.”

Notice of a Female High School, 1828

1828 One acre of land is donated by a trustee of Abbot Academy.

1828 A pledge of $1,000 by Sarah Abbot makes construction of Academy Hall (Abbot Hall) possible.

1829 The first session of Abbot Female Seminary takes place. Seventy students are enrolled in the first class. Abbot is the first incorporated female academy in New England. Its vision: “a commitment to basic intellectual training and moral guidance, resistance to pasing fashion, and—above above all—a respect for the importance of women in American society.”

1832 Samuel Francis Smith writes “America” (My Country, ‘tis of Thee) while living in the house on Main Street now known as America House.

1838 Frederick Law Olmsted, famed landscape architect and designer of Central Park in New York City, graduates.

1850 Phillips Academy’s first gymnasium built.

1852 Calvin Stowe and his wife Harriet Beecher Stowe arrive in Andover. He is a professor at Andover Theological Seminary, and she has just finished writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Harriet Beecher Stowe



1854 Nancy J. Hasseltine, first female head of Abbot Academy, arrives.

1855 The Mirror, literary magazine of the Philo, published.


1859 Philena McKeen begins 33-year tenure as principal of Abbot Academy.

Philena McKeen, 1859

1865 Richard T. Greener, one of the first African American students to graduate from Phillips Academy and, later, Harvard.

Richard T. Greener, class of 1865



1871 Abbot Alumnae Association formed.

1873 Abbot Courant founded as Abbot’s history and literary maagzine.

1873 Cecil F.P. Bancroft arrives as Headmaster at Phillips.

1878 May 2 First baseball with Exeter (PEA 12-PA 1)

1878 Nov 2 First football game with Exeter (PA 22-PEA 0)

1878 The Phillipian, student newspaper of Phillips Academy, founded.

Phillipian Board, 1889

1878 Phillips Academy Alumni Association established.

1892 Frances Kimball Harlow and Henrietta Learoyd Sperry are the first two women elected to the Board of Trustees of Abbot Academy.

1899 Abbot Field Day, when “young ladies gather joyfully to take part in sports,” initiated.

1902 Borden Gymnasium dedicated.

Borden Gym



1903 Alfred E. Stearns becomes headmaster of Phillips.

1903 Robert S. Peabody Archaeology Museum founded.

1908 Phillips Academy purchases the land and buildings of Andover Theological Seminary when it moves to Cambridge.

1912 Bertha Bailey becomes head of Abbot.

1912 Isham Infirmary opened at Phillips Academy.

1913 Founders Day: 135th anniversary celebration conducted by ex President William Howard Taft and former Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, class of 1883.

1920s Benefactor Thomas Cochran, class of 1890, and architect Charles Platt reshape the Phillips campus through a large-scale building campaign.

Map of Property, 1929

1928 President Calvin Coolidge addressed Phillips Academy at its sesquicentennial celebration.

Alfred Ripley, President Calvin Coolidge, Principal Al Stearns at Phillips Academy Sesquicentennial, 1928

1933 Claude M. Fuess appointed as headmaster.

1942 Andover Summer Session established.

1944 Marguerite Hearsey named the 14th principal of Abbot Academy.

1949 Secret societies eliminated by Phillips Academy.

1954 Beth Chandler Warren, first African American woman to matriculate at Abbot.

1955 With the realization that some material being taught at Phillips is repeated when students enter college, Advanced Placement credit begins at Phillips with a chemistry course and a fifth-level French class.

1960 Abbot Academy’s first student newspaper, Cynosure, published.

1962 Russian American conference, Dartmouth Group, held at Phillips Academy. It helped end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Russian American conference, October 1962



1963 Initial meeting of Independent Schools Talent Search Program that laid the groundwork for the A Better Chance (ABC) program for minority students.

1964 Search and Rescue program, which involved kayaking, hiking, and first aid skills, is introduced at Phillips Academy.

Search and Rescue hiking Mount Lafayette, February 1975. by Peter Wyman.

This innovative program becomes the foundation for Outward Bound in the United States.







1964 School Year Abroad program established.

School Year Abroad

1966 WPAA, a student-run FM radio station at Phillips, goes on air.

1966 The first Faculty Steering Committee at Phillips Academy issued its visionary report on the education program that led to the establishment of the cluster system.

1968 Af-Lat-Am Club founded.

African American Club, 1973. by Richard Graber

1968 Donald Gordon, Phillips Academy class of 1952, named Principal of Abbot Academy, where he served until its merger with Phillips Academy in 1973.

1971 Term-contained elective sources introduced.

1971 A main frame computer is installed in Morse Hall to begin computer education.

1972 Theodore R. Sizer, former dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, named the headmaster.

1973 Coeducation begins as Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy merge.

1981 Donald McNemar becomes headmaster.

1981 The Community Service program is developed, serving three local agencies. Today, ninety percent of students participate in volunteer projects at more than 45 local organizations.

1986 Phillips Academy and Novosibirsk Physics and Mathematics School in Siberia begin first exchange program for U.S./Soviet high school students.

US/Soviet Student Exchange program meeting with President Reagan, 1987








1988 Gay Straight Alliance founded.

1989 President George H.W. Bush, class of 1942, addresses Phillips Academy to celebrate bicentennial of President George Washington’s visit to Andover in 1789.


1994 Barbara Landis Chase named first female Head of School.

Barbara Landis Chase, 2001

2007 Board of Trustees adopts need-blind admission policy.

2012 John G. Palfrey, Jr. becomes Head of School.

2014 Tang Institute launched as a hub for innovation in education at Andover.

2016 Sykes Wellnes Center dedicated in honor of longtime administrator Rebecca M. Sykes.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library || Phillips Academy