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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Lovejoy Academy

by David McGee, 2006

See also: Raleigh Academy

Lovejoy Academy was established in 1842, when Jefferson Madison Lovejoy decided to open his Classical and English School in Raleigh. Lovejoy's school occupied an existing school building on Burke Square a few blocks northwest of the State Capitol building, the site of the present-day Governor's Mansion. Although the school operated under a variety of names before becoming known as Lovejoy Academy in 1852, it soon became known as one of the state's best private boys' schools.

Students of Jefferson Lovejoy recalled his passionate devotion to Greek, Latin, and English literature. Virgil's Aeneid and Samuel Augustus Mitchell's Ancient Geography were among his favorite texts. Teaching by having students read lessons aloud from their books while he corrected their mistakes, Lovejoy had "a formidable reputation for severity," especially on occasions when he encountered the "three vices of slothfulness, deception, and intemperance." One of his former pupils, Kemp Plummer Battle (later president of the University of North Carolina), recalled that Lovejoy was quick to deliver hard swats to the hand to any student caught breaking his rules.

The Civil War dealt a severe blow to Lovejoy Academy, as a number of the older boys joined the military and hard economic times prevented some parents from continuing their sons' enrollment. Despite these problems, the school remained open until near the end of the war. When Lovejoy died in 1877, a Raleigh newspaper noted that few other men had done as much for the cause of education in North Carolina.


Moses N. Amis, Historical Raleigh with Sketches of Wake County and Its Important Towns (1913).

Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina (1983).

Additional Resources:

Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, by Michigan. Dept. Of Public Instruction.

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