This is a transcription of the Ada L. Howard biography from New Hampshire Women: A Collection of Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Daughters and Residents of the Granite State, Who are Worthy Representatives of their Sex in the Various Walks and Conditions of Life, The New Hampshire Publishing Co., Concord, NH, 1895, page 29.
MISS ADA L. HOWARD, the beautiful woman whose skilful hand guided Wellesley College the first seven and most difficult years of its existence, is the daughter of William Hawkins Howard and Lydia Adaline (Cowden) Howard, and was born in Temple, December 19, 1829. Three of her great-grandfathers were officers in the War of the Revolution, and one of these was an officer in the siege of Louisburg. Her father was a fine scholar, an able teacher, and a scientific agriculturist. From him she inherited marked characteristics, and also from her mother—a gentlewoman whose sweetness, strength, and high womanhood illuminated and unified the home. Miss Howard received her education from her father, in private schools, New Ipswich Academy, Lowell High School, Mount Holyoke College, where she was graduated. Post-graduate study followed under private teachers. She was, for several years, teacher at Mount Holyoke, the Western, Oxford, O., and the accomplished and beloved principal of the Woman’s Department, Knox College. Illinois, and of Ivy Hall, her private school at Bridgeton, N. J., whence she was called to the presidency of Wellesley College, founded by Mr. and Mrs. Durant. She was the first woman president of a college in the world. Mr. Durant said, “I have been four years looking for a president. She will be a target to be shot at, and for the present the position will be one of severe trials. I have for sometime been closely investigating Miss Howard. I look upon her as appointed to this work not by the trustees, but by God for whom the college was built.” Miss Howard wisely furthered the plans of the founders, and held the position with great success till health failed in 1882. She retains her love and enthusiasm for the college, and every good work. In appreciation of her life at Wellesley, in 1890 the alumnae placed in the art gallery a life-size portrait of their first president. In her honor a scholarship has been given for Wellesley College, called the Ada L. Howard scholarship.