Thank You Teachers

Teachers, thank you for your time, talent, and dedication to your students especially during this unprecedented time in American history.

We appreciate all you do!

Today we honor Madame Heloise Desabaye Chegaray (1792-1889), teacher to two generations of Macculloch-Miller women.

After arriving in the United States from France in the 1800s, Madame Chegaray first taught French in a girls’ school in New Brunswick, NJ. She opened her own school in New York City near Union Square in 1814 where she oversaw the education of generations of young women.

(1804-1888), daughter of George and Louisa Macculloch, attended classes and lived at the boarding school in New York. As parents, Mary Louisa and her husband, Jacob Miller, made the decision to send their daughter Elizabeth (1828-1852) to Madame Chegaray’s School For Young Ladies. While still a student, Mary Louisa made this theorem-painted fire screen as a gift for her parents. This fire screen is an irreplaceable object in the collection at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum.

In an interview with The Sun on Decemeber 25, 1887, Madame Chegaray shared her views on education. She believed it was most essential for a young girl to learn “To speak her own language with elegance and purity.” She also shared: “If I had to give up all books but two, I would choose the Gospel and LaFontaine’s Fables. In one you have everything necessary for your spiritual life. In the other you have the epitome of all worldly wisdom.”


This 1848 brochure explains what the costs were for students and what classes students could study.

Do you take the same classes today? Can you find when the school year started and when it ended? What did the school supply to students who lived, or boarded, at the school during the school year?

Madame Chegaray's School for Young ladies - Image by the American Antiquarian Society

Topic: History, Highlighting Women
Age / Level: Elementary, Middle

Thank You Teachers Photo Gallery

1858 moving chegaray new location Painted fireplace screen of a basket of flowers. Madame Chegaray's School for Young ladies - Image by the American Antiquarian Society