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Allisonian Firsts: Martha Louisa (Knight) Allison

A virtual exhibition celebrating the bold Allisonians who became the "firsts" in their field.

Martha Louisa (Knight) Allison

First female professor at Mount Allison University (1857)

Martha Louisa Allison, [circa 1857]

Mount Allison University Archives. Picture collection, 2007.07/1036. May only be reproduced with permission of the Mount Allison University Archives


Martha Louisa (Knight) Allison (1823-1892) became the Preceptress of the female branch of the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy in 1857, when her husband John Allison (1821-1893), a cousin of founder Charles Frederick Allison, was made Principal. She had earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Syracuse University, New York.

At the female branch of the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy (later the Ladies' College), John Allison was a professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy (1857-1858), of Mental and Moral Science, Belles, Lettres, Languages (1858-1859), and of Rhetoric, Mental Philosophy, and German, (c. 1863) at the female branch of the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy while Martha Allison was a professor of Ancient and Modern Languages (1857-1858) and of Natural Sciences and Ancient and Modern Languages (1858-1859). She was the first woman to hold a professorial position at Mount Allison. They remained principal and preceptress until 1864.