Orange's Movers and Shakers...
Emily Catherine Prudden, Educator and artist
Born in Orange, Connecticut, Emily Catherine Prudden is less well known in her hometown than in the South where she left a lasting mark. After caring for a niece and a nephew following her sister's death, she moved at age 50 and took up the challenge of educating poor southern children, focusing especially on young girls. Out of the total of 15 schools she established, three of them achieved a higher level of accreditation with Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina being her longest-running success. The schools for black children were eventually closed in 1955 when desegregation made public schools available to them.
Emily was an artist as well and a series of 23 of her water colors are on display at The Academy. The remainder of her work is in a sketchbook now owned by Pfeiffer University where her statue greets students and visitors alike. There is a guide to the Pfeiffer-Merner Family Collection in the university archives [click here] and a newly produced PowerPoint presentation on university history that includes Emily's contributions. We hope to provide access soon. Be sure to check back!