Ilion Principal - Miss Loretta O. Douglas

Ilion High School Principal

Miss Loretta O. Douglas

1909 - 1920

"The abiding joy of my life is my alumni."
Miss Douglas


Miss Loretta O. Douglas was born on July 8, 1865 in Saxonville, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Andrew and Adelia (Bremen) Douglas. Her family moved to Little Falls in 1871. Miss Douglas graduated from Little Falls High School. She graduated from college in 1884, with a class of 61 members, from Cortland Normal School. She majored in languages at Cortland. After graduation, she began her first teaching positions, which were in Cazenovia and Stamford Delaware County.

Miss Douglas began her teaching career, with the Ilion Union School District, in 1892. She taught at the Morgan Street School under the leadership of Superintendent/Principal Judson I. Wood. Later, she worked with Superintendent/Principal Alfred W. Abrams. Her official title was Preceptress. She taught courses in Literature, Latin and Elocution. Four years later, in 1896, the district appointed her head of the English Department at The Morgan Street School.

Miss Douglas was appointed Principal of the school in 1909. She held that position until 1920. She was the first principal of the High School at its present location on Weber Avenue.

During her career, she also studied public speaking at Syracuse University and attended summer school at Cornell University. She earned her Ph. D from Wesleyan University, Bloomingdale, Illinois.

From 1920 until her retirement in 1930, she held a post in the English department of Utica Free Academy.

Miss Loretta O. Douglas retired, in 1930, from her 46-year career in education. Harry DeGroat, a former principal of Cortland Normal School and supervisor of New York State Regents examiners, said that Miss Douglas was "...one of the greatest teachers Cortland Normal School produced in its history."

Ilion's Regents record was second only to that of the Brooklyn Boys' High School while she was Principal.

Miss Loretta O. Douglas, former Principal of Ilion High school, died October 12, 1945, in St. Elizabeth's Hospital. She died after an illness of several months. She was 80 years old.

She was a member of Grace Church and secretary of its Women's Auxiliary for nine years. She was also a member of the Women's Republican Club of Utica, the Western Group of College Women, Utica Chapter of AAUW, the YWCA, the Utica Hobby Club, the Travelers' Club and the Shakespeare Club of Ilion. She traveled in European countries, Italy, England and Scotland and shared her experiences with the Traveler's Club.

She was survived by her brother, Dr. Fred J. Douglas, Utica, a niece, Mrs. Mason F. Sexton, 4 nephews and several grand nieces and nephews. Her funeral was held Monday, October 15, 1945. Six honorary and six active pallbearers, at her funeral, were former Ilion students. Honorary bearers were Dr. C. J. Diss, Rome Worden, Kent McGowan, Arthur Kunze, Walter Griswoid and Bert Hawks. Active bearers were Leon Jarvis, Albert Schulz, Reginal Griswold, Fred Rhodes, Harold Fear and Carl Peterson.

Dr. Fred James Douglas was the younger brother of Loretta Douglas. Her brother was born on September 14, 1869 in Clinton, Massachusetts. He attended public school in Little Falls, NY and graduated from Dartmouth College's Medical Department in 1895. He began his medical practice in Utica, New York in 1895.

Dr. Douglas was a member of the board of education of Utica from 1910 to 1920. He served as Mayor of Utica from 1922 to 1924. He was commissioner of public safety of Utica in 1928-29. In 1934, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York State.

He ran as a Republican for Congress. He was elected to Congress for three succeeding terms. He served in Congress from January 3, 1937 to January 3, 1945. In 1945, he resumed his former profession as a surgeon. Dr. Fred James Douglas died on January 1, 1949, in Utica. His interment was in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Whitesboro, New York.


www.ilionalumni.com February 2015 Cover Story
References Cited


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