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The Other Schools that D. L. Moody Founded

The Other Schools that D. L. Moody Founded

Exploring the Legacy of Northfield, Massachusetts
  • Dr. Gregg Quiggle

While many know about D. L. Moody’s evangelistic activity, his work as an educator is less well known. We are all aware of his work here in Chicago and the resultant Moody Bible Institute. But did you know he started four other schools?

Moody saw Chicago as strategic for ministry, but he loved his hometown of Northfield, Massachusetts, and lived there most of his life. Moody’s first three schools were all in Northfield. In 1879 he started the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies. In 1881 he opened the Mount Hermon School for Boys. Both of these provided an education for poor boys and girls, a particular burden of Moody’s. The schools were “restricted to those who have small means and high aims.” They particularly encouraged “the attendance of those who from the necessity of self-support or otherwise, have been providentially hindered in getting the desired education, but who would be determined to make the most of an opportunity here.”

In 1890 he started the Northfield Bible Training School. Modeled after Moody Bible Institute, it trained women for ministry and “domestic economy,” his term for practical skills such as cooking, sewing, and caring for the sick. These graduates were to go into poor neighborhoods to teach the gospel and minister to the poor.

Over the years, these three schools have merged into a single school, today known as Northfield Mount Hermon School. Now a college-prep boarding school serving 650 students, it no longer claims a Christian orientation, although the school continues to offer scholarships to economically disadvantaged students.

The school counts many notable graduates, including radio pioneer Lee de Forest, Reader’s Digest founder DeWitt Wallace, civil rights attorney James Nabrit III, and celebrities such as Bette Davis, Natalie Cole, and Uma Thurman.

Moody’s last school, the Bible Training Institute, was founded in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1892. The school was renamed Glasgow Bible College in 1990. After merging with other schools, it was renamed International Christian College in 1998. Faced with continuing financial issues, the school closed in 2018.

About the Author

  • Dr. Gregg Quiggle

Dr. Gregg Quiggle is the D. L. Moody Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute.