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This Day in Georgia History

July 25, 1852

Frank H. Gaines Born

Agnes Scott College founder and president Frank H. Gaines was born in Tellico Plains, Tenn. A Presbyterian minister by age 24, Gaines served churches in Kentucky and Virginia before coming to Georgia in 1888, where he became minister of the Decatur Presbyterian Church. Here, with the support of the church, he founded Decatur Female Seminary in 1889. Essentially a grammar school, the new seminary for girls opened with 4 teachers and 63 students. It proved successful, more than doubling in enrollment in the second year. Thanks to a generous gift from school trustee George Scott, the name of the school was changed to Agnes Scott Institute in honor of Scott’s mother. In 1896, Gaines became president of the institute and began changing the school to a college preparatory orientation by replacing one primary grade each year with a secondary grade. In 1905, he divided the institute into an academy and a college, and the following year renamed it Agnes Scott College. Until his death in 1923, Gaines’ goal was to create a special learning environment for young women that fosters liberal arts and high scholarship standards.