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African American History Forum

Historic Places - Delaware County, PA

Melrose, Delaware County, Pennsylvania

Hill Drive


Melrose is associated with a locally prominent female doctor, a leading black university, and a nationally prominent black educator and social reformer. In the second half of the 19th century Melrose was the home of Mary H. Cheyney, a pioneering woman doctor in the local area. She is credited with going beyond the treatment of individual ailments to teaching preventive health measures to the black community.

In 1903 Melrose and the farm on which it stood became the home of the Institute for Colored Youth. The Institute, now known as Cheyney State University, already had an extensive history. In 1828 Quaker philanthropist Richard Humphrey bequested funds for a school to educate African Americans. A training farm was established and became the Institute for Colored Youth in 1842, the oldest such school for higher education in the United States.

Melrose was the home and office for the presidents of the university. During the administration of Dr. Leslie Pinckney Hill (1913-51), the institution was transformed from a small local training school to a nationally respected liberal arts college. Hill was a leader in race relations and social reform. He hosted many informational meetings that led to the organization of musical, theatrical, and literary programs in area churches and missionary work in Chester and Philadelphia.

From the book:

National Register Of Historic Places

African American Historic Places

National Park Service

Edited by:

Beth L. Savage

(c) 1994 The Preservation Press

ISBN 0-89133-253-7

Cheyney Timeline:

More info about the university's history:

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Historic Places - Delaware County, PA
Eden Cemetery - Delaware County, PA

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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