Lilla Estelle Appleton

Time Period


Subject Categories

Education, Writers

Notable Facts

Teacher, researcher, and life long student. Published numerous articles.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Primary Residence


Historical Significance

Lilla Estelle Appleton began teaching in rural Vermont schools in 1875, and studied at the State Normal School in Randolph, Vermont, graduating in 1879. In 1881 she entered Oberlin College and graduated in 1886. After graduation, she returned to teaching and taught in Hawaii, South Dakota, and Nebraska, before returning to Oberlin College to continue her studies. In 1895 she returned to Vermont to teach, but after only one year, she went to the Oswego State Normal School in New York to continue her own education. Over the next few years, she taught and was a school administrator at State Normal Schools in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Washington. In 1903, she entered the University of Chicago, where she earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1909. After serving in several teacher training positions in various states, in 1919 she took the position of Head of the Department of Psychology and Education at Oxford College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. In 1928 she retired from teaching and returned to Chicago where she did research work at the University of Chicago. She was the author of many published articles, mostly in the area of her chief interest, child study.

Organizations or Movements

  • Institut de Sociologie
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • School teacher
  • Principal of the City Normal Training Class in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Head of teacher training programs at Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa), Marshall College (Huntington, West Virginia), Milwaukee-Downer College (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and at the Kindergarten Training School in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Senior Researcher at Clark University
  • Researcher at Columbia University
  • Studied mental testing at the Training School in Vineland, New Jersey
  • Head of the Department of Psychology and Education at Oxford College for Women in Oxford, Ohio
  • Researcher at the Unversity of Chicago


  • State Normal School, Randolph, Vermont (1879)
  • Oberlin College (1881-1886 and 1889-1891)
  • Oswego State Normal School (1898)
  • University of Chicago, PhM (1903), S.M. (1904), PhD (1909).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Lilla Estelle Appleton Link

  • A comparative study of the play activities of adult savages and civilized children; an investigation of the scientific basis of education

  • Appleton, Lilla. Appleton papers: Lilla Appleton's diaries, Lilla Appleton's Hawaiian letters, Appleton family letters; transcribed by Betsy Lang, 1989.

Additional Images

University of Chicago
University of Chicago