Kenilworth Rugby School for Boys & Babcock School for Young Ladies and Children

The History of Kenilworth Rugby School for Boys 


The History of Kenilworth Babcock School for Young Ladies and Children

Kenilworth (population 2,494) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the northeastern portion of Cook County. Lake Michigan is the town’s eastern border.  The largest roadways to and from Kenilworth include Sheridan Road, Green Bay Road, Ridge Road, and Lake Avenue. Kenilworth is a north suburb of Chicago sitting just 17 miles north of the downtown Chicago area.

According to the Wikipedia web address of,_Illinois, Kenilworth was founded in 1889 by Joseph Sears. Kenilworth was incorporated in 1896 with a population of 300. The village has a great website with a more detailed history that can be viewed at

Kenilworth has a very storied history of education for its children. High school and advanced education dates back to even before the town was officially incorporated. A web page ( on the history of Kenilworth schools states the following:

“When Mrs. Babcock’s School for Young Ladies and Children moved to Kenilworth from Chicago in 1891, Kenilworth became one of the few places where women were provided with educational facilities before men. But shortly thereafter, the Rugby School for Boys, modeled on the Phillip Exeter plan, was also founded. Each provided the elements of a good education and focused on the moral and physical needs of each student so that they might develop strong character. Each offered courses in mathematics, history, literature, chemistry, physics, Latin, French and German. Mrs. Babcock’s girls were instructed in cooking and the Rugby boys in the manual arts of drawing and woodworking.

“Athletics were important as well with fencing and dancing taught to the girls and a variety of other sports taught to the boys. Both schools closed in 1904. Mrs. Babcock’s school closed due to her declining health. While the main reason for closing the Rugby school is not recorded, some say the tragic fire in 1903 at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, which resulted in the death of many Rugby students, was responsible for the closing.

Babcock and Rugby schools…..provided a strong, well-rounded education for the children of Kenilworth.”

Though relatively short-lived, the history of these two schools and what they meant to the early growth of what was then a small village should not be forgotten.

Kenilworth Babcock and Rugby Schools Quick Facts

Year opened:                   1891

Year closed:                    1904

Consolidated to:               both were private schools that simply closed

School team nicknames:   athletics offered at both schools, team nicknames not available (if any)

School team colors:          unavailable

School fight songs:           unavailable


As stated in the history portion of this page, the schools of Rugby and Babcock offered many activities for their students. We know that Rugby’s boys competed in golf, probably basketball as well. Rugby was a member of the Preparatory League from 1896-1902, and did not win any league titles as a member, plus was the only school outside of Chicago that was a league member, according to information given to us by our good friend and historian Robert Pruter.

If you have any further information on either school, please contact us via the means at the bottom of this page.

Rugby Golf

One former student became one of the elite national amateur golfers in the United States. According to the IHSA website of, former Rugby student H. Chandler Egan was one of the 8 finalists for the USGA national amateur tournament in 1909.

If You Wish To Share Further INformation on Rugby or Babcock Schools….

You can contact us via e-mail at You can also write to us via USPS at the following address:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

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