Wilmette Mallinckrodt High School

Mallinckrodt High School
A large building with many windows

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Wilmette, IL

                      The History of Wilmette Mallinckrodt High School

Wilmette (population: 27,700) is located 14 miles north of downtown Chicago in Cook County along Lake Michigan. The community is among a group of suburbs that are part of an affluent area called the North Shore that serve as bedroom communities to the residents who live there while commuting to Chicago for work.

The community’s name comes from Antoine Ouilmette, who was a French-Canadian fur trader that married Archange, the daughter of Potawatomi Indian chief Sauganash. The trader was instrumental in getting many Native Americans that lived in the area to sign the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829, which they agreed to vacate their lands in present-day Wilmette and Evanston.

Ouilmette was awarded 1,280 acres of that land in the same year that the treaty was signed. He would later sell the land to farmers and developers in 1848, and a pair of communities were formed under the names Gross Point and Wilmette. The latter would be incorporated in 1872, while the former was annexed to Wilmette two years later. On an interesting note, Evanston was nearly annexed to Wilmette in 1894, but the voters said no at the polls by just three votes!

Wilmette can be reached by taking the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad into town, or by traveling along the lake on Sheridan Road, or further inside the city on Ridge, Green Bay, or Wilmette Roads. US 41 and Interstate 94 pass a couple of  miles to the west.

Mallinckrodt High School was open for business as a centralized girls’ high school in the Archdiocese of Chicago in September 1923 by the Sisters of Christian Charity, which had opened up Maria Immaculata Academy in 1915 in the same location for those girls who were considering or had already decided to join the religious community, which had opened their location in 1915 after moving their motherhouse from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

The name Mallinckrodt comes from the founder of Sisters of Christian CharityPauline von Mallinckrodt, who was a daughter of a wealthy member of the German government. Mother Pauline (as she was known) also set up schools, day care centers, and hospice care in Germany before coming to the United States in the 1870’s. There have been steps taken to have her considered for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church, and in 1985, she was given the title of Blessed Pauline by Pope John Paul II.

In researching the school, we received the following information from Sr. Anastasia, who serves as the assistant archivist for the Sisters of Christian Charity’s Western Province location in North America at Wilmette (www.sccwilmette.org). This came from a yearly record that was kept on Mallinckrodt High School by the convent.

“Ever since the establishment of Maria Immaculata Convent, the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Christian Charity, at Wilmette, more or less frequent applications have been made for private and class lessons in various subjects. Music lessons, as well as private and class lessons in sewing have been given since the beginning of 1917. In one or the other instance private instruction was given in academic and commercial subjects. However, this arrangement did not prove practicable, and therefore it was discontinued.


There is no central Catholic high school for girls between the Immaculata High School on Irving Park Boulevard, Chicago, and the Holy Child High School at Waukegan. St. Scholastica’s Academy and Marywood School at Evanston are boarding schools taking a high tuition, and therefore making it practically necessary for a large percentage of the girls desiring high school education to attend the public high schools.


In the spring of 1923 the need for a central Catholic Girls’ High School for the North Shore district began to be emphasized….On the evening of May 10, Monsignor Kelley in company with Rev. F. Siedenburg, SJ, called at the Motherhouse saying he had been delegated by the pastors of the surrounding parishes to ask whether we might be willing to conduct the high school. …Mother Hyacinth had anticipated the situation, and had previously asked and received from Reverend Mother General permission to open a high school in the north wing of the Motherhouse.


…it was further decided to open with but two years of the high school course, the third and fourth years to be added in 1924 and 1925 respectively. On June 10 it was published in the churches of the territory involved that instructions from the Chancery ordered the announcement of the opening of Mallinckrodt High School for Girls in September; parents were urged to send their daughters to this school which promised to be the best high school on the North Shore, if not in Chicago.


Arrangements were made immediately to accommodate pupils of the I. and II. Year High School as well as of the first year of a two-year Commercial Course.

On the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, September 12, a High Mass marked the opening of the High School…

Number of pupils: 46 pupils registered for regular classes;

17 for Commercial,

5 for II. Year High and

24 for I. Year High

Sewing Department:  47 pupils

Music Department:   16 pupils

The Sewing and Music Departments were opened October 17th. [there was a further note under “Rates” that stated the fee for Sewing (if taken exclusive of the Regular Course), and a further note added: All Regular Students are encouraged to make Sewing an elective. If taken as such there is no additional charge.

UNIFORMS: On November 12, the students wore their uniforms for the first time. The Winter Uniform is a one-piece box plaited [sic] dress made of French navy blue serge, opening at the shoulders, to be slipped on over the head. Round neck and square yoke bound with black silk braid. Inlaid pocket. Belt made of same material as dress, 2 buttons in front. The whole set off prettily with white collar and cuffs edged with tatting. A long black silk tie. The Summer Uniform is an Alice blue with tan collar and cuffs; otherwise similar to winter uniform.


Monday, June 15, 1925 witnessed the graduation of twelve Commercial students, the first to leave our school. Since it had been planned that the first public commencement exercises should mark the graduation of the first High School class and entertainment was given in honor of the Commercial graduates.


May 27, 1926 witnessed the graduation of the second class of Commercial students to leave The Mallinckrodt. There were twelve graduates.


Tuesday, June 14th witnessed the first public commencement exercises of The Mallinckrodt, at which our first fourth year Academic students were graduated. His Eminence, George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, honored the occasion by being present…

One of the graduates of this first class – Florence Faber – is now known as Sister Pierre Faber. She will be 100 years old in March, 2008, and lives at Sacred Heart Convent, Wilmette.”

Part of a transcript from a meeting states the reason for the closing of Mallinckrodt High School (in 1960): “Since Mallinckrodt High School was originally opened only in response to the request of Cardinal Mundelein to provide a high school for girls in the North Shore area, and since this need no longer exists [Regina Dominican H.S. had been built a half-mile distant from MHS] and since our aspirancy has grown to the extent that school and living conditions on the novitiate side are over-crowded, it was decided definitely to close the day school for girls in a year or two. This will free the Mallinckrodt classrooms for our aspirants and make it possible to expand our Mallinckrodt College facilities.”

The Mallinckrodt building is still intact today and even used as condominums that are called “Mallinckrodt in the Park.”

First graduation program for four-year students
Text, letter

Description automatically generated
June, 1927

Year opened:               1923

Year closed:                1960

School colors:              unknown

School nickname:         unknown

School song:                unknown


Mallinckrodt offered a well-rounded educational experience for its students. In the first year that it was opened, here’s a look at the weekly schedules:

Courses for I. year were:

Monday                   Tuesday                  Wednesday              Thursday                 Friday

Catechism              Bible history            Church History          Catechism              Bible History

English                   drawing                   Algebra                    Penmanship           Etiquette

Algebra                  Algebra                   ancient history          Algebra                  Algebra

vocal classic           English                    foreign language     English                   English

foreign language   foreign language     gymnastics               foreign language    foreign language

ancient history        ancient history                                         ancient history        ancient history

Foreign languages included Latin, French, German and Spanish

Courses offered for II. Year were:

Monday                   Tuesday                  Wednesday              Thursday                 Friday

Catechism               Bible history             Church History         Catechism              Bible History

Biology                   Geometry                 Biology                    Biology                   Geometry

Geometry                Biology lab.             Geometry                Geometry                Biology-lab

English                    foreign language     English                    English                   foreign language

Vocal                       English                    foreign language    foreign language    English

foreign language                                     gymnastics              drawing

Courses offered for Commercial students were:

Monday                   Tuesday                  Wednesday              Thursday                 Friday

Catechism              Bible history          Church History       Catechism              Bible History

Commercial            stenography         Comm. Arith.         Comm. Arith.          Stenography

Arithmetic              Comm. Arith.         Stenography         Stenography           Comm. Arith.

Stenography          Commercial          Commercial          Correspondence      Commercial

Etiquette                geography            geography            Business English      geography

Business English    Business English   Foreign Lang.       Foreign Lang.          Business Eng.

Foreign Lang.        Foreign Lang.            or typewriting     or typewriting         penmanship

or typewriting          or typewriting     Gymnastics           Bookkeeping            Bookkeeping


Students also had their choice of activities to participate in at Mallinckrodt. A look at the school’s 1927 yearbook indicates the following photos: School Basketball team, Senior-Junior Basketball, Sophomore Basketball, Freshmen Basketball, Freshmen Volleyball, Dramatic Club, the Mission Unit, the Music Club, the Glee Club, the “Y” Club [organized among the Seniors for social purposes – dances, playing cards, etc.], and Literary Club.


Mallinckrodt competed in the Catholic High School Girls’ Basketball League from 1927-31, according to Robert Pruter. Along with the likes of AlverniaAquinasLongwoodLoretto HighLoretto AcademyMercySt. Catherine (later known as Siena)St. Mary, St. ScholasticaSt. XavierVisitationand Evanston Marywood, these schools played each other until the Catholic Youth Organization formed its own girls’ league in 1932.

Sophomore students from Mallinckrodt–1925
A group of people sitting together outside

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
First four-year academic class to graduate from MHS

goes out to Sr. Anastasia from the archives office at the Sisters of Christian Charity’s Western Province office. In finding the following information as well as the images shown on this page, it would have not been possible to tell as much of the story about Mallinckrodt High School.

Now we’ll open things up to you, the general public and graduates of Mallinckrodt High School. If you have more information about the school, or some memories to share about MHS, please contact us at the following addresses:

By e-mail:  ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net

By USPS:  Illinois High School Glory Days

                 6439 North Neva

                 Chicago, IL  60631

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: