A Brief History

As a young mother, Mary Kimball Morgan was concerned about the moral and spiritual dimensions of education for her two sons. In addition to basic, practical education, she wanted an environment for them which would foster sound moral values and a yearning for spiritual growth. Finding no established institution which met these criteria, she began in 1897 to teach the two youngsters herself.

As other Christian Scientists learned of Mrs. Morgan’s informal school and its goals, they asked if she would teach their children. Soon, her classroom had to move from the loft of her carriage house in St. Louis to a two-room store to accommodate fifteen students and two teachers.

In 1906 Principia graduated its first high school class. In 1912 it added a junior college—one of the first in the nation. And in 1934 Principia’s new four-year liberal arts college in Elsah, Illinois, graduated its first class.

From those early days, Principia has grown to two modern campuses enrolling about 900 young Christian Scientists from states coast to coast and many other countries around the world.

The inspiration which led Mary Kimball Morgan to establish Principia, and to dedicate more than fifty years to its orderly expansion, is a lasting legacy of love for thousands of current and future Principians.

Principia’s Purpose and Policies can be found in this catalog. They can also be found in Education at The Principia by Mary Kimball Morgan, and As the Sowing by Edwin S. Leonard Jr., along with more information on Principia's history.