My name is Denise Steward McLain. In addition to conducting genealogy and local history research in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, I studied as a graduate student in Public History at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte from 2014-2017. While contemplating a thesis topic, I became acquainted with Ben Callahan and his team of volunteers at the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society and Museum, located in the historic building of the former Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute (MPCI) in Mount Pleasant, NC.

Ben explained to me how the small town of Mount Pleasant was once an important center for Lutheran education in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was home to a school for young men, MPCI, and one for young ladies, Mont Amoena Female Seminary. Each were schools of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod and became important to the identity and culture of the region. The museum holds much of the archive for both schools. Ben was documenting the history of the Collegiate Institute, but Mont Amoena needed its history documented as well. My thesis project was born!

Click the following link to view a .pdf of the thesis Memories of Mont Amoena Female Seminary: “An Island of Culture in the Difficult Years,” 1859-1927.