A History of the School

For nearly 30 years Choate Rosemary Hall has been coeducational. Although the same family property in Wallingford, Connecticut, had been the birthplace of both Rosemary Hall and The Choate School in the 19th century, each school existed apart for nearly 70 years before merging in 1974.

Rosemary Hall, a school for girls was founded in 1890, by Mary Atwater Choate who hired Caroline Ruutz-Rees, a 26-year-old British scholar, as headmistress. In 1896 Mary’s husband, Judge William G. Choate, established a school for boys on the same grounds, hiring Mark Pitman as headmaster.

In 1900, Rosemary Hall moved its campus to Greenwich and another 70 years would pass before Rosemary Hall “came home” to Wallingford. After the merger, the combined school built on the strengths of its component parts, inspiring excellence for generations of students.

The appointment of Dr. Alex D. Curtis as headmaster in 2011 brings us full circle to Mary Atwater Choate’s appointment of 19th century British scholar Caroline Ruutz-Rees to lead Rosemary Hall in 1890. An accomplished scholar, with language training in Latin, French, Italian, German and Ancient Greek, Dr. Curtis attended boarding school in London at St. Paul's School, and is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology.

Former Headmaster of the Morristown–Beard School in New Jersey, Dr. Curtis is continuing on the path of accomplishment established by previous heads of Choate Rosemary Hall, Charles F. Dey and Edward J. Shanahan, bringing Choate to new levels of success, achievement and recognition as a global leader in secondary education.

The School Crest

The school seal melds elements from The Choate School seal (1896–1981) and the Rosemary Hall seal (1890–1981). The broken sword means “tested in battle.” The three unbroken swords represent service to the king, for which an early Choate ancestor was awarded a knighthood by King Henry III.

The wild boar was in effect the Rosemary seal. The motto, Fidelitas et Integritas, (fidelity and integrity) was the first motto of The Choate School. The colors of the seal are Rosemary blue and Choate blue and gold.

A refreshed crest was introduced in 2013 to convey a simplified and revitalized look to an already strong and well-respected brand.