Chatham Hall was opened in 1894 by the Rev. C. Orlando Pruden as a regional school for educating young women of southern Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. From the outset, the School—originally named Chatham Episcopal Institute—provided a rigorous academic program designed to equip girls for the challenges of the future. It was initially housed in the “Chatham Hall” estate of the late John Gilmer.
The end of World War I brought changes in American culture that ultimately resulted in the 1927 transformation of the Chatham Episcopal Institute into Chatham Hall. During this time, the School’s student body became more national than regional in composition, and its reputation for excellence was solidified.
Chatham Hall has a long tradition of encouraging girls to extraordinary accomplishment. Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, graduated in 1905 and not only went on to art schools dominated at the time by men, but also succeeded in becoming one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century.