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History of Head-Royce School

The Anna Head School

The Anna Head School was founded in Berkeley in 1887 by Miss Anna Head, the Boston-born daughter of Edward and Eliza Head. Edward moved west in 1861 to Oakland, where he established a law practice. Eliza opened a school in Oakland to instruct young ladies in the finer points of English and French. When she retired and sold the school in 1887, she gave the profits to her daughter for the purpose of founding an expanded educational institution which would provide solid and comprehensive training for girls.

The original school site at 2538 Channing Way in Berkeley accommodated both boarding and day students; girls came from near and far, including some from the East Coast as the school's reputation spread. When Miss Head retired in 1909, she sold the school to former Anna Head teacher Mary E. Wilson who ran the school until 1938, when it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Hyde, who retained control until 1950. That year the school was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dewey. In 1955 the University of California informed Mr. and Mrs. Dewey that it had need for the school's land and acquired the property by writ of eminent domain.

The Deweys could not afford to relocate, so they donated the school to a newly formed corporation, Anna Head School, Inc. and appointed a board of trustees to administer it. Trustees and friends of the school found a new location in the Oakland hills and began a capital-raising campaign and plans for construction of a new campus. In 1964, the relocation was completed.

In the 1960s the Anna Head School became entirely a day school. Parents and friends were asked to help finance the new institution through contributions beyond tuition fees. Alumnae were asked to contribute to the school and an endowment fund was created by the Parents' Association by means of ambitious fundraising projects.

The Royce School

In 1971, Anna Head's Board of Trustees established a coordinate school for boys, the Royce School, named in honor of Miss Head's brother-in-law, Josiah Royce, who was a Harvard professor and noted philosopher. The boys' school was situated in a small, leased building across Lincoln Avenue from the school's new site.

In the fall of 1979, the schools merged into the Head-Royce School, completely coeducational at all grade levels.

Head-Royce Today

Head-Royce today has three divisions. The Lower School (K-5) offers a firm foundation in learning skills, concentrating on a low student-teacher ratio to best serve the needs of each developing student. The Middle School (6-8) is designed to meet the developmental needs of this transitional age group, and has an activity period to supplement the basic curriculum. The Upper School (9-12) offers a strong college preparatory program with a variety of activities to supplement the academic curriculum.


The Anna Head School at its original location on Channing Way in Berkeley, circa 1900.

Then Head of School, Mary Wilson, leading the Anna Head class of 1938 on graduation day.

The Anna Head basketball team.

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