Bancroft History: The Cooley Sisters

black and white photots of the Cooley sisters

Bancroft History: The Cooley Sisters

In 1909, Margaret Bancroft was joined by Jenzia Cooley, who came to Bancroft on the advice of a family friend, Dr. Charles Mayo (Mayo Clinic), and served as Margaret Bancroft’s assistant.

Jenzia Cooley, a light-skinned woman with short hair wearing a long dress smiles

After Margaret’s death in 1912, Jenzia worked closely with Dr. Ernest Farrington. Dr. Farrington, who had worked with Margaret Bancroft since 1907 as Head of the School’s Psychology Department, succeeded Margaret Bancroft as President.

Jenzia’s younger sister, Miriam, joined her at Bancroft in 1911 and together were named Principal and Assistant Principal respectively. Together, Dr. Farrington and Jenzia Cooley effectively operated the still-growing school for twenty-five years until Dr. Farrington’s death.

After his passing, Jeniza succeeded Dr. Farrington to the “headship” of the school. In the decades to follow, the two sisters effectively continued and enhanced Margaret’s tradition of excellence, with warm and respectful and devoted attention to each individual student.

Miss. Jenzia died in 1963, with Miriam assuming the leadership role until she passed away in 1974. Fortunately, the Cooley sisters were very forward-thinking, and in 1949 had invited Clarence York to join them in preparation of becoming a possible successor. This arrangement worked out perfectly when Dr. York was named Executive Director in 1957 and continued to lead the organization until 1984.


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