Kingswood Oxford School cherishes a rich history that blends the strengths and traditions of two independent schools with the personality of 21st century Hartford. Founded in 1909, Kingswood Oxford was one of the nation's first independent day schools. For Hartford community leaders, such a school was an important alternative. An independent day school provided talented students with special intellectual, athletic and cultural advantages, without attending boarding school and weakening ties to family, friends and home.
Founders Mary Martin and George Nicholson supported the statement made in an early 1900s issue of The American Country Day School Journal that "wise parents know they must share with teachers the shaping of the minds and character of young people." Throughout its history, KO has provided parents with numerous opportunities to participate actively in their children's education.
Martin, a visionary Yankee schoolteacher, opened Oxford School in 1909 at her home in Hartford's West End. In 1924, the School moved to 695 Prospect in West Hartford. The Prospect site became the permanent home of Oxford and served as the home of Kingswood Oxford's Middle School.
Nicholson, a young English tutor, established Kingswood School in 1916. He named the School for his alma mater in England. Kingswood School inherited some of the traditions of the English school, including the School's crest, colors and distinctive symbol, the Wyvern, a winged dragon with an eagle's claws and a serpent's tail.
Strong enrollments and leaders as well as steady growth in program and facilities marked the legacy of both schools. At the time of their merger in 1969, Kingswood Oxford adopted the Oxford School motto: "Vincit qui se vincit" - "One conquers by conquering oneself."
As the School approaches its second century of service to Greater Hartford, it is writing a new chapter by consolidating campuses and further developing the seven-year experience for students. The Estes Family Building, which houses the Middle School, officially opened on the Kingswood Road campus in the fall of 2003, providing even greater opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12.