Catherine Beecher, an educator who devoted her life to the promotion of equal educational opportunities for women, begins an association with Milwaukee Female Seminary. Sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Catherine changes the seminary's curriculum so that it is in line with the Beecher Plan-a plan that aimed to raise the level of instruction for women to a truly collegiate level. She renames the school The Milwaukee Normal Institute-a name that is changed again in 1853 to Milwaukee Female College.
Increase A. Lapham, known as the "Father of the U.S. Weather Bureau," and a strong supporter of Beecher, serves as chairman of the school's board from 1850-63.
Downer College begins its life as Wisconsin Female College and is located in Fox Lake, Wisconsin. Here women are prepared for missionary service by the Wisconsin Baptist Convention.