In his newest best-seller, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough mentions Emma Hart Willard prominently throughout the book. He called her “A champion of higher education for American women.”
On the eve of their 50th Class Reunion at Emma, The Class of '61, and Trudy Hall, extended this video invitation inviting the author to campus for Emma's bicentennial.
In the Movies
Because of its impeccable grounds, buildings listed on the National Historic Register and movie-set backdrop, Emma Willard School (and Troy, N.Y.) has played a starring role in some major motion pictures.
The Emperor's Club
A 2002 drama that tells the story of a prep school teacher and his students is based on Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief." The film is directed by Michael Hoffman and stars Kevin Kline.
The movie is set at a fictional boys' prep school, St. Benedict's Academy.
Scent of a Woman
Al Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance this 1992 drama that tells the story of a preparatory school student who takes a job as an assistant to an irascible, blind, medically retired Army officer. It stars Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gabrielle Anwar. It is a remake of the Italian movie Profumo di donna (1974), directed by Dino Risi and adapted by Bo Goldman from the novel Il buio e il miele (Italian: Darkness and Honey).
The film won three major awards at the Golden Globes: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Motion Picture - Drama.
The Age of Innocence
A 1993 American film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the same name. The film was released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.
Set during the Great Depression, the 1987 film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Albany author William Kennedy tells the story of Francis Phelan, an alcoholic vagrant originally from Albany, N.Y., who left his family after accidentally killing his infant son while he may have been drunk. The novel focuses on Francis' return to Albany, and the narrative is complicated by Phelan's hallucinations of the three people, other than his son, whom he killed in the past.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep).