The Oxford Institute

The Oxford Institute was Started by Professor Walter H. Perry in 1893 in Oxford, Connecticut, and still provides quality education to the public today. The Oxford Institute campus is now located approximately an hour away from its original home in Canaan, Connecticut.

If the Oxford Land Trust approves our proposal for a 1/4 scale re-creation of the Oxford Institute, we propose contributing five percent of our proceeds to preserve forests for open space, to keep Oxford rural, and to stave off climate change. Please read more about the great things the Oxford Land Trust does here:

Grave of Walter H. Perry at the Oxford Congregational Cemetery
Oxford, Connecticut, USA

The founder of the Oxford Institute, Professor Walter H. Perry, (April, 1862 – May, 1934) was born in Woodstock, Connecticut to Cornelius and Mary A. Perry, and was very well known in Bridgeport, CT. He was married in 1899 to May O. Perry (May was short for Mary, born Nov. 1862) and lived with his family in what was later called the “Mary A. Perry Homestead” located in Oxford Center (named after Walter’s Mother, Mary A Johnson Perry who was born Nov. 1832, married in 1861 in NJ). In 1893, Walter created an academy in his home to teach classes to select local students as well borders from out-of-town. It was called a “select school” because it was a private school that was able to select it’s students as opposed to public schools that must accept everyone.

By the 1930’s the school was in rough condition. According to the book, “Historic Buildings of Oxford, Past and Present.” The Oxford Institute building was also known later as the “Mary A. Perry House,” which came from the W. P. A. Survey in the 1930’s. In the 1868 Beers Map of Oxford, viewable here:, you can see that, besides the Mary A. Perry house, there were four other Perry family homesteads in Oxford Center including the homes of: General Perry, Mrs. L. Perry, Miss Elizabeth Perry (designated as “Miss E. Perry” on the Beer’s map who later married into the Riggs family of Riggs Street), and X. Perry. With five Perry Homesteads in total, the Perry family members dominated Oxford Center in 1868.

Descendants of the original Perry family still live in Oxford today. If you’re one of those descendants or related to Walter H. Perry, we would appreciate more info about Professor Perry if you could email us at:

Below is an excerpt about the Oxford Institute from the book, “Historic Buildings of Oxford, Past and Present.” You can find a copy in the Oxford, Connecticut, Library.

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