Harriet “Hattie” Scoville Devan graduated from Wellesley College in 1883. She married Spencer Devan five years later, but was widowed in 1893. Undaunted, Hattie launched a career as principal of The Catharine Aiken School in Stamford in 1896. Her sister, Annie Beecher Scoville, joined her at the school as one of the teachers.
Hattie continued the school’s unique teaching method, drilling the students for 20 minutes every morning to improve their concentration. She also expanded the school’s advertising, from brief listings in select publications to long descriptions in countless magazines and newspapers.