The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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Wesleyan Ladies' College

Wednesday, May 31, 1882 (AM)

The Relation Of Art To Other Studies


Newspaper reports

Belleville Daily Ontario, June 2, 1882, 3

* A specially prepared talk not a regular lecture.

"Oscar Wilde visited the Wesleyan Female College (sic) at Hamilton and made a neat little speech to the girls."

Quoted in Oscar Wilde in Canada, Kevin O'Brien, 1882

Hamilton Spectator, June 1, 1882, 4

"Oscar Wilde was much pleased with the Ladies' College, or rather the ladies he saw there. In return for his perfectly lovely address they gave him a bouquet."*

* The flowers were presented by the principal's daughter Leda Burns.

Quoted in Oscar Wilde in Canada, Kevin O'Brien, 1882


Wesleyan Ladies' College 

57 King St. East, Hamilton, Ontario (now 102-144 King St. E)

Built: 1854 (as the Anglo-American Hotel)

Hotel closed: 1861, converted to a college

College incorporated: May 18, 1861

Opened: September 1861 (Wesleyan Female College)

Name change: before 1882, Wesleyan Ladies' College

Principal 1882: Dr. Alexander Burns 

Students: typically 144-163

Closed: 1897

Reconverted to a hotel: 1898 (the Waldorf Hotel)

Closed: 1913

Demolished: 1914

Replaced by: the Royal Connaught Hotel (opened 1916), extant as condominiums

Dr. Alexander Burns

College principal and literature professor, Dr. Alexander Burns had taken the school of 140 students to Wilde's lecture the previous evening at the Grand Opera House in Hamilton, and had invited Wilde to talk at the college the following morning.

Born: 1834, Castlewellan, Co. Down, Ireland (now N. Ireland)

Died: May 22, 1900, Toronto, ON


Wilde had stayed the previous night in Hamilton following his main lecture the day before, and he left after this morning talk at the college on the 11:30 am train for Boston.

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024