Academy History

Phillips Exeter Academy was founded in 1781 by Dr. John Phillips and his wife, Elizabeth, who resided in Exeter. A successful businessman, Phillips felt strongly about what we now call community service, having given much of his time to his church, the town, and to the province. First a teacher by trade, he firmly believed in educating “youth from every quarter.” He was Dartmouth College’s first major benefactor and provided financial support to his nephews’ founding of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, before establishing Phillips Exeter Academy three years later.

It shall ever be considered as a principal duty of the instructors to regulate the tempers, to enlarge the minds, and form the morals of the youth committed to their care.
John and Elizabeth Phillips, Deed of Gift, 1781

Deed of Gift

On May 17, 1781, John and Elizabeth Phillips signed the charter establishing Phillips Exeter Academy.

Go to the page titled Deed of Gift

Academy Chronology

A timeline of important events in the school’s history

Go to the page titled Academy Chronology