Mount Berry Schools


Martha Berry founded Berry School in 1902 in Mount Berry, GA. Originally for boys only, the school expanded in 1909 to include girls. By 1926 the school included a Junior College and later, in 1930, a full four year college with graduate studies added in 1972. The elementary and high school were closed by the mid-1970s, but Berry College is still educating students on the same campus location.

Martha Berry grew up on a plantation near Rome, GA. When her father passed, she inherited the land and started a school for local boys from the mountain region. Students lived in dormitories and cabins on campus and Berry formed her school so that the children paid a low tuition and worked to pay the rest of their way. Teacher’s also were expected to do their share of work to build, maintain, and run the campus. Berry soon ran through her own funds and traveled often to seek funds from donors which enabled her to bring in more students and expand the campus. In 1921, Berry met Henry and Clara Ford through their mutual acquaintances, the Edison’s. The Ford’s soon took a liking to Berry and her philosophy of education and practical work and became major donors to the campus. Over the years the Ford’s donated over $3,845,197 including two dormitories, a dining hall and kitchen, a handicraft and weaving room, a recitation hall (classrooms), a gymnasium and recreation hall, as well as an auditorium. The Ford’s also helped Berry purchase a brick plant to make supplies to build campus buildings, forest land, the mountain lake reserve, and also donated cars, trucks, and tractors for student use. The gothic style Ford Buildings are still in use on the Berry College campus today. 

The Ford’s relationship with Berry continued through the years, the Ford’s often stopped in at the Berry Schools on the private train car, Fair Lane, and stayed at one of the cottages on campus. Martha Berry passed away in 1942, but left instructions that the school should award Clara Ford an honorary doctorate degree. On March 26, 1947 the school awarded Clara Ford the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities in a commencement ceremony, after which, Henry Ford planted a magnolia tree. This was Henry’s last visit to the Berry Schools, he died a week later at his home in Dearborn, Clara Ford made one last trip before she passed away in 1950.





  • Acc. 285 Henry Ford Office Papers
    • box 85 B20 N-S (includes: re: gift of Ford truck to The Berry Schools)
    • box 121 B20 27 Martha Berry (includes request for Lincoln Automobile)
    • box 174 FO170 Atlanta, Georgia (includes re: gift of tractors and farm equipment, touring car and stone crusher, to The Berry Schools)
    • box 210 BE40 N-S 48 (includes The Berry Schools)
    • box 231 FO 170 Atlanta, Georgia (includes re: contribution of dump trucks, sedan, tractor, and tractor parts to The Berry Schools, also photographs of old railroad equipment)
    • box 346 BE40 48 The Berry Schools, Inc
    • box 585 BEN100 108A and 108B The Berry Schools
    • box 743 BEN100 Berry Schools - January through June
    • box 924 BEN100 Berry Schools
    • box 1101 Berry Schools
    • box 1270-1271 Berry Schools
    • box 1286 COOKE-COON (includes Coolidge and Carlson re: Berry Schools)
    • box 1414 The Berry Schools Inc.
    • box 1528 The Berry Schools (2 folders)
    • box 1724 The Berry Schools, Inc.
    • box 1861 The Berry Schools
    • box 1987 The Berry Schools
    • box 2107 The Berry School
    • box 2238 The Berry schools
    • box 2374 PHA-PHILI (includes Dr. William Lyon Pelps re: visit to The Berry Schools)
    • box 2441 The Berry Schools
    • box 2625 The Berry Schools
    • box 2797 The Berry Schools, Inc.
    • box 2927 The Berry Schools
    • box 2997 Laura L. Quigley (Former Berry Schools teacher)
    • box 3031 Berry Schools
  • Acc. 23 General Personal Records
    • box 1 Berry Schools, Georgia, 1932-1933
  • Acc. 1 Fair Lane Papers
    • box 6 Resolutions; Berry Schools
    • box 15 Clara Ford; Awards and Tributes, Berry Schools Honorary Doctor of Humanities, 1947
    • box 69 Cards; Ber-Bet (includes cards from Martha Berry; Berry Schools)
    • box 109 Postcards; Mount Berry School
    • box 145-146 Correspondence; Berry Schools (includes Martha Berry, Alice Wingo, Students), Printed Material; Photographs
    • box 193 Philanthropic; Berry Schools, blueprint of brick making machine #10, 1930
  • Acc. 6 Edsel B. Ford Papers
    • box 1 B (includes Martha Berry), 1919-1921
    • box 4 S (includes Touring car delivered to Martha Berry, Berry College), 1919-1921
    • box 9 Berry, Martha (correspondence re: thank you for gift of car and monetary donation and billing issues), 1923
    • box 36 BE-BO (includes Martha Berry letter to Mrs. EBF), 1927
    • box 43 B-BE (includes Martha Berry), 1928
  • Acc. 13 Engineering Library Vertical File for Henry Ford Collection
    • box 2 Berry Schools, 1928-1946 (2 folders)
  • Acc. 572 Nevins and Hill Research Series
    • box 6 No. 9.9.4 Georgia Schools (includes Berry School correspondence)
  • Acc. 1136 Henry and Clara Ford Memorials Subseries
    • box 1 Berry School resolution on death of Clara Ford, undated
  • Small Accessions
    • Acc. 1042 Berry College and Berry Academy Records
  • General Postcard Collection
    • box 10 size J Vocational Education--Georgia--Mount Berry--Berry Schools
  • Engineering and Aperture Card Collection
    • drawer 8 Buildings; School Systems, Georgia, Mt. Berry
  • Acc. 00.1334.73 Berry Schools Collection, 1947-1949 (Photo album)
  • Acc. 1660 Photographic Vertical File
    • box 166-167 Berry Schools; Martha Berry, Buildings, Associated Buildings, Clara Ford, Henry Ford, Grounds, People
  • Acc. 188 Personal for Henry Ford Photographs 
    • neg. 22146-47 Berry School, Georgia, 12-27-1937

The Herald

  • "Where Opportunity's Door Stands Open - Berry Schools," v.3, n.26, p.8

Ford News

  • Berry, Martha Twenty-Millionth Car in Dixie Land, 12:2:4+:1-2
  • Work At The Berry Schools, 19:8:175: 1-3

Ford Times

  • The College that Grew from a Cabin, v.55 n.10 p.10, October 1962

Oral Histories

Vertical File

  • Berry College (3 folders)



  • Last Updated Mar 27, 2024
  • Views 889
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