Thanks to the prudent management of Sarah Derby’s original gift, Derby Academy remains one of only a few schools founded in the 1700s to survive centuries of social, economic and educational change without interruption.
The Ezekiel Hersey Society
The Ezekiel Hersey Society is an association of special friends who seek to ensure that the future needs of Derby students are met by including Derby Academy in their estate plans.
Sarah Derby designated a major portion of funds from her husband’s estate to establish Derby Academy in 1784 as a private town academy in Hingham because she believed strongly in the transforming power of education for both boys and girls. She and her first husband, Ezekiel Hersey, were Derby's original “planned givers.”
Ezekiel Hersey, a wealthy physician in Hingham, was a Harvard graduate with a strong interest in education. He reserved a portion of his estate to fund the “Medical Institution of Harvard University.” The remainder of his estate went to his wife Sarah, who designated the funds to establish Derby Academy.