Studio portrait of Marjorie Bouvé and three friends, ca. 1900.

The seven founders of the Boston School of Physical Education were a close-knit group of friends. Bessie Barnes and Miriam Tobey graduated as members of the first class from the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics in 1893. Mary Florence Stratton earned her diploma in 1900, and Caroline Baxter, Marjorie Bouvé, Marguerite Sanderson, and Grace Shepardson followed in 1903. Upon graduation, six accepted teaching positions in the Boston area. Marguerite Sanderson became a physiotherapy aide at a local medical gymnasium. 

Bouvé, Stratton, and Sanderson primarily developed the Boston School of Physical Education from idea to reality. All served as trustee-managers, and Sanderson became President of the School in 1913.

Marguerite Sanderson, ca. 1916.



Mary Florence Stratton, ca. 1920.

Marguerite Sanderson and Mary Florence Stratton

As School duties intensified, Sanderson found balancing two jobs increasingly difficult. Shortly after the School’s opening, she resigned from her position as a physiotherapist in the office of Dr. Joel Goldthwait to work fulltime at BSPE. Her professional contacts proved indispensable at the onset of WWI, when her work with Dr. Goldthwait helped her become a leader in the delivery of wartime physical therapy services. Sanderson established physiotherapy as a significant component of the BSPE curriculum before withdrawing from active participation in School affairs in 1922.

Stratton served as Secretary and Treasurer of BSPE. Prior to BSPE, she worked as a physical education teacher in the Dorchester Public Schools. This education background informed her classes in folk dancing and campcraft. Stratton became BSPE Director after Sanderson married and held the position until the School merged with the Bouvé School in 1930.