Montgomery Bell, a Pennsylvanian, came to Dickson County, Tennessee, around 1800 and purchased the Cumberland iron furnace from James Robertson, one of the founding fathers of Nashville. Bell had a keen interest in education, paying for the schooling of his sister’s children as a young man. When he died without heirs in 1855, Bell left $20,000 to the University of Nashville for the “education of children not less than ten or more than fourteen years-old who are not able to support and educate themselves and whose parents are not able to do so.” By 1867, the sum had grown to $46,000 and was used by John Berrien Lindsley, President of the University of Nashville, to start Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA).
MBA opened its doors on September 9, 1867, with 26 scholars in two rooms. The student body was divided into grammar school and high school departments. MBA has experienced tremendous growth in the 150 years since its founding. The school is now home to more than 750 students, 140 faculty and staff, facilities in three locations in Middle Tennessee, and exchange programs than span the globe.
Fifteen headmasters have overseen the progress of MBA, each committed to helping every boy develop into a man of character, compassion, and intellectual curiosity. The mission of the school remains providing each MBA student with the tools to reach his maximum potential as gentleman, scholar, and athlete.