According to the history published by the Penn State Abington archives, the roots of the Ogontz White Mountain Camp stretch as far back as 1850 when the Chestnut Street Female Seminary opened its doors in Philadelphia. With enrollment steadily increasing soon after the school's founding, the school was forced to find a new home that could accomodate the larger student population. Jay Cooke, of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, had a forty acre estate that was just what the school required. Cooke, a banker who had helped finance the Union during the Civil War, had been suffering financially. So, in order to rebuild his capital, he leased his large mansion to the Chestnut Street School. Cooke's mansion was named Ogontz after a Sandusky Indian called Chief Ogontz. Chief Ogontz, according to the PSU history, taught Cooke wilderness skills as a boy and Cooke admired him greatly. Thus, upon the move, the Chestnut Street Female Seminary became the Ogontz School for Girls.
Abby Sutherland became principal of the Ogontz School in 1912 and moved the school to Rydal, PA (part of the Abington Township). Sutherland's purposes in moving the school from Elkin's Park to Rydal were expansion and modernization. At the same time Sutherland probably had no choice but to move, as the Cooke descendents were selling the original Ogontz estate to the Wideners. Soon later, Sutherland, with some assistance from her future husband William "Billy" Brown (a cowboy), began a summer camp in northern New Hampshire. This camp would go on to function as a sort of "summer extension" of the program being taught in Pennsylvania.
The two projects eventually got lives of their own, the Ogontz School would eventually add a junior college to its offerings (in addition to its high school and elementary school), and the Ogontz Camp would begin to function as an elite summer camp of its own in 1923. The two would share a close, but not exclusive relationship through the 1950s and into the early 1960s. The Ogontz School would eventually go on to be absorbed into the Penn State University system. While it is today known as Penn State Abington, the students there still continue to recognize a "Chief Ogontz" annually with a faculty/staff award.
(Thank you to Theresa Smith, historian and archivist for the Ogontz School at Penn State Abington, for correcting the above information).