The college was founded in 1890 at Irvington, New York by May F. Bennett. The main building of Bennett College, Halcyon Hall, was built in 1893 by H. J. Davison Jr., a publisher from New York. In 1907 moved to its final home on 22 acres in Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York. Originally named The Bennett School for Girls, the course of study was six years.
In the early 20th century the school discontinued high school courses and became a junior college only. The two-year curriculum continued through the 1970s. Generations of young women from prominent American families attended Bennett. Majors of study included art, fashion design, interior design, music, modern languages, literature, history, dance, drama, child development, equine studies, and domestic science.
The school closed in 1978. Several attempts were made in the 1980s to develop the property but all failed. Bennett College was scheduled to be demolished in 2012. It is still standing, but with far more damage.