Imágenes de páginas

sion into classes, that degrees would always be conferred upon those who had taken the proper examinations, and that one young woman had actually completed the course and received the degree of A.M. What more can the women of the central Southern States desire? It is not necessary that every male college should be open to them; there may be parents who think that the conventual life is best suited to the moral and social development of their sons, and such parents should have an opportunity for carrying out the plan which commends itself to them. All that women ask is that they should have freedom of access to the best men's colleges. In that way a standard for a woman's education will be fixed, and every woman will be able to reach that standard if she desires it ; the second best colleges may then be allowed to be as exclusive as they please.

There is one more bright spot in the educational outlook for Southern women: it is announced that in the new Methodist university, which is about to be founded in Washington, on a large scale, every department will be open to women on exactly the same terms as to men.

It lies with Southern women to decide whether they shall accept the large privileges which are now open to them. It is hard for mothers who did not go to college themselves, and who have still lived what seemed to them to be happy lives, to feel that something different is desirable for their daughters; but may there not be fathers who, having tasted the pleasures of intellectual activity for themselves, will be minded to lead their daughters into the same fields which they have found to be attractive ?

THE SEMI-COLLEGES. I give in Appendix C, Table II., the list of semi-colleges, as determined from their catalogues. Of course, it cannot be inferred from the fact that the course is a good one that it is well carried out: but if the course is very limited, if the text-books used are poor, if there is no indication that the school has any library nor any scientific apparatus, it can be inferred that the school is not of a high grade; the above list may therefore be taken as a superior limit of the semi-colleges in the South. On the other hand, it may happen that the teachers of the classics and of English literature are persons of culture and of wide learning, and that a greater number of authors are read than the course laid down demands.

In the Mary Sharp College (Winchester, Tenn.), in 1887-88,

four young ladies completed the following post graduate course in the first half year* : Seneca's Essays, Edipus Tyrannus, Dindorf's Metres, Colloquia in Latin, etc. ; in the second half year two of them read Lycias' Orations,-against Eratosthenes, concerning the sacred olive, and the funeral oration,—the Panegyric of Isoscrates, Xenophon's Symposium, Lucian's Charon, and Plutarch's Delay of the Deity ; and one of them, Miss Ada Slaughter, read, in addition, the Ajax of Sophocles, Plato's Apology and Crito, Iliad (three books), Lucian's Dream, Seneca's Epigrammatica, Seneca's Letters, Ovid's Metamorphoses (nine books), Cicero de Officiis, Pliny's Letters, Sallust's Jugurtha, and Eutropius. This college was founded in 1850, and for many years “it maintained a course of study, a method of instruction, and plan of government far in advance of any college in America for women.”+ From the beginning it has required both Latin and Greek for graduation, and a very respectable amount of both; it thus deserves, more than the Georgia Female College, the name of the first college exclusively for women in the country. It has over three hundred graduates, and in 1887-88 it had 182 pupils.

The Nashville College for Young Ladies seems to be one of the most important of the colleges of this grade in the South. It has frequent lectures from the professors of Vanderbilt University, and students in the scientific department attend lectures in the laboratories and cabinets of that university. A teacher of the school is present, and examines the class afterward. The professor quizzes in the daily lecture course, but is not responsible for the examinations. The president of the school writes me:

“ Until I began here in 1880, the thought of arresting the graduation of a girl was not entertained. If she went through the curriculum without preliminary tests or without any intermediate or final examinations, the diploma followed as a matter of implied contract. Pupils were received to be graduated within a specified time. This sounds incredible, I know, and yet I have the best proof of the fact. When I announced that no pupil would be graduated in my institution without sufficient tests of her scholarship, it was freely predicted that such an innovation would destroy the patronage of the school. I

* Catalogue.

+ Vassar was not opened until 1865. East.—ED.

See chapter on Education in

am glad to say that the vaticination was false, but I allude to to the facts to throw light upon the status among us.”

THE OTHER FEMALE COLLEGES. The schools for women which are of a higher grade than the ordinary high school, but not so high as the college, the Bureau of Education classifies under the head of Superior Instruction. It will be seen from Appendix C, Table III., that the State of Kentucky has nineteen of these female colleges, and that six of the Southern States have an average of fourteen each. They are of all possible degrees of excellence. Such schools as the Hollins Institute and the Norfolk College for Young Ladies in Virginia, and Caldwell College at Danville, Ky., have every mark of being thoroughly good schools. The difficulty with nearly all these schools is, of course, that they are private and money-making enterprises, and do not care to incur large expenses for teachers or for the proper appliances for instruction, nor to make the course of study so rigid as to drive away pupils. It is remarkable to see how soon the character of the course, and especially the character of the textbooks, is changed as soon as the majority of the teachers are graduates of Northern colleges. On the other hand, it is the lack of intelligence and care on the part of parents that perinits the poorest of these schools to continue to exist. If the worst half of these schools could be starved out of existence, and if their patronage could be transferred to the better half, the quality of the instruction which women receive in the South would be completely changed. It is a duty which parents owe to the public, no less than to their daughters, to discriminate carefully against the thoroughly worthless schools.*

In one of these so-called colleges no foreign language is taught ; in another, the senior class takes a whole year to complete plane geometry; in very many of them Steele's textbooks in the sciences are used. In the Chickasaw Female College, Latin is optional, no other language and very little mathematics is taught, and the president says: “An experience of very many years proves to me that this course is not too far extended." In many of these small colleges the subjects of study constitute separate schools, following the plan of

* A Kentucky mother who had taken the trouble to send her daughter to Helmuth College in Canada, found that she was carrying on sixteen studies at the same time, and that she gave one half hour a week to geometry, during which the teacher gave the demonstrations and did not permit the class to ask any questions.

the University of Virginia. In the Marion Female Seminary, “the schools being distinct, the student may become a candidate for graduation in one or all of them at once." There are sometimes thirteen distinct schools ; in the Huntsville Female Seminary there are ten, all carried out, as far as appears from the catalogue, by a single instructor, the president.

The rules and regulations in many of these colleges are extremely minute and harassing; they are largely copied from one catalogue to another; in several instances the pupils are not allowed to read any book nor any newspaper without the express permission of the president; in nearly all, the discipline will be “mild, but, if necessary, firm.” In one catalogue only, it is said that “there are no rules and but few regulations ; ladylike conduct is the one thing required.

A uniform dress must be worn in many of these colleges. The Sunday suit is frequently “of navy blue, made fashionably, but with no triminings of either silk or satin, no ruffles, and no beads." In one of these schools, a uniform dress was at first required only for Sundays, but the week day dressing was found to be so extravagant that it became necessary to restrict the material worn to a black and white check gingham. In the catalogue of the Suffolk Female Institute, it is stated that “the uniform dress usually prescribed by other institutions is not required here"; and, in that of another school, that “uniformity is not needful or wise."

The cost of board and tuition in these schools (exclusive of music and painting and fancy work) is most frequently about two hundred dollars. Parents who can afford it usually send their daughters North, or at least as far North as to Virginia or Tennessee, as it is considered that a few years passed in a colder climate have a good effect in establishing their health. Only a small number have as yet taken the college courses that are offered in the North. The following table gives the results of my inquiries :

Vassar College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Wellesley College . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Smith College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Swarthmore College .
Boston University . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Bryn Mawr College ..
Cornell University . .
Syracuse University . .
Kansas University . .
Massachusetts Institute of Technology . . . . . . o

1000 minuter

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The president of Michigan University is able to recall from six to ten women graduates from Southern States, and the num. ber from the University of Wisconsin has been “not large.

SECONDARY INSTRUCTION. From the statistics for secondary instruction in the Southern States, it may be discovered that there are more than twice as many girls as boys in attendance upon public high schools. There are three times as many girls as boys throughout the whole country, it will be remembered, who complete the high school course. I do not find that a single Southern city provides a high school for boys without providing one for girls also, and usually it is the same school for both (though the recitation-rooms may be separate). Where the schools are distinct, the girls' school is usually much inferior to the boys'. This is notably the case in Baltimore, where the boys' high school (it is called the City College) fits admirably for the Johns Hopkins University, and where the two girls' high schools are of an extremely low grade. Throughout the entire South there are only forty-one high schools, while there are seventy-six in Massachusetts alone, but it must be remembered that any system of public schools has hardly existed in the South previous to the war.

An important feature in secondary education in the South is the establishment of the Bryn Mawr Preparatory School in Baltimore. In 1884 five ladies formed themselves into a committee and appointed a secretary and six teachers (science, classics, mathematics, history, French, and German), all college graduates, and a drawing teacher. The school opened with forty pupils, and in the third year it met all its expenses. A very handsome building, containing a thoroughly well-equipped gymnasium, is now (1889) being erected by Miss Mary Garrett (one of the directors) for the future accommodation of the school. For this building the directors expect to pay a fair rent-if not on the actual cost, yet on the price of a building that would have met the needs of the school. They are anxious to prove that a school of this grade can be made to pay.* They intend, out of the earnings of the school, to pay the college expenses for four years of the two best students of each year's graduating class. The distinguishing mark of the school is that it requires each child who enters to take the subjects required for entrance to college (the Bryn Mawr College

* The tuition is $150 a year.

« AnteriorContinuar »