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to any nation, age, or sex, provided that no one shall be admitted unless able “to read in the Bible readily without spelling.”
The impulse which single individuals often give to progress had its exemplification in this awakening period.
Two students of Yale College, during a long vacation after the British troops invaded New Haven, had each a class of young ladies for the term of one quarter. One of these students, well known later as the Rev. William Woodbridge, and before quoted here, during his senior year in college, in 1779, kept a young ladies' school in New Haven, consisting of about twenty-five scholars, in which he taught grammar, geography, composition, and the elements of rhetoric, and the success of this school led to the establishment of others elsewhere.
Mr. Woodbridge, on graduating, took for the subject of his thesis, “ Improvement in Female Education.” It would be interesting to know whether the school of Mr. Woodbridge led, as seems probable, to the following curious bit of history.
From Yale College, or from as near to it as a girl could get, issued, in 1783, the following attested certificate :
“ BE IT KNOWN to you that I have examined Miss Lucinda Foote, twelve years old, and have found that in the learned languages, the Latin and the Greek, she has made commendable progress, giving the true meaning of passages in the Æneid of Virgil, the select orations of Cicero, and in the Greek testament, and that she is fully qualified, except in regard to sex, to be received as a pupil of the Freshman Class of Yale University. “Given in the College Library, the 22d of December, 1783.
“ EZRA STILES, President."
Miss Foote afterwards pursued a full course of college studies and Hebrew, under President Stiles. She then married and had ten children.
Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College, traveled in 1803 through New England and New York, and made careful observation of educational conditions. He reports that “ of the higher class of schools, generally styled academies, where pupils are qualified for college, there are twenty in Connecti. cut and forty-eight in Massachusetts.” He adds: “Two of those in Connecticut and three in Massachusetts are exclusively female seminaries. Some others admit children of both
sexes." He does not say that any one of the thirteen in New Hampshire or of the twelve in Vermont was open to girls. A third of a century afterwards Massachusetts had 854 academies and private schools. Later, the advance in grade of the public school system so reduced the number of personally supported schools, that in 1886 there were but 74 academies and 348 private schools, about one-half the number of a century before. The rapid growth and as rapid decline of the academy system was due to the fact that, while personal and associated effort had taken up a work for which the people were not prepared, its success proved a rapid educator, especially as to the capacity of girls, and the free school system was steadily pressed to higher levels.
Salem established an English high school for boys in 1827; one for girls eighteen years later, in 1845.
It was in 1836, as has been stated, when the school committee of Newburyport decreed “ that one female grammar school be kept though the year ”; it was only six years afterwards, in 1842, that the town voted to establish a female high school. This was encouraging, but when, later, the valuable “ Putnam Fund” came into use for advanced education, there was much discussion between the special committee, appointed by the town, in conference with the trustees of the fund, as to whether Mr. Putnam designed, by his bequest, to include the instruction of females, and it required a decision of the Supreme Court to sustain the position of the trustees that "youth” might include both sexes.
The city of Lowell, Mass., which held its first town meeting in 1826, and was not incorporated until 1836, established a high school in 1831, midway between these events, and, to its lasting credit, on a co-educational basis. The first class which it graduated gave to Lowell its first woman principal of a grammar school, and to the country General B. F. Butler. This was one of the earliest high schools, and, so far as the writer can learn, the first that was co-educational.
In connection with the first and ephemeral high school for girls, in Boston, we have unusual opportunities in the “ Municipal History of Boston," by Josiah Quincy, to learn the public sentiment of the time among the most intelligent and worthy, and to observe the struggle which it cost the more progressive to persuade those in power that girls had as great need of instruction, and as real claim on the public funds, as their brothers.
In 1825 the school committee of Boston asked an appro
priation from the city council for a high school for girls. A few years previous the monitorial, or mutual, system of instruction had been tried in a town school. Some claimed that it had been successful ; its cost was certainly less than onethird that of the old system.
Speaking of the formation of the plan for a high school for girls, Mr. Quincy says: “ There being at that time a very general desire in the school committee to test the usefulness of monitorial instruction, it was proposed that the school should be conducted on that system, and in respect of expense the report supposed that one large room would be sufficient, at least for one year.”
It was objected to the foundation of the school that the best scholars would be drawn away from the grammar schools, to the loss of their influence and of their services, as monitors ; in spite of this the city council voted an appropriation of $2000 to carry out the plan. “The anticipations of difficulty were, however, so strong and so plausible, that the project was adopted expressly as an experiment, if favorable, to be continued, if adverse, to be dropped, of course.”.
Difficulties appeared immediately. “Before the examination of candidates occurred, it becomes apparent that the result of a high school for girls would be very different from that of the high school for boys; and that, if continued upon the scale of time and studies which the original project embraced, the expense would be insupportable, and the effect upon the common schools positively injurious.
“Instead of go candidates, the highest number that had ever offered in one year for the school for boys, it was ascertained that nearly three hundred would be presented for the high school for girls . ... and it was evident that either two high schools for girls must be established the first year, or that more than one-half of the candidates must be rejected.”
Two hundred and eighty-six candidates presented themselves, and an arbitrary system was adopted to keep all but 130 out. “ The girls admitted were the élite of the grammar schools, and were among the most ambitious and highly educated of them, and of private schools, from which a majority of those admitted were derived.
“ It was impossible that such a school should not be highly advantageous to the few who enjoyed its benefits."
After six months' existence of the school, an alarming report was sent to the school committee to the effect that aç. cording to the best calculations, the number of candidates for admission at the next examination would be 427.
Mr. Quincy notes that “the school was chiefly for the advantage of the few and not for the many, and those, also, the prosperous few," and he regards with evident apprehension this large number of girls “to whom a high classical education (though Greek and Latin were excluded) was extremely attractive."
“ Again this experiment showed that in the school for boys the number of scholars diminished every year, whereas of all those who entered this high school for girls, not one, during the eighteen months that it was in operation, voluntarily quitted it ; and there was no reason for believing that any one admitted to the school would voluntarily quit it for the whole three years, except in case of marriage.
“ It was apparent to all who contemplated the subject disinterestedly, that the continuance of this school would involve an amount of expense unprecedented and unnecessary, since the same course of study could be introduced into the grammar schools.
“To meet the exigency many schemes were proposed, the principal being that the age of admission should be fourteen instead of eleven, and no female to be admitted after the age of sixteen ; that the requisitions for admission should be raised ; and that the school should be only for one year instead of three.
“ These modifications, in which the school committee and city council generally concurred, so greatly diminished the advantages which the original plan proposed, that much of the interest which its creation excited was also diminished. The school, however, was permitted to continue, subject to this modification, until November 27, when a committee was raised to consider the expediency of continuing it, which, on December it, following, reported 'that it was expedient to continue it.'
Much debate followed, in course of which “ the Mayor declared that his opinion was so decidedly adverse to the con. tinuance of the school, that he could not vote in its favor.” Largely, no doubt, through the influential opposition of Mr. Quincy, who was then Mayor of the city, and on motion of a Mr. Savage, who said that, though, “as a member of the city council he had voted for the appropriation for the high school for girls, it was merely to make a public experiment of the system of mutual instruction as regards females”; it was voted on June 3, 1826," that the girls be permitted to remain in the English common school throughout the year." Precisely what was meant by this vote, beyond the abolition of the high school, appears, if we recall that girls were not yet admitted to the grammar school except for half the year.
As Mr. Quincy states it, “ The project of the high school was thus abandoned and the scale of instruction in the common schools of the city was gradually elevated and enlarged.” As in 1834, eight years later, it was voted “that the school committee be directed so to arrange the town schools that the girls enjoy equal privileges with the boys throughout the year,” it is to be presumed that the permission voted in 1826 was inoperative until this date. But the end was gained. The school was abolished, of which Mayor Quincy said in an address to the board of aldermen in 1829 : “ It may be truly said that its impracticability was proved before it went into operation”; and he again refers to “this high, classical school ” with the remark that “no funds of any city could endure the expense.”
It may have been that those who were parents of daughters as truly as of sons, saw this action in relation to the fact that the English High School, “ for boys only,” had been supported for four years, and the Latin School, “ for boys only,” for almost two centuries, both from the public funds ; for, when Mr. Quincy wrote the account from which the above quotations and summary have been made, he recalled the intense opposition to his views of “a body of citizens of great activity and of no inconsiderable influence."
In 1851, speaking of his former opinions with regard to the high school, he wrote: “ The soundness of these views and their coincidence with the permanent interests of the city, seem to be sanctioned by the fact that twenty-three years have elapsed, and no effectual attempt during that period has been made for its revival, in the school committee, or in either branch of the city council.”
He did not consider that ideas of which the germ is sound have, nevertheless, their periods of incubation ; but, if shades are permitted to “revisit the glimpses of the moon,” we can imagine the venerable ex-Mayor, ex-President of Harvard, and most worthy man, reflectively regarding the “Girls' High School," established in connection with the Normal School in 1852, almost before his words of self-gratulation had ceased to echo; and, with still more astonishment, contemplating the Girls' Latin School, established in 1878 to fit girls for college.
In Massachusetts in 1888, 198 cities and towns supported