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botany, chemistry, geology, and natural philosophy had a large circulation.
Names which soon rose to high distinction in educational work were those of Miss Grant and Miss Lyon, of Massachusetts, Miss Catherine Fiske of Keene, N. H., Miss Catherine Beecher of Connecticut, and the Misses Longstreth of Philadelphia, Pa.
The work of Miss Fiske was nearly cotemporary with that of Mrs. Willard. For twenty-three years, up to her death in 1836, she carried on a school which received some 2500 pupils to a course of study which embraced botany, chemistry, astronomy, and “Watts on the Mind.”
Miss Catherine Beecher, who was endowed with the marked individuality of her family, conducted a seminary at Hartford, Conn., from 1822 to 1832, and later one at Cincinnati, O. Her course of study included Latin, and calisthenic training was a conspicuous feature. She gave prominence in her instruction to the worth of domestic skill.
She wrote text-books on mental and moral philosophy and upon theology, and did not forget to prove by publishing “a domestic receipt book,” that, though learned, she had not soared above the true sphere of woman.
To the schools already mentioned came pupils from every State in the Union, either from families of means or to receive the generosity of the principals.
Mary Lyon was born among the Massachusetts hills in 1797, and graduated from the position of teacher in the little schoolhouses, and again as a student from Byfield Academy; then from the charge of Adams Academy at Derry, N. H., and from a like position in Ipswich Academy, Mass., in both which she was associated with Miss Grant. To her was due the conception of “ a school which shall put within reach of students of moderate means such opportunities that the wealthy cannot find better ones.”
To the execution of her plan the gathering of a few thousand dollars was necessary. The labor involved may be inferred from the fact that in the list of contributions the sum of fifty cents repeatedly appears. The most serious obstacles were found in the antagonism to what seemed to many a needless project. Said Dr. Hitchcock : “Respectable periodicals were charged with sarcasm and enmity to Miss Lyon's plans. She remained unruffled."
When, in 1834, the Massachusetts General Association declined to indorse the enterprise, a Doctor of Divinity made haste to say, “You see that the measure has utterly failed. Let this page of Divine Providence be attentively considered in relation to this matter!”
But in face of all disheartenments, in 1837 Mount Holyoke Seminary was opened in the beautiful Connecticut valley. The mode of living was for a time almost ascetic. The work of the house was mainly done by the pupils, but the cost, lights and fuel excepted, was only sixty dollars per school year of forty weeks, and so continued for sixteen years. · Bible study held a leading place in the curriculum.
It was Miss Lyon's ambition to make the course equal to that required for admission to college, and she planned for steady growth from the small beginnings. Nobly have her expectations been fulfilled!
The hindrances encountered again indicate the slow growth of public sentiment. It was desired that the ancient and some of the modern languages should be studied, but it was necessary to wait ten years before Latin could appear in the course, because “the views of the community would not allow it.” As an optional study it was pursued in classes every year after the first. So French, which was taught from the very first year, became a part of the course only in 1877, after the lapse of forty years.
As time has passed, the thorough work done, and the steadily expanding course of study have won to the institution devoted friends, who have added generously to its grounds, its buildings, and its funds. Once the State has been asked for aid, mainly for payment for a gymnasium, and a grant of $40,000 was obtained in 1867.
The triple strain of study, labor, and economy, under the stimulus of lofty aims, might well have given cause, in those early days, for anxiety on the score of health, but statistics were tabulated in 1867 which showed the comparative longevity of graduates of eight institutions, covering a period of thirty years. The colleges noted were “Amherst," “ Bowdoin,” “Brown,” “ Dartmouth,” “ Harvard,” “ Williams," and “ Yale."
Exclusive of mortality in war, the record of " Mount Holyoke Seminary” was more favorable than any other except that of “Williams College,” which fell two and one-half per cent. below it in mortality, while “ Dartmouth” exceeded it by more than thirty-eight per cent.
It has been the theory of “Mount Holyoke Seminary” that she must have every advantage that the state of education will allow. She must be a college in fact, whether or not she take the name.
In this she reversed the theory of many of the 400 institutions in the United States, which easily take the name of col. lege first. Recently her advanced course of study, pursued by 200 pupils, seemed to justify her adding to her powers and to her dignities, and in 1888 the Massachusetts Legislature granted a charter “authorizing Mount Holyoke Seminary and College to confer such degrees and diplomas as are conferred by any university, college or seminary of learning in this Commonwealth.”
Educational institutions, which have taken form and gathered impetus from Mount Holyoke Seminary, are to be found not only from ocean to ocean in the United States, including the “Cherokee Seminary,” founded by John Ross in the Indian Territory in 1851, but in Turkey, in Spain, in Persia, in Japan, and in Cape Colony, South Africa.
After display of so great administrative ability as appeared in Miss Lyon and her successors, it strikes one as still another mark of the traditional reluctance to recognize true values, that close upon half a century from the founding of the institution had passed before the name of a woman appeared in the list of trustees. Meantime every principal of the seminary had been a woman, every resident physician had been a woman, and every anniversary address had been made by a man.
The debt which the public owes to a few individuals who have used lavishly, for its benefit, their own great endowments, whether of brains or of money, before this same public was conscious of its own highest needs, is distinctly traceable in the kindergarten, kitchen-garden, industrial school, college, and university movements of the present day. Truly, many of these to whom much has been given have read their duty in the light of the scripture, “Of him much shall be required.” When values are once demonstrated to the people, they are ever ready to carry on important work with liberality. ,
While recognizing the importance of the many lines of educational effort, if we sought to learn which has done most to give a solid basis of thoroughness to woman's education, and, secondarily, to general education, during the middle part of the present century, we should find the answer in the Normal Schools. While other institutions have contributed greatly to increase the scope of woman's study, these have added thereto the important consideration of methods.
As a part of the thrifty policy which the States have shown when dealing with the education of girls, they have furnished Normal School instruction with the especial view to getting skilled labor in return.
Perhaps there is nothing which would insure so great care in instilling first principles. The result has certainly been to make their invaluable influence felt from the cities to the remotest school districts.
The story of the establishment of these schools is another story of personal struggle against more than indifference, and indifference itself may justly be regarded as a solid substance.
. The interest in Normal Schools in America, which was aroused by Prof. Denison Ormstead in 1816, and was advocated by De Witt Clinton, by Gallaudet, and by Horace Mann, grew to fervor in the Rev. Charles Brooks of Medford, Mass., who caught his inspiration from Dr. Julius, of Hamburg, who was sent to the United States by the King of Prussia to study our public institutions. In 1865 Mr. Brooks rode in his chaise over two thousand miles to present the subject, at his own cost, to the people. He held conventions and presented the topic in pulpits as “ Christian Culture.” He says, “My discouragements were legion.”
The leading paper in Boston and in New England expressed its sense of the absurdity of the movement by admitting a caustic communication, which ended by representing Rev. Mr. Brooks with a fool's cap on his head, marching up State Street at the head of a crowd of ragamuffin young men and women, who bore a banner, inscribed, “To a Normal School in the clouds.” Mr. Brooks was, however, invited to speak on the subject before the House of Representatives, and “some members of the Legislature called the new movement by funny names.”
But educators like George B. Emerson, and thinkers like Rev. William Ellery Channing, and statesmen like Horace Mann lent their aid, and, stirred by Mr. Brooks, support was given in public speech by Hon. John Q. Adams and Daniel Webster.
Mr. Mann was Secretary of the Board of Education upon its organization in 1837, and, in his first report, recommended that the Legislature establish Normal Schools. A donation of $10,000 being made by Mr. Dwight to stimulate this interest, a State appropriation was made, and a Normal School for girls was opened at Lexington, Mass., in 1838. Later, others were opened, some of which admitted boys. also, but for the first twenty years, eighty-seven per cent. of the graduates
were girls. These schools are now widely scattered through the United States. The history of that at Oswego, N. Y., is of especial interest.
The first systematic effort for the physical development of women was made in 1861 in Boston. A “Normal Institute for Physical Culture," was established by Dr. Dio Lewis, aided by the president and some of the professors of Harvard College. At the outset the young women pupils were found lamentably deficient in respect of physical development. Later, Dr. Lewis stated that “in every one of the thirteen classes which were graduated, the best gymnast was a woman. In each class there were from two to six women superior to any of the men." Dr. Walter Channing, one of the professors, often spoke with enthusiasm of the physical superiority of the women to the men. From the graduates of these classes instruction in light gymnastics was widely introduced into schools throughout the country. Now the well-appointed gymnasium is a prominent feature of the leading colleges to which women are admitted, and the erection and endowment of this department is a favorite form of benefaction from the alumnæ.
Prof. Huxley says, “No system of education is worthy the name, unless it creates a great educational ladder, with one end in the gutter and the other in the university.” Such was the intuitive feeling of our ancestors, even in the Colonial days, with regard to boys. When, however, in the course of centuries, conviction came to a few that what had been for one sex only was, in fairness, due to the other as well, the atmosphere of the older States did not prove bracing enough to sustain so utopian a theory, and the ambitious daughters of New Eng. land were obliged to follow those who, transplanted to the virgin soil of Ohio, had opened Oberlin College, offering such opportunities as it could furnish without distinction of race, and with but limited discrimination against sex.
Something more remarkable than the hungry young mind seeking mental food at disadvantage, was witnessed in 1853, when the full mind and earnest spirit of the leading New England educator, Hon. Horace Mann, eager to inaugurate the best methods of the higher education in a co-educational college, found his only chance by leaving his native New England, to build an institution from its very foundation, in a section remote from literary association. The pathos is deepened that his life was sacrificed in the contest with obstacles.
Following this magnetic leader, again a few New England girls turned westward, and gained, at Antioch College, Ohio,