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III.

THE EDUCATION OF WOMAN IN THE

WESTERN STATES.

BY

MAY WRIGHT SEWALL.

No formal history of the movement in the West on behalf of the higher education of women has been published. The materials for this paper have been derived from the reports issued under the auspices of the Bureau of Education ; from the catalogues of institutions open to women ; from various monographs, some of which recite the history of a single college (like “ Oberlin, its Origin, Progress, and Results,” by Pres. J. H. Fairchild), others of which present the educational history of a State (like “ Higher Education in Wisconsin,” by Professors Allen and Spencer); from a miscellaneous collection of baccalaureate sermons and congratulatory addresses delivered before the graduating classes and the alumnæ associations of many colleges ; from old files of newspapers, and from scrap books which for a series of years have been collecting the records of contemporary effort along the lines of higher education ; from the biographies of distinguished educators in our country ; and from scores of letters, many of which have been written by college presidents and professors in response to my own inquiries, while others have been placed at my disposal by Dr. Carroll Cutler, formerly President of Adelbert College. No stronger evidence of the interest felt in the higher education of women could be found than the cordial, generous answers to my inquiries, which have come from the officials of scores of institutions extending from the Ohio to the Pacific. I am withheld from naming gentlemen to whom I am so deeply indebted only by the fact that a list of those who have courteously replied to my appeals for information would occupy more space than I can afford to give out of the limited number of pages allotted me in this volume.

The Western States and Territories in the order of their admission into the Union under their present names, include Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington-eighteen States; and Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming-three Territories. The changes undergone and the relations sustained by each of the above in its progress toward its present independent condition are exhibited in Table I. given in Appendix B. In this vast territorial expanse, embracing communities just being born into statehood, together with others which have enjoyed that dignity for periods varying from ten to eightyseven years, one has an opportunity to witness almost every phase of the struggle for the higher education of women.

Conditions that ceased to exist in one State so long ago that they had almost passed from the memories of their victims, arose at a later period to vex other States. Questions long settled in one community became living issues in another; and such is the reluctance of the human being to learn from the experience of others, that these questions are still discussed with as much vivacity, not to say acrimony, as if they had never been settled.

Higher education in the West has been fostered by the national government, by the governments of the separate States, by many different denominations of the Christian church, and by individual enterprise and devotion.

As a large number of the strongest institutions in the West, open to women, owe their origin to provisions made by the general government, it is fitting to direct our first inquiry to the relations of that government to education in the West. On May 25, 1785, the Continental Congress passed an ordi. nance disposing of lands in the Northwestern Territory, by which it was decreed that : “ There shall be reserved Lot No. 16 of every township for the maintenance of public schools within said township.” On July 13, 1787, the famous Ordinance relating to the government of the territory northwest of the Ohio River was passed ; in it occurs the passage which is so frequently cited in proof that the United States government stands pledged to aid the higher as well as the lower education: viz., “Religion, Morality, and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Ten days later, Congress passed another ordinance fixing the terms of sale for the tract of land purchased by the Ohio

Company. This ordinance stipulated not only that section 16 of every township should be reserved for the maintenance of schools, but also “ that two complete townships shall be given perpetually for the purposes of an university, to be laid off by the purchaser or purchasers as near the center as may be, so that the same shall be good land, to be applied to the intended object by the Legislature of the State.”

In these ordinances of 1787, we find the germ of all our State Universities in the West.

Owing to the grant secured by Congress in its contract with the Ohio Company, the Ohio University at Athens, O., was founded. It was first chartered as the “American Western University." The name implies that its friends expected it to supply the educational needs of the then vague“ West”; but only a year after the admission of Ohio as a State, i.e., in 1804, the University received a new charter from the State Legislature, under its present name. This precedent of Congressional grants for the endowment of institutions of higher education has been followed by the government to the present time.

Sometimes the two townships of land have been given en bloc, and some times they have been so given as to permit the the location of university lands in different portions of the State ; sometimes they have been kept as an endowment of the State University ; sornetimes they have been in part devoted to the founding of the university. But in every State and Territory in the above list, a university exists which owes its origin and its maintenance in part to the government of the United States.

A study of the history of the State Universities shows that in many States a strange hostility existed toward them. A feeling that by appropriating lands for their endowment, the general government was encouraging the growth of an aristocratic class of learned men, seems not to have been uncommon in the early days. This appears to be one valid explanation of the reluctance of State Legislatures to make generous or permanent appropriations for the support of such universities.

The truth is, however, that the State Universites are the most democratic of all the institutions of higher learning ; this truth is now generally perceived, and the institutions are growing proportionally popular. It is due to their necessarily democratic nature that they are now without exception open to women. Their chief feeders are the public high schools, with which they must maintain direct and constant communication. Their chief financial support comes directly and equally from all property-holding citizens ; either by appropriation from the public treasury, varying in amount with each Legislature, or by a fixed, special tax, of a certain percentum of all assessed property. Finding their students in the public high schools, which in the West are almost universally co-educational, and their support in the public treasury, into which flow taxes upon the property of women and girls as well as upon that of men and boys, the wonder is that the State Universities did not from their origin admit women as students.

The following table will show when each State University was chartered, opened, and opened to women. The list of States in this table is presented as above in the chronological order of their admission to the Union.

CHARTERED.

OPENED. ADMITTED WOMEN. s Athens ........ 1804..

1809............ 1871 Ono 7 Columbus ...... 1870..

1873............

1873 Indiana .............. ... 1820..

1824 ......

1867 Illinois ...............

1867..
1868.....

1871 Missouri.........

1839...
1843......

1870 Michigan .......

1837. ....
1841.......

1870 Iowa ................ 1847......

1860 ..........

1860

1860, 1863, Wisconsin ........... 1848............ 1849

1868, 1871,

1875 California.. 1868.......... 1869..

1870 Minnesota .

1868....
1869.

1869 Oregon ....

1876....
1876.

1876 Kansasu.

1866 Nevada.....

1874 ............ 1004............ 1874. Nebraska .... 1869....

1871 Colorado ..... 1861..

1877 North Dakota.. 1883 ..

1884 South Dakota..... 1862......

1885..

1885 Montana ..............

1884......
1883.....

1883 Washington ..........

1861......

1862...... Utah, Deseret......... 1850............ 1850............ 1850

1861.........

1866.

.........

1884.

A glance at the table will show that the periods of time during which these universities received men only, vary from two to sixty-two years, that but one of those opened prior to 1861 has been from the outset co-educational; that all opened prior to 1861 became co-educational between 1861 and 1871: and that all organized since 1871 started as co-educational institutions.

National government made additional provision for higher education by an act usually referred to as “ The Agricultural College Act of 1862.” By this act each State received 30,000 acres of land for each Senator and Representative to whom it

was entitled in the United States Congress, “the proceeds to be applied to the maintenance of at least one college in each State," "without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts." Under this act there have been established in the territory discussed in this chapter, since 1862, fourteen colleges of the character indicated.

In Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, and Nebraska such institutions exist as Departments of the State University, and, like all its other departments, admit women.

In Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, and Colorado, such institutions, under various names, as “ Agricultural College,” “Industrial and Mechanical College," “ College of Applied Science,” etc., enjoy an independent organization, in some States loosely connected with, in others entirely separate from, the State University.

These institutions are authorized to give degrees appropriate to the courses of study pursued in them, and they are likewise open to women. The act of 1862 gave a distinct impulse to the higher education of women in the West, for reasons to be hereafter mentioned.

Although the germ of a State University was secured by the national government to each of the twenty-one States and Territories in our list at or prior to the time of its admission, in many instances the State action relative to these institutions, upon which the government aid had been conditioned, was postponed for a long series of years. In the mean time the desire for the higher education was stimulated, and opportunities for obtaining it were provided by the churches.

Appendix B, Table II., to this article, gives a list of 165 institu, tions, within my prescribed territory, open to women, which are of sufficient importance to be included in the tables of “Colleges of Liberal Arts,” published by the United States Commissioner of Education, in his Report for 1888–89 (taken from the advance sheets). Of these, 45 are non-sectarian. The remaining 120 are distributed among the various denominations as follows:

Methodist Episcopal, 31; Baptist, 16; Presbyterian, 14 ; Congregational, 13 ; Christian, 10 ; United Brethren, 7 ; Lutheran, 6 ; United Presbyterian, 4; Reformed, 3 ; Friends, 3 ; Cumberland Presbyterian, 2 ; M. E. South, 2 ; Universalist, 2 ; Seventh Day Baptist, 1 ; Methodist Protestant, 1 ; Evangelical

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