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in the South. But as matter of fact, there are no less than one hundred and fifty institutions in the South which are authorized by the Legislatures of their respective States to confer the regular college degrees upon women. Of these, forty-one are co-educational, eighty-eight are for women alone, and twentyone are for colored persons of both sexes. The bureau of education makes no attempt to go behind the verdict of the State Legislatures, but on looking over the catalogues of all these institutions * it is, as might have been expected, easy to see that the great majority of them are not in any degree colleges, in the ordinary sense of the word. Not a single one of the so-called female colleges presents a real college course, and many of the co-educational colleges are colleges only in name. The female colleges, however, easily fall into two distinct classes ; not a few of them offer a course such that the students who are entering upon the junior year are, in a general way, as well fitted as those who are just admitted to the freshman year of a regular college. This kind of college there will be such constant occasion to speak about that it is necessary to coin a new word for it, and I propose to call them semi-colleges. The course is such that two years of the work of a regular college is done instead of four, and by a regular college I mean one which comes up to the standard set by the Association of Col. legiate Alumnæ for admission into its ranks.
As there will be several references to the standard of scholarship set by the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ, I add here the requirements for admission into the freshman class of any college the graduates of which are recognized as eligible for membership.
( Cæsar (four books). In Latin - - - Æneid (six books).
Cicero (seven orations).
S Anabasis (three books).
Iliad (three books).
(Plane geometry. The Southern colleges which attain the rank of a semi-college I shall speak of with more detail farther on. The real colleges or women in the South consist of the Woman's College of Baltimore and the co-educational colleges (including in that term those in which the management and the degrees are the same for the men and the women, though the recitations may be conducted separately). Of these, the University of Texas, the Tulane University (which is the State university of Louisiana), the University of Mississippi, and the Columbian University in Washington are the important ones. The admission of women into all of these universities is of very recent date, and may be taken as an indication of a general movement in favor of a greater degree of generosity toward women, which may, in time, sweep over the entire South. The geographical distribution of these entering wedges is worthy of note. Baltimore and Washington on the north, the University of Missouri on the west, the State Universities of the three States of the extreme southwest,-add to this the fact that the State of Florida has every one of its four colleges for men open to women, and that it has not a single girls' seminary of the old-fashioned type, and it may well be believed that the modern idea of what a woman requires in the way of education is destined to close in upon the entire Southern country, and that the contentment which Southern women have hitherto shown with the unsubstantial parts of learning will eventually be replaced by more far-reaching claims. The University of Virginia is the very mold and glass of form for all the other schools and colleges of the South, and if that were to throw down the barriers which it now keeps up against the unobtrusive sex, it might be considered that the battle was already won. But the University of Virginia is far from being unimpregnable; the chairman of its faculty writes me:
* The Bureau of Education has been extremely kind in placing its collections at my disposal, and in making extracts for me from its manuscript statistics for 1889–90, which will not be published for two years to come.
† An equivalent amount of French or German may be substituted for Greek.
“In reply to your interesting * letter of November 25, '89, I would say that opinion is much divided both in our faculty and in our board of visitors on the question of opening this university to women." There is at this moment no way in which any one who wished to benefit women could do so more effectively than by offering this university a handsome endowment on condition of its terminating this state of indecision in the right way. The Johns Hopkins University has lately accepted a gift of a hundred thousand dollars from a woman; it remains to be seen whether it will show its appreciation of this act of generosity on the part of the self-forgetful sex by opening its doors to women. Whatever the result of the next few years may be upon the
* Interesting on account of an extract from a letter from a Virginia girl.
history of the education of women in the South, there can be no doubt that the situation at the present moment is far more hopeful than it was ten or even five years ago, and far more hopeful than any one would have believed who has not recently looked into the matter.
For the present, the Woman's College of Baltimore is the only representative in the South of separate education for women of a collegiate grade. This college was established by the Methodist Church (aided by liberal endowments from a number of enthusiastic advocates of the higher education,-first among them the Rev. John F. Goucher) for the purpose of providing women with the best attainable facilities for securing liberal culture. It is the intention to increase the endowment to two millions of dollars, exclusive of the value of the buildings,-this is stated to be necessary in order to meet the objects which the incorporators have in view. There are at present nine professors and associate professors, together with other instructors ; there are laboratories and lecture-rooms, a spacious and carefully planned boarding-hall, and a gymnasium which contains a swimming pool and running track, and which is fitted with the best imported appliances for both general and special gymnastic movements. The wealth of the South is becoming so great that there is no reason why thoroughly equipped colleges like this should not spring up in various quarters.
I have received the most emphatic testimony as to the good standing of the women in the best of the men's colleges to which they have been admitted. Professor Fristoe, of Columbian University, writes me :
“In 1884 women were admitted to the medical and scientific departments of this university, and in 1887 to the academic, except to the preparatory school. We have eleven ladies in the academic department, seven in the medical, and seven in the scientific. We admitted them simply because there seemed to be a demand for it, and because we could find no objection. The girls admitted have been, without exception, superior students. They have had no injurious effect, but the reverse, and we find no inconvenience from our course. We have had so far only two who finished the course in the Corcoran Scientific School, but they were very fine scholars. One of them excelled especially in mathematics, the other in mental philosophy and such subjects. I am rather proud of the girls.".
The italics are not mine. Professor Adison Hogue, of the University of Mississippi, writes me :
“Women are admitted here because the board of trustees gave them the privilege some years ago. I know of no other reason than that. Not many avail themselves of the opportunity, especially as the State for some years past has had, at Columbus, an industrial institute and college solely for women. This year we have eleven in attendance here ; in each of my previous three years the number was five. Their standing averages above that of the boys, I think. In '85 and '87 the first honor was taken by young ladies; and in our present sophomore class a slender girl is spoken of as the 'first honor man.' Their social standing is in no way impaired by their coming here, although the plan of mixed education is not greatly in favor, as the small number shows."
Professor Halsted, of the University of Texas, says, in his report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction : “ Several young ladies have shown marked ability in the acquirement of the newer and more abstruse developments of mathematics, for example, quaternions.”
The president of the H. Sophie Newcomb College, which is a department of the Tulane University of Louisiana, has a larger number of students upon which to base his conclusions. He writes :
“When the college was inaugurated two years ago, it was discovered that very few of the applicants for admission were qualified to undertake a regular college course. The schools of this city (mostly private), which they had previously attended, had not hitherto arranged their courses of study with reference to advanced or college work, and had not therefore adopted any fixed standard of acquirement. .... The grade of the present freshman class is fully a year and a half in advance of that which entered two years ago, and at the same time there has been a steady increase in numbers. The greatest gain has been shown in mathematics, science, and Latin. Our advanced classes are doing excellent work in calculus and analytical geometry, laboratory work in chemistry and biology, etc. ..... While I can testify from experience to the equal ability of the Louisiana young women with those in the East or elsewhere in mathematical, scientific, or other studies, yet on account of the social pressure, and long established customs which demand early graduations, we must be content to see our institution develop more slowly than it would otherwise do.”
I give in Appendix C, Table I., a list of the co-educational colleges in the Southern States, prepared for me by the Bureau
of Education from the manuscript statistics for 1889-90. The
Tennessee . . . . . .
Texas . . . . . . .
West Virginia , ..
exas. . . . . . . . . . . . . 345 Louisiana .
77 Other States . . . . . . . . . . 328
Total .......... 750 This table discloses the remarkable fact that there are 750 women studying in such men's colleges in the South as have a decent claim to the name of college, and also that Virginia is the only State in the South that has not got at least some kind of a co-educational college.
The testimony in favor of co-education, by all those colleges which have tried it, is very emphatic. The president of Rutherford College (N.C.), says: “ This school [established in 1853] is the first experiment in the South, of which we have any information, in which an attempt has been made to train the two sexes together in the course of a college education. Its results prove the experiment to be a complete success.” The president of Bethel College (Tenn.), says : “ The mutual refining influences of co-education, socially, mentally, and morally, upon the sexes, is unquestionably good.”
The president of Vanderbilt University, which is the most important university in the South after the University of Virginia, writes me that, although co-education has not been formally adopted there, yet women have never been refused admis.