Printed Journal Letter 15: June 16, 1883 


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[FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY.]

Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS., June 16, 1883.

DEAR FRIENDS: 

Do you remember the story told by Addison in the Spectator, of the Turkish Sultan who dipped his head into a tub of water at the direction of a miracle-working doctor who stood by, and found himself in a strange land by the sea, where he married a wife who bore to him seven sons and seven daughters, lived through years of vicissitudes, and at last, plunging into the sea to bathe, found himself by his own tub again, and was told that only a moment of time had passed? Such is the marvel wrought for us: we remember many weeks of study, of pleasant, friendly intercourse, of watching the spring's budding and the summer's blooming, and many events have come to break the even tenor of our way, but we have awaked on this last Saturday morning of the term as if from the visions of a night. Our Lottie said pensively, on her eighth birthday, "I find that each year of my life grows shorter." The dear little old lady's experience is ours; but though the weeks have sped away so quickly, they have been very real in the passing, and laden with blessing. 

We came back from our spring vacation to a new Seminary Hall, made so by its beautiful frescoed walls. We send our hearty thanks to the older sister who provided for us such a daily source of pleasure, and was the indirect cause of another change; for before the close of last term the girls had planned to furnish the hall with chairs instead of the old settees, which would be quite unworthy to stand within the fine new-painted walls. They collected the money themselves, and the chairs came about the middle of the term; they have stained maple frames, with backs and seats of perforated wood, are pretty, very comfortable and strong. just here we are reminded of the chair given to Cornelius, by the girls, when he left us , a very nice and serviceable one, intended both for sitting and reclining. The gift of the teachers, and of the men who work about the Seminary, was silver, in the shape of tea and table spoons. And God's gift to Cornelius and his wife, just then, was a baby daughter to comfort their hearts for the four whose graves are in the cemetery close by their door, and for the two absent sons. 

A treasure has come into our Art Gallery this term, a large landscape painting by George Inness, of the "Conway Meadows," given to us by Miss Ellen Ayer, of Lowell. She was never a pupil here, but an interested visitor last autumn, and a friend henceforth. What a beneficent educator such a picture is! It is summer; while we look at the bright green meadow, winding river, forest and hillside, we can feel the breeze, smell the hay on the loaded cart, and hear the thunder that is somewhere among the clouds that hang low upon the hills. So in the long winter weeks that will too soon come, when ill, or depressed, or generally "out of sorts," we shall go over to Williston Hall and take a short summer vacation in the Conway Meadows, perhaps not more than half an hour long, but we shall come back to work in time and tune again. Some new casts have found their way into the Art Gallery also, gifts from Mr. Williston; a Madonna and Child in medallion form, a bust of Demosthenes, and the well-known lovely head of the young Augustus are the chief among them. 

One of our most welcome guests this year was Dr. Adaline Kelsey, a graduate of the class of '68, who left her place as physician here, five years ago, to be a missionary physician in North China, and who has come home to regain her health. S he brought us some very valuable bronzes - vases, incense-burner, mirror, twenty-five hundred and two thousand years old, and, most interesting of all, a tablet supposed to be three thousand years old, known to have been for one thousand years in the possession of the family from whom it was obtained, and representing the oldest form of worship in China of which we leave knowledge. Its name, which is upon it, means "Ancient of Days," translated more literally, "Heavenly and Venerable Grandfather." It is still an object of very great veneration in China, and of household worship. There is no temple dedicated to this deity. Probably no bronze of its kind was ever taken out of China before; they are very rare, even in China, in this fine bronze, which is of a very superior quality said to contain gold, and used only for objects considered sacred. Missionaries have lived over a quarter of a century in China without ever seeing one like this. Whatever induced the owner to part with such a venerated object? Slavery to opium! But 

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he did not know that it was to go into the hands of a foreigner, or to leave the country. The "isles of the sea" have sent us gifts also; the Hawaiian Islands this time, through Miss Helen Norton, a graduate of the class of 63, and now a teacher there. In the box sent were botanical specimens, corals, shells, and pieces of lava rock much larger and of more value than any already in our collection. In how many ways the absent children remember the old home, and how they are enriching it year by year. 

The junior Class had their mountain-day, as usual, and looked with delight, as we did when juniors, upon the same shining river with the Titan's coffin in it, and the ox-bow, the same plaided and striped meadows, the blue hills, and the bluer sky over all. The Seniors went for their class-day excursion to the part of Mount Toby called Sunderland Park, a place deservedly growing in reputation every year for its wild beauty. We were all invited to their "boulder exercises " a week later, when a big stone was "planted" on the top of Prospect Hill with appropriate ceremonies. A good idea that, we thought; the perpetuity of the stone is something to be thought of; class-ivies and the like are such uncertain quantities. The choral classes and the two quartettes gave us an informal open-air concert one evening, which we hope may be often repeated in time to come. Eyes were charmed as well as ears, for the groups of girls sitting or reclining on ground, or seat, or hammock, were more picturesquely placed than they could have been by design, and nature added all the charms of a perfect June sunset to the scene. 

No work has been done on Prospect Hill this season, but the thousands of little trees that are to be its groves by and by are growing finely in other parts of the grounds. One winding walk to the summit was made last year. Mr. Goodnow, the donor, has given a permanent fund for the improvement of the Park, and money for the building of a pavilion somewhere within it. We do not know when it is to be done. We have still more land now - the Chamberlain property is ours! It includes all the land between us and the church, extending as far back as the brook. The little Knight place was ours some time ago. The big square house - "the old Dwight place" - will be tenanted for another year at least, but out-buildings and store will soon be removed. For what shall we use the house in a near future, friends? Don't suggest too many things. We have our own thoughts about it, and hope yours may fall in with them. 

The botanical garden has been enlarged in extent, and has gathered to itself flowers from all parts of the United States, as we have gathered these girl-flowers within our walls. They take kindly to their new home, and Miss Shattuck would be very grateful for many more wild plants not native here. With a little care in packing, they are easily sent by mail. Our own wild plants are in the garden also, so that the Botany classes may see theni in all stages of growth, and analyze flowers without being obliged to take long walks in search bf them. Professor Gray of Harvard has lately sent plants to garden and greenhouse, as he has several times before. The greenhouse burst into luxuriance of bloom all through the early spring before wild flowers came, and was beautiful indeed. It was a "wilderness of sweets" from February to the middle of May, and how restful to tired eyes and nerves! And how suggestive! 

    "Ephemeral sages I what instructors hoary 
    For such a world of thought could furnish scope?"
The botanical garden has a small tank in it, wherein the water has been very low this season, and thereby hangs a sad tale. One of our pet gray squirrels, in his rambles abroad strayed thither; he lingered to investigate - why, we shall never know. 
    "The slippery verge his feet beguiled, 
    He tumbled headlong in."
He was found, but too late! And there was lamentation one morning over a baby woodchuck, when one of our little maids who fed it found the young foxes playing with it so roughly that it soon died. It was a diverting little creature, wonderfully like a human baby in some of its actions. And were there ever such pretty animal faces as these foxes have? They are growing sharper now, but they have looked just like the tricolor violet in shape. This study of Zoology from living specimens is much more interesting to the majority of us than dissection. 

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June 28th. - One week ago today our school-year closed, and the next day saw the departure of most of our great family. Anniversary week was a pleasant one all through; needed health and strength were given, the weather was cool, our girls were helpful and acquitted themselves well, our guests most pleasant to have among us. And the rain did not fall upon us on our way to or from church on Thursday; it never has, you know, on any one of the forty-six Anniversary days which are past. Dr. Love's baccalaureate sermon on Sunday was founded on Prov. xxx: 30, 31. He said that the first clause of the last verse tells us that the writer was very far in advance of his age in his idea of woman's rights; another clause of the text, taken with God's promise and work of redemption, give assurance of a better era for woman; and he gave us as his theme, "Woman's Rising Power." He made the need of it evident by showing how the words of Jehovah, "He shall rule over thee," have been more than fulfilled, even up to the present time. There have been prophecies and indications of her increasing power, all through the world's history. Her own nature predicts that in accordance with God's designs her influence, work and power will increase. And this increase is an established fact in the social, governmental, literary, educational and religious world. Under these heads he gave us a sermon of great interest throughout, closing with a brief direct address to the Senior Class, founded on their motto, "Eager to be and to do." On Monday evening a rehearsal of the Wednesday evening concert was given, chiefly for the towns-people. On Tuesday evening came the gymnastic exhibition, always one of the most charming of the week's exercises to visitors. The examinations were on Tuesday and on Wednesday forenoon, leaving only Butler's Analogy for Wednesday afternoon, that there might be time for the Alumnae meeting, which was presided over by Mrs. Moses Smith of Detroit, and was delightful throughout, though several were especially missed there whom we had hoped would be with us through the week - Mrs. Pease, Mrs. Stoddard, Mrs. Gulliver. After the usual reports and statistics, we heard a poem, written for the reunion of the class of '58, also one written for the Boston Alumnae meeting last May. A few words came from different local societies, and Mrs. Smith, in giving some account of the Western Association, said that it seemed very desirable that the interest of the Alumnae in the mother school should be quickened and deepened, and that they should be more closely bound to each other, and that united action for some definite object in aid of the Seminary would be one of the surest ways to bring this about. Miss Blanchard was asked to state some of our greatest needs, and she spoke particularly of endowments for different departments. Perhaps the trustees will present the matter to the Alumnae in some way, before long; we hope they will. Meanwhile, dear absent ones, forget not the need which is over and above all outward needs. We wish the intercourse between you and those who are here could be more constant than it is, but "by faith we meet around one common mercy-seat," and the brief visits from time to time, the grateful letters, and the messages of affection and encouragement are helpful and prized. The class that had come back to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary received some pleasant words of welcome from Miss Edwards early in the meeting, responded to by one of their number, who said she was glad to do it, for she "had always wanted to speak from that platform, and never had a chance before." Twenty-five of the forty-six now living were present, including the four teachers, Misses Blanchard, Noble, Holmes and Bowers. Mrs. Moses Smith, President of the W. B. M. I., is also one of them. One needs to be a participant in the chastened pleasure of such a gathering to know how great it is. Some of this class had never been here before since the day of their graduation, and a peculiar pleasure was added to this reunion in that, while they were here, one of their number was made Principal of the Seminary. These classes that come back thus year by year to live their school life again for a few days, bring a blessing with them and leave it behind them; may they carry as much away in their own hearts. The girls enjoy their being here, and perhaps others feel somewhat as one did who said, not many years ago, "I didn't expect ever to be here again, but if this is the kind of women the Seminary makes, I think I'd better come back and graduate." 

The concert given by the music pupils on Wednesday evening was delightedly listened to and warmly praised. Much painstaking work over really good music has been done this year. Any one can make music a specialty who wishes, and the old objection to entering on a course of study here, made by some, "I cannot go on with my music," is quite removed. We find many old pupils greatly surprised at the change in this department of study, as well as in that 

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of drawing and painting. The two studios were very attractive to our visitors through the week. 

Dr. Duryea's address on Thursday was about development of mind; be objected to the generally received idea of the term "Education." Some of his sayings, especially at the beginning, indicated that he had not realized the average intelligence and thoughtfulness of the girls whom he was addressing, but his words were, in the main, full of suggestions for noble thought and action. May the picture which he drew of a disciplined, love-full teacher be present to our view henceforth, that we may be helped by it to become more nearly such ourselves. On our way home from church he left the procession to go where he could see it better, declaring that the sight was worth the journey from Boston. "I suppose that's about the way they'll look when they get to Heaven," he said, "only there they'll need no parasols, for 'the sun shall not smite them by day.'" Dr. Tyler gave the members of the graduating class a short address with their diplomas - may he give one to many classes yet to come; the tones of his voice and the expression of his face seem like a benediction upon their heads, aside from what he says. Dr. Herrick, President of the Pacific University, Oregon, and our former pastor, led us in the closing prayer. How we thanked him in our hearts for so remembering her who was at our head last year, now so far away. She thought it better to resign her position as Principal a year ago, but the trustees urged the trial of a year's rest instead. She is much better, we are glad to say, but she wrote to Dr. Tyler some weeks ago that she was still quite unable to assume again the work and responsibilities of her place, and that her resignation must be considered final. And it has been accepted; but she is ours still, and will be. The eleven years since she became Principal have identified her too much with the Seminary and its interests to allow of her separation from us. A great many changes have been made for the better in those years, and many of them are largely due to her. The senior classes will lose a great deal in her as a teacher. We owe her very much; we do not forget it, as we earnestly ask for her many years of health of body and of abundant usefulness spent in the clear light of God's presence. "Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." 

Three of our teachers, Misses Sessions, Hooker and Sweetser, are already, we suppose, in England, having left us a little before the close of the term for a tour of some months in Europe. Miss Blanchard expects to visit Colorado with Miss Evans and one or two other Painesville teachers. 

Before closing, we wish to say a word about this "Seminary journal." For years it was kept solely for foreign missionaries who had been teachers or pupils here, and a very few others, and was not printed until quite lately. Within a few years the wish has been often expressed by former pupils that they could know something of every-day life at the Seminary, and in answer to that wish a much larger number of copies of the journal has been printed. The writer has aimed to write a letter from home to absent members of the family, instead of a collection of statistics, but it has been difficult to give it the freedom of a letter to an individual, perhaps not necessary. It has been thought that this may be one of the most direct ways to bring about that closer bond between the absent pupils and the Seminary home which we so much desire. We shall not always have only news items to communicate, and we shall hope to tell you some things that you will want to answer. We shall be glad to send the journal to any who will enjoy its tidings from the old home. It is sent twice in the year. 

At the collation, on Thursday, Dr. Tyler read a paper concerning the growth of the Seminary in the past eleven years, and its present prospects and needs, from which we wish to quote largelv in a later letter, since we have not space left in this; but his closing words shall be ours now: "Mount Holyoke Seminary means to prove all things - to hold on to all that is good in her past, and to reach out after more and better things in time to come. Her motto is substantially that which President Stearns was so fond of repeating for Amherst: 'The best education in literature, science and art, and all for Christ.' And she asks you all today, in such ways as you severally can, to help her in the fulfillment of her mission-in the achievement of this high and holy end." 

    For the Seminary, yours,
ELLEN P. BOWERS.

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