Printed Journal Letter 19: February 10, 1886 


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[FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY.]
Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS.,
February 10, 1886.
DEAR FRIENDS: Fifty years ago today the Massachusetts Legislature passed an act incorporating Mount Holyoke Seminary. Mrs. Pease's arrival last evening on business referring to the Memorandum Catalogue for next year, Mrs. Gulliver's presence and deep interest in the promised circular letter soon to be in your bands, and Mrs. Stowe's constant devotion to historical papers, remind us that we are close upon our semi-centennial year. The story of a day in Miss Bowers's last long "letter from home " is sufficiently complete to need no repetition as to details of work, and it is b6ped that in her absence you will be content with a very brief record of the past months. 

When the year opened the promise of large numbers was so fulfilled that late applicants were refused for lack of room, notwithstanding the sunny south rooms, on the first floor, formerly occupied by the Lawrence family, are now at our service, so that eighteen girls are pleasantly domiciled there. The Senior Class numbers fifty-three. It was remarked bv one of the old scholars that it hardly seemed possible a junior could be homesick, the house and grounds presented such an attractive appearance. The chief improvements within are in private rooms, most of which bad received a fresh coat of paint, and some of them have new furniture and hard pine floors, where carpets can be dispensed with and Turkish rugs take their place. Newly tinted walls make the balls lighter than before. Double windows opening inside bad been put into those rooms on the west side of the main building which some of us remember as so airy on a winter's day. It may be mentioned here that when we returned from the Christmas vacation we found Mr. Phillips bad a surprise awaiting us in new banging lamps in the Dining Hall. You beard last year of the gifts from the Worcester and Boston Alumnae, in all about three hundred dollars for microscopes! You have not beard, perhaps, that one thousand dollars has been given by Mr. Whitcomb, of Worcester, father of our trustee. Twenty compound microscopes, twenty-four dissecting microscopes, a fine microtome, Abbe condensers, and other valuable accessories, you would now find ready for use, so that our laboratories are as well equipped as any in the region. Do you ask "what next?" We want a new biological building, that we may have more elbow-room and a place to bestow our goods. In addition to the pneumatic cistern in the Lecture Room of Williston Hall, one has been put into the Chemical Laboratory for the use of the pupils, all of whom perform illustrative experiments during the required course in Chemistry. The number of those doing advanced work is so large that another work-table is already needed, and it is hoped will be added before next year. 

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The bridge connecting with the carriage drive up Prospect Hill has been completed, and both the winding road and footpath are much frequented, especially in autumn days when the view from the top is so enchanting. Both Seniors and juniors have already picnicked in the Pavilion there. The home of Mr. Phillips, the new steward, is on the property purchased with the mill privilege. 

You are prepared to hear of changes among the teachers, as several left at the close of last year. Miss Kies, a former teacher, instructs the Senior Class in Psychology. Miss Keith, of the class of '83, comes to us from Kalamazoo, where she has been teaching for the past two years. Miss Balch, for three years a music teacher at Oxford, has come to render assistance in that department. Miss Berry is of last year's class. Miss Parsons has gone to New York to edit the magazine entitled Woman's Work for Woman and Our Mission Field. The vacancy caused by Dr. Richardson's death was temporarily filled by Dr. Frissell, of Springfield, and later by Dr. Marchant, who for the year has left with her partner an established practice in Rome, New York. 

October brought a parting visit from Miss Bray, now Mrs. Dr. Graham of Aintab. We were sorry to hear of the loss of the steamer which carried most of the outfit belonging to this party. Doubtless these missionaries, like others before them, have learned to bear cheerfully "the spoiling of their goods." 

One of those October weeks found several of us in company with the great multitude who went to the feast in Boston. Not the least of the privileges of that memorable week was the delightful Holyoke meeting on Park Street, where so many were hospitably entertained by the Boston Alumnae Association. A little earlier Miss Edwards and Mrs. Stowe represented us at the centennial anniversary of the Buckland Church to which Miss Lyon belonged. Miss Edwards carried greetings from this place, and, according to report, not only succeeded in making herself heard, but was heartily applauded. 

During the same month we received a call from Miss Mary Pease, of the class of '82, on her return to her work among the Mormons, where she has been for two years an earnest and successful teacher. Her enthusiasm was inspiring, and one of the fruits of her visit was a well-filled box at Christmas time, containing gifts from our girls for her children. Last week Mrs. Dr. Pease, of the Micronesian Mission, held our close attention while she dwelt upon the compensations rather than the privations of missionary life upon Kusaie. She afterwards remarked that everywhere there were large audiences who manifested interest and enthusiasm while listening to her story, but as yet not one helper had been secured to join herself and husband on their return to their field in the spring. Another visitor was Miss Alice Merriam, of Boston, who is connected with the Woman's Home. Missionary Association, and during the past year had made a visiting tour of the schools for poor whites at the South. We were also deeply interested in Mrs. Rogers, of Falmouth, a pupil of Miss Lyon, who, on the occasion of her entering the Seminary, was a passenger in the first train which passed over the railroad from Boston to Springfield. Being in the vicinity, she came this time for the express purpose of looking at Saturn's rings through the telescope in our Observatory. 

Our lecture season was opened by one of the Bradford Recitals, a popular lecture on the "Wonders of the Polar World, visually and orally illustrated." Then came four valuable lectures on the principal schools of painting, by Mr. Sydney 

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Dickinson. These were also illustrated with the stereopticon. The first of the scientific courses was that in Geology, by Prof. Charles Hitchcock, who made such changes in our Geological Map as are demanded by recent investigations and explorations. Prof. Mears followed in Chemistry. We have recently had three lectures in Biology, by Prof. Sedgwick, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, upon Fermentation, Biogenesis, and the Germ Theory of Disease. The course in Physics is now in progress, and is given by Prof. Kimball, of the Worcester Free Institute. With him we were glad to welcome Mrs. Kimball, whom you may remember as Ellie Everett, of the class of '69. 

Last week, while some of these friends were with us, the teachers gave a reception to the Seniors, a fitting occasion for the use of the new spoons, the recent gift of the class of '60. There was also a piano recital Thursday evening by Dr. Louis Maas, of Boston. The evening of January 20th found the teachers and a few other friends gathered in the north wing parlor, for a social hour in honor of Mrs. Foster's seventieth birthday. 

On the recent day of prayer for colleges we were blessed with the presence of Dr. Laurie, that friend of Miss Lyon and Miss Fiske, who has often been with us before, and from whose lips the message comes as the word of God with power. The services of the day were impressive, and the attention profound. The Friday evening following we met for a general recess meeting led by Mrs. Gulliver. The Lecture Room was filled, and there were many notes of request for prayer. We know we need not ask you again to join us in our prayers for that especial spiritual quickening which many of our churches are receiving and which we ardently desire.  

    Cordially yours, 
      In behalf of the Seminary, 
        SARAH H. MELVIN.

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