Journal Letters: Chronological Inventory
Journal Leters: Index to Journalists
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Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS.,
March 17, 1887.DEAR ABSENT SISTERS: Sometimes, when Thanksgiving Day is close at hand, the mother says, "We need not write the usual letter to the children this week; they'll come home so soon." So we are half inclined to say, as we sit down to write to you, for our great family gathering seems so near. But you will not all be here. Little hands will cling too closely to yours; aged parents or invalid friends will be too dependent on your daily care; your own suffering and weakness will hold you captive; and seas and continents will be too wide for you to cross. And you who come will have so much and so many to see and to hear that there will be no time for a story of the daily life here of the year past. So the letter shall be written as usual, after all.
How far away the first days of this school year seem, yet how the weeks have sped! They were sunny September days. The grounds were charmingly beautiful, the botanical garden full of flowers, the fields all fresh and green as in June, early asters and goldenrods making roads and lanes like wide paths between garden beds. Many of the teachers were here on the Saturday before school opened, as they usually are, and you who have been teachers here will remember how full of peaceful pleasure is that first Sabbath together. On Monday our girls began to come to us, and by Wednesday night the house was over-full. As soon as it could be conveniently done, the rooms in the Dwight house, which had been tenanted, were vacated, and two teachers and a number of girls migrated thither. The little colony soon adapted itself to its new, attractive home. Electric bells summon its members to class or work or table, with the others of the family, and a plank walk just inside the grounds has made safe and easy the going back and forth through all the winter days.
On Thursday evening, the week after school opened, most of the south windows were illuminated, and a laughing troop at the lower south door welcomed back the European travelers -Misses Hooker, Clapp, Stevens, and Clark, of last year's class, and the stranger from German Fatherland, Fraulein Engelhardt. Miss Vitzthum was here for the first fortnight to organize classes, and help Miss Engelhardt to become acquainted with American ways and the routine of school life here. We enjoyed having her with us again awhile; she is happy in her work with Mrs. Purington and Miss Ives, in their Dorchester school. Misses Sessions and Melvin were absent the first six weeks of the year, and Miss Shattuck has but just left the Hawaiian Islands. Miss Steele left at the close of last year for a long vacation from teaching, greatly to the regret and sorrow of her many warmly attached pupils and friends. Dr. Marchant could be here only last year; hearty affection and gratitude follow her and Dr. Frissell, who rendered such timely service early in the year, to their chosen fields of labor. We were all ready to give a warm welcome to this year's new physician but old friend, Dr. Peck, who looks so like Lizzie Peck who went away from us in i876 that we can hardly believe that eleven years lie between the two.
One of this year's semi-centennial days came on Sunday, October 3d; the cornerstone of the Seminary was laid on that day fifty years ago. Rev. Mr. Hawks, of South Hadley Falls, gave us in the evening an interesting and helpful memorial sermon, which some of you may have seen in print. He took Judges iv: 4-9, Prov. xxxi: 30, 3r, and Luke i: 45-55, as his texts, showing how the passage in Proverbs was peculiarly applicable to Mary Lyon, and quoting her words, in a letter written just after the laying of the corner-stone, as a reason for his reading the words of Mary of Nazareth. He dwelt on these two lessons in closing; what one woman may do for Christ and the world, and our responsibility for the greatest possible use of our gifts. The girls wished very much to know which was the cornerstone; so did we who are older, but no one is sure, though a village resident thinks it was doubtless at the northwest corner.
One of our chief privileges in the autumn was the listening to a course of lectures on political economy by Prof. Bemis, of Springfield. His subjects were: Causes of the labor troubles; the remedies approved by conservative thinkers ; socialism, and theories of Henry George; protection and free trade; labor organizations in America; cooperation and profit-sharing; moderate state action, including factory laws, compulsory education, savings banks, etc. He spoke slowly and in a quiet manner, so that it was easy to take full notes of all he said; yet his sentences were so full of matter, and there was such a charm in his simplicity of style, that he held the attention of all as closely as a rapid and nervous speaker could have done. There was an informal examination of the school, at the close of the lectures, upon the information gained, but we hope the interest awakened in subjects of such vital importance to young women, no less than to young men, will last and deepen as they go from us into their places of power and trust, making them intelligent citizens, lending the helping hand with discretion as well as with love. A number of the teachers have become members of the Connecticut Valley Economic Association, a branch of the National, and attend its meetings in Springfield on the first Monday evening of every month.
One day in November Mrs. Livermore came to visit us. She could give us only a little time in the morning, but we were thankful for so much. Her motherly manner of addressing the girls, added to her bright and forcible way of putting things, must have won their hearts to listen and heed. In the evening of that same day Mr. George W. Cable read "Grande Pointe" to us, which has just appeared in print in the March Century Magazine. You know the charm of both spoken and written word of his too well to need any added testimony from us. Soon after the meeting of the A. M. A. in New Haven we had a visit from Rev. A. L. Riggs, of Dakota, with Pastor Ehnamani, four Indian students from the Santee Normal Training School, and Miss Ilsley, one of their teachers. The pastor spoke to us in his own language, Mr. Riggs interpreting, and the young students sang several hymns. The interest and pleasure were mutual, if we may judge from a letter written by Jennie Cox, one of the Indian girls, which is printed in the March number of the American Missionary. Bishop Hare, of the Episcopal Church Mission in Dakota, was here a few weeks ago and made a speech ten minutes long, which had as much in it as most speakers would put into half an hour. He emphasized strongly his counsels to each one to learn to do some one thing well. The mention .of Bishop Hare reminds us of Bishop Huntington, who came over one evening in September, from his summer home in Hadley, to give us one of his excellent sermons; and last week Miss Edwards read at morning devotions one of his Lenten sermons on amusements, which he had just sent to us, timely and helpful, as his words always are. We hope he already regards us as a kind of outlying district of his diocese, and will visit us accordingly.
We have had many other lectures and missionary addresses. Rev. M. Angier's wide-awake lecture on enthusiasm, some of you may have heard. Col. Shepard, a New York gentleman, came in November with Rev. Dr. Wilson, and at his request, to give us an address about Jerusalem, which was illustrated by many stereopticon pictures, and was thoroughly enjoyable and profitable. The address, with its accompanying expenditure of time and money, was a gift from Col. Shepard. Miss Gleason, from Constantinople; Miss Dox, a teacher among the Mormons; Rev. W. G. Puddefoot, the home missionary; Pastor Devirian, from Hadjin, Turkey; Rev. W. S. Howland, of India, and Rev. Arthur Smith, of China, have given us stirring missionary addresses, full of information and of appeal to our hearts. Mr. Howland was here three days in October, with his wife, who was Mary Carpenter, of the class of '70. How buoyant and full of life he was, and how we loved her afresh who was so dear as a pupil! Already, after a short illness, both have entered into rest. Our hearts are full of pain for the far-distant mission field, the parents and sister and brother there, and the dear orphaned children in this land. We remember with especial sympathy the mother and sister in India, whom we number among the absent members of our household. On the Sabbath before Mr. Howland spoke in the church here, young Mr. Fred Gaylord preached, and he too has been called up higher. He married, a year and a half ago, Clara Smith, one of our recent graduates. Both had always lived in South Hadley, and they traveled in Europe last summer with our party of teachers. Miss Edwards spoke in morning devotions, near the hour of his funeral services in New Haven, from I Kings viii: 18, 19 - the text of his October sermon here - recalling some of his words about apparently incompleted lives, which are so applicable now to his own and to Mr. and Mrs. Howland's. It was a memorial service for them all, and in the prayer for the sorrowing ones they have left, you were all remembered tenderly, dear absent sisters, who are bereaved like them. May answers of peace come to all your hearts!
Not only gifts of words from so many eloquent lips have come to us, inciting us to higher life through the hearing of the car, but gifts of beautiful or curious things have come for our eyes to see. Late last term a large painting came from over the sea, presented by the class Of '52 to the Seminary - a copy of Guido's "Archangel Michael," which is in the Church of the Cappuccini in Rome. Miss Edwards used it twice at morning devotions as the text for interesting and impressive lessons. Another gift of especial value and beauty is in the botanical room -the "Auzoux Models" of flowers, fruits, and seeds, arranged as a great bouquet about five feet high, on a standard under glass. They are many times larger than their originals, and can be taken in pieces, to show all their parts and internal structure. All the leading orders of plants are represented. They were given by Prof. E. Charlier, of New York City, at the request of Dr. Wilson. The skeleton of an ostrich has appeared among the other birds of our collection, sent by some of the sisterhood who are teachers in South Africa. The tall bird is very interesting from a scientific point of view (what there is of him), but he is not one of the " beautiful things. " Anna Hood Hall, of the class of '69, has sent to us a fossil fish from the cretaceous deposit of the Rocky Mountains - a very perfect specimen, and beautiful to look at. From Miss Norton, of the class of '63, have come Hawaiian Island coins. Miss Fritcher has sent from Marsovan some very old Roman coins.
Thanksgiving Day was spent here by a large part of our family, and very pleasantly, as usual, but a surprise awaited. us in the evening. We were invited to the gymnasium, to take a short trip through Norway under Miss Hooker's guidance. From a large number of photographs which she brought back from the summer trip of our travelers, lantern slides had been prepared, giving us a succession of beautiful pictures, which she talked
about in an informal way, as a guide might talk. At intervals Miss Balch and two of her pupils sang half a dozen Norwegian songs, which were very charming. At the close, one of our girls, dressed as a Norwegian peasant, exhibited to us curious souvenirs of the journey. Among them were tea and sugar spoons, models of traveling vehicles, and dolls in different costumes. It was all delightful, and the guests present thought that we had reason to be proud of home talent. No one had ever seen brighter or clearer pictures thrown upon a screen. Mr. Lovell, of Amherst, had prepared the slides well, but much was due to Miss 13ardwell and Miss Keith, who managed the magic lantern. Since then they have used it to illustrate astronomy; Miss Clapp has used it for the zoology classes, and it bids fair to be a valuable as well as pleasant aid to teachers in several departments. A screen is easily put up in Williston Hall, Seminary Hall, or the gymnasium. One evening Miss Clapp gave us humorous but practical lecture, lasting fifteen minutes, on the "buffalo moth," showing him on the screen in the three stages of his existence, while she told us of his habits and favorite haunts, and of what is "good for him," so far as she knew. We shall probably know him hereafter when we see him, and shall hope to be wise in time. He has not entered our doors as yet. Several of the teachers are learning photography, chiefly for the sake of preparing transparencies for lantern slides, which will be illustrative aids in their several departments. They are succeeding well and find it very fascinating. Type-writing is growing in favor also; we have a Remington writer, No. 2, and a Hammond, which was given to us this year.
Two days before Christmas our family scattered for the holiday vacation. Less than twenty remained in the Seminary or in the village houses close at hand. Miss Engelhardt was one of these, and the others, fearing she would greatly miss the German Christmas observances, planned a surprise for her in the shape of a tree laden with gifts from themselves, or left for her by those who had gone away for the holidays. They introduced her to it on Christmas eve, and shared her pleasure while they chatted and laughed over the home-made confections provided for all, or watched silently the burning of the pretty waxen tapers until all had vanished. It makes us happy that our friend's first experience of American life has been so pleasant to her, and that she has felt so much at home with us from the first. " Ah!" she said; "it is the spirit that is here." We lost one of our teachers last term - Miss Sophie Smith, who went away just before Thanksgiving, and on January 30th was married, in San Francisco, to Rev. A. W. Burt, and sailed at once for his home on the Hawaiian Islands. He is at the head of a boys' school at Hilo. They were shipwrecked when very near the desired haven, but escaped all safe to land, though they suffered much from the fatigue and exposure. She had greatly endeared herself to us in her stay of nearly two years, and we felt that we were losing much in the teacher and in the friend. Miss Judd, of the class of '80, whose home is in the village, takes her place.
We have had some pleasant social gatherings and musical treats. Chief among the latter was a concert given by the Perkins Orchestra of Lynn; chief among the former was the Martha Washington tea party given by the Seniors, who received their guests in "ye ancient costumes." Little tables were scattered about in the Seminary Hall, at which guests were served, after they had paid their respects to Mrs. Washington and other notable ladies in the parlors. Prof. Young arrived in time to join in the festivities, much to the. delight of the girls, and he stood with them the next morning, at their urgent request, when they were grouped for their photographs in costume. The artist has given us a truly charming picture in that group. Prof. Young's lectures on astronomy began the next day; Prof. Kimball's, on physics, came earlier in the term, and Prof. Mears gave the chemistry lectures in December.
The July journal letter told you of the formation of a branch of the W. C. T. U. in the Seminary; we are glad to add that it has been a thriving offshoot this year, holding several interesting meetings in the house, sending its delegates to the "No-License Convention" which was held in Worcester last January, and contributing a hymn and an interesting paper by two of its members to the County Branch meeting which was held in South Hadley a few weeks ago. In these meetings, and in our monthly concerts of prayer for missions, our girls have spoken with a dignity and case that promises much for their future helpfulness in such gatherings, wherever they may be.
We are coming to the close of our second term with great reason for thankfulness for the record of the year. The health of the school seems to us to have been exceptionally good, and few have received tidings of the serious illness or the death of friends. We have been richly blessed in temporal things, and doubtless many souls can say the same of spiritual things, out of their own happy experience. Few come to us, of late years, who are not already church members or professors of a hope in Christ, but we greatly need, every year, a literal revival, and we do have it, though in small measure compared with our need. Many Christians have evidently been strengthened and quickened, and there have been some hopeful conversions. Dr. Laurie was here again this year for three days, including the day of prayer for colleges, and his presence added much to the blessing of the day.
Vacation weeks have come and gone, and our great family, with very few changes, is happily at work again. We have heard of Miss Shattuck's safe arrival in San Francisco, and of her visits to Mills Seminary, and to the Western Seminary in Oxford, and we are now expecting to see her dear face again next week. She has greatly enjoyed her stay in the Hawaiian Islands, and is improved in health. The addition to the library building is at last all ready for occupancy, and we see in imagination those shelves filled with their treasures.
We have had our spring moving day, but this does not mean what it did once, so many remain in the rooms which they have occupied through the year. We found that in the vacation days a pretty new carpet had taken the place of the old one in the Seminary Hall. "That would never do for the semi-centennial." All the wood work on the outside of the house has been painted. Some ancient and unprofitable apple trees have been cut down "to make room for the tents next June." So you see how we are getting ready for you all.
Only nine weeks lie between us and "the feast of the ingathering." "The year of jubilee has come;" we are reminded of it at every turn, as, indeed, we have been reminded all the year. It has been an especially pleasant feature of this preparatory work that Mrs. Pease and Mrs. Stoddard have been with us so many weeks at different times. We were glad to know that they were in the house, though they were too busy in work connected with the Memorandum Society to give us much of their company. Mrs. Stow and Miss Nutting have been busy upon the charming new story book, "History of Mount Holyoke Seminary," which will be printed in time for all the absent children to read it before they come to the home gathering, if they wish to do so. Miss Holmes gives her time to letters and to business relating to the jubilee, in addition to a part of the usual Seminary correspondence. Other teachers are sharers in the great amount of writing and other work needful in the maturing of plans for the reception of the great company that we shall welcome in June. We are glad to know that so many are coming. Invitations have been
sent to all who have ever been pupils here, so far as present addresses are known; but if you who read this letter know of any who have not received such invitations, will you assure them that it was meant for them, and will you send us their names and residences? Every effort will be made to secure as comfortable places as possible for all who come, and especial care will be taken for the oldest sisters and the frail ones. The people of the vicinity are showing themselves ready to do their utmost in providing rooms, and the restaurant tent on the grounds will make it certain that all will be abundantly fed. For you will need to come down to the bread-and-butter side of life thrice in the day, even though you may be on " the mount of privilege " all the rest of its hours. The circular letter, which will be sent to all who signify acceptance of the invitation, will give any added information which may be necessary. Your coming will be a benediction upon the closing days of our year, we are sure; and we trust that each one of you will find it a most delightful reunion, and carry a blessing for herself away.
You will wish to hear a word about the Mary Lyon fund. The sum already in hand is about $12,300; the last thousand is promised w . hen the other nineteen are secured, Which we hope will surely be done before June. Mrs. Gulliver has given much time and labor to this project -here, for a few weeks last term, and elsewhere, before and since. Other former teachers and pupils are doing their utmost, according to their ability. The sums sent represent, in some cases, much self-denial, and with many more come precious words, whose value cannot be measured like silver and gold. Two weeks ago a telegram came to us from California: "Mount Holyoke Association of the Pacific Coast sends greeting. Reunion today. Fifteen hundred dollars pledged to Mary Lyon fund. Read Numbers 6: 24-27." And later, a private letter received here says: "Today we have bad an enthusiastic alumnae meeting of the Association of Hawaii. Eleven of us lunched with Mrs. Cruzan, and we raised over seventy dollars for the Mary Lyon fund. The President, Vice-President, and Secretary expect to go to the Seminary in June." There will be other alumnae meetings before the great gathering, and in them there will be effort and prayer and pledges for this same fund. But far beyond this need do we need a Mary Lyon fund of unselfishness and consecration and faith. Forget it not.
Yours, for the Seminary,
ELLEN P. BOWERS.
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