Journal Letters: Chronological Inventory
Journal Leters: Index to Journalists
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Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS.,
March 5, 1888.DEAR ABSENT SISTERS: The last letter from your Seminary home was written when the notes of preparation for our jubilee were sounding on every side, and letters came thick and fast every day with the welcome words within, "I am coming," or the regretful "I cannot come," until anticipation was already almost reality. But the pleasant weeks of the summer term lay between, and you will perhaps be glad to take up the story of the home life just where it was left so long ago, though since this letter, by its long delay, has become a "three-volumed book," the contents of the first volume must be very brief.
Our last date was April 20; on the 30th Miss Shattuck came back from her long journeyings. The girls assembled on the front piazza and gave her a warm welcome from their hearts, even though they did sing the doleful music of "Home again, from a foreign shore." Earlier in the month Rev. L. Gates from India, whose wife was Fanny Hazen, class of '75, spent two days here. giving addresses with stereopticon illustrations in our hall and in church. Rev. and Mrs. J. K. Brown were here in May, a little before they went back to their work in Turkey. Mrs. Brown was Leila Kendall, a pupil here in '75-6.
Miss Lucia Kimball, class of '63, was here twice in the interest of the W.C.T.U., and Miss Gilson, class of '68, a teacher in Stellenbosch, S.A., for many years, told us of life in Natal. Mrs. Alice Gordon Gulick, just returned from her home in Spain, gave us full accounts of her school in San Sebastian, and of her hopes and plans for its enlargement and improvement. On the 7th of May the senior class planted their ivy with appropriate oratory and song. on the 17th they went to the site of Mary Lyon's home in Buckland for their class excursion, roamed about over the hillside on which her young days were spent, listened to stories of those days, and ate their dinner on the grass beside the door stone and - the cellar of the cottage home, while they listened to their toasts and the responses. On the 3d of June they held further class exercises, open to all, in the gymnasium, and then withdrew to the pavilion on the hill for a basket picnic, and a private hearing of their historians and prophets. On their graduating day they held class day exercises proper in the church in the afternoon, guests being present by special invitation. You see, dear older sisters, that graduating is no such simple affair as it was in our day. What may be left for the present class, as an improvement upon the class day in five installments of the last, we know not - no doubt youthful ingenuity will devise some variety; but if ever seniors might be gratified in making much of class relations, they were surely those who came to their graduating day in our jubilee week. We all felt a keen disappointment for them that they must receive their diplomas in their ordinary attire. Who ever dreamed of graduating in a black, brown, or gray gown? But they were very cheerful about it, and appeared spotless at their evening reception in the white array which would have been spoiled in that dripping tent. May it be always a happy memory to each one that she was a member of the half-century class. The pleasant hours will abide when the disappointments are forgotten. All our girls added much to the success of the week by their courtesy to guests. It seems only justice to them to refer to it here, since so many have spoken of it since. One gentleman present through the week, who had served as church usher for a dozen years and therefore took the more notice, wrote in warm praise,
not only of the manners, but of the evident spirit of those who were in attendance wherever one needed information or guidance. "There seemed to be simply and purely a desire to help every one to enjoy the occasion to the full."
On the afternoon of May 27 we had a lawn party in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Tyler, who came over from Amherst and spent the night with us. Some other guests were present also. Camp chairs were provided for a few, the seats always on the grounds served others, but a large number sat upon rugs or shawls spread upon the grass. Biscuit and cake, strawberries and ice-cream were passed about by willing hands, and in merry talk with songs interspersed, when mouths were not otherwise employed, the time passed all too soon. Birds began their even songs before we separated, while the slant sunbeams of that perfect early summer day fell, like a golden mist, through the trees overhead upon our lovely rose-garden of girls. An hour later an improvised ballad upon the occasion, sung to the music of the banjo by a group gathered near the south door, furnished a droll appendix to the feast, not unfitting us for the later evening address which Dr. Tyler gave us in place of the weekly prayer meeting. Several pleasant gatherings during the last weeks were in the pavilion on our Prospect Hill, different sections taking their supper there instead of at the table, sometimes singing their way down the hill in the early moonlight. You who have been there can think how charming must be a sunset tea with such surroundings.
The last days passed all too quickly. They were saddened by the illness of Mr. Williston, about whom there was reason to feel much anxiety for several weeks before the jubilee. If he had not been better then we should have carried heavy hearts through that week, but he was able to be here and to take some part in the exercises. Both Mr. and Mrs. Williston had previously done so much for us, and were so unwearied in interest and effort all through last year, that we owe and give them a large measure of affection and gratitude. And we owe a large debt to Mr. Childs, Mr. Williston's private secretary, repeatedly here for the perfecting of arrangements for the celebration, and during that week one of our strongest helpers. Dr. Hitchcock and Mr. Whitcomb were also here many times, and gave a great deal of their valuable time to the planting and providing necessary to the success of our anniversary week. But of all that they and others did for us in the weeks of preparation, and during the jubilee week, of all that we did ourselves, of the great company assembled, and of what they did and said, the tale is too long to be written here. The chronicler of those eventful eight days will tell you of the work of the weeks before, and of the letters received; of the greetings by the way and the happy recognitions here; the scenes in the registration tent and in the house ; the voices of a great multitude like the sound of many waters, and the low voice of prayer in Miss Lyon's own room; she will give you all that was sung and said in the church on Wednesday, and in the great tent on Thursday - poems, addresses, after-dinner speeches in full. You will find in her pages the story of that thrice-blessed missionary meeting in the Hall on Thursday forenoon, and of the meeting, as blessed, in the parlors on the Sabbath after, of the eighty or more who lingered in the town. Dr. Laurie's baccalaureate sermon will be there in its place. She will tell you how the grounds looked with all their furnishings for the week, and how the rain fell, and who were here, and how they looked, and your imagination will add to the picture; but the printed page cannot reproduce the inspiration of the occasion, which added so greatly to the wit and wisdom spoken on Thursday, and to the tenderness, humor, and pathos of the reminiscences, and the enthusiasm aroused by visions of the future, in the gatherings of the alumnae on Wednesday. Would that each one of you for a little time on that day could have sat with the present teachers overlooking that great company of women, with "sweet records, promises as sweet," upon young faces, and records of noble living and high thinking on the elder ones. Never had we so felt the honor of belonging to such a band; never had the responsibility and the blessedness of the teacher's work here looked so great. We sent many thoughts to those who longed to be here but could not. Each class
took the badges belonging to its absent members, which we trust have been sent and received. Many of those designed fox non-graduates have also been sent to those not present whose friends have taken them, or who have written to ask for them.
The buildings and grounds were restored to their wonted appearance ill a wonderfully short time after guests and family had departed. The grass under the tents looked as if killed, but was soon fresh again. The turf in front of the building was so thoroughly cut up by hoofs and wheels that it needed a whole summer to recover itself, but other parts of our grounds were doubtless gainers by the pouring rain that kept people in doors.
We appreciated the kind solicitude of the many who wrote in the months following to inquire how we bore the work and excitement of those days. It was, of course, a great strain on brain and nerve as well as body, but the refreshing, the strengthening, the comforting were greater, and we had time in vacation days to live over again the joy of meeting old pupils and teachers, and finding that they still loved and prayed for us. We have told each other from time to time ever since of different ones whom some met and others did not, and have rehearsed for each other's help the words of love and trust which came to us from so many lips and hearts. We have received many and hearty assurances that the reunion was one of deep enjoyment at the time as well as in retrospect; this has been a real relief to us as well as pleasure, because we could give so little time to individuals. Many a dear one whom we had not seen for years, whom we longed to sit down with for quiet hours of renewed loving fellowship, we met for only a moment in t I he crowd; hands were close clasped, names were spoken, eyes gave their speechless messages straight from the heart; then we were pressed apart and saw each, other's faces no more. And were any grieved at receiving a less cordial greeting than they wished for and expected? Was any one chilled by apparent forgetfulness on the part of any whom she had remembered with most affection? Dear teacher, room-mate, section-child, think not that we forgot or were cold; think only that it was at the end of a year of unusual care and work, that it was especially needful that each one remember all the details of her appointed duties on those days, that memory sometimes grew bewildered and emotion dull by the tax laid upon them. Most of you had the friends of three or four years of school life to greet, some of us those of ten, twenty, and thirty years. After Tuesday night we felt somewhat like dreamers who have no sense of surprise at their wildest visions. So forgive us and believe that heart answered to heart, even though we did meet you as though it were an every-day occurrence, or as though you had no place prepared.
We scattered widely for vacation days, for some were on the Maine Atlantic coast, and Miss Edwards, wishing to flee "far from the madding crowd," fled to Alaska and the Pacific shores. She came back well and bright, bringing interesting souvenirs of her visit, which we have seen from time to time when she has told us stories of that far-off part of our country and of its people. Before we came back we heard of the dangerous illness of Mrs. Foster, who always stays here through the summer to oversee the putting the house in order. She gained rapidly after we returned, and went in October to Atlanta, Georgia, to spend some time with relatives, returning in December to her daughter's home in Whately. We are expecting a visit from her soon, and are hoping she will be as well as she was before her illness, when warm days come again. She is two years beyond the three score and ten, but has kept her vigor of body and of mind wonderfully well, and has given both unsparingly to her work for the Seminary. In her absence Mrs. Wright's sister, Miss Lane, is with us. Most of the teachers who were here at June's close were here at September's opening. Miss Sweetser found it necessary to be at home, and Miss Bridges, an Oberlin graduate, is here, in her place. Miss Moore, lately from the New England Conservatory, teaches piano Music; and Miss Sherman, from the Boston School of Technology, has the chemistry classes and gives all their lectures. Miss Vitzthum is with us again, having all the French classes, while Miss Engelhardt has the German. Besides their regular classes, these teachers have bad
conversation hours, more or less regularly, to give practice in speaking, not only to their class pupils, but to others who know something of the language. We have a very full school; the rooms in the old Dwight house are all occupied, as well as every one in this house, and two teachers have rooms at a neighbor's. We have been greatly blessed with health; the only one who has been seriously ill is recovered now, and there has been comparatively little illness of any kind. Most of the changes made in the house during the summer vacation, aside from ordinary repairs in rooms, had a special reference to health; securing us more abundant and constant hot and cold water supplies, wherever needed, and more perfect drainage, and are very satisfactory. The having Only five recitation hours in the day leaves the hour from four to five free for lectures, gymnastics, and choral classes. The hall exercise comes into that hour when we have one, but a large part of the school has often h ' ad the two full hours before supper for out-of-door exercise or in-door recreation. One more health item: Dr. Peck gives a lecture on physiology or hygiene every Friday evening to teachers and pupils, the junior class being required to attend, and being examined at regular intervals upon what they have heard. After the same manner the senior class gave the first series of the year to the study of political economy, having lectures from Miss Kies, which were followed by a course for the whole school from Prof. Bemis, of Springfield, who was here last year also. Many of our girls are doing work in various departments of study outside and beyond that required for graduation. Some of the teachers and pupils have worked through Saturday forenoons for a part of the year under the instruction of a specialist in microscopical technique, having added facilities this year for such study because of a gift from the class of '79, last June, of about $300 to the department of biology, for the purchase of microscopes And apparatus connected with them. Miss Edwards has received $300 from a Springfield gentleman, which will be used as the nucleus of a geological fund. The class Of '77 voted, some time ago, to raise $400 if possible, as a class gift, to provide working appliances in some department of science. Last June they promised it to Miss Cowles; $170 has been already sent, and she is happy in the possession of valuable apparatus for the study of crystallography, chiefly a mineral section-cutter wherewith to prepare slides for her lithological microscope, and for a second and larger one -which the money sent is soon to provide. Her workshop is one of the sunny rooms at the end of the gymnasium building, where steam power can be easily utilized. The fixtures were all put in by Mr. Porter and his son. So while the biologists are making cuttings of animal and vegetable tissues with their beautiful microtome, she is whirring her lathe to cleave the flinty rock into layers apparently as delicate, both to appear under the microscopes like revelations of a new heaven and a new earth. We are happy to record a gift of $170 to the department of modern history from the class of '62, of which Miss Prentiss is a member. Mention of geology reminded us that Prof. Emerson, of Amherst, thinks he has found sufficient evidence of a volcanic outburst in the vicinity of our classic Thermopylae; so Miss Shattuck sends word to you, with her greetings, that perhaps a visit to the extinct crater of South Hadley may be one of the future attractions of the place.
She went to see the great outburst of Mauna Loa, of which you doubtless read, just before she left the Hawaiian Islands last March, and may therefore be presumed to speak as one having authority on the subject of craters. She has been quite busy this year over her large collection of plants gathered on the Islands, mounting and arranging and cataloguing, and over other herbarium work; and she writes many letters in the interest of the Seminary, but a great deal of her time is given to the guests who are constantly coming and going, and who make the north wing parlor their headquarters. One of the most welcome was Miss Ward, who came with Mr. and Mrs. Draper, of Andover, for a short stay. She is very much better in health -is seeing more decided improvement than at any previous time since she left us. In November we were very glad to have Miss Jane Tolman with us for a while. We
hoped to have Mrs. Gulliver here again sometime this year, but she did too much for us last year. She went last fall to spend some time in Rockport, Me., with Mrs. Brastow, class of '64, and has had a severe illness from nervous prostration, from which she has not yet recovered enough to leave. She has lately had a great bereavement in the death of her brother, the only one left to her of her family. We long to do something for her, but it is a comfort to know that she is in such a quiet, genial home. Mrs. Pease and Mrs. Stoddard drop in upon us occasionally, but are always on business intent, though we hope for a real visit from them sometime. If Mrs. Stoddard has not discovered the fountain of perpetual youth, she has been so near that some of its spray has fallen upon her. We have a sad little item to give you concerning Mrs. Pease. The curls are gone, and she says we will never see them again.
We have bad an unusual number of missionary guests who have brought messages to the school, and thus have been angels entertained not unawares. We had a pleasant visit in September from Misses Ainsworth and Glover, classes of '77 and '73, on their way to their school in Concord, N. C., the Whitehall Seminary for poor white children and youth. What tales of poverty of body, of mind and heart, they had to tell! They are missionaries indeed. Miss Fritcher, who came to America in time for the jubilee, spent ten days with us after the meeting of the Board, and grew more and more like her old self whom we knew and loved as teacher and fellow-worker twenty-five years ago. We enjoyed her greatly. Dr. Mariana Holbrook and Miss Mary Porter, from China, were here the next week, and Yan Phou Lee gave an illustrated lecture on China in the church that week. In that week also came Dr. S. F. Smith, author of "My country, 'tis of thee," with his wife and his son, Rev. Daniel Smith, who has been for many years a Baptist missionary in India, and who gave us a lecture on Buddhism of unusual value and interest. The week before, Mrs. A. L. Steele, of Chattanooga, Tenn., had charmed us all by her stories of her colored orphan asylum; so had Mrs. Schneider, by her stories of her Constantinople work, told us on the Sabbath and Monday before the meeting of the Board. Miss Ellen Smith, class of '73, has told us of her ten years' work in Worcester, South Africa; Mr. Puddefoot has made one of his unique and stirring appeals in behalf of home missions; and Mrs. Wheeler, from Harpoot, Turkey, a pupil here in '52, has been here quite recently, giving us two evening talks, and a short one at morning devotions. We have been interested, instructed, inspired by all these, as well as by last summer's missionary speakers, and doubtless seed sown by them bears fruit already, while some will spring up in after years. Can I not call those two men missionaries whom Dr. Tyler brought over from Amherst one day last October, to dine with us and then give us a mental and spiritual feast? Prof. Henry Drummond's name had become almost a household word through our interest in his book. As lie stood before us in the hall, pure complexioned, slender, erect, " the lineaments of gospel books " in his face, he did bring to mind Guido's celebrated painting of the Archangel Michael. He was, of course, listened to eagerly; -but his companion, Dr. Simpson, professor in the University of Edinboro and nephew of the great Sir James Simpson, was to some of us even more interesting. His personal appearance was in strong contrast to Prof. Drummond's; short, thick-set, full-bearded, clothed in yellowish-gray tweed, with a coat or jacket plaited and belted much like a girl's plaited waist, and a -face to be trusted at once - a beautiful, homely man. He gave a most impressive account of the testimony of men of greatest eminence in the scientific world to the value and truth of the Bible and the Christian faith, which they gave to the undergraduates of Edinboro University at the time of its great tercentenary celebration. Both gentlemen carried away copies of the History of the Seminary, and as Dr. Simpson took his he said; "I shall present this to my wife and make her envy her American sisters, who have such educational advantages. We have nothing like this school for our girls."
The great event of the year thus far was, of course, the going to the meeting of the Board in Springfield, with the receiving the alumnae and other friends here on Friday afternoon at the close of the meeting. Saturday's work was done on Friday, so we were all comparatively free in the afternoon. The senior class was asked to assist in receiving guests and attending them over this house and Williston Hall, and the middle class waited at the little refreshment tables in the Seminary Hall. They were all most courteous and helpful, adding to the reputation earned during jubilee week. All who came were asked first to the lunch tables, and were afterwards taken in carriages to the . top of our Prospect Hill in Goodnow Park, that they might see all our possessions at once, and delight their eyes with the wide extended fields and the mountains round about. Returning thence, they spent the time until five o'clock in looking about the buildings and in lively conversation; then most went away, but a few were our guests until the morning. Rev. I. P. Warren conducted an evening service, and Mr. James M. Gordon, father of Mrs. Gulick, gave us a short talk the next morning with reference to her school in San Sebastian. It is not known how many were here - not less than eighty. it was a delightful ending of the week to us, and we hope our guests enjoyed it as much as we did. We sent a large delegation to the meetings in Springfield; the Thursday recitations were so arranged that the large number who wished to go were at liberty to do so, and nearly two thirds of our number went on Wednesday. We wished that they might have heard less controversy, since most of them had never before attended a meeting of the Board; but the sight of so vast a multitude gathered for such an object, the spiritual prayers and inspiring hymns of praise, and the words of missionaries present, will, we trust, have an abiding effect when other impressions are lost. Five of our dearly-beloved girls have gone to foreign mission work since our year began - Caroline Körner, class of ‘85, to China; Mary Hughes, class of '86, to the Methodist mission in India; Martha Clark, class of '86, who taught here last year, to Japan; Catherine Barber, class Of '87, to teach with Mrs. Gulick in San Sebastian, Spain; and Grace Wilder, class Of '83, to India. She has gone with her mother, who was also a Seminary pupil in the class of '44. The father and husband, who was to have returned with them to his old field of labor, died in December. Another of the class '87, before this reaches you, will be on her way to join the Methodist mission in Japan. Dear to the hearts of some of you is the name of the Mount Holyoke Missionary Association, whose meeting on the Sabbath of jubilee week was a reunion of all the branches. It has been in existence ten years; their motto is "Workers with Christ," and the first article of their constitution reads: "We hold ourselves willing and desirous to do the Lord's work wherever He play call us, even if it be to foreign lands." A new branch is formed once in two years, choosing its own officers, a president and secretary, both of whom must reside in this country, and its members here holding their meetings on the last Sabbath of every month. Correspondence is kept up among the members of each branch according to a well-arranged plan, and in one of its rules we hear a familiar school-day sound - "Each member must contribute to the Budget every time. No one can be excused except on account of ill health." This Association has not been an open one, but this year its members have thought it best to invite additions to their number in a public way, the conditions of membership remaining the same, lest they might not know of some who are one with them in heart and purpose, and. would gladly be such in name. Dr. Mariana Holbrook, one of the four original members, has twice been with us for a little time, that she might use the resident physician’s library, since her own is in China, in the preparation of a manual of common medicine for the use of missionaries away from medical aid. So she was asked to tell the school the history of the society, to read the constitution, and to give the invitation. Reading the list of members of the last two branches, one is surprised to note how large a proportion are in foreign mission fields, or at work under the various societies in our own land. The monthly concert is conducted largely by our pupils, and they sustain well their branch of the Y.W.C.T.U. The
teachers have this year reinforced them by forming a branch of their own. Both sent delegates to the convention of the National W. C. T. U., held in Boston in October, and the lively reports of that convention, with other short exercises, made one of the most interesting meetings we have had this year. Societies of Christian Endeavor have been formed in some of the sections, and we hope the number will be increased another year. If they will do for this church in the house what they have done for man y churches outside they will be a blessing indeed. Most of our family are professing Christians, and we have abundant evidence that many are praying and working Christians; but we want all our girls to grow into upright, stable characters, fit to guide others, and to be relied upon. While the quiet work of the Holy Spirit in the heart is the one source of such growth, the pledges made by those who join these new societies may be valuable helps to such an end. During the week of prayer there were meetings before supper in the lecture room, besides the usual recess meeting. The day of prayer for colleges brought much blessing; "the spirit of grace and of supplication" evidently rested upon many. Dr. Burnham, of Springfield, spent the day with us, giving helpful and spiritual addresses both morning and afternoon, and timely counsel to many who sought it.
A little before Thanksgiving, sorrow and loss came to us in the death of Mr. Bugbee, who had been our carpenter for a quarter of a century. He had grown to seem a necessary part of the establishment. Mrs. Bugbee is still in the pretty home which he kept so trim outside, and the three children are with her whom they had taken at different times to care for as their own. One of Mr. Porter's sons is in Mr. Bugbee's place here. Thanksgiving recess saw quite a flitting, but a large majority were left here to enjoy, as the best part of the day's festivities, a familiar talk about Alaska given by Miss Edwards and illustrated by stereopticon views, which Misses Bardwell and Keith exhibited. Every one was delighted. as with Miss Hooker's Norway exhibition last year. Miss Edwards has since repeated hers in the village church. We have had two lectures lately from Miss Marie Browne on Iceland and Scandinavi4, with many and charming lantern views which she brought and which were shown by our teachers. You know of Miss Browne probably as the ardent pleader for the recognition of Leif Ericson, the Icelander, as the true discoverer of America. She was certainly very entertaining and instructive, if not entirely convincing.
The pictures that have come to delight us have not all disappeared like the lantern views. A crayon portrait of Miss Jessup now bangs in Seminary Hall, '0" the east side of the room near the platform, and opposite on the west side is an oil portrait of Mrs. Pease which came last June, both given by the class of '57. Miss Shattuck thinks the artist has blended in Miss Jessup's picture the best of her youth and her mature age, thus giving a somewhat idealized face yet a truthful likeness, We, who knew Miss Jessup, are quite satisfied with the picture. You remember how very ill she was last June. She has rallied wonderfully; is able to write letters and even to hear some recitations. A crayon portrait of Miss Shattuck, most beautifully framed, was presented to the Seminary last June by the class to which she belongs, and hangs in the botanical room in Williston Hall. Two large etchings came from the class of ‘70, just in time to adorn our parlors for jubilee week. One is a copy of one of Corot's paintings, the other a copy of Jules Breton's "Luncheon in the Harvest Field," both restful and suggestive of happy summer days. They are a great addition to the attractions of the parlors, and it is delightful to have them where we can see them every day. The class Of '78 has given money for the purchase, from time to time, of the colored reproductions of paintings of the older masters by the Arundel Society, of London. We have four already; the are chromo-lithographs of great merit and beauty, and valuable in the study of art. Mrs. Malvina Chapin Rowell has sent us an oil picture of Mount Sunapee and Lake, painted by a New Hampshire artist, which we shall value especially as the gift of one o the oldest graduates From the class of '59, to which Miss Edwards belongs, has come a copy, half as large as the
original, of one of the richest and most brilliant of the works of Fra Angelico, which was painted in 1433 for the Guild of Flax-workers in Florence, and called "A Tabernacle of Our Lady" in the terms of the agreement. Such a work is called usually an attar-piece. A panel or inner door is sunk in a moulding or casing, which is about six inches wide and opens widely outward; folding doors or panels are attached by hinges to the outer edges of this moulding, in such a way that when shut they cover the inner panel and its casing; the whole is arched at the top, about five feet high, and three feet wide when shut. Does this help you who have never seen anything of the kind to form any idea of it? The central figure is the Madonna in a rich blue mantle embroidered with gold, holding the child Jesus; the background is a curtain of cloth of gold, so natural that you fancy you see it wave. The twelve angels painted on the moulding surround the Madonna. and are better known by copies than the central figure; they are in graceful attitudes, and are playing on various musical instruments. On the gilded half-doors are four full-length figures, Peter and Mark on the outsides, John the Baptist and Mark on the insides. The whole is raised on a gilded bracket against the wall, with its doors swung open so as fully to reveal the painting within, while their outer sides are easily seen. The loveliness and richness of color and the purity of the faces make the whole work of remarkable beauty. The original is in the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence. A "Louis XVI vase" has lately arrived, having been detained in the custom house for many months, causing bitter disappointment and vexation to the class of '63, who presented it and expected to see it here last June. The vase proper is globe-shaped, about fourteen inches in diameter, having a filagree rim, and with clusters of painted flowers upon its surface. With its pedestal it is about five feet high. It was selected and purchased in France by Mrs. Gulick and is a charming addition to our art treasures. Dr. W.T. Harris, of Concord, has sent us a valuable solar camera, which will be of great use in several departments of study, though Miss Bardwell sighs that there is only one room in any of the buildings which is adapted to its use.
We have had some pleasant evening entertainments aside from lectures; chief among them a rendering of the cantata "King René's Daughter," by the choral classes and soloists, and two public piano recitals by pupils and their teacher, all most creditable to the performers as well as delightful to the hearers. A Whittier celebration on the poet's eightieth birthday, made up of recitations, tableaux, and essay reading, gave us another enjoyable and instructive evening. Teachers and pupils have had some outings also, to concerts, lectures, and readings in Springfield, Holyoke, and Northampton. The family and school regulations have been considerably changed, as many of you know. A list of printed regulations is in each room, on some of which pupils are required to report daily or weekly, while they are expected to observe a few others. They carry notes to their section teachers' rooms on study day mornings just before devotions, reporting failures or saying "I have none." Failures are inquired into by Miss Blanchard if deemed necessary, otherwise the pupil has no "interview" and no waste of time. Section exercise is held only on Saturday, and hall exercise usually only on Tuesday and Saturday. Business is transacted in other ways when it can be; notices of articles lost or to be bought or sold are posted in the elevator; other notices are in other places.
March 27, '88. If this letter could have been sent on its way to you earlier, you would have missed being told how we emerged from the snow drifts in the great storm of the 12th and 13th. We must write a word about the day before, when Mr. Moore, the lay evangelist, and Mr. Bridgman, our trustee, were here. It was pleasant to see Mr. Bridgman walk in unexpectedly on Saturday evening, and to hear the cheery ring in his voice, which we have hardly heard since he was flying about in house and tent, making himself useful and acceptable everywhere during that deluge of rain which fell on Anniversary week. Mr. Moore and
Mr. Bridgman both spoke in church on Sunday, and in our hall in the afternoon. This meeting was an unusually impressive one. The snow began to fall that evening, and there was so much that the making of paths in the morning was a hard task. Our men did their best to keep them open until noon; then our little colony could no more come to us, and its members who had already come over here were compelled to stay. Baskets were packed with food supplies, and taken to them, when needed, by one of the men. We had no milk for supper, and none for our coffee on Tuesday morning; but later in the forenoon Mr. Byron Smith appeared with his man and a boy, each one carrying a can of milk, which helped to make his path for him, as he somehow pushed and lifted it in front of his steps all the way. A crowd gathered to see them in the lower south hall, as if they bad come from some far country. just at dusk on Tuesday afternoon a narrow path was cut through to the other house, and another had been made to Williston Hall. We bad no mail worth mentioning until Friday afternoon. Mr. Porter was like Mr. Greatheart in his thought and deeds for the women in his care, and the other men on the premises were no whit behind in their efforts for our comfort.
If this letter had gone to you earlier, it would not have told you about our illumination. Of what? Faces - you should have seen Miss Shattuck's! Hearts! But it is the building we mean just now. And why illuminated? It is a long story; pardon the repetition, those of you who are already familiar with it all. This letter goes to many who are far from any alumnae association, and who may not see New England papers. All such probably know that it has been felt for a long time that the Seminary ought to be able to grant degrees to its graduates, that they may receive the recognition and the positions for which they are often fitted by their actual attainments, yet which are withheld from them because they have not a college degree. Here is one-instance among many, taken from the Congregationalist some time ago: "The lack of a college degree by women who are working as missionaries in foreign lands is sometimes a serious hindrance. In San Sebastian, for example, Mrs. Gulick could not open her school until a Spanish lady, who was able to pacify the civil authorities with the credentials of a collegiate training, came to the rescue. Facts like these are urged by the Mount Holyoke alumnae as strong reasons for changing their alma mater to a college." And they have urged also Miss Lyon's known desire and purpose that her school should grow into a fully equipped college as fast as public sentiment on the subject of "female education" would allow. You will learn from the memorial book, Mount Holyoke Semi-Centennial, when it reaches you, something of the great deal said about it during the jubilee week. In alumnae meetings held in different cities the subject has been discussed since then. On the 30th of November the trustees had a meeting at the Massasoit House, in Springfield, to consider the subject. Dr. Tyler presided, and Dr. N.G. Clark, "chairman of the committee appointed at the jubilee last summer to inquire into the subject of increasing the advantages of the Seminary and raising its standard, made a formal report. Dr. Tyler read the letters from alumnae associations, urging that the Seminary be reorganized into, a college." The letters read were from Mrs. Moses Smith, for the National Association; Miss M. A. Brigham, for the New York; and Mrs. Mary Ide Fuller, for the Worcester; and we wish we had space to quote largely from them and from the various questions considered. The formal vote of the board was that " as soon as practicable the trustees take m6asures to have the course of study enlarged, and to apply to the Legislature for authority to grant degrees and to take the name of 'Mount Holyoke Seminary and College.'" Three of the trustees were appointed to present this application, which was done before the Committee on Education in the State House, on the 8th of February. The bill reported by this committee passed both Houses without one dissenting vote, it was engrossed, and on the 8th of March the Governor affixed his signature. And for this cause we had our illumination! But it was not until Saturday evening, the 17th. The snow drifts, kept from us until then the
letter containing the tidings. It was read at the supper table, before the meal; there was silence for a moment, and then-! After the meal the Doxology was sung with a will, and Miss Blanchard read Dent. xxviii: 1-14. After recess meeting the house was illuminated from cupola to basement, and a beautiful sight it was. We were all out of doors as much as we wished for an hour, and had a merry time. The crust on the snow was so hard that the small mountains of drift across the road made fine eminences from which to view the display, and to send forth the three times three which were doubtless enjoyed as a college privilege. We only hoped people at a distance wouldn't hear the noise and come to help extinguish the fire! The girls doubtless slept the better for their evening exercise. We had a praise meeting the next night, as we often do on the last Sabbath evening of the term. Nothing that has occurred this year we wish so much to reproduce for you entirely as that meeting. The girls had been asked to repeat Scripture passages, and many were given, in clear, full voices, that were singularly appropriate. The first one was I Chron. xxix: 11-13Dent. xxvi: i-ii was read; there was much hymn singing; the last one, coming after Miss Edwards's address, seemed written for the occasion. It was the last two stanzas of the hymn beginning "Christ is made the sure foundation." It is useless to think of giving any account of that address, which was peculiarly felicitous as well as weighty. Miss Edwards had no notes, and only a suggestion of it can be given here and there. She said to the girls: "I want you to feel your share of the responsibility laid upon us all by the new power and privileges granted to us; to feel it as those eighty did who were with Miss Lyon and her teachers when, on the afternoon of November 8, 1837, ‘at four o'clock the matting was down, the bell was rung, and Mount Holyoke Seminary was opened.' Many of you will be here twenty-five years hence; a few will be when another half-century has gone. You will be asked many questions then about these days; keep a record of them; note down these dates. You will have strange tales to tell then of your present advantages, which will doubtless sound as meager to your listeners as the story of the first year of the Seminary sounds to us now. What can you do for your alma mater, who began her new life and her new half-century with her? The spirit you are of, while here and afterwards, will be your best gift; if you are building up character in accordance with her principles, you are doing more for her than if you could give great riches in silver and gold. We have coveted for you these highest rights and privileges obtainable - not for the name of it; not for the increase of pride (that belongs to an inferior type of education); not to give you opportunity to live a life of learned ease. If we lose sight here of the great end and use of all learning, it will be true of us that 'He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls.' " Her very words have not been given - only a few thoughts as well as they can be. Miss Shattuck's prayer was a fitting close. Our girls are scattered widely now, but it must be that they will often recall and act upon those words when they meet again for another term of work. Since they left we have received a copy of the two articles of the act of the Legislature which gives the Seminary its new name and the power to confer degrees; you will find it on the last page of the catalogue, which will soon be issued.
There has been opposition, not unexpected, to granting this college charter, which we need not enlarge upon here. One newspaper article called forth replies from two of our trustees, quotations from which will answer questions doubtless arising in your own minds. Many of you object to the new name. Dr. Tyler says: "It is partly because they hold so high and so sacred the New England idea of a college, that instead of calling a preparatory school a college, the trustees have chosen the double name for which they ask in the act of incorporation. It is their aim and purpose to make the institution a real college, but since they cannot immediately make it only a college, they propose to call it for the present 'Mount Holyoke Seminary and College.' They know that the name is awkward and cumbrous, but it is at least honest and true." It has been urged that the Seminary has not funds enough
to become a college. Dr. Tyler answers: All the Massachusetts colleges, except, perhaps, Wellesley, were far poorer than Holyoke now is when they received their college charters. They have grown to be what they now are. Mount Holyoke only asks for the same privilege. She does not ask the Legislature to I ‘make’ her a 'college to order.' She only asks to be born and christened and have an opportunity to grow, and then if she does not prove herself worthy of the name of college, she will be quite content to be called what she proves herself to be. And the trustees only ask to be empowered to do a simple act of justice - to confer a college degree on their students when they shall have completed a college course." It has been also asked what studying has been done in the way of preparation for a college curriculum. You already know in part, but we quote again from Dr. Tyler, and from the other reply referred to above, which was written by another prominent trustee: "For some years an advanced course of studies in the languages, ancient and modern, and in physical sciences, has been maintained for such as have desired to prosecute such studies. A preparation has thus been made for the change proposed, and a formal recognition is now asked of such an advanced course, and of the attainments made and work done." "Over one hundred of the girls now in the Seminary have been pursuing college studies over and above those required in the Seminary curriculum the past year; and as many, probably more, would gladly complete the college course if they could receive the college diploma. Ought they not to have the opportunity?" Our poverty of facilities for advanced study, great as our needs are still, is not as great as our critics, and even our friends, evidently suppose it to be. Our alumnae and other friends have provided us with more and better helps than they themselves can realize, unless they come here and watch class work day after day. One of them, the wife of a well-known professor of natural science, stayed with us a few days not long ago, and she said: "I did not understand at all what and how much you were doing until I could see for myself your daily work." The teachers in botany and zoology are made happy by a definite plan for an addition to Williston Hall on the northeast, which will give them the room that is imperatively needed, and will probably be soon begun. And it is almost too good to be true that in the plan there are rooms for English literature and for history, wherein may be maps and pictures and books for the aid and inspiration of pupils and of teachers also, who have seen such rooms heretofore only as delightful visions beyond blackboard-covered walls. It is also proposed, though not decided, to have a new building for chemistry and physics, on the ground which has been used for a tree nursery of late years, the new piece bought from the Cook place on the south. But new rooms and new appliances are needed in other departments. Pupils are too crowded in their study and sleeping rooms. Our art treasures are too many and valuable to remain where they are. A chapel and art building connected have been suggested; an art building alone may be better; a house containing only music rooms would "meet a long-felt want;" but we wait for the money. We have land enough for the present; the hotel and its grounds across the way have been lately bought, and we did not tell you last year that the grist mill on the south is ours - a good brain-feeder of a different sort from the material found in books, but perhaps more uniformly certain in working. The Springfield Union says that "the elevation of the Seminary to the rank of a college is likely to be the very thing which will give it the needed funds." May it prove a true prophet!
With all your pleasure in the growth of this beloved school-home, you especially who were Miss Lyon's own pupils are asking anxiously if it will be her school still. "I cannot think it possible," writes a dear teacher of years ago, in an honored position elsewhere, but doing a great deal for us still, "that God will suffer it to lose that which has made it so influential and so valuable since its foundation." Yet it is possible, and we do beg of you, as the greatest boon you can bestow, to beseech for trustees and teachers, now and hereafter, the faithfulness to their trust that shall keep this school what we know its founder meant it to be: abreast of the times in intellectual progress, yet seeking first, in every sense of the
word, the kingdom of God and His righteousness. You can easily see that in connection with the new position of the school and the changes contemplated, there are many perplexities and temptations, and some real trials, which call for abundant grace and wisdom. How shall we blend the spirit of Mary Lyon and the spirit of the times? In our anxiety to make the most of ourselves intellectually in our student departments, how shall we who are teachers give our best energies to the being laborers together with Christ in the education of souls? Our hearts go out to you who have written to us in the months past from sick-beds, to you who have had long struggle with poverty or with heavy cares, and who speak of your lives as in too small spheres to do aught for us or the world. Think not so: your Seminary home needs your prayers more than it needs the rich woman's gold.
The little book of which we have spoken must not be confounded with "The History of Mount Holyoke Seminary," which many of you own already, and which none of you "can afford not to read." The second edition of this was published last fall, and copies may be bad by sending its price, $2.25, including postage, to Mrs. S. D. Stowe, at the Seminary. The new book is simply an account of the semi-centennial celebration and the preparations for it. It was to have been compiled last fall, but for several reasons was not begun until late in the winter, and is -now in the printer's hands. A word will appear in the catalogue concerning it. Mrs. Stowe has done the work of compilation.
And now may the God of peace give you songs in the night, from whatever cause the night has come. And may all of us who call Mary Lyon's school our alma mater, whether days are dark or bright, possess a portion of her steadfastness, who said: "There is nothing in this universe that I fear, but that I shall not know all my duty or shall fail to do it."
Yours in Christian and Seminary bonds,
ELLEN P. BOWERS.
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