ADMINISTRATION OF MISS WARD-CONTINUED.
The dedication of the Lyman Williston Hall - as the new building was henceforth called - took place on Wednesday afternoon, November 15th. The occasion. was one of hearty congratulation and devout thanksgiving. As the principal afterwards said, "When this long-desired building stood before our eyes complete and beautiful, it seemed as truly a gift of God as if it had come down from heaven."
acknowledgments of services and donations. It appeared that the total cost of the building and furniture, with that of grading and ornamenting the grounds, amounted to $50,017.74. To cover this, there had been contributed $30,914.22, and the balance of $19,103.52 had been advanced from the treasury; so that not a dollar remained unpaid.
At three o'clock, the trustees joined the seminary family and guests in the art gallery. After singing, the audience listened to the statement of the building committee, presented by Hon. Edmund H. Sawyer, and also to resolutions of thanks passed by the board. The address was delivered by Dr. Tyler, whose theme was the value of scientific and art studies, and the appropriateness of dedicating to God the building erected for them. Before closing, he paid a hearty tribute to the friend "whose name, in spite of himself, trustees, teachers, and pupils have spontaneously, irresistibly, and unalterably fixed upon the edifice." The generosity of other donors was gracefully recognized, as well as the persevering labors of teachers and friends in soliciting funds; particularly of "one to whose large plans and far seeing thoughts we are much indebted for the idea of this building as we are to her steadfast and unyielding purpose for its execution, and who has shown the same wisdom and skill in raising money which she has long exhibited in teaching and presiding over this institution. And she has found willing and efficient helpers in those who are associated with her in the government and instruction."
It was estimated that as many as five or six hundred persons had
contributed either money to the building fund, or specimens to the collections.
One gift of rare beauty and value was placed in the art gallery the day
before the dedication of the hall; a four-thousand-dollar painting by Bierstadt,
of "The Hetch- Hetchie Cañon." It was presented by Mrs. Edmund H. Sawyer
and Mrs. A. Lyman Williston; the artist, himself a friend of the seminary,
sharing generously in the gift.
The Lyman Williston Hall is a tasteful and substantial edifice, sixty-six feet by sixty-three, with a wing forty by twenty-four. The interior finish and the furniture are of ash. Like the other buildings, it is heated by steam. In the basement, a room sixty-three feet by thirty-two is devoted to the ichnological collections; and in the basement of the wing are the chemical storerooms. On the first floor are the trustees' room, the physical laboratory, the botanical and zoological rooms, together with a large lecture room, amply provided with every convenience. The chemical laboratory, in the wing, opens from the lecture room. On the second floor are the cabinets of minerals and of zo6logical specimens, the geological class room, and a complete set of Ward's geological casts. The sum required for the casts - sixteen hundred dollars - was obtained almost entirely from former members of the seminary', by the persevering efforts of Miss Edwards; and the large expense of setting up was generously met by Mr. Williston. The art gallery, consisting of a large central apartment with side alcoves, and two smaller rooms, occupies the entire upper floor.
The joyful gathering at the dedication of this long desired building
proved to be the last time Deacon Porter ever came to the seminary. Though
he then seemed as well as usual, and in full sympathy with the gladness
of the occasion, it became evident during the winter that a disease of
the heart, from which he had long suffered, was advancing to a fatal termination.
Writing to Miss Ward early in February, he alluded to his state of health,
and added, "I have entire confidence that my great Physician understands
my case, and will bring me out all right." But it was not recovery for
which he was looking. Difficulty of breathing seldom allowed him to lie
down, by night or by day; and nearly a week before his death, paralysis
of the left side rendered him speechless and unconscious. But a day or
two later, as be lay in his reclining chair with closed eyes, apparently
beyond intercourse with earth,
those about him observed that he was moving his finger as if writing. Quickly comprehending the sign, they placed a pencil in his hand, and paper beneath it. Yes, he was trying to write; the faltering hand, which the eye could no longer guide, traced the words, "Messages of love to all seminary daughters." Repeating the effort, as if doubtful whether he bad succeeded, he wrote, "Love to all pupils of seminary." One of the eldest of the "daughters," Mrs. Foster, was by his side, and read aloud what he had written: he perceived that he was understood, and made a sign that he had done. That penciled message is treasured among the most sacred mementos which the seminary possesses of its departed friends. "He was still alive when it reached us," says the journal; "perhaps you can imagine how touching was the sight of those last tender words. Oh, if we could only have sent back our grateful response, - if some loving message from the seminary daughters who owe him so much might have overtaken the departing soul! But he was beyond our farewells." So those last days went by, save that once again he wrote a few words, brokenly conveying to Mrs. Porter that he was perfectly at peace. Two days after completing his eighty-second year, on Sabbath morning, March 4, 1877, be fell asleep.
"Next to Mrs. Porter," wrote the principal, "Mount Holyoke Seminary
is chief mourner." For more than forty years this faithful friend had loved
it with a father's love; his one anxiety, in the serene evening of his
days, had been to see others come forward to undertake with like fidelity,
the self-sacrificing work that be must lay down. His desire had been granted;
in a letter two years before his death, he had spoken of the comfort it
gave him to have "two such men as Mr. Williston and Mr. Sawyer, so competent
and so willing to afford us their aid, at a time when they are so much
needed. . . . It is about time for friends of the seminary to give up their
distrust of God's faithfulness. I have been thankful every time I have
had the seminary
on my mind lately that we have these new helpers to lean upon."
Much might be said of the personal history and character of this revered friend, and of the providential training that made him what lie was. But the story of his upright and manly youth, his energy and success in business, his early and systematic charities, and his Christian activity in the communities where he resided, cannot here be told. He was a steadfast friend and helper to Monson Academy, and Amherst College; and was also for many years a corporate member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
Dr. Tyler, who bad long known Deacon Porter as a fellow trustee of the seminary, wrote: "My association with him has left upon my mind the liveliest and deepest impression of the wisdom of his plans and counsels; the simplicity, purity, an d utter unselfishness of his character; and the unspeakable value of such a practical, sensible, prudent, efficient Christian man of business in the founding, rearing, and managing such an institution. As genial as he was generous and just, as remarkable for his courtesy and pleasantry as he was for his evangelical faith and puritanical piety, he has ever held the unbounded confidence and affection of trustees, teachers, and pupils; and I have rarely seen so beautiful a sight as this childless old gentleman gladly welcomed by his children and grandchildren, as they gathered about him in loving and joyful groups, whenever he visited the seminary."
His love for the young, and sympathy with them, was indeed a winning
trait. Children might well have been a little awed by his commanding figure,
but for the kindly and benignant face and the playful twinkle of the eye,
which made it plain that his heart was with them. In 1872, he had married
Mrs. Mary Stafford, a cousin of the first Mrs. Porter; and during his remaining
years, the seminary daughters who came and went always found there so delightful
an atmosphere of loving
companionship and tender ministries, that there seemed nothing more to desire for him on earth.
In the catalogue for 1876-7, for the first time, modern languages found a place in the prescribed course, one term of either French or German being required. A full half-year is now devoted to the language chosen; and a beginning thus made, students are encouraged to pursue it much farther, if circumstances permit. At the date above named, the history of art also was assigned a place in the senior year; and Miss Blanchard, then in Europe, prolonged her stay, in order to give as much attention as possible to whatever might be helpful in teaching it. In the spring of '78, Prof. William H. Goodyear - then connected with Cooper Institute, and now curator of the Metropolitan Art Museum - gave a finely illustrated course of lectures on the history and philosophy of art, which was highly appreciated and enjoyed. There is ordinarily a course in this department each year, given either by Professor Goodyear, or Professor Mather, of Amherst College; the admirable lectures of the latter are devoted mainly to sculpture.
It was this year that the custom arose of having occasional concerts of a high order given at the seminary by professional musicians. Ever since, there have been two or three of these every year, in addition to the musical entertainments given by the teachers and pupils of the department. They are much valued as a means of culture to all, and particularly to those who are making music a special study.
In 1878 there was published a catalogue of the Memorandum Society,
for the forty years ending in 1877. It was prepared by Mrs. Mary W. (Chapin)
Pease, whose thorough acquaintance with the history of the seminary, and
with its successive classes for the first thirty years, gave her peculiar
fitness for the work. The society was organized by Miss Lyon in the first
year of the school, for the purpose of obtaining and perpetuating facts
in regard to the history of its members. It included not
only graduates, but other pupils who wished to join. The payment of a small initiation fee secured membership for life, and entitled to the society's publications. Once in five years a catalogue was issued, stating the chief facts in the history of each member since the preceding report. At this time, the names of all who had ever joined the society were included, with the history of each from the time of her becoming a member to date; or, if deceased, till her death. The whole number was 2341, of whom 1604 were graduates. The labor involved was immense. To trace the history of those who had failed to report, and who had in most cases changed not only their residences but also their names, was no trifling task. But there were only nine members of whom no information was obtained; and most of these were heard from soon after the catalogue was published. Of the 2341 members, over 1900 were still living.
At the Paris Exposition, the seminary contributed to the educational exhibit of the United States, by special request of Dr. Philbrick, the commissioner. The time for preparation was so limited that the seminary was not adequately represented, except perhaps by its printed documents. A second large supply of catalogues, and of the historical sketch, was soon sent for by the commissioner, who afterwards said to the correspondent of the New York Tribune, "Perhaps no exhibit in the educational department excited more attention than that of the higher education of women, represented by Vassar, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, and the Georgia Female College." A medal was awarded to the seminary, which may be seen in one of the cases in the south alcove of the art gallery.
The death of Hon. Edmund H. Sawyer, of Easthampton, in November,
1879, removed a warmly interested friend of the seminary, still in the
prime of life. For six years he had been a trustee, and generally a member
of the executive committee, where his ability and experience were highly
prized. Though burdened with
many public and private responsibilities in addition to his own business affairs, he was ready to give time and labor to seminary matters whenever needed; the previous summer, though far from well, lie had attended to the duties of the treasurer, then in Europe, and had superintended the various improvements made in the seminary buildings and grounds. Both in public and private life he had filled many responsible positions; and in them all had been honored and loved as a noble Christian man. The following sentences are quoted from the resolutions passed by the trustees:-
In his death, the seminary loses a warm friend, a generous benefactor, a wise counselor, a faithful guardian, especially of its financial interests. We cannot forget that ill him the state also has lost all incorruptible and influential legislator, as well as a good citizen; the church an exemplary and active member; and the family an affectionate husband and father.
Among the improvements made in the years 1879 and 1880, two were of special importance. The first of these was the artesian well. In dry seasons, there had sometimes been a scarcity of water for laundry and other work, the supply for these purposes coming mainly from the brook in the grounds. As there seemed to be a prospect of easily relieving the difficulty in this way, boring was begun near the southeast corner of the gymnasium. The undertaking was not so soon accomplished as had been hoped, and once came near being abandoned; but at the depth of four hundred and fifty feet, water came at the rate of forty gallons a minute, and was found to be of excellent quality. As it rose spontaneously only to within sixty feet of the surface, a small steam engine was provided for pumping, which has since been made to do service also in various other ways. From that time, the supply of water has been abundant and unfailing.
The next enterprise was the elevator. Years before, it had been
spoken of, but only to be dismissed as out of the question. There is mention
of the subject on the minutes of the trustees for 1872, a report having
been made that "the matter of an elevator cannot now be
considered as practicable." But the need continued to be felt; and as years went on, new contrivances prepared the way. It was early in 1880 that the project was really taken in hand. By that time, it was well understood that a natural water power was not essential in order to have a hydraulic elevator; and since it was clear that the thing desired could be done, it only remained to raise the money and do it. The first contribution taken up for the elevator is thus mentioned by one who shared in it: "It was when I sat at Miss Shattuck's table, in the spring of 1880. After talking ourselves into thorough earnestness, we agreed to come to the next meal bringing each five cents. Sixty-five cents only was the result, for two of us forgot that all important beginning." Yet the little collection answered its purpose. As in the days when steam heating was aspired to, so now, there was much letter writing to home friends and to former students, and many visits were paid to those within reach who were known to be liberal. Miss Shattuck had long been deeply interested, and was active in soliciting donations, as also were Miss Ward, and other teachers. So much success attended these efforts that the enterprise was not long a doubtful one; at the meeting of the trustees in June, the executive committee were authorized to proceed, and early in the autumn the elevator was running. Its cost was $4,273.50, all of which was given for the purpose. It is of the best make, and the handsome ear accommodates about twenty passengers. The benefits expected from the elevator have been fully realized, particularly in making the rooms in the upper stories as eligible as any in the building; it has been run without accident, - accident being indeed hardly possible, - and with little expense.
In this same summer of 1880 it became known that the
observatory, so long desired, was about to be built. At first, a little
mystery surrounded the matter; but means having been promised, no time
was lost in beginning. The seminary was especially favored in having
on its board of trustees the eminent astronomer, Dr. Charles A. Young, of Princeton, who had for many years been its lecturer. To his judgment everything relating to the building and equipment of the observatory was referred; and he generously bestowed upon it time and thought as if it had been his own. No suitable site could be found within the seminary grounds, the view of the heavens being everywhere more or less obstructed by trees or buildings. Across the street, however, an excellent location was found, southwest of the high school building, where an acre was purchased by the friend who had undertaken the matter, and whose name by this time was known.
In the Smithsonian Report for 1880, in an article on the astronomical observatories of this and other countries, the one at this institution is thus described by Dr. Young:-
The building consists of a tower with a dome eighteen feet in diameter, flanked by two wings, one extending to the west and one to the north. The dome is very light, and rotates so easily that any young lady can manage it without difficulty. The arrangements for opening and closing the shutters which cover the slit in the dome, and the openings for the transit and prime vertical instrument, are worked with equal facility. In the dome is mounted a fine eight-inch equatorial by Clark, completely fitted out with clock-work, finding-clock, micrometers, spectroscope, solar eye-piece, etc., and so arranged that the circles can be read and the clamps and tangent screws worked from the eye-piece of the instrument. The object-glass is almost entirely the work of the senior Alvan Clark, and is one of the most perfect specimens of his art.
In the transit-room is mounted a meridian circle by Fauth & Co., of Washington. The instrument has a telescope of three inches aperture, and circles of sixteen inches diameter, reading to seconds by two microscopes. It has a reversing apparatus, and is fitted with a "latitude level" and micrometer, so that it can, if desired, be used as a zenith telescope. A large collimator is mounted upon a pier south of it, and in the corner of the room is a clock with Denison escapement,
There is no instrument in the prime vertical room, - which is used in connection with the study, for recitations, - but it is provided with a pier and shutter, so that the meridian circle can be set up there if it is ever thought desirable to make observations in that plane.
When the next anniversary arrived, all was complete. At the close of the exercises in the church, the returning procession moved on past the seminary to the new observatory, to attend the brief ceremonies of its dedication. Around its entrance gathered a joyful throng, - trustees, teachers, students, and guests. Dr. Young spoke of the history of the enterprise, and the objects in view. His excellency, Governor Long, followed in a next and appropriate speech, and the dedicatory prayer was offered by Dr. Seelye, of Amherst.
A peculiarly tender and sacred recollection is inseparably associated with this one of the seminary buildings. It was the gift of bereaved parents, in memory of their eldest son, John Payson Williston, a manly and beautiful boy, who died April 23, 1879, at the age of fourteen.
The observatory was ready for use in good time for a great astronomical
event - the transit of Venus in 1882 on which occasion valuable observations
were made. The longitude of the observatory was also determined. The solar
eclipse of March 16, 1885, was successfully observed, and the report of
Miss Bardwell was communicated by Dr. Young to the Sidereal Messenger.
Meteorological observations are regularly kept. In connection with the
required study of astronomy, the telescope is freely used for exhibiting
to the pupils sunspots and solar prominences, the moon, planets, double
stars, and nebulae. Those who take advanced work' have instruction and
practice in the use of the sextant, meridian circle, equatorial telescope,
A destiny almost romantic awaited the old telescope. It was still a good instrument of its size, though the apparatus for managing it was somewhat inferior. Miss Ferguson, of the Huguenot Seminary, desired to obtain it for her school, as the wonderfully clear atmosphere at the Cape of Good Hope is so favorable for astronomical study. Accordingly it was purchased from the seminary by Mr. Williston, provided with the needful accompaniments, and forwarded. The American astronomical party, sent thither to observe the transit of Venus, selected their station at Wellington, in the seminary grounds. During the weeks of preparatory drill, Professor Newcomb trained some of the teachers along with his own assistants; and when the transit took place, the old Holyoke telescope, with a Holyoke graduate behind it, added a valuable observation to those made by the various members of the party.
The grounds of the institution were greatly enlarged by additions
in 1880 and 1881. For some years, Miss Ward had considered it desirable
that the seminary should secure a large tract including the summit of Prospect
Hill; the charming views it commanded were of themselves a sufficient attraction,
and its rare possibilities for landscape gardening could not be overlooked.
Here, the seminary might in time have groves of its own, safe from the
woodman's axe. A six-acre lot on the hillside, containing a few fine old
trees, had been purchased at her suggestion for the seminary by Hon. E.
A. Goodnow, of Worcester, some time before. In 1880, the chief part of
the hill, comprising from twenty to twenty-five acres adjacent to that
already owned, was presented to the institution by the same friend. To
the gift of the land be added two thousand dollars to be used - together
with smaller sums from other friends - in improvements; and later, provided
a permanent fund of five thousand dollars whose income should be devoted
to the same' purpose. This portion of the seminary estate bears the name
Park. Thousands of young trees have been planted, and already its growing beauty attracts many to try the pretty winding walk up the hillside, or the drive leading from the iron bridge by a more gentle ascent through the southern part of the park, to the pavilion that crowns the summit.
In July, 1880, Colonel Rice, of Conway, passed from the labors of earth to the rest of heaven. He had lived to a good old age, and at the time of his decease lacked only two days of completing his eighty-sixth year. In May previous, replying to Miss Ward's inquiries about his failing health, he had expressed his deep interest in the seminary, and his confidence that it would continue to increase in usefulness and power. He was remarkable for the symmetry and consistency of his Christian character. While firm in his adherence to principle, lie was most kindly and genial; in business matters lie was active, enterprising, and judicious, yet a liberal and systematic giver, who loved to help the Lord's work or minister to the poor. Humility was joined with an unfaltering trust; and the Friend with whom he had walked through life did not fail him in death.
The death of Mr. Kingman, another valued trustee, occurred somewhat suddenly November 1, 1880, at the age of sixty-six. He was a native of Providence, but had long resided in Boston. He was an earnest and devout Christian, actively interested in many kinds of work for the Master. He had been a member of the prudential committee of the American Board of Foreign Missions for many years, and a trustee of the seminary from 1850 till his death.
At the next meeting of the trustees, they put on record their tribute to the memory of these lately of their number, from which the following passage is quoted:-
A few extracts from the journal, and from other records made at the time, will illustrate what has been said. One point specially noted in regard to the year 1872-3, during which there were twenty-five or thirty cases of hopeful conversion, was "More than usual growth among Christians." While Dr. Kirk was at the seminary in the Spring Of that year, many asked to converse with him; the journal says: "There seemed to be earnest desires to learn more, and go on faster in the ways of the Lord. Dr. Kirk, whose labors, had in the past been chiefly for the impenitent, said he felt more than ever before the importance of the work to be done for those already Christians, but weak."
In the spring of 1877, on a special day of prayer, it was said: "All the meetings were very encouraging, especially one to which were invited only those who desired to attain fuller personal consecration to Christ. The lecture room was crowded; a great many short voluntary prayers were offered, which seemed heartfelt. The religious state of the family has on the whole been encouraging all this term. . . . There are now in school only eleven who do not call themselves disciples."
In 1878, - "Soon after the week of prayer, the young ladies began to have many little meetings by themselves. Then they asked that they might hold a general meeting twice a week in the lecture room. It occupied the fifteen minutes before tea, on Wednesdays and Sundays. These hopeful tokens continue, and the meetings are full and interesting."
In February, 1881, - "The influence of the day of prayer for colleges
has been manifest; Christians have been quickened, and we rejoice over
some who have come to Jesus for the first time. But we need - oh, how greatly
- that which is so much needed by the churches everywhere, - more earnestness,
constancy, and consistency in the lives of professing Christians."
In June, 1882, - "There were, toward the close of the year, some conversions that awakened especial gratitude, because these were souls long prayed for."
Several of the teachers during this period left the seminary for service in foreign lands. The first was Miss Annie M. Wells, - a graduate of the class of '67, and for four years a teacher, - who in 1874 went to South Africa, to assist in the lately established Huguenot Seminary. In 1876, Olive J. Emerson, M. D., a graduate of '65, who took her degree in medicine at Michigan University in '74, went to Tavoy, Burmah, as the wife of Rev. Horatio Morrow, missionary of the Baptist Union. She had been highly valued as the seminary physician for two years; and in her mission field she ministers to the needs of the body as well as the soul. Her example was followed by her successor at the seminary, Adaline D. H. Kelsey, M. D., who graduated at Mount Holyoke in'68, and at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary in '76. She went in 1878 to Tungchow, China, as a missionary physician of the Presbyterian Board. In 1877, Miss Susan M. Clary of the class of '63 - for fourteen years a teacher at the seminary - went to South Africa, to begin a school for girls at Pretoria in the Transvaal. Within a year her work was done. A severe attack of pneumonia was followed by consumption, of which she died August 3, 1878.
Miss Clary seemed remarkably well fitted for the enterprise which
she had so successfully begun. She had devoted herself to it for life,
- the long life on which she thought she might reasonably count. To a friend
who inquired how soon she meant to come home for a visit, she replied,
"Not for forty years." Always well and cheery, she enjoyed having much
to do and to oversee. Naturally quick, resolute, and systematic, she accomplished
a great deal, and had time to spare for any unforeseen demand. She was
an enthusiastic teacher, and delighted also in loving ministries to those
under her care. One of the old scholars
says: "I often thought Lowell might have taken her for a model when he wrote
Which most leave undone or despise,
For naught that sets the heart at ease,
Or giveth happiness or peace,
Is low-esteemed in her eyes.'
In June, 1882, Miss Ward offered her resignation, the state of her health for years having been such as to justify and demand release from the heavy responsibilities of her position. Though her love for the work was not less, her strength was no longer equal to it. Unwilling that her connection with the seminary should be terminated without previous trial of a long absence, the board prevailed upon her to adopt this course. During the winter, she journeyed as far as California, where she remained many months, but without marked improvement. At the next anniversary, the trustees accepted the resignation again presented, and passed resolutions from which the following paragraphs are quoted:-
Voted, That we sympathize with her in the protracted ill health which has necessitated her resignation; and assure her of our best wishes and earnest prayers for her speedy restoration to perfect health, and that she may have many years of still more useful labor in the cause of woman's education.
The journal of June, 1883, after alluding to the resignation of Miss Ward, added: "But she is ours still, and ever will be. . . . We owe her very much; we do not forget it, as we earnestly ask for her many years of health 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.'"
[END OF CHAPTER XVI]