ADMINISTRATION OF MISS BLANCHARD.
In the autumn of 1882, a small greenhouse, costing about five hundred
dollars, was built at the south end of the gymnasium. It has not only been
a constant source of enjoyment, but has also furnished a winter home for
many delicate and beautiful plants from the botanical garden. It was provided
by the thoughtful kindness of a former member of the seminary, Miss Emma
E. Dickinson, of Fairport, New York. Another, Mrs. Ruth (Washburn) Bancroft,
of Buffalo, a pupil in Miss Lyon's time, sent five hundred dollars for
renovating the seminary hall; and this having been done, the young ladies
themselves secured funds for replacing the old
settees with chairs. A surplus remaining from their gift was appropriated to improvements in the reading room. There were important donations to the art gallery, including paintings, casts of noted sculptures, and Chinese bronzes of great antiquity and value.
There were during the year several special courses of lectures, among which was one by Dr. William T. Harris, on the philosophy of education, a short historical course by Dr. John Lord, and one on biology by Professor Rice, of the Wesleyan University, at Middletown, Connecticut.
At their annual meeting, June 20, 1883, the trustees passed a vote of thanks "to the associate principals, Miss Blanchard and Miss Edwards, who have administered the government and discipline so wisely and successfully during the absence of the principal." The resignation of Miss Ward having been accepted, Miss Blanchard was unanimously elected principal, with Miss Edwards as her associate, which offices, respectively, they continue to hold.
The period has been one of prosperity and growth. The attendance has been large; and though the building of a house for the steward has left free for students' use several additional rooms in the south wing, it has not been practicable to receive nearly all the well qualified applicants. This year, 1886-7, all the available rooms in the Dwight house have been used for dormitories.
Early in 1884, the front parlors were handsomely refurnished by the generosity of some of the trustees, who kindly took upon themselves not only the expense, but also the superintendence of the matter. To these parlors the young ladies are accustomed to resort at pleasure, during the recreation hours before and after tea.
The paper mill property was purchased in the summer of 1884. This
secured the control of its water power, should it sometime be needed for
making electric light, or for any other purpose; and also of the
supply for watering the lawns and botanical garden. The pavilion in Goodnow Park was built the same year, and the house for the steward the summer following.
In 1886-7, the library building was enlarged by adding at the north end another room, nearly as large as the first. It is occupied by cases compactly arranged, which will shelve twenty or twenty-five thousand volumes on one floor; and is capable of being so modified as to hold many thousands more, should it by and by be needful. Double fire-proof doors separate it from the original room, which with its eleven or twelve thousand volumes continues to be a constant resort during thirteen or fourteen hours of the day. There is a classified index to the library, as well as a card catalogue for public use, besides the official card catalogue. As yet, the library has only the nucleus of a permanent fund, but there are annual appropriations from the general fund for the purchase of books.
Besides numerous gifts for the art gallery and cabinets., there have been important additions to the apparatus, particularly to that for microscopical study. One friend gave a thousand dollars for this purpose, in 1885; and over three hundred had been sent a short time before by alumnae in Boston and Worcester. There are at present twenty compound and twenty-four dissecting microscopes, with a fine microtome and other accessories, in daily use by enthusiastic students and teachers.
In regard to the course of study, the requirements for admission
have been somewhat increased, and modifications made by which time is secured
for further progress in certain departments. Text books and works of reference
are supplemented by frequent lectures from teachers, in addition to the
regular courses given by the non-resident lecturers. In 1883, Professor
Mears, of Williams College, became the lecturer in chemistry; and in 1885
Professor Kimball, of the Worcester Technical Institute, the lecturer in
physics. Besides the regular lectures, there have been short courses in
biology by Professor Wilson, of Bryn Mawr College, and Professor Sedgwick, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; also in political science by Edward W. Bemis, Ph.D.
For years, the teachers of various departments have from time to time availed themselves of the advantages of the leading technological institutes, and have also had private instruction from specialists in their respective studies. Physics, chemistry, botany, and zoology have been thus pursued in repeated instances, not to mention the special study of mathematics, psychology, and ancient languages.
The amount of work done by students beyond what is required has for several years been constantly increasing. In 1884-5, eighty did advanced work in languages, literature, mathematics, or sciences, during a part or the whole of the year; in 1885-6, the number was over a hundred. In most cases, the time thus devoted - perhaps a year or more - is taken before completing the regular course, rather than after graduation. Laboratory work, in one line or another, is found to have strong attractions for many; in some cases, it has been pursued for two or three years beyond the regular curriculum. The number of hours per week thus spent has varied from three or four to twelve or fifteen. In each department, work in advance of the course is encouraged, and provided for as far as desired.
The following extract from one of the journal letters gives a good picture of seminary life at the present day. It was written in June, 1885, by Miss Bowers:-
The English ivy, which covers the ground of the enclosure, is somewhat winter-killed each year, but makes afresh a rich green carpet each summer. How beautiful this little grove, and how merry the occupants of the hammocks and the grass beneath its shade! Answering voices float up to us from the boats on the water, and across the grass front the lawn-tennis players, under the drooping branches of the great black walnut tree, the royal resident on our domains. A little nearer us, victors and vanquished are laughing over a game of croquet. Girls are scattered about the grounds, singly or in groups, busy with book or needle work or pleasant chat, and we know they are taking in fresh life for nerve and heart and brain. Sweet recreation days in field and wood and on these beautiful grounds! They must be, beyond our power to estimate, "faire gospellers" of peace. Even the walk from the house over to Williston Hall must compose one's mind for a recitation there! The supper bell calls; the evening brings all home to quiet and sleep, from which we wake into a study-day world. Will you stay through its hours?
There is no bell in the morning until the rising bell, which is itself somewhat tardy in rising, as compared with the old standard, and has a subdued tone of voice, as if afraid it may wake somebody. Girls must be prompt at breakfast and quite ready for it, but they may choose their own time of rising, if it be not too early!
Look about in the basement a little, after breakfast. The elevator, you remember, cuts out one corner of the middle room, arid the bread closet occupies another. The bread cutter close at band; the great oven in the domestic hall; the closet built against the oven, with rows of shelves, whereon all our bread is placed to rise and kept moist by a tiny spray of steam; the big broilers for steak; the former oven converted into a great plate warmer; the steam kettles which supply so easily the needful quantity of coffee or chocolate or soup; the soapstone sinks for dish washing; the flour sifter; the refrigerators, for butter, for milk, for other food, - all these make work easier or furnish our table more healthfully, and something is brought in every year to these ends.
The bell for morning devotions calls us to the seminary hall, made very attractive now by the furnishings of a few years past. Miss Lyon, Miss Fiske, Miss Hopkins, Mrs. Eddy, Deacon and Mrs. Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Williston, look down upon us from the walls, and choice photographs are there besides. Miss Edwards is our preacher, and we doubt if many pulpits are filled more acceptably. Can girls go away without receiving life-long impressions for good from that desk? We have responsive Scripture readings in these, morning exercises, and
We want to take you over to our two-year-old house for drawing and music - the old Dwight place. You may stop to admire the smooth-shaven lawn between it and the seminary, with its scattered trees and shrubs. The pupils do a great deal of charcoal work; here are some lovely little landscapes, taken from nature; many are copying front casts; some are making portraits from photographs or from life. Coming back to the great house, let us step into the elevator and go up to the rooms for painting, at the north end of the upper floor. The work is done in both oil and water-colors, and is mostly fruit and flowers.
It is time for us to descend from high art to our dinner in the basement, yet we think you will agree with us that something of high art
*Much advanced work is done in chemistry, chiefly in qualitative analysis. The small physical laboratory lately fitted up affords increased facilities for experimental work, in which an extended course is arranged. More room is greatly needed in this as well as the other departments of natural science.
Makes that and the action fine."
If the English literature class is discussing Lady Macbeth's or Portia's character, we think we can promise you some bright and discerning remarks of their own, not the commentators'; if they give you some of Bacon's Essays in their own or in his words, you will be glad that they have such weighty antidotes to the light reading which most girls take in such large and frequent draughts. It is an encouraging symptom in these cases that they do take and enjoy the antidote so well.
Since on making this visit to us, you have laid aside "the prejudice in favor of taking the body with you," you are able, of course, to visit any number of classes; you can hear the original demonstrations in geometry; the attempts at speech and the successes of the would-be French and German girls, compelled to close attention by having not a word of English to help them in their efforts to understand and be understood; the talk about the last amendment to the Constitution or the aspects of the Indian question, in the class in civil government; and - O "most potent, grave, and reverend" Seniors, forgive its our seeming neglect - the animated discussion on some question in moral science or Butler's Analogy.
The year 1884-5 was one long to be remembered, on account of a marked
and gracious spiritual quickening early in the first term, the influence
of which continued through the year, and perhaps in a degree to the
present time. It was in part the fruit of special labors in the parish, in the benefits of which the seminary family shared. Mr. Moody spoke twice in the church, at the outset, and once at the seminary. He was followed by Rev. Rufus Underwood, the evangelist, who, with the pastor, Dr. Love, held meetings in the church for two or three weeks, and frequently spoke at the seminary. "What this season of progress has been to Christians, as well as to others," says the journal, "was apparent in a prayer meeting near the close of the term. Miss Blanchard had invited the young ladies to testify of the spiritual blessings they had received, in notes without signature. It strengthened our faith to hear the words that came in response. They had 'become Christians'; they had 'learned to love God's word'; they had 'received answer to the prayer of years'; they had 'found the half-hour precious'; they had 'felt the love of Christ inspiring them to service.' This has been shown in many little acts of self-denial for Christ's sake, and in the spirit of responsiveness to the many appeals for benevolent objects."
In 1885-6, - "more than half of those who at the opening of the year did not count themselves disciples have given evidence of a change of heart; and some of the few remaining seem not far from the kingdom of God. . . . There has been a prayerful spirit on the part of many, and earnest Christian work."
There is a temperance society to which many of the students belong,
- a branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, - whose enthusiastic
meetings, conducted by themselves, are attended by nearly the whole family.
The monthly concert of prayer for missions is regularly observed, as always
in the past; and reports on special topics are presented by some of the
young ladies, while facts of interest are voluntarily contributed by others.
The regular weekly meeting of the school is becoming largely one of conference
as well as prayer, helpful thus to better mutual acquaintance, and closer
sympathy in the Christian life.
The number and variety of Christian enterprises that in these days come before the school is great, and it has its representatives in nearly all of them. Frequent letters from well remembered friends who are teaching among the freedmen or the poor whites at the South, among the Indians or the Mormons at the West, make the need of such labors seem real, and their reward worth the self-sacrifice they cost. The intimate connection with the Holyoke schools in Cape Colony - which in their spirit and aims are so truly in sympathy with missionary work, and are already doing so much in that line - tends to a like result.
During Miss Blanchard's administration, several of the seminary teachers have gone to take up some form of Christian service in foreign lands. Two of these are in Turkey: Miss Helen E. Melvin, of the class of '79, who went in 1883 to teach at Constantinople; and Miss Ella T. Bray, of the class of '83, - now Mrs. Dr. Graham of Aintab, - who went out in 1885. Miss Mary Ella Spooner, of the class of '72, and a teacher at the seminary from that time, left in 1884, to teach in the Hawaiian Islands, as lady principal of the Oahu College; and in 1887, Mrs. Sophie (Smith) Burt, a graduate of Oberlin, and a seminary teacher for two years, went also to the islands, to assist in the school for native boys at Hilo, of which her husband, Rev. Arthur W. Burt, is principal.
In June, 1884, the question of appointing women on the board of trustees - which had been for some time under consideration - was affirmatively settled. It was voted that henceforth the principal should be a member ex officio, and Mrs. A. Lyman Williston also was chosen a trustee. In 1886, Mrs. Helen (French) Gulliver was elected. At the same time, it was decided that the principal should be ex officio a member of the executive committee.
and fidelity with which Mr. Lawrence had conducted the business committed to his care, and expressing "the most hearty good wishes for his welfare, and that of his highly esteemed wife, during their remaining years." Mr. Lawrence was succeeded by Mr. David E. Phillips, of Columbus, Ohio, who filled the position with great ability and acceptance; but resigned in 1886 on account of business inducements elsewhere. The present steward is Mr. Lewis H. Porter, of Williamsburgh, Massachusetts.
In concluding the history of this period, it is proper that there should be a brief statement of the present financial condition of the seminary. Its principal permanent funds are, that for aiding deserving students, and the "general fund," the income of which is at the disposal of the board for the various needs of the institution.
The need of an education fund was early recognized, and efforts
were made by trustees to secure donations for this object; but previous
to 1872, the amount obtained was only five thousand dollars. A legacy of
fifteen thousand dollars expressly designed for the education fund, from
Miss Phebe Hazeltine, of Boscawen, New Hampshire, was received in 1872-3;
and other legacies and donations which came in during Miss Ward's administration
raised the total amount to twenty-eight thousand dollars. Since that time,
it has increased to forty-five thousand dollars. There are, besides, two
loan funds of five thousand dollars each, for the same purpose; one of
which was given in 1882, by Homer Merriam, Esq., of Springfield, and the
other in 1884, by Edward Smith, Esq., of Enfield, Massachusetts. The income
of these, by request of the donors, is loaned, rather than given, "in order
to promote self-reliance and self-respect on the part of the pupil," who
gives her note and pays interest. The gentleman last named, in addition
to his own donation, labored much in soliciting gifts for the education
fund from others; and the board passed a vote of thanks for his assiduous
The general fund has been very small until recently. Many years ago, a legacy of five thousand dollars was received from Mr. Henry Kendall, of Leominster, Massachusetts, the income of which has been used for general expenses. It was stated that he was led to make the bequest by observing the benefit received at the seminary by a certain pupil. In 1883, a legacy of twenty thousand dollars from Mr. John B. Eldridge, of Hartford, was added to the general fund; and in 1885, a like amount - the larger part of a bequest from Mr. Eber Gridley, of Hartford - was appropriated to the same purpose, the remainder being reserved for buildings and improvements. About five thousand dollars from other bequests has been added to the fund.
Some years since, Mrs. Julia M. Tolman, formerly associate principal, left to the seminary between three and four thousand dollars, the income of which should be used for special grants to teachers, for purposes of health and improvement. It was the hope of the donor that this might be the beginning of a much larger provision for the object. Small as the fund is, it has been of inestimable service to the teachers, on the one hand by furnishing them the means of rest and recreation from time to time; and on the other, by enabling them to enlarge their resources by attending lectures, or visiting other institutions of learning.
The following table recapitulates the amounts given above, including also the Goodnow Park fund and the Boswell fund for the library, previously mentioned:
For aiding students,
Homer Merriam Loan Fund, 5,000 00
Edward Smith Loan Fund, 5,000 00 $55,000 00
Gridley Bequest, 20,000 00
Other Bequests, 10,000 00 50,000 00
Goodnow Park Fund, . . . . . . . 5,000 00
Boswell Fund, . . . . . . . 1,000 00
Thus far, the seminary has done its work with little income besides the receipts for board and tuition of pupils. It has almost invariably succeeded in "making the ends meet," year by year, so far as ordinary expenses are concerned; often with a slight surplus, which has been carefully saved toward the special outlays sometimes required. There is now in progress an effort by the alumnae to raise the. modest sum of twenty thousand dollars, to be called "The Mary Lyon Fund," for endowing the principal's chair. Endowments for all the departments are no less essential, in order that the continued growth and prosperity of the institution - so far as they depend on material resources - may be reasonably assured.
Compared with earlier years a much larger proportion of the young ladies enter with the intention of completing the course, and actually do so. Candidates are not admitted until they are sixteen years of age, and many are older. A recent junior class on entering averaged eighteen years and two months. The age at graduation is generally between twenty-one and twenty-two.
Requirements for admission now include, besides the common English branches, preparation in Latin, algebra, and geometry. The fiftieth annual catalogue contains the following
Mineralogy: Dana's Manual. Zoology: Packard's; Jordan's Manual of Vertebrates. Chemistry: Houston's, with Eliot and Storer's Manual. Elective: Biology, Advanced Chemistry, or Mathematics. Elocution: Class Exercises. Vocal Music: Choral Classes. English Composition. Gymnastics.
Latin: Virgil's AEneid. Physics: Atkinson's Ganot. Astronomy: Newcomb and Holden's. Geology: Dana's. English Literature: Shaw's Manual and Brooke's Primer, with topical studies of authors. Rhetoric: Welsh's Complete Rhetoric. Elective: Livy or Tacitus; advanced work in Natural Science, Literature, or Mathematics. Elocution: Class Exercises. English Composition. Vocal Music: Choral Classes. Gymnastics.
Latin: Cicero de Immortalitate; Selections from Horace. Ancient Literature: Outlines from Quackenbos and Schlegel, with topical studies of authors. Psychology: Hickok's. Ethics: Hickok's Moral Science. History of Art: Outlines from Luebke, and topical studies. Theism and Christian Evidences: Studies from Fisher's Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief, Wright's Logic of Christian Evidences, and Butler's Analogy. English Composition. Elocution: Class Exercises. Vocal Music: Choral Classes. Gymnastics.
A comprehensive course of Bible study is regularly pursued, in weekly
lessons, throughout the four years, as follows:-
The following optional courses are pursued in Greek, French, and German: To one who completes either, a special diploma is given, as they are additional to the regular curriculum.
First Year - White's Lessons and Goodwin's Grammar; Xenophon's Anabasis. Second Year - Selections from Herodotus and Thucydides; Homer's Iliad or Odyssey. Third Year - Demosthenes's Olynthiacs and Philippics; Prometheus of Aeschylus. Fourth Year - Plato's Apology; Antigone of Sophocles; Alcestis of Euripides. Prose Composition and reading at sight, each year.
First Year - Sauveur's Causeries avec mes Eleves; Fables
de La Fontaine, some of them committed to memory; Grammar. Second Year
- Sauveurís Contes Merveilleux, read and made the subject of conversation;
Litterature Francaise Contemporaine, by Pylodet; Grammaire
Francaise pour les Anglais, by Sauveur; Written and Oral Exercises. Third Year - Sauveur's Grammar concluded; Select Modern Plays; Poetry; Athalie by Racine. Fourth Year - Histoire de la Litterature Francaise, by Cart; Translations from English into French; Compositions; L'Avare, by Moliere; Le Cid, by Corneille; Selections from Madame de Sevigne, La Bruyere, Merimee, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Lamartine.
First Year - Object Lessons: Deutscher Anschauungs-Unterricht fur Amerikaner, by Wenckebach; Das Deutsche Buch der Sauveur Schule; Grammar; Poetry committed to memory. Second Year - Grammar: Written and Oral Exercises; Deutsche Grammatik fur Amerikaner, by Wenckebach; Grimm's Maerchen; Hoeher als die Kirche, by Wilh. Von Hillern; Undine, by Fouque; Poetry: Die Schoensten Deutschen Lieder, selected by Wenckebach. Third Year - Grammar; German Prose Composition, by Buchheim; Lyric Poems; Die Jungfrau von Orleans, by Schiller; Minna von Barnhelm, by Lessing. Fourth Year - History of German Literature; Letters and Compositions; Poetry: Ballads by Goethe, Schiller, and Uhland; Schiller's Wilhelm Tell; Lessing's Nathan der Weise; Goethe's Iphigenie auf Tauris.
Lessons are taken in charcoal-drawing front casts or models, and in sketching front nature. A normal class, also, is instructed in the elementary forms of design, and in outline drawing. Painting is taught, in both water-colors and oils.
All the students have regular lessons in choral classes. Private instruction in the cultivation of the voice, and in piano practice, is given by teachers who have studied in conservatories in this country and in Germany.
[END OF CHAPTER XVII]