The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of Wellesley, by Florence Converse This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Story of Wellesley Author: Florence Converse Posting Date: March 1, 2009 [EBook #2362] Release Date: October, 2000 Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE STORY OF WELLESLEY *** Produced by Stephanie L. Johnson. HTML version by Al Haines.
To Alma Mater, Wellesley's daughters,
All together join and sing.
Thro' all her wealth of woods and water
Let your happy voices ring;
In every changing mood we love her,
Love her towers and woods and lake;
Oh, changeful sky, bend blue above her,
Wake, ye birds, your chorus wake!
We'll sing her praises now and ever,
Blessed fount of truth and love.
Our heart's devotion, may it never
Faithless or unworthy prove,
We'll give our lives and hopes to serve her,
Humblest, highest, noblest—all;
A stainless name we will preserve her,
Answer to her every call.
Anne L. Barrett, '86
The day after the Wellesley fire, an eager young reporter on a Boston paper came out to the college by appointment to interview a group of Wellesley women, alumnae and teachers, grief-stricken by the catastrophe which had befallen them. He came impetuously, with that light-hearted breathlessness so characteristic of young reporters in the plays of Bernard Shaw and Arnold Bennett. He was charmingly in character, and he sent his voice out on the run to meet the smallest alumna in the group:
"Now tell me some pranks!" he cried, with pencil poised.
What she did tell him need not be recorded here. Neither was it set down in the courteous and sympathetic report which he afterwards wrote for his paper.
And readers who come to this story of Wellesley for pranks will be disappointed likewise. Not that the lighter side of the Wellesley life is omitted; play-days and pageants, all the bright revelry of the college year, belong to the story. Wellesley would not be Wellesley if they were left out. But her alumnae, her faculty, and her undergraduates all agree that the college was not founded primarily for the sake of Tree Day, and that the Senior Play is not the goal of the year's endeavor.
It is the story of the Wellesley her daughters and lovers know that I have tried to tell: the Wellesley of serious purpose, consecrated to the noble ideals of Christian Scholarship.
I am indebted for criticism, to President Pendleton who kindly
read certain parts of the manuscript, to Professor Katharine Lee
Bates, Professor Vida D. Scudder, and Mrs. Marian Pelton Guild;
for historical material, to Miss Charlotte Howard Conant's "Address
Delivered in Memory of Henry Fowle Durant in Wellesley College
Chapel", February 18, 1906, to Mrs. Louise McCoy North's Historical
Address, delivered at Wellesley's quarter centennial, in June 1900,
to Professor George Herbert Palmer's "Life of Alice Freeman Palmer,"
published by the Houghton Mifflin Co., to Professor Margarethe
Muller's "Carla Wenckebach, Pioneer," published by Ginn & Co.;
to Dean Waite, Miss Edith Souther Tufts, Professor Sarah F. Whiting,
Miss Louise Manning Hodgkins, Professor Emeritus Mary A. Willcox,
Mrs. Mary Gilman Ahlers; to Miss Candace C. Stimson, Miss Mary B.
Jenkins, the Secretary of the Alumnae Restoration and Endowment
Committee, and to the many others among alumnae and faculty, whose
letters and articles I quote. Last but not least in my grateful
memory are all those painstaking and accurate chroniclers, the
editors of the Wellesley Courant, Prelude, Magazine, News, and
Legenda, whose labors went so far to lighten mine.
|I.||THE FOUNDER AND HIS IDEALS|
|II.||THE PRESIDENTS AND THEIR ACHIEVEMENT|
|III.||THE FACULTY AND THEIR METHODS|
|IV.||THE STUDENTS AT WORK AND PLAY|
|V.||THE FIRE: AN INTERLUDE|
|VI.||THE LOYAL ALUMNAE|
|INDEX [not included]|
As the nineteenth century recedes into history and the essentially romantic quality of its great adventures is confirmed by the "beauty touched with strangeness" which illumines their true perspective, we are discovering, what the adventurers themselves always knew, that the movement for the higher education of women was not the least romantic of those Victorian quests and stirrings, and that its relation to the greatest adventure of all, Democracy, was peculiarly vital and close.
We know that the "man in the street", in the sixties and seventies, watching with perplexity and scornful amusement the endeavor of his sisters and his daughters—or more probably other men's daughters—to prove that the intellectual heritage must be a common heritage if Democracy was to be a working theory, missed the beauty of the picture. He saw the slim beginning of a procession of young women, whose obstinate, dreaming eyes beheld the visions hitherto relegated by scriptural prerogative and masculine commentary to their brothers; inevitably his outraged conservatism missed the beauty; and the strangeness he called queer. That he should have missed the democratic significance of the movement is less to his credit. But he did miss it, fifty years ago and for several years thereafter, even as he is still missing the democratic significance of other movements to-day. Processions still pass him by,—for peace, for universal suffrage, May Day, Labor Day, and those black days when the nations mobilize for war, they pass him by,—and the last thing he seems to discover about them is their democratic significance. But after a long while the meaning of it all has begun to penetrate. To-day, his daughters go to college as a matter of course, and he has forgotten that he ever grudged them the opportunity.
They remind him of it, sometimes, with filial indirection, by celebrating the benevolence, the intellectual acumen, the idealism of the few men, exceptional in their day, who saw eye to eye with Mary Lyon and her kind; the men who welcomed women to Oberlin and Michigan, who founded Vassar and Wellesley and Bryn Mawr, and so helped to organize the procession. Their reminders are even beginning to take form as records of achievement; annals very far from meager, for achievement piles up faster since Democracy set the gate of opportunity on the crack, and we pack more into a half century than we used to. And women, more obviously than men, perhaps, have "speeded up" in response to the democratic stimulus; their accomplishment along social, political, industrial, and above all, educational lines, since the first woman's college was founded, is not inconsiderable.
How much, or how little, would have been accomplished, industrially, socially, and politically, without that first woman's college, we shall never know, but the alumnae registers, with their statistics concerning the occupations of graduates, are suggestive reading. How little would have been accomplished educationally for women, it is not so difficult to imagine: Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Bryn Mawr,—with all the bright visions, the fullness of life that they connote to American women, middle-aged and young,—blotted out; coeducational institutions harassed by numbers and inventing drastic legislation to keep out the women; man still the almoner of education, and woman his dependent. From all these hampering probabilities the women's colleges save us to-day. This is what constitutes their negative value to education.
Their positive contribution cannot be summarized so briefly; its scattered chronicle must be sought in the minutes of trustees' meetings, where it modestly evades the public eye, in the academic formalities of presidents' reports and the journalistic naivete of college periodicals; in the diaries of early graduates; in newspaper clippings and magazine "write-ups"; in historical sketches to commemorate the decennial or the quarter-century; and from the lips of the pioneers,—teacher and student. For, in the words of the graduate thesis, "we are still in the period of the sources." The would-be historian of a woman's college to-day is in much the same relation to her material as the Venerable Bede was to his when he set out to write his Ecclesiastical History. The thought brings us its own inspiration. If we sift our miracles with as much discrimination as he sifted his, we shall be doing well. We shall discover, among other things, that in addition to the composite influence which these colleges all together exert, each one also brings to bear upon our educational problems her individual experience and ideals. Wellesley, for example, with her women-presidents, and the heads of her departments all women but three,—the professors of Music, Education, and French,—has her peculiar testimony to offer concerning the administrative and executive powers of women as educators, their capacity for initiative and organization.
This is why a general history of the movement for the higher education of women, although of value, cannot tell us all we need to know, since of necessity it approaches the subject from the outside. The women's colleges must speak as individuals; each one must tell her own story, and tell it soon. The bright, experimental days are definitely past—except in the sense in which all education, alike for men and women, is perennially an experiment—and if the romance of those days is to quicken the imaginations of college girls one hundred, two hundred, five hundred years hence, the women who were the experiment and who lived the romance must write it down.
For Wellesley in particular this consciousness of standing at the threshold of a new epoch is especially poignant. Inevitably those forty years before the fire of 1914 will go down in her history as a period apart. Already for her freshmen the old college hall is a mythical labyrinth of memory and custom to which they have no clue. New happiness will come to the hill above the lake, new beauty will crown it, new memories will hallow it, but—they will all be new. And if the coming generations of students are to realize that the new Wellesley is what she is because her ideals, though purged as by fire, are still the old ideals; if they are to understand the continuity of Wellesley's tradition, we who have come through the fire must tell them the story.
On Wednesday, November 25, 1914, the workmen who were digging among the fire-scarred ruins at the extreme northeast corner of old College Hall unearthed a buried treasure. To the ordinary treasure seeker it would have been a thing of little worth,—a rough bowlder of irregular shape and commonplace proportions,—but Wellesley eyes saw the symbol. It was the first stone laid in the foundations of Wellesley College. There was no ceremony when it was laid, and there were no guests. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fowle Durant came up the hill on a summer morning—Friday, August 18, 1871, was the day—and with the help of the workmen set the stone in place.
A month later, on the afternoon of Thursday, September 14, 1871, the corner stone was laid, by Mrs. Durant, at the northwest corner of the building, under the dining-room wing; it is significant that from the foundations up through the growth and expansion of all the years, women have had a hand in the making of Wellesley. In September, as in August, there were no guests invited, but at the laying of the corner stone there was a simple ceremony; each workman was given a Bible, by Mr. Durant, and a Bible was placed in the corner stone. On December 18, 1914, this stone was uncovered, and the Bible was found in a tin box in a hollow of the stone. As most of the members of the college had scattered for the Christmas vacation, only a little group of people gathered about the place where, forty-three years before, Mrs. Durant had laid the stone. Mrs. Durant was too ill to be present, but her cousin, Miss Fannie Massie, lifted the tin box out of its hollow and handed it to President Pendleton who opened the Bible and read aloud the inscription:
"This building is humbly dedicated to our Heavenly Father with the hope and prayer that He may always be first in everything in this institution; that His word may be faithfully taught here; and that He will use it as a means of leading precious souls to the Lord Jesus Christ."
There followed, also in Mrs. Durant's handwriting, two passages from the Scriptures: II Chronicles, 29: 11-16, and the phrase from the one hundred twenty-seventh Psalm: "Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it."
This stone is now the corner stone of the new building which rises on College Hill, and another, the keystone of the arch above the north door of old College Hall, will be set above the doorway of the new administration building, where its deep-graven I.H.S. will daily remind those who pass beneath it of Wellesley's unbroken tradition of Christian scholarship and service.
But we must go back to the days before one stone was laid upon another, if we are to begin at the beginning of Wellesley's story. It was in 1855, the year after his marriage, that Mr. Durant bought land in Wellesley village, then a part of Needham, and planned to make the place his summer home. Every one who knew him speaks of his passion for beauty, and he gave that passion free play when he chose, all unwittingly, the future site for his college. There is no fairer region around Boston than this wooded, hilly country near Natick—"the place of hills"—with its little lakes, its tranquil, winding river, its hallowed memories of John Eliot and his Christian Indian chieftains, Waban and Pegan, its treasured literary associations with Harriet Beecher Stowe. Chief Waban gave his name, "Wind" or "Breath", to the college lake; on Pegan Hill, from which so many Wellesley girls have looked out over the blue distances of Massachusetts, Chief Pegan's efficient and time-saving squaw used to knit his stockings without heels, because "He handsome foot, and he shapes it hisself"; and Natick is the Old Town of Mrs. Stowe's "Old Town Folks."
In those first years after they began to spend their summers at Wellesley, the family lived in a brown house near what is now the college greenhouse, but Mr. Durant meant to build his new house on the hill above the lake, or on the site of Stone Hall, and to found a great estate for his little son. From time to time he bought more land; he laid out avenues and planted them with trees; and then, the little boy for whom all this joy and beauty were destined fell ill of diphtheria and died, July 3, 1863, after a short illness.
The effect upon the grief-stricken father was startling, and to many who knew him and more who did not, it was incomprehensible. In the quaint phraseology of one of his contemporaries, he had "avoided the snares of infidelity" hitherto, but his religion had been of a conventional type. During the child's illness he underwent an old-fashioned religious conversion. The miracle has happened before, to greater men, and the world has always looked askance. Boston in 1863, and later, was no exception.
Mr. Durant's career as a lawyer had been brilliant and worldly; he had rarely lost a case. In an article on "Anglo-American Memories" which appeared in the New York Tribune in 1909, he is described as having "a powerful head, chiseled features, black hair, which he wore rather long, an olive complexion, and eyes which flashed the lightnings of wrath and scorn and irony; then suddenly the soft rays of sweetness and persuasion for the jury. He could coax, intimidate, terrify; and his questions cut like knives." The author of "Bench and Bar in Massachusetts", who was in college with him, says of him: "During the five years of his practice at the Middlesex Bar he underwent such an initiation into the profession as no other county could furnish. Shrewdness, energy, resource, strong nerves and mental muscles were needed to ward off the blows which the trained gladiators of this bar were accustomed to inflict. With the lessons learned at the Middlesex Bar he removed to Boston in 1847, where he became associated with the Honorable Joseph Bell, the brother-in-law of Rufus Choate, and began a career almost phenomenal in its success. His management of cases in court was artistic. So well taken were the preliminary steps, so deeply laid was the foundation, so complete and comprehensive was the preparation of evidence and so adroitly was it brought out, so carefully studied and understood were the characters of jurors,—with their whims and fancies and prejudices,—that he won verdict after verdict in the face of the ablest opponents and placed himself by general consent at the head of the jury lawyers of the Suffolk Bar." Adjectives less ambiguous and more uncomplimentary than "shrewd" were also applied to him, and his manner of dominating his juries did not always call forth praise from his contemporaries. In one of the newspaper obituaries at the time of his death it is admitted that he had been "charged with resorting to tricks unbecoming the dignity of a lawyer," but the writer adds that it is an open question if some, or indeed all of them were not legitimate enough, and might not have been paralleled by the practices of some of the ablest of British and Irish barristers. Both in law and in business—for he had important commercial interests—he had prospered. He was rich and a man of the world. Boston, although critical, had not found it unnatural that he should make himself talked about in his conduct of jury trials; but the conspicuousness of his conversion was of another sort: it offended against good taste, and incurred for him the suspicion of hypocrisy.
For, with that ardor and impetuosity which seem always to have made half measures impossible to him, Mr. Durant declared that so far as he was concerned, the Law and the Gospel were irreconcilable, and gave up his legal practice. A case which he had already undertaken for Edward Everett, and from which Mr. Everett was unwilling to release him, is said to be the last one he conducted; and he pleaded in public for the last time in a hearing at the State House in Boston, some years later, when he won for the college the right to confer degrees, a privilege which had not been specifically included in the original charter.
His zeal in conducting religious meetings also offended conventional people. It was unusual, and therefore unsuitable, for a layman to preach sermons in public. St. Francis and his preaching friars had established no precedent in Boston of the 'sixties and 'seventies, and indeed Mr. Durant's evangelical protestantism might not have relished the parallel. Boston seems, for the most part, to have averted its eyes from the spectacle of the brilliant, possibly unscrupulous, some said tricky, lawyer bringing souls to Christ. But he did bring them. We are told that "The halls and churches where he spoke were crowded. The training and experience which had made him so successful a pleader before judge and jury, now, when he was fired with zeal for Christ's cause, made him almost irresistible as a preacher. Very many were led by him to confess the Christian faith. Henry Wilson, then senator, afterwards vice president, was among them. The influence of the meetings was wonderful and far-reaching." We are assured that he "would go nowhere unless the Evangelical Christians of the place united in an invitation and the ministers were ready to cooperate." But the whole affair was of course intensely distasteful to unemotional people; the very fact that a man could be converted argued his instability; and it is unquestionably true that Boston's attitude toward Mr. Durant was reflected for many years in her attitude toward the college which he founded.
But over against this picture we can set another, more intimate, more pleasing, although possibly not more discriminating. When the early graduates of Wellesley and the early teachers write of Mr. Durant, they dip their pens in honey and sunshine. The result is radiant, fiery even, but unconvincingly archangelic. We see him, "a slight, well-knit figure of medium height in a suit of gray, with a gray felt hat, the brim slightly turned down; beneath one could see the beautiful gray hair slightly curling at the ends; the fine, clear-cut features, the piercing dark eyes, the mouth that could smile or be stern as occasion might demand. He seemed to have the working power of half a dozen ordinary persons and everything received his attention. He took the greatest pride and delight in making things as beautiful as possible." Or he is described as "A slight man—with eyes keen as a lawyer's should be, but gentle and wise as a good man's are, and with a halo of wavy silver hair. His step was alert, his whole form illuminate with life." He is sketched for us addressing the college, in chapel, one September morning of 1876, on the supremacy of Greek literature, "urging in conclusion all who would venture upon Hadley's Grammar as the first thorny stretch toward that celestial mountain peak, to rise." It is Professor Katharine Lee Bates, writing in 1892, who gives us the picture: "My next neighbor, a valorous little mortal, now a member of the Smith faculty, was the first upon her feet, pulling me after her by a tug at my sleeve, coupled with a moral tug more efficacious still. Perhaps a dozen of us freshmen, all told, filed into Professor Horton's recitation room that morning." And again, "His prompt and vigorous method of introducing a fresh subject to college notice was the making it a required study for the senior class of the year. '79 grappled with biology, '80 had a senior diet of geology and astronomy." To these young women, as to his juries in earlier days, he could use words "that burned and cut like the lash of a scourge," and it is evident that they feared "the somber lightnings of his eyes."
But he won their affection by his sympathy and humor perhaps, quite as much as by his personal beauty, and his ideals of scholarship, and despite his imperious desire to bring their souls to Christ. They remember lovingly his little jokes. They tell of how he came into College Hall one evening, and said that a mother and daughter had just arrived, and he was perplexed to know where to put them, but he thought they might stay under the staircase leading up from the center. And students and teachers, puzzled by this inhospitality but suspecting a joke somewhere, came out into the center to find the great cast of Niobe and her daughter under the stairway at the left, where it stayed through all the years that followed, until College Hall burned down.
They tell also of the moral he pointed at the unveiling of "The Reading Girl", by John Adams Jackson, which stood for many years in the Browning Room. She was reading no light reading, said Mr. Durant, as the twelve men who brought her in could testify. "She is reading Greek, and observe—she doesn't wear bangs." They saw him ardent in friendship as in all else. His devoted friend, and Wellesley's, Professor Eben N. Horsford, has given us a picture of him which it would be a pity to miss. The two men are standing on the oak-crowned hill, overlooking the lake. "We wandered on," says Professor Horsford, "over the hill and future site of Norumbega, till we came where now stands the monument to the munificence of Valeria Stone. There in the shadow of the evergreens we lay down on the carpet of pine foliage and talked,—I remember it well,—talked long of the problems of life, of things worth living for; of the hidden ways of Providence as well as of the subtle ways of men; of the few who rule and are not always recognized; of the many who are led and are not always conscious of it; of the survival of the fittest in the battle of life, and of the constant presence of the Infinite Pity; of the difficulties, the resolution, the struggle, the conquest that make up the history of every worthy achievement. I arose with the feeling that I had been taken into the confidence of one of the most gifted of all the men it had been my privilege to know. We had not talked of friendship; we had been unconsciously sowing its seed. He loved to illustrate its strength and its steadfastness to me; I have lived to appreciate and reverence the grandeur of the work which he accomplished here."
If we set them over against each other, the hearsay that besmirches and the reminiscence that canonizes, we evoke a very human, living personality: a man of keen intellect, of ardent and emotional temperament, autocratic, fanatical, fastidious, and beauty-loving; a loyal friend; an unpleasant enemy. "He saw black black and white white, for him there was no gray." He was impatient of mediocrity. "He could not suffer fools gladly."
No archangel this, but unquestionably a man of genius, consecrated to the fulfillment of a great vision. It is no wonder that the early graduates living in the very presence of his high purpose, his pure intention, his spendthrift selflessness, remember these things best when they recall old days. After all, these are the things most worth remembering.
The best and most carefully balanced study of him which we have is by Miss Charlotte Howard Conant of the class of '84, in an address delivered by her in the College Chapel, February 18, 1906, to commemorate Mr. Durant's birthday. Miss Conant's use of the biographical material available, and her careful and restrained estimate of Mr. Durant's character cannot be bettered, and it is a temptation to incorporate her entire pamphlet in this chapter, but we shall have to content ourselves with cogent extracts.
Henry Fowle Durant, or Henry Welles Smith as he was called in his boyhood, was born February 20, 1822, in Hanover, New Hampshire. His father, William Smith, "was a lawyer of limited means, but versatile mind and genial disposition." His mother, Harriet Fowle Smith of Watertown, Massachusetts, was one of five sisters renowned for their beauty and amiability; she was, we are told, intelligent as well as beautiful, "a great reader, and a devoted Christian all her long life."
Young Henry went to school in Hanover, and in Peacham, Vermont, but in his early boyhood the family moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, and from there he was sent to the private school of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ripley in Waltham, to complete his preparation for Harvard. Miss Conant writes: "Mr. Ripley was pastor of the Unitarian Church there (in Waltham) from 1809 to 1846, and during most of that time supplemented the small salary of a country minister by receiving twelve or fourteen boys into his family to fit for college. From time to time youths rusticated from Harvard were also sent there to keep up college work."
"Mrs. Ripley was one of the most remarkable women of her generation. Born in 1793, she very early began to show unusual intellectual ability, and before she was seventeen she had become a fine Latin scholar and had read also all the Odyssey in the original." Her life-long friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, writes in praise of her: "The rare accomplishments and singular loveliness of her character endeared her to all.... She became one of the best Greek scholars in the country, and continued in her latest years the habit of reading Homer, the tragedians, and Plato. But her studies took a wide range in mathematics, natural philosophy, psychology, theology, and ancient and modern literature. Her keen ear was open to whatever new facts astronomy, chemistry, or the theories of light and heat had to furnish. Absolutely without pedantry, she had no desire to shine. She was faithful to all the duties of wife and mother in a well-ordered and eminently hospitable household wherein she was dearly loved. She was without appetite for luxury or display or praise or influence, with entire indifference to triffles.... As she advanced in life her personal beauty, not remarked in youth, drew the notice of all."
There could have been no nobler, saner influence for an intellectual boy than the companionship of this unusual woman, and if we are to begin at the beginning of Wellesley's story, we must begin with Mrs. Ripley, for Mr. Durant often said that she had great influence in inclining his mind in later life to the higher education of women.
From Waltham the young man went in 1837 to Harvard, where we hear of him as "not specially studious, and possessing refined and luxurious tastes which interfered somewhat with his pursuit of the regular studies of the college." But evidently he was no ordinary idler, for he haunted the Harvard Library, and we know that all his life he was a lover of books. In 1841 he was graduated from Harvard, and went home to Lowell to read law in his father's office, where Benjamin F. Butler was at that time a partner. The dilettante attitude which characterized his college years is now no longer in evidence. He writes to a friend, "I shall study law for the present to oblige father; he is in some trouble, and I wish to make him as happy as possible. The future course of my life is undetermined, except that all shall yield to holy poetry. Indeed it is a sacred duty. I have begun studying law; don't be afraid, however, that I intend to give up poetry. I shall always be a worshiper of that divinity, and I hope in a few years to be able to give up everything and be a priest in her temple." After a year he writes, "I have not written any poetry this whole summer. Old Mrs. Themis says that I shall not visit any more at the Miss Muses. I'll see the old catamaran hanged, though, but what I will, and I'll write a sonnet to my old shoe directly, out of mere desperation. Pity and sympathize with me." And on March 28, 1843, we find him writing to a college friend:
"I have been attending courts of all kinds and assisting as junior counsel in trying cases and all the drudgery of a lawyer's life. One end of my labor has been happily attained, for about three weeks ago I arrived at the age of twenty-one, and last week I mustered courage to stand an examination of my qualifications for an attorney, and the result (unlike that of some examinations during my college life) was fortunate, with compliments from the judge. I feel a certain vanity (not unmixed, by the way, with self-contempt) at my success, for I well remember I and a dear friend of mine used to mourn over the impossibility of our ever becoming business men, and lo, I am a lawyer.— I have a right to bestow my tediousness on any court of the Commonwealth, and they are bound to hear me."
From 1843 to 1847 he practiced at the Middlesex Bar, and from 1847, when he went to live in Boston, until 1863, he was a member of the Suffolk Bar. On November 25, 1851, he had his name changed by act of the Legislature. There were eleven other lawyers by the name of Smith, practicing in Boston, and two of them were Henry Smiths. To avoid the inevitable confusion, Henry Welles Smith became Henry Fowle Durant, both Fowle and Durant being family names.
In 1852 Mr. Durant was a member of the Boston City Council, but did not again hold political office. On May 28, 1854, he married his cousin, Pauline Adeline Fowle, of Virginia, daughter of the late Lieutenant-colonel John Fowle of the United States Army and Paulina Cazenove. On March 2, 1855, the little boy, Henry Fowle Durant, Jr., was born, and on October 10, 1857, a little girl, Pauline Cazenove Durant, who lived less than two months. On June 21, 1862, we find the Boston Evening Courier saying of the prominent lawyer: "What the future has in store for Mr. Durant can of course be only predicted, but his past is secure, and if he never rises higher, he can rest in the consciousness that no man ever rose more rapidly at the Suffolk Bar than he has." And within a year he had put it all behind him,—a sinful and unworthy life,—and had set out to be a new man. That there was sin and unworthiness in the old life we, who look into our own hearts, need not doubt; but how much of sin, how much of unworthiness, happily we need not determine. Mr. Durant was probably his own severest critic.
Miss Conant's characterization of Mr. Durant, in his own words describing James Otis, is particularly illuminating in its revelation of his temperament. In February, 1860, he said of James Otis, in an address delivered in the Boston Mercantile Library Lecture course:
"One cannot study his writings and history and escape the conviction that there were two natures in this great man. There was the trained lawyer, man of action, prompt and brave in every emergency. But there was in him another nature higher than this. In all times men have entertained angels unawares, ministering spirits, whose missions are not wholly known to themselves even, men living beyond and in advance of their age.
"We call them prophets, inspired seers,—in the widest and largest sense poets, for they come to create new empires of thought, new realms in the history of the mind.... But more ample traditions remain of his powers as an orator and of the astonishing effects of his eloquence. He was eminently an orator of action in its finest sense; his contemporaries speak of him as a flame of fire and repeat the phrase as if it were the only one which could express the intense passion of his eloquence, the electric flames which his genius kindled, the magical power which swayed the great assemblies with the irresistible sweep of the whirlwind."
Mr. Durant's attitude toward education is also elucidated for us by Miss Conant in her apt quotations from his address on the American Scholar, delivered at Bowdoin College, August, 1862:
"The cause of God's poor is the sublime gospel of American freedom. It is our faith that national greatness has its only enduring foundation in the intelligence and integrity of the whole people. It is our faith that our institutions approach perfection only when every child can be educated and elevated to the station of a free and intelligent citizen, and we mourn for each one who goes astray as a loss to the country that cannot be repaired.... From this fundamental truth that the end of our Republic is to educate and elevate all our people, you can deduce the future of the American scholar.
"The great dangers in the future of America which we have to fear are from our own neglect of our duty. Foes from within are the most deadly enemies, and suicide is the great danger of our Republic. With the increase of wealth and commerce comes the growing power of gold, and it is a fearful truth for states as well as for individual men that 'gold rusts deeper than iron.' Wealth breeds sensuality, degradation, ignorance, and crime.
"The first object and duty of the true patriot should be to elevate and educate the poor. Ignorance is the modern devil, and the inkstand that Martin Luther hurled at his head in the Castle of Wartburg is the true weapon to fight him with."
This helps us to understand his desire that Wellesley should welcome poor girls and should give them every opportunity for study. Despite his aristocratic tastes he was a true son of democracy; the following, from an address on "The Influences of Rural Life", delivered by him before the Norfolk Agricultural Society, in September, 1859, might have been written in the twentieth century, so modern is its animus:
"The age of iron is passed and the age of gold is passing away; the age of labor is coming. Already we speak of the dignity of labor, and that phrase is anything but an idle and unmeaning one. It is a true gospel to the man who takes its full meaning; the nation that understands it is free and independent and great.
"The dignity of labor is but another name for liberty. The chivalry of labor is now the battle cry of the old world and the new. Ask your cornfields to what mysterious power they do homage and pay tribute, and they will answer—to labor. In a thousand forms nature repeats the truth, that the laborer alone is what is called respectable, is alone worthy of praise and honor and reward."
In a letter accompanying his will, in 1867, Mr. Durant wrote: "The great object we both have in view is the appropriation and consecration of our country place and other property to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, by erecting a seminary on the plan (modified by circumstances) of South Hadley, and by having an Orphan Asylum, not only for orphans, but for those who are more forlorn than orphans in having wicked parents. Did our property suffice I would prefer both, as the care (Christian and charitable) of the children would be blessed work for the pupils of the seminary." The orphanage was, indeed, their first idea, and was, obviously, the more natural and conventional memorial for a little eight-year-old lad, but the idea of the seminary gradually superseded it as Mr. and Mrs. Durant came to take a greater and greater interest in educational problems as distinguished from mere philanthropy. Miss Conant wisely reminds us that, "Just at this time new conditions confronted the common schools of the country. The effects of the Civil War were felt in education as in everything else. During the war the business of teaching had fallen into women's hands, and the close of the war found a great multitude of new and often very incompetent women teachers filling positions previously held by men. The opportunities for the higher education of women were entirely inadequate. Mt. Holyoke was turning away hundreds of girls every year, and there were few or no other advanced schools for girls of limited means."
In 1867 Mr. Durant was elected a trustee of Mt. Holyoke. In 1868 Mrs. Durant gave to Mt. Holyoke ten thousand dollars, which enabled the seminary to build its first library building. We are told that Mr. and Mrs. Durant used to say that there could not be too many Mt. Holyokes. And in 1870, on March 17, the charter of Wellesley Female Seminary was signed by Governor William Claflin.
On April 16, 1870, the first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held, at Mr. Durant's Marlborough Street house in Boston, and the Reverend Edward N. Kirk, pastor of the Mt. Vernon Church in Boston, was elected president of the board. Mr. Durant arranged that both men and women should constitute the Board of Trustees, but that women should constitute the faculty; and by his choice the first and second presidents of the college were women. The continuance of this tradition by the trustees has in every respect justified the ideal and the vision of the founder. The trustees were to be members of Evangelical churches, but no denomination was to have a majority upon the board. On March 7, 1873, the name of the institution was changed by legislative act to Wellesley College. Possibly visits to Vassar had had something to do with the change, for Mr. and Mrs. Durant studied Vassar when they were making their own plans.
And meanwhile, since the summer of 1871, the great house on the hill above Lake Waban had been rising, story on story.
Miss Martha Hale Shackford, Wellesley, 1896, in her valuable little pamphlet, "College Hall", written immediately after the fire, to preserve for future generations of Wellesley women the traditions of the vanished building, tells us with what intentness Mr. Durant studied other colleges, and how, working with the architect, Mr. Hammatt Billings of Boston, "details of line and contour were determined before ground was broken, and the symmetry of the huge building was assured from the beginning."
"Reminiscences of those days are given by residents of Wellesley, who recall the intense interest of the whole countryside in this experiment. From Natick came many high-school girls, on Saturday afternoons, to watch the work and to make plans for attending the college. As the brick-work advanced and the scaffolding rose higher and higher, the building assumed gigantic proportions, impressive in the extreme. The bricks were brought from Cambridge in small cars, which ran as far as the north lodge and were then drawn, on a roughly laid switch track, to the side of the building by a team of eight mules. Other building materials were unloaded in the meadow and then transferred by cars. As eighteen loads of bricks arrived daily the pre-academic aspect of the campus was one of noise and excitement. At certain periods during the finishing of the interior, there were almost three hundred workmen." A pretty story has come down to us of one of these workmen who fell ill, and when he found that he could not complete his work, begged that he might lay one more brick before he was taken away, and was lifted up by his comrades that he might set the brick in its place.
Mr. Durant's eye was upon every detail. He was at hand every day and sometimes all day, for he often took his lunch up to the campus with him, and ate it with the workmen in their noon hour. In 1874 he writes: "The work is very hard and I get very tired. I do feel thankful for the privilege of trying to do something in the cause of Christ. I feel daily that I am not worthy of such a privilege, and I do wish to be a faithful servant to my Master. Yet this does not prevent me from being very weary and sorely discouraged at times. To-night I am so tired I can hardly sit up to write."
And from one who, as a young girl, was visiting at his country house when the house was building, we have this vivid reminiscence: "My first impression of Mr. Durant was, 'Here is the quickest thinker'—my next—'and the keenest wit I have ever met.' Then came the day when under the long walls that stood roofed but bare in the solitude above Lake Waban, I sat upon a pile of plank, now the flooring of Wellesley College, and listened to Mr. Durant. I could not repeat a word he said. I only knew as he spoke and I listened, the door between the seen and the unseen opened and I saw a great soul and its quest, God's glory. I came back to earth to find this seer, with his vision of the wonder that should be, a master of detail and the most tireless worker. The same day as this apocalypse, or soon after, I went with Mr. Durant up a skeleton stairway to see the view from an upper window. The workmen were all gone but one man, who stood resting a grimy hand on the fair newly finished wall. For one second I feared to see a blow follow the flash of Mr. Durant's eye, but he lowered rather than raised his voice, as after an impressive silence he showed the scared man the mark left on the wall and his enormity.... Life was keyed high in Mr. Durant's home, and the keynote was Wellesley College. While the walls were rising he kept workman's hours. Long before the family breakfast he was with the builders. At prayers I learned to listen night and morning for the prayer for Wellesley—sometimes simply an earnest 'Bless Thy college.' We sat on chairs wonderful in their variety, but all on trial for the ease and rest of Wellesley, and who can count the stairways Mrs. Durant went up, not that she might know how steep the stairs of another, but to find the least toilsome steps for Wellesley feet.
"Night did not bring rest, only a change of work. Letters came and went like the correspondence of a secretary of state. Devotion and consecration I had seen before, and sacrifice and self-forgetting, but never anything like the relentless toil of those two who toiled not for themselves. If genius and infinite patience met for the making of Wellesley, side by side with them went the angels of work and prayer; the twin angels were to have their shrine in the college."
On September 8, 1875, the college opened its doors to three hundred and fourteen students. More than two hundred other applicants for admission had been refused for lack of room. We can imagine the excitement of the fortunate three hundred and fourteen, driving up to the college in family groups,—for their fathers and mothers, and sometimes their grandparents or their aunts came with them. They went up Washington Street, "the long way", past the little Gothic Lodge, and up the avenue between the rows of young elms and purple beeches. There was a herd of Jersey cows grazing in the meadow that day, and there is a tradition that the first student entered the college by walking over a narrow plank, as the steps up to the front door were not yet in place; but the story, though pleasantly symbolical, does not square with the well-known energy and impatience of the founder.
The students were received on their arrival by the president, Miss Ada L. Howard, in the reception room. They were then shown to their rooms by teachers. The majority of the rooms were in suites, a study and bedroom or bedrooms for two, three, and in a few suites, four girls. There were almost no single rooms in those days, even for the teachers. With a few exceptions, every bedroom and every study had a large window opening outdoors. There were carpets on the floors, and bookshelves in the studies, and the black walnut furniture was simple in design. As one alumna writes: "The wooden bedsteads with their wooden slats, of vivid memory, the wardrobes, so much more hospitable than the two hooks on the door, which Matthew Vassar vouchsafed to his protegees, the high, commodious bureaus, with their 'scant' glass of fashion, are all endeared to us by long association, and by our straining endeavors to rearrange them in our rooms, without the help of man."
When the student had showed her room to her anxious relatives, on that first day, she came down to the room that was then the president's office, but later became the office of the registrar. There she found Miss Sarah P. Eastman, who, for the first six years of the college life, was teacher of history and director of domestic work. Later, with her sister, Miss Julia A. Eastman, she became one of the founders of Dana Hall, the preparatory school in Wellesley village. An alumna of the class of '80 who evidently had dreaded this much-heralded domestic work, writes that Miss Eastman's personality robbed it of its horrors and made it seem a noble and womanly thing. "When, in her sweet and gracious manner, she asked, 'How would you like to be on the circle to scrape dinner dishes?' you straightway felt that no occupation could be more noble than scraping those mussy plates."
"All that day," we are told, "confusion was inevitable. Mr. Durant hovered about, excited, anxious, yet reassured by the enthusiasm of the students, who entered with eagerness into the new world. He superintended feeding the hungry, answered questions, and studied with great keenness the faces of the girls who were entering Wellesley College. In the middle of the afternoon it had been discovered that no bell had been provided for waking the students, so a messenger went to the village to beg help of Mrs. Horton (the mother of the professor of Greek), who promptly provided a large brass dinnerbell. At six o'clock the next morning two students, side by side, walked through all the corridors, ringing the rising-bell,—an act, as Miss Eastman says, symbolic of the inner awakening to come to all those girls." Thirty-nine years later, at the sound of a bell in the early morning, the household were to awake to duty for the last time in the great building. The unquestioning obedience, the prompt intelligence, the unconscious selflessness with which they obeyed that summons in the dawn of March 17, 1914, witness to that "inner awakening."
The early days of that first term were given over to examinations, and it was presently discovered that only thirty of the three hundred and fourteen would-be college students were really of college grade. The others were relegated to a preparatory department, of which Mr. Durant was always intolerant, and which was finally discontinued in 1881, the year of his death.
Mr. Durant's ideals for the college were of the highest, and in many respects he was far in advance of his times in his attitude toward educational matters. He meant Wellesley to be a university some day. There is a pretty story, which cannot be told too often, of how he stood one morning with Miss Louise Manning Hodgkins, who was professor of English Literature from 1877 to 1891, and looked out over the beautiful campus.
"Do you see what I see?" he asked.
"No," was the quiet answer, for there were few who would venture to say they saw the visions in his eyes.
"Then I will tell you," he said. "On that hill an Art School, down there a Musical Conservatory, on the elevation yonder a Scientific School, and just beyond that an Observatory, at the farthest right a Medical College, and just there in the center a new stone chapel, built as the college outgrew the old one. Yes,—this will all be some time—but I shall not be here."
It is significant that the able lawyer did not number a law school among his university buildings, and that although he gave to Wellesley his personal library, the gift did not include his law library. Nevertheless, there are lawyers among the Wellesley graduates, and one or two of distinction.
Mr. Durant's desire that the college should do thorough, original, first-hand work, cannot be too strongly emphasized. Miss Conant tells us that, "For all scientific work he planned laboratories where students might make their own investigations, a very unusual step for those times." In 1878, when the Physics laboratory was started at Wellesley, under the direction of Professor Whiting, Harvard had no such laboratory for students. In chemistry also, the Wellesley students had unusual opportunities for conducting their own experimental work. Mr. Durant also began the collection of scientific and literary periodicals containing the original papers of the great investigators, now so valuable to the college. "This same idea of original work led him to purchase for the library books for the study of Icelandic and allied languages, so that the English department might also begin its work at the root of things. He wished students of Greek and Latin to illuminate their work by the light of archeology, topography, and epigraphy. Such books as then existed on these subjects were accordingly procured. In 1872 no handbooks of archeology had been prepared, and even in 1882 no university in America offered courses in that subject."
His emphasis on physical training for the students was also an advance upon the general attitude of the time. He realized that the Victorian young lady, with her chignon and her Grecian bend, could not hope to make a strong student. The girls were encouraged to row on the lake, to take long, brisk walks, to exercise in the gymnasium. Mr. Durant sent to England for a tennis set, as none could be procured in America, "but had some difficulty in persuading many of the students to take such very violent exercise."
But despite these far-seeing plans, he was often, during his lifetime, his own greatest obstacle to their achievement. He brought to his task a large inexperience of the genus girl, a despotic habit of mind, and a temperamental tendency to play Providence. Theoretically, he wished to give the teachers and students of Wellesley an opportunity to show what women, with the same educational facilities as their brothers and a free hand in directing their own academic life, could accomplish for civilization. Practically, they had to do as he said, as long as he lived. The records in the diaries, letters, and reminiscences which have come down to us from those early days, are full of Mr. Durant's commands and coercions.
On one historic occasion he decides that the entire freshman schedule shall be changed, for one day, from morning to afternoon, in order that a convention of Massachusetts school superintendents, meeting in Boston, may hear the Wellesley students recite their Greek, Latin, and Mathematics. In vain do the students protest at being treated like district school children; in vain do the teachers point out the injury to the college dignity; in vain do the superintendents evince an unflattering lack of interest in the scholarship of Wellesley. It must be done. It is done. The president of the freshman class is called upon to recite her Greek lesson. She begins. The superintendents chatter and laugh discourteously among themselves. But the president of the freshman class has her own ideas of classroom etiquette. She pauses. She waits, silent, until the room is hushed, then she resumes her recitation before the properly disciplined superintendents. In religious matters, Mr. Durant was, of course, especially active. Like the Christian converts of an earlier day, he would have harried and hurried souls to Christ. But Victorian girls were less docile than the medieval Franks and Goths. They seem, many of them, to have eluded or withstood this forceful shepherding with a vigilance as determined as Mr. Durant's own.
But some of the letters and diaries give us such a vivid picture of this early Wellesley that it would be a pity not to let them speak. The diary quoted is that of Florence Morse Kingsley, the novelist, who was a student at Wellesley from 1876 to 1879, but left before she was graduated because of trouble with her eyes. Already in the daily record of the sixteen-year-old girl we find the little turns and twinkles of phrase which make Mrs. Kingsley's books such good reading.
Wellesley College, September 18th., 1876. I haven't had time to write in this journal since I came. There is so much to do here all the time. Besides, I have changed rooms and room-mates. I am in No. 72 now and I have a funny little octagon-shaped bedroom all to myself, and two room-mates, I. W. and J.S. Both of these are in the preparatory department. But I am in the semi-collegiate class, because I passed all my mathematics. But I didn't have quite enough of the right Latin to be a full freshman. We get up at 6.30, have breakfast at 7, then a class at 7.55, after that comes silent hour, chapel, and section Bible class. Then hours again till dinner-time at one, and after dinner till 4.55. We can go outdoors all we want to and to the library, but we can't go in each other's rooms, which is a blessing. There are some girls here who would like to talk every minute, morning, noon and night.
I went out to walk this afternoon with B. We were walking very slow and talking very fast, when all of a sudden we met Mr. Durant. He was coming along like a steam engine, his white hair flying out in the wind. When he saw us he stopped; of course we stopped too, for we saw he wanted to speak to us.
"That isn't the way to walk, girls," he said, very briskly. "You need to make the blood bound through your veins; that will stimulate the mind and help to make you good students. Come now, I'll walk with you as far as the lodge, and show you what I mean."
B. and I just straightened up and walked! Mr. Durant talked to us some about our lessons. He seemed pleased when we told him we liked geometry. When we got back to the college we told the girls about meeting Mr. Durant. I guess nobody will want to dawdle along after this; I'm sure I shan't.
Oct. 5. I broke an oar to-day. I'm not used to rowing anyway, and the oar was long; two of us sit on one seat, each pulling an oar. There is room for eight in the boat, beside the captain. We went out to-day in a boat called the Ellida and after going all around the lake we thought it would be fun to go under a little stone bridge. The captain told us to ship our oars; I didn't ship mine enough, and it struck the side of the bridge and snapped right off. I was dreadfully frightened; especially as the captain said right away, "You'll have to tell Mr. Durant." The captain's name is ——. She was a first year girl, and on that account thinks a great deal of herself.
I wish I'd come last year. It must have been lots of fun. Well, anyway, I thought I might as well have the matter of the oar over with, so as soon as we landed I took the two pieces of the oar and marched straight into the office. Mr. Durant sat there at the desk. He appeared to be very busy and he didn't look at me at first. When he did my heart beat so fast I could hardly speak. I guess he saw I was frightened, for he laughed a little and said, "Oh ho, you've had an accident, I see."
I told him how it happened, and he said, "Well, you've learned that stone bridges are stronger than oars; and that bit of information will cost you seventy cents."
I was so relieved that I laughed right out. "I thought it would cost as much as five dollars," I said. I like Mr. Durant.
October 15. Mr. Durant talked to us in chapel this morning on the subject of being honest about our domestic work. Of course some girls are used to working and can hurry, while others... don't even know how to tie their shoestrings or braid their hair properly when they first come.... My work is to dust the center on the first floor. It's easy, and if I didn't take lots of time to look at the pictures and palms and things while I am doing it I couldn't possibly make it last an hour. But I'm thorough, so my conscience didn't prick me a bit. But some of the girls got as red as beets and... cried afterward; she hadn't swept her corridor for two whole days. Mr. Durant certainly does get down to the roots of things, and if you haven't a pretty decent conscience about your lessons and everything, you feel as though you had a clear little window right in the middle of your forehead through which he can look in and see the disorder. Some of the girls say they are just paralyzed when he looks at them; but I'm not. I feel like doing things just as well as I can.
Sunday, November 19. We had a missionary from South Africa to preach in the chapel this morning. He seemed to think we were all getting ready to be missionaries, because he said among other things that he hoped to welcome us to the field as soon as possible after we graduated. His complexion was very yellow. It reminded one of ivory, elephants' tusks and that sort of thing. We heard afterward that he wasn't married, and that he hoped to find a suitable helpmate here. But although Mr. Durant introduced him to all the '79 girls I didn't think he liked the looks of any of them. At least he didn't propose to any of them on the spot. They're only sophomores, anyway, when one comes to think of it, but they certainly act as if the dignity of the whole institution rested on their shoulders. Most of them wear trails every day. I wish I had a trail.
To complete this picture of the college woman in 1876 we need the description of the college president, by a member of the class of '80: "Miss Howard with her young face, pink cheeks, blue eyes, and puffs of snow-white hair, wearing always a long trailing gown of black silk, cut low at the throat and finished with folds of snowy tulle." None of these writers gives the date at which the trail disappeared from the classroom.
The following letters are from Mary Elizabeth Stilwell, a member of that same class of '79 which wore the trails. She, like Florence Morse, left college on account of her health. The letters are printed by the courtesy of her daughter, Ruth Eleanor McKibben, a graduate of Denison College and a graduate student at Wellesley during 1914 and 1915. Elizabeth Stilwell was older and more mature than Florence Morse, and her letters give us the old Wellesley from quite a different angle.
Oct. 16, '75.
My Dear Mother:—
If you are at all discouraged or feel the need of something to cheer you up you had better lay this letter aside and read it some other time, for I expect it will be exceedingly doleful. But really, Mother, I am exceedingly in earnest in what I am going to write and have thought the whole matter over carefully before I have ventured a word on the subject. Wellesley is not a college. The buildings are beautiful, perfect almost; the rooms and their appointments delightful, most of the professors are all that could be desired, some of them are very fine indeed in their several departments, but all these delightful things are not the things that make a college.... And, Oh! the experiments! It is enough to try the patience of a Job. I came here to take a college course, and not to dabble in a little of every insignificant thing that comes up. More than half of my time is taken up in writing essays, practicing elocution, trotting to chapel, and reading poetry with the teacher of English literature, and it seems to make no difference to Miss Howard and Mr. Durant whether the Latin, Greek and Mathematics are well learned or not. The result is that I do not have time to half learn my lessons. My real college work is unsatisfactory, poorly done, and so of course amounts to about nothing. I am not the only one that feels it, but every member of the freshman class has the same feeling, and not only the students but even the professors. You can have no idea of how these very professors have worked to have things different and have expostulated and expostulated with Mr. Durant, but all to no avail. He is as hard as a flint and his mind is made up of the most beautiful theories, but he is perfectly blind to facts. He rules the college, from the amount of Latin we shall read to the kind of meat we shall have for dinner; he even went out into the kitchen the other day and told the cook not to waste so much butter in making the hash, for I heard him myself.
We must remember that the writer is a young girl, intolerant, as youth is always intolerant, and that she was writing only one month after the college had opened. It is not to be expected that she could understand the creative excitement under which the founder was laboring in those first years. We, who look back, can appreciate what it must have meant to a man of his imagination and intensity, to see his ideal coming true; naturally, he could not keep his hands off. And we must remember also that until his death Mr. Durant met the yearly deficit of the college. This gave him a peculiar claim to have his wishes carried out, whether in the classroom or in the kitchen.
Miss Stilwell continues:
I know there are a great many things to be taken into consideration. I know that the college is new and that all sorts of discouragements are to be expected, and that the best way is to bear them patiently and hope that all will come out right in the end. At the same time I am DETERMINED to have a certain sort of an education, and I must go where I can get it.... Oh! if I could only make you see it as we all feel it! It is such a bitter disappointment when I had looked forward for so long to going to college, to find the same narrowness and cramped feeling.—There is one other thing that Mrs. S. (the mother of one of the students) spoke of yesterday, which is very true I am sorry to say, and that is in regard to the religious influence. She said that she thought that Mr. Durant by driving the girls so, and continually harping on the subject, was losing all his influence and was doing just the opposite of what he intended. I know that with my room-mate and her set he is a constant source of ridicule and his exhortations and prayers are retailed in the most terrible way. I have set my foot down on it and I will not allow anything of the sort done in my room, but I know that it is done elsewhere, and that every spark of religious interest is killed by the process. I have firmly made up my mind that it shall not affect me and I have succeeded in controlling myself this far.
On December 31, we find her writing: "My Greek is the only pleasant thing to which I can look forward, and I am quite sure good instruction awaits me there."
In 1876 she cheers up a bit, and on September 17, writes: "I am going to like Miss Lord (professor of Latin) very much indeed and shall derive a great deal of profit from her teaching." And on October 8,
"Having already had so much Greek, I think I could take the classical course for Honors right through, even though I did not begin German until another year, and as I am quite anxious to study Chemistry and have the laboratory practice perhaps I had best take Chemistry now and leave German for another year. It is indeed a problem and a profound one as to what I am to do with my education and I am very anxious to hear from father in answer to my letter and get his thoughts on the matter. I have the utmost confidence in Miss Horton's judgment (professor of Greek) and I think I shall talk the matter over with her in a day or two."
Evidently the "experiments" which had taken so much of her time in 1875 had now been eliminated, and she was able to respect the work which she was doing. Her Sunday schedule, which she sends her mother on October 15, 1876, will be of interest to the modern college girl.
Rising Bell 7 Breakfast 7.45 Silent Hour 9.30 Bible Class 9.45 Church 11 Dinner 1 Prayer Meeting 5 Supper 5.30 Section Prayer Meeting 7.30 Once a Month Missionary Prayer Meeting 8 Silent Hour 9 Bed 9.30
And in addition to her required work, this ambitious young student has arranged a course of reading for herself:
During the last week I have been in the library a great deal and have been browsing for two or three hours at a time among those delightful books. I have arranged a course of reading upon Art, which I hope to have time to pursue, and then I have made selections from some such authors as Kingsley, Ruskin, De Quincey, Hawthorne,—and Mrs. Jameson, for which I hope to find time. Besides all this you can't imagine what domestic work has been given me. It is in the library where I am to spend 3/4 of an hour a day in arranging "studies" in Shakespeare. The work will be like this:—Mr. Durant has sent for five hundred volumes to form a "Shakespeare library." I will read some fully detailed life of Shakespeare and note down as I go along such topics as I think are interesting and which will come up next year when the Juniors study Shakespeare. For instance, each one of his plays will form a separate topic, also his early home, his education, his friendships, the different characteristics of his genius, &c. Then all there is in the library upon this author must be read enough to know under what topic or topics it belongs and then noted under these topics. So that when the literature class come to study Shakespeare next year, each one will know just where to go for any information she may want. Mr. Durant came to me himself about it and explained to me what it would be and asked me if I would be willing to take it. He said I could do just as I wanted to about it and if I felt that it would be tiresome and too much like a study and so a strain upon me, he did not want me to take it. I have been thinking of it now for a day or two and have come to the conclusion to undertake it. For it seems to me that it will be an unusual advantage and of great benefit to me.—Another reason why I am pleased and which I could tell to no one but you and father is that I think it shows that Mr. Durant has some confidence in me and what I can do. But—"tell it not in Gath"—that I ever said anything of the kind.
Thus do we trace Literature 9 (the Shakespeare Course) to its modest fountainhead.
Elizabeth Stilwell left her Alma Mater in 1877, but so cherished were the memories of the life which she had criticized as a girl, and so thoroughly did she come to respect its academic standards, that her own daughters grew up thinking that the goal of happy girlhood was Wellesley College.
From such naive beginnings, amateur in the best sense of the word, the Wellesley of to-day has arisen. Details of the founder's plan have been changed and modified to meet conditions which he could not foresee. But his "five great essentials for education at Wellesley College" are still the touchstones of Wellesley scholarship. In the founder's own words they are:
FIRST. God with us; no plan can prosper without Him.
SECOND. Health; no system of education can be in accordance with God's laws which injures health.
THIRD. Usefulness; all beauty is the flower of use.
FIFTH. The one great truth of higher education which the noblest womanhood demands; viz. the supreme development and unfolding of every power and faculty, of the Kingly reason, the beautiful imagination, the sensitive emotional nature, and the religious aspirations. The ideal is of the highest learning in full harmony with the noblest soul, grand by every charm of culture, useful and beautiful because useful; feminine purity and delicacy and refinement giving their luster and their power to the most absolute science—woman learned without infidelity and wise without conceit, the crowned queen of the world by right of that Knowledge which is Power and that Beauty which is Truth."
Wellesley's career differs in at least one obvious and important particular from the careers of her sister colleges, Smith, Vassar, and Bryn Mawr,—in the swift succession of her presidents during her formative years. Smith College, opening in the same year as Wellesley, 1875, remained under President Seelye's wise guidance for thirty-five years. Vassar, between 1886 and 1914, had but one president. Bryn Mawr, in 1914, still followed the lead of Miss Thomas, first dean and then president. In 1911, Wellesley's sixth president was inaugurated. Of the five who preceded President Pendleton, only Miss Hazard served more than six years, and even Miss Hazard's term of eleven years was broken by more than one long absence because of illness.
It is useless to deny that this lack of administrative continuity had its disadvantages, yet no one who watched the growth and development of Wellesley during her first forty years could fail to mark the genuine progression of her scholarly ideal. Despite an increasingly hampering lack of funds—poverty is not too strong a word—and the disconcerting breaks and changes in her presidential policy, she never took a backward step, and she never stood still. The Wellesley that Miss Freeman inherited was already straining at its leading strings and impatient of its boarding-school horizons; the Wellesley that Miss Shafer left was a college in every modern acceptation of the term, and its academic prestige has been confirmed and enhanced by each successive president.
Of these six women who were called to direct the affairs of Wellesley in her first half century, Miss Ada L. Howard seems to have been the least forceful; but her position was one of peculiar difficulty, and she apparently took pains to adjust herself with tact and dignity to conditions which her more spirited successors would have found unbearably galling. Professor George Herbert Palmer, in his biography of his wife, epitomizes the early situation when he says that Mr. Durant "had, it is true, appointed Miss Ada L. Howard president; but her duties as an executive officer were nominal rather than real; neither his disposition, her health, nor her previous training allowing her much power."
Miss Howard was a New Hampshire woman, the daughter of William Hawkins Howard and Adaline Cowden Howard. Three of her great grandfathers were officers in the War of the Revolution. Her father is said to have been a good scholar and an able teacher as well as a scientific agriculturist, and her mother was "a gentlewoman of sweetness, strength and high womanhood." When their daughter was born, the father and mother were living in Temple, a village of Southern New Hampshire not very far from Jaffrey. The little girl was taught by her father, and was later sent to the academy at New Ipswich, New Hampshire, to the high school at Lowell, and to Mt. Holyoke Seminary, where she was graduated. After leaving Mt. Holyoke, she taught at Oxford, Ohio, and she was at one time the principal of the Woman's Department of Knox College, Illinois. In the early '70's this was a career of some distinction, for a woman, and Mr. Durant was justified in thinking that he had found the suitable executive head for his college. We hear of his saying, "I have been four years looking for a president. She will be a target to be shot at, and for the present the position will be one of severe trials."
Miss Howard came to Wellesley in 1875, giving up a private school of her own, Ivy Hall, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, in order to become a college president. No far-seeing policies can be traced to her, however; she seems to have been content to press her somewhat narrow and rigid conception of discipline upon a more or less restive student body, and to follow Mr. Durant's lead in all matters pertaining to scholarship and academic expansion.
We can trace that expansion from year to year through this first administration. In 1877 the Board of Visitors was established, and eminent educators and clergymen were invited to visit the college at stated intervals and stimulate by their criticism the college routine. In 1878 the Students' Aid Society was founded to help the many young women who were in need of a college training, but who could not afford to pay their own way. Through the wise generosity of Mrs. Durant and a group of Boston women, the society was set upon its feet, and its long career of blessed usefulness was begun. This is only one of the many gifts which Wellesley owes to Mrs. Durant. As Professor Katharine Lee Bates has said in her charming sketch of Mrs. Durant in the Wellesley Legenda for 1894: "Her specific gifts to Wellesley it is impossible to completely enumerate. She has forgotten, and no one else ever knew. So long as Mr. Durant was living, husband and wife were one and inseparable in service and donation. But since his death, while it has been obvious that she spends herself unsparingly in college cares, adding many of his functions to her own, a continuous flow of benefits, almost unperceived, has come to Wellesley from her open hand." As long as her health permitted, she lavished "her very life in labor of hand and brain for Wellesley, even as her husband lavished his."
In 1878 the Teachers' Registry was also established, a method of registration by which those students who expected to teach might bring their names and qualifications before the schools of the country. But the most important academic events of this year, and those which reacted directly upon the intellectual life of the college, were the establishment of the Physics laboratory, under the careful supervision of Professor Whiting, and the endowment of the Library by Professor Eben N. Horsford of Cambridge. This endowment provided a fund for the purchase of new books and for various expenses of maintenance, and was only one of the many gifts which Wellesley was to receive from this generous benefactor. Another gift, of this year, was the pipe organ, presented by Mr. William H. Groves, for the College Hall Chapel. Later, when the new Memorial Chapel was built, this organ was removed to Billings Hall, the concert room of the Department of Music.
On June 24, 1879, Wellesley held her first Commencement exercises, with a graduating class of eighteen and an address by the Reverend Richard S. Storrs, D.D., on the "Influence of Woman in the Future."
In 1880, on May 27, the corner stone of Stone Hall was laid, the second building on the college campus. It was the gift of Mrs. Valeria G. Stone, and was intended, in the beginning, as a dormitory for the "teacher specials." Doctor William A. Willcox of Malden, a devoted trustee of Wellesley from 1878 to 1904, and a relative of Mrs. Stone, was influential in securing this gift for the college, and it was he who first turned the attention of Mr. and Mrs. Durant to the needs of the women who had already been engaged in teaching, but who wished to fit themselves for higher positions by advanced work in one or more particular directions. At first, there were a good many of them, and even as late as 1889 and 1890 there were a few still in evidence; but gradually, as the number of regular students increased, and accommodations became more limited, and as opportunities for college training multiplied, these "T. Specs." as they were irreverently dubbed by the undergraduates, disappeared, and Stone Hall has for many years been filled with students in regular standing.
On June 10, 1880, the corner stone of Music Hall was laid; the inscription in the stone reads: "The College of Music is dedicated to Almighty God with the hope that it will be used in his service." There are added the following passages from the Bible:
"Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." Isaiah, 26: 4.
"Sing praises to God, sing praises:
Sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth." Psalms, 47: 6-7.
The building was given by the founders.
The year 1881 is marked by the closing, in June, of Wellesley's preparatory department, another intellectual advance. In June also, on the tenth, the corner stone of Simpson Cottage was laid. The building was the gift of Mr. Michael Simpson, and has been used since 1908 as the college hospital. In the autumn of 1881, Stone Hall and Waban Cottage—the latter another gift from the founders were opened for students.
On October 3, 1881, Mr. Durant died, and shortly afterwards Miss Howard resigned. After leaving Wellesley, she lived in Methuen, Massachusetts, and in Brooklyn, New York, where she died, March 3, 1907. Mrs. Marion Pelton Guild, of the class of '80, says of Miss Howard, in an article on Wellesley written for the New England Magazine, October, 1914, that "she was in the difficult position of the nominal captain, who is in fact only a lieutenant. Yet she held it with a true self-respect, honoring the fiery genius of her leader, if she could not always follow its more startling fights; and not hesitating to withstand him in his most positive plans, if her long practical experience suggested that it was necessary." From Mt. Holyoke, her Alma Mater, Miss Howard received, in the latter part of her life, the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
Wellesley's second president, Alice E. Freeman, is, of all the six, the one most widely known. Her magnetic personality, her continued and successful efforts during her administration to bring Wellesley out of its obscurity and into the public eye, her extended activity in educational matters after her marriage, gave her a prominence throughout the country which was surpassed by very few women of her generation. And her husband's reverent and poetical interpretation of her character has secured for her reputation a literary permanence unusual to the woman of affairs who "wrote no books and published only half a dozen articles", and whose many public addresses were never written.
It is from Professor Palmer's "Life of Alice Freeman Palmer", published by the Houghton Mifflin Co., that the biographical material for the brief sketch following is derived.
Alice Elvira Freeman was born at Colesville, Broome County, New York, on February 21, 1855. She was a country child, a farmer's daughter as her mother was before her. James Warren Freeman, the father, was of Scottish blood. His mother was a Knox, and his maternal grandfather was James Knox of Washington's Life Guard. James Freeman was, as we should expect, an elder of the Presbyterian church. The mother, Elizabeth Josephine Higley, "had unusual executive ability and a strong disposition to improve social conditions around her. She interested herself in temperance, and in legislation for the better protection of women and children." Their little daughter Alice, the eldest of four children, taught herself to read when she was three years old, and we find her going to school at the age of four. When she was seven, her father, urged by his wife, decided to be a physician, and during his two years' absence at the Albany medical school, Mrs. Freeman supported him and the four little children. The incident helps us to understand the ambition and determination of the seventeen-year-old daughter when she declared in the face of her parents' opposition, "that she meant to have a college degree if it took her till she was fifty to get it. If her parents could help her, even partially, she would promise never to marry until she had herself put her brother through college and given to each of her sisters whatever education they might wish—a promise subsequently performed."
And the girl had her own ideas about the kind of college she meant to attend. It must be a real college. Mt. Holyoke she rejected because it was a young ladies' seminary, and Elmira and Vassar fell under the same suspicion, in her mind, although they were nominally colleges. She chose Michigan, the strongest of the coeducational colleges, and she entered only two years after its doors were opened to women.
She did not enter in triumph, however; the academy at Windsor, New York, where she had gone to school after her father became a physician, was good at supplying "general knowledge" but "poorly equipped for preparing pupils for college", and Doctor Freeman's daughter failed to pass her entrance examinations for Michigan University. President Angell tells the story sympathetically in "The Life", as follows:
"In 1872, when Alice Freeman presented herself at my office, accompanied by her father, to apply for admission to the university, she was a simple, modest girl of seventeen. She had pursued her studies in the little academy at Windsor. Her teacher regarded her as a child of much promise, precocious, possessed of a bright, alert mind, of great industry, of quick sympathies, and of an instinctive desire to be helpful to others. Her preparation for college had been meager, and both she and her father were doubtful of her ability to pass the required examinations. The doubts were not without foundation. The examiners, on inspecting her work, were inclined to decide that she ought to do more preparatory work before they could accept her. Meantime I had had not a little conversation with her and her father, and had been impressed with her high intelligence. At my request the examiners decided to allow her to enter on a trial of six weeks. I was confident she would demonstrate her capacity to go on with her class. I need hardly add that it was soon apparent to her instructors that my confidence was fully justified. She speedily gained and constantly held an excellent position as a scholar."
President Angell is of course using the term "scholar" in its undergraduate connotation for, as Professor Palmer has been careful to state, "In no field of scholarship was she eminent." Despite her eagerness for knowledge, her bent was for people rather than for books; for what we call the active and objective life, rather than for the life of thought. Wellesley has had her scholar presidents, but Miss Freeman was not one of them. This friendly, human temper showed itself early in her college days. To quote again from President Angell: "One of her most striking characteristics in college was her warm and demonstrative sympathy with her circle of friends.... Without assuming or striving for leadership, she could not but be to a certain degree a leader among these, some of whom have since attained positions only less conspicuous for usefulness than her own.... No girl of her time on withdrawing from college would have been more missed than she."
It is for this eagerness in friendship, this sympathetic and helpful interest in the lives of others that Mrs. Palmer is especially remembered at Wellesley. Her own college days made her quick to understand the struggles and ambitions of other girls who were hampered by inadequate preparation, or by poverty. Her husband tells us that, "When a girl had once been spoken to, however briefly, her face and name were fixed on a memory where each incident of her subsequent career found its place beside the original record." And he gives the following incident as told by a superintendent of education.
"Once after she had been speaking in my city, she asked me to stand beside her at a reception. As the Wellesley graduates came forward to greet her—there were about eighty of them—she said something to each which showed that she knew her. Some she called by their first names; others she asked about their work, their families, or whether they had succeeded in plans about which they had evidently consulted her. The looks of pleased surprise which flashed over the faces of those girls I cannot forget. They revealed to me something of Miss Freeman's rich and radiant life. For though she seemed unconscious of doing anything unusual, and for her I suppose it was usual, her own face reflected the happiness of the girls and showed a serene joy in creating that happiness."
Her husband, in his analysis of her character, has a remarkable passage concerning this very quality of disinterestedness. He says:
"Her moral nature was grounded in sympathy. Beginning early, the identification of herself with others grew into a constant habit, of unusual range and delicacy.... Most persons will agree that sympathy is the predominantly feminine virtue, and that she who lacks it cannot make its absence good by any collection of other worthy qualities. In a true woman sympathy directs all else. To find a virtue equally central in a man we must turn to truthfulness or courage. These also a woman should possess, as a man too should be sympathetic; but in her they take a subordinate place, subservient to omnipresent sympathy. Within these limits the ampler they are, the nobler the woman.
"I believe Mrs. Palmer had a full share of both these manly excellences, and practiced them in thoroughly feminine fashion. She was essentially true, hating humbug in all its disguises.... Her love of plainness and distaste for affectation were forms of veracity. But in narrative of hers one got much besides plain realities. These had their significance heightened by her eager emotion, and their picturesqueness by her happy artistry.... Of course the warmth of her sympathy cut off all inclination to falsehood for its usual selfish purpose. But against generous untruth she was not so well guarded. Kindness was the first thing.... Tact too, once become a habit, made adaptation to the mind addressed a constant concern. She had extraordinary skill in stuffing kindness with truth; and into a resisting mind could without irritation convey a larger bulk of unwelcome fact than any one I have known. But that insistence on colorless statement which in our time the needs of trade and science have made current among men, she did not feel. Lapses from exactitude which do not separate person from person she easily condoned."
Surely the manly virtues of truthfulness and courage could be no better exemplified than in the writing of this passage. Whether his readers, especially the women, will agree with Professor Palmer that, in woman, truthfulness and courage "take a subordinate place, subservient to omnipresent sympathy", is a question.
Between 1876 when she was graduated from Michigan, and 1879 when she went to Wellesley, Miss Freeman taught with marked success, first at a seminary in the town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where she had charge of the Greek and Latin; and later as assistant principal of the high school at Saginaw in Northern Michigan. Here she was especially successful in keeping order among unruly pupils. The summer of 1877 she spent in Ann Arbor, studying for a higher degree, and although she never completed the thesis for this work, the university conferred upon her the degree of Ph.D. in 1882, the first year of her presidency at Wellesley.
In this same summer of 1877, when she was studying at Ann Arbor, she received her first invitation to teach at Wellesley. Mr. Durant offered her an instructorship in Mathematics, which she declined. In 1878 she was again invited, this time to teach Greek, but her sister Stella was dying, and Miss Freeman, who had now settled her entire family at Saginaw, would not leave them. In June, 1879, the sister died, and in July Miss Freeman became the head of the Department of History at Wellesley, at the age of twenty-four.
Mr. Durant's attention had first been drawn to her by her good friend President Angell, and he had evidently followed her career as a teacher with interest. There seems to have been no abatement in his approval after she went to Wellesley. We are told that they did not always agree, but this does not seem to have affected their mutual esteem. In her first year, Mr. Durant is said to have remarked to one of the trustees, "You see that little dark-eyed girl? She will be the next president of Wellesley." And before he died, he made his wishes definitely known to the board.
At a meeting of the trustees, on November 15, 1881, Miss Freeman was appointed vice president of the college and acting president for the year. She was then twenty-six years of age and the youngest professor in the college. In 1882 she became president.
During the next six years, Wellesley's growth was as normal as it was rapid. This is a period of internal organization which achieved its most important result in the evolution of the Academic Council. "In earlier days," we are told by Professor Palmer, "teachers of every rank met in the not very important faculty meetings, to discuss such details of government or instruction as were not already settled by Mr. Durant." But even then the faculty was built up out of departmental groups, that is, "all teachers dealing with a common subject were banded together under a head professor and constituted a single unit," and, as Mrs. Guild tells us, Miss Freeman "naturally fell to consulting the heads of departments as the abler and more responsible members of the faculty," instead of laying her plans before the whole faculty at its more or less cumbersome weekly meetings. From this inner circle of heads of departments the Academic Council was gradually evolved. It now includes the president, the dean, professors, associate professors (unless exempted by a special tenure of office), and such other officers of instruction and administration as may be given this responsibility by vote of the trustees.
Miss Freeman also "began the formation of standing committees of the faculty on important subjects, such as entrance examinations, graduate work, preparatory schools, etc."
This faculty, over which Miss Freeman presided, was a notable one, a body of women exhibiting in marked degree those qualities and virtues of the true pioneer: courage, patience, originality, resourcefulness, and vision. There were strong groups from Ann Arbor and Oberlin and Mt. Holyoke, and there was a fourth group of "pioneer scholars, not wholly college bred, but enriched with whatever amount of academic training they could wring or charm from a reluctant world, whom Wellesley will long honor and revere."
With the organization of the faculty came also the organization of the college work. Entrance examinations were made more severe. Greek had been first required for entrance in 1881. A certificate of admission was drawn up, stating exactly what the candidate had accomplished in preparation for college. Courses of study were standardized and simplified. In 1882, the methods of Bible study were reorganized, and instead of the daily classes, to which no serious study had been given, two hours a week of "examinable instruction" were substituted. In this year also the gymnasium was refitted under the supervision of Doctor D. A. Sargent of Harvard.
Miss Freeman's policy of establishing preparatory schools which should be "feeders" for Wellesley was of the greatest importance to the college at this time, as "in only a few high schools were the girls allowed to join classes which fitted boys for college." When Miss Freeman became president, Dana Hall was the only Wellesley preparatory school in existence; but in 1884, through her efforts, an important school was opened in Philadelphia, and before the end of her presidency, she had been instrumental in furthering the organization of fifteen other schools in different parts of the country, officered for the most part by Wellesley graduates.
In this same year the Christian Association was organized. Its history, bound up as it is with the student life, will be given more fully in a later chapter, but we must not forget that Miss Freeman gave the association its initial impulse and established its broad type.
In 1884 also, we find Wellesley petitioning before the committee on education at the State House in Boston, to extend its holdings from six hundred thousand dollars to five million dollars, and gaining the petition.
On June 22, 1885, the corner stone of the Decennial Cottage, afterwards called Norumbega, was laid. The building was given by the alumnae, aided by Professor Horsford, Mr. E. A. Goodenow and Mr. Elisha S. Converse of the Board of Trustees. Norumbega was for many years known as the President's House, for here Miss Freeman, Miss Shafer, and Mrs. Irvine lived. In the academic year 1901-02, when Miss Hazard built the house for herself and her successors, the president's modest suite in Norumbega was set free for other purposes.
In 1886, Norumbega was opened, and in June of that year, the Library Festival was held to celebrate Professor Horsford's many benefactions to the college. These included the endowment of the Library, an appropriation for scientific apparatus, and a system of pensions.
In a letter to the trustees, dated January 1, 1886, the donor explains that the annual appropriation for the library shall be for the salaries of the librarian and assistants, for books for the library, and for binding and repairs. That the appropriation for scientific apparatus shall go toward meeting the needs of the departments of Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Biology. And that the System of Pensions shall include a Sabbatical Grant, and a "Salary Augment and Pension." By the Sabbatical Grant, the heads of certain departments are able to take a year of travel and residence abroad every seventh year on half salary. The donor stipulated, however, that "the offices contemplated in the grants and pensions must be held by ladies."
In his memorable address on this occasion, Professor Horsford outlines his ideal for the library which he generously endowed:
"But the uses of books at a seat of learning reach beyond the wants of the undergraduates. The faculty need supplies from the daily widening field of literature. They should have access to the periodical issues of contemporary research and criticism in the various branches of knowledge pertaining to their individual departments. In addition to these, the progressive culture of an established college demands a share in whatever adorns and ennobles scholarly life, and principally the opportunity to know something of the best of all the past,—the writers of choice and rare books. To meet this demand there will continue to grow the collections in specialties for bibliographical research, which starting like the suite of periodicals with the founder, have been nursed, as they will continue to be cherished, under the wise direction of the Library Council. Some of these will be gathered in concert, it may be hoped, with neighboring and venerable and hospitable institutions, that costly duplicates may be avoided; some will be exclusively our own.
"To these collections of specialties may come, as to a joint estate in the republic of letters, not alone the faculty of the college, but such other persons of culture engaged in literary labor as may not have found facilities for conducting their researches elsewhere, and to whom the trustees may extend invitation to avail themselves of the resources of our library."
These ideals of scholarship and hospitality the Wellesley College Library never forgets. Her Plimpton collection of Italian manuscripts is a treasure-house for students of the Italy of the Middle Ages and Renaissance; and her alumnae, as well as scholars from other colleges and other lands, are given every facility for study.
In 1887, two dormitories were added to the college: Freeman Cottage, the gift of Mrs. Durant, and the Eliot, the joint gift of Mrs. Durant and Mr. H. H. Hunnewell. Originally the Eliot had been used as a boarding-house for the young women working in a shoe factory at that time running in Wellesley village, but after Mrs. Durant had enlarged and refurnished it, students who wished to pay a part of their expenses by working their way through college were boarded there. Some years later it was again enlarged, and used as a village-house for freshmen.
In December, 1887, Miss Freeman resigned from Wellesley to marry Professor George Herbert Palmer of Harvard; but her interest in the college did not flag, and during her lifetime she continued to be a member of the Board of Trustees. From 1892 to 1895 she held the office of Dean of Women of the University of Chicago; and Radcliffe, Bradford Academy, and the International Institute for Girls, in Spain, can all claim a share in her fostering interest. From 1889 until the end of her life, she was a member of the Massachusetts Board of Education, having been appointed by Governor Ames and reappointed by Governor Greenhalge and Governor Crane.
In addition to the degree of Ph.D. received from Michigan in 1882, Miss Freeman received the honorary degree of Litt.D. from Columbia in 1887, and in 1895 the honorary degree of LL.D., from Union University.
What she meant to the women who were her comrades at Wellesley in those early days—the women who held up her hands—is expressed in an address by Professor Whiting at the memorial service held in the chapel in December, 1903:
"I think of her in her office, which was also her private parlor, with not even a skilled secretary at first, toiling with all the correspondence, seeing individual girls on academic and social matters, setting them right in cases of discipline, interviewing members of the faculty on necessary plans. The work was overwhelming and sometimes her one assistant would urge her, late in the evening, to nibble a bite from a tray which, to save time, had been sent in to her room at the dinner hour, only to remain untouched.... No wonder that professors often left their lectures to be written in the wee small hours, to help in uncongenial administrative work, which was not in the scope of their recognized duties."
The pathos of her death in Paris, in December, 1902, came as a shock to hundreds of people whose lives had been brightened by her eager kindliness; and her memory will always be especially cherished by the college to which she gave her youth. The beautiful memorial in the college chapel will speak to generations of Wellesley girls of this lovable and ardent pioneer.
Wellesley's debt to her third president, Helen A. Shafer, is nowhere better defined than in the words of a distinguished alumna, Sophonisba P. Breckenridge, writing on Miss Shafer's administration, in the Wellesley College News of November 2, 1901. Miss Breckenridge says:
It is said that in a great city on the shore of a western lake the discovery was made one day that the surface of the water had gradually risen and that stately buildings on the lake front designed for the lower level had been found both misplaced and inadequate to the pressure of the high level. They were fair without, well proportioned and inviting; but they were unsteady and their collapse was feared. To take them down seemed a great loss: to leave them standing as they were was to expose to certain perils those who came and went within them. They proved to be the great opportunity of the engineer. He first, without interrupting their use, or disturbing those who worked within, made them safe and sure and steady, able to meet the increased pressure of the higher level, and then, likewise without interfering with the day's work of any man, by skillful hidden work, adapted them to the new conditions by raising their level in corresponding measure. The story told of that engineer's great achievement in the mechanical world has always seemed applicable to the service rendered by Miss Shafer to the intellectual structure of Wellesley.
Under the devoted and watchful supervision of the founders, and under the brilliant direction of Miss Freeman, brave plans had been drawn, honest foundations laid and stately walls erected. The level from which the measurements were taken was no low level. It was the level of the standard of scholarship for women as it was seen by those who designed the whole beautiful structure. To its spacious shelter were tempted women who had to do with scholarly pursuits and girls who would be fitted for a life upon that plane. But during those first years that level itself was rising, and by its rising the very structure was threatened with instability if not collapse. And then she came. Much of the work of her short and unfinished administration was quietly done; making safe unsafe places, bringing stability where instability was shown, requires hidden, delicate, sure labor and absorbed attention. That labor and that attention she gave. It required exact knowledge of the danger, exact fitting of the brace to the rift. That she accomplished until the structure was again fit. And then, by fine mechanical devices, well adapted to their uses, patiently but boldly used, she undertook to raise the level of the whole, that under the new claims upon women Wellesley might have as commanding a position as it had assumed under the earlier circumstances. It was a very definite undertaking to which she put her hand, which she was not allowed to complete. So clearly was it outlined in her mind, so definitely planned, that in the autumn of 1893, she thought if she were allowed four years more she would feel that her task was done and be justified in asking to surrender to other hands the leadership. After the time at which this estimate was made, she was allowed three months, and the hands were stilled. But the hands had been so sure, the work so skillful, the plans so intelligent and the purpose so wise that the essence of the task was accomplished. The peril of collapse had been averted and the level of the whole had been forever raised. The time allowed was five short years, of which one was wholly claimed by the demands of the frail body; the situation presented many difficulties. The service, too, was in many respects of the kind whose glory is in its inconspicuousness and obscure character, a structure that would stand when builders were gone, a device that would serve its end when its inventor was no more.—These are her contribution. And because that contribution was so well made, it has been ever since taken for granted. Her administration is little known and this is as she would have it—since it means that the extent to which her services were needed is likewise little realized. But to those who do know and who do realize, it is a glorious memory and a glorious aspiration.
Rare delicacy of perception, keen sympathy, exquisite honesty, scholarly attainment of a very high order, humility of that kind which enables one to sit without mortification among the lowly, without self-consciousness among the great—these are some of the gifts which enabled her to do just the work she did, at the time when just that contribution to the permanence and dignity of Wellesley was so essential.
Miss Freeman's work we may characterize as, in its nature, extensive. Miss Shafer's was intensive. The scholar and the administrator were united in her personality, but the scholar led. The crowning achievement of her administration was what was then called "the new curriculum."
In the college calendars from 1876 to 1879, we find as many as seven courses of study outlined. There was a General Course for which the degree of B.A. was granted, with summa cum laude for special distinction in scholarship. There were the courses for Honors, in Classics, Mathematics, Modern Languages, and Science; and students doing suitable work in them could be recommended for the degree. These elective courses made a good showing on paper; but it seems to have been possible to complete them by a minimum of study. There were also courses in Music and Art, extending over a period of five years instead of the ordinary four allotted to the General Course. Under Miss Freeman, the courses for Honors disappeared, and instead of the General Course there were substituted the Classical Course, with Greek as an entrance requirement and the degree of B.A. as its goal; and the Scientific Course, in which knowledge of French or German was substituted for Greek at entrance, and Mathematics was required through the sophomore year. The student who completed this course received the degree of B.S.
The "new curriculum" substituted for the two courses, Classical and Scientific, hitherto offered, a single course leading to the degree of B.A. As Miss Shafer explains in her report to the trustees for the year 1892-1893: "Thus we cease to confer the B.S. for a course not essentially scientific, and incapable of becoming scientific under existing circumstances, and we offer a course broad and strong, containing, as we believe, all the elements, educational and disciplinary, which should pertain to a course in liberal arts."
Further modifications of the elective system were introduced in a later administration, but the "new curriculum" continues to be the basis of Wellesley's academic instruction.
Time and labor were required to bring about these readjustments. The requirements for admission had to be altered to correspond with the new system, and the Academic Council spent three years in perfecting the curriculum in its new form.
Miss Shafer's own department, Mathematics, had already been brought up to a very high standard, and at one time the requirements for admission to Wellesley were higher in Mathematics than those for Harvard. Under Miss Shafer also, the work in English Composition was placed on a new basis; elective courses were offered to seniors and juniors in the Bible Department; a course in Pedagogy, begun toward the end of Miss Freeman's residency, was encouraged and increased; the laboratory of Physiological Psychology, the first in a woman's college and one of the earliest in any college, was opened in 1891 with Professor Calkins at its head. In all, sixty-seven new courses were opened to the students in these five years. The Academic Council, besides revising the undergraduate curriculum, also revised its rules governing the work of candidates for the Master's degree.
But the "new curriculum" is not the only achievement for which Wellesley honors Miss Shafer. In June, 1892, she recommended to the trustees that the alumnae be represented upon the board, and the recommendation was accepted and acted upon by the trustees. In 1914, about one fifth of the trustees were alumnae.
Professor Burrell, Miss Shafer's student, and later her colleague in the Department of Mathematics, says:
"From the first she felt a genuine interest in all sides of the social life of the students, sympathized with their ambitions and understood the bearing of them on the development of the right spirit in the college." And the members of the Greek letter societies bear her in especial remembrance, for it was she who aided in the reestablishing in 1889 of the societies Phi Sigma and Zeta Alpha, which had been suppressed in 1880, under Miss Howard. In 1889 also the Art Society, later known as Tau Zeta Epsilon, was founded; in 1891, the Agora, the political society, came into being, and 1892 saw the beginnings of Alpha Kappa Chi, the classical society. Miss Shafer also approved and fostered the department clubs which began to be formed at this time. And to her wise and sympathetic assistance we owe the beginnings of the college periodicals,—the old Courant, of 1888, the Prelude, which began in 1889, and the first senior annual, the Legenda of 1889.
The old boarding-school type of discipline which had flourished under Miss Howard, and lingered fitfully under Miss Freeman, gave place in Miss Shafer's day to a system of cuts and excuses which although very far from the self-government of the present day, still fostered and respected the dignity of the students. At the beginning of the academic year 1890-1891, attendance at prayers in chapel on Sunday evening and Monday morning was made optional. In this year also, seniors were given "with necessary restrictions, the privilege of leaving college, or the town, at their own discretion, whenever such absence did not take them from their college duties." On September 12, 1893, the seniors began to wear the cap and gown throughout the year.
Other notable events of these five years were the opening of the Faculty Parlor on Monday, September 24, 1888, another of the gifts of Professor Horsford, its gold and garlands now vanished never to return; the dedication of the Farnsworth Art Building on October 3, 1889, the gift of Mr. Isaac D. Farnsworth, a friend of Mr. Durant; the presentation in this same year, by Mr. Stetson, of the Amos W. Stetson collection of paintings; the opening, also in 1889, of Wood Cottage, a dormitory built by Mrs. Caroline A. Wood; the gift of a boathouse from the students, in 1893; and on Saturday, January 28, 1893, the opening of the college post office. We learn, through the president's report for 1892-1893, that during this year four professors and one instructor were called to fill professorships in other colleges and universities, with double the salary which they were then receiving, but all preferred to remain at Wellesley.
This custom of printing an annual report to the trustees may also be said to have been inaugurated by Miss Shafer. It is true that Miss Freeman had printed one such report at the close of her first year, but not again. Miss Shafer's clear and dignified presentations of events and conditions are models of their kind; they set the standard which her successors have followed.
Of Miss Shafer's early preparation for her work we have but few details. She was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 23, 1839, and her father was a clergyman of the Congregational church, of mingled Scotch and German descent. Her parents moved out to Oberlin when she was still a young girl, and she entered the college and was graduated in 1863. The Reverend Frederick D. Allen of Boston, who was a classmate of Miss Shafer's, tells us that there were two courses at Oberlin in that day, the regular college course and a parallel, four years' course for young women. It seems that women were also admitted to the college course, but only a few availed themselves of the privilege, and Miss Shafer was not one of these. But Mr. Allen remembers her as "an excellent student, certainly the best among the women of her class."
After graduating from Oberlin, she taught two years in New Jersey, and then in the Olive Street High School in St. Louis for ten years, "laying the foundation of her distinguished reputation as a teacher of higher mathematics." Doctor William T. Harris, then superintendent of public schools in St. Louis, and afterwards United States Commissioner of Education, commended her very highly; and her old students at Wellesley witness with enthusiasm to her remarkable powers as a teacher. President Pendleton, who was one of those old students, says:
"Doubtless there was no one of these who did not receive the news of her appointment as president with something of regret. No one probably doubted the wisdom of the choice, but all were unwilling that the inspiration of Miss Shafer's teaching should be lost to the future Wellesley students. Her record as president leaves unquestioned her power in administrative work, yet all her students, I believe, would say that Miss Shafer was preeminently a teacher.
"It was my privilege to be one of a class of ten or more students who, during the last two years of their college life (1884-1886) elected Miss Shafer's course in Mathematics. It is difficult to give adequate expression to the impression which Miss Shafer made as a teacher. There was a friendly graciousness in her manner of meeting a class which established at once a feeling of sympathy between student and teacher.... She taught us to aim at clearness of thought and elegance of method; in short, to attempt to give to our work a certain finish which belongs only to the scholar.... I believe that it has often been the experience of a Wellesley girl, that once on her feet in Miss Shafer's classroom, she has surprised herself by treating a subject more clearly than she would have thought possible before the recitation. The explanation of this, I think, lay in the fact that Miss Shafer inspired her students with her own confidence in their intellectual powers."
When we realize that during the last ten years of her life she was fighting tuberculosis, and in a state of health which, for the ordinary woman, would have justified an invalid existence, we appreciate more fully her indomitable will and selflessness. During the winter of 1890-1891, she was obliged to spend some months in Thomasville, Georgia, and in her absence the duties of her office devolved upon Professor Frances E. Lord, the head of the Department of Latin, whose sympathetic understanding of Miss Shafer's ideals enabled her to carry through the difficult year with signal success. Miss Shafer rallied in the mild climate, and probably her life would have been prolonged if she had chosen to retire from the college; but her whole heart was in her work, and undoubtedly if she had known that her coming back to Wellesley meant only two more years of life on earth, she would still have chosen to return.
Miss Shafer had no surface qualities, although her friends knew well the keen sense of humor which hid beneath that grave and rather awkward exterior. But when the alumnae who knew her speak of her, the words that rise to their lips are justice, integrity, sympathy. She was an honorary member of the class of 1891, and on December 8, 1902, her portrait, painted by Kenyon Cox, was presented to the college by the Alumnae Association.
Miss Shafer's academic degrees were from Oberlin, the M.A. in 1877 and the LL.D. in 1893.
Mrs. Caroline Williamson Montgomery (Wellesley, '89), in a memorial sketch written for the '94 Legenda says: "I have yet to find the Wellesley student who could not and would not say, 'I can always feel sure of the fairness of Miss Shafer's decision.' Again and again have Wellesley students said, 'She treats us like women, and knows that we are reasoning beings.' Often she has said, 'I feel that one of Wellesley's strongest points is in her alumnae.' And once more, because of this confidence, the alumnae, as when students, were spurred to do their best, were filled with loyalty for their alma mater.... If I should try to formulate an expression of that life in brief, I should say that in her relation to the students there was perfect justness; as regards her own position, a passion for duty; as regards her character, simplicity, sincerity, and selflessness."
For more than sixteen years, from 1877, when she came to the college as head of the Department of Mathematics, to January 20, 1894, when she died, its president, she served Wellesley with all her strength, and the college remains forever indebted to her high standards and wise leadership.
In choosing Mrs. Irvine to succeed Miss Shafer as president of Wellesley, the trustees abandoned the policy which had governed their earlier choices. Miss Freeman and Miss Shafer had been connected with the college almost from the beginning. They had known its problems only from the inside. Mrs. Irvine was, by comparison, a newcomer; she had entered the Department of Greek as junior professor in 1890. But almost at once her unusual personality made its impression, and in the four years preceding her election to the presidency, she had arisen, as it were in spite of herself, to a position of power both in the classroom and in the Academic Council. As an outsider, her criticism, both constructive and destructive, was peculiarly stimulating and valuable; and even those who resented her intrusion could not but recognize the noble disinterestedness of her ideal for Wellesley.
The trustees were quick to perceive the value to the college of this unusual combination of devotion and clearsightedness, detachment and loving service. They also realized that the junior professor of Greek was especially well fitted to complete and perfect the curriculum which Miss Shafer had so ably inaugurated. For Mrs. Irvine was before all else a scholar, with a scholar's passion for rectitude and high excellence in intellectual standards.
Julia Josephine (Thomas) Irvine, the daughter of Owen Thomas and Mary Frame (Myers) Thomas, was born at Salem, Ohio, November 9, 1848. Her grandparents, strong abolitionists, are said to have moved to the middle west from the south because they became unwilling to live in a slave state. Mrs. Irvine's mother was the first woman physician west of the Alleghenies, and her mother's sister also studied medicine. Mrs. Irvine's student life began at Antioch College, Ohio, but later she entered Cornell University, receiving her bachelor's degree in 1875. In the same rear she was married to Charles James Irvine. In 1876, Cornell gave her the degree of Master of Arts. After her husband's death in 1886, Mrs. Irvine entered upon her career as a teacher, and in 1890 came to Wellesley, where her success in the classroom was immediate. Students of those days will never forget the vitality of her teaching, the enthusiasm for study which pervaded her classes. Wellesley has had her share of inspiring teachers, and among these Mrs. Irvine was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant.
The new president assumed her office reluctantly, and with the understanding that she should be allowed to retire after a brief term of years, when "the exigencies which suggested her appointment had ceased to exist." She knew the college, and she knew herself. With certain aspects of the Wellesley life she could never be entirely in accord. She was a Hicksite Quaker. The Wellesley of the decade 1890-1900 had moved a long way from the evangelical revivalism which had been Mr. Durant's idea of religion, but it was not until 1912 that the Quaker students first began to hold their weekly meetings in the Observatory. About this time also, through the kind offices of the Wellesley College Christian Association, a list of the Roman Catholic students then in college was given to the Roman Catholic parish priest. That the trustees in 1895 were willing to trust the leadership of the college to a woman whose religious convictions differed so widely from those of the founder indicates that even then Wellesley was beginning to outgrow her religious provincialism, and to recognize that a wise tolerance is not incompatible with steadfast Christian witness.
The religious services which Mrs. Irvine, in her official capacity, conducted for the college were impressive by their simplicity and distinction. An alumna of 1897 writes: "That commanding figure behind the reading-desk of the old chapel in College Hall made every one, in those days, rejoice when she was to lead the morning service." But the trustees, anxious to set her free for the academic side of her work, which now demanded the whole of her time, appointed a dean to relieve her of such other duties as she desired to delegate to another. This action was made possible by amendment of the statutes, adopted November 1, 1894, and in 1895, Miss Margaret E. Stratton, professor of the Department of Rhetoric, as it was then called, was appointed the first dean of the college.
The trustees did not define the precise nature of the relation between the president and the dean, but left these officers to make such division of work as should seem to them best, and we read in Mrs. Irvine's report for 1895 that, "For the present the Dean remains in charge of all that relates to the public devotional exercises of the college, and is chairman of the committee in charge of stated religious services. She is the authority referred to in all cases of ordinary discipline, and is the chairman of the committee which includes heads of houses and permission officers, all these officers are directly responsible to her."
Regarded from an intellectual and academic point of view, the administrations of Miss Shafer and Mrs. Irvine are a unit. Mrs. Irvine developed and perfected the policy which Miss Shafer had initiated and outlined. By 1895, all students were working under the new curriculum, and in the succeeding years the details of readjustment were finally completed. To carry out the necessary changes in the courses of study, certain other changes were also necessary; methods of teaching which were advanced for the '70's and '80's had been superseded in the '90's, and must be modified or abandoned for Wellesley's best good. To all that was involved in this ungrateful task, Mrs. Irvine addressed herself with a courage and determination not fully appreciated at the time. She had not Mrs. Palmer's skill in conveying unwelcome fact into a resisting mind without irritation; neither had she Miss Shafer's self-effacing, sympathetic patience. Her handling of situations and individuals was what we are accustomed to call masculine; it had, as the French say, the defects of its qualities; but the general result was tonic, and Wellesley's gratitude to this firm and far-seeing administrator increases with the passing of years.
In November, 1895, the Board of Trustees appointed a special committee on the schools of Music and Art, in order to reorganize the instruction in these subjects, and as a result the fine arts and music were put upon the same footing and made regular electives in the academic course, counting for a degree. The heads of these departments were made members of the Academic Council and the terms School of Music and School of Art were dropped from the calendar. In 1896, the title Director of School of Music was changed to Professor of Music. These changes are the more significant, coming at this time, in the witness which they bear to the breadth and elasticity of Mrs. Irvine's academic ideal. A narrower scholasticism would not have tolerated them, much less pressed for their adoption. Wellesley is one of the earliest of the colleges to place the fine arts and music on her list of electives counting for an academic degree.
During the year 1895-1896, the Academic Council reviewed its rules of procedure relating to the maintenance of scholarship throughout the course, with the result that, "In order to be recommended for the degree of B.A. a student must pass with credit in at least one half of her college work and in at least one half of the work of the senior year." This did not involve raising the actual standard of graduation as reached by the majority of recent graduates, but relieved the college of the obligation of giving its degree to a student whose work throughout a large part of her course did not rise above a mere passing grade.
In Mrs. Irvine's report for 1894-1895, we read that, "Modifications have been made in the general regulations of the college by which the observation of a set period of silent time for all persons is no longer required." In the beginning, Mr. Durant had established two daily periods of twenty minutes each, during which students were required to be in their rooms, silent, in order that those who so desired might give themselves to meditation, prayer, and the reading of the Scriptures. Morning and evening, for fifteen years, the "Silent Bell" rang, and the college houses were hushed in literal silence. In 189 or 1890, the morning interval was discontinued, but evening "silent time" was not done away with until 1894, nineteen years after its establishment, and there are many who regret its passing, and who realize that it was one of the wisest and, in a certain sense, most advanced measures instituted by Mr. Durant. But it was a despotic measure, and therefore better allowed to lapse; for to the student mind, especially of the late '80's and early '90's it was an attempt to fetter thought, to force religion upon free individuals, to prescribe times and seasons for spiritual exercises in which the founder of the college had no right to concern himself. As Wellesley's understanding of democracy developed, the faculty realized that a rule of this kind, however wise in itself, cannot be impressed from without; the demand for it must come from the students themselves. Whether that demand will ever be made is a question; but undoubtedly there is an increasing realization in the college world of the need of systematized daily respite of some sort from the pressure of unmitigated external activity; the need of freedom for spiritual recollection in the midst of academic and social business. It is a matter in which the Student Government Association would have entire freedom of jurisdiction.
In 1896, Domestic Work was discontinued. This was a revolutionary change, for Mr. Durant had believed strongly in the value of this one hour a day of housework to promote democratic feeling among students of differing grades of wealth; and he had also felt that it made the college course cheaper, and therefore put its advantages within the reach of the "calico girls" as he was so fond of calling the students who had little money to spend. But domestic work, even in the early days, as we see from Miss Stilwell's letters, soon included more than the washing of dishes and sweeping of corridors. Every department had its domestic girls, whose duties ranged from those of incipient secretary to general chore girl. The experience in setting college dinner tables or sweeping college recitation rooms counted for next to nothing in equipping a student to care for her own home; and the benefit to the "calico girls" was no longer obvious, as the price of tuition had now been raised several times. In May, 1894, the Academic Council voted "that the council respectfully make known to the trustees that in their opinion domestic work is a serious hindrance to the progress of the college, and should as soon as possible be done away." But it was not until the trustees found that the fees for 1896-1897 must be raised, that they decided to abolish domestic work.
Miss Shackford, in her pamphlet on College Hall, describes, "for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the old regime," the system of domestic work as it obtained during the first twenty years of Wellesley's life. She tells us that it "brought all students into close relation with kitchens, pantries and dining-room, with brooms, dusters and other household utensils. Sweeping, dusting, distributing the mail at the various rooms, and clerical work were the favorite employments, although it is said the students always showed great generosity in allowing the girls less strong to have the lighter tasks. Sweeping the matting in the center of the corridor before breakfast, or sweeping the bare 'sides' of this matting after breakfast, were tasks that developed into sinecures. The girl who went with long-handled feather duster to dust the statuary enjoyed a distinction equal to Don Quixote's in tilting at windmills. Filling the student-lamps, serving in a department where clerical work was to be done, or, as in science, where materials and specimens had to be prepared, were on the list of possibilities. Sophomores in long aprons washed beakers and slides, seniors in cap and gown acted as guides to guests. A group of girls from each table changed the courses at meals. Upon one devolved the task of washing whatever silver was required for the next course. Another went out through the passage into the room where heaters kept the meat and vegetables warm in their several dishes. Perhaps another went further on to the bread-room, where she might even be permitted to cut bread with the bread-cutting machine. Dessert was always kept in the remote apartment where Dominick Duckett presided, strumming a guitar, while his black face had a portentous gravity as he assigned the desserts for each table. What an ordeal it was for shy freshmen to rise and walk the length of the dining-room! How many tables were kept waiting for the next course while errant students surveyed the sunset through the kitchen windows! Some of us remember the tragic moments when, coming in hot and tired from crew practice, we found on the bulletin-board by the dining-room the fateful words, 'strawberries for dinner', and we knew it was our lot to prepare them for the table."
Other important changes in the college regulations were the opening of the college library on Sunday as a reading-room, and the removal of the ban upon the theater and the opera; both these changes took place in 1895. On February 6, 1896, the clause of the statutes concerning attendance at Sunday service in chapel was amended to read, "All students are expected to attend this or some other public religious service."
In 1896-1897, Bible Study was organized into a definite Department of Biblical History, Literature, and Interpretation; and in the same year voluntary classes for Bible Study were inaugurated by the Christian Association and taught by the students.
The first step toward informing the students concerning their marks and academic standing was taken in 1897, when the so-called "credit-notes" were instituted, in which students were told whether or not they had achieved Credit, grade C, in their individual studies. Mr. Durant had feared that a knowledge of the marks would arouse unworthy competition, but his fears have proved unfounded.
In this administration also the financial methods of the college were revised. Mrs. Irvine, we are reminded by Florence S. Marcy Crofut, of the class of 1897, "established a system of management and purchasing into which all the halls of residence were brought, and this remains almost without change to the present day." On March 27, 1895, Mrs. Durant resigned the treasurership of the college, which she had held since her husband's death, and upon her nomination, Mr. Alpheus H. Hardy was elected to the office. In 1896, the trustees issued a report in which they informed the friends of Wellesley that although Mr. Durant, in his will, had made the college his residuary legatee, subject to a life tenancy, the personal estate had suffered such depreciation and loss "as to render this prospective endowment of too slight consequence to be reckoned on in any plans for the development and maintenance of the college." At this time, Wellesley was in debt to the amount of $103,048.14. During the next nineteen years, trustees and alumnae were to labor incessantly to pay the expenses of the college and to secure an endowment fund. What Wellesley owes to the unstinted devotion of Mr. Hardy during these lean years can never be adequately expressed.
The buildings erected during Mrs. Irvine's tenure of office were few. Fiske Cottage was opened in September, 1894, for the use of students who wished to work their way through college. The "cottage" had been originally the village grammar school, but when Mr. Hunnewell gave a new schoolhouse to the village, the college was able, through the generosity of Mrs. Joseph M. Fiske, Mr. William S. Houghton, Mr. Elisha S. Converse, and a few other friends, to move the old schoolhouse to the campus and remodel it as a dormitory. In February, 1894, a chemical laboratory was built under Norumbega hill,—an ugly wooden building, a distress to all who care for Wellesley's beauty, and an unmistakable witness to her poverty.
On November 22, 1897, the corner stone of the Houghton Memorial Chapel was laid, a building destined to be one of the most satisfactory and beautiful on the campus. It was given by Miss Elizabeth G. Houghton and Mr. Clement S. Houghton of Cambridge as a memorial of their father, Mr. William S. Houghton, for many years a trustee of the college.
In 1898 Mrs. John C. Whitin, a trustee, gave to the college an astronomical observatory and telescope. The building was completed in 1900. Another gift of 1898, fifty thousand dollars, came from the estate of the late Charles T. Wilder, and was used to build Wilder Hall, the fourth dormitory in the group on Norumbega hill. In 1898, the first of the Society houses, the Shakespeare House, was opened.
On November 4, 1897, Mrs. Irvine presented before the Board of Trustees a review of the history of the college under the new curriculum, and a statement of urgent needs which had arisen. She closed with a recommendation that her term of office should end in June, 1898, as she believed that the necessities which had led to her appointment no longer existed, and she recognized that new demands pressed, which she was not fitted to meet. As Mrs. Irvine had stated verbally, both to the Board of Trustees and to a committee appointed by them to consider her recommendation, that she would not serve under a permanent appointment, the committee "was limited to the consideration of the time at which that recommendation should become operative." They asked the president to change her time of withdrawal to June, 1899, and she consented to do this, with the provision that she was to be released from her duties before the end of the year, if her successor were ready to assume the duties of the office before June, 1899.
After her retirement from Wellesley, Mrs. Irvine made her home in the south of France, but she returned to America in 1912 to be present at the inauguration of President Pendleton. And in the year 1913-1914, after the death of Madame Colin, she performed a signal service for the college in temporarily assuming the direction of the Department of French. Through her good offices, the department was reorganized, but the New England winter had proved too severe for her after her long sojourn in a milder climate, and in 1914, Mrs. Irvine returned again to her home in Southern France, bearing with her the love and gratitude of Wellesley for her years of efficient and unselfish service. During the war of 1914-1915, she had charge of the linen room in the military hospital at Aix-les-Bains.
On March 8, 1899, the trustees announced their election of Wellesley's fifth president, Caroline Hazard. In June, Mrs. Irvine retired, and the new administration dates from July 1, 1899.
Unlike her predecessors, Miss Hazard brought to her office no technical academic training, and no experience as a teacher. Born at Peacedale, Rhode Island, June 10, 1856, the daughter of Rowland and Margaret (Rood) Hazard, and the descendant of Thomas Hazard, the founder of Rhode Island, she had been educated by tutors and in a private school in Providence, and later had carried on her studies abroad. Before coming to Wellesley, she had already won her own place in the annals of Rhode Island, as editor, by her edition of the philosophical and economic writings of her grandfather, Rowland G. Hazard, the wealthy woolen manufacturer of Peacedale, as author, through a study of life in Narragansett in the eighteenth century, entitled "Thomas Hazard, Son of Robert, called College Tom", and as poet, in a volume of Narragansett ballads and a number of religious sonnets, followed during her Wellesley years by "A Scallop Shell of Quiet", verses of delicate charm and dignity.
Mrs. Guild has said that Miss Hazard came, "bringing the ease and breadth of the cultivated woman of the world, who is yet an idealist and a Christian, into an atmosphere perhaps too strictly scholastic." But she also brought unusual executive ability and training in administrative affairs, both academic and commercial, for her father, aside from his manufacturing interests, was a member of the corporation of Brown University. Hers is the type of intelligence and power seen often in England, where women of her social position have an interest in large issues and an instinct for affairs, which American women of the same class have not evinced in any arresting degree.
Miss Hazard's inauguration took place on October 3, 1899, in the new Houghton Memorial Chapel, which had been dedicated on June 1 of that year. This was Wellesley's first formal ceremony of inauguration, and the brilliant academic procession, moving among the autumn trees between old College Hall and the Chapel, marked the beginning of a new era of dignity and beauty for the college. In the next ten years, under the winning encouragement of her new president, Wellesley blossomed in courtesy and in all those social graces and pleasant amenities of life which in earlier years she had not always cultivated with sufficient zest. All of Miss Hazard's influence went out to the dignifying and beautifying of the life in which she had come to bear a part.
It is to her that Wellesley owes the tranquil beauty of the morning chapel service. The vested choir of students, the order of service, are her ideas, as are the musical vesper services and festival vespers of Christmas, Easter, and Baccalaureate Sunday, which Professor Macdougall developed so ably at her instigation. By her efforts, the Chair of Music was endowed from the Billings estate, and in December, 1903, Mr. Thomas Minns, the surviving executor of the estate, presented the college with an additional fifteen thousand dollars, of which two thousand dollars were set aside as a permanent fund for the establishment of the Billings prize, to be awarded by the president for excellence in music,—including its theory and practice,—and the remainder was used toward the erection of Billings Hall, a second music building containing a much-needed concert hall and classrooms, completed in 1904.
Miss Hazard's love of simple, poetical ceremonial did much to increase the charm of the Wellesley life. Of the several hearth fires which she kindled during the years when she kept Wellesley's fires alight, the Observatory hearth-warming was perhaps the most charming. The beautiful little building, given and equipped by Mrs. Whitin, a trustee of the college, was formally opened October 8, 1900, with addresses by Miss Hazard, Professor Pickering of Harvard, and Professor Todd of Amherst. In the morning, Miss Hazard had gone out into the college woods and plucked bright autumn leaves to bind into a torch of life to light the fire on the new hearth. Digitalis, sarsaparilla, eupatorium, she had chosen, for the health of the body; a fern leaf for grace and beauty; the oak and the elm for peace and the civic virtues; evergreen, pine, and hemlock for the aspiring life of the mind and the eternity of thought; rosemary for remembrance, and pansies for thoughts. Firing the torch, she said, "With these holy associations we light this fire, that from this building in which the sun and stars are to be observed, true life may ever aspire with the flame to the Author of all light."
Mrs. Whitin then took the lighted torch and kindled the hearth fire, and as the pleasant, aromatic odor spread through the room, the college choir sang the hearth song which Miss Hazard had written for the occasion, and which was later burned in the wooden panel above the hearth:
"Stars above that shine and glow,
Have their image here below;
Flames that from the earth arise,
Still aspiring seek the skies.
Upward with the flames we soar,
Learning ever more and more;
Light and love descend till we
Heaven reflected here shall see."
At the beginning of her term of office, Miss Hazard had requested the trustees to make "a division of administrative duties somewhat different from that before existing," as the technical knowledge of courses of study and the wisdom to advise students as to such courses required a special training and preparation which she did not possess. It was therefore arranged that the dean should take in charge the more strictly academic work, leaving Miss Hazard free for "the general supervision of affairs, the external relations of the college, and the home administration," and Professor Coman of the Department of History and Economics consented to assume the duties of dean for a year. At the end of the year, however, Miss Hazard having now become thoroughly familiar with the financial condition of the college, felt that retrenchments were necessary, and asked the trustees to omit the appointment of a dean for the year 1900-1901. The academic duties of the dean were temporarily assumed in the president's office by the secretary of the college, Miss Ellen F. Pendleton, and Professor Coman returned to her teaching as head of the new Department of Economics, an office which she held with distinction until her retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1913.
Mrs. Guild reminds us that "the pressing problem which confronted Miss Hazard was monetary. The financial history of Wellesley College would be a volume in itself, as those familiar with the struggles of unendowed institutions of like order can well realize.... The appointment during Mrs. Irvine's administration of a professional treasurer, and the gradual accumulation of small endowments, were helps in the right direction. The alumnae had early begun a series of concerted efforts to aid their Alma Mater in solving her ever present financial problem. Miss Hazard, in generous cooperation with them and with the trustees, did especially valiant work in clearing the college from its burden of debt; and during her administration the treasurer's report shows an increase in the college funds of $830,000." In round numbers, the gifts for endowments and buildings during the period amounted to one million three hundred six thousand dollars. Eleven buildings were erected between 1900 and 1909: Wilder Hall and the Observatory were completed in 1900; the President's House, Miss Hazard's gift, in 1902; Pomeroy and Billings Hall in 1904; Cazenove in 1905; the Observatory House, another gift from Mrs. Whitin, 1906; Beebe, 1908; Shafer, the Gymnasium, and the Library, in 1909.
During these years also, five professorial chairs were partially endowed. The Chair of Economics in 1903; the Chair of Biblical History, by Helen Miller Gould, in December, 1900, to be called after her mother, the Helen Day Gould Professorship; the Chair of Art, under the name of the Clara Bertram Kimball Professorship of Art; the Chair of Music, from the Billings estate; the Chair of Botany, by Mr. H.H. Hunnewell, January, 1901. And in 1908 and 1909, the arrangements with the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics were completed, by which that school,—with an endowment of one hundred thousand dollars and a gymnasium erected on the Wellesley campus through the efforts of Miss Amy Morris Homans, the director, and Wellesley friends,—became a part of Wellesley College: the Department of Hygiene and Physical Education.
Among the notable gifts were the Alexandra Garden in the West Quadrangle, given by an alumna in memory of her little daughter; the beautiful antique marbles, presented by Miss Hannah Parker Kimball to the Department of Art, in memory of her brother, M. Day Kimball; and the Plimpton collection of Italian manuscripts and early editions, given by George A. Plimpton in memory of his wife, Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton, of the class of '84. Of romances of chivalry, "those poems of adventure, the sources from which Boiardo and Ariosto borrowed character and episodes for their real poems," we have, according to Professor Margaret Jackson, their curator, perhaps the largest collection in this country, and one of the largest in the world. Many of these books are in rare or unique editions. Of the editions of 1543, of Boiardo's "Innamorato" only one other copy is known, that in the Royal Library at Stuttgart. The 1527 edition of the "Orlando Furioso" was unknown until 1821, when Count Nilzi described the copy in his collection. Of the "Gigante Moronte", Wellesley has an absolutely unique copy. A thirteenth-century commentary on Peter Lombard's "Sentences" has marginal notes by Tasso, and a contemporary copy of Savonarola's "Triumph of the Cross" shows on the title page a woodcut of the frate writing in his cell. Bembo's "Asolini" a first edition, contains autograph corrections. In 1912, Wellesley had the unusual opportunity, which she unselfishly embraced, to return to the National Library at Florence, Italy, a very precious Florentine manuscript of the fourteenth century, containing the only known copy of the Sirventes and other important historical verses of Antonio Pucci.
The most important change in the college life at this time was undoubtedly the establishment of the System of Student Government, in 1901. As a student movement, this is discussed at length in a later chapter, but Miss Hazard's cordial sympathy with all that the change implied should be recorded here.
Among academic changes, the institution of the Honor Scholarships is the most noteworthy. In 1901, two classes of honors for juniors and seniors were established, the Durant Scholarship and the Wellesley College Scholarship,—the Durant being the higher. The names of those students attaining a certain degree of excellence, according to these standards, are annually published; the honors are non-competitive, and depend upon an absolute standard of scholarship. At about the same time, honorary mention for freshmen was also instituted.
On June 30, 1906, Miss Hazard sailed for Genoa, to take a well-earned vacation. This was the first time that a president of Wellesley had taken a Sabbatical year; the first time that any presidential term had extended beyond six years. During Miss Hazard's absence, Miss Pendleton, who had been appointed dean in 1901, conducted the affairs of the college. On her return, May 20, 1907, Miss Hazard was met at the Wellesley station by the dean and the senior class, about two hundred and fifty students, and was escorted to the campus by the presidents of the Student Government Association and the senior class. The whole college had assembled to welcome her, lining the avenue from the East Lodge to Simpson, and waving their loving and loyal greetings. It was a touching little ceremony, witnessing as it did to the place she held, and will always hold, in the heart of the college.
In the spring of 1908 and the winter of 1909, Miss Hazard was obliged to be absent, because of ill health, and again for a part of 1910. In July, 1910, the trustees announced her resignation to the faculty. No one has expressed more happily Miss Hazard's service to the college than her successor in office, the friend who was her dean and comrade in work during almost her entire administration. In the dean's report for 1910 are these very human and loving words:
"President Hazard's great service to the college during her eleven years of office are evident to all in the way of increased endowment, new buildings, additional departments and officers, advanced salaries, improved organization and equipment; but those who have had the privilege of working with her know that even these gains, to which her personal generosity so largely contributed, are less than the gifts of character which have brought into the midst of our busy routine the graces of home and a far-pervading spirit of loving kindness.
"Miss Hazard came to us a stranger, but by her gracious bearing and charming hospitality, by her sympathetic interest and eagerness to aid in the work of every department, together with a scrupulous respect for what she was pleased to call the expert judgment of those in charge, by the touches of beauty and gentleness accompanying all that she did, from the enrichment of our chapel service to the planting of our campus with daffodils, and by the essential consecration of her life, she has so endeared herself to her faculty that her resignation means to us not only the loss of an honored president, but the absence of a friend."
Miss Hazard's honorary degrees are the A.M. from Michigan and the Litt.D. from Brown University. She is also an honorary member of the Eta chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which was installed at Wellesley on January 17, 1905.
On Thursday, October 19, 1911, Ellen Fitz Pendleton was inaugurated president of Wellesley College in Houghton Memorial Chapel.
Professor Calkins, writing in the College News in regard to this wise choice of the trustees, says: "There has been some discussion of the wisdom of appointing a woman as college president. I may frankly avow myself as one of those who have been little concerned for the appointment of a woman as such. On general principles, I would welcome the appointment of a man as the next president of Bryn Mawr or Wellesley; and, similarly, I would as soon see a woman at the head of Vassar or of Smith. But if our trustees, when looking last year for a successor to Miss Hazard in her eminently successful administration, had rejected the ideally endowed candidate, solely because she was a woman, they would have indicated their belief that a woman is unfitted for high administrative work. The recent history of our colleges is a refutation of this conclusion. The responsible corporation of a woman's college cannot possibly take the ground that 'any man' is to be preferred to the rightly equipped woman; to quote from The Nation, in its issue of June 22, 1911, 'if Wellesley, after its long tradition of women presidents, and able women presidents, had turned from the appointment of a woman, especially when a highly capable successor was at hand, the decision would have meant... the adoption of the principle of the ineligibility of women for the college presidency.... It is an anomaly that women should be permitted to enter upon an intellectual career and should not be permitted to look forward to the natural rewards of successful labor.'"
Professor Calkins's personal tribute to Miss Pendleton's power and personality is especially gracious and deserving of quotation, coming as it does from a distinguished alumna of a sister college. She writes:
"Miss Pendleton unites a detailed and thorough knowledge of the history, the specific excellences, and the definite needs of Wellesley College, with openness of mind, breadth of outlook and the endowment for constructive leadership. No college procedure seems to her to be justified by precedent merely; no curriculum or legislation is, in her view, too sacred to be subject to revision. Her wide acquaintance with the policies of other colleges and with modern tendencies in education prompts her to constant enlargement and modification, while her accurate knowledge of Wellesley's conditions and her large patience are a check on the too exuberant spirit of innovation. With Miss Pendleton as president, the college is sure to advance with dignity and with safety. She will do better than 'build up' the college, for she will quicken and guide its growth from within.
"Fundamental to the professional is the personal equipment for office. Miss Pendleton is unswervingly just, undauntedly generous, and completely devoted to the college. Not every one realizes that her reserve hides a sympathy as keen as it is deep, though no one doubts this who has ever appealed to her for help. Finally, all those who really know her are well aware that she is utterly self-forgetful, or rather, that it does not occur to her to consider any decision in its bearing on her own position or popularity. This inability to take the narrowly personal point of view is, perhaps, her most distinguishing characteristic....
"Miss Pendleton unquestionably conceives the office of college president not as that of absolute monarch but as that of constitutional ruler; not as that of master, but as that of leader. Readers of the dean's report for the Sabbatical year of Miss Hazard's absence, in which Miss Pendleton was acting president, will not have failed to notice the spontaneous expression of this sense of comradeship in Miss Pendleton's reference to the faculty."
Rhode Island has twice given a president to Wellesley, for Ellen Fitz Pendleton was born at Westerly, on August 7, 1864, the daughter of Enoch Burrowes Pendleton and Mary Ette (Chapman) Pendleton. In 1882, she entered Wellesley College as a freshman, and since that date, her connection with her Alma Mater has been unbroken. Her classmates seem to have recognized her power almost at once, for in June, 1883, at the end of her freshman year, we find her on the Tree Day program as delivering an essay on the fern beech; and she was later invited into the Shakespeare Society, at that time Wellesley's one and only literary society. In 1886, Miss Pendleton was graduated with the degree of B.A., and entered the Department of Mathematics in the autumn of that year as tutor; in 1888, she was promoted to an instructorship which she held until 1901, with a leave of absence in 1889 and 1890 for study at Newnham College, Cambridge, England. In 1891, she received the degree of M.A. from Wellesley. Her honorary degrees are the Litt.D. from Brown University in 1911, and the LL.D. from Mt. Holyoke in 1912. In 1895, she was made Schedule Officer, in charge of the intricate work involved in arranging and simplifying the complicated yearly schedule of college class appointments. In 1897, she became secretary of the college and held this position until 1901, when she was made dean and associate professor of Mathematics. During Miss Hazard's absences and after Miss Hazard's resignation in 1910, she served the college as acting president.
The announcement of her election to the presidency was made to the college on June 9, 1911, by the president of the Board of Trustees, and the joy with which it was received by faculty, alumna, and students was as outspoken as it was genuine. And at her inauguration, many who listened to her clear and simple exposition of her conception of the function of a college must have rejoiced anew to feel that Wellesley's ideals of scholarship were committed to so safe and wise a guardian. Miss Pendleton's ideal cannot be better expressed than in her own straightforward phrases:
"Happily for both, men and women must work together in the world, and I venture to say that the function of a college for men is not essentially different from that of a college for women."
Of the twofold function of the college, the training for citizenship and the preparation of the scholar, she says: "What are the characteristics of the ideal citizen, and how may they be developed? He must have learned the important lesson of viewing every question not only from his own standpoint but from that of the community; he must be willing to pay his share of the public tax not only in money but also in time and thought for the service of his town and state; he must have, above all, enthusiasm and capacity for working hard in whatever kind of endeavor his lot may be cast. It is evident, therefore, that the college must furnish him opportunity for acquiring a knowledge of history, of the theory of government, of the relations between capital and labor, of the laws of mathematics, chemistry, physics, which underlie our great industries, and if he is to have an intelligent and sympathetic interest in his neighbors, and be able to get another's point of view, this college-trained citizen must know something of psychology and the laws of the mind. Nor can he do all this to his own satisfaction without access to other languages and literatures besides his own. Moreover, the ideal citizen must have some power of initiative, and he must have acquired the ability to think clearly and independently. But it will be urged that a college course of four years is entirely too short for such a task. Perhaps, but what the college cannot actually give, it can furnish the stimulus and the power for obtaining later."
But although Miss Pendleton's attitude toward college education is characteristically practical, she is careful to make it clear that the practical educator does not necessarily approve of including vocational training in a college course. "I do not propose to discuss the question in detail, but is it not fair to ask why vocational subjects should be recognized in preparation when the aim of the college is not to prepare for a vocation but to develop personal efficiency?"
And her vision includes the scholar, or the genius, as well as the commonplace student. "The college is essentially a democratic institution designed for the rank and file of youth qualified to make use of the opportunities it offers. But the material equipment, the curriculum, and the teaching force which are necessary to develop personal efficiency in the ordinary student will have failed in a part of their purpose if they do not produce a few students with the ability and the desire to extend the field of human knowledge. There will be but few, but fortunate the college, and happy the instructor, that has these few. Such students have claims, and the college is bound to satisfy them without losing sight of its first great aim.... It is the task of the college to give such a student as broad a foundation as possible, while allowing him a more specialized course than is deemed wise for the ordinary student. The college will have failed in part of its function if it does not furnish such a student with the power and the stimulus to continue his search for truth after graduation....
"Training for citizenship and the preparation of the scholar are then the twofold function of the college. To furnish professional training for lawyers, doctors, ministers, engineers, librarians, is manifestly the work of the university or the technical school, and not the function of the college. Neither is it, in my opinion, the work of the college to prepare its students specifically to be teachers or even wives and husbands, mothers and fathers. It is rather its part to produce men and women with the power to think clearly and independently, who recognize that teaching and home-making are both fine arts worthy of careful and patient cultivation, and not the necessary accompaniment of a college diploma. College graduates ought to make, and I believe do make, better teachers, more considerate husbands and wives, wiser fathers and mothers, but the chief function of the college is larger than this. The aim of the university and the great technical school is to furnish preparation for some specific profession. The college must produce men and women capable of using the opportunities offered by the university, men and women with sound bodies, pure hearts and clear minds, who are ready to obey the commandment, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.'"
In this day of diverse and confused educational theories and ideals it is refreshing to read words so discriminating and definite.
The earliest events of importance in President Pendleton's administration are connected, as might be expected, with the alumnae, who were quickened to a more active and objective expression of loyalty by this first election of a Wellesley alumna to the presidential office. On June 21, 1911, the Graduate Council, to be discussed in a later chapter, was established by the Alumnae Association; and on October 5, 1911, the first number of the alumnae edition of the College News was issued. In the academic year 1912-1913, the Monday holiday was abolished and the new schedule with recitations from Monday morning until Saturday noon was established. After the mid-year examinations in 1912, the students were for the first time told their marks. In 1913, the Village Improvement Association built and equipped, on the college grounds, a kindergarten to be under the joint supervision of the Association and the Department of Education. The building is used as a free kindergarten for Wellesley children, and also as a practice school for graduate students in the department. A campaign for an endowment fund of one million dollars was also started by the trustees and alumnae under the leadership and with the advice of the new president. A committee of alumnae was appointed, with Miss Candace C. Stimson, of the class of '92 as chairman, to cooperate with the trustees in raising the money, and more than four hundred thousand dollars had been promised when, in March, 1914, occurred Wellesley's great catastrophe—which she was to translate immediately into her great opportunity—the burning of old College Hall.
If, in the years to come, Wellesley fulfills that great opportunity, and becomes in spirit and in truth, as well as in outward seeming, the College Beautiful which her daughters see in their visions and dream in their dreams, it will be by the soaring, unconquerable faith—and the prompt and selfless works—of the daughter who said to a college in ruins, on that March morning, "The members of the college will report for duty on the appointed date after the spring vacation," and sent her flock away, comforted, high-hearted, expectant of miracles.
At Wellesley, to a degree unusual in American colleges, whether for men or women, the faculty determine the general policy of the college. The president, as chairman of the Academic Council, is in a very real and democratic sense the representative of the faculty, not the ruler. In Miss Freeman's day, the excellent presidential habit of consulting with the heads of departments was formed, and many of the changes instituted by the young president were suggested and formulated by her older colleagues. In Miss Shafer's day, habit had become precedent, and she would be the first to point out that the "new curriculum" which will always be associated with her name, was really the achievement of the Academic Council and the departments, working through patient years to adjust, develop, and balance the minutest details in their composite plan.
The initiative on the part of the faculty has been exerted chiefly along academic lines, but in some instances it has necessitated important emendations of the statutes; and that the trustees were willing to alter the statutes on the request of the faculty would indicate the friendly confidence felt toward the innovators.
In the statutes of Wellesley College, as printed in 1885, we read that "The College was founded for the glory of God and the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, in and by the education and culture of women.
"In order to the attainment of these ends, it is required that every Trustee, Teacher, and Officer, shall be a member of an Evangelical church, and that the study of the Holy Scriptures shall be pursued by every student throughout the entire College course under the direction of the Faculty."
In the early nineties, pressure from members of the faculty, themselves members of Evangelical churches, induced the trustees to alter the religious requirement for teachers; and the reorganization of the Department of Bible Study a few years later resulted in a drastic change in the requirements for students.
As printed in 1898, the statutes read, "To realize this design it is required that every Trustee shall be a member in good standing of some Evangelical Church; that every teacher shall be of decided Christian character and influence, and in manifest sympathy with the religious spirit and aim with which the College was founded; and that the study of the Sacred Scriptures by every student shall extend over the first three years, with opportunities for elective studies in the same during the fourth year."
But it was found that freshmen were not mature enough to study to the best advantage the new courses in Biblical Criticism, and the statutes as printed in 1912 record still another amendment: "And that the study of the Sacred Scriptures by every student shall extend over the second and third years, with opportunities for elective studies in the same during the fourth year."
These changes are the more pleasantly significant, since all actual power, at Wellesley as at most other colleges, resides with the trustees if they choose to use it. They "have control of the college and all its property, and of the investment and appropriation of its funds, in conformity with the design of its establishment and with the act of incorporation." They have "power to make and execute such statutes and rules as they may consider needful for the best administration of their trust, to appoint committees from their own number, or of those not otherwise connected with the college, and to prescribe their duties and powers." It is theirs to appoint "all officers of government or instruction and all employees needed for the administration of the institution whose appointment is not otherwise provided for." They determine the duties and salaries of officers and employees and may remove, either with or without notice, any person whom they have appointed.
In being governed undemocratically from without by a self-perpetuating body of directors, Wellesley is of course no worse off than the majority of American colleges. But that a form of college government so patently and unreasonably autocratic should have generated so little friction during forty years, speaks volumes for the broadmindedness, the generous tolerance, and the Christian self-control of both faculty and trustees. If, in matters financial, the trustees have been sometimes unwilling to consider the scruples of groups of individuals on the faculty, along lines of economic morals, they have nevertheless taken no official steps to suppress the expression of such scruples. They have withstood any reactionary pressure from individuals of their board, and have always allowed the faculty entire academic freedom. In matters pertaining to the college classes, they are usually content to ratify the appointments on the faculty, and approve the alterations in the curriculum presented to them by the president of the college; and the president, in turn, leaves the professors and their associates remarkably free to choose and regulate the personnel and the courses in the departments.
In this happy condition of affairs, the alumnae trustees undoubtedly play a mediating part, for they understand the college from within as no clergyman, financier, philanthropist,—no graduate of a man's college—can hope to, be he never so enthusiastic and well-meaning in the cause of woman's education. But so long as the faculty are excluded from direct representation on the board, the situation will continue to be anomalous. For it is not too sweeping to assert that Wellesley's development and academic standing are due to the cooperative wisdom and devoted scholarship of her faculty. The initiative has been theirs. They have proved that a college for women can be successfully taught and administered by women. To them Wellesley owes her academic status.
From the beginning, women have predominated on the Wellesley faculty. The head of the Department of Music has always been a man, but he had no seat upon the Academic Council until 1896. In 1914-1915, of the twenty-eight heads of departments, three were men, the professors of Music, of Education, and of French. Of the thirty-nine professors and associate professors, not heads of departments, five were men; of the fifty-nine instructors, ten were men. It is interesting to note that there were no men in the departments of Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biblical History, Italian, Spanish, Reading and Speaking, Art, and Archaeology, during the academic year 1914-1915.
Critics sometimes complain of the preponderance of women upon Wellesley's faculty, but her policy in this respect has been deliberate. Every woman's college is making its own experiments, and the results achieved at Wellesley indicate that a faculty made up largely of women, with a woman at its head, in no way militates against high academic standards, sound scholarship, and efficient administration. That a more masculine faculty would also have peculiar advantages, she does not deny.
From the collegiate point of view, this feminine faculty is a very well mixed body, for it includes representative graduates from the other women's colleges, and from the more important coeducational colleges and state universities, as well as men from Harvard and Brown. The Wellesley women on the faculty are an able minority; but it is the policy of the college to avoid academic in-breeding and to keep the Wellesley influence a minority influence. Of the twenty-eight heads of departments, five—the professors of English Literature, Chemistry, Pure Mathematics, Biblical History, and Physics—are Wellesley graduates, three of them from the celebrated class of '80. Of the thirty-nine professors and associate professors, in 1914-1915, ten were alumnae of Wellesley, and of the fifty-nine instructors, seventeen. Since 1895, when Professor Stratton was appointed dean to assist Mrs. Irvine, Wellesley has had five deans, but only Miss Pendleton, who held the office under Miss Hazard from 1901 to 1911, has been a graduate of Wellesley. Miss Coman, who assisted Miss Hazard for one year only, and Miss Chapin, who consented to fill the office after Miss Pendleton's appointment to the presidency until a permanent dean could be chosen, were both graduates of the University of Michigan. Dean Waite, who succeeded to the office in 1913, is an alumna of Smith College, and has been a member of the Department of English at Wellesley since 1896.
Only the women who have helped to promote and establish the higher education of women can know how exciting and romantic it was to be a professor in a woman's college during the last half-century. To be a teacher was no new thing for a woman; the dame school is an ancient institution; all down the centuries, in classic villas, in the convents of the Middle Ages, in the salons of the eighteenth century, learned ladies with a pedagogic instinct have left their impress upon the intellectual life of their times. But the possibility that women might be intellectually and physically capable of sharing equally with men the burdens and the joys of developing and directing the scholarship of the race had never been seriously considered until the nineteenth century. The women who came to teach in the women's colleges in the '70's and '80's and '90's knew themselves on trial in the eyes of the world as never women had been before. And they brought to that trial the heady enthusiasm and radiant exhilaration and fiery persistence which possess all those who rediscover learning and drink deep. They knew the kind of selfless inspiration Wyclif knew when he was translating the Bible into the language of England's common people. They shared the elation and devotion of Erasmus and his fellows.
To plan a curriculum in which the humanities and the sciences should every one be given a fair chance; to distinguish intelligently between the advantages of the elective system and its disadvantages; to decide, without prejudice, at what points the education of the girl should differ or diverge from the education of the boy; to try out the pedagogic methods of the men's colleges and discover which were antiquated and should be abolished, which were susceptible of reform, which were sound; to invent new methods,—these were the romantic quests to which these enamored devotees were vowed, and to which, through more than half a century, they have been faithful.
Wellesley's student laboratory for experimental work in physics, established 1878, was preceded in New England only by the student laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her laboratory for work in experimental psychology, established by Professor Calkins in 1891, was the first in any women's college in the country, and one of the first in any college. In 1886, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens invited Wellesley to become one of the cooperating colleges to sustain this school and to enjoy its advantages. The invitation came quite unsolicited, and was the first extended to a woman's college.
The schoolmen developing and expanding their Trivium and Quadrivium at Oxford, Paris, Bologna, experienced no keener intellectual delights than did their belated sisters of Vassar, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley.
But in order to understand the passion of their point of view, we must remember that the higher education for which the women of the nineteenth century were enthusiastic was distinctly an education along scholarly and intellectual lines; this early and original meaning of the term "higher education", this original and distinguishing function of the woman's college, are in danger of being blurred and lost sight of to-day by a generation that knew not Joseph. The zeal with which the advocates of educational and domestic training are trying to force into the curricula of women's colleges courses on housekeeping, home-making, dressmaking, dairy farming, to say nothing of stenography, typewriting, double entry, and the musical glasses minus Shakespeare, is for the most part unintelligible to the women who have given their lives to the upbuilding of such colleges as Bryn Mawr, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Vassar, and Wellesley,—not because they minimize the civilizing value of either homemakers or business women in a community, or fail to recognize their needs, but simply because women's colleges were never intended to meet those needs.
When we go to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts, we do not complain because it lacks the characteristics of the Smithsonian Institute, or of the Boston Horticultural Show. We are content that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology should differ in scope from Harvard University; yet some of us, college graduates even, seem to have an uneasy feeling that Wellesley and Bryn Mawr may not be ministering adequately to life, because they do not add to their curricular activities the varied aims of an Agricultural College, a Business College, a School of Philanthropy, and a Cooking School, with required courses on the modifying of milk for infants. Great institutions for vocational training, such as Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Simmons College in Boston, have a dignity and a usefulness which no one disputes. Undoubtedly America needs more of their kind. But to impair the dignity and usefulness of the colleges dedicated to the higher education of women by diluting their academic programs with courses on business or domesticity will not meet that need. The unwillingness of college faculties to admit vocational courses to the curriculum is not due to academic conservatism and inability to march with the times, but to an unclouded and accurate conception of the meaning of the term "higher education."
But definiteness of aim does not necessarily imply narrowness of scope. The Wellesley Calendar for 1914-1915 contains a list of three hundred and twelve courses on thirty-two subjects, exclusive of the gymnasium practice, dancing, swimming, and games required by the Department of Hygiene. Of these subjects, four are ancient languages and their literatures, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit. Seven are modern languages and their literatures, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and English Literature, Composition, and Language. Ten are sciences, Mathematics, pure and applied, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Botany, Zoology and Physiology, Hygiene. Seven are scientifically concerned with the mental and spiritual evolution of the human race, Biblical and Secular History, Economics, Education, Logic, Psychology, and Philosophy. Four may be classified as arts: Archaeology, Art, including its history, Music, and Reading and Speaking, which old-fashioned people still call Elocution.
From this wide range of subjects, the candidates for the B.A. degree are required to take one course in Mathematics, the prescribed freshman course; one course in English Composition, prescribed for freshmen; courses in Biblical History and Hygiene; a modern language, unless two modern languages have been presented for admission; two natural sciences before the junior year, unless one has already been offered for admission, in which case one is required, and a course in Philosophy, which the student should ordinarily take before her senior year.
These required studies cover about twenty of the fifty-nine hours prescribed for the degree; the remaining hours are elective; but the student must group her electives intelligently, and to this end she must complete either nine hours of work in each of two departments, or twelve hours in one department and six in a second; she must specialize within limits.
It will be evident on examining this program that no work is required in History, Economics, English Literature and Language, Comparative Philology, Education, Archaeology, Art, Reading and Speaking, and Music. All the courses in these departments are free electives. Just what led to this legislation, only those who were present at the decisive discussions of the Academic Council can know. Possibly they have discovered by experience that young women do not need to be coaxed or coerced into studying the arts; that they gravitate naturally to those subjects which deal with human society, such as History, Economics, and English Literature; and that the specialist can be depended upon to elect, without pressure, courses in Philology or Pedagogy.
But little effort has been made at Wellesley, so far, to attract graduate students. In this respect she differs from Bryn Mawr. She offers very few courses planned exclusively for college graduates, but opens her advanced courses in most departments to both seniors and graduates. This does not mean, however, that the graduate work is not on a sound basis. Wellesley has not yet exercised her right to give the Doctor's degree, but expert testimony, outside the college, has declared that some of the Master's theses are of the doctorial grade in quality, if not in quantity; and the work for the Master's degree is said to be more difficult and more severely scrutinized than in some other colleges where the Doctor's degree is made the chief goal of the graduate student.
The college has in its gift the Alice Freeman Palmer Fellowship, founded in 1903 by Mrs. David P. Kimball of Boston, and yielding an income of about one thousand dollars. The holder must be a woman, a graduate of Wellesley or some other American college of approved standing; she must be "not more than twenty-six years of age at the time of her appointment, unmarried throughout the whole of her tenure, and as free as possible from other responsibilities." She may hold the fellowship for one year only, but "within three years from entrance on the fellowship she must present to the faculty a thesis embodying the results of the research carried on during the period of tenure."
Wellesley is proud of her Alice Freeman Palmer Fellows. Of the eleven who have held the Fellowship between 1904 and 1915, four are Wellesley graduates, Helen Dodd Cook, whose subject was Philosophy; Isabelle Stone, working in Greek; Gertrude Schopperle, in Comparative Literature; Laura Alandis Hibbard, in English Literature. Two are from Radcliffe, and one each from Cornell, Vassar, the University of Dakota, Ripon, and Goucher. The Fellow is left free to study abroad, in an American college or university, or to use the income for independent research. The list of universities at which these young women have studied is as impressive as it is long. It includes the American Schools for Classical Studies at Athens and Rome; the universities of Gottingen, Wurzburg, Munich, Paris, and Cambridge, England; and Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Chicago.
This is not the place in which to give a detailed account of the work of each one of Wellesley's academic departments. Any intelligent person who turns the pages of the official calendar may easily discover that the standard of admission and the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts place Wellesley in the first rank among American colleges, whether for men or for women. But every woman's college, besides conforming to the general standard, is making its own contribution to the higher education of women. At Wellesley, the methods in certain departments have gained a deservedly high reputation.
The Department of Art, under Professor Alice V.V. Brown, formerly of the Slater Museum of Norwich, Connecticut, is doing a work in the proper interpretation and history of art as unique as it is valuable. The laboratory method is used, and all students are required to recognize and indicate the characteristic qualities and attributes of the great masters and the different schools of paintings by sketching from photographs of the pictures studied. These five and ten minute sketches by young girls, the majority of whom have had no training in drawing, are remarkable for the vivacity and accuracy with which they reproduce the salient features of the great paintings. The students are of course given the latest results of the modern school of art criticism. In addition to the work with undergraduates, the department offers courses to graduate students who wish to prepare themselves for curatorships, or lectureships in art museums, and Wellesley women occupy positions of trust in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in the Boston Art Museum, in museums in Chicago, Worcester, and elsewhere. The "Short History of Italian Painting" by Professor Brown and Mr. William Rankin is a standard authority.
The Department of Music, working quite independently of the Department of Art, has also adapted laboratory methods to its own ends with unusual results. Under Professor Hamilton C. Macdougall, the head of the department, and Associate Professor Clarence G. Hamilton, courses in musical interpretation have been developed in connection with the courses in practical music. The first-year class, meeting once a week, listens to an anonymous musical selection played by one of its members, and must decide by internal evidence—such as simple cadences, harmonic figuration as applied to the accompaniment and other characteristics—upon the school of the composer, and biographical data. The analysis of the musical selection and the reasons for her decision are set down in her notebook by the listening student. The second-year class concerns itself with "the thematic and polyphonic melody, the larger forms, harmony in its aesthetic bearings, the aesthetic effects of the more complicated rhythms, comparative criticism and the various schools of composition."
These valuable contributions to method and scope in the study of the History of Art and the History of Music are original with Wellesley, and are distinctly a part of her history.
Among the departments which carry prestige outside the college walls are those of Philosophy and Psychology, English Literature, and German. Wellesley's Department of English Literature is unusually fortunate in having as interpreters of the great literature of England a group of women of letters of established reputation. What Longfellow, Lowell, Norton, were to the Harvard of their day, Katharine Lee Bates, Vida D. Scudder, Sophie Jewett, and Margaret Sherwood are to the Wellesley of their day and ours. Working together, with unfailing enthusiasm for their subjects, and keen insight into the cultural needs of American girls, they have built up their department on a sure foundation of accurate scholarship and tested pedagogic method. At a time when the study of literature threatened to become, almost universally, an exercise in the dry rot of philological terms, in the cataloguing of sources, or the analyzing of literary forms, the department at Wellesley continued unswervingly to make use of philology, sources, and even art forms, as means to an end; that end the interpretation of literary epochs, the illumination of intellectual and spiritual values in literary masterpieces, the revelation of the soul of poet, dramatist, essayist, novelist. No teaching of literature is less sentimental than the teaching at Wellesley, and no teaching is more quickening to the imagination. Now that the method of accumulated detail "about it and about it", is being defeated by its own aridity, Wellesley's firm insistence upon listening to literature as to a living voice is justified of her teachers and her students.
Indications of the reputation achieved by Wellesley's methods of teaching German are found in the increasing numbers of students who come to the college for the sake of the work in the German Department, and in the fact that teachers' agencies not infrequently ask candidates for positions if they are familiar with the Wellesley methods. In an address before the New Hampshire State Teachers' Association, in 1913, Professor Muller describes the aims and ideals of her department as they took shape under the constructive leadership of her predecessor, Professor Wenckebach, and as they have been modified and developed in later years to meet the needs of American students.
"Cinderella became a princess and a ruler over night," says Professor Muller, "that is, German suddenly took the position in our college that it has held ever since. Such a result was due not merely to methods, of course, but first of all to the strong and enthusiastic personality that was identified with them, and that was the main secret of the unusual effectiveness of Fraulein Wenckebach's teaching.
"But this German professor had not only live methods and virile personal qualities to help her along; she also had what a great many of the foreign language teachers in this country must as yet do without, that is, the absolute confidence, warm appreciation, and financial support of an enlightened administration. President Freeman and the trustees seem to have done practically everything that their intrepid professor of German asked for. They not only saw that all equipments needed... were provided, but they also generously stipulated, at Fraulein Wenckebach's urgent request, that all the elementary and intermediate classes in the foreign language departments should be kept small, that is, that they should not exceed fifteen. If Fraulein Wenckebach had been obliged, as many modern language teachers still are, to teach German to classes of from thirty to forty students; if she had met in the administration of Wellesley College with as little appreciation and understanding of the fine art and extreme difficulty of foreign language work as high school teachers, for instance, often encounter, her efforts could not possibly have been crowned with success.
"Another agent in enabling Fraulein Wenckebach to do such fine constructive work with her Department was the general Wellesley policy, still followed, I am happy to say, of centralizing all power and responsibility regarding department affairs in the person of the head of the Department. Centralization may not work well in politics, but a foreign language department working with the reformed methods could not develop the highest efficiency under any other form of government. With a living organism, such as a foreign language department should be, there ought to be one, and only one, responsible person to keep her finger on the pulse of things—otherwise disintegration and ineffectiveness of the work as a whole is sure to follow."
Professor Muller goes on to say, "Now JOY, genuine joy, in their work, based on good, strong, mental exercise, is what we want and what on the whole we get from our students. It was so in the days of Fraulein Wenckebach and is so now, I am happy to say—and not in the literature courses only, but in our elementary drill work as well.
"It may be of interest to note that our elementary work and also the advanced work in grammar and idiom are at present taught by Americans wholly. I have come to the conclusion that well-trained Americans gifted with vivid personalities get better results along those lines than the average teacher of foreign birth and breeding."
Even in the elementary courses, only those texts are used which illustrate German life, literature, and history; and the advanced electives are carefully guarded, so that no student may elect courses in modern German, the novel and the drama, who has not already been well grounded in Goethe, Schiller, and Lessing. The drastic thoroughness with which unpromising students are weeded out of the courses in German enhances rather than defeats their popularity among undergraduates.
The learned women who direct Wellesley's work in Philosophy and Psychology lend their own distinction to this department. Professor Case, a graduate of the University of Michigan, has been connected with the college since 1884, and her courses in Greek Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion make an appeal to thoughtful students which does not lessen as the years pass. Professor Gamble, Wellesley's own daughter, is the foremost authority on smell, among psychologists. In her chosen field of experimental psychology she has achieved results attained by no one else, and her work has a Continental reputation. Professor Calkins, the head of the Department, is one of the distinguished alumnae of Smith College. She has also passed Harvard's examination for the Doctor's degree; but Harvard does not yet confer its degree upon women. She was the first woman to receive the degree of Litt.D. from Columbia University, and the first woman to be elected to the presidency of the American Psychological Association, succeeding William James in that office.
In the Department of Economics and Sociology, organized under the leadership of Professor Katharine Coman, in 1901, Wellesley has been fortunate in having as teachers two women of national reputation whose interest in the human side of economic problems has vitalized for their eager classes a subject which unless sympathetically handled, lends itself all too easily to mechanical interpretations of theory. Professor Coman's wide and intimate knowledge of American economic conditions, as evidenced in her books, the "Industrial History of the United States", and "Economic Beginnings of the Far West", in her studies in Social Insurance published in The Survey, and in her practical work for the College Settlements Association and the Consumers' League, and as an active member of the Strike Committee during the strike of the Chicago Garment Workers in 1910-1911, lent to her teaching an appeal which more cloistered theorists can never achieve. The letters which came to her from alumnae, after her resignation from the department in 1913, were of the sort that every teacher cherishes. Since her death in January, 1915, some of these letters have been printed in a memorial number of the Wellesley College News. Nothing could better illustrate her influence as an intellectual force in the college to which she came as an instructor in 1880. One of her oldest students writes:
"I am too late for the thirtieth anniversary, but still it is never too late to say how much I enjoyed my work with you in college. It always seemed such grown-up work. Partly, I suppose, because it was closely related to the things of life, and partly because you demanded a more grown-up and thoughtful point of view. It was a great privilege to have your Economics as a sophomore. I have always meant to tell you, too, of what great practical value your seminar in Statistics was to me; it gave me enough insight into the principles and practice to encourage me to present my work the first year out of college in statistical form. It was approved. Without the incentive and the little experience I had gained from you I might not have tried to do this. Since then, in whatever field of social work I have been I have found this ability valuable, and I developed enough skill at it to handle the investigation into wages of the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Commission without other training. I am very grateful to you for this bit of technical training for which I would never have taken the time later."
Another says: "It is a pleasure to have an opportunity, after so many years, to make some expression of the gratitude I owe you. The course in Political Economy which I was so wise as to take with you has proved of vital importance to me. That was in 1887-1888, but as I look back I see that in your teaching then, you presented to us the ideas, the concepts, which are now accepted principles of men's thought as to the relation of class to class, of man to man. And so I feel that it was to your enthusiasm, your power of inspiring your pupils that I owe my own interest in economic and sociological affairs."
And still another: "I have had more real pleasure from my Economics courses and Sociology courses than from any others of my college course. Had it not been for yourself and Miss Balch, that work would not have stood for so much. For your guidance and your inspiration I am most grateful. I have tried to carry out your ideals as far as possible in the Visiting Nurse work and the Social Settlement in Omaha ever since leaving Wellesley."
Professor Emily Greene Balch, who succeeded Miss Coman as head of the Department of Economics, is herself an authority on questions of immigration; her book, "Our Slavic Fellow Citizens", is an important contribution to the history of the subject, and has been cited in the German Reichstag as authoritative on Slavic immigration. She has also served on more than one State commission in Massachusetts,—among them the disinterested and competent City Planning Board,—and the sanity and judicial balance of her opinions are recognized and valued by conservatives and radicals alike. Besides the traditional courses in Economic History and Theory, Wellesley offers under Miss Balch a course in Socialism, a critical study of its main theories and political movements, open to juniors and seniors who have already completed two other courses in Economics; a course entitled "The Modern Labor Movement", in which special attention is given to labor legislation, factory inspection, and the organization of labor, with a study of methods of meeting the difficulties of the modern industrial situation; and a course in Immigration and the problems to which it gives rise in the United States.
The Wellesley fire did the college one good turn by bringing to the notice of the general public the departments of Science. When so many of the laboratories and so much of the equipment were swept away, outsiders became aware of the excellent work which was being done in those laboratories; of the modern work in Geology and Geography carried on not only in Wellesley but for the teachers of Boston by Professor Fisher who is so wisely developing the department which Professor Niles set on its firm foundation; of the work of Professor Robertson who is an authority on the bryozoa fauna of the Pacific coast of North America and Japan; of the authoritative work on the life history of Pinus, by Professor Ferguson of the Department of Botany; of the quiet, thorough, modern work for students in Physics and Chemistry and Astronomy.
An evidence of the excellent organization of departmental work at Wellesley is found in the ease and smoothness with which the Department of Hygiene, formerly the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, has become a force in the Wellesley curriculum under the direction of Miss Amy Morris Homans, who was also the head of the school in Boston. By a gradual process of adjustment, admission to the two years' course leading to a certificate in the Department of Hygiene "will be limited to applicants who are candidates for the B.A. degree at Wellesley College and to those who already hold the Bachelor's degree either from Wellesley College or from some other college." A five years' course is also offered, by which students may obtain both the B.A. degree and the certificate of the department. But all students, whether working for the certificate or not, must take a one-hour course in Hygiene in the freshman year, and two periods a week of practical gymnastic work in the freshman and sophomore years.
Like all American colleges, Wellesley makes heavy and constant demands on the mere pedagogic power of its teachers. Their days are pretty well filled with the classroom routine and the necessary and incessant social intercourse with the eager crowd of youth. It may be years before an American college for women can sustain and foster creative scholarship for its own sake, after the example of the European universities; but Wellesley is not ungenerous; the Sabbatical Grant gives certain heads of departments an opportunity for refreshment and personal work every seven years; and even those who do not profit by this privilege manage to keep their minds alive by outside work and contacts.
Every two years the secretary to the president issues a list of faculty publications, ranging from verse and short stories in the best magazines to papers in learned reviews for esoteric consumption only; from idyllic novels, such as Margaret Sherwood's "Daphne", and sympathetic travel sketches like Katharine Lee Bates's "Spanish Highways and Byways", to scholarly translations, such as Sophie Jewett's "Pearl" and Vida D. Scudder's "Letters of St. Catherine of Siena", and philosophical treatises, of which Mary Whiton Calkins's "Persistent Problems of Philosophy", translated into several languages, is a notable example.
But the Wellesley faculty is a public-spirited body; its contribution to the general life is not only abstract and literary; for many of its members are identified with modern movements toward better citizenship. Miss Balch, besides her work on municipal committees, is connected with the Woman's Trade Union League, and is interested in the great movement for peace. In the spring of 1915, she was one of those who sailed with Miss Jane Addams to attend the Woman's Peace Congress at the Hague, and she afterwards visited other European countries on a mission of peace. Miss Bates is active in promoting the interests of the International Institute in Spain. The American College for Girls in Constantinople often looks to Wellesley for teachers, and more than one Wellesley professor has given a Sabbatical year to the schoolgirls in Constantinople. During the absence of President Patrick, Professor Roxana Vivian of Wellesley was acting president, and had the honor of bringing the college safely through the perplexities and terrors of the Young Turks' Revolution in 1908 and 1909. Professor Kendall, of the Department of History, is Wellesley's most distinguished traveler. Her book, "A Wayfarer in China", tells the story of some of her travels, and she has received the rare honor, for a woman, of being made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Miss Calkins is an officer of the Consumers' League. Miss Scudder has been identified from its outset with the College Settlements Movement, and of late years with the new service to Italian immigrants inaugurated by Denison House.
As a result of these varied interests, the intellectual fellowship among the older women in the college community is of a peculiarly stimulating quality, and the fact that it is almost exclusively a feminine fellowship does not affect its intellectuality. The Wellesley faculty, like the faculty of Harvard, is not a cloistered body, and contact with the minds of "a world of men" through books and the visitations of itinerant scholars is about as easy in the one case as in the other. Every year Wellesley has her share of distinguished visitors, American, European, and Oriental, scholars, poets, scientists, statesmen, who enrich her life and enlarge her spiritual vision.
One chapter of Wellesley's history it is too soon to write: the story of the great names and great personalities, the spiritual stuff of which every college is built. This is the chapter on which the historians of men's colleges love best to dwell. But the women's lips and pens are fountains sealed, for a reticent hundred years—or possibly less, under pressure—with the seals of academic reserve, and historic perspective, and traditional modesty. Most of the women who had a hand in the making of Wellesley's first forty years are still alive. There's the rub. It would not hamper the journalist. But the historian has his conventions. One hundred years from now, what names, living to-day, will be written in Wellesley's golden book? Already they are written in many prophetic hearts. However, women can keep a secret.
Even of those who have already finished their work on earth, it is too soon to speak authoritatively; but gratitude and love will not be silent, and no story of Wellesley's first half-century would be complete that held no records of their devotion and continuing influence.
Among the pioneers, there was no more interesting and forceful personality than Susan Maria Hallowell, who came to Wellesley as Professor of Natural History in 1875, the friend of Agassiz and Asa Gray. She was a Maine woman, and she had been teaching twenty-two years, in Bangor and Portland, before she was called to Wellesley. Her successor in the Department of Botany writes in a memorial sketch of her life:
"With that indefatigable zeal so characteristic of her whole life, she began the work in preparation for the new position. She went from college to college, from university to university, studying the scientific libraries and laboratories. At the close of this investigation she announced to the founders of the college that the task which they had assigned to her was too great for any one individual to undertake. There must be several professorships rather than one. Of those named she was given first choice, and when, in 1876, she opened her laboratories and actually began her teaching in Wellesley College, she did so as professor of Botany, although her title was not formally changed until 1878.
"The foundations which she laid were so broad and sure, the several courses which she organized were so carefully outlined, that, except where necessitated by more recent developments in science, only very slight changes in the arrangement and distribution of the work in her department have since been necessary.... She organized and built up a botanical library which from the first was second to that of no other college in the country, and is to-day only surpassed by the botanical libraries of a few of our great universities."
Fortunately the botanical library and the laboratories were housed in Stone Hall, and escaped devastation by the fire.
Professor Hallowell was the first woman to be admitted to the botanical lectures and laboratories of the University of Berlin. She "was not a productive scholar", again we quote from Professor Ferguson, "as that term is now used, and hence her gifts and her achievements are but little known to the botanists of to-day. She was preeminently a teacher and an organizer. Only those who knew her in this double capacity can fully realize the richness of her nature and the power of her personality." She retired from active service at the college in February, 1902, when she was made Professor Emeritus; but she lived in Wellesley village with her friend, Miss Horton, the former professor of Greek, until her death in 1911. Mrs. North gives us a charming glimpse of the quaint and dignified little old lady. "When in recent years the blossoming forth of academic dress made a pageant of our great occasions, the badges of scholarship seemed to her foreign to the simplicity of true learning, and she walked bravely in the Commencement procession, wearing the little bonnet which henceforth became a distinction."
Another early member of the Department of Botany, Clara Eaton Cummings, who came to Wellesley as a student in 1876 and kept her connection with the college until her death, as associate professor, in 1906, was a scientific scholar of distinguished reputation. Her work in cryptogamic botany gained the respect of botanists for Wellesley.
With this pioneer group belongs also Professor Niles, who was actively connected with the college from 1882 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1908. Wellesley shares with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology her precious memories of this devoted gentleman and scholar. His wise planning set the Department of Geology and Geography on its present excellent basis. At his death in 1910, a valuable legacy of geological specimens came to Wellesley, only to be destroyed in 1914 by the fire. But his greatest gifts to the college are those which no fire can ever harm.
Anne Eugenia Morgan, professor in the Department of Philosophy from 1878 to 1900; Mary Adams Currier, enthusiastic head of the Department of Elocution from 1875 to 1896, the founder of the Monroe Fund for her department; Doctor Speakman, Doctor Barker, Wellesley's resident physicians in the early days; dear Mrs. Newman, who mothered so many college generations of girls at Norumbega, and will always be to them the ideal house-mother,—when old alumnae speak these names, their hearts glow with unchanging affection.
But the most vivid of all these pioneers, and one of the most widely known, was Carla Wenckebach. Of her, Wellesley has a picture and a memory which will not fade, in the brilliant biography [Carla Wenckebach, Pioneer (Ginn & Co. pub.).] by her colleague and close friend, Margarethe Muller, who succeeded her in the Department of German. As an interpretation of character and personality, this book takes its place with Professor Palmer's "Life of Alice Freeman Palmer", among literary biographies of the first rank.
Professor Wenckebach came to Wellesley in 1883, and we have the story of her coming, in her own letters, given us in translation by Professor Muller. She was attending the Sauveur Summer School of Languages at Amherst, and had been asked to take some classes there, in elementary German, where her methods immediately attracted attention; and presently we find her writing:
"Hurrah! I have made a superb catch—not a widower nor a bachelor, but something infinitely superior! I must not anticipate, though, but proceed according to program....
"The other day, when I was in my room digging away at my Greek lessons, the landlady brings in three visiting cards, remarking that the three ladies who wish to see me are in the reception room. I look at the cards and read: Miss Alice Freeman, President (in German, Rector Magnificus) of Wellesley College; Mrs. Durant, Treasurer; and Miss Denio, Professor of German Literature at Wellesley College (Wellesley, you must know, is the largest and most magnificent of all the women's colleges in the United States). I immediately comprehended that these were three lions (grosse Tiere), and I began to have curious presentiments. Fortunately, I was in correct dress, so that I could rush down into our elegant reception room. Here I made a solemn bow, the three ladies returning the compliment. The president, a lady who must be a good deal younger than myself, a real Ph.D. (of Philosophy and History), told me that she had heard of me and therefore wished to see me in regard to a vacancy at Wellesley College, which, according to the statutes, must not be filled by a man so long as a woman could be procured. The woman she was looking for must be able, she said, to give lectures on German Literature in German, and to expound the works of German writers thoroughly; she would engage me for this position, she added, if she found that I was the right person for it.
"I was dumfounded at the mere suggestion of this gift of Heaven coming to me, for I had heard so many beautiful things about Wellesley that the idea of possibly getting a position there totally dazed me. Summoning up courage, however, I controlled my wild joy, and pulling myself together with determination, I gave the ladies the desired account of my studies, my journalistic work, etc., whereupon the president informed me that she would attend my class the next day."
The ordeal was successfully passed, and the position of "head teacher in the German Department at Wellesley" was immediately offered her. "Now you think, I suppose, that I fell round the necks of those angels of joy! I didn't though!" she blithely writes. But she agreed to visit Wellesley, and her description of this visit gives us old College Hall in a new light.
"The place in itself is so beautiful that we could hardly realize its being merely a school. The Royal Palace in Berlin is small compared to the main building, which in length and stateliness of appearance surpasses even the great Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The entrance hall is decorated with magnificent palms, with valuable paintings, and choice statuary. The walls in all the corridors are covered with fine engravings; there are carpets everywhere and elegant pieces of furniture; there is gas, steam heat, and a big elevator; everything, down to the bathrooms, is princely."
Professor Muller adds, "Of course, she was 'kind enough' to accept the position offered, although it was not especially lucrative. 'But what is a high salary,' she exclaims, 'in comparison to the ease and enthusiasm with which I can here plow a new field of work! That, and the honor attached to the position, are worth more to me than thousands of dollars. I am to be a regular grosses Tier now myself,—what fun, after having been a beast of burden so long!'"
From the first, Wellesley recognized her quality, and wisely gave it freedom. In addition to her work in German, we owe to her the beginnings of the Department of Education, through her lectures on Pedagogy.
Speaking of her power, Professor Muller says: "Truly, as a teacher, especially a teacher of youth, Fraulein Wenckebach was unexcelled. There was that relieving and inspiring, that broadening and yet deepening quality in her work, that ease and grace and joy, that mark the work of the elect only,—of those rare souls among us who are 'near the shaping hand of the Creator.'" And Fraulein Wenckebach herself said of her profession: "Every teacher, every educator, should above all be a guide. Not one of those who, like signposts, stretch their wooden arms with pedantic insistence in a given direction, but one, rather, who, after the manner of the heavenly bodies, diffusing warmth and light and cheer, draws the young soul irresistibly to leave its dark jungles of prejudice and ignorance for the promised land of wisdom and freedom." And her students testify enthusiastically to her unusual success. One of them writes:
"To Fraulein Wenckebach as a teacher, I owe more than to any other teacher I ever had. I cannot remember that she reproved any student or that she ever directly urged us to do our best. She made no efforts to make her lectures attractive by witticisms, anecdotes, or entertaining illustrations. Yet her students worked with eager faithfulness, and I, personally, have never been so absorbed and inspired by any lectures as by hers. The secret of her power was not merely that she was master of the art of teaching and knew how to arouse interest and awaken the mind to independent thought and inquiry, but that her own earnestness and high purpose touched our lives and made anything less than the highest possible degree of effort and attainment seem not worth while."—"We girls used to say to each other that if we ever taught we should want to be to our students what she was to us, and if they could feel as we felt toward her and her work we should want no more. She demanded the best of us, without demanding, and what she gave us was beyond measure.—It was courses like hers that made us feel that college work was the best part of college life."
These are the things that teachers care most to hear, and in the nineteen years of her service at Wellesley, there were many students eager to tell her what she had been to them. She writes in 1886: "What a privilege to pour into the receptive mind of young American girls the fullness of all that is precious about the German spirit; and how enthusiastically they receive all I can give them!"
In the late eighties and early nineties there came to the college a notable group of younger women, destined to play an important part in Wellesley's life and to increase her academic reputation: Mary Whiton Calkins, Margarethe Muller, Adeline B. Hawes, the able head of the Department of Latin, Katharine M. Edwards, of the Department of Greek, Sophie de Chantal Hart, of the Department of English Composition, Vida D. Scudder, Margaret Sherwood, and Sophie Jewett, of the Department of English Literature. In the autumn of 1909, Sophie Jewett died, and never has the college been stirred to more intimate and personal grief. So many poets, so many scholars, are not lovable; but this scholar-poet quickened every heart to love her. To live in her house, to sit at her table, to listen to her "cadenced voice" in the classrooms, were privileges which those who shared them will never forget. Her colleague, Professor Scudder, speaking at the memorial service in the College Chapel, said:
"We shall long rejoice to dwell on the ministry of love that was hers to exercise in so rare a measure, through her unerring and reverent discernment of all finest aspects of beauty; on her sensitive allegiance to truth; on the fine reticence of her imaginative passion; on that heavenly sympathy and selflessness of hers, a selflessness so deep that it bore no trace of effort or resolute purpose, but was simply the natural instinct of the soul....
"Let us give thanks, then, for all her noble and delicate powers; for her all-controlling Christianity; for her subtle rectitude of intellectual and spiritual vision; for her swift ardor for all high causes and great dreams; for that unbounded tenderness toward youth, that firm and steady standard of scholarship, that central hunger for truth, which gave high quality to her teaching, and which during twenty years have been at the service of Wellesley College and of the Department of English Literature."
This very giving of herself to the claims of the college hampered, to a certain extent, her poetic creativeness; the volumes that she has left are as few as they are precious, every one "a pearl." Speaking of these poems, Miss Scudder says: "And in her own verse,—do we not catch to a strange degree, hushed echoes of heavenly music? These lyrics are not wholly of the earth: they vibrate subtly with what I can only call the sense of the Eternal. How beautiful, how consoling, that her last book should have been that translation, such as only one who was at once true poet and true scholar could have made, of the sweetest medieval elegy 'The Pearl'!" And Miss Bates, in her preface to the posthumous volume of "Folk-Ballads of Southern Europe", illumines for us the scholarship which went into these close and sympathetic translations:
"For the Roumanian ballads, although she pored over the originals, she had to depend, in the main, upon French translation, which was usually available, too, for the Gascon and Breton. Italian, which she knew well, guided her through obscure dialects of Italy and Sicily, but Castilian, Portuguese, and Catalan she puzzled out for herself with such natural insight that the experts to whom these translations have been submitted found hardly a word to change. 'After all,' as she herself wrote, 'ballads are simple things, and require, as a rule, but a limited vocabulary, though a peculiarly idiomatic one.'"
Not the least poetic of her books, although it is written in prose, is the delicate interpretation of St. Francis, written for children and called "God's Troubadour."
"Erect, serene, she came and went
On her high task of beauty bent.
For us who knew, nor can forget,
The echoes of her laughter yet
Make sudden music in the halls."
["In Memoriam: Sophie Jewett." A poem by Margaret Sherwood,
Wellesley College News, May 1, 1913.]
In 1913, Madame Colin, who had served the college as head of the Department of French since 1905, died during the spring recess after a three days' illness. Madame Colin had studied at the University of Paris and the Sorbonne, and her ideals for her department were high.
Among Wellesley's own alumnae, only a very few who were officers of the college during the first forty years have died. Of these are Caroline Frances Pierce, of the class of 1891, who was librarian from 1903 to 1910. To her wise planning we owe the conveniences and comforts in the new library building which she did not live to see completed.
In 1914, the Department of Greek suffered a deep loss in Professor Annie Sybil Montague, of the class of 1879. Besides being a member of the first graduating class, Miss Montague was one of the first to receive the degree of M.A. from Wellesley. In 1882, the college conferred this degree for the first time, and Miss Montague was one of the two candidates who presented themselves. One of her old students, Annie Kimball Tuell, of the class of 1896, herself an instructor in the Department of English Literature, writes:
I think Miss Montague would wish that another of her pupils, one who worked with her for an unusually long time, should say—what can most simply and most warmly and most gratefully be said—that she was a good teacher. So I want to say it formally for myself and for all the others and for all the years. For I suppose that if we were doomed to go before our girls for a last judgment, the best and the least of us would care just for the simple bit of testimony that we knew our business and attended to it. And of all the good people who made college days so rich for me, there is none of whom I could say this more entirely than of Miss Montague.
Often as I have caught sight of her in the jostling crowd of the second floor, I have felt a lively regret that she was known to so few of the girls, and that her excellent ability to give zest to drill and to stablish fluttering wits in order, could not have a fuller and freer exercise. In the old days we valued what she had to give, and in the usual silent, thankless way, elected her courses as long as there were courses to elect; but we have had to teach many years since to know how special that gift of hers was. Just as closer acquaintance with herself proved her breadth of mind and sympathy not quite understood before, so more intelligent knowledge of her methods showed them to be broader and more fundamental than we had quite comprehended. With her handling, rules and sub-rules ceased to jostle and confuse one another, but grouped themselves in a simpler harmony which we thought a very beautiful discovery, and grammar took on a reasonable unity which seemed a marvel. So we took our laborious days with cheer and enjoyed the energy, for we quite understood that our work would lead to something.
But if there could be an interchange of grace and I could take a gift from Miss Montague's personality, I would rather have what she in a matter-of-fact way would take for granted, but what is harder for us who are beginners here to come by,—I mean her altogether fine and blameless relation to her girls outside the classroom. She was a presence always heartily responsive, but never unwary, without the slightest reflection of her personality upon us, with never a word too much of praise or blame, of too much intimacy or of too much reserve. She was a figure of familiar friendliness, ready with sympathy and comprehension, but wholesome, sound and sane, without trace of sentimentality. Above all, I felt her a singularly honorable spirit, toward whom we always turned our best side, to whom we might never go with talk wanton or idle or unkind or critical, but always with our very precious thoughts on whatsoever things are eager, and honest and kindly and of good report. And so she was able to do us much good and no harm at all. She can have had no millstones about her neck to reckon with....
Miss Montague used to have a little class in Plato, and I have not forgotten how quietly we read together one day at the end of the Phaedo of the death of Socrates. After Miss Montague died, I turned to the book and found the place where the servant has brought the cup of poison, but Crito, unreconciled, wants to delay even a little:
"For the sun," said he, "is yet on the hills, and many a man has drunk the draught late."
"Yes," said Socrates, "since they wished for delay. But I do not think that I should gain anything by drinking the cup a little later."
In January, 1915, while this story of Wellesley was being written, Katharine Coman, Professor Emeritus of Economics, went like a conqueror to the triumph of her death. Miss Coman's power as a teacher has been spoken of on an earlier page, but she will be remembered in the college and outside as more than a teacher. Her books and her active interest in industrial affairs, her noble attitude toward life, all have had their share in informing and directing and inspiring the college she loved.
"A mountain soul, she shines in crystal air
Above the smokes and clamors of the town.
Her pure, majestic brows serenely wear
The stars for crown.
"She comrades with the child, the bird, the fern,
Poet and sage and rustic chimney-nook,
But Pomp must be a pilgrim ere he earn
Her mountain look.
"Her mountain look, the candor of the snow,
The strength of folded granite, and the calm
Of choiring pines, whose swayed green branches strow
A healing balm.
"For lovely is a mountain rosy-lit
With dawn, or steeped in sunshine, azure-hot,
But loveliest when shadows traverse it,
And stain it not."
[From a poem, "A Mountain Soul," by Katharine Lee Bates, 1904.]
The safest general statement which can be made about Wellesley students of the first forty years of the college is that more than sixty per cent of them have come from outside New England, from the Middle West, the Far West, and the South. Possibly there is a Wellesley type. Whether or not it could be differentiated from the Smith, the Bryn Mawr, the Vassar, and the Mt. Holyoke types, if the five were set up in a row, unlabeled, is a question. Yet it is true that certain recognizable qualities have developed and tend to persist among the students of Wellesley.
Wellesley girls are in the best sense democratic. There is no Gold Coast on the campus or in the village; money carries no social prestige. More money is spent, and more frivolously, than in the early days; there are more girls, and more rich girls, to spend it; yet the indifference to it except as a mechanical convenience, a medium of exchange and an opportunity for service, continues to be naively Utopian.
But money is not the only touchstone of democratic sensitiveness. At Wellesley there has always been uneasiness at the hint of unequal opportunity. When the college grew so large that membership in the six societies took on the aspect of special privilege, restiveness was as marked among the privileged as among the unprivileged, and more outspoken. The first result was the Barn Swallows, a social and dramatic society to which every student in college might belong if she wished. The second was the reorganization of the six societies on a more democratic and intellectual basis, to prevent "rushing", favoritism, cliques, and all the ills that mutually exclusive clubs are heir to. The agitation for these reforms came from the societies themselves, and they endured with Spartan determination the months of transitional misery and readjustment which their generous idealism brought upon their heads.
Enthusiasm for equality also enters into the students' attitude toward "the academic", and like most enthusiasts, from the French Revolution down, they are capable of confusing the issue. In the early days, they were not allowed to know their marks, lest the knowledge should rouse an unworthy spirit of competition; and of all the rules instituted by the founder, this is the one which they have been most unwilling to see abolished. Silent Time they relinquished with relief; Domestic Work they abandoned without a pang; Bible Study shrank from four to three years and from three to two, and then to one, almost without their noticing it. But when, in 1901, the Honor Scholarships were established, a storm of protest burst among the undergraduates, and thundered and lightened for several weeks in the pages of College News. And not the least vehement of these protestants were the "Honor girls" themselves. To see their names posted in an alphabetical list of twenty or more students who had achieved, all unwittingly, a certain number of A's and B's throughout their course, seems to have caused them a mortification more keen than that experienced by St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar. But that the college ideal should be "degraded" pained them most.
There was something very touching and encouraging about this wrong-headed, right-hearted outburst. After the usual Wellesley fashion, freedom of speech prevailed; everybody spoke her mind. In the end "sweetness and light" dispersed the mists of sentiment which had assumed that to acknowledge inequality of achievement was to abolish equality of opportunity, and burned away the ethical haziness which had magnified mediocrity; the crusaders realized that the pseudo-compassion which would conceal the idle and the stupid, the industrious and the brilliant, in a common obscurity, is impracticable, since the fool and the genius cannot long be hid, and unfair, since the ant and the grasshopper would enjoy a like reward, and no democracy has yet claimed that those who do not work shall eat. When in 1912 the faculty at last decided to inform the students as to all their marks, the news was received with no protest and with an intelligent appreciation of the intellectual and ethical value of the new privilege.
The college was founded "for the glory of God and the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, in and by the education and culture of women"; and Wellesley girls are, in the best sense, religious. There has been no time in the first forty years when the undergraduates were not earnestly and genuinely preoccupied with religious questions and religious living. One recognizes this not only by the obvious and commonplace signs, such as the interest in the Christian Association, the Student Volunteer Movement, the Missionary Field, Silver Bay, manifested by the conventional Christian students; it is evident also in the hunger and thirst of the sincere rebels, in such signs as the "Heretics' Bible Class" a volunteer group which existed for a year or two in the second decade of the century, and which has had its prototypes at intervals throughout the forty years. One sees it in the interest and enthusiasm of the students who follow Professor Case's course in the Philosophy of Hegel; in the reverence and love with which girls of all creeds and of none speak of the Chapel services, and attend them. When two thirds of the girls go voluntarily and as a matter of course to an Ash Wednesday evening service, when Jew and Roman Catholic alike testify eagerly to the value of the morning Chapel service in their spiritual development, it is evident that the religious life is genuine and healthy. And it finds its outlet in the passion for social service which, if statistics can be trusted, inspires so many of the alumnae. The old-fashioned Puritan, if she still exists, may tremble for the souls of the Wellesley girls who crowd by hundreds into the "matinee train" on Saturday afternoon, but let us hope that she would be reassured to find the voluntary Bible and Mission Study classes attended, and even conducted, by many of these same girls. She might grieve over the years of Bible Study lost to the curriculum, and over the introduction of modern methods of Biblical Higher Criticism into the classroom; but surely she would be comforted to see how the students have arisen to the rescue of the devotional study of the Scriptures, with their voluntary classes enthusiastically maintained. It might even touch her sense of humor.
As the college has grown larger, undoubtedly more and more girls have come to Wellesley for other than intellectual reasons,—because it is "the thing" to go to college, or for "the life." But it is reassuring to find that the reactions of "the life" upon them always quicken them to a deeper respect for intellectual values. The "academic" holds first place in the Wellesley life, not perfunctorily but vitally. The students themselves are swift to recognize and rebuke, usually in the "Free Press" or the "Parliament of Fools", of the College News, any signs of intellectual indifference or laxity. Wellesley, like Harvard and other large colleges, has its uninspiring level stretches of mediocrity; but it has its little leaping hills, its soaring peaks as well. Every class has its band of devoted students for whom the things of the mind are supreme; every class has its scattering of youthful scholars to give distinction to the academic landscape.
It would be absurd and useless to deny that Wellesley girls have their defects; they are of the sort that press for recognition; defects of manner, and manners, which are not confined to the students of any one college, or even to college students, but are due in a measure to the general change in our attitude towards women, and to the new freedom in which they all alike share. It is true that, to a degree, the graces and reserves which give charm and finish to daily living are sacrificed to the more pushing claims of study and athletics, in college. It is true that the unmodulated voice, the mushy enunciation, the unrestrained attitude, the slouchy clothes, too often go unrebuked in classroom and dormitory, where it seems to be nobody's business to rebuke them; but it is also usually true that, before they ever came to college, that voice, that attitude, those clothes, went unrebuked and even unheeded, at home or in the girls' camp, where it emphatically was somebody's business to heed and rebuke.
But it is the public which sees the worst of it, especially on trains, where groups of young voices or extreme fashions in dress become quite unintentionally conspicuous. Experienced from within, the life, despite its many little roughnesses, its small lapses in taste, is gracious and gentle, selfless in unobtrusive ways, and genuinely kind.
Religious, democratic, intellectually serious is our Wellesley girl, and last but not least, she is a lover of beauty. How could she fail to be? How many times, in early winter twilights, has she come over the stile into the Stone Hall meadow, and stood long moments, hushed, bespelled, by the tranquil pale loveliness of the lake, the dusky, rimming hills, the bare, slim blackness of twig and bough embroidering the silver sky,—the whole luminous etching? How often, mid-morning in spring, has she sat with her book in a green shade west of the library, and lifted her eyes to see above the daffodil-bank of Longfellow's fountain the blue lake waters laughing between the upspringing trunks of the tall oak trees? Wherever there are Wellesley women, when spring is waking,—in Switzerland, in Sicily, in Japan, in England,—they are remembering the Wellesley spring, that pageant of young green of lawns and hills and tenderest flushing rose in baby oak leaves and baby maples, that twinkling dance of birches and of poplars, that splendor of the youth of the year amid which young maidens shone and blossomed, starring the campus among the other spring flowers. And are there Wellesley women anywhere in the autumn who do not think of Wellesley and four autumns? Of the long russet vistas of the west woods? Of the army with banners, scarlet and golden, and bronze and russet and rose, that marched and trumpeted around Lake Waban's streaming Persian pattern of shadows? When you speak to a Wellesley girl of her Alma Mater, her eyes widen with the lover's look, and you know that she is seeing a vision of pure beauty.
In 1876, the students, shocked and grieved by the discovery of one of those cases of cheating with which every college has to deal from time to time, met together, and made a very stringent rule to be enforced by themselves. This "law", enacted on February 18, 1876, marks the first step toward Student Government at Wellesley; it reads as follows:
"The students of Wellesley College unanimously decree as a perpetual law of the college that no student shall use a translation or key in the study of any lesson or in any review, recitation, or examination. Every student who may enter the college shall be in honor bound to expose every violation of this law. If any student shall be known to violate this law, she shall be warned by a committee of the students and publicly exposed. If the offense be repeated the students shall demand her immediate expulsion as unworthy to remain a member of Wellesley College." It is signed by the presidents of the two classes, 1879 and 1880, then in college.
Until 1881, when the Courant, the first Wellesley periodical, gave the students opportunity to express their minds concerning matters of college policy, we have no definite record of further steps toward self-government on the part of the undergraduates. The disciplinary methods of those early years are amusingly described by Mary C. Wiggin, of the class of '85, who tells us that authority was vested in four bodies, the president, the doctor, the corridor teacher and the head of the Domestic Department.
"The president was responsible for our going out and our coming in. The 'office' might give permission to leave town, but all tardiness in returning must be explained to the president. How timidly four of us came to Miss Freeman in my sophomore year to explain that the freshman's mother had kept us to supper after our 'permitted' drive on Monday afternoon! What an occasion it gave her to caution us as to sophomore influence over freshmen!
"Very infrequent were our journeys to Boston in those days, theaters were forbidden. Once during my four years I saw Booth in 'Macbeth' during a Christmas vacation, salving my conscience with a liberal interpretation of the phrase, 'while connected with the college', trying to forget the parting injunction, 'Remember, girls, that You are Wellesley College.'...
"In the old days we were seated alphabetically in church and chapel, where attendance was kept in each 'section' by one of its members. A growing laxity permitted you to sit out of place on Sunday evenings, provided that you reported to your section girl. Otherwise you would be called to the office to explain your absence....
"Very slowly did the idea dawn upon me that there was a faculty back of all these very pleasant personal relations."
But in the late '80's, the advance toward student self-government begins to be traceable, slowly but surely. In the spring of 1887, on the initiative of the faculty, the first formal conference between representatives of faculty and students was called, to consider questions of class organization. Other conferences took place at irregular intervals during the next seven years, as occasion arose, and these often led to new legislation. The subjects discussed were, the Magazine, the Legenda, Athletics, the Junior Prom. In the autumn of 1888, students were first allowed to hand in excuses for absence from college classes; the responsibility for giving a "true, valid and signed excuse" resting with the individual student. In this same autumn the law forbidding eating between meals was repealed, but students were still not permitted to keep eatables in their rooms.
Articles on college courtesy, quiet in the library, articles for and against Domestic Work, begin to appear in the Courant and the Prelude in 1888 and 1889. In May, 1890, we learn of a Students' Association, which was the means of obtaining class bulletin boards in the autumn of 1890. From this time also, agitation on all topics of interest to the students is more openly active. In September, 1891, the faculty consent to allow library books to be taken out of the library on Saturday afternoon for use over Sunday. In October, 1891, we find that the Students' Association is to offer a medium for discussion and to foster a scholarly spirit. In December, 1891, a plea appears in the Prelude for occasional conferences between faculty and students on problems of college policy. In 1892, we read that the individual students are allowed to choose a church in the village and attend it on Sundays, if they so desire, instead of attending the College Chapel. In 1892 also, we have the agitation, in the Wellesley Magazine, for the wearing of cap and gown, and in this year senior privileges are extended, and the responsibility for absence from class appointments rests with the student. In November, 1892, the Magazine prints an article on Student Government by Professor Case of the Department of Philosophy. And the cap and gown census and discussion go gayly on. Early in 1893, there is a discussion of Student Government. In the spring of this year, there is an agitation for voluntary chapel. In September, the seniors begin to wear the cap and gown throughout the year. The year 1894 sees Silent Time abolished; and agitation,—always courteous and friendly,—goes on for Student Government, for the opening of the library on Sunday, for the abolition of Domestic Work. In 1893 or 1894, Professor Burrell, as head of College Hall, introduces the custom of having students sign for overtime when they wish to study after ten o'clock at night. In 1894, excuses for absence from chapel and classes are no longer required. In the spring of 1894, at the request of undergraduates, a conference with the faculty, in a series of meetings, considers matters of interest in student life. Beginning with May, 1895, the library is opened on Sundays.
It is significant to note, in looking over these old files of college magazines, that when the students' interest waned, the faculty were always ready to administer the necessary prod. Not all the articles in favor of Student Government are written by students. President Shafer herself gave the strongest early impetus to the movement, although not through the press. In 1899, Professor Woolley, as head of College Hall, instituted a House Organization, which as an experiment in Student Government among the students then living in College Hall was a complete success. In June, 1900, we find arrangements made for a Faculty-Student Conference, to be held during the autumn months; and this body met five times. Its establishment did a great deal in paving the way to mutual understanding and trust when the definite question of Student Government was approached.
On March 6, 1901, at a mass meeting of the students, and after a spirited discussion, it was voted that the Academic Council be petitioned to give self-government to the students in all matters not academic. This date is kept every year as the birthday of Student Government. At another mass meeting, on April 9, Miss Katharine Lord, the President of the Student Association of Bryn Mawr, spoke to the college on Student Government, and on April 23, there was still another mass meeting. The student committee appointed to confer with the committee from the faculty had for its chairman Mary Leavens, of the class of 1901, student head of College Hall; Miss Pendleton, at that time secretary of the college, was the chairman of the faculty committee. Student Government found in her, from the beginning, a convinced and able champion. In April, the constitution was submitted to the committee of the faculty, and in May the constitution and the agreement, after careful consideration, were submitted to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. On May 29, an all day election for president was held, resulting in the choice of Frances L. Hughes, 1902, as first president of the Student Government Association of Wellesley College. On June 6, the report was adopted and the agreement was signed by the president and secretary of the Board of Trustees and the president of the college. On June 7, in the presence of the faculty and the whole student body, in chapel, the agreement was read and signed on behalf of the faculty by the secretary of the college. The ceremony was impressive and memorable in its simplicity and solemnity. After Miss Pendleton had signed her name, the students rose and remained standing while the agreement was signed by Frances L. Hughes, President of the Association for 1901 and 1902, May Mathews, President of the Class of 1902, Margaret C. Mills, President of the Class of 1901, and Mary Leavens, President of the House Council of College Hall. The Scripture lesson was taken from I. Corinthians, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid," and the recessional was, "How firm a foundation."
The Association is organized with a president and vice president, chosen from the senior class, and a secretary and a treasurer from the juniors; these are all elected by the whole undergraduate body. There is an Executive Board whose members are the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the association, the house presidents and their proctors, and a representative from each of the four classes, elected by the class. The government is in all essentials democratic. The rules are made and executed by the whole body of students; but all legislation of the students is subject to approval by the college authorities, and if any question arises as to whether or not a subject is within the jurisdiction of the association, it is referred to a joint committee of seven, made up of a standing committee of three appointed by the faculty, a standing committee of three appointed by the association, and the president of the college.
In intrusting to the association the management of all matters not strictly academic concerning the conduct of students in their college life, the College authorities reserve the right to regulate all athletic events and formal entertainments, all societies, clubs and other organizations, all Society houses, and all publications, all matters pertaining to public health and safety and to household management and the use of college property. The students are responsible for all matters of registration and absence from college, for the regulation of travel, permission for Sunday callers, rules governing chaperonage, the maintenance of quiet, the general conduct of students on the campus and in the village. It is they who have abolished the "ten-o'clock-bedtime rule"; it is they who have decreed that students shall not go to Boston on Sundays, but this rule is relaxed for seniors, who are allowed two Boston Sundays, in which they may attend church or an afternoon sacred concert in the city. If a student wishes to spend Sunday away from college, she must go away on Saturday and remain until Monday.
Questions of minor discipline, such as the enforcing of the rule of quiet in the dormitories, are handled by the students; not yet, it must be confessed, with complete success, as the quiet in the dormitories—especially the freshman houses—falls short of that holy calm which studious girls have a right to claim. Serious misdemeanors are of course in the jurisdiction of the president of the college and the faculty. One very important college duty, the proctoring of examinations, which would seem to be an entirely legitimate function of the Student Government Association, the students themselves have not as yet been willing to assume. During the years when the freshmen, sometimes as many as four hundred, were housed in the village because of the crowded conditions on the campus, the burden upon the Student Government Association, and especially upon the vice president and her senior assistants who had charge of the village work, was, in the opinion of many alumnae and some members of the faculty, heavier than they should have been expected to shoulder; for, when all is said, students do come to college primarily to pursue the intellectual life, rather than to be the monitors of undergraduate behavior. Fortunately, with the endowment of the college and the building of new dormitories on the campus, the village problem will be eliminated. The students themselves are unanimously enthusiastic concerning Student Government, and the history of the association since its establishment reveals an earnest and increasingly intelligent acceptance of responsibility on the part of the student body. From the beginning the ultimate success of the movement has been almost unquestioned, and the association is now as stable an institution, apparently, as the Academic Council or the Board of Trustees.
The most important of the associations which bring Wellesley students into touch with the outside world are the Christian Association and the College Settlements Association. These two, with the Consumers' League and the Equal Suffrage League—also flourishing organizations—help to foster the spirit of service which has characterized the college from its earliest days.
The Christian Association did not come into existence until 1884, but in the very first year of the college a Missionary Society was formed, which gave "Missionary concerts" on Sunday evenings in the chapel, and adopted as its college missionary, Gertrude Chandler (Wyckoff) of the class of 1879, who went out to the mission field in India in 1880. In the first decade also a Temperance Society was formed, and noted speakers on temperance visited the college. But in 1883, in order to unify the religious work, a Christian Association was proposed. The initiative seems to have come from the faculty, and this was natural, as the little group of teachers from the University of Michigan—President Freeman, Professor Chapin of the Department of Greek, Professor Coman of Economics, Professor Case of Philosophy, Professor Chandler of Mathematics,—had had a hand in developing the Young Women's Christian Association at Ann Arbor.
The first meeting of this Association was held in College Hall Chapel, October 8, 1884, and we read that it was formed "for the purpose of promoting Christian fellowship as a means of individual growth in character, and of securing, by the union of the various societies already existing, a more systematic arrangement of the work to be done in college by officers and students, for the cause of Christ."
Those who joined the association pledged themselves to declare their belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and to dedicate their lives to His service. They promised to abide by the laws of the association and seek its prosperity; ever to strive to live a life consistent with its character as a Christian Association, and, as far as in them lay, to engage in its activities; to cultivate a Christian fellowship with its members, and as opportunity offered, to endeavor to lead others to a Christian life. Wellesley is rightly proud of the Christian simplicity and inclusiveness of this pledge.
The work of the association included Bible study, devotional meetings, individual work, and the development of missionary interest. Three hundred and seventy signed as charter members, and Professor Stratton of the Department of Rhetoric was the first president. The students held most of the offices, but it was not until 1894 that a student president,—Cornelia Huntington of the class of 1895—was elected. Since then, this office has always been held by a student. From its inception the association received the greatest help and inspiration from Mrs. Durant, for many years the President of the Boston Young Women's Christian Association, which was one of the first of its kind.
Early in its career, the Wellesley Association adopted, besides its foreign missionary, a home missionary, and later a city missionary who worked in New York. An Indian committee was formed, and Thanksgiving entertainments were given at the Woman's Reformatory in Sherborn and the Dedham Asylum for released prisoners. In this prison work, the college always had the fullest help and sympathy of Mrs. Durant. The Wellesley Student Volunteer Band was organized May 26, 1890, and in 1915 there were known to be about one hundred Wellesley girls in the foreign field, and there were probably others of whom the college was uninformed. It is a noble and inspiring record.
In 1905, after the union of many of the Young Women's Christian Associations and the formation of the National Board, Wellesley was urged to affiliate herself with the National Association, but she was unwilling to narrow her own pledge, to meet the conditions of the National Board. She felt that she better served the cause of Christian Unity by admitting to her fellowship a wider range of Christians, so-called, than the National Board was at that time prepared to tolerate; and she was also more or less fearful of too much dictation. It was not until 1913, at the Fourth Biennial Convention of the Young Women's Christian Associations, held at Richmond, Virginia, that Wellesley was received into the National organization; and she came retaining her own pledge and her own constitution.
In the old days, the Christian Association was the stronghold of the dying Evangelicalism, and was looked on with distaste by many of the radical students; but of late years, its tone and its method have changed to meet the needs of the modern girl, and it has become a power throughout the college. The annual report for 1913-1914 shows a total membership of 1297. The association carries on Mission Study Classes; Bible Classes which the students teach, under the direction of volunteers from the faculty, in such subjects as "The Social Teachings of Jesus", "The Ideals of Israel's Leaders as Forces in Our Lives", "Christ in Everyday Life"; "General Aid" work, for girls who need to earn money in college. Its Social Committee is active among freshmen and new students. Of its special committees, the one on Conferences and Conventions plays an important part in quickening the interest in Silver Bay, and the one on "the College in Spain" presents the needs and claims of the International Institute for Girls at Madrid. Besides its regular meetings, the Christian Association now has charge of the Lenten services, and this effort to deepen the devotional life of the college has met with a swift response from the students. During 1913-1914, in Lent, the chapel was open every afternoon for meditation and prayer, and cards with selected prayers for each day were furnished to all who cared to use them. Unquestionably, Wellesley possesses no student organization more living and more life-giving than its Christian Association.
Four years after the foundation of the Christian Association, Wellesley had opened her heart and her mind to the College Settlement idea. The movement, as is well known, originated in the late '80's in America. At the same time that Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr were starting Hull House in Chicago, a group of Smith College alumnae, chief among whom were Vida D. Scudder, Clara French, Helen Rand (Thayer), and Jean Fine (Spahr), was pressing for the establishment of a house in the East. And the idea was understood and fostered by Wellesley about as soon as by Smith, for it was interpreted at Wellesley by Professor Scudder, who became a member of the college faculty, as instructor in English Literature, in the autumn of 1887. In 1889, the Courant printed an article on College Settlements, and students of the later '80's and early '90's will never forget the ardor and excitement of those days when Wellesley was bearing her part in starting what was to be one of the important movements for social service in the nineteenth century. All her early traditions and activities made the college swift to understand and welcome this new idea.
From the beginning, the social impulse has been inherent in Wellesley, and settlement work was native to her. Professor Whiting tells us that there used to be a shoe factory in Wellesley Village, about where the Eliot now stands; that the students became interested in the girl operatives, most of whom lived in South Natick, and that they started a factory girls' club which met every Saturday evening for years, and was led by college girls. In Charles River Village, also at that time a factory town, Mr. Durant held evangelistic services during one winter, and "teacher specials" used to help him, and to teach in the Sunday School.
In 1890-1891, probably because of the settlement impulse, work among the maids in the college was set going by the Christian Association. A maids' parlor was furnished under the old gymnasium, and classes for the maids were started.
In 1891, the Wellesley Chapter of the College Settlements Association was organized. It was Professor Katharine Lee Bates (Wellesley '80) who first suggested the plan for an intercollegiate organization, with chapters in the different colleges for women; and her friend Adaline Emerson (Thompson), a Wellesley graduate of the class of '80, was the first president of the association. Wellesley women have ever since taken a prominent part in the direction of the association's policy and in the active life of the settlement houses in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Wellesley has given presidents, secretaries, and many electors to the association itself, and head-workers and a continuous stream of efficient and devoted residents, not only to the four College Settlements, but to Social Settlement houses all over the country. The College Chapter keeps a special interest in the work of the Boston Settlement, Denison House; students give entertainments occasionally for the settlement neighbors, and help in many ways at Christmas time; but practical social service from undergraduates is not the ideal nor the desire of the College Settlements Association. It aims rather at the quickening of sympathy and intelligence on social questions, and the moral and financial support which the College Chapter can give its representatives out in the world. Such by-products of the settlement interest as the Social Study Circle, an informal group of undergraduates and teachers which met for several years to study social questions, are worth much more to the movement than the immature efforts of undergraduates in directing settlement clubs and classes.
Already the historic perspective is sufficiently clear for us to realize that the College Settlement Movement is the unique, and perhaps the most important organized contribution of the women's colleges to civilization during their first half century of existence. Through this movement, in which they have played so large a part, they have exerted an influence upon social thought and conscience exceeded, in this period, by few other agencies, religious, philanthropic or industrial, if we except the Trade-union Movement and Socialism, which emanate from the workers themselves. The prominent part which Wellesley has played in it will doubtless be increasingly understood and valued by her graduates.
Let it be frankly acknowledged: the ordinary adult is usually bored by the undergraduate periodical—even though he may, once upon a time, have edited it himself. The shades of the prison-house make a poor light for the Gothic print of adolescence. But the historian, if we may trust allegory, bears a torch. For him no chronicle, whether compiled by twelfth-century monk or twentieth-century collegian, can be too remote, too dull, to reflect the gleam. And some chronicles, like the Wellesley one, are more rewarding than others.
No one can turn over the pages of these fledgling journals, Courant, Prelude, Magazine, News, without being impressed by the unconscious clarity with which they reflect not merely the events in the college community—although they are unusually faithful and accurate recorders of events—but the college temper of mind, the range of ideas, the reaction to interests beyond the campus, the general trend of the intellectual and spiritual life.
The interest in social questions is to the fore astonishingly early. In Wellesley's first newspaper, the Courant, published in the college year 1888-1889, we find articles on the Working Girls of Boston, on the Single Tax, and notes of a prize essay on Child Labor. And throughout the decade of the '90's, the dominant note in the Prelude, 1889-1892, and its successor, the Wellesley Magazine, 1892-1911, is the social note. Reports of college events give prominent place to lectures on Woman Suffrage, Social Settlements, Christian Socialism. In 1893, William Clarke of the London Chronicle, a member of the Fabian Society, visiting America as a delegate to the Labor Congress in Chicago, gave lectures at Wellesley on "The Development of Socialism in England", "The Government of London", "The London Working Classes." Matthew Arnold's visit came too early to be recorded in the college paper, but he was perhaps the first of a notable list of distinguished Englishmen who have helped to quicken the interest of Wellesley students along social lines. Graham Wallas, Lowes-Dickinson, H. G. Wells, are a few of the names found in the pages of the Magazine and the News. The young editors evidently welcomed papers on social themes, such as "The Transition in the Industrial Status of Women, by Professor Coman"; and the great strikes of the decade, The Homestead Strike, the Pennsylvania Coal Strike, the New Bedford Strike, are written up as a matter of course. It is interesting to note that the paper on the Homestead Strike, with a plea for the unions, was written by an undergraduate, Mary K. Conyngton, who has since won for herself a reputation for research work in the Labor Bureau at Washington.
Political articles are only less prominent than social and industrial material. As early as 1893 we have an article on "The Triple Alliance" and in the Magazine of 1898 and 1899 there are papers on "The Colonial Expansion of the Great European Powers", "The Italian Riots of May, 1898", "The Philippine Question", "The Dreyfus Incident." This preoccupation of young college women of the nineteenth century with modern industrial and political history is significant when we consider the part that woman has elected to play in politics and reform since the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the first years of that new century, the Magazine and the weekly News begin to reflect the general revival of religious interest among young people. The Student Volunteer Movement, the increased activities in the Christian Associations for both men and women, find their response in Wellesley students. Letters from missionaries are given prominence; the conferences at Silver Bay are written up enthusiastically and at great length. Social questions never lapse, at Wellesley, but during the decade 1900 to 1910, the dominant journalistic note is increasingly religious. Later, with the activity of the Social Study Circle, an informal club for the study of social questions, and its offspring the small but earnest club for the study of Socialism, the social interests regained their vitality for the student mind.
Besides the extra mural problems, the periodicals record, of course, the events and the interests of the little college world. Through the "Free Press" columns of these papers, the didactic, critical, and combative impulses, always so strong in the undergraduate temperament, find a safe vent. Mentor and agitator alike are welcomed in the "Free Press", and many college reforms have been inaugurated, and many college grievances—real and imagined—have been aired in these outspoken columns. And not the least readable portions of the weeklies have been the "Waban Ripples" in the Prelude, and the "Parliament of Fools" in the News. For Wellesley has a merry wit and is especially good at laughing at herself,—yes, even at that "Academic" of which she is so loyally proud. Witness these naughty parodies of examination questions, which appeared in a "Parliament of Fools" just before the mid-year examinations of 1915.
"Translate the following into Kant, Spencer, Perry, Leibnitz, Hume, Calkins (not more than one page each allowed).
"'Little drops of water, little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean, and a pleasant land.'
"The remainder of the time may be employed in translating into Kantian terminology, the title of the book: 'Myself and I.'"
"Give dates and significance of the following; and state whether they are persons or books: Stratford-on-Avon, Magna Charta, Louvain, Onamataposa, Synod of Whitby, Bunker Hill, Transcendentalism, Mesopotamia, Albania, Hastings.
"Write an imaginary conversation between John Bunyan and Myrtle Reed on the Social significance of Beowulf.
"Do you consider that Browning and Carlyle were influenced by the Cubist School? Cite passages not discussed in class to support your view.
"Trace the effects of the Norman strain in England in the works of Tolstoi, Cervantes, and Tagore."
"Write a novelette containing:
(a) Plot; (b) two crises; (c) three climaxes; (d) one character.
"Write a biography of your own life, bringing out distinctly reasons pro and con. Outline form."
"Trace the life of Abraham from Genesis through Malachi.
"Quote the authentic passages of the New Testament. Why or
"Where do the following words recur? Verily, greeting, begat, therefore, Pharisee, holy, notacceptedbythescholars."
Excellent fooling, this; and it should go far to convince a skeptical public that college girls take their educational advantages with sanity.
As literary magazines, these Wellesley periodicals are only sporadically successful. Now and again a true poet flashes through their pages; less often a true story-teller, although the mechanical excellence of most of the stories is unquestionable,—they go through the motions quite as if they were the real thing. But the appeals of the editors for poetry and literary prose; their occasional sardonic comments upon the apathy of the college reading public,—especially during the waning later years of the Magazine, before it was absorbed into the monthly issue of the News,—would seem to indicate that the pure, literary imagination is as rare at Wellesley as it is in the world at large. Yet there are shining pages in these chronicles, pages whose golden promise has been fulfilled.
In 1911, the Alumnae Association discussed the advisability of publishing an alumnae magazine, but it was decided that the time was not yet ripe for the new enterprise, and instead an agreement was entered into with the News, by which a certain number of pages each month were to be at the disposal of the alumnae editor, for articles and essays on college matters which should be of interest to the alumnae. The new department has been marked from the beginning by dignity and interest, and the papers contributed have been unusually valuable, especially from the point of view of college history.
In 1889 Wellesley's Senior Annual, the Legenda, came into being. In general it has followed the conventional lines of all college annuals, but occasionally it has departed from the beaten path, as in 1892, when it was transformed into a Wellesley Songbook; in 1894, when it printed a memorial sketch of Miss Shafer, and a biographical sketch of Mrs. Durant; in 1896, when it became a storybook of college life.
In October, 1912, The Wellesley College Press Board was organized by Mrs. Helene Buhlert Magee, of the class of 1903. The board is the outgrowth of an attempt by the college authorities, in 1911, to regulate the work of its budding journalists. Up to this time the newspapers had been supplied, more or less intermittently and often unsatisfactorily, with items of college news by students engaged by the newspapers and responsible only to them. The college now appoints an official reporter from its own faculty, who sends all Wellesley news to the newspapers and is consulted by the regular reporters when they desire special information. The Press Board, organized by this official reporter, consists of seven students reporting for Boston papers and two for those in New York. At the time of the Wellesley fire, this board proved itself particularly efficient in disseminating accurate information.
But it is not the workaday Wellesley, tranquilly pursuing her serious and semi-serious occupations, that the outsiders know best. To them, she is wont to turn her holiday face. And no college plays with more zest than Wellesley. Perhaps because no college ever had such a perfect playground. Every hill and grove and hollow of the beautiful campus holds its memories of playdays and midsummer nights.
Those were the nights when Rosalind and Orlando wandered out of Arden into a New England moonlight; when flitting Ariel forsook Prospero's isle to make his nest in Wellesley's bowering rhododendrons—in blossom time he is always hovering there, a winged bloom, for eyes that are not holden. Those were the nights when Puck came dancing up from Tupelo with Titania's fairy rout a-twinkle at his heels; when the great Hindu Raj floated from India in his canopied barge across the moonlit waters of Lake Waban; when Tristram and Iseult, on their way to the court of King Mark, all love distraught, cast anchor in the little cove below Stone Hall and played their passion out; when Nicolette kilted her skirts against the dew and argued of love with Aucassin. Those were the nights when the Countess Cathleen—loveliest of Yeats's Irish ladies—found Paradise and the Heavenly Host awaiting her on a Wellesley hilltop when she had sold her soul to feed her starving peasants.
But the glamour of the sun is as potent as the glamour of the moon at Wellesley. High noon is magical on Tree Day, for then the mythic folk of ancient Greece, the hamadryads and Dian's nymphs, Venus and Orpheus and Narcissus, and all the rest, come out and dream a dance of old days on the great green billows of the lawn. To see veiled Cupid, like a living flame, come streaming down among the hillside trees, down, swift as fire, to the waiting Psyche, is never to forget. No wood near Athens was ever so vision-haunted as Wellesley with the dancing spirits of past Tree Days.
On that day in early June the whole college turns itself into a pageant of spring. From the long hillside above which College Hall once towered, the faculty and the alumnae watch their younger sisters march in slow processional triumph around and about the wide green campus. Like a moving flower garden the procession winds upon itself; hundreds and hundreds of seniors and juniors and sophomores and freshmen,—more than fourteen hundred of them in 1914. Then it breaks ranks and plants itself in parterres at the foot of the hill, masses of blue, and rose, and lavender, and golden blossoming girls. Contrary Mistress Mary's garden was nothing to it. And after the procession come the dances. Sometimes a Breton Pardon wanders across the sea. The gods from Olympus are very much at home in these groves of academe. Once King Arthur's knight came riding up the wide avenue at the edge of the green. The spirits of sun and moon, the nymphs of the wind and the rain, have woven their mystical spells on that great greensward. And in the fairy ring around Longfellow fountain, gnomes and fays and freshmen play hide-and-seek with the water nixies.
The first Tree Day was Mr. Durant's idea; no one was more awake than he, in the old days, to Wellesley's poetic possibilities. And the first trees were gifts from Mr. Hunnewell; two beautiful exotics, Japanese golden evergreens—one for 1879 and one for 1880. The two trees were planted on May 16, 1877, the sophomore tree by the library, the freshman tree by the dining room. An early chronicler writes, "Then it was that the venerated spade made its first appearance. We had confidently expected a trowel, had written indeed 'Apostrophe to the Trowel' on our programs, and our apostrophist (do not see the dictionary), a girl of about the same height as the spade, but by no means, as she modestly suggested, of the same mental capacity, was so stricken with astonishment when she had mounted the rostrum and this burly instrument was propped up before her, that she nearly forgot her speech.... And then it was there was introduced the more questionable practice of planting class trees too delicate to bear the college course. Although a foolish little bird built her nest and laid her eggs in the golden-leaved evergreen of '79, and although a much handsomer nest with a very much larger egg appeared immediately in the Retinospora Precipera Aurea of '80, yet the rival 'nymphs with golden hair' were both soon forced to forsake their withered tenements; Mr. Hunnewell's exotics, after another trial or two, being succeeded by plebeian hemlocks."
The true story of the Wellesley spade and how it came to be handed down from class to class, is recorded in Florence Morse Kingsley's diary, where we learn how the "burly instrument" of 1877 was succeeded by a less unwieldy and more ladylike utensil. Under the date, April 3, 1878, we find:
Our class (the class of '81) had a meeting last night. We held it in one of the laboratories on the fifth floor, quite in secret, for we didn't want the '80 girls to find it out. The class of '80 is thought to be extraordinarily brilliant, and they certainly do look down on us freshmen in haughty disdain as being correspondingly stupid. I don't say very much against them, since I—— is an '80 girl: besides, if I work hard I can graduate with '80, but at present my lot is cast with '81. We have decided to have a tree planting, and it is to be entirely original and the first of a series. Mr. Durant has given a Japanese Golden Evergreen to '79 and one to '80. They are precisely alike and they had been planted for quite a while before he thought of turning them into class trees. We heard a dark rumor yesterday to the effect that Mr. Durant is intending to plant another evergreen under the library window and present it to us. But we voted to forestall his generosity. We mean to have an elm, and we want to plant it out in front of the college, in the center or just on the other side of the driveway. The burning question remained as to who should acquaint Mr. Durant with our valuable ideas. Nobody seemed ravenously eager for the job, and finally I was nominated. "You know him better than we do," they all said, so I finally consented. I haven't a ghost of an idea what to say; for when one comes to think of it, it is rather ungrateful of '81 not to want the evergreen under the library window.
April 10. Alice and I went to Mr. Durant to-day about the tree planting; but Alice was stricken with temporary dumbness and never opened her lips, though she had solemnly promised to do at least half the talking; so I had to wade right into the subject alone. I began in medias res, for I couldn't think of a really graceful and diplomatic introduction on the spur of the moment. Mr. Durant was in the office with a pile of papers before him as usual; he appeared to be very preoccupied and he was looking rather severe. The interview proceeded about as follows:
He glanced up at us sharply and said, "Well, young ladies," which meant, "Kindly get down to business; my time is valuable." I got down to it about as gracefully as a cat coming down a tree, like this: "We have decided to have a regular tree-planting, Mr. Durant." Of course I should have said, "The class of '81 would like to have a tree-planting, if you please."
Mr. Durant appeared somewhat startled: "Eh, what's that?" he said, then he settled back in his chair and looked hard at us. His eyes were as keen as frost; but they twinkled—just a little, as I have discovered they can and do twinkle if one isn't afraid to say right out what one means, without unnecessary fuss and twaddle.
"Alice and I are delegates from the Class of '81," I explained, a trifle more lucidly. "The class has voted to plant an elm for our class tree, and we would like to plant it in front of the college in a prominent spot." We had previously decided gracefully to ignore the evergreen rumor.
Mr. Durant looked thoughtful. "Hum," he said, "I'd planned to give you girls of '81 a choice evergreen, and as for a place for it: what do you say to the plot on the north side, just under the library window?"
I looked beseechingly at Alice. She was apparently very much occupied in a meek survey of the toes of her boots, which she had stubbed into premature old age scrambling up and down from the boat landings.
Meanwhile Mr. Durant was waiting for our look of pleased surprise and joyful acquiescence. Then, without a vestige of diplomacy, I blurted right out, "Yes, Mr. Durant; we heard so; but we don't think, that is, we don't want an evergreen under the library window; we would like a tree that will live a long, long time and grow big like an elm, and we want it where everybody will see it."
Mr. Durant looked exceedingly surprised, and for the space of five seconds I was breathless. Then he smiled in the really fascinating way that he has. "Well," he said, and looked at me again, "what else have you decided to do?"
Then I told him all about the program we had planned, which is to include an address to the spade (which we hope will be preserved forever and ever), a class song, a procession, and a few other inchoate ideas. Mr. Durant entered right into the spirit of it, he said he liked the idea of a spade to be handed down from class to class. He asked us if we had the spade yet, and I told him "no," but Alice and I were going to buy it for the class in the village that afternoon.
"Well, mind you get a good one," he advised. We said we would, very joyfully. Then he told us we might select any young elm we wanted, and tie our class colors on it, and he would order it to be transplanted for us. After that he put on his hat and all three of us went out and fixed the spot right in front of the college by the driveway. Mr. Durant himself stuck a little stick in the exact place where the elm of '81 will wave its branches for at least a hundred years, I hope.
The hundred years are still to run, and old College Hall has vanished, but the '81 elm stands in its "prominent" place, a tree of ancient memories and visions ever young.
It was not until 1889 that the pageant element began to take a definite and conspicuous place in the Tree Day exercises. The class of '89 in its senior year gave a masque in which tall dryads, robed in green, played their dainty roles; and that same year the freshmen, the class of 1892, gave the first Tree Day dance: a very mild dance of pink and white English maidens around a maypole—but the germ of all the Tree Day dances yet unborn. In its senior year, 1892 celebrated the discovery of America by a sort of kermess of Colonial and Indian dances with tableaux, and ever since, from year to year, the wonder has grown; Zeus, and Venus, and King Arthur have all held court and revel on the Wellesley Campus. Every year the long procession across the green grows longer, more beautiful, more elaborate; the dancing is more exquisitely planned, more complex, more carefully rehearsed. In the spring, Wellesley girls are twirling a-tiptoe in every moment not spent in class; and in class their thoughts sometimes dance. Indeed, the students of late years have begun to ask themselves if it may not be possible to obtain quite as beautiful a result with less expense of effort and time and money; for Tree Day, the crowning delight of the year, would defeat its own end, which is pure recreation, if its beauty became a tyrant.
This multiplication of joys—and their attendant worries—is something that Wellesley has to take measures to guard against, and the faculty has worked out a scheme of biennial rotatory festivities which since 1911-1912 has eased the pressure of revelry in May and June, as well as throughout the winter months.
Wellesley's list of societies and social clubs is not short, but the conditions of membership are carefully guarded. As early as the second year of the college, five societies came into existence: of these, the Beethoven Society and the Microscopical—which started with a membership of six and an exhibition under three microscopes at its first meeting—seem to have been open to any who cared to join; the other three—the Zeta Alpha and Phi Sigma societies founded in November, 1876, and the Shakespeare in January, 1877—were mutually exclusive. The two Greek letter societies were literary in aim, and their early programs consisted in literary papers and oral debates. The Shakespeare Society, for many years a branch of the London Shakespeare Society, devoted itself to the study and dramatic presentation of Shakespeare. Its first open-air play was "As You Like It", given in 1889; and until 1912, when it conformed to the new plan of biennial rotation, this society gave a Shakespearean play every year at Commencement.
In 1881, Zeta Alpha and Phi Sigma were discontinued by the faculty, because of pressure of academic work, but in 1889 they were reorganized, and gradually their programs were extended to include dramatic work, poetic plays, and masques. The Phi Sigma Society gives its masque—sometimes an original one—on alternate years just before the Christmas vacation; and Zeta Alpha alternates with the Classical Society at Commencement. The Zeta Alpha Masque of 1913, a charming dramatization in verse of an old Hindu legend by Elizabeth McClellan of the class of 1913, was one of the notable events of Commencement time, a pageant of poetic beauty and oriental dignity; and in 1915 Florence Wilkinson Evans's adaptation of the lovely old poem "Aucassin and Nicolette", was given for the second time.
In 1889, the Art Society—known since 1894 as Tau Zeta Epsilon—was founded; and, alternating with the Shakespeare play, it gives in the spring a "Studio Reception", at which pictures from the old masters, with living models, are presented. The effects of lighting and color are so carefully studied, and the compositions of the originals are so closely followed that the illusion is sometimes startling; it is as if real Titians, Rembrandts, and Carpaccios hung on the wails of the Wellesley Barn. In 1889, also, the Glee and Banjo clubs were formed.
In 1891, the Agora, the political society, came into existence. The serious intellectual quality of its work does honor to the college, and its open debates, at which it has sometimes represented the House of Commons, sometimes one or the other of the American Chambers of Congress, are marked events in the college calendar.
In 1892, Alpha Kappa Chi, the Classical Society, was organized, and of late years its Greek play, presented during Commencement week, has surpassed both the senior play and the Shakespeare play in dramatic rendering and careful study of the lines. Gilbert Murray's translation of the "Medea", presented in 1914, was a performance of which Wellesley was justly proud. Usually the Wellesley plays are better as pageants than as dramatic productions, but the Classical Society is setting a standard for the careful literary interpretation and rendering of dramatic texts, which should prove stimulating to all the societies and class organizations.
The senior play is one of the chief events of Commencement week, but the students have not always been fully awake to their dramatic opportunity. If college theatricals have any excuse for being, it is not found in attempts to compete with the commercial stage and imitate the professional actor, but rather in dramatic revivals such as the Harvard Delta Upsilon has so spiritedly presented, or in the interpretation of the poetic drama, whether early or late, which modern theaters with their mixed audiences cannot afford to present. The college audience is always a selected audience, and has a right to expect from the college players dramatic caviare. That Wellesley is moving in the right direction may be seen by reading a list of her senior plays, among which are the "Countess Cathleen", by Yeats, Alfred Noyes's "Sherwood", and in 1915 "The Piper" by Josephine Peabody Marks.
But Wellesley's recreation is not all rehearsed and formal. May Day, when the seniors roll their hoops in the morning, and all the college comes out to dance on the green and eat ice-cream cones in the afternoon, is full of spontaneous jollity. Before the burning of College Hall, the custom had arisen of cleaning house on May Day, and six o'clock in the morning saw the seniors out with pails and mops, scrubbing and decorating the many statues which kept watch in the beloved old corridors.
One of these statutes had become in some sort the genius of College Hall. Of heroic size, a noble representation of womanly force and tranquillity, Anne Whitney's statue of Harriet Martineau had watched the stream of American girlhood flow through "the Center" and surge around the palms for twenty-eight years. The statue was originally made at the request of Mrs. Maria Weston Chapman, the well-known abolitionist and dear friend of Miss Martineau; but after Mrs. Chapman's death, it was Miss Whitney's to dispose of, and, representing as it did her ideal modern woman, she gave it in 1886 to Wellesley, where modern womanhood was in the making. In later years, irreverent youth took playful liberties with "Harriet", using her much as a beloved spinster aunt is used by fond but familiar young nieces. No freshman was considered properly matriculated until she had been dragged between the rungs of Miss Martineau's great marble chair; May Day always saw "Aunt Harriet" rise like Diana fresh from her bath, to be decked with more or less becoming furbelows; and as the presiding genius in the lighter columns of College News, her humor—an acquired characteristic—was merrily appreciated. Of all the lost treasures of College Hall she is perhaps the most widely mourned.
The pretty little Society houses, dotted about the campus, also give the students opportunity to entertain their guests, both formally and informally, and during the months following the fire, when Wellesley was cramped for space, they exercised a generous hospitality which put all the college in their debt.
As the membership in the Shakespeare and Greek letter societies is limited to between forty and fifty members in each society, the great majority of the students are without these social privileges, but the Barn Swallows, founded in 1897, to which every member of the college may belong if she wishes, gives periodic entertainments in the "Barn" which go far to promote general good feeling and social fellowship. The first president of the Barn Swallows, Mary E. Haskell, '97, says that it arose as an Everybody's Club, to give buried talents a chance. "Suddenly we adjured the Trustees by Joy and Democracy to bless our charter, to be gay once a week, and when they gave the Olympic nod we begged for the Barn to be gay in—and they gave that too.
"It was a grim joy parlor; rough old floor, bristly with splinters, few windows, no plank walk, no stage, no partitions, no lighting. We hung tin reflectored lanterns on a few of the posts,—thicker near the stage end,—and opened the season with an impromptu opera of the Brontes'." To Professor Charlotte F. Roberts, Wellesley '80, the Barn Swallows owe their happy name.
Besides these more formal organizations there are a number of department clubs, the Deutsche Verein, the Alliance Francaise, the Philosophy Club, the Economics Club, and informal groups such as the old Rhymesters' Club, which flourished in the late nineties, the Scribblers' which seems to have taken its place and enlarged its scope, the Social Study Circle, the little Socialist Club, and others through which the students express their intellectual and social interests.
Of Wellesley's many festivities and playtimes it would take too long to tell: of her Forensic Burnings, held when the last junior forensic for the year is due; of her processional serenades, with Chinese lanterns; of her singing on the chapel steps in the evenings of May and June. These well-beloved customs have been establishing themselves year by year more firmly in undergraduate hearts, but it is not always possible to trace them to their "first time." Most of them date back to the later years of the nineteenth century, or the first of the twentieth. Wellesley's musical cheer seems to have waked the campus echoes first in the spring of 1890, as a result of a prize offered in November, 1889, although as far back as 1880 there is mention of a cheer. The musical cheer has so much beauty and dignity, both near at hand and at a distance, that many of the early alumnae and the faculty wish it might some time quite supersede the ugly barking sounds, imitated from the men's colleges, with which the girls are fain to evince their approval and celebrate their triumphs. They invariably end their barking with the musical cheer, however, keeping the best for the last, and relieving the tortured graduate ear.
Formal athletics at Wellesley developed from the gymnasium practice, the rowing on the lake, and the Tree Day dancing. In the early years, the class crews used to row on the lake and sing at sunset, in their heavy, broad-bottomed old tubs; and from these casual summer evenings "Float" has been evolved—Wellesley's water pageant—when Lake Waban is dotted with gay craft, and the crews in their slim, modern, eight-oared shells, display their skill. This is the festival which the public knows best, for unlike Tree Day, to which outsiders have been admitted on only three occasions, "Float" has always been open to friendly guests. Year by year the festival grows more elaborate. Chinese junks, Indian canoes, Venetian gondolas, flower boats from fairyland, glide over the bright sunset waters, and the crews in their old traditional star pattern anchor together and sing their merry songs. There are new songs every spring, for each crew has its own song, but there are two of the old songs which are heard at every Wellesley Float, "Alma Mater", and the song of the lake, that Louise Manning Hodgkins wrote for the class of '87.
Lake of gray at dawning day,
In soft shadows lying,—
Waters kissed by morning mist,
Early breezes sighing,—
Fairy vision as thou art,
Soon thy fleeting charms depart.
Every grace that wins the heart,
Like our youth is flying.
Lake of blue, a merry crew,
Cheer of thee will borrow.
Happy hours to-day are ours,
Weighted by no sorrow.
Other years may bring us tears,
Other days be full of fears,
Only hope the craft now steers.
Cares are for the morrow.
Lake of white at holy night,
In the moonlight gleaming,—
Softly o'er the wooded shore,
Silver radiance streaming,—
On thy wavelets bear away
Every care we've known to-day,
Bring on thy returning way
Peaceful, happy dreaming.
After the singing, the Hunnewell cup is presented for the crew competition; and with the darkness, the fireworks begin to flash up from the opposite shore of the lake.
Besides the rowing clubs, in the first decade, there were tennis clubs, and occasional outdoor "meets" for cross-country runs, but apparently there was no regular organization combining in one association all the separate clubs until 1896-1897, when we hear of the formation of a "New Athletic Association." There is also record of a Field Day on May 29, 1899. In 1902, we find the "new athletics"—evidently a still newer variety than those of 1897—"recognized by the trustees"; and the first Field Day under this newest regime occurred on November 3, 1902. All the later Field Days have been held in the late autumn, at the end of the sports season, which now includes a preliminary season in the spring and a final season in the autumn. An accepted candidate for an organized sport must hold herself ready to practice during both seasons, unless disqualified by the physical examiner, and must confine herself to the one sport which she has chosen. During both seasons the members may be required to practice three times a week.
The Athletic Association, under its present constitution, dates from March, 1908. All members of the college are eligible for membership, all members of the organized sports are ipso facto members of the association, and the Director of Physical Training is a member ex officio. An annual contribution of one dollar is solicited from each member of the association, and special funds are raised by voluntary contribution. In the year 1914-1915, the association included about twelve hundred members, not all of them dues-paying, however.
The president of the Athletic Association is always a senior; the vice president, who is also chairman of the Field Day Committee, and the treasurer are juniors; the secretary and custodian are sophomores. The members of the Organized Sports elect their respective heads, and each sport is governed by its own rules and regulations and by such intersport legislation as is enacted by the Executive Board, not in contravention to regulations by the Department of Physical Training and Hygiene. In this way the association and the department work together for college health.
The organized sports at Wellesley are: rowing, golf, tennis, basket ball, field hockey, running, archery, and baseball. The unorganized sports include walking, riding, swimming, fencing, skating, and snowshoeing. Each sport has its instructor, or instructors, from the Department of Physical Training. The members are grouped in class squads governed by captains, and each class squad furnishes a class team whose members are awarded numerals, before a competitive class event, on the basis of records of health, discipline, and skill. Honors, blue W's worn on the sweaters, are awarded on a similar basis. Interclass competitions for trophies are held on Field Day, and the association hopes, with the development of outdoor baseball, to establish interhouse competitions also. The gala days are, besides Field Day in the autumn, the Indoor Meet in the spring at the end of the indoor practice, "Float" in June, and in winter, when the weather permits, an Ice Carnival on the lake.
Through the Athletic Association, new tennis courts have been laid out, the golf course has been remodeled, and the boathouse repaired. In 1915, it was making plans for a sheltered amphitheater, bleachers, and a baseball diamond; and despite the fact that dues are not obligatory, more and more students are coming to appreciate the work of the Association and to assume responsibility toward it.
Wellesley does not believe in intercollegiate sports for women. In this opinion, the women's colleges seem to be agreed; it is one of the points at which they are content to diverge from the policy of the men's colleges. Wellesley's sports are organized to give recreation and healthful exercise to as many students as are fit and willing to take part in them. Some students even disapprove of interclass competitions, and it is thought that the interhouse teams for baseball will serve as an antidote to rivalry between the classes.
The only intercollegiate event in which Wellesley takes part is the intercollegiate debate. In this contest, Wellesley has been twice beaten by Vassar, but in March, 1914, she won in the debate against Mt. Holyoke, and in March, 1915, in the triangular debate, she defeated both Vassar and Mt. Holyoke.
In September, 1904, the college was granted a charter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and the Wellesley Chapter,—installed January 17, 1905, is known as the Eta of Massachusetts.
On the morning of March 17, 1914, College Hall, the oldest and largest building on the Wellesley campus, was destroyed by fire. No one knows how the fire originated; no one knows who first discovered it. Several people, in the upper part of the house, seem to have been awakened at about the same time by the smoke, and all acted with clear-headed promptness. The night was thick with fog, and the little wind "that heralds the dawn" was not strong enough to disperse the heavy vapors, else havoc indeed might have been wrought throughout the campus and the sleeping village.
At about half past four o'clock, two students at the west end of College Hall, on the fourth floor, were awakened and saw a fiery glow reflected in their transom. Getting up to investigate, they found the fire burning in the zoological laboratory across the corridor, and one of them immediately set out to warn Miss Tufts, the registrar, and Miss Davis, the Director of the Halls of Residence, both of whom lived in the building; the other girl hurried off to find the indoor watchman. At the same time, a third girl rang the great Japanese bell in the third floor center. In less than ten minutes after this, every student was out of the building.
The story of that brief ten minutes is packed with self-control and selflessness; trained muscles and minds and souls responded to the emergency with an automatic efficiency well-nigh unbelievable. Miss Tufts sent the alarm to the president, and then went to the rooms of the faculty on the third floor and to the officers of the Domestic Department on the second floor. Miss Davis set a girl to ringing the fast-fire alarm. And down the four long wooden staircases the girls in kimonos and greatcoats came trooping, each one on the staircase she had been drilled to use, after she had left her room with its light burning and its corridor door shut. In the first floor center the fire lieutenants called the roll of the fire squads, and reported to Miss Davis, who, to make assurance doubly sure, had the roll called a second time. No one said the word "fire"—this would have been against the rules of the drill. For a brief space there was no sound but "the ominous one of falling heavy brands." When Miss Davis gave the order to go out, the students walked quietly across the center, with embers and sparks falling about them, and went out on the north side through the two long windows at the sides of the front door.
And all this in ten minutes!
Meanwhile, Professor Calkins, who does not live at the college but had happened to spend the night in the Psychology office on the fifth floor, had been one of the earliest to awake, had wakened other members of the faculty and helped Professor Case and her wheel-chair to the first floor, and also had sent a man with an ax to break in Professor Irvine's door, which was locked. As it happened, Professor Irvine was spending the night in Cambridge, and her room was not occupied. Most of the members of the faculty seem to have come out of the building as soon as the students did, but two or three, in the east end away from the fire, lingered to save a very few of their smaller possessions.
The students, once out, were not allowed to re-enter the building, and they did not attempt to disobey, but formed a long fire line which was soon lengthened by girls from other dormitories and extended from the front of College Hall to the library. Very few things above the first floor were saved, but many books, pictures, and papers went down this long line of students to find temporary shelter in the basement of the library. Associate Professor Shackford, who wrote the account of the fire in the College News, from which these details are taken, tells us how Miss Pendleton, patrolling this busy fire line and questioning the half-clad workers, was met with the immediate response, even from those who were still barefooted, "I'm perfectly comfortable, Miss Pendleton", "I'm perfectly all right, Miss Pendleton." Miss Shackford adds:
"At about five o'clock, a person coming from the hill saw College Hall burning between the dining-room and Center, apparently from the third floor up to the roof, in high, clear flames with very little smoke. Suddenly the whole top seemed to catch fire at once, and the blaze rushed downward and upward, leaping in the dull gray atmosphere of a foggy morning. With a terrific crash the roof fell in, and soon every window in the front of College Hall was filled with roaring flames, surging toward the east, framed in the dark red brick wall which served to accentuate the lurid glow that had seized and held a building almost one eighth of a mile long. The roar of devastating fury, the crackle of brands, the smell of burning wood and melting iron, filled the air, but almost no sound came from the human beings who saw the irrepressible blaze consume everything but the brick walls.
"The old library and the chapel were soon filled with great billows of flame, which, finding more space for action, made a spectacle of majestic but awful splendor. Eddies of fire crept along the black-walnut bookcases, and all that dark framework of our beloved old library. By great strides the blaze advanced, until innumerable curling, writhing flames were rioting all through a spot always hushed 'in the quiet and still air of delightful studies.' The fire raged across the walls, in and around the sides and the beautiful curving tops of the windows that for so many springs and summers had framed spaces of green grass on which fitful shadows had fallen, to be dreamed over by generations of students. In the chapel, tremendous waves swelled and glowed, reaching almost from floor to ceiling, as they erased the texts from the walls, demolished the stained-glass windows, defaced, but did not completely destroy the college motto graven over them, and, in convulsive gusts swept from end to end of the chapel, pouring in and out of the windows in brilliant light and color. Seen from the campus below, the burning east end of the building loomed up magnificent even in the havoc and desolation it was suffering."
At half past eight o'clock, four hours after the first alarm was sounded, there stood on the hill above the lake, bare, roofless walls and sky-filled arches as august as any medieval castle of Europe. Like Thomas the Rhymer, they had spent the night in fairyland, and waked a thousand years old. Romance already whispered through their dismantled, endless aisles. King Arthur's castle of Camelot was not more remote from to-day than College Hall from the twentieth-century March morning. Weeks, months, a little while it stood there, vanishing—like old enchanted Merlin—into the impenetrable prison of the air. There will be other houses on that hilltop, but never one so permanent as the dear house invisible; the double Latin cross, the ten granite columns, the Center ever green with ageless palms, the "steadfast crosses, ever pointing the heavenward way",—to eyes that see, these have never disappeared.
At half past eight o'clock, in the crowded college chapel, President Pendleton was saying to her dazed and stricken flock, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God,—who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" And when she had given thanks, in prayer, for so many lives all blessedly safe, there came the announcement, so quiet, so startling, that the spring term would begin on April 7, the date already set in the college calendar. This was the voice of one who actually believed that faith would remove mountains. And it did. By the faith of President Pendleton, Wellesley College is alive to-day. She did literally and actually cast the mountain into the sea on that seventeenth of March, 1914. St. Patrick himself never achieved a greater miracle.
She knew that two hundred and sixteen people were houseless; that the departments of Zoology, Geology, Physics, and Psychology, had lost their laboratories, their equipment, their lecture rooms; that twenty-eight recitation rooms, all the administrative offices, the offices of twenty departments, the assembly hall, the study hall, had all been swept away. Yet, in a little less than three weeks, there had sprung up on the campus a temporary building containing twenty-nine lecture and recitation rooms, thirteen department offices, fifteen administrative offices, three dressing rooms, and a reception room. Plumbing, steam heat, electricity, and telephone service had been installed. A week after college opened for the spring term, classes were meeting in the new building. During that first week, offices and classes had been scattered all over the campus,—in the Society houses, in the basements of dormitories, the Art Building, the Chemistry Building, the Gymnasium, the basement of the Library, the Observatory, the Stone Hall Botany Laboratories, Billings Hall; all had opened their doors wide. The two hundred and sixteen residents of old College Hall had all been housed on the campus; it meant doubling up in single rooms, but the doublets persuaded themselves and the rest of the college that it was a lark.
This spirit of helpfulness and cheer began on the day of the fire, and seems to have acquired added momentum with the passing months. Clothes, books, money, were loaned as a matter of course. By half past nine o'clock in the morning, the secretary of the dean had written out from memory the long schedule of the June examinations, to be posted at the beginning of the spring term. Members of the faculty were conducting a systematic search for salvage among the articles that had been dumped temporarily in the "Barn" and the library; homes had been found for the houseless teachers, most of whom had lost everything they possessed; several members of the faculty had no permanent home but the college, and their worldly goods were stored in the attic from which nothing could be saved. It is said that when President Pendleton, in chapel, told the students to go home as soon as they had collected their possessions, "an unmistakable ripple of girlish laughter ran through the dispossessed congregation." This was the Franciscan spirit in which Wellesley women took their personal losses. For the general losses, all mourned together, but with hope and courage. In the Department of Physics, all the beautiful instruments which Professor Whiting had been so wisely and lovingly procuring, since she first began to equip her student-laboratory in 1878, were swept away; Geology and Psychology suffered only less; but the most harrowing losses were those in the Department of Zoology, where, besides the destruction of laboratories and instruments, and the special library presented to the department by Professor Emeritus Mary A. Willcox, "the fruits of years of special research work which had attracted international attention have been destroyed.... Professor Marion Hubbard had devoted her energies for six years to research in variation and heredity in beetles.... In view of the increasing interest in eugenics, scientists awaited the results with keen anticipation, but all the specimens, notes, and apparatus were swept away." Professor Robertson, the head of the department, who is an authority on certain deep-sea forms of life, had just finished her report on the collections from the dredging expedition of the Prince of Monaco, which had been sent her for identification; and the report and the collections all were lost.
Among the few things saved were some of the ivies and the roses which the classes had planted year by year; these the fire had not injured; and a slip from the great wistaria vine on the south side of College Hall has proved to be alive and vigorous. The alumnae gavel and the historic Tree Day spade were also unharmed. But that no life was lost outweighs all the other losses, and this was due to the fire drill which, in one form or another, has been carried on at Wellesley since the earliest years of the college. Doctor Edward Abbott, writing of Wellesley in Harper's Magazine for August, 1876, says:
"Whoever heard of a fire brigade manned by women? There is one at Wellesley, for it is believed that however incombustible the college building may be, the students should be taught to put out fire,... and be trained to presence of mind and familiarity with the thought of what ought to be done in case of fire." From time to time the drill has been strengthened and changed in detail, but in 1902, when Miss Olive Davis, Director of Houses of Residence, was appointed by Miss Hazard to be responsible for an efficient fire drill, the modern system was instituted. An article in College News explains that "the organization of the present fire-drill system is much like the old one. With the adoption of Student Government, it was put into the hands of the students. Each year a fire chief is elected from the student-body, by the students. This girl is a senior. She is counted an officer of the Student Government Association, and is responsible to Miss Davis. Then at meetings held at the beginning of the fall term, each dormitory elects one fire captain, who in turn appoints lieutenants under her,—one for every twenty or twenty-five girls.
"The directions for a fire drill are:
"Upon hearing the alarm (five rings of the house bell),
"1. Close your windows, doors, and transoms.
"2. Turn on the electric lights.
"3. March in single file, and as quickly as possible, downstairs, and answer to your roll call.
"Each lieutenant is responsible for all the girls on her list. After the ringing of the alarm, she must look into every room in her district and see that the directions have been complied with and the inmates have gone downstairs. If the windows and doors have not been shut, she must shut them. Then she goes downstairs and calls her roll (some lieutenants memorize their lists). When the lieutenants have finished, the captain calls the roll of the lieutenants, asking for the number absent in each district, and the number of windows and doors left open or lights not lighted, if any.
"The captains are required to hold two drills a month. At the regular meetings of the organization at which the fire chief presides and Miss Davis is often present, the captains report the dates of their drills, the time of day they were held, the number of absentees and their reasons, the time required to empty the building, and the order observed by the girls.
"Drills may be called by the captain at any time of the day or night. Frequently there were drills at College Hall when it was crowded with nonresident students, there for classes. In that case no roll was called, but merely the time required and the order reported. The penalty for non-attendance at fire drills is a fine of fifty cents, and a serious error credited to the absentee.
"There are devices such as blocking some of the staircases to train the girls for an emergency. It was being planned, just about the time College Hall burned, to have a fire drill there with artificial smoke, to test the girls. The system is still being constantly changed and improved. On Miss Davis's desk, the night of the fire, was the rough draft of a plan by which property could be better saved in case of fire, without more danger to life."
A few weeks after the burning of College Hall, a small fire broke out at the Zeta Alpha House, but was immediately quenched, and Associate Professor Josephine H. Batchelder, of the class of 1896, writing in College News of the self-control of the students, says:
"Perhaps the best example of 'Wellesley discipline since the fire,' occurred during the brief excitement occasioned by the Zeta Alpha House fire. A few days before this, a special plea had been made for good order and concentrated work in an overcrowded laboratory, where forty-six students, two divisions, were obliged to meet at the same time. On this morning, the professor looked up suddenly at sounds of commotion outside. 'Why, there's a fire-engine going back to the village!' she said. 'Oh, yes' responded a girl near the window. 'We saw it come up some time ago, but you were busy at the blackboard, so we didn't disturb you.' The professor looked over her roomful of students quietly at work. 'Well,' she said, 'I've heard a good deal of boasting about various things the girls were doing. Now I'm going to begin!'"
And this self-control does not fail as the months pass. The temporary administration building, which the students have dubbed the Hencoop, tests the good temper of every member of the college. Like Chaucer's wicker House of Rumors it is riddled with vagrant noises, but as it does not whirl about upon its base, it lacks the sanitary ventilating qualities of its dizzy prototype. On the south it is exposed to the composite, unmuted discords of Music Hall; on the north, the busy motors ply; within, nineteen of the twenty-six academic departments of the college conduct their classes, between walls so thin that every classroom may hear, if it will, the recitations to right of it, recitations to left of it, recitations across the corridor, volley and thunder. Though they all conscientiously try to roar as gently as any sucking dove. The effect upon the unconcentrated mind is something like—The cosine of X plus the ewig weibliche makes the difference between the message of Carlyle and that of Matthew Arnold antedate the Bergsonian theory of the elan vital minus the sine of Y since Barbarians, Philistines and Populace make up the eternal flux wo die citronen bluhn—but fortunately the Wellesley mind does concentrate, and uncomplainingly. The students are working in these murmurous classrooms with a new seriousness and a devotion which disregard all petty inconveniences and obstacles.
And the fire has kindled a flame of friendliness between faculty and students; it has burned away the artificial pedagogic barriers and quickened human relations. The flames were not quenched before the students had begun to plan to help in the crippled courses of study. They put themselves at the disposal of the faculty for all sorts of work; they offered their notes, their own books; they drew maps; they mounted specimens on slides for the Department of Zoology. In that crowded, noisy, one-story building there are not merely the teachers and the taught, but a body of tried friends, moving shoulder to shoulder on pilgrimage to truth.
Ever since we became a nation, it has been our habit to congratulate ourselves upon the democratic character of our American system of education. In the early days, neither poverty nor social position was a bar to the child who loved his books. The daughter of the hired man "spelled down" the farmer's son in the district school; the poor country boy and girl earned their board and tuition at the academy by doing chores; American colleges made no distinctions between "gentlemen commoners" and common folk; and as our public school system developed its kindergartens, its primary, grammar, and high schools, free to any child living in the United States, irrespective of his father's health, social status, or citizenship, we might well be excused for thinking that the last word in democratic education had been spoken.
But since the beginning of the twentieth century, two new voices have begun to be heard; at first sotto voce, they have risen through a murmurous pianissimo to a decorous non troppo forte, and they continue crescendo,—the voice of the teacher and the voice of the graduate. And the burden of their message is that no educational system is genuinely democratic which may ignore with impunity the criticisms and suggestions of the teacher who is expected to carry out the system and the graduate who is asked to finance it.
The teachers' point of view is finding expression in the various organizations of public school teachers in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere, looking towards reform, both local and general; and in the movement towards the formation of a National Association of College Professors, started in the spring of 1913 by professors of Columbia and Johns Hopkins. At a preliminary meeting at Baltimore, in November, 1913, unofficial representatives from Johns Hopkins, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Clark, and Wisconsin were present, and a committee of twenty-five was appointed, with Professor Dewey of Columbia as chairman, "to arrange a plan of organization and draw up a constitution." President Schurman, in a report to the trustees of Cornell, makes the situation clear when he says:
"The university is an intellectual organization, composed essentially of devotees of knowledge—some investigating, some communicating, some acquiring—but all dedicated to the intellectual life.... The Faculty is essentially the university; yet in the governing boards of American universities the Faculty is without representation." President Schurman has suggested that one third of the board consist of faculty representatives. At Wellesley, since the founder's death, the trustees have welcomed recommendations from the faculty for departmental appointments and promotions, and this practice now obtains at Yale and Princeton; the trustees of Princeton have also voted voluntarily to confer on academic questions with a committee elected by the faculty.
An admirable exposition of the teachers' case is found in an article on "Academic Freedom" by Professor Howard Crosby Warren of the Department of Psychology at Princeton, in the Atlantic Monthly for November, 1914. Professor Warren says that "In point of fact, the teacher to-day is not a free, responsible agent. His career is practically under the control of laymen. Fully three quarters of our scholars occupy academic positions; and in America, at least, the teaching investigator, whatever professional standing he may have attained, is subject to the direction of some body of men outside his own craft. As investigator he may be quite untrammeled, but as teacher, it has been said, he is half tyrant and half slave....
"The scholar is dependent for opportunity to practice his calling, as well as for material advancement, on a governing board which is generally controlled by clergymen, financiers, or representatives of the state....
"The absence of true professional responsibility, coupled with traditional accountability to a group of men devoid of technical training, narrows the outlook of the average college professor and dwarfs his ideals. Any serious departure from existing educational practice, such as the reconstruction of a course or the adoption of a new study, must be justified by a group of laymen and their executive agent....
"In determining the professional standing of a scholar and the soundness of his teachings, surely the profession itself should be the court of last appeal."
The point of view of the graduate has been defining itself slowly, but with increasing clearness, ever since the governing boards of the colleges made the very practical discovery that it was the duty and privilege of the alumnus to raise funds for the support of his Alma Mater. It was but natural that the graduates who banded together, usually at the instigation of trustees or directors and always with their blessing, to secure the conditional gifts proffered to universities and colleges by American multimillionaires, should quickly become sensitive to the fact that they had no power to direct the spending of the money which they had so efficiently and laboriously collected. An individual alumnus with sufficient wealth to endow a chair or to erect a building could usually give his gift on his own terms; but alumni as a body had no way of influencing the policy of the institutions which they were helping to support.
The result of this awakening has been what President Emeritus William Jewett Tucker of Dartmouth has called the "Alumni Movement." More than ten years ago, President Hadley of Yale was aware of the stirrings of this movement, when he said, "The influence of the public sentiment of the graduates is so overwhelming, that wherever there is a chance for its organized cooperation, faculties and students... are only too glad to follow it."
It would be incorrect, however, to give the impression that graduates had had absolutely no share in the government of their respective colleges before the Alumni Movement assumed its present proportions. Representatives of the alumni have had a voice in the affairs of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Self-perpetuating boards of trustees have elected to their membership a certain number of mature alumni. In some instances, as at Wellesley, the association of graduates nominates the candidates for graduate vacancies on these boards.
The benefits of alumnae representation on the Board of Trustees seem to have occurred to the alumnae and the trustees of Wellesley almost simultaneously. As early as June, 1888, the Alumnae Association of Wellesley appointed a committee to present to the trustees a request for alumnae representation on the Board; but as the Association met but once a year, results could not be achieved rapidly, and in June, 1889, the committee reported that it had not presented the petition as it had been informed unofficially that the possibility of alumnae representation was already under consideration by the trustees. In fact, the trustees, at a meeting held the day before the meeting of the Alumnae Association, this very June of 1889, had elected Mrs. Marian Pelton Guild, of the class of 1880, a life member of the Board.
But the alumnae, although appreciating the honor done them by the election of Mrs. Guild, still did not feel that the question of representation had been adequately met, and in June, 1891, a new committee was appointed with instructions to inform itself thoroughly as to methods employed in other colleges to insure the representation of the graduate body on governing boards, and also to convey to the trustees the alumnae's strong desire for representation of a specified character. And a second time the trustees forestalled the committee and, in a letter addressed to the Association and read at the annual meeting in June, 1892, made known their desire "to avail themselves of the cooperation of the Association" and to "cement more closely the bond" uniting the alumnae to the college by granting them further representation on the Board of Trustees. A committee from the Association was then appointed to discuss methods with a committee from the Board, and the results of their deliberations are given by Harriet Brewer Sterling, Wellesley, '86, in an article in the Wellesley Magazine for March, 1895. By the terms of a joint agreement between the Board and the Association, the Association has the right to nominate three members from its own number for membership on the Board. These nominees must be graduates of seven years' standing, not members of the college faculty. Graduates of less than three years' standing are not qualified to vote for the nominees. The nominations must be ratified by the Board of Trustees. The term of service of these alumnae trustees is six years, but a nominee is chosen every two years. In order to establish this method of rotation, two of the three candidates first nominated served for two and four years respectively, instead of six. The first election was held in the spring of 1894, the nominations were confirmed by the Board in November, and the three new trustees sat with the Board for the first time at the February meeting of 1895.
But as graduate organizations have increased in size, and membership has been scattered over a wider geographical area, it has become correspondingly difficult to get at the consensus of graduate opinion on college matters and to make sure that alumni, or alumnae, representatives actually do represent their constituents and carry out their wishes. And the Alumni Movement has arisen to meet the need for "greater unity of organization in alumni bodies."
In an article on Graduate Councils, in the Wellesley College News for April, 1914, Florence S. Marcy Crofut, Wellesley, '97, has collected interesting evidence of the impetus and expansion of this new factor in the college world. She writes, "More clearly than generalization would show, proofs lie in actual organization and accomplishments of the 'Alumni Movement' which has worked itself out in what may be called the Graduate Council Movement.... Since the organization of the Graduate Council of Princeton University in January, 1905, the Secretary, Mr. H. G. Murray, to whom Wellesley is deeply indebted, has received requests from twenty-nine colleges for information in regard to the work of Princeton's Council."
Among these twenty-nine colleges was Wellesley, and the plan for her Graduate Council, presented by the Executive Board of the Alumnae Association to the business meeting of the Association on June 21, 1911, and voted at that meeting, is a legitimate outgrowth of the ideals which led to the formation of the Alumnae Association in 1880. The preamble of the Association makes this clear when it says:
"Remembering the benefits we have received from our alma mater, we desire to extend the helpful associations of student life, and to maintain such relations to the college that we may efficiently aid in her upbuilding and strengthening, to the end that her usefulness may continually increase."
In an article describing the formation of the Wellesley Graduate Council, in the Wellesley College News for October 5, 1911, it is explained that, "From the time since the 1910-12 Executive Board (of the Alumnae Association) came into office, it has felt that there was need for a bond between the alumnae and the college administration; and it believes that this need will be met by a small representative (i.e. geographical) definitely chosen graduate body, which shall act as a clearing-house for the larger Alumnae Association. The Executive Board recognized also as an additional reason for organizing such a graduate body, that it was necessary to do so if the Wellesley Alumnae Association is to keep abreast of the activities in similar organizations." The purpose of the Council, as stated in 1911, is a fitting expansion of the Association's preamble of 1880:
"That, as our alumnae are increasing in large numbers and are scattered more and more widely, it will be of advantage to them and to the college that an organized, accredited group of alumnae shall be chosen from different parts of the country to confer with the college authorities on matters affecting both alumnae and undergraduate interests, as well as to furnish the college, by this group, the means of testing the sentiment of Wellesley women throughout the country on any matter."
There are advantages in not being a pioneer, and Wellesley has been able to profit by the experience of her predecessors in this movement, particularly Princeton and Smith. Membership in the Councils of Wellesley and Smith is essentially on the same geographical basis, but Wellesley is unique among the Councils in having a faculty representation. The relation between faculty and alumnae at Wellesley has always been markedly cordial, and in welcoming to the Council representatives of the faculty who are not graduates of the college, the alumnae would seem to indicate that their aims and ideals for their Alma Mater are at one with those of the faculty.
The membership of the Wellesley Graduate Council is composed of the president and dean of the college, ex officio; ten members of the Academic Council, chosen by that body, no more than two of whom may be alumnae; the three alumnae trustees; the members of the Executive Board of the Alumnae Association; and the councilors from the Wellesley clubs. As there were more than fifty Wellesley clubs already in existence in 1915, and every club of from twenty-five to one hundred members is allowed one councilor, and every club of more than one hundred members is allowed one councilor for each additional hundred, while neighboring clubs of less than twenty-five members may unite and be represented jointly by one councilor, it will be seen that the Council is a large and constantly growing body. Clubs such as the Boston Wellesley Club, and the New York Wellesley Club, which already had a large membership, received a tremendous impetus to increase their numbers after the formation of the Council. All members of the Council, with the exception of the president of the college and the dean, who are permanent, serve for two years.
The officers of the Graduate Council are the corresponding officers of the Alumnae Association, and also serve for two years. The Executive Committee of five members includes the president and secretary of the Council, an alumna trustee chosen annually from their own number by the three alumnae trustees, and two members at large.
The Council meets twice during the academic year, at the college; in February, for a period of three days or less, following the mid-year examinations, and in June, when the annual meeting is held at some time previous to the annual meeting of the Alumnae Association. In this respect the Wellesley Council again differs from that of Smith, whose committee of five makes but one official annual visit to the college,—in January. The "Vassar Provisional Alumnae Council", like the Wellesley Graduate Council, must hold at least two yearly meetings at the college, but unlike Wellesley, it elects a chairman who may not be at the same time the President of the Vassar Associate Alumnae. Bryn Mawr, we are told by Miss Crofut, has no Graduate Council corresponding exactly to the Councils of other colleges; but her academic committee of seven members meets "at least once a year with the President of the College and a committee of the faculty to discuss academic affairs."
The possibilities which lie before the Wellesley Council may be better understood if we enumerate a few of the activities undertaken by the Councils of other colleges. At Princeton, since 1905, more than two million five hundred thousand dollars has been raised by the Council's efforts. The Preceptorial System has been inaugurated and is being slowly developed. The university has been brought more prominently before preparatory schools. All the colleges are feeling the need of keeping in touch with the preparatory schools, not for the sake of mere numbers, but to secure the best students. Doctor Tucker has suggested that Dartmouth alumni endow outright, "substantial scholarships in high schools with which it is desirable to establish relations," and the suggestion is well worth the consideration of Wellesley women. The Yale Alumni Advisory Board has distributed to the "so-called Yale Preparatory Schools" and to schoolboys in many cities, a pamphlet on "Life at Yale." And Yale has also turned its attention to tuition charges, "academic-Sheffield relations", the future of the Yale Medical School, the Graduate Employment Bureau.
All of these Councils are concerned with the intellectual and moral tone of the undergraduates. Wellesley's Graduate Council has a Publicity Committee, one of whose functions is to prevent wrong reports of college matters from getting into the press. Mrs. Helene Buhlert Magee, Wellesley, '03, who was made Chairman of the Intercollegiate Committee on Press Bureaus, in 1914, and was at that time also the Manager of the Wellesley Press Board, reminds us that Wellesley is the only college trying to regulate its publicity through its alumnae clubs in different parts of the country, and gives us reason to hope that in time we shall have publicity agents trained in good methods, "since the members of each year's College Press Board, as they go forth, naturally become the press representatives of their respective clubs."
The Council has also a Committee on Undergraduate Activities, whose duty it is to "obtain information regarding the interests of the undergraduates and from time to time to make suggestions concerning the conduct of the same as they affect the alumnae or bring the college before the general public." This committee proposes a Rally Day and a Freshman Forum, to be conducted each year by a representative alumna equipped to set forth the ideals and principles held by the alumnae.
A third committee, bearing a direct relation to the undergraduate, is one on Vocational Guidance. In order to help students "to find their way to work other than teaching," and to "present a survey of all the possibilities open to women in the field of industry to-day," this committee welcomes the cooperation of Miss Florence Jackson, a graduate of Smith and for some years a member of the Department of Chemistry at Wellesley, who is now at the head of the Appointment Bureau of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union of Boston. Miss Jackson's practical knowledge of students, her wide acquaintance with vocational opportunities other than teaching, and her belief in the "value of the cultural course as a sound general foundation most valuable for providing the sense of proportion and vision necessary for the college woman who is to be a useful citizen," make her an ideal director of this branch of the Council's activities, and the college gladly promotes her work among the students; the seniors especially welcome her expert guidance.
In framing a model constitution for the use of alumnae classes, the Council has done a piece of work which should arouse the gratitude of all future historians of Wellesley, for the model constitution contains an article requiring each class to keep a record which shall contain brief information as to the members of the class and shall be published in the autumn following each reunion. lf these records are accurately kept, and if copies are placed on file in the College Library, accessible to investigators, the next historian of Wellesley will be spared the baffling paucity of information concerning the alumnae which has hampered her predecessor.
With ten members of the Academic Council on the Graduate Council, and with the president of the college herself an alumna, the relation between the faculty and the Graduate Council is intimate and helpful to both, in the best sense. Relations with the trustees, as a body, were slower in forming. President Pendleton, at the Council's fifth session,—in the third year of its existence,—reported the trustees as much interested in its formation. At the sixth session of the Council, in June, 1914, when the campaign for the Fire Fund was in full swing, Mr. Lewis Kennedy Morse, the able and devoted treasurer of the college, and member of the Board of Trustees, addressed the members upon "The Business Side of College Administration",—a talk as interesting as it was frank and friendly. In December, 1914, when the first of the new buildings was already going up on the site of old College Hall, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees invited a joint committee from the faculty and the alumnae to meet with them to discuss the architectural plans and possibilities for the "new Wellesley." The Alumnae Committee consisted of eleven members and included representatives "from '83 to 1913, and from Colorado on the west to Massachusetts on the east." Its chairman was Candace C. Stimson, Wellesley, '92, whose name will always ring through Wellesley history as the Chairman of the Alumnae Committee for Restoration and Endowment,—the committee that conducted the great nine months' campaign for the Fire Fund. The Faculty Committee, of five members, chose as its chairman, Professor Alice V.V. Brown, the head of the Department of Art.
Miss Stimson's report to the Graduate Council of this meeting of the joint committee with the Executive Board, indicates a "strong sense of good understanding and a feeling of great harmony and desire for cooperation on the part of Trustees toward the alumnae." The Faculty Committee and Alumnae Committee were invited to continue and to hold further conferences with the Trustees' Committee "as occasion might offer." The episode is prophetic of the future relations of these three bodies with one another. President Nichols of Dartmouth is reported as saying that Dartmouth, founded as the ideal of an individual and governed at first by one man, has grown to the point where it is no longer to be controlled as a monarchy or an empire, but as a republic. Such an utterance does not fail of its effect upon other colleges.
The women who constitute the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, numbered in 1914-1915 five thousand and thirty-five. The members are all those who have received the Baccalaureate degree from Wellesley, and all those who have received the Master's degree and have applied for membership. But only dues-paying members receive notices of meetings and have the right to vote. Non-graduates who pay the annual dues receive the Alumnae Register, and the notices and publications of the alumnae, but do not vote.
Authoritative statistics concerning the occupations of Wellesley women are not available. About forty per cent of the alumnae are married. The exact proportion of teachers is not known, but it is of course large. The Wellesley College Christian Association is of great assistance to the alumnae recorder in keeping in touch with Wellesley missionaries, but even the Christian Association disclaims infallibility in questions of numbers. An article in the News for February, 1912, by Professor Kendrick, the head of the Department of Bible Study, states that no record is kept of missionaries at work in our own country, but there were then missionaries from Wellesley in Mexico and Brazil, as well as those who were doing city missionary work in the United States. The missionary record for 1915 would seem to indicate that there were then about one hundred Wellesley women at mission stations in foreign countries, including Japan, China, Korea, India, Ceylon, Persia, Turkey, Africa, Europe, Mexico, South America, Alaska, and the Philippines.
From time to time, the alumnae section of the News publishes an article on the occupations and professions of Wellesley graduates, with incomplete lists of the names of those who are engaged in Law, Medicine, Social Work, Journalism, Teaching, Business, and all the other departments of life into which women are penetrating; and from this all too meager material, the historian is able to glean a few general facts, but no trustworthy statistics.
In 1914, the list of Wellesley women, most of whom were alumnae, at the head of private schools, included the principals of the National Cathedral School at Washington, D.C.; of Abbot Academy, Andover, Walnut Hill School, Natick, Dana Hall, the Weston School, the Longwood School, all in Massachusetts, and two preparatory schools in Boston; Buffalo Seminary; Kent Place School, and a coeducational school, both in Summit, New Jersey; Hosmer Hall, in St. Louis; Ingleside School, Taconic School and the Catherine Aiken School, in Connecticut; Science Hill, at Shelbyville, Kentucky; Ferry Hall, at Lake Forest, Illinois; the El Paso School for Girls; the Lincoln School, in Providence, Rhode Island; Wyoming Seminary, another coeducational school; as well as schools for American girls in Germany, France, and Italy. This does not take into account the many Wellesley graduates holding positions of importance in colleges, in high schools, and in the grammar and primary schools throughout the country.
The tentative list of Wellesley women holding positions of importance in social work, in 1914, is equally impressive. The head workers at Denison House,—the Boston College Settlement,—at the Baltimore Settlement, at Friendly House, Brooklyn, and Hartley House, New York, are all graduates of Wellesley. Probation officers, settlement residents, Associated Charity workers, Consumers' League secretaries, promoters of Social Welfare Work, leaders of Working Girls' Clubs, members of Trade-union Leagues and the Suffrage League, show many Wellesley names among their numbers. A Wellesley woman is working at the Hindman School in Kentucky, among the poor whites; another is General Superintendent of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind; another is Associate Field Secretary of the New York Charity Organization Department of the Russell Sage Foundation; another is Head Investigator for the Massachusetts Babies' Hospital. The Superintendent of the State Reformatory for Girls at Lancaster, Massachusetts, is a Wellesley graduate who is doing work of unusual distinction in this field. Mary K. Conyngton, Wellesley, '94, took part in the Federal investigation into the condition of woman and child wage earners, ordered by Congress in 1907, and has made a study of the relations between the occupations, and the criminality, of women. Her book "How to Help", published by The Macmillan Company, embodies the results of her experience in organized charities, investigations for improved housing, and other industrial and municipal reforms. In 1909, Miss Conyngton received a permanent appointment in the Bureau of Labor at Washington, D.C.
Wellesley has her lawyers and doctors, her architects, her journalists, her scholars; every year their tribes increase. Among her many journalists are Caroline Maddocks, 1892, and Agnes Edwards Rothery, 1909.
Of her poets, novelists, short story writers, and essayists, the names of Katharine Lee Bates, Estelle M. Hurll, Abbie Carter Goodloe, Margarita Spalding Gerry, Florence Wilkinson Evans, Florence Converse, Martha Hale Shackford, Annie Kimball Tuell, Jeannette Marks, are familiar to the readers of the Atlantic, the Century, Scribner's and other magazines; and the more technical publications of Gertrude Schopperle, Laura A. Hibbard, Eleanor A. McC. Gamble, Lucy J. Freeman, Eloise Robinson, and Flora Isabel McKinnon, have won the suffrages of scholars.
Her most noted woman of letters is Katharine Lee Bates, Wellesley, '80, the beloved head of the Department of English Literature. Miss Bates's beautiful hymn, "America", has achieved the distinction of a national reputation; it has been adopted as one of America's own songs and is sung by school children all over our country. The list of her books includes, besides her collected poems, "America the Beautiful and Other Poems", published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company, volumes on English and Spanish travel, on the English Religious Drama, a Chaucer for children, an edition of the works of Hawthorne, and a forthcoming edition of the Elizabethan dramatist, Heywood. Since her undergraduate days, when she wrote the poems for Wellesley's earliest festivals, down all the years in which she has been building up her Department of English Literature, this loyal daughter has given herself without stint to her Alma Mater. In Wellesley's roll call of alumnae, there is no name more loved and honored than that of Katharine Lee Bates.
"Hear the dollars dropping,
Listen as they fall.
All for restoration
Of our College Hall."
These words of a college song fitly express the breathless attitude of the alumnae between March 17, 1914, and January 1, 1915, the nine months and a half during which the campaign was being carried on to raise the fund for restoration and endowment, after the fire. And they did more than listen; they shook the trees on which the dollars grew, and as the dollars fell, caught them with nimble fingers. They fell "thick as leaves in Vallombrosa."
Between June, 1913, and June, 1915, $1,267,230.53 was raised by and through Wellesley women.
In 1913, a campaign for a Million Dollar Endowment Fund had been started, to provide means for increasing the salaries of the teachers. Salaries at Wellesley were at that time lower than those paid in every other woman's college, but one, in New England. The fund had been started with an anonymous gift of one hundred thousand dollars, and the committee, with Candace C. Stimson as chairman, planned to secure the one million dollars in two years. By March, 1914, a second anonymous gift of one hundred thousand dollars had been received, the General Education Board had pledged two hundred thousand dollars conditioned on the raising of the whole amount, Wellesley women had given fifteen thousand dollars, and there had been a few other gifts from outsiders. The amount still to be raised on the Million Dollar Fund at the time of the fire was five hundred and seventy thousand dollars.
President Pendleton, in a letter to Wellesley friends, printed in the News on March 28, 1914, ten days after the fire, writes: "Our Campaign for the Million Dollar Endowment Fund must not be dropped... we have between five and six hundred thousand dollars still to raise. All the new buildings must be equipped and maintained. The sum that our Alma Mater requires for immediate needs is two million dollars. But this is not all. Another million will soon be needed, properly to house our departments of Botany and Chemistry, and to provide a Student-Alumnae building, and sufficient dormitories to house on the campus the more than five hundred students now living in the village. We are facing a great crisis in the history of the College. The future of our Alma Mater is in our hands. Crippled by this loss, Wellesley cannot continue to hold in the future its place in the front rank of colleges, unless the response is generous and immediate.
"To sum up, Alma Mater needs three million dollars, two million of which must be raised immediately. Shall we be daunted by this sum? We are justly proud of the courage and self-control of those dwellers in College Hall, both Faculty and Students. Shall we be outdone by them in facing a crisis? Shall we be less courageous, less resourceful? The public press has described the fire as a triumph, not a disaster. Shall we continue the triumph, and make our College in equipment what it has proved itself in spirit—The College Beautiful? We can and we must."
The response of the alumnae to this stirring appeal was instant and ardent. The committee for the Million Dollar Endowment Fund, with its valiant chairman, Miss Stimson, shouldered the new responsibility. "It is a big contract," they said, "it comes at a season of business depression, and the daughters of Wellesley are not rich in this world's goods. All this we know, but we know, too, that the greater the need the more eagerly will love and loyalty respond."
Then came the offer of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars by the Rockefeller Foundation, if the college would raise an additional million and a quarter by January 1, 1915. The intrepid Committee of Alumnae added to its numbers, merged the two funds, and adopted the new name of Alumnae Committee for Restoration and Endowment.
Mary B. Jenkins, Wellesley, '03, the committee's devoted secretary, has described the plan of the campaign in the News for March, 1915. As the Wellesley clubs present the best chance of reaching both graduate and non-graduate members, a chairman for each club was appointed, and made responsible for reaching all the Wellesley women in her geographical section, whether they were members of the club or not. In states where there were no clubs, state committees rounded up the scattered alumnae and non-graduates. Fifty-three clubs appear in the report, twenty-four state committees, and eight foreign countries,—Canada, Mexico, Porto Rico, South America, Europe, Turkey, India, and Persia. Every state in the Union was heard from, and contributions also came from clubs in Japan and China. The campaign actually circled the globe. By June, 1914, Miss Jenkins tells us, the appeals to the clubs and state committees had been sent out, and many had been heard from, but in order to make sure that no one escaped, the work was now taken up through committees from the thirty-six classes, from 1879 to 1914. In March, 1915, when Miss Jenkins's report was printed in the News, 3823 of Wellesley's daughters had contributed, and belated contributions were still coming in. In June, 1915, 3903, out of 4840, graduates had responded. Every member of the classes of '79, '80, '81, '84, '92, sent a contribution, and the class gift from '79, $520,161.00 was the largest from any class; that of '92, $208,453.92, being the next largest. The class gifts include not only direct contributions from alumnae, and from social members who did not graduate with the class, but gifts which alumnae and former students have secured from interested friends. Of the remaining classes, five show a contributing list of more than ninety per cent of the members; eleven show between eighty and ninety per cent; and fifteen between seventy and eighty per cent. Besides the alumnae, 1119 non-graduates had contributed. None of Wellesley's daughters have been more loyal and more helpful than the non-graduates.
An analysis of the amount, $1,267,230.53, given by and through Wellesley women between June, 1913, and June, 1915, shows four gifts of fifty thousand dollars and over, all of which came through Wellesley women, thirty gifts of from two thousand dollars to twenty-five thousand dollars, three quarters of which came from Wellesley women, and many gifts of less than two thousand dollars, "only a negligible quantity of which came from any one but alumnae and former students."
Throughout the nine months of the campaign, the Alumnae Committee and the trustees were working in close touch with each other. Doctor George Herbert Palmer, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Harvard, was the chairman of the committee from the trustees, and he describes himself as chaperoned by alumnae at every point of the tour which he so successfully undertook in order to interview possible contributors. To him, to Bishop Lawrence, the President of the Board of Trustees, and to Mr. Lewis Kennedy Morse, the treasurer, the college owes a debt of gratitude which it can never repay. No knight of old ever succored distressed damsel more valiantly, more selflessly, than these three twentieth-century gentlemen succored and served the beggar maid, Wellesley, in the cause of higher education. Through the activities of the trustees were secured the provisional gifts of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the Rockefeller Foundation, and two hundred thousand dollars from the General Education Board, Mr. Andrew Carnegie's $95,446.27, to be applied to the extension of the library, and gifts from Mrs. Russell Sage, Mrs. David P. Kimball, and many others. Mrs. Lilian Horsford Farlow, a trustee, and the daughter of Prof. Eben N. Horsford, to whom Wellesley is already deeply indebted, gave ten thousand dollars toward the Fire Fund; and through Mrs. Louise McCoy North, trustee and alumna, an unknown benefactor has given the new building which stands on the hill above the lake. Because of the modesty of donors, it has been impossible to make public a complete list of the gifts.
From the four undergraduate classes, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, and from general undergraduate gifts and activities, came $60,572.04, raised in all sorts of ways,—from the presentation of "Beau Brummel" before a Boston audience, to the polishing of shoes at ten cents a shine. One 1917 girl earned ten dollars during the summer vacation by laughing at all her father's jokes, whether old or new, during that period of recreation. Other enterprising sophomores "swatted" flies at the rate of one cent for two, darned stockings for five cents a hole, shampooed, mended, raked leaves. Members of the class of 1916 sold lead pencils and jelly, scrubbed floors, baked angel cake, counted knot holes in the roof of a summer camp. Besides "Beau Brummel", 1915 gave dancing lessons and sold vacuum cleaners. One student who was living in College Hall at the time of the fire is said to have made ten dollars by charging ten cents for every time that she told of her escape from the building. The class of 1918, entering as freshmen in September, after the fire, raised $5,540.60 for the fund when they had been organized only a few weeks.
The methods of the alumnae were no less varied and amusing. The Southern California Club started a College Hall Fund, and notices were sent out all over the country requesting every alumna to give a dollar for every year that she had lived in College Hall. Seven hundred and fifty dollars came in. There were thes dansants, musicales, concerts, of which the Sousa concert in Boston was the most important, operettas, masques, garden parties, costume parties, salad demonstrations, candy sales, bridge parties; a moving-picture film of Wellesley went the rounds of many clubs, from city to city, through New England and the Middle West. An alumna of the class of 1896 "took in" $949.20 for subscriptions to magazines, with a profit of $175.75 for the fund. She comments on Wellesley taste in magazines by revealing the fact that the Atlantic Monthly "received by far the largest number of subscriptions." One girl in Colorado baked bread, "but forsook it to give dancing lessons, as paying even better!" In New York, Chicago, and other cities, the tickets for theatrical performances were bought up and sold again at advanced prices. A book of Wellesley recipes was compiled and sold. An alumna of '92 made a charming etching of College Hall and sold it on a post card; another, also of '92, wrote and sold a poem of lament on the loss of the dear old building. The Cincinnati Wellesley Club held a Wellesley market for three Saturdays in May, 1914, and netted somewhat over seventy-five dollars a day for the three days. One Wellesley club charged ten cents for the privilege of shaking hands with its "fire-heroine."
On Easter Monday, 1914, when the college had just come back to work, after the fire, the "Freeman Fowls" arranged an egg hunt, with egg-shaped tickets at ten cents, for the fund. The students from Freeman Cottage, dressed as roosters, very scarlet as to topknot and wattles, very feather dustery as to tail, waylaid the unwary on campus paths and lured them to buy these tickets and to hunt for the hundreds of brightly colored eggs which these commercially canny fowls had hidden on the Art Building Hill. After the hunt was successfully over, the hunters came down to the front of the new, very new, administration building, already called the Wellesley Hencoop, where they were greeted by the ghosts and wraiths and other astral presentments of the vanished statues of College Hall, and where the roosters burst into an antiphonal chant:
"Come see the Wellesley Chicken-coop, the
Chicken-coop, the Chicken-coop.
Come see the Wellesley Chicken-coop,
(It isn't far from Chapel!)
Come get your tickets for a roost, and give
Your chicken-hearts a boost,
Come see our Wellesley Chicken-roost,
(It isn't far from Chapel!)
"Just see our brand new Collegette, it's
College yet, it's College yet,
With sixty-six new rooms to let,
(They're practicing in Billings).
The Collegette is very tall,
It isn't far from Music Hall,
Our neighbors can't be heard at all
(They learn to sing at Billings).
"Oh, statues dear from College Hall, from
College Hall, from College Hall,
Don't hesitate to come and call
On Hen-House day at Wellesley.
Niobe sad, and Harriet, and Polly Hym and Dian's pet
On Hen-House day,—on Hen-House day,
O! Hen-House day at Wellesley.
Come walk right through the big front door,
Each hour we love you more and more,
There's fire-escapes from every floor
Of the new Hen-house at Wellesley."
Having thus formally adopted the new building, whose windows and doors were already wreathed in vines and crimson (paper) roses which had sprung up and blossomed over night, the college now hastened to the top of College Hall Hill, whence, at the crowing of Chanticleer, the egg-rolling began. The Nest Egg for the fund, achieved by these enterprising "Freeman Fowls", was about fifty-two dollars.
Far off in Honolulu there were "College Capers" in which eight Wellesley alumnae, helped by graduates of Harvard, Cornell, Bryn Mawr, and other colleges, earned three hundred dollars.
The News has published a number of letters whose simple revelation of feeling witnesses to the loyalty and love of the Wellesley alumnae. One writes:
"A month ago, because of obligations and a very small salary, I thought I could give nothing to the Endowment Plan. By Saturday morning (after the fire) I had decided I must give a dollar a month. By night I had received a slight increase in salary, therefore l shall send two dollars a month as long as I am able. I wish it were millions, my admiration and sympathy are so unbounded."
Another says: "Perhaps you may know that when I was a Senior I received a scholarship of (I think) $350. It has long been my wish and dream to return that money with large interest, in return for all I received from my Alma Mater, and in acknowledgment of the success I have since had in my work because of her. I have never been able to lay aside the sum I had wished to give, but now that the need has come I can wait no longer, I am therefore sending you my check for $500, hoping that even this sum, so small in the face of the immense loss, may aid a little because it comes at the right moment. It goes with the wish that it were many, many times the amount, and with the sincerest acknowledgment of my indebtedness to Wellesley."
From China came the message: "In an indefinite way I had intended to send five or ten dollars some time this year (to the Endowment Fund), but the loss of College Hall makes me realize afresh what Wellesley has meant to me, and I want to give till I feel the pinch. I am writing (the treasurer of the Mission Board) to send you five dollars a month for ten months."
From nearer home: "My sister and I intend to go without spring suits this year in order to give twenty-five dollars each toward the fund; this surely will not be sacrifice, but a great privilege. Then we intend to add more each time we receive our salary.... I cannot say that I was so brave as the girls at the college, who did not shed a tear as College Hall burned—I could not speak, my voice was so choked with tears, and that night I went supperless to bed. But though it seems impossible to believe that College Hall is a thing of the past, yet one cannot but feel that from this so great calamity great good will come—a broader, higher spirit will be manifested; we shall cease to think in classes, but all unite in great loving thought for the good and the upbuilding—in more senses than one—of our Alma Mater."
And the messages and money from friends of the college were no less touching. The children of the Wellesley Kindergarten, which is connected with the Department of Education in the college, held a sale of their own little handicrafts and made fifty dollars for the fund.
One who signed himself, "Very respectfully, A Working Man," wrote: "The results of your college's work show that it is of the best. The Student Government is one of the finest things in American education. The spirit shown at the fire and since is superb."
Another man, who wished that he "had a daughter to go to Wellesley, the college of high ideals," said, "I should be ashamed even to ride by in the train without contributing this mite to your Rebuilding Fund."
A woman in Tasmania sent a dollar, "for you are setting a great ideal for the broad education of women.... We (in Australia) have much to thank the higher democratic education of America for."
From many little children money came: from little girls who hoped to come to Wellesley some day, and from the sons and daughters of Wellesley students.
The business men of Wellesley town subscribed generously. Many men as well as women have expressed their admiration of the college in a tangible way.
And from Vassar, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Radcliffe, Barnard, Wells, Simmons, and Sweet Briar, contributions came pouring in unsolicited. Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts, and others had already loaned equipment and material for the impoverished laboratories, and direct contributions to the fund came from the University of Idaho, the Musical Clubs of Dartmouth and the Institute of Technology; from Hobart College, in cooperation with Wellesley alumnae, in Geneva, New York; from the Emerson College of Oratory, the College Club of Tucson, Arizona, the Boston and Connecticut branches of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, the Fitchburg Smith College Club, and the Cornell Woman's Club of New York City. To Smith College, which had so lately raised its million, Wellesley was also indebted for helpful suggestions in planning the campaign.
When the great war broke out in August, 1914, wise unbelievers shook their heads and commiserated Wellesley; but the dauntless Chairman of the Alumnae Restoration and Endowment Committee continued to press on with her campaign—to draw dilatory clubs into line, to prod sluggish classes into activity, to remind individuals of their opportunity.
The pledges for the last forty thousand dollars of the fund came snowing in during Christmas week, and eleven o'clock of the evening of December 31, 1914, found Miss Stimson's committee in New York counting at top speed the sheaves of checks and pledges which had been arriving all day. The remarkable thing about the campaign was the great number of small amounts which came in, and the number of alumnae—not the wealthy ones—who doubled their pledges at the last minute. It was the one dollar and the five-dollar pledges which really saved the day and made it possible for the college to secure the large conditional gifts. On the morning of January 1, 1915, the amount was complete.
With 1915, Wellesley enters upon the second phase of her history, but the early, formative years will always shine through the fire, a memory and an inspiration. Nothing that was vital perished in those flames. Yet already the Wellesley that looks back upon her old self is a different Wellesley. All her repressed desires, spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, are suddenly set free. Her lovers and her daughters feel the very campus kindle and quicken beneath their feet to new responsibilities.
"The New Wellesley!"
No one knows what that shall be, but the words are vision-filled: prophetic of an ordered beauty of architecture, a harmony of taste, that the old Wellesley, on the far side of the fire, strove after but never knew; prophetic of a pinnacled and aspiring scholarship whose solid foundations were laid forty years deep in Christian trust and patience; prophetic of a questing spirit freed from the old reproach of provincialism; of a ministering spirit in which the virtue of true courtesy is fulfilled.
The end of her first half century will see the campus flowering with the outward and visible signs of the new Wellesley; and even as the old fire-hallowed bricks have made beautiful the new walls, so the beauty of the old dreams shall shine in the new vision.
"Pageant of fretted roofs that cluster*
On hill and knoll in the branches green,
Ye are but shadows, and not the luster,
Garment, ye, of a grace unseen.
"All our life is confused with fable,
Ever the fact as the phantasy seems:
Yet the world of spirit lies sure and stable,
Under the shows of the world of dreams.
"Not an idle and false derision
The rocks that crumble, the stars that fail;
Meaning caskets within the vision,
Shaping the folds of the woven veil."
* Katharine Lee Bates: from a poem, "The College Beautiful," 1886.