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.
THE FACULTY AND THEIR METHODS
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.