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The Story of Wellesley By Florence Converse Characters: 92857

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:06

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 expressio

n 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.

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