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The Story of Wellesley By Florence Converse Characters: 61051

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:06


At Wellesley, to a degree unusual in American colleges, whether for men or women, the faculty determine the general policy of the college. The president, as chairman of the Academic Council, is in a very real and democratic sense the representative of the faculty, not the ruler. In Miss Freeman's day, the excellent presidential habit of consulting with the heads of departments was formed, and many of the changes instituted by the young president were suggested and formulated by her older colleagues. In Miss Shafer's day, habit had become precedent, and she would be the first to point out that the "new curriculum" which will always be associated with her name, was really the achievement of the Academic Council and the departments, working through patient years to adjust, develop, and balance the minutest details in their composite plan.

The initiative on the part of the faculty has been exerted chiefly along academic lines, but in some instances it has necessitated important emendations of the statutes; and that the trustees were willing to alter the statutes on the request of the faculty would indicate the friendly confidence felt toward the innovators.

In the statutes of Wellesley College, as printed in 1885, we read that "The College was founded for the glory of God and the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, in and by the education and culture of women.

"In order to the attainment of these ends, it is required that every Trustee, Teacher, and Officer, shall be a member of an Evangelical church, and that the study of the Holy Scriptures shall be pursued by every student throughout the entire College course under the direction of the Faculty."

In the early nineties, pressure from members of the faculty, themselves members of Evangelical churches, induced the trustees to alter the religious requirement for teachers; and the reorganization of the Department of Bible Study a few years later resulted in a drastic change in the requirements for students.

As printed in 1898, the statutes read, "To realize this design it is required that every Trustee shall be a member in good standing of some Evangelical Church; that every teacher shall be of decided Christian character and influence, and in manifest sympathy with the religious spirit and aim with which the College was founded; and that the study of the Sacred Scriptures by every student shall extend over the first three years, with opportunities for elective studies in the same during the fourth year."

But it was found that freshmen were not mature enough to study to the best advantage the new courses in Biblical Criticism, and the statutes as printed in 1912 record still another amendment: "And that the study of the Sacred Scriptures by every student shall extend over the second and third years, with opportunities for elective studies in the same during the fourth year."

These changes are the more pleasantly significant, since all actual power, at Wellesley as at most other colleges, resides with the trustees if they choose to use it. They "have control of the college and all its property, and of the investment and appropriation of its funds, in conformity with the design of its establishment and with the act of incorporation." They have "power to make and execute such statutes and rules as they may consider needful for the best administration of their trust, to appoint committees from their own number, or of those not otherwise connected with the college, and to prescribe their duties and powers." It is theirs to appoint "all officers of government or instruction and all employees needed for the administration of the institution whose appointment is not otherwise provided for." They determine the duties and salaries of officers and employees and may remove, either with or without notice, any person whom they have appointed.

In being governed undemocratically from without by a self-perpetuating body of directors, Wellesley is of course no worse off than the majority of American colleges. But that a form of college government so patently and unreasonably autocratic should have generated so little friction during forty years, speaks volumes for the broadmindedness, the generous tolerance, and the Christian self-control of both faculty and trustees. If, in matters financial, the trustees have been sometimes unwilling to consider the scruples of groups of individuals on the faculty, along lines of economic morals, they have nevertheless taken no official steps to suppress the expression of such scruples. They have withstood any reactionary pressure from individuals of their board, and have always allowed the faculty entire academic freedom. In matters pertaining to the college classes, they are usually content to ratify the appointments on the faculty, and approve the alterations in the curriculum presented to them by the president of the college; and the president, in turn, leaves the professors and their associates remarkably free to choose and regulate the personnel and the courses in the departments.

In this happy condition of affairs, the alumnae trustees undoubtedly play a mediating part, for they understand the college from within as no clergyman, financier, philanthropist,-no graduate of a man's college-can hope to, be he never so enthusiastic and well-meaning in the cause of woman's education. But so long as the faculty are excluded from direct representation on the board, the situation will continue to be anomalous. For it is not too sweeping to assert that Wellesley's development and academic standing are due to the cooperative wisdom and devoted scholarship of her faculty. The initiative has been theirs. They have proved that a college for women can be successfully taught and administered by women. To them Wellesley owes her academic status.

From the beginning, women have predominated on the Wellesley faculty. The head of the Department of Music has always been a man, but he had no seat upon the Academic Council until 1896. In 1914-1915, of the twenty-eight heads of departments, three were men, the professors of Music, of Education, and of French. Of the thirty-nine professors and associate professors, not heads of departments, five were men; of the fifty-nine instructors, ten were men. It is interesting to note that there were no men in the departments of Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biblical History, Italian, Spanish, Reading and Speaking, Art, and Archaeology, during the academic year 1914-1915.

Critics sometimes complain of the preponderance of women upon Wellesley's faculty, but her policy in this respect has been deliberate. Every woman's college is making its own experiments, and the results achieved at Wellesley indicate that a faculty made up largely of women, with a woman at its head, in no way militates against high academic standards, sound scholarship, and efficient administration. That a more masculine faculty would also have peculiar advantages, she does not deny.

From the collegiate point of view, this feminine faculty is a very well mixed body, for it includes representative graduates from the other women's colleges, and from the more important coeducational colleges and state universities, as well as men from Harvard and Brown. The Wellesley women on the faculty are an able minority; but it is the policy of the college to avoid academic in-breeding and to keep the Wellesley influence a minority influence. Of the twenty-eight heads of departments, five-the professors of English Literature, Chemistry, Pure Mathematics, Biblical History, and Physics-are Wellesley graduates, three of them from the celebrated class of '80. Of the thirty-nine professors and associate professors, in 1914-1915, ten were alumnae of Wellesley, and of the fifty-nine instructors, seventeen. Since 1895, when Professor Stratton was appointed dean to assist Mrs. Irvine, Wellesley has had five deans, but only Miss Pendleton, who held the office under Miss Hazard from 1901 to 1911, has been a graduate of Wellesley. Miss Coman, who assisted Miss Hazard for one year only, and Miss Chapin, who consented to fill the office after Miss Pendleton's appointment to the presidency until a permanent dean could be chosen, were both graduates of the University of Michigan. Dean Waite, who succeeded to the office in 1913, is an alumna of Smith College, and has been a member of the Department of English at Wellesley since 1896.


Only the women who have helped to promote and establish the higher education of women can know how exciting and romantic it was to be a professor in a woman's college during the last half-century. To be a teacher was no new thing for a woman; the dame school is an ancient institution; all down the centuries, in classic villas, in the convents of the Middle Ages, in the salons of the eighteenth century, learned ladies with a pedagogic instinct have left their impress upon the intellectual life of their times. But the possibility that women might be intellectually and physically capable of sharing equally with men the burdens and the joys of developing and directing the scholarship of the race had never been seriously considered until the nineteenth century. The women who came to teach in the women's colleges in the '70's and '80's and '90's knew themselves on trial in the eyes of the world as never women had been before. And they brought to that trial the heady enthusiasm and radiant exhilaration and fiery persistence which possess all those who rediscover learning and drink deep. They knew the kind of selfless inspiration Wyclif knew when he was translating the Bible into the language of England's common people. They shared the elation and devotion of Erasmus and his fellows.

To plan a curriculum in which the humanities and the sciences should every one be given a fair chance; to distinguish intelligently between the advantages of the elective system and its disadvantages; to decide, without prejudice, at what points the education of the girl should differ or diverge from the education of the boy; to try out the pedagogic methods of the men's colleges and discover which were antiquated and should be abolished, which were susceptible of reform, which were sound; to invent new methods,-these were the romantic quests to which these enamored devotees were vowed, and to which, through more than half a century, they have been faithful.

Wellesley's student laboratory for experimental work in physics, established 1878, was preceded in New England only by the student laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her laboratory for work in experimental psychology, established by Professor Calkins in 1891, was the first in any women's college in the country, and one of the first in any college. In 1886, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens invited Wellesley to become one of the cooperating colleges to sustain this school and to enjoy its advantages. The invitation came quite unsolicited, and was the first extended to a woman's college.

The schoolmen developing and expanding their Trivium and Quadrivium at Oxford, Paris, Bologna, experienced no keener intellectual delights than did their belated sisters of Vassar, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley.

But in order to understand the passion of their point of view, we must remember that the higher education for which the women of the nineteenth century were enthusiastic was distinctly an education along scholarly and intellectual lines; this early and original meaning of the term "higher education", this original and distinguishing function of the woman's college, are in danger of being blurred and lost sight of to-day by a generation that knew not Joseph. The zeal with which the advocates of educational and domestic training are trying to force into the curricula of women's colleges courses on housekeeping, home-making, dressmaking, dairy farming, to say nothing of stenography, typewriting, double entry, and the musical glasses minus Shakespeare, is for the most part unintelligible to the women who have given their lives to the upbuilding of such colleges as Bryn Mawr, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Vassar, and Wellesley,-not because they minimize the civilizing value of either homemakers or business women in a community, or fail to recognize their needs, but simply because women's colleges were never intended to meet those needs.

When we go to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts, we do not complain because it lacks the characteristics of the Smithsonian Institute, or of the Boston Horticultural Show. We are content that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology should differ in scope from Harvard University; yet some of us, college graduates even, seem to have an uneasy feeling that Wellesley and Bryn Mawr may not be ministering adequately to life, because they do not add to their curricular activities the varied aims of an Agricultural College, a Business College, a School of Philanthropy, and a Cooking School, with required courses on the modifying of milk for infants. Great institutions for vocational training, such as Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Simmons College in Boston, have a dignity and a usefulness which no one disputes. Undoubtedly America needs more of their kind. But to impair the dignity and usefulness of the colleges dedicated to the higher education of women by diluting their academic programs with courses on business or domesticity will not meet that need. The unwillingness of college faculties to admit vocational courses to the curriculum is not due to academic conservatism and inability to march with the times, but to an unclouded and accurate conception of the meaning of the term "higher education."

But definiteness of aim does not necessarily imply narrowness of scope. The Wellesley Calendar for 1914-1915 contains a list of three hundred and twelve courses on thirty-two subjects, exclusive of the gymnasium practice, dancing, swimming, and games required by the Department of Hygiene. Of these subjects, four are ancient languages and their literatures, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit. Seven are modern languages and their literatures, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and English Literature, Composition, and Language. Ten are sciences, Mathematics, pure and applied, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Botany, Zoology and Physiology, Hygiene. Seven are scientifically concerned with the mental and spiritual evolution of the human race, Biblical and Secular History, Economics, Education, Logic, Psychology, and Philosophy. Four may be classified as arts: Archaeology, Art, including its history, Music, and Reading and Speaking, which old-fashioned people still call Elocution.

From this wide range of subjects, the candidates for the B.A. degree are required to take one course in Mathematics, the prescribed freshman course; one course in English Composition, prescribed for freshmen; courses in Biblical History and Hygiene; a modern language, unless two modern languages have been presented for admission; two natural sciences before the junior year, unless one has already been offered for admission, in which case one is required, and a course in Philosophy, which the student should ordinarily take before her senior year.

These required studies cover about twenty of the fifty-nine hours prescribed for the degree; the remaining hours are elective; but the student must group her electives intelligently, and to this end she must complete either nine hours of work in each of two departments, or twelve hours in one department and six in a second; she must specialize within limits.

It will be evident on examining this program that no work is required in History, Economics, English Literature and Language, Comparative Philology, Education, Archaeology, Art, Reading and Speaking, and Music. All the courses in these departments are free electives. Just what led to this legislation, only those who were present at the decisive discussions of the Academic Council can know. Possibly they have discovered by experience that young women do not need to be coaxed or coerced into studying the arts; that they gravitate naturally to those subjects which deal with human society, such as History, Economics, and English Literature; and that the specialist can be depended upon to elect, without pressure, courses in Philology or Pedagogy.

But little effort has been made at Wellesley, so far, to attract graduate students. In this respect she differs from Bryn Mawr. She offers very few courses planned exclusively for college graduates, but opens her advanced courses in most departments to both seniors and graduates. This does not mean, however, that the graduate work is not on a sound basis. Wellesley has not yet exercised her right to give the Doctor's degree, but expert testimony, outside the college, has declared that some of the Master's theses are of the doctorial grade in quality, if not in quantity; and the work for the Master's degree is said to be more difficult and more severely scrutinized than in some other colleges where the Doctor's degree is made the chief goal of the graduate student.

The college has in its gift the Alice Freeman Palmer Fellowship, founded in 1903 by Mrs. David P. Kimball of Boston, and yielding an income of about one thousand dollars. The holder must be a woman, a graduate of Wellesley or some other American college of approved standing; she must be "not more than twenty-six years of age at the time of her appointment, unmarried throughout the whole of her tenure, and as free as possible from other responsibilities." She may hold the fellowship for one year only, but "within three years from entrance on the fellowship she must present to the faculty a thesis embodying the results of the research carried on during the period of tenure."

Wellesley is proud of her Alice Freeman Palmer Fellows. Of the eleven who have held the Fellowship between 1904 and 1915, four are Wellesley graduates, Helen Dodd Cook, whose subject was Philosophy; Isabelle Stone, working in Greek; Gertrude Schopperle, in Comparative Literature; Laura Alandis Hibbard, in English Literature. Two are from Radcliffe, and one each from Cornell, Vassar, the University of Dakota, Ripon, and Goucher. The Fellow is left free to study abroad, in an American college or university, or to use the income for independent research. The list of universities at which these young women have studied is as impressive as it is long. It includes the American Schools for Classical Studies at Athens and Rome; the universities of Gottingen, Wurzburg, Munich, Paris, and Cambridge, England; and Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Chicago.

This is not the place in which to give a detailed account of the work of each one of Wellesley's academic departments. Any intelligent person who turns the pages of the official calendar may easily discover that the standard of admission and the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts place Wellesley in the first rank among American colleges, whether for men or for women. But every woman's college, besides conforming to the general standard, is making its own contribution to the higher education of women. At Wellesley, the methods in certain departments have gained a deservedly high reputation.

The Department of Art, under Professor Alice V.V. Brown, formerly of the Slater Museum of Norwich, Connecticut, is doing a work in the proper interpretation and history of art as unique as it is valuable. The laboratory method is used, and all students are required to recognize and indicate the characteristic qualities and attributes of the great masters and the different schools of paintings by sketching from photographs of the pictures studied. These five and ten minute sketches by young girls, the majority of whom have had no training in drawing, are remarkable for the vivacity and accuracy with which they reproduce the salient features of the great paintings. The students are of course given the latest results of the modern school of art criticism. In addition to the work with undergraduates, the department offers courses to graduate students who wish to prepare themselves for curatorships, or lectureships in art museums, and Wellesley women occupy positions of trust in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in the Boston Art Museum, in museums in Chicago, Worcester, and elsewhere. The "Short History of Italian Painting" by Professor Brown and Mr. William Rankin is a standard authority.

The Department of Music, working quite independently of the Department of Art, has also adapted laboratory methods to its own ends with unusual results. Under Professor Hamilton C. Macdougall, the head of the department, and Associate Professor Clarence G. Hamilton, courses in musical interpretation have been developed in connection with the courses in practical music. The first-year class, meeting once a week, listens to an anonymous musical selection played by one of its members, and must decide by internal evidence-such as simple cadences, harmonic figuration as applied to the accompaniment and other characteristics-upon the school of the composer, and biographical data. The analysis of the musical selection and the reasons for her decision are set down in her notebook by the listening student. The second-year class concerns itself with "the thematic and polyphonic melody, the larger forms, harmony in its aesthetic bearings, the aesthetic effects of the more complicated rhythms, comparative criticism and the various schools of composition."

These valuable contributions to method and scope in the study of the History of Art and the History of Music are original with Wellesley, and are distinctly a part of her history.

Among the departments which carry prestige outside the college walls are those of Philosophy and Psychology, English Literature, and German. Wellesley's Department of English Literature is unusually fortunate in having as interpreters of the great literature of England a group of women of letters of established reputation. What Longfellow, Lowell, Norton, were to the Harvard of their day, Katharine Lee Bates, Vida D. Scudder, Sophie Jewett, and Margaret Sherwood are to the Wellesley of their day and ours. Working together, with unfailing enthusiasm for their subjects, and keen insight into the cultural needs of American girls, they have built up their department on a sure foundation of accurate scholarship and tested pedagogic method. At a time when the study of literature threatened to become, almost universally, an exercise in the dry rot of philological terms, in the cataloguing of sources, or the analyzing of literary forms, the department at Wellesley continued unswervingly to make use of philology, sources, and even art forms, as means to an end; that end the interpretation of literary epochs, the illumination of intellectual and spiritual values in literary masterpieces, the revelation of the soul of poet, dramatist, essayist, novelist. No teaching of literature is less sentimental than the teaching at Wellesley, and no teaching is more quickening to the imagination. Now that the method of accumulated detail "about it and about it", is being defeated by its own aridity, Wellesley's firm insistence upon listening to literature as to a living voice is justified of her teachers and her students.

Indications of the reputation achieved by Wellesley's methods of teaching German are found in the increasing numbers of students who come to the college for the sake of the work in the German Department, and in the fact that teachers' agencies not infrequently ask candidates for positions if they are familiar with the Wellesley methods. In an address before the New Hampshire State Teachers' Association, in 1913, Professor Muller describes the aims and ideals of her department as they took shape under the constructive leadership of her predecessor, Professor Wenckebach, and as they have been modified and developed in later years to meet the needs of American students.

"Cinderella became a princess and a ruler over night," says Professor Muller, "that is, German suddenly took the position in our college that it has held ever since. Such a result was due not merely to methods, of course, but first of all to the strong and enthusiastic personality that was identified with them, and that was the main secret of the unusual effectiveness of Fraulein Wenckebach's teaching.

"But this German professor had not only live methods and virile personal qualities to help her along; she also had what a great many of the foreign language teachers in this country must as yet do without, that is, the absolute confidence, warm appreciation, and financial support of an enlightened administration. President Freeman and the trustees seem to have done practically everything that their intrepid professor of German asked for. They not only saw that all equipments needed... were provided, but they also generously stipulated, at Fraulein Wenckebach's urgent request, that all the elementary and intermediate classes in the foreign language departments should be kept small, that is, that they should not exceed fifteen. If Fraulein Wenckebach had been obliged, as many modern language teachers still are, to teach German to classes of from thirty to forty students; if she had met in the administration of Wellesley College with as little appreciation and understanding of the fine art and extreme difficulty of foreign language work as high school teachers, for instance, often encounter, her efforts could not possibly have been crowned with success.

"Another agent in enabling Fraulein Wenckebach to do such fine constructive work with her Department was the general Wellesley policy, still followed, I am happy to say, of centralizing all power and responsibility regarding department affairs in the person of the head of the Department. Centralization may not work well in politics, but a foreign language department working with the reformed methods could not develop the highest efficiency under any other form of government. With a living organism, such as a foreign language department should be, there ought to be one, and only one, responsible person to keep her finger on the pulse of things-otherwise disintegration and ineffectiveness of the work as a whole is sure to follow."

Professor Muller goes on to say, "Now JOY, genuine joy, in their work, based on good, strong, mental exercise, is what we want and what on the whole we get from our students. It was so in the days of Fraulein Wenckebach and is so now, I am happy to say-and not in the literature courses only, but in our elementary drill work as well.

"It may be of interest to note that our elementary work and also the advanced work in grammar and idiom are at present taught by Americans wholly. I have come to the conclusion that well-trained Americans gifted with vivid personalities get better results along those lines than the average teacher of foreign birth and breeding."

Even in the elementary courses, only those texts are used which illustrate German life, literature, and history; and the advanced electives are carefully guarded, so that no student may elect courses in modern German, the novel and the drama, who has not already been well grounded in Goethe, Schiller, and Lessing. The drastic thoroughness with which unpromising students are weeded out of the courses in German enhances rather than defeats their popularity among undergraduates.

The learned women who direct Wellesley's work in Philosophy and Psychology lend their own distinction to this department. Professor Case, a graduate of the University of Michigan, has been connected with the college since 1884, and her courses in Greek Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion make an appeal to thoughtful students which does not lessen as the years pass. Professor Gamble, Wellesley's own daughter, is the foremost authority on smell, among psychologists. In her chosen field of experimental psychology she has achieved results attained by no one else, and her work has a Continental reputation. Professor Calkins, the head of the Department, is one of the distinguished alumnae of Smith College. She has also passed Harvard's examination for the Doctor's degree; but Harvard does not yet confer its degree upon women. She was the first woman to receive the degree of Litt.D. from Columbia University, and the first woman to be elected to the presidency of the American Psychological Association, succeeding William James in that office.

In the Department of Economics and Sociology, organized under the leadership of Professor Katharine Coman, in 1901, Wellesley has been fortunate in having as teachers two women of national reputation whose interest in the human side of economic problems has vitalized for their eager classes a subject which unless sympathetically handled, lends itself all too easily to mechanical interpretations of theory. Professor Coman's wide and intimate knowledge of American economic conditions, as evidenced in her books, the "Industrial History of the United States", and "Economic Beginnings of the Far West", in her studies in Social Insurance published in The Survey, and in her practical work for the College Settlements Association and the Consumers' League, and as an active member of the Strike Committee during the strike of the Chicago Garment Workers in 1910-1911, lent to her teaching an appeal which more cloistered theorists can never achieve. The letters which came to her from alumnae, after her resignation from the department in 1913, were of the sort that every teacher cherishes. Since her death in January, 1915, some of these letters have been printed in a memorial number of the Wellesley College News. Nothing could better illustrate her influence as an intellectual force in the college to which she came as an instructor in 1880. One of her oldest students writes:

"I am too late for the thirtieth anniversary, but still it is never too late to say how much I enjoyed my work with you in college. It always seemed such grown-up work. Partly, I suppose, because it was closely related to the things of life, and partly because you demanded a more grown-up and thoughtful point of view. It was a great privilege to have your Economics as a sophomore. I have always meant to tell you, too, of what grea

t practical value your seminar in Statistics was to me; it gave me enough insight into the principles and practice to encourage me to present my work the first year out of college in statistical form. It was approved. Without the incentive and the little experience I had gained from you I might not have tried to do this. Since then, in whatever field of social work I have been I have found this ability valuable, and I developed enough skill at it to handle the investigation into wages of the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Commission without other training. I am very grateful to you for this bit of technical training for which I would never have taken the time later."

Another says: "It is a pleasure to have an opportunity, after so many years, to make some expression of the gratitude I owe you. The course in Political Economy which I was so wise as to take with you has proved of vital importance to me. That was in 1887-1888, but as I look back I see that in your teaching then, you presented to us the ideas, the concepts, which are now accepted principles of men's thought as to the relation of class to class, of man to man. And so I feel that it was to your enthusiasm, your power of inspiring your pupils that I owe my own interest in economic and sociological affairs."

And still another: "I have had more real pleasure from my Economics courses and Sociology courses than from any others of my college course. Had it not been for yourself and Miss Balch, that work would not have stood for so much. For your guidance and your inspiration I am most grateful. I have tried to carry out your ideals as far as possible in the Visiting Nurse work and the Social Settlement in Omaha ever since leaving Wellesley."

Professor Emily Greene Balch, who succeeded Miss Coman as head of the Department of Economics, is herself an authority on questions of immigration; her book, "Our Slavic Fellow Citizens", is an important contribution to the history of the subject, and has been cited in the German Reichstag as authoritative on Slavic immigration. She has also served on more than one State commission in Massachusetts,-among them the disinterested and competent City Planning Board,-and the sanity and judicial balance of her opinions are recognized and valued by conservatives and radicals alike. Besides the traditional courses in Economic History and Theory, Wellesley offers under Miss Balch a course in Socialism, a critical study of its main theories and political movements, open to juniors and seniors who have already completed two other courses in Economics; a course entitled "The Modern Labor Movement", in which special attention is given to labor legislation, factory inspection, and the organization of labor, with a study of methods of meeting the difficulties of the modern industrial situation; and a course in Immigration and the problems to which it gives rise in the United States.

The Wellesley fire did the college one good turn by bringing to the notice of the general public the departments of Science. When so many of the laboratories and so much of the equipment were swept away, outsiders became aware of the excellent work which was being done in those laboratories; of the modern work in Geology and Geography carried on not only in Wellesley but for the teachers of Boston by Professor Fisher who is so wisely developing the department which Professor Niles set on its firm foundation; of the work of Professor Robertson who is an authority on the bryozoa fauna of the Pacific coast of North America and Japan; of the authoritative work on the life history of Pinus, by Professor Ferguson of the Department of Botany; of the quiet, thorough, modern work for students in Physics and Chemistry and Astronomy.

An evidence of the excellent organization of departmental work at Wellesley is found in the ease and smoothness with which the Department of Hygiene, formerly the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, has become a force in the Wellesley curriculum under the direction of Miss Amy Morris Homans, who was also the head of the school in Boston. By a gradual process of adjustment, admission to the two years' course leading to a certificate in the Department of Hygiene "will be limited to applicants who are candidates for the B.A. degree at Wellesley College and to those who already hold the Bachelor's degree either from Wellesley College or from some other college." A five years' course is also offered, by which students may obtain both the B.A. degree and the certificate of the department. But all students, whether working for the certificate or not, must take a one-hour course in Hygiene in the freshman year, and two periods a week of practical gymnastic work in the freshman and sophomore years.

Like all American colleges, Wellesley makes heavy and constant demands on the mere pedagogic power of its teachers. Their days are pretty well filled with the classroom routine and the necessary and incessant social intercourse with the eager crowd of youth. It may be years before an American college for women can sustain and foster creative scholarship for its own sake, after the example of the European universities; but Wellesley is not ungenerous; the Sabbatical Grant gives certain heads of departments an opportunity for refreshment and personal work every seven years; and even those who do not profit by this privilege manage to keep their minds alive by outside work and contacts.

Every two years the secretary to the president issues a list of faculty publications, ranging from verse and short stories in the best magazines to papers in learned reviews for esoteric consumption only; from idyllic novels, such as Margaret Sherwood's "Daphne", and sympathetic travel sketches like Katharine Lee Bates's "Spanish Highways and Byways", to scholarly translations, such as Sophie Jewett's "Pearl" and Vida D. Scudder's "Letters of St. Catherine of Siena", and philosophical treatises, of which Mary Whiton Calkins's "Persistent Problems of Philosophy", translated into several languages, is a notable example.

But the Wellesley faculty is a public-spirited body; its contribution to the general life is not only abstract and literary; for many of its members are identified with modern movements toward better citizenship. Miss Balch, besides her work on municipal committees, is connected with the Woman's Trade Union League, and is interested in the great movement for peace. In the spring of 1915, she was one of those who sailed with Miss Jane Addams to attend the Woman's Peace Congress at the Hague, and she afterwards visited other European countries on a mission of peace. Miss Bates is active in promoting the interests of the International Institute in Spain. The American College for Girls in Constantinople often looks to Wellesley for teachers, and more than one Wellesley professor has given a Sabbatical year to the schoolgirls in Constantinople. During the absence of President Patrick, Professor Roxana Vivian of Wellesley was acting president, and had the honor of bringing the college safely through the perplexities and terrors of the Young Turks' Revolution in 1908 and 1909. Professor Kendall, of the Department of History, is Wellesley's most distinguished traveler. Her book, "A Wayfarer in China", tells the story of some of her travels, and she has received the rare honor, for a woman, of being made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Miss Calkins is an officer of the Consumers' League. Miss Scudder has been identified from its outset with the College Settlements Movement, and of late years with the new service to Italian immigrants inaugurated by Denison House.

As a result of these varied interests, the intellectual fellowship among the older women in the college community is of a peculiarly stimulating quality, and the fact that it is almost exclusively a feminine fellowship does not affect its intellectuality. The Wellesley faculty, like the faculty of Harvard, is not a cloistered body, and contact with the minds of "a world of men" through books and the visitations of itinerant scholars is about as easy in the one case as in the other. Every year Wellesley has her share of distinguished visitors, American, European, and Oriental, scholars, poets, scientists, statesmen, who enrich her life and enlarge her spiritual vision.


One chapter of Wellesley's history it is too soon to write: the story of the great names and great personalities, the spiritual stuff of which every college is built. This is the chapter on which the historians of men's colleges love best to dwell. But the women's lips and pens are fountains sealed, for a reticent hundred years-or possibly less, under pressure-with the seals of academic reserve, and historic perspective, and traditional modesty. Most of the women who had a hand in the making of Wellesley's first forty years are still alive. There's the rub. It would not hamper the journalist. But the historian has his conventions. One hundred years from now, what names, living to-day, will be written in Wellesley's golden book? Already they are written in many prophetic hearts. However, women can keep a secret.

Even of those who have already finished their work on earth, it is too soon to speak authoritatively; but gratitude and love will not be silent, and no story of Wellesley's first half-century would be complete that held no records of their devotion and continuing influence.

Among the pioneers, there was no more interesting and forceful personality than Susan Maria Hallowell, who came to Wellesley as Professor of Natural History in 1875, the friend of Agassiz and Asa Gray. She was a Maine woman, and she had been teaching twenty-two years, in Bangor and Portland, before she was called to Wellesley. Her successor in the Department of Botany writes in a memorial sketch of her life:

"With that indefatigable zeal so characteristic of her whole life, she began the work in preparation for the new position. She went from college to college, from university to university, studying the scientific libraries and laboratories. At the close of this investigation she announced to the founders of the college that the task which they had assigned to her was too great for any one individual to undertake. There must be several professorships rather than one. Of those named she was given first choice, and when, in 1876, she opened her laboratories and actually began her teaching in Wellesley College, she did so as professor of Botany, although her title was not formally changed until 1878.

"The foundations which she laid were so broad and sure, the several courses which she organized were so carefully outlined, that, except where necessitated by more recent developments in science, only very slight changes in the arrangement and distribution of the work in her department have since been necessary.... She organized and built up a botanical library which from the first was second to that of no other college in the country, and is to-day only surpassed by the botanical libraries of a few of our great universities."

Fortunately the botanical library and the laboratories were housed in Stone Hall, and escaped devastation by the fire.

Professor Hallowell was the first woman to be admitted to the botanical lectures and laboratories of the University of Berlin. She "was not a productive scholar", again we quote from Professor Ferguson, "as that term is now used, and hence her gifts and her achievements are but little known to the botanists of to-day. She was preeminently a teacher and an organizer. Only those who knew her in this double capacity can fully realize the richness of her nature and the power of her personality." She retired from active service at the college in February, 1902, when she was made Professor Emeritus; but she lived in Wellesley village with her friend, Miss Horton, the former professor of Greek, until her death in 1911. Mrs. North gives us a charming glimpse of the quaint and dignified little old lady. "When in recent years the blossoming forth of academic dress made a pageant of our great occasions, the badges of scholarship seemed to her foreign to the simplicity of true learning, and she walked bravely in the Commencement procession, wearing the little bonnet which henceforth became a distinction."

Another early member of the Department of Botany, Clara Eaton Cummings, who came to Wellesley as a student in 1876 and kept her connection with the college until her death, as associate professor, in 1906, was a scientific scholar of distinguished reputation. Her work in cryptogamic botany gained the respect of botanists for Wellesley.

With this pioneer group belongs also Professor Niles, who was actively connected with the college from 1882 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1908. Wellesley shares with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology her precious memories of this devoted gentleman and scholar. His wise planning set the Department of Geology and Geography on its present excellent basis. At his death in 1910, a valuable legacy of geological specimens came to Wellesley, only to be destroyed in 1914 by the fire. But his greatest gifts to the college are those which no fire can ever harm.

Anne Eugenia Morgan, professor in the Department of Philosophy from 1878 to 1900; Mary Adams Currier, enthusiastic head of the Department of Elocution from 1875 to 1896, the founder of the Monroe Fund for her department; Doctor Speakman, Doctor Barker, Wellesley's resident physicians in the early days; dear Mrs. Newman, who mothered so many college generations of girls at Norumbega, and will always be to them the ideal house-mother,-when old alumnae speak these names, their hearts glow with unchanging affection.

But the most vivid of all these pioneers, and one of the most widely known, was Carla Wenckebach. Of her, Wellesley has a picture and a memory which will not fade, in the brilliant biography [Carla Wenckebach, Pioneer (Ginn & Co. pub.).] by her colleague and close friend, Margarethe Muller, who succeeded her in the Department of German. As an interpretation of character and personality, this book takes its place with Professor Palmer's "Life of Alice Freeman Palmer", among literary biographies of the first rank.

Professor Wenckebach came to Wellesley in 1883, and we have the story of her coming, in her own letters, given us in translation by Professor Muller. She was attending the Sauveur Summer School of Languages at Amherst, and had been asked to take some classes there, in elementary German, where her methods immediately attracted attention; and presently we find her writing:

"Hurrah! I have made a superb catch-not a widower nor a bachelor, but something infinitely superior! I must not anticipate, though, but proceed according to program....

"The other day, when I was in my room digging away at my Greek lessons, the landlady brings in three visiting cards, remarking that the three ladies who wish to see me are in the reception room. I look at the cards and read: Miss Alice Freeman, President (in German, Rector Magnificus) of Wellesley College; Mrs. Durant, Treasurer; and Miss Denio, Professor of German Literature at Wellesley College (Wellesley, you must know, is the largest and most magnificent of all the women's colleges in the United States). I immediately comprehended that these were three lions (grosse Tiere), and I began to have curious presentiments. Fortunately, I was in correct dress, so that I could rush down into our elegant reception room. Here I made a solemn bow, the three ladies returning the compliment. The president, a lady who must be a good deal younger than myself, a real Ph.D. (of Philosophy and History), told me that she had heard of me and therefore wished to see me in regard to a vacancy at Wellesley College, which, according to the statutes, must not be filled by a man so long as a woman could be procured. The woman she was looking for must be able, she said, to give lectures on German Literature in German, and to expound the works of German writers thoroughly; she would engage me for this position, she added, if she found that I was the right person for it.

"I was dumfounded at the mere suggestion of this gift of Heaven coming to me, for I had heard so many beautiful things about Wellesley that the idea of possibly getting a position there totally dazed me. Summoning up courage, however, I controlled my wild joy, and pulling myself together with determination, I gave the ladies the desired account of my studies, my journalistic work, etc., whereupon the president informed me that she would attend my class the next day."

The ordeal was successfully passed, and the position of "head teacher in the German Department at Wellesley" was immediately offered her. "Now you think, I suppose, that I fell round the necks of those angels of joy! I didn't though!" she blithely writes. But she agreed to visit Wellesley, and her description of this visit gives us old College Hall in a new light.

"The place in itself is so beautiful that we could hardly realize its being merely a school. The Royal Palace in Berlin is small compared to the main building, which in length and stateliness of appearance surpasses even the great Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The entrance hall is decorated with magnificent palms, with valuable paintings, and choice statuary. The walls in all the corridors are covered with fine engravings; there are carpets everywhere and elegant pieces of furniture; there is gas, steam heat, and a big elevator; everything, down to the bathrooms, is princely."

Professor Muller adds, "Of course, she was 'kind enough' to accept the position offered, although it was not especially lucrative. 'But what is a high salary,' she exclaims, 'in comparison to the ease and enthusiasm with which I can here plow a new field of work! That, and the honor attached to the position, are worth more to me than thousands of dollars. I am to be a regular grosses Tier now myself,-what fun, after having been a beast of burden so long!'"

From the first, Wellesley recognized her quality, and wisely gave it freedom. In addition to her work in German, we owe to her the beginnings of the Department of Education, through her lectures on Pedagogy.

Speaking of her power, Professor Muller says: "Truly, as a teacher, especially a teacher of youth, Fraulein Wenckebach was unexcelled. There was that relieving and inspiring, that broadening and yet deepening quality in her work, that ease and grace and joy, that mark the work of the elect only,-of those rare souls among us who are 'near the shaping hand of the Creator.'" And Fraulein Wenckebach herself said of her profession: "Every teacher, every educator, should above all be a guide. Not one of those who, like signposts, stretch their wooden arms with pedantic insistence in a given direction, but one, rather, who, after the manner of the heavenly bodies, diffusing warmth and light and cheer, draws the young soul irresistibly to leave its dark jungles of prejudice and ignorance for the promised land of wisdom and freedom." And her students testify enthusiastically to her unusual success. One of them writes:

"To Fraulein Wenckebach as a teacher, I owe more than to any other teacher I ever had. I cannot remember that she reproved any student or that she ever directly urged us to do our best. She made no efforts to make her lectures attractive by witticisms, anecdotes, or entertaining illustrations. Yet her students worked with eager faithfulness, and I, personally, have never been so absorbed and inspired by any lectures as by hers. The secret of her power was not merely that she was master of the art of teaching and knew how to arouse interest and awaken the mind to independent thought and inquiry, but that her own earnestness and high purpose touched our lives and made anything less than the highest possible degree of effort and attainment seem not worth while."-"We girls used to say to each other that if we ever taught we should want to be to our students what she was to us, and if they could feel as we felt toward her and her work we should want no more. She demanded the best of us, without demanding, and what she gave us was beyond measure.-It was courses like hers that made us feel that college work was the best part of college life."

These are the things that teachers care most to hear, and in the nineteen years of her service at Wellesley, there were many students eager to tell her what she had been to them. She writes in 1886: "What a privilege to pour into the receptive mind of young American girls the fullness of all that is precious about the German spirit; and how enthusiastically they receive all I can give them!"

In the late eighties and early nineties there came to the college a notable group of younger women, destined to play an important part in Wellesley's life and to increase her academic reputation: Mary Whiton Calkins, Margarethe Muller, Adeline B. Hawes, the able head of the Department of Latin, Katharine M. Edwards, of the Department of Greek, Sophie de Chantal Hart, of the Department of English Composition, Vida D. Scudder, Margaret Sherwood, and Sophie Jewett, of the Department of English Literature. In the autumn of 1909, Sophie Jewett died, and never has the college been stirred to more intimate and personal grief. So many poets, so many scholars, are not lovable; but this scholar-poet quickened every heart to love her. To live in her house, to sit at her table, to listen to her "cadenced voice" in the classrooms, were privileges which those who shared them will never forget. Her colleague, Professor Scudder, speaking at the memorial service in the College Chapel, said:

"We shall long rejoice to dwell on the ministry of love that was hers to exercise in so rare a measure, through her unerring and reverent discernment of all finest aspects of beauty; on her sensitive allegiance to truth; on the fine reticence of her imaginative passion; on that heavenly sympathy and selflessness of hers, a selflessness so deep that it bore no trace of effort or resolute purpose, but was simply the natural instinct of the soul....

"Let us give thanks, then, for all her noble and delicate powers; for her all-controlling Christianity; for her subtle rectitude of intellectual and spiritual vision; for her swift ardor for all high causes and great dreams; for that unbounded tenderness toward youth, that firm and steady standard of scholarship, that central hunger for truth, which gave high quality to her teaching, and which during twenty years have been at the service of Wellesley College and of the Department of English Literature."

This very giving of herself to the claims of the college hampered, to a certain extent, her poetic creativeness; the volumes that she has left are as few as they are precious, every one "a pearl." Speaking of these poems, Miss Scudder says: "And in her own verse,-do we not catch to a strange degree, hushed echoes of heavenly music? These lyrics are not wholly of the earth: they vibrate subtly with what I can only call the sense of the Eternal. How beautiful, how consoling, that her last book should have been that translation, such as only one who was at once true poet and true scholar could have made, of the sweetest medieval elegy 'The Pearl'!" And Miss Bates, in her preface to the posthumous volume of "Folk-Ballads of Southern Europe", illumines for us the scholarship which went into these close and sympathetic translations:

"For the Roumanian ballads, although she pored over the originals, she had to depend, in the main, upon French translation, which was usually available, too, for the Gascon and Breton. Italian, which she knew well, guided her through obscure dialects of Italy and Sicily, but Castilian, Portuguese, and Catalan she puzzled out for herself with such natural insight that the experts to whom these translations have been submitted found hardly a word to change. 'After all,' as she herself wrote, 'ballads are simple things, and require, as a rule, but a limited vocabulary, though a peculiarly idiomatic one.'"

Not the least poetic of her books, although it is written in prose, is the delicate interpretation of St. Francis, written for children and called "God's Troubadour."

"Erect, serene, she came and went

On her high task of beauty bent.

For us who knew, nor can forget,

The echoes of her laughter yet

Make sudden music in the halls."

["In Memoriam: Sophie Jewett." A poem by Margaret Sherwood,

Wellesley College News, May 1, 1913.]

In 1913, Madame Colin, who had served the college as head of the Department of French since 1905, died during the spring recess after a three days' illness. Madame Colin had studied at the University of Paris and the Sorbonne, and her ideals for her department were high.

Among Wellesley's own alumnae, only a very few who were officers of the college during the first forty years have died. Of these are Caroline Frances Pierce, of the class of 1891, who was librarian from 1903 to 1910. To her wise planning we owe the conveniences and comforts in the new library building which she did not live to see completed.

In 1914, the Department of Greek suffered a deep loss in Professor Annie Sybil Montague, of the class of 1879. Besides being a member of the first graduating class, Miss Montague was one of the first to receive the degree of M.A. from Wellesley. In 1882, the college conferred this degree for the first time, and Miss Montague was one of the two candidates who presented themselves. One of her old students, Annie Kimball Tuell, of the class of 1896, herself an instructor in the Department of English Literature, writes:

I think Miss Montague would wish that another of her pupils, one who worked with her for an unusually long time, should say-what can most simply and most warmly and most gratefully be said-that she was a good teacher. So I want to say it formally for myself and for all the others and for all the years. For I suppose that if we were doomed to go before our girls for a last judgment, the best and the least of us would care just for the simple bit of testimony that we knew our business and attended to it. And of all the good people who made college days so rich for me, there is none of whom I could say this more entirely than of Miss Montague.

Often as I have caught sight of her in the jostling crowd of the second floor, I have felt a lively regret that she was known to so few of the girls, and that her excellent ability to give zest to drill and to stablish fluttering wits in order, could not have a fuller and freer exercise. In the old days we valued what she had to give, and in the usual silent, thankless way, elected her courses as long as there were courses to elect; but we have had to teach many years since to know how special that gift of hers was. Just as closer acquaintance with herself proved her breadth of mind and sympathy not quite understood before, so more intelligent knowledge of her methods showed them to be broader and more fundamental than we had quite comprehended. With her handling, rules and sub-rules ceased to jostle and confuse one another, but grouped themselves in a simpler harmony which we thought a very beautiful discovery, and grammar took on a reasonable unity which seemed a marvel. So we took our laborious days with cheer and enjoyed the energy, for we quite understood that our work would lead to something.

But if there could be an interchange of grace and I could take a gift from Miss Montague's personality, I would rather have what she in a matter-of-fact way would take for granted, but what is harder for us who are beginners here to come by,-I mean her altogether fine and blameless relation to her girls outside the classroom. She was a presence always heartily responsive, but never unwary, without the slightest reflection of her personality upon us, with never a word too much of praise or blame, of too much intimacy or of too much reserve. She was a figure of familiar friendliness, ready with sympathy and comprehension, but wholesome, sound and sane, without trace of sentimentality. Above all, I felt her a singularly honorable spirit, toward whom we always turned our best side, to whom we might never go with talk wanton or idle or unkind or critical, but always with our very precious thoughts on whatsoever things are eager, and honest and kindly and of good report. And so she was able to do us much good and no harm at all. She can have had no millstones about her neck to reckon with....

Miss Montague used to have a little class in Plato, and I have not forgotten how quietly we read together one day at the end of the Phaedo of the death of Socrates. After Miss Montague died, I turned to the book and found the place where the servant has brought the cup of poison, but Crito, unreconciled, wants to delay even a little:

"For the sun," said he, "is yet on the hills, and many a man has drunk the draught late."

"Yes," said Socrates, "since they wished for delay. But I do not think that I should gain anything by drinking the cup a little later."

In January, 1915, while this story of Wellesley was being written, Katharine Coman, Professor Emeritus of Economics, went like a conqueror to the triumph of her death. Miss Coman's power as a teacher has been spoken of on an earlier page, but she will be remembered in the college and outside as more than a teacher. Her books and her active interest in industrial affairs, her noble attitude toward life, all have had their share in informing and directing and inspiring the college she loved.

"A mountain soul, she shines in crystal air

Above the smokes and clamors of the town.

Her pure, majestic brows serenely wear

The stars for crown.

"She comrades with the child, the bird, the fern,

Poet and sage and rustic chimney-nook,

But Pomp must be a pilgrim ere he earn

Her mountain look.

"Her mountain look, the candor of the snow,

The strength of folded granite, and the calm

Of choiring pines, whose swayed green branches strow

A healing balm.

* * *

"For lovely is a mountain rosy-lit

With dawn, or steeped in sunshine, azure-hot,

But loveliest when shadows traverse it,

And stain it not."

[From a poem, "A Mountain Soul," by Katharine Lee Bates, 1904.]

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