Frederick A P Barnard on the Education of Women, 1879-1881

THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF WOMEN.

 

 

On  the  Expediency of  receiving Young   Women  as  Stu·

dents  in Columbia College.

 

 

 

FROM  THE  REPORT  OF.  I879·

 

The condition  of the.College is now such as to  justify the  suggestion   of  the  question   whether  its  advantages should not be opened to young women as well as to young men.    This  question  has been  brought  to  the  attention of the Trustees  heretofore  by outside parties, and  the  reception  which it met has been such as to indicate  that  the minds of the  Board are not  favorably prepossessed  in regard to it.    There   has  been  hitherto,  however, no  room for considering it  upon  its merits ; for, whether  regarded favorably or  not,  so  long  as  the  College  was  confined within  its  recent  narrow. accommodations,   the  measure has been impracticable.    Not  that the admission of young women requires any considerable. provision of space great­ er than that which is necessary for  young  men only;   but that,  in arriving  at  and  leaving  the  building,  they need their separate retiring-rooms and cloak-rooms, and no apartments could be found  in the old building suitable for this  purpose.     That    difficulty  no  longer  exists.     The measure has become practicable.    There  can  be no ·harm in inquiring whether  it is not also expedient.

Many considerations  suggest  themselves which  make in its favor.    In:  the  first  place, there  can  be  no  doubt that,  among   many of  our  most  judicious  thinkers,  and possibly with  even a majority,  there  exists at  this  time a profound conviction that, in the interests of society, the mental culture  of women should  be not  inferior  in character to that  of men.    The  condemnation of that  kind of female  education  which  in  past years has  been too prevalent-in which  the  useful  has  been  made   subordinate to the  ornamental,  and what are  called  accomplishments have taken  the  place of solid acquisitions-is all  but universal.    The  demand  has  been made, and  its reasonable­ ness  has  been  generally conceded,  that  the· same  educa­ tional  advantages   should   be  offered  to  young   women which young  men enjoy.    But when the question is raised as  to  how that   demand shall  be met, there  is no longer found to prevail the same unanimity.

One obvious method  is to improve the female schools. Of such  institutions  there  are, and  have  always  been, a sufficient number ;  but the fault of  most of these  is  that they furnish the merely superficial and ornamental  education  of  which complaint   is  made.    Such  cannot   be improved except  by reconstruction, for their instructors  can­ not rise above  their  own  level, and  their  proper  level is indicated by the teaching  they have  been  accustomed  to give.

Another  method  is to create colleges for young women identical  in  form  with  the  existing  colleges  for  young men, embracing in the scheme of instruction  the same subjects  in the same order, and· conferring  ‘at  the  end of the course the same academic degrees.    Examples of this kind  of  institution are  seen  at  Vassar  College,  in  this State,  and at  Rutgers Female  College, in this city.   The objection to these is that  they cannot, or  at  least in gen­eral  will not, give  instruction   of  equal value, though  it may be the  same  in name, with that furnished   to  young men in the long-established and well-endowed colleges of highest repute  in  the  country; and that  it  is  unjust  to young women, when admitting   their right  to liberal education, to deny them access to the best.

In England   the  reasonableness of  this  objection   has been  tacitly  admitted   by  the  creation   of  a  college  for women in the vicinity of Cambridge, in which the studies are the studies of the Cambridge  colleges, and the  teach­ers are the teachers of the same colleges.     Girton  College has now been for a number of years  in  existence, and  of its success the  most  glowing  accounts   have  been  made public.     So encouraging have been the results of the  experiment  that,  more  recently, the  University  of  Oxford has been enlisted in  a  similar  undertaking, funds  having been raised  for  the  endowment  of  a  college  for  young women in the town of  Oxford  itself.     In  our own country,  Harvard   University  commenced,  six  years  ago,  a system  of examinations for women, held  periodically “in Cambridge,   Boston,   New  York,  Philadelphia,  and  Cincinnati,  by  committees   of the  Faculty   (the   candidates  pursuing their studies  at .home),  in  twelve  different  sub jects, viz. : English,  French, German,  Latin, Greek,  arith­ metic,  algebra, geometry, physics, botany,  physical geography,  and   history.

More  recently the  same  Uni­versity has instituted   a regular course of  college  instruction  for  women, to  be  carried  on  at  Cambridge  by the officers of the  University  on  the  same plan as at Girton College, or  at  the Oxford College  for  Women,  in  England.                                                                                   .

These several modes of solving the problem are founded on the idea that,  while it· is just that  equal educational advantages should be accorded  to young  persons of  both sexes, it is not expedient  that  the  two  classes should  receive instruction   in  common.    In our country, however, this idea is not  by any means  universally prevalent.     On the  other  hand,  in  more  than   half the  colleges  of the United  States  young  women  are  admitted   on  the  same terms as young  men, and  attend  the  same  instructors  in the same  lecture-halls  at  the  same  hours.  The  usage is more general in the Western   than  in  the Eastern  States. But we have two conspicuous  examples, the Cornell  and the  Syracuse  Universities, in our own State ; and  there is one in Massachusetts,  the Boston  University; and one in Connecticut, the Wesleyan.    Yale College admits  young women  to her School of the Fine Arts.      In the Michigan University,  which,  in  numbers  and  in  standing,   ranks among the  leading  educational  institutions  of the  coun­ try,  out  of  a  total   of  more  than  four  hundred  in  the School   of  Letters  and  Science,  between  seventy   and eighty are young women.    The  colleges of the  country, excluding.  those  under the control  of  the Roman Catholic  Church,   are,  according   to  the   latest   enumeration, three   hundred  and  fifty-five in  number.    Of  these, one hundred  and  eighty-three  are  open  to  students  of  both sexes.

In  many of  these·colleges the students are permanent­ly  resident,  separate   buildings   being  provided  for  the female  students.    The  SAGE College at the  Cornell  Uni­versity, founded  by the  liberal friend of education whose name it bears, is a splendid edifice erected for this purpose. In  others,  as  at  Syracuse,  the  students   of  both  sexes, with few exceptions, attend  at the college only; during the day, and out  of  class hours  reside at home  or  in  private families.  This arrangement  relieves the instructors of responsibility  for general supervision, and leaves no  room for  the occurrence of troublesome questions of  discipline.

As to the  practicability  of adopting  this  plan  in  our college, no  question  will  be  raised;  but  doubts  may  be -entertained as to its expediency.   It would be difficult, nevertheless, to  suggest  any reason which will  bear very dose examination   why it  should  not  be  adopted.    The admission  of young women into the classes would  not  in any manner interfere with or embarrass the processes of instruction as they are now conducted.    No  modification  of the arrangements of the class-rooms would be necessary. So  many more units would simply be  added to the number, and so many more names to the  class-roll.    In every scholastic  exercise  the young women would  be  regarded as the young men are regarded-merely as students.

It  cannot  be  denied  that  there  is, in  some  minds, a feeling  of  aversion  to  this  proposition  which  does  not seek  to defend  itself  by reasons, but  inclines  those who entertain   it  to   dismiss  the  subject   without   argument. This  is  probably owing  principally to  the  fact  that   the admission of  young women into colleges is an innovation upon   immemorial   usage.            The   spirit   of  conservatism never  fails  to  rise  up  against  novelties,  no  matter   how cogent the   arguments   by  which  they  may  be  recom­mended.   That  it is this spirit mainly which  opposes  the opening  of colleges  to women, rather  than  anything  inherently objectionable  in  the  proposition   itself, is  made quite evident  by the fact  that  no  such  opposition   manifests itself to the association of students  of  both  sexes in the  academies  and  high-schools with which the  country abounds, many of  which  profess  to  teach  the  same  sub­jects as the colleges, to the same extent,  and  to  pupils of similar ages, differing chiefly in the fact that they have not a determinate  course  of  four  years,  and  do  not  confer degrees in arts.

The opposition  to the  proposal which has its source in the feeling here referred to is no doubt   the  most serious of  the  difficulties in  the way of  its  adoption,  simply because feeling is not controlled   by judgment,  but  remains often  unchanged   after  the  understanding is convinced.

Objections  are,  however,  sometimes   made  to  the  plan which  appeal  to the reason.    Thus  there  are  those  who hold that the average  female intellect is inferior in native capacity to  that  of  the stronger  sex, and hence infer that the association of  the sexes in the  same classes will have· a tendency to depress  the  standard  of scholarship.    It is unnecessary  here  to  go  into  the  general  argument  upon

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this  point ; for it  is not  in  the effort to  master  those elementary  facts of knowledge-or principles  of science  which inform   the   material   and  the  instrument  of  early   mental  training that   the  relative   ultimate  strength  of  different minds  can be tested.    There  is in some intellects  a quality of activity, of quickness of perception, and  readiness of combination, which,  within  given  limits  of time,  is more than   a  compensation  for  more   slowly  moving   power. And  this is a quality  which observation has proved  to  be peculiarly characteristic of the female mind·.  Similar  observation, moreover, has pretty  well established  that,  as  a rule, girls  are  more  diligent   in  study  than   boys-a  fact which  has an important influence  on  the  record  of  their scholarship.

The  experience  of  institutions where   this  point   has been  practically  tested   proves,  moreover,  that   the  presence of young women  as members of college  classes tends to a result  directly  the  reverse  of that which  the  objection supposes, and  has the effect to raise rather than  to depress the average  scholarship of  the  classes  to which  they  be­ long.     In  regard  to this matter, the results  derived from a comparison  of  the  record   made  in  Cornell   University during  the  years  preceding and   the  years  following   the opening   at   that   institution  of   the   SAGE College   for                 Women, which  have been kindly  furnished  to  the  under­                          signed  by Vice-President Russel, are exceedingly interest­ing as well as instructive.

In  order  to  understand the  significance of  these, it  is necessary  to  bear in mind  that  in  every  college  a  larger or smaller  proportion of  the  matriculates of  a  given  year usually drop  off  before  the close, for a variety  of reasons, among  which  are failure   of  health,  failure  of  means!the disciplinary  acts  of  the   Faculty,  and  loss  of  position  in consequence of  defective   scholarship.     All  these  causes, except   the  last,  are   pretty  uniform   in  their   operation ; and, with  the  same exception,  the  effect of  all  of  them united  is  never very considerable.    The· variations,  then, in  the  total   magnitudes   of  the losses, when   successive years are compared  with each other, must  be  mainly due to the operation  of  the cause last mentioned,  the varying numbers who fail from deficient scholarship.

Now it appears that, at Cornell University, during  the years which preceded the admission of young women  the losses during  the  year  averaged  twenty-six  per  cent, or more than a quarter  of the entire number of  the matriculates,  per  annum,  while  for  the  seven  years  that  have passed since that date  the  losses have  averaged  only sixteen per cent  per annum.    During  this latter  period  the standard   of  attainment  for  admission  has  been   twice raised, and  the term examinations  have been made  stead­ily more and more rigorous.   Either  of these causes might have  been supposed  likely to increase  the  proportion   of losses, yet no such effect has followed from  both of  them together.    It has been added, in a statement  by an officer of the University recently  printed, that “these seven years have witnessed a marked  improvement   in  the  quality of the  whole  institution;” and  further-a very  noteworthy fact-that during  the  entire  period  “no young  woman has been dropped from the rolls through  failure at ex­ amination.”    So far  as the  experience of  this  institution is concerned, the evidence is quite conclusive  that  the ad­ mission of  young  women as students  into college  classes has the effect to raise  rather than  to depress the  standard of scholarship.

Another  objection  to the plan is found in the assumption that the course of study  prescribed in colleges is too severe to be attempted without danger to the delicate constitutions of young women.   This proposition has been elaborately  maintained  by  an  eminent   authority,   whose views have had a wide  circulation,  and  have to ‘some ex­ tent  impressed  the  public  mind.    So  far  as  these views are  founded  on  a  priori considerations,   they  are  mere opinions, to  which  the  opinions  of  other  authorities  no less weighty may be opposed.   So far as they are founded on observation of injurious results presumed to have fol­ lowed from overtasking   the physical powers by excess of study,  it  would  be  easy  to  demonstrate,   by similar  ex­amples, that the course of  college  study is too severe for young men as well.

 

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But  this  argument,  if  it  proves anything,  proves  too much,·   It is not  the kind of study which  harms, if study harms  at  all, either  young  women  or young  men;  it  is the quantity.            And  certainly, valueless as the teaching in many  young  women’s  “finishing schools” may  be, it  is usually heaped  up  upon  its  victims to an  extent  not  in­ ferior to that  which  the college course  requires.                      It is in­ conceivable that  the exer.cise of  the mind  upon the  solution  of  an  algebraic  problem, or  the  interpretation  of  a passage in Homer,  can be more. exhausting  than a similar exercise over the French  irregular verbs; or even so much so  as  the  confinement  of  hours  daily in bending wearily over  the   drawing-table,   or   drumming   on  an  ill-tuned piano.       The argument  of the objector, however, begs the whole  question,  by assuming  that  this is really the case, while  his  opponent   might   reply  that  if  he  has  proved anything,  he hastily  proved that young women  ought not to be educated  at  all. Of  course  no one  will contend  that  excess of study cannot  but  be injurious  to the  young of  either  sex.    If’ young women  in college commit  this error  they will suffer for  it, and so will young  men.    We see examples  of this  kind  occasionally in  the  youth of  our own  college; but  however we  may regret  these, we do  not consider  it advisable to discourage young  men from entering  college on  that  account.    Could  it  be  proved  that  the  studies taught  in  college  offer to  young women a more  danger­ ous temptation to excess  than those which  form the  substance of

the more ornamental  education they have been heretofore  accustomed  to receive, the  fact  might  suggest the propriety  of greater  vigilance to arrest this  tendency ; but  it  certainly could  not  justify us in  cutting  them  off from these so fascinating  studies altogether.

There  is  one  consideration   bearing  on · the  plan  in question which is  positively favorable, and is not without importance.’   The  presence of  young women  in  colleges is distinctly conducive to good  order.    Nothing is more certain than that the complete isolation of young men  in masses from all society except  their own tends  to the formation of habits of rudeness, and to disregard  of the ordinary proprieties of life.   No degree of good  breeding, no influence of social  refinement in the  family circle, can effectually secure a youth  against  this  danger.    It is this which explains the  frequent  participation  of  young  men in college in acts which in other situations  they could not be induced to countenance, and would even regard as reprehensible.    Any  circumstance,  whatever   it  may  be, which destroys  this  isolation, and  subjects  the  youth  to the wholesome influences which protect  his moral tone in the ordinary environment of society, cannot  but  be beneficial.   Such .is the  effect  of  the  presence  of  women  in college.    On this  point the  undersigned is able  to  speak with the authority which belongs to knowledge experimentally acquired.   As an officer of the University  of Alabama, it was his custom for years to invite the attend­ance  on  his lectures of classes of  young  women  from  a neighboring  female seminary, and  others  resident  in the town   of  Tuscaloosa.    The   advantageous   effect  of  this upon  the  manners  of  the  young  men  was a  subject  of common  observation, and  the results were so satisfactory that  the  example  was  followed  by  other  officers of  the same  institution ; so  that  scarcely  a day  passed  without the  presence  of  young women  in  one or another  of  the college classes.   These were  not matriculated  students,  it

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is true,  and  they  did  not  directly  mingle with  the  young men;   but   this  circumstance  tended   rather   to   diminish than   to  increase  the  influence  which  their  presence  exerted,  and  yet this influence  was very decided.

The elder Silliman, during the entire period of his distinguished career  as a Professor  of Chemistry,  Geology, and  Mineralogy in  Yale  College,  was accustomed   every year   to   admit   to   his   lecture-courses   classes  of   young women  from  the  schools of  New   Haven.     In that  insti­tution   the  undersigned  had an opportunity to observe, as a student, the effect of  this  practice, similar  to that  which he afterward  created  for himself in Alabama,  as a teacher. The   results  in  both  instances, so  far  as  they  went, were good; and  they  went  far  enough  to make it evident  that if the  presence  of young  women  in college, instead  of  being occasional,  should  bt: constant, they  would  be better.

But  it  is still objected   that  though  the  association  of young  women  with  young   men  in  college  may be  beneficial to the ruder  sex,  it is likely  to  be otherwise  to  the gentler.         The   delicacy  and  the  reserve which  constitute in so  high  a  degree   the  charm   of the  female  character are liable, it is said, to  be worn  off  in the  unceremonious intercourse of academic  life;  and the  girl who enters  college a modestly  shrinking maiden  is likely  to come  out  a romping  hoyden   or  a  self-asserting   dogmatist.                 Those who make  this objection argue  rather  from assumed  prem­ ises  than  from  any facts of  observation.   It  is sufficient to  say  that   the  experience  of   the   high-schools  of   the country  fails to furnish  ·ground   for  this ·impression;  and that  no such results  have been observed in any of  the numerous  colleges  in  which  the  experiment  has  for  years been tried.

There   is  another  and  final  objection,  less frequently urged  in these discussions  than  those  above  enumerated, yet  probably  often  in the minds  of those who do not urge it, which is founded  on the supposed  disturbing  influence which sentimental  causes may exercise over  the spirit  of study.    If young  people of  both  sexes  are associated  in the  same  institution, and  thus  permitted   to  meet  fre­quently and·familiarly, their  thoughts,  it is imagined, will be likely to be more constantly  occupied with  each  other than  with their  books.    An  appeal  might  here again  be made  to  experience  to show that  this  danger is exagger­ated.    And  it  might  be said with  justice  that  the  comparative  freedom of  school  intercourse  tends  far  less  to excite  the imaginations of  impressible  youth,  and  clothe for them the objects  of their possible admiration  with un­real  charms, than  do  the more  constrained  and  less  frequent  opportunities  of  mutual  converse  afforded  in general society.

But, however  that  may  be, the  argument  is inappli­cable to the circumstances  of  our  particular  case.    Here no opportunities for intimate  intercommunication exist at all.   The  students  attend  only during  a  limited  number of  hours  daily, and  during their attendance  they are con­ stantly  in class and occupied either in listening to instruction, or in the performance of their own scholastic duties. No  common  halls of  assembly exist, in which  they may’ gather,  either .before  the  exercises  of the day commence or after they are over.    From  their retiring-rooms,  which will be entirely cut off from every other  part of the building, the· young  women  will  pass directly  to  the  lecture­ rooms, and  at the close of  their  daily tasks will retire  in the  same  way.    Throughout the  entire  duration  of the college  course  they will  be  resident in their own  homes, and  surrounded   by  every  protecting  safeguard  that  pa. rental solicitude can provide.    If it is really desirable that the   educational   advantages   offered  to  young   women should  be equal to those which  young men have  been so long  permitted  to enjoy, it would seem to be neither  rea­sonable  nor  right  that  they should be excluded from the institutions where such  advantages   exist.     If it  is  not desirable, of course the argument  falls to the ground.

The  measure  here  under  consideration, should  it  meet with  approval, would   not  probably  be productive of  any immediate visible  effect.    Few  young  women  would  be likely  to  present   themselves as  candidates for  admission within  the  next  few years, because there  are few in this community who are likely  to  have  given  attention to the studies   required    as   preparatory  to   the  college   course.    But  after  that   period,  in a great  city like  this, a very considerable   attendance might   be  anticipated, and  thus  our  College   would  enter upon  a new  and  important field  of usefulness.

Whatever may  be  the  fate  of  the  present  suggestion, the  undersigned  cannot   permit   himself to doubt  that  the time  will  yet  come  when  the  propriety  and  the  wisdom of  this  measure   will  be ·fully  recognized; and  as  he  believes that  Columbia College is destined  in the coming centuries to  become  so comprehensive in the scope  of her teaching as  to  be  able to furnish  to inquirers after  truth the  instruction  they   may  desire  in  whatever   branch   of human  knowledge, he  believes  also that  she will  become so catholic  in her liberality as to open  widely her doors  to .all inquirers, without distinction either  of class or sex.•.

 [1880 Annual President’s Report]

THE HIGHER  EDUCATION  OF WOMEN.

 The  History  of  the  Movement in England.

 FROM  THE  REPORT  OF    r88o.

 

In the last annual report of  the undersigned  the ques­tion   was  presented   whether,   since  the   conditions   no longer  forbid,  and  a  growing  public  opinion  seems  to approve,  the  College  would  not  do  wisely  and  well  to offer its  educational  advantages to young  women as well  as  to  young  men.

The question  failed  to  attract   the serious  attention   of  the Trustees ;  but it is believed  that it  did  not altogether   fail to excite interest.    The  object of  the  renewed  mention  of  it  here  is to  submit  certain facts since  gathered  which show the rapid progress which in  recent  years  the  movement in favor of the  university education of young women has made, and justify the confidence heretofore expressed as to the future  of this question  both at home and  abroad.    The  movement in Eng­ land  is more  interesting than  in  our  own  country, not only  because  of  the  recency of its  origin  there  and  the rapidity with which it has gathered  strength,  but  because of the  extent  to which it has enlisted  the  sympathies  of the  enlightened   classes, and  the  slight  resistance  which it has· seemed  to encounter  in quarters  where traditional prejudices are commonly presumed to be strongest.

The  agitation  in favor of  the higher  education  of women in England was one of the concomitants and con­ sequences  of  the  remarkable   quickening   of  the  public

 

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conscience   in  regard  to education in general  which  commenced  about  a quarter of  a  century ago, and  has  been among  the  most  striking of the social and  political phenomena of recent  times in that  country.     It did not at  first  take   the  direction, and  it  is only now  beginning to take  the direction, of  a distinct  demand  for the admission of women  to  the  universities on equal terms  with men; it

 

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I                                    commenced  merely   in  an  outspoken  revolt   against   the superficial  and  purely  ornamental education  given  to girls in the  so-called “finishing schools,” and which was at the time  the best education they could get.    It was, therefore, a demand  for  the  creation   of  schools or colleges  for women in which the subjects of instruction should  be as substantially valuable   and  as  educationally  profitable   as those   taught  to   men.     The   demand   was  resisted   on several grounds : first, that  the average  female mind is not capable  of  grasping the  more  difficult subjects  of the  university  course; secondly,  that   the  average  female  constitution is  not  equal  to  the strain  to which the  severity  of such  a course  subjects the  physical  powers;   thirdly,  that learning  converts  women   into   pedants-vulgarly  called “blue-stockings “-so that  its  general   prevalence   among the   sex   would   destroy    the  charm   of  social  life ;  and fourthly, that  a woman  is not  a man, and  therefore, ex vi terminz; she  should   not   have  a  man’s   education.     The advocates of reform  did not neglect  to reply to these argu­ments,  but  they  correctly judged   that  the  best  refutation, which  could   be  given   of   them   would   be  a  refutation taking a  practical  shape.     They   therefore  established   in London, about   twenty-five  years  ago,  a  school  for  girls called Queen’s College,  having, like many of the American collegiate schools,  a preparatory department and a collegi­ ate  department, in both  of  which,  in  intention from  the beginning and  ultimately in fact,  the course  of  study was made identically the same as that  provided  in King’s  Col­ lege,  an  institution  established   more  than  twenty  years before, also in  London,  for  boys.    The  practical  test of the success of this experiment  was to be the ability of the young  women  trained  in it to pass the difficult examina­ tions required  for graduation  in London  University;  and it was the ambition and hope of the founders fo obtain for its proficients the same degrees which are awarded by that university, on similar evidences of  proficiency, to  young men.   That   ambition   has  been at  length  gratified,  the London  University having since r878 mad_e no distinction of sex in bestowing its degrees.

London  University  was founded  by royal  charter  in 1837, to quiet a troublesome  agitation on the part of Dissenters and Catholics for  the  abolition  of  religious tests at  Cambridge,  Oxford, and  Durham.    The  first  project for its charter was  introduced  into  Parliament  by Lord Brougham  as· early as  r825.   University College, which is its  immediate  dependent,  was opened  in  1828.    This university does not  teach, but  examines the candidates prepared  for graduation   by  University  College,  King’s and Queen’s Colleges, London,  the Independent   College and  New  College,  Manchester . (and  also, till  recently, Owens College of  the same city, which, however, among the last acts of the Beaconsfield government,  was erected into a university itself), Stoneyhurst  Co!lege, Lancashire, St. Cuthbert’s  College, Durham, and all other proprietary co!leges in the United  Kingdom, to  the number of thirty or forty.   Its examination  papers are annually sent under seal to the several dependent  colleges, where  they are simultaneously opened on the  same day and  at  the same. hour ;  and  the  answers  of  the  candidates are  returned similarly under seal to the examiners  in London.   ·These examiners are chosen from among the most distinguished scholars  and men of science  of the  age in Great  Britain, and have included such men as Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Hodg­ son,  and  Professor  Huxley.    The  present  list embraces Professor  J evons,  Prof.  Baynes,  Prof.  Balfour  Stewart, Prof. Fawcett, and Prof. Roscoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advocates of the higher education of women were not   quite   contented  with  an  experiment  like  that  of Queen’s College.   They were impressed with  the feeling that   the  educational  advantages  offered  to  the  sexes would never be equal until  not only the  subjects taught should  be  identical,  but  the  teachers  should  be-and should be known and acknowledged to be-of equal abil­ ity ; which was another way of claiming that they should be the same.   A step of progress toward this consumma­ tion was secured when, about fifteen years ago, what  are called the  university local examinations  were opened  at Cambridge to women.   These are not examinations for degrees;  but  the  examiners  being  university men, their experience  in  this  work ·naturally predisposed  them  to look without disfavor on such further efforts to  promote the higher education “Of women as might require their countenance and co-operation.   Such an effort was made a  year  or  two  latter  in  the  proposition  to  establish, at Girton,  in the vicinity of Cambridge, a college for  young women, ” designed  to  hold  in  relation  to  girls’  schools and home-teaching a position analogous to  that occupied by the universities towards  the public schools for boys ;” and  further, “to take  such  steps  as from  time  to  time may be thought  most  expedient  and effectual to obtain for the students of the college admission to the examina­ tions for degrees of the  University of Cambridge, and generally  to  place  the· college in  connection  with  that university.”    It was further understood, and was a part of the  plan, that the immediate  instruction  should  be given in great  part  by professors, lecturers, and fellows of the university and·its colleges, who  should visit the  new col­ lege daily for that  purpose.   The effort was promptly sus­ tained, no  difficulty having  been  found  in securing the assistance of a sufficient number of the  gentlemen of  the University,   an·d  the  college  went  into  operation  in  a building hired  for the  purpose  in  October,I 86g.   Four years later it occupied a building of its own, which  it has been necessary since twice successively to enlarge.    From the opening of the  college, up  to  June,  I 879,  eighty-six students  had been admitted,  of whom forty-two remained in  residence  during  the  ensuing  (present) year ; and  of the rest nineteen  obtained   honors  according  to  the uni­ versity standard-six in classics, five in mathematics,  four in natural  sciences, three   in  moral  sciences, and  one  in history;  and eleven passed the examinations  which qualify for  the degree of  Bachelor  of Arts.     In the examination for  the  more  recent  mathematical   tripos  o.f   December, I879, it has be\!n announced  that  a Girton  student  ranked as eighth  wrangler.

It  is only a  degree-standard   or  honor-standard,  how­ ever, which is thus secured.   The  degrees are not granted nor  the  honors officially proclaimed, for  the  reason  that the college has not as yet attained  the recognized connec­ tion  to  which  it  aspires  with  the  corporation   of  Cam­ bridge University.    Instead  of diplomas  the college gives to  its  graduates  what  are  called  degree  certificates.    In the tripos examinations for  I879, two students  attained secon:d-class honors in natural  history, one a third-class in mathematics,  and  one  a  third-class  in  h,istory.   Of  the r gular  instructors  and lecturers  in Girton  College,  being at the same  time university  or  college  professors, lecturers, tutors,  or fellows in Cambridge, there are twelve, and in  I879  fully thirty  more  gave  occasional  instruction or special courses in their respective departments.

The  success of  Girton   produced   a  profound impres­ sion in England.                It did not satisfy but rather  stimulated the  zeal  of  the   advocates   of  the  higher  education   of women.         It was soon  followed  by  the  formation   of  a· “National  Union   for   the   Improvement  of  Women’s Education,”  embracing  among  its  members  many  men and  women  of            high      distinction   which  established   an organ for the inculcation  of its views, and  stimulated  the erection of girls’  schools  for superior  instruction in differ­ ent  parts  of the  kingdom under  the  direction  and  control of a corporation organized  for that  purpose.

 A  more  important  movement having  the  same  gen­eral end  in view, but  tending more  directly  to secure  ulti­ mately   to   women   not   merely  university  education, but education  in the  university,  was the formation,  about  ten years ago, in the  town  of  Cambridge, of an “Association for  Promoting the  Higher  Education of Women.”             In the  articles of association  of this  body it is set  forth  as its primary  object  “to  maintain and   develop   the  system  of lectures for  women   instituted  in  January,  I87o,  on  the subjects of the  Cambridge higher  local  examinations and in other  branches of  academic   study.”                       The  president  of the   association    is  the    distinguished  astronomer,  Prof. John Couch   Adams; nd  in  the  list of  its  membership are  enrolled    most   of  the   professors  of  the  university. Practically  under   this   association   the   same advantages were  offered  to  young women   at  their   homes  in  Cam­ bridge  as were attainable at Girton with  the disadvantage of residing  away from  home.                     In one respect  it  presently appeared that  these  advantages were  really greater; inas­ much  as the  professors  of  the  university began  very soon and  very  generally  to  open   their   lecture-rooms  to  the young women   engaging in  study  under   the  auspices  of the  association.                  In  consequence of  this, students  began to. be attracted  to  Cam bridge   from  a  distance ; and  for these  a modest  hall was opened  in  I87I, but as the  members rapidly increased,  a building was specially  erected  for the   purpose,   sufficiently   spacious   to  accommodate up­ ward of thirty,  which, under  the  name of Newnham Hall, was occupied  in  I87S·   This  building also was soon  found to · be  overflowing ;   and   accordingly,  in  the   spring   of  1 879,  it was  decided   to  erect  another, in  the  immediate vici  ity   of   the   first,  to   be  called   N ewnham   Hostel,which  will be  ready  for  occupation  in  October  of· the present year.   Though  N ewnham Hall was established for the accommodation of students coming  to Cambridge  to take advantage of  the  educational  opportunities  created by the Cambridge “association,” the  council of  the  hall and  the  association were  two  separate  and  independent organizations.  For  the  better  accomplishment  of  their common object it was resolved, during  the  yearI 879, to unite  the  two  into.  one  under  the  title   of  N ewnham College.

It is stated in the  prospectus of  Newnham Hall  that “the public lectures of thirty of the university professors are now open  to women, and  the  permission  to  attend the lectures of the  professors of  natural science includes the  privilege of gaining  access to  some of  the  natural­ science museums  and  laboratories.”    More  particularly, a letter recently received from Miss Anne  ]. Clough, the Principal of the college, states as follows : ” Our students are allowed to  attend  most of the  university lectures  in preparation  for the  natural-science tripos, and for the his­ torical tripos.    They attend some of the moral-science lectures with the men; and some lectures are repeated  for the benefit of  the women at a different hour;

” The women are also allowed to attend  some  of  the classical lectures, and others are·repeated.*                  The women. students have not been admitted  to any mathematical lectures.                         They study  by means of  private  help.            Some  of the  Newnham Hall  students  have  been allowed, by the kindness of university friends of  the  higher education of women, to  have the papers on the honor examinations in the classics, mathematics, the moral sciences, history, and the  natural  sciences.     Eighteen   of  our  students  have · come out  in  honor, and  there have been four first classes in this number  and eight second classes.   One was placed in the  first  class by two examiners  and in the  second  by two.

“These examinations are informal as yet, and  should always be so spoken  of.    But the papers are the  same as those given to the men, and are looked over by the  same examiners. ” No official certificates are granted  for the  tripos  examinations,  as they are only done as a favor.”

Certificates  are, however, given for the higher local examinations, which are held under  the  authority of the university  by university  examiners.     It is  plain that  mat­ ters are converging  fast  enough  toward  the  point where tripos certificates will be granted   to women  also, as well as degrees in arts.

Oxford  was nearly ten years  later  than Cambridge  in yielding to the steadily growing demand for the university education  of  women.    An association  for the promotion of  this object, formed  on the plan of that of Cambridge, was organized  in 1878 or  r879.    Its  scheme  of  lectures has been as yet in operation  only for a single year.    Two halls have been opened  for  the  reception of women  students,  the Lady  Margaret  Hall, of which Miss E. Words­worth   is   principal,  and   Somerville   Hall,  under   Miss Madelein  Shaw  Lefevre.   The  first is governed  by a supervisory   board,   of  which  the   Rev.  Edward   Stuart Talbot,  Warden   of  Keble College, is the chairman;  and the other  by a similar  board, under  the  chairmanship  of Samuel  William  Waite,  B.D.,  President  of Trinity  Col­lege.

As yet the women students   in Oxford  have not  been as  freely admitted   to  the  university  lectures  as  in Cambridge.   Miss Shaw Lefevre writes that “the  university professors have in some cases agreed  to admit women  to their lectures, but for the  present  lectures  are provided expressly for the students  of the association.”    And  Miss

 

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Wordsworth observes that ” the  students  attend  lectures quite apart from the men, though in some cases the same professor instructs them.”

When  the  instructor  is a university professor  or  lecturer, however, he does not  receive the .women in  his university or college lecture-room, but in a building  temporarily engaged for that purpose by the association ; the only exception  to  this  being  the  lectures  on  chemistry, “which,  requiring  a somewhat  elaborate  apparatus,   re given in the laboratory of  Christ Church College, but  at  different hours from the university lectures.”

The two great  and venerable universities of England thus illustrate the modern remarkable  movement  toward the higher education of  women  in two distinct  stages  of its  progress.   In Oxford we see the  movement  just  be­ ginning; in Cambridge  it appears  in  a highly advanced state of transition.         If from  these we turn  to  the  Uni­versity  of  London,   established  half  a  century  ago   in vigorous and  indignant  protest against the ,exclusiveness and  bigotry of  the  older  institutions,  which would  deny to half the men of the United  Kingdom,  to  say nothing of the women, the  adv\lntages of  a liberal  education, we shall find the movement in its final stage of accomplished purpose.  It is  now several  years  since University Col­ lege, London, opened its  doors  freely for  the  admission of women students ;  but  though  the  instruction  it  gave them was identical with i:hat given to men,. it taught  them altogether  separately  and  at  different  hours.         No  very long experience was necessary to  make  it  manifest  that· an arrangement of this kind is exceedingly uneconomical in  regard both to time and to labor ; or that  the  reasons which had been supposed to  make it  necessary or proper were without substantial foundation.   By the spontaneous act  of the  professors· themselves,  the  classes were  one after another combined, until at length there is no ‘longer any class in University College  in  which  young women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
and  young  men  do  not   receive· instruction   together.* The   university   has  been  as  liberal  as  the  college.   It examines young women  on  precisely the  same  terms  as young men, and grants  them  the  same  degrees.    In  the first  examination   of women  by  this  university  for  the degree  of  B.A.,  held two or three  years ago, one  of ·the alumna!  of  Newnham   Hall  of  the  year  1875, who  had attained  a second-class grade in the classical tripos of Cambridge,  and a third-class in the  mathematical  tripos, secured  the  degree  and  gained  along  with  it  first-class honors in Latin  and English.

This movement  in Great  Britain receives the approval and encouragement  of men in the highest station.    At  a recent distribution  of prizes at the Oxford  higher local examinations,   the  Archbishop   of Canterbury   expressed his great gratification  that opportunities  for instruction  of the higl).est order were now opening to all young women who should choose to receive it.

From  this  cursory review of  the  extraordinary  progress made in this movement  in England  during the  brief period of  the past ten years, the  conclusion  seems to  be irresistible that  the barriers which have so long closed the British universities against women  are destined at no dis­ tant  period to fall away, and that  perhaps it may be given to the present rising generation  to see the time when not university education  only, but the universities themselves, will be freely open to all without  distinction of sex.

Of  what  has  taken   place  or  is taking  place in  our own country  it  is not  necessary to say .much.   The  facts of progress  are  too  palpable to require· comment.    One or two points may be mentioned  briefly.   The  number of institutions  professing to give  university education, and possessing the strictly  university  power of conferring  degrees in arts, in the United  States, is very great, and more than  half of  them  admit  students  of  both  sexes  impar­ tially.                                                          It is common  to  dispose of  this  fact  summarily by remarking that  these colleges are in  the West.       To  a dweller   upon   Beacon   Hill,  very  possibly the  West  is. Breotia.    But  what  shall we  say when we  see  growing up, right under  the  shadow of  Beacon Hill  itself, a  university which admits young women  as  freely as Oberlin, or Antioch, or Berea?    And yet this very thing has happened in Boston within the past  ten  years.    The  Boston University numbers  for the present year in its College of the Liberal Arts  one hundred  and twenty-seven students, of whom one third are young women.

The  University  of Michigan  is a Western  university. It was founded more than forty years ago.   From  the beginning  it  has  been  among   the  most   prosperous   of American  educational  institutions; and  few have  gained a higher or enjoyed  a more  well-deserved reputation. Michigan University  receives women  as students,  but  it had  been thirty  years  in  successful  operation   before  it began to do so ; and when  it  began; it  did  it  under  the constraint  of a public opinion expressed through  the legislature  and  the   public   journals,  which  the  trustees and  the  teaching   body  could  not  resist,  and  to  which they  unwillingly  yielded.    Ten   years  have  passed since the  change  of system, and  the  university,  with  seventy­ five women  in  the  department of  Arts,  and  nearly  fifty in  its  medical  schools,  is  now  more   prosperous   than before.

In  May,  I879,  the  Board  of  Overseers  of  Harvard University   adopted   a  resolution   declaring  that  in  the opinion  of that  Board women  ought  to  be  instructed  in medicine by Harvard   University  in ·its  Medical  School, the  President concurring,  though  he has pronounced  him­ self strongly against the admission of women into the col­ lege.    Moreover,  under  the  gentle   urgency  of  some  of the ladies of Cambridge, several of whom are members of the families of the professors, a-Newnham Hall has grown up  within  the   heart   of  the   university  town  itself,  inwhich all the  instruction  is given  by  university  officers.

•                       It looks  somewhat  as  if   King   Priam  had  allowed  the Trojan  horse to be admitted within his walls.   There  are even  some  of  the ·garrison  who, if  all  things   are  true that  are said, are already disposed  to take part  with  the enemy.*

 

*There can  be little  doubt  that  the present arrangements at Harvard  Univer­sity for extending to young women  the educational advantages of  that  institution are regarded by  thoughtful professors of the university as only temporary,   Either the scheme  will be abandoned, which is not  probable,  or  sooner or  later   instruction will be given  to the young  women  in the same  class-rooms   and  at  the  same. hours as to the young men.     This  opinion  has  not been generally as  publicly  ex­ pressed as it is apparently entertained.   Yet, in an address delivered at the semi­ centennial anniversary of the  Andover  Female  Academy,  in 1879,  Dr. Andrew  P. Peabody, the  eminent professor of Christian Morals  in the  University, is reported to   have   used   the  !allowing language: “Every   professor   has   assented  to  the arrangement with  the determination to give to the young  women  the very  best  of their  ability.   Whether the young men and young  women  will  meet. in  the  same class-room is a question  yet  to  be  answered.   I  cannot mysel!  believe  that  the time is very !ar  distant when  they  will.    I can see no reason  why young  men and young  women  may  not study  and  recite  together  as  well  as  talk,  sing,  and  dance together.   The  reason   usually  given   why  they  should   not  is  purely   a  relic  of some  tradition, the reason for which has been entirely lost to the memory of man. When  we think  that  they  a.re to be together in the building,  the most innocent and fitting  of all associations would  seem  to be an association in the very  highest   pur­ suits,  next to their  eternal well-being,  in  which  they  can  be  engaged.   There is no reason  why association in this matter should  be postponed.”

And   Col.  T. W.  Higginson, a  distinguished alumnus of  the  .;allege,   who, though  not a member   of the   Faculty,  is  a resident of  Cambridge, testifies  from personal observation to the state  of feeling  existing   there,  as  follows:   u Some  of the Harvard teachers  already express a preference for  that  method  [bringing  together  the  young men   and   young women   in  the same  classes],  at least  where classes  are small  and far advanced; and  practice  will only strengthen this feeling. If a Greek  professor has  among his pupils  three  young  men  who  can  read  Plato at sight,  and  two young women  who can do the  same,  it  will  require  some  very strong resistance to prevent his hearing all  five at  the  same  hour  and  place.     In short,  the new plan at  Harvard is another guaranty that  the world moves.     It has a sincere  and  generous origin-the honest   conviction  of  the  committee that  the vast  resources of Harvard should  he  made  available   for  girls,  supplemented  by the desire  of some  who are parents that  their   own   daughters should   be  taught. The  sympathy of the professors is the result of the general  tendency  of  the  times, and ‘doubtless of  the  experiments  made  elsewhere, especially   in  Boston   University,”

 

Upon  this topic the undersigned desires to  add but  a single further  word.    The  movement  in  England  which it has been endeavored   to  describe was a  movement   de­ signed strictly and solely to promote  the higher education of women ; not regarding the consequent possible presence of men and women in the same school  as anything   more than an incident which for its own .sake was neither to be sought nor avoided.    In England, therefore, the term “co­ education”  is scarcely known ;·  for, considered as defining succinctly an object  to  be  aimed  at,  there  has  been  no need of it, since no such idea existed.    The light in which the undersigned  has always regarded this subject has been that in which it has been viewed in  Great  Britain.    And therefore it is that, in order that there may not  be  in  the future any such mistake  as there appears to  have  been  in the past in regard to what it is  precisely  that  he  has  advocated and still advocates in reference to this matter, he ventures to quote  here an explicit enunciation  of his views concerning  it, ·which  has  heretofore   been  made  public elsewhere, in the following words:

“All terms used as party rallying-cries or  watchwords should be descriptive  of the  purposes  of  the  parties  em­ ploying  them;   or,  if description  cannot   be  compressed into a single word, should be significant of the idea which distinctly  characterizes   the  object,  purpose,  or  measure which the party have in view.  If they  do  anything   but this, they will probably be misleading;  and such, no doubt, is to some extent the case in the present instance.   The term “co-education” conveys to many minds the impression that those who advocate the measure  it  denotes  are  laboring for the specific object, and  for  nothing: higher, or  better, or more worthy of attainment than the specific  object,  of bringing young  men and  young  women  together   in  the same schools.                            But this is so far  from· being  the  specific object of this class of educational  agitators,  that  it  is not in fact an object  with them at all.        The  thing which they do actually  propose to themselves is to secure  for  women opportunities for an educational culture  as large and liberal as is provided  for  the  opposite sex.        Since  the  only  insti­ tutions which  afford this culture have hitherto been mono­ polized  by men,  and since it is not possible, either morally or economically, to create  similar  institutions for  women exclusively,  we make  the  reasonable demand  that   women shall be  received  into   the  existing institutions.

Should this   demand   be   successful,   it   will   be,   of course,   an incidental consequence that  women  and men  will  receive their  education in the  same  institutions; that   is, that   co­ education will exist  as a resultant  fact, though   not  as  an object  sought  for its own sake.  Whether this fact will be likely  to  be advantageous to  those  who  may  be  affected by it is nothing to the  purpose.      Most  probably  it  will­ several  reasons suggest. themselves for  supposing that  it will-but, however   that   may  be,  that  is  not  the   thing which the advocates  of the  higher education  of women are laboring to secure.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

··-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    [1881 Annual Report]

THE HIGHER   EDUCATION  OF  WOMEN.

 

 

Recent Progress o.f  Opinion Favoring.

 

 

 

FROM  THE  REPORT OF   188r.

 

·  From   many  quarters,  during  the  last  few years, the anxious inquiry has been coming in upon the undersigned, Will not Columbia College do  something   for the  higher education of our girls ?     Especially  has this been the case since the subject was first brought  to the attention  of the Trustees  in the annual report of the undersigned  for 1879•

. Evidence  continually  presents itself  that  the interest  felt

in this question in this community  is deep, extensive, and

constantly growing.    It is, in fact, so ·generally felt among people  of  the highest  influence  and  culture  in  our  city that nothing is more rare. than to meet an  individual who does not avow it.    That  there  has been a great change in popular opinion on this subject  within a period  compara­ tively brief admits of  no question.    The  reasons for this are not very far to seek.                          .. ‘,..

In the first place, the logic of events ‘lias been operat­ ing  upon  many minds  with  a  slowly  wowing   but  ulti-. mately irresistible  force.         Most of  the  objections  which the proposition· to  extend   to  young women  the  advan­ tages of  the highest academic culture encountered   in the beginning· were  speculative   merely,  and  were  founded upon  hypotheses  which  the  unanswerable  results  of ex­ periment  have  proved  to   be  baseless.   No  one  is any longer weak  enough  to argue that  women should  be de­ nied  the educational  advantages  which  universities offer

 

34               THE  HIGHER EDUCATION   OF  WOMEN.

 

”                             on  the  ground  of any natural  incapacity in  the  sex  to profit by them.    Nor is it any longer contended  that the physical organization of women is too  delicate  to permit them with safety to  grapple with  those  difficult subjects

I                                        which are commonly supposed  to  require for  their  mas­ tery a severe course nf study long  protracted.    The  fal­ lacy of  this  line -of   argument  has  been _a,bundantly ex­ posed  by  the  signal  success of  Michigan,  Cornell, and

Boston universities, and by the  more conspicuously bril­

liant,  if  not  more  conclusive, results  of  experiment  at

Girton  and  N ewnham colleges in England.    The results

i.n hese latter instances have been more conspicuous, be­ cause the young women at  the colleges named have been subject to the same tests of attainment as .those presen te.d to the young men  of .the  University of  Cambridge, and have sustained  themselves with  honor.    Nor does it ap­ pear that their intellectual triumphs have been purchased at any expense to their physical vigor.

The  entire  abandonment,   however,  of  the  position that women ought to be denied the advantages of univer­ sity education on the ground of either mental or physical

· i.nferiorit’y is made manifest by the noticeable encourage­ ment given to  the  foundation  of colleges or universities for women  only.    Quite  a  number  of  these have come into existence within  the  past ten or twenty years, some of them munificently endowed, and  provided with build­ ings,  equipine ts,·  and  surroundings  which ·make  them extremely  attractive.    The course of study in all of these is identical with that  prescribed in  the  colieges for men: Such institutions, by the very fact of their existence, con­ cede all  that  the  advocates. of the  higher education of women  have· ever  demanded ; and  the  extent  to which they are patronized shows how completely the objections so long and so persistently urged against the feasibility. of the proposed reform have lost their force.

But while we may regard the creation of these special

I

 

-..

 

··-

 

 

 

THE   HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.                          35

 

institutions as something gained to the cause of  the high­ er education  of women, in  the  respect  that  they are;in the first ·place,. a visible. and  frank recognition of  the de­ sirability and propriety-of  the  thing itself, and  that  they constitute,  secondly, a  provision,  to  a certain  extent,  of the means of practically accomplishing the object desired; yet, when we consid«r that  our country has already some two or three hundred colleges  more  than are  needed  for the  satisfactory  education  of  all   the  young   men,  and young women too, for whom  such provision is necessary, we cannot but regret the mistake of that liberality which pours out its treasures  in  adding  so. unnecessarily to the number.                  Without  intending  the slightest  disparagement of the teaching in any of  the  certainly excellent  colleges for women m  the  country  at  this  time, it is certainly”al­ lowable to say of  it that it cannot  possibly compare with that  which  is given  iri  those  ancient  seats  of  Ieaining where, through  a long series  of years, have  been gradu­ ally  brought   together   all . the  appliances  necessary  to facilitate research  or  illustration  iri every department   of knowledge ; and where  the teachers are men of  celebrity universally recognized  as authoriti”es in  the wodd of sci­ ence or letters.           The advantage to· the “learner of  having his course of study directed by an instructor  who· is thor­ oughly master of his subject  is one which is not generally appreciated as  it should  be..  It  was a sagacious  remark of  the’ illustrious Agassiz  that  a young  man  may  gain more from coming  into contact  for a single  month with a man of really profound  knowledge of any subject  than he can  from  many months  spent  under  the  tutelage  of one  who  himself knows  but  very little  more  than  that which he attempts to teach.                But  such is undeniably the very moderate degree  of qualification possessed by many

. of the instructors in our minor colleges ; imd considering the small attraction  which  most of .those institutions  are

·able to offer to  draw to  them superior  talent, the  prob-

 

36                THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.

 

ability is  that  the  same thing  is true of the larger  num­

ber.

It is unquestionably  the case that a very large propor­ tion of the funds which have been so liberally devoted  in our country  to  the  foundation   of nw colleges, whether for men or for women, has been very unwisely bestowed. There  can of course be no possible doubt of the _sincerity of  the   benevolence  which  has  prompted  such benefac­ tions ;  but the instances are rare, at least in later years, in which the liberality which  has taken this  form  habeen productive of any real benefit to the public.     .From care­ ful inquiries mad,e in  past years by the  undersigned, and heretofore  published, it  has been demonstrated  that  the increase in the number of colleges in our country during the last half-century has largely outgrown the  increase of the population, while the average number  of the students attending  on them has steadily fallen off.

It is further   true  that  a  benefaction designed  to  ad_

vance the interests  of the higher education is vastly more effective for good when bestowed  on  an existing  institu­ tion  already financially strong  than- when  employed   in establishing  a  new one.    For  in the  latter  case, such  a

I                             benefaction,  unless  of  very  large  amount,  is  chiefly  or wholly· absorbed in the construction of  buildings and the

purchase of furniture and other objects which contribute nothing  directly to educational efficiency ; while the in­ stitution  thus set on  foot  is  afterward  left, with very in­ adequate resources, to  struggle on as best  it  can  in  the discharge of  its proper work.    A similar  amount  of en­

,.                       dowment added, on the other hand, to the funds of an in­

stitution  already well established and strong would be immediately and wholly available for purposes of a strict­ ly  educational  character,  such  as endowing  new  chairs of instruction,  or  making valuable additions  to libraries, or to collections in science, art, natural  history, or archre­

£>logy. To create a new institution  equal  in  resources to

 

 

 

\

 

THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF   WOMEN.                             37

 

one  already in  existence  could  at  best  but  double  the educational  advantages  offered  to  the  public ;  while  it. would be quite within bounds to say that the same means by which  the  second of  the  two is created, if applied  to strengthen  the first, would increase its usefulness fourfold.

The  colleges for  women  recently  established  in  the State  .of   Massachusetts  are,  probably,  all  things  consid­ ered, the best examples of their kind in the United States; but no thoughtful man can doubt that, had the money expended in their erection  been given to Harvard  Univer­ sity, with the condition  that that institution  should do the work  which  they  are  doing, the  result would  have  been far more advantageous  to the  people of  the State.    That there is nothing in the circumstances of  Harvard  Univer­ sity  to  prevent  its  doing  this  work  is  evident  enough without  discussion;  but if there had ever been any doubt about  it,  such. is entirely  removed  by  the  fact  that  the Professors of Harvard  University  are, of their own volun­ tary motion, actually doing it upon a limited scale at the present  time.                                     .

The experiment  of the so-called Harvard  “Annex” has

been  in  fact  one  of  the causes operating  to produce the remarkable  change  in ·public  opinion  in  regard  to  the university education  of  women  which  has  been  referred to above.           It  has shown how baseless were the apprehen­ sions  of those  who  had  been  accustomed  to  regard  the bringing together  of young men and young women in the same  institution  and under the same educational  tutelage as a measure fraught  with a multitude  of  riameless evils. It has shown  that  nothing  is more  simple than to secure the   realization  of  the  advantages   of  such  a  measure, accompanied  by  the  most  absolute  guaranty  against  all the  evils with which  the  imaginations  of  doubters  have alarmed  themselves. The  young women of the Harvard Annex do not mingle with the young men of the College, nor  attend  lectures  with  them  at  the  same  places and

 

I    ‘  f

 

 

 

 

 

:’

 

 

 

I’ :

‘i 1

I

i I

THE   HIGHER   EDUCATION  OF  WOMEN.

 

hours.     Such a separation, while it may be for  the  present a  necessary  concession   to  a  deeply  seated  but  probably mistaken  notion  of the fitness of  things,  does not  deprive female  students  of  the   benefit   of  receiving   instruction from  the same teachers  as the  others,  or of availing them­ selves of  those  important auxiliaries  to improvement, the libraries  and  the  collections.       There   is, as  this  example shows,  nothing  impracticable in the idea of carrying  on·a complete  system of university instruction for young  peopl of both  sexes in the same institution, and at the same time keeping the two  classes of  students entirely  separate.  . It was  upon   this  plan  that  University College,  London, as mentioned in the  last  annual  report   of  the  undersigned, commenced  its experiment; but the obvious disadvantages of  imposing  upon  the  Professors  double  work  Jed to  the ultimate  union  of the classes previously held separate, and

. more  recent   experience has  shown  the  change;: to  be· on

the  whole  advantageous to  both  teachers and  students:

· University  College   is  very  largely   attended..  It  has  a faculty  of  arts  and  laws,  and  a  faculty  of  medicine  and

· science,  besides  a  preparatory school  of  more  than  eight

hundred· pupils.·  The entire roll of its students for 1S8o-81 amounts  to   nineteen  hundred   and  fifty-five, ‘of  whom seven  hundred  and  eighty-nine are under  the faculties  of arts,  Jaws, and  _science.   Exactly  one third  of this  latter number,  cir two  hundred   and  sixty-two,  are women;. and

in  the   examinations for  honors   of  which  reports   have appeared  .during  the year in the  public  prints, these have been successful in securing  their  fair proportion.

The  example  of University College  has been undoubt­ edly  one  of  the   causes  affecting  public  opinion   in  our country favorably   to  the   proposition  to  open  our  own colleges to young women.    Still more powerful has been the·influence  in the same direction  of the  remarkable sue-

– cess of Girton  and  Newnham Colleges at Cambridge.    In a notice  of  these  institutions in the  last  annual  report  of

‘…

 

 

 

 

·,·

 

THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.                             39

 

the  undersigned,  the  prediction  was hazarded  that  they could  not  long  continue  to be excluded  from the en joy­ ment of all those university  privileges which have hereto­ fore  been  monopolized ,by men;  that  is to say, that  their students  would  be admitted  to compete on an equal foot­ ing with  those of  the regular  university colleges for. uni­ versity  honors  and  university  degrees.  This  prediction, in  its  most  important  particular,  has  been  since  verified even  sooner  than  had  been  anticipated.                         Early  in  r 880, petitions  numerously signed  began  to  pour  in  upon  the Senatus Academzi:us  of  the  university,  prayipg “for an en­ largement  of  the  university  privileges granted  to women, and fifteen such petitions in all  had  bee,n received  before the end  of  November:                                                The first of these, which was re­ ceived on the·I    th of  May, was signed  by no fewer than eighty-five hundred  persons.   The character  of the signers of  some  of  these  papers was such  as to entitle  them  to special weight, particularly in  the  case  of  one which was signed  by one hundred and twenty-three resident members of the  Senate,  and  of  another  whic;:h  received  the  signa tu;res of  five hundred and sixty-seven  non-resident  mem­ bers of the same·body.               The  prayers of these memorials were not all identical.    Some of them confined themselves to asking  that. the university  would  formally sanction  the admission of women to the examinations which  are  open to members of the university;   others  prayed  that  women might  be admitted  to. the examinations, and to the degrees conferred  according  to  the  results .of the  examinations; and·the  remainder  merely that  women might be admitted to the B.A. degree.                                                             …

These memorials were referred to a syndicate of which

·the  Deputy  Vice-Chancellor  was chairman,  which on the third  of December  made a report to the Senate, recom­ mending that  female students  who shall have fulfilled the conditions   respecting   length   of  residence  and  standing which  members  of  the  university  are  required  to  fulfil

 

40                      THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,”,

‘••

 

 

:I

 

 

 

 

 

, I

:”I’

 

may be admitted to the  Previous  Examination and to the Tripos   Examinations.           Also,  that  the  residence  required may be  kept  at  Girton  College  or at  N ewnham  College, or within  the  precincts  of the university  under  the regula­ tions of  either  of  these colleges, or of  any similar institu­ tion  within  the  precincts   of  the  university  which  may be recognized   hereafter   by  the  University by Grace  of  the Senate.        Further, that  after  each examination a class list of  the  female students who  have  satisfied  the  examiners shall be published  by the  examiners  at the same time with the class list of members  of the  university, the standard  in each  class  and  the  method   of  arrangement in each  class being  the  same  in  the  two  class lists.               And  that  in each class of  female  students in which the names  are arranged in order  of  merit,  the  place which  each  of  such  students would  have  occupied  in the corresponding class of  mem­

 

!

I

bers  of the  university should  be  indicated.     It was  also                              !recommended  that   the  successful  candidates  for   honors

should   receive  certificates   stating   the  examinations she had passed, and  the class and  place in class which she had attained  in each of such  examinations.   And  finally, that any student who  should  fail  to  secure  honors  should,  if her  performance should   be  ad judged  sufficient to justify it,  receive  a  certificate that  such  student   has  reached  a standard equivalent to that  required  from members  of the university  for the  ordinary  B.A.  degree.

The   24th  of  February,  r88r,  was  the  day  appointed

for   the   consideration  of   this   report,   and   as  the  day approached  the  friends   of  the   measure  were  not  with­ out   solicitude.     The   event   proved,   however,  that  their anxieties   were  without  foundation; for  when   the  vote was taken   the  recommendations of  the  committee   were

· adopted by a majority  of more  than  ten to one.*

 

*While this report  is  passing  through.the  press the following  paragraph has been  noticed  among  the educational ;news  items  in  the journals of the day.    It furnishes additional  evidence  of  the progress which the university  education  of women is making abroad:

 

THE  HIGHER  llDUCATION OF  WOMEN.                              41

 

This  liberal  action of  the Senate  has  placed  the wo· men  students   of  Cambridge,  for  all  practical  purposes, upon an equal footing with the men.   They  have the uni­ versity teaching, the  university examinations,  the  univer­ sity honors, and university certificates testifying to the proficiency required  for  the  degree of  Bachelor  of Arts. The  diploma  is all  which  remains to  be conceded;  and after  what  has  been  secured,  the   diploma  would  have very little additional value.    It will no doubt  be granted in time;  but the directors of  the women’s colleges are  so well satisfied with the results  achieved  that  hey consider

 

“The Uni’versity  of  Durham, England, has  adopted a rule  admitti’ng women to the public examinations and  the degree  of Bachelor of Arts.   The  University of Adelaide,  Australia, admitted  women  to  the  degrees of  Bachelor  and   Master  of Arts some  time  ago,  and  the Queen   has  now ordered that  these  awards shall  be recognized   throughout the kingdom as en titled  to their  full rank  and  precedence. Three ladies  have  just  been  admitted to the  Bachelor  of Arts  degree of London University.”

England bas four universities of old date, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Durham;

and  one recently  established, Victoria, at  Manchester.   Two of these, London and Durham, confer   upon women  degrees in arts; a third,  Cambridge, admits women to  her  Honor examinations; a:t the  fourth, Oxford, some  of  the  professors are beginning to admit  women  to their  lectures; and  of the fifth, Victoria, the attitude on  this  subject bas not  yet  been  defined,  but  it  can  hardly  be doubtful that   this young  institution will rank  itself  upon  the liberal side.

At  the same  time with  the foregoing, the. following paragraph relating to  the

women’s colleges  at Cambridge has  been  encountered, and  is of  interest as illus­ trating the  present tone   of  the  American press  as  to  the  question of admitting young  women  to the  privileges of the existing universities:·

“Girton and  Newnham, the  young  women’s colleges  at Cambridge, England, are  full  of  pupils,  and   the  authorities have  more  applications !or  admission than they  can  accept.     The  students go in carriages to  the university lectures.   There is not the slightest opposition to the colleges  among the  professors and  students oi the university-which is a !act  to be reflected  upon  by those  connected with the comparatively youthful American  universities which  become  so alarmed and  irri­ tated  over every suggestion of admitting women  to their  privileges.   The majority of the ladies  who have  been  educated at  the Cambridge colleges  have  become  suc­ cessful  teachers.”

The  following is  found   in  a notice  of the Commencement at OUJ;” neighboring Rutgers College,  New Brunswick, New Jersey, held  on  the   x6th  of  this  current June:

“The committee [of  Faculty] recommend ‘with  entire unanimity and  great

earnestness of conviction that young women of the proper ag!! and fitness be admitted to pursue  the studies of this course on  the same  terms and receive  the same degree as young  men.'”

 

J

 

42                     THE   HIGHER   EDUCATION  OF  WOMEN.

 

what  remains  as  hardly   worth   contending   for.      Miss: · Clough, the Principal of N ewnham College, writes, “For my own  part  I  prefer  this  arrangement  to  the  degrees. As students  must reside in Cambridge, the act that  they are not given degrees avoids many difficulties.”

Now this very substantial  triumph  of  Newnham  and Girton  colleges has not  been  unattended  with a very sen­ sible impression  upon the  public mind  in our own  coun­ try as well as in England.     This was made very manifest by the comments  of the American  press upon the  occur­ rence when the intelligence.was first received.    One lead­ ing  journal  of our  own  city  remarked: “It is  pleasant. and novel to read  the  comments  upon  the recent  action

. of  Cambridge  admitting  women to fuller  privileges.     It

has already had a remarkable effect in liberalizing opinion.                                ‘>

In the past ten years there has been a marvellous advance

in  popular  ideas  concerning woman’s  education.      Those

 

1

who have long supported  her claims to intellectual growth

may well be permitted  a little sarcasm over the blind prejudices of  the past.”    The same tone distinguishes  all the  notices of  this  important   incident  which  have been encountered  in the public journals.   In no instance which has fallen under observation  has there been an expression of disapproval, still less of what might ten years ago ]l.ave been very possible-contempt.

The press itself, indeed, which  here records the  grow­ ing liberalization of public opinion, has not been the least powerful of the  influences contributing   to  promote  this gratifying  change.   It is  a  noteworthy  and  very encour­ aging fact, that all the most widely Circulated public jour­ nals  of  the  country,  without  a known  exception, are in sympathy with  the movement in favor of the higher edu· cation of women.                                   Few of  them, it is true, engage  in a!). active  propaganda  on  the  subject,  but  all of .them .are ready, as  occasion  arises, with  their  words  of  cheer for those who are so engaged;  and  perhaps for that very rea-

 

 

 

-.-

 

THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF   WOMEN.                           43

 

son what  they  do  say has all the  more  effect  upon  the public mind.    By their  attitude  as thu.s displayed, if not by any  labored  argument,  they  powerfully impress, and lend  to the cause the  substantial  support which attaches to  their weight of character.    A few dispassionate words occasionally dropped  upon  any widely mooted  question, by a disinterested and respected authority,  are often more effective in determining  public  opinion  than  volumes  of eloquence  from  the· lips of the  enthusiasts who are sup­ posed to see  but  one  side.   And it  is  by such words of favorable notice, coming not from here and there one, but from all the  influential  journals of  the country,  that  the movement in favor of .opening the universities to women as well as to men  has been so commended to the popular approbation   that  its  propriety  has almost  ceased  to  be

questioned  in  any quarter,  while it  is’ continually finding

new and active advocates among those who had been pre­

viously indifferent or hostile.

 

The Ad?{ltssion of  Women to Columbia College Recom­ mended.-The time  seems, therefore, to  have fully come when  Columbia  College  should  feel   herself   urged  by every  motive  of  expediency  or  duty  to  do  her  part  in carrying  forward  this  noble and  beneficent  work.   The public mind is prepared  for it; a large number-it is be­ lieved a majority-of our most enlightened fellow-citizens eagerly demand it; the  members of our Faculty  without exception favor it ; our circumstances are such as to make it easily practicable.   If in any minds there are still objec­ tions  to  the  system which  elsewhere exists, under which young women are withdrawn from their homes to be gath­ ered  together  in  numbers  in  academic  boarding-houses,

. such  objections  can  have  no application· here, since  the

young  women  received  as students  at Columbia  College will still  reside, as  the  young  men  do  now, under  their parents’ roofs, and  \Vill continue to  be surrounded   by all

 

44                  THE   HIGHER  EDUCATION   OF  WOMEN.

 

the beneficial influences of domestic society.    If there are any who  except  to  the  arrangement   under  which, as  at University  College,  London,  and at the  Boston, Cornell,

.and Michigan  universities in this country, young men and

young  women assemble to receive instruction in the same class-rooms and at the same hours, their scruples may be re!lloved by adopting here the plan of the  Harvard  “An­ nex,” and holding the exercises for the two classes of stu­

·dents separately.    The   Faculty  of the College are  ready                            1

i

for  either  plan, although  the second  would  impose  upon

them a very unnecessary  increase of labor.       Indeed, they are  more than ready, for there can be no doubt  that  they are  prepared, and  are  quite disposed, if  necessary, to or­ ganize a scheme  for the  instruction  of women  in all the subjects  of  the  college  course, independently   altogether· of the Board of Trustees; and they would do so, could  a committee   of  citizens  be  found   here, as at  Cambridge, willing to attend  to the  necessary business arrangements, and  to provide rooms  for the exercises  near  the College, should the use of  the College class-rooms be denied them for  the  purpose.                                  Such a scheme  has  been  a  subject  of conversation   among  members  of  the  Faculty  on  many occasions during  the  past  year;  and it may probably  be

-carried into effect at  no distant  day, unless  the  occasion

for it shall cease to exist, in consequence of the admission of women as students to the College itself.*

When   this  subject  was’ first  brought  to the notice of the  Trustees,  in  1879, it  failed  to  be  taken  into  serious consideration; yet  it is known  that  the  proposition  was not unfavorably  regar.ded by some members of the Board,

 

* This  statement  requires  qualification.     It was  founded  on  impressions de rived from conversations, and from the actual  practice of  some  of the professors,

<>f admitting to their lectures women in small numbers (of course not matriculates),

:some of whom hav:e occasionally continued  in regular attendance  throughout an

-entire session.     It appears,  however,   that  some  professors who  have  done  this ocannot be counted as favoring  the practice, and that opinions among the members

<>f the Faculty are at present divided.

 

 

 

THE   HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.                            45

 

and it is not  believed  that  any were  unalterably opposed to it on principle.         Whatever objections  may  have  been entertained  in regard to it are  believed to have  related to matters of  detail, such  as  the  construction  of ·our  build­ ings and  the capacity  of  our  lecture-room,   rather  than to considerations of a more serious nature.          It is believed, however, and  it  can  be easily proved, that  all such  sup­ posed  difficulties are  imaginary,  and  that  the  proposed measure  can  be carried  into  effect without  the  slightest inconvenience.

In the first mention  of  the  subject, in  the  report  of the year  above  named, the  opinion  was expressed  that, even in case of an immediately favorable action by the Trus­ tees, some  years  must  elapse  before  any  considerable number of young women  would be  prepared  to  take  ad­ vantage of the opportunities thus opened to them.                          Such an opinion would not be justified  by  the  state  of  things existing at the present time.                The undersigned has reason to believe that within the  past  two  years  the  number  of young women who have turned  their attention  to classical studies has greatly increased ; and that there are now  not a few of suitable age in  our  city  who  are  so  well  up  in their  Latin   and  Greethat  they  could  probably  pass without         difficulty   the             entrance    examinations.                     It       is believed, therefore, that  the  consequence  of  opening  the College to the admission of women would be an early and very  material  increase  in  the  number  of  our  students; which would  be  attended   with  an  augmentation   of the revenue  from  tuition  fees, amounting   in  the   course  of about four years to  not  less  than ten  and probably more than fifteen thousand  dollars per annum.

The measure proposed is therefore  recommended  not

. only  by the consideration  that it is right in itself and that it will greatly increase the  usefulness of  the  College, but also because it will be  advantageous  financially.    And  it has the further  recommendation that,  being  in  the  direc-

 

46                   THE  HIGHER  EDUCATION OF  WOMEN.

 

tion of manifest destiny,  to accept it promptly  would be a graceful act ; while to lag behind the spirit  of the  age  in regard to it would be only to be coerced  after  all into accepting  it at last, ungracefully.

–    In conclu?ion on this subject the undersigned can only

repeat the conviction  expressed in his former report,  that the question here considered is in this institution  only a question  of  time ; and  that,   whatever  may  happen  this year  or  the   next,  Columbia  College  will yet  open  her

-doors  widely  enough   to  receive  all earnest  and  honest

seekers after knowledge,  without  any  distinction  of  class or sex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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