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Semi-centennial history of the Illinois State Normal University, 1857-1907 online

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The Reference library was really the foundation of our
present library. It is interesting to note that it contained 33
copies of Lippincott's Universal Gazetteer.

The Society libraries rank next because of their influence
upon the development of library conditions in the University.
Each society was presented with a "School District Library,"
and friends made further contributions. The lists included
choice books that are still on our shelves.

The Public Document collection was from Senators S. A.
Douglas and Lyman Trumbull, and from Hon. Owen Love-
joy, who made the library a depository library. The appoint-
ment continued until 1861.

Of the extensive Textbook library, more than half had
been purchased, and free textbooks were supplied for use in
the school rooms until about 1870. Very few of those old
textbooks are now in existence.

The sixth library was brought by the Illinois Natural His-
tory Society in 1860, and consisted of 500 valuable scientific:


works. It remained in the same rooms, constantly increasing
in size and value and always open to the school, for nearly a
quarter of a century.

In the sixties library expenditures were small; but it was
during that time that the Reference library was established in
the east hallway of the second floor. By 1873 it numbered
1,000 volumes, and Dr. Edwards introduced student librarians.
The first to fill this position were J. P. Hodge, Emma J. Con-
able, and J. Lawson Wright.

In 1877, Senator Oglesby again appointed the library as a
depository for public documents, and this still continues.

Dr. Hewett made more room by separating the miscellane-
ous books from those of a strictly reference character, and
placing them in a class room on the first floor. Here the cases
were unlocked after school, by a student librarian, for three-
quarters of an hour a day. The Society libraries, now well
grown and popular, were open once a week at society meet-
ings. By 1885, the Natural History library consisted chiefly
of that part of the former collection that was adapted to the
requirements of the Normal University. The school library
increased slowly, heads of departments began to ask for spe-
cial appropriations, and several departmental libraries devel-
oped, notably an increase of the Natural History library and
a choice collection for the department of History and Geog-

At the Board meeting of June 26, 1889, Dr. Hewett re-
ported that it was "The general feeling of the faculty that the
library might be much more useful if we could employ a per-
manent librarian." The societies offered their libraries to
the University, if a suitable room could be provided, a perma-
nent librarian employed, the books cataloged, and the society
collections kept by themselves. The Board formed a library
committee, took the subject under consideration, and seven
months later Miss Milner was called to catalog and classify
the library.

When Mr. Cook was made president, he promptly sacrified
the comfort of the reception room to the needs of the library,
and it was opened on September 9, 1890. It soon contained
4,000 volumes, including those of the societies and most of
the departmental libraries, but not the public documents. This
was the beginning of the present library system. Books were
classified and cataloged. Library hours were lengthened, and
students were given the freedom of the shelves and instruction


in the use of books. Student assistants were improved by se-
lection and instruction, and in 1891, Miss Milner was made
librarian. During the next few years several gifts were re-
ceived, notably one hundred dollars for choice literature from
Mrs. Young, ten dollars for biographical works from Dr.
Taylor, and valuable educational periodicals from Mr. Met-
calf's library.

While the system remains the same, each president has
improved it. Mr. Cook, beside establishing the new order of
things, stood for better housing. In 1892, the library was
given larger quarters and in 1898 it was moved to the gymna-
sium building.

Mr. Tompkins changed from students to a trained assist-
ant, and library funds became available for library use only.

In the last seven years there has been great progress. Mr.
Felmley is especially interested in advancing along lines of
practical utility. The library contains valuable publications on
every subject in the Course of Study and a great deal beside,
numbers 18,000 bound volumes, 9,000 pamphlets, and 3,000
pictures, and subscribes for 122 periodicals. It is open in the
daytime nearly all the year, and in the evening during the large
summer school. It has had several exhibits of pictures pre-
sented by railroads and other companies and illustrating scen-
ery and industries in the northwest, that have been a source
of much interest.

Beside other instruction, the librarian gives semi-annual
lectures on School Libraries, and has written a Normal School
Quarterly on the subject. The library is connected thru the
librarian with the American Library Association, and the Illi-
nois Library Association.

For fifty years the aim of the library has been to help fac-
ulty and students. Almost everyone connected with it has
shown this interest, from the Board of Education to the stu-
dent assistants. It has constantly been developed and im-
proved to meet increasing demands, and there is abundant op-
portunity for further improvement to provide for the ever
growing needs of the institution.


Among the men suffering heavy losses in the financial de-
pression of 1873-9 was Edwin W. Bakewell who, as one of the
original subscribers of 1857, had granted forty acres of land


to the Illinois State Normal University. In his original sub-
scription he had stipulated that the tract was to be used as a
ground for practical experiments in agriculture. In 1875
he requested the State Board of Education to convey the land
to his wife, Julia A. Bakewell, on the ground that no attempt
had been made to carry out the conditions of the grant. The
Board of Education contended that the original subscription
paper did not appear before the Board in 1857, but only a
bond for a deed which contained no such condition and that
consequently the stipulation regarding the teaching of agricul-
ture, being unknown to the Board, was no part of the contract.
Besides, the Board claimed its want of power to alienate prop-
erty placed in its hands in trust. In 1878 Mr. Bakewell insti-
tuted suit against the Board but without success. He then
took up the matter with successive legislatures and was sup-
ported by most of the prominent citizens of Bloomington. The
33d General Assembly instructed the Board of Education to
re-convey the land to Bakewell. This the Board refused to
do, claiming that the legislature had no jurisdiction in the mat-
ter. The next General Assembly placed an order to restore the
land as a rider upon the appropriation bill. Later, the friends
of the institution secured the re-consideration of the bill and
the removal of the rider. Finally, in 1887, the Supreme Court
decided the Normal University a private institution. Mr.
Bakewell in 1893 petitioned the Board for a restoration of his
land. The Board proposed to him to try his case on its merits
in any circuit court. This he declined. After a full investiga-
tion the Board decided that he had no just claim, and that it
could not in the absence of a judicial decree comply with his
request. Mr. Bakewell's final move was to enjoin the treas-
urer of the state from paying any funds to the Normal Univer-
sity on the ground that it is a private institution. By this step
he evidently intended to coerce the Board into granting his
petition, or else to put the Normal School "out of business."
The Supreme Court sustained the Normal University, holding :
"Normal schools are public institutions which the state
has a right to establish and maintain. The purpose of their
establishment is to advance the public school system and create
a body of teachers better qualified for the purpose of carrying
out the policy of the state with reference to free schools."



Under President Hewett the income of the institution
reached $36,200 as follows : Rent $350, tuition $8,350, State
appropriation $27,500. Four hundred dollars was received
from the State for a boiler house; $5,500 for extraordinary
repairs. The faculty increased from fifteen to eighteen.

The growth in attendance is shown in the following table :



Ending- Men Women Total Gradu-

June ates

1876 181 223 404 260 20

1877 ipl 235 436 22Q 27

1878 166 281 447 235 25

1879 150 237 397 252 22

1880 133 299 438 300 19

1881 179 302 481 295 23

1882 172 312 484 288 23

1883 166 345 511 362 45

1884 161 328 489 349 24

1885 156 346 502 352 30

1886 166 321 487 348 32

1887 187 392 579 387 38

l888 202 378 580 390 40

1889 192 443 635 445 2 9

1890 224 453 677 503 44

In June, 1890, upon the resignation of President Hewett,
John Williston Cook, of the class of 1865, was elected his suc-
cessor. The new president had as student and teacher been
identified with the school for twenty-four years. He had been
an active institute worker and was probably the best known
teacher in the state of Illinois. He was withal a man of extra-
ordinary ability, versatile, scholarly, and accomplished, a fin-
ished writer, an effective speaker, a man of affairs. He at
once began with characteristic energy to bring to pass im-
provements that had been talked about for a generation.


First he secured the erection of a Training School, 80 ft. x
85 ft., at a cost of $22,000. He next persuaded the Board to
sell the Jackson county lands and with the proceeds surrounded
the campus with a neat iron railing and made many improve-


ments in the old building. In 1895 he was organizing the
alumni to raise funds for a structure for society halls and
gymnasium, when the legislature made an appropriation for a
new building. This is a beautiful Gothic structure built of
Bedford oolitic limestone and contains the gymnasium, library,
museum, and science laboratories. It was completed in 1899
at a cost of $61,000.

A gymnasium had been recommended by President Ed-
wards as early as 1866 and at various times there had been
short-lived attempts to introduce regular instruction in phys-
ical training. In 1891 Miss Lucia Raines began to give two
lessons per week to the young ladies. The next year came
Miss Lucas (1892-1905), from the Emerson School of Ex-
pression. She divided her time between reading and gymnas-
tics. When the gymnasium was ready Mr. B. C. Edwards
(1896-1903) came from the same institution to assist Miss
Lucas, and after 1900 to take complete charge of the physical

To attract students from the high schools President Cook
in 1894 instituted a two-year course open to high school grad-
uates. In 1895 was provided a four-year course with Latin
and German for such students as were looking forward to
further work in college.


As a result of this energetic policy the buildings were soon
badly crowded. The growth of the High School, while an
occasion for pardonable pride, was regarded with some appre-
hension. In the various colleges and universities where its
graduates had gone the High School had won a high reputa-
tion, but it was of little direct service to the Normal School.
Few Normal students taught or even observed in the High
School classes. It is true that some Normal students were
taught Latin, Greek and German in the High School classes
and that the revenue from tuition of High School students ex-
ceeded by $1,500 the salaries paid the three High School teach-
ers, whose time was chiefly devoted to teaching these lan-
guages. On the other hand 44% of the total instruction re-
ceived by the High School students was at the hands of the
regular Normal teachers in science, literature, history, and
mathematics whose classes were already overcrowded, and
often suffered materially from the addition of the juvenile ele-


ment from the High School. In 1891 the Board raised the
tuition to $39 per year and limited the attendance to 160. In
1894, when the crowded condition of the institution was
brought to the attention of Governor Altgeld, he advised the
abolition of the High School, which was ordered in June, 1895.


President Cook was heartily supported in his policy by the
young and vigorous faculty which he organized about him.
David Felmley, a graduate of the University of Michigan,
who had taught with some success at Carrollton, Illinois, was
called to the chair of mathematics vacated by Mr. Cook. Frank
McMurry, recently returned from Germany, for two years
exercised general supervision over the intermediate grades.
In 1892 he was followed by his brother, Charles A. McMurry,
who, upon the retirement of Mr. Metcalf in 1894, became prin-
cipal of the Training School. With one year's leave of absence
he continued in this position until 1899. The subsequent ca-
reers of .these brothers is too well known to need mention here.
Their work was ably seconded by Mrs. Lida Brown McMurry,
primary critic (1891-1900), whose kindly and sympathetic
helpfulness has cheered the souls of hundreds of young teach-
ers. In 1891, O. L. Manchester, a graduate of Dartmouth, be-
came principal of the High School. In 1895 he was transferred
to the Normal Department as teacher of the ancient languages.
In 1900, Economics was added to his department. Miss J. Rose
Colby, a graduate of the University of Michigan and of Rad-
cliffe, assumed her duties as preceptress and Professor of
Literature in 1892. Charles C. Van Liew came to us from the
Mankato Normal School in 1894. In 1897 he accepted a flat-
tering call to Los Angeles and is now president of the State
Normal School at Chico, Cal. Manfred J. Holmes, a Cornell
graduate, succeeded to the chair of psychology and special
method in 1897. Twenty- four other teachers were appointed
during these nine years.

By the close of President Cook's administration the fac-
ulty had increased from eighteen to twenty-one members. The
annual income of the school had grown to $41,740, as follows :

Rents $390, tuition $6,350, State appropriation $35,000.
Eighteen thousand dollars was granted for Training School
building, $56,000 for gymnasium, $7,000 for repairs.


l8oi .










. 199



1894 .




189^ .

. 227




. 2"U



l897 .





. 292



1800 .

. 247




The attendance for the nine years is exhibited below :




484 40

540 56

491 52

449 54

487 55

257 59

212 39

205 52

211 85


In 1899 the Eastern and Northern State Normal Schools
that had been four years in building opened their doors. Presi-
dent Cook was called to the presidency of the school at DeKalb.
He took with him C. A. McMurry and Mary R. Potter. The
Board of Education called to the presidency Dr. Arnold Tomp-
kins, Professor of Education in the University of Illinois. He
had taught at DePauw and Terre Haute, and had distinguished
himself as a brilliant writer and speaker upon educational
themes. He brought into the school an element of consecra-
tion to duty, a singleness of purpose, a faith in human nature,
a breadth of philosophy, and withal a fund of humor breezy,
fresh, invigorating, whose tonic effects were felt in every class
room. Not that these elements were not already in the life
of the institution but they received a fresh emphasis, the
stimulation of a mighty impulse from a new and original

Dr. Tompkins at once moved to modify the course of
study. No year in the history of the institution witnessed
more radical changes. The recitation periods were lengthened,
and the number of permitted recitations reduced to twenty per
week. More freedom appeared in the school life. Attendance
was demanded only at recitations and at general exercises.
Spelling ceased to vex the soul of the student whose sense of
uniformity and whose abiding faith in the reign of law are
constantly violated by the absurdities of the English tongue.


The course was made flexible to adapt it to students of differ-
ing degrees of preparation- Natural science at last was given
a place in the first year of the course. A six weeks' summer
school was attended by 444 students.


At the end of the year Dr. Tompkins was called to the prin-
cipalship of the Chicago Normal School, a position made il-
lustrious by Colonel F. W. Parker. The opportunities offered
him were so attractive that he reluctantly gave up his work at
Normal. David Felmley was chosen president in his stead.

During the seven years of the present administration there
has been a steady purpose to develop the school along the lines
planned by Dr. Tompkins. The increasing liberality of the
legislature has made possible the establishment of new depart-
ments and the devlopment of the old.

In 1901 regular courses in music, including glee club and
chorus practice, were organized. Prof. Frank W. Westhoff. of
Decatur, was placed in charge. In the same year Miss Ches-
tine Gowdy. of Minneapolis, and George H. Howe, ex-presi-
dent of the State Normal School at Warrensburg, Mo., took'
charge of the grammar and mathematics. The geography was
placed in charge of Miss Mary Judson Averett (1901-04), and
later of D. C. Ridgley, of Chicago. The kindergarten, nomi-
nally established in 1898, became a reality in 1902, when Miss
Caroleen Robinson, of Saginaw, began work with a flock of
forty. About eight young women per term have served as as-
sistants. In 1903, Mr. William T. Bawden, of Columbia Uni-
versity, began his work in manual training and mechanical
drawing. The department has proved very successful and
popular. In the same year with the retirement of Mr. B. C.
Edwards, Miss Mabel Cummings introduced the Swedish Sys-
tem of Gymnastics. Now four exercises per week are required
of all first year students.


Two terms of elementary science for all first-year students
in the four-year course began in 1900. Beginning in 1902 a
school garden of two and one-third acres has been planted an-


nually by the students and pupils of the Model School. In
1904 the institution secured Bruno Nehrling from the Missouri
Botanical Gardens. A greenhouse completed in December,
1905, is a valuable part of the equipment- A distinctly agri-
cultural and horticultural coloring is now given to the work
in elementary science.


After the original planting of the campus by Jesse Fell in
1867-68, little was done for many years except to plant class-
trees, mow the grass, and remove dead or broken trees. In
1894 there was begun a systematic trimming of the trees. Use-
less specimens were removed. Considerable damage was done
thru the ignorance of workmen who removed some rare speci-
mens and trimmed the evergreens too freely. In 1901 810
trees remained. On the night of June 10, 1902, a violent
storm of wind and rain wrought great damage- Nearly
100 trees were totally destroyed, and one-half of the
remainder were seriously injured. The next year several hun-
dred trees were planted. In 1905 the buildings were flanked
by shrubbery. In the same year the old pond, originally ex-
cavated by Jesse Fell, was deepened, lined with cement, and
converted into an aquatic garden.

During the past eight years the number of teachers has in-
creased from 21 to 30, not counting nineteen extra teachers
employed in the summer school.

The annual income in 1906-07 reached $66,575, as fl~
lows : Rents, $675 ; tuition, $4,650 ; State appropriation, $61,-
300. The State has appropriated for a greenhouse $5,500, for
apparatus and improvement of grounds, $11,850; for repairs,

The attendance is shown in the following table :
















. 144





IQO2 ,












IOO4 .




e 7 6


loos .

, I O2

3 f)6



IQ06 .


1A \




1007 .

. I TO






In all, 104 men have served upon the Board of Education
of the State of Illinois. Many of them have rarely missed a
meeting. Successive governors have re-appointed the more
devoted members. Judge W. H. Green was a member of the
Board for forty-one years, E- A. Gastman has served 36 years,
P. R. Walker, 24 years, Mrs. Ella F. Young, 18 years, and
others for terms of nearly equal length. S. W. Moulton, one
of the original fifteen, was president of the Board until 1876.
Other presidents were B. G. Roots, the veteran educator of
Southern Illinois, 1879-83, George Rowland, superintendent
of the Chicago schools, 1883-87; W. H. Green, 1877-79 anc ^
1889-1902; E. A. Gastman, 1887-89 and 1902-1907. The
Register at the end of this volume sets forth the entire list.




In the development of the course of study of the American
Normal schools can be read the history of educational progress
in the United States. Their curricula have grown in obedience
to a conscious purpose to meet the demands upon teachers.
They have been the chief agencies in developing and dissemin-
ating a rational art of teaching. Our periodicals and books
dealing with questions of pedagogy have either originated in
normal schools or have found their largest market among
teachers touched by their influence.

The early normal schools were headed by great teachers,
such men as Cyrus Pierce, Nicholas Tillinghast, and David P.
Page. Their atmosphere was full of consecration and enthusi-
asm. Their method was the method of the text-book. Their
spirit was the spirit of hard work. Their classes in "didactics"
were chiefly busied with questions in school management, in-
centives to study, moral training, and the responsibilities of
the teacher. Their mental philosophy was a barren a priori
metaphysics, having little in common with modern educational
psychology. Their pedagogical philosophy was to split the
knot by repeated hard blows rather than by studying the grain
of the wood.

The Illinois State Normal University was a scion of the
same stock as the early schools of Massachusetts and New
York; altho planted in the free, vigorous, aspiring life of the
west, it grew along the same lines. Whatever peculiar excel-
lence it developed was due rather to the personal power of its
teachers and the energy and devotion of its students than to
any superiority in its course of study or its methods of in-


The course of study pursued by the 127 students who en-
rolled during the first year was, to quote the words of Presi-
dent Hovey, "in theory a review of the branches usually taught
in the public schools, but in practice it amounted to almost an
original investigation. At first came a drill on the elementary
sounds of the English language followed by reading and a
careful examination of the thought and expression of the
author. Parallel with this ran the course in mental and written
arithmetic; the construction of maps; descriptive, physical,
and political geography; English grammar; physiology; vo-
cal music ; and the theory and art of teaching. The text-books
furnished were entirely inadequate. Gazettes and dictionaries
supplied the defects."

This course was the ideal public school course of the day.
History had as yet found a place in few public schools. The
prominence given to physiology reflects the influence of George
Combe, Horace Mann, and other phrenologists. Vocal music
owed its high place to Lowell Mason, then at the zenith of his

Some students and many friends outside were chafing be-

Online LibraryIllinois State Normal UniversitySemi-centennial history of the Illinois State Normal University, 1857-1907 → online text (page 5 of 43)