Mary Caroline Crawford.

The college girl of America and the institutions which make her what she is online

. (page 9 of 18)
Online LibraryMary Caroline CrawfordThe college girl of America and the institutions which make her what she is → online text (page 9 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

introduced by Walter S. Page, editor of the World's
Work, after which Agnes ReppHer, Richard Le
Gallienne, Carolyn Wells, Myra Kelly, Seumas
McManus, Elene Foster, and others, read from con-
tributions of theirs about to be published in various
well-known magazines. It is a pity that no Mortar-
hoard comment on the afternoon is obtainable. I
am so sure it would be crisp and interesting.


In these days, when so many people are sorely
puzzled in regard to the best method of educating
girls, it is a relief to encounter a man who believes
with all his strength in the form of education which
he is himself directing. Such a man is Dr. John
F. Goucher, president of the Woman's College at

Doctor Goucher holds that the physical and psy-
chical differences between young men and young
women are so great, that their college courses must
be not only separate, but diverse. Woman's special
work, he believes, is still centred in the home and
circles outward, while man's special work is in the
world and circles inward. Man's success, he argues,
comes through concentration, continuity of work,
and cumulative results. His strength is in per-
sistence. He must be a specialist, limiting his field
if he would intensify his power. Woman, on the
other hand, has to do work which is much more
difficult, and reaches considerably further. The

resulting demands upon her are varied, involved,


The Woman's College of Baltimore 145

and numberless. Her success will depend, there-
fore, upon her versatility. She needs alertness and
poise, judgment and skill, taste and tact, a nature
enriched with varied and exact knowledge, beauti-
fied by culture, chaste and strong through discipline,
lofty in ideals, and possessing the incomparable
grace of unselfish ministry. Thus, and thus only,
as wife and mother, embodiment and inspiration
of the best in society, an ever-new revelation of
the meaning, beauty, and power of the gospel of
love and ministry, is she qualified to meet the varied
demands of family life.

To put the thing colloquially, Doctor Goucher
would educate " girls as girls." The ordinary girls'
college turns out, he will tell you, an occasional
scholar, some pedants, many teachers, and a few —
a very few — all around girls. It is toward the
multiplication of the " all around girl " that the
president of Baltimore is bending his energies.
Every effort is made at this college to develop
appreciation, ripe culture, and womanliness. To
this end even the minutest appointments of the
college buildings have been directed.

Of campus, this institution has almost none. Yet
the college has not been swallowed up in the city
like its neighbour, Johns Hopkins, for green lawns
separate the red-roofed halls from the street and

146 The College Girl of America

from each other, and on all sides there is such
openness to light and air as is usually to be found
only in the country. The site was chosen, the
buildings planned, and the spot which each should
occupy selected while this entire district of Balti-
more was little more than an open field. One style
of architecture — Tuscan Romanesque — and one
material — rough gray granite — have been used
for all the halls, so that the college group is one of
singular simplicity, beauty, and congruity. Of the
ten new buildings erected for college purposes, the
picture here given shows only the four on the south-
west quarter of the grounds. The church at the left-
hand corner is used for chapel purposes, and for
lectures and assemblies of various kinds. The next
building is for administration and general instruc-
tion, the next is the gymnasium, and that in the
rear is the biological laboratory.

For a college which is scarcely sixteen years old,
Baltimore may certainly be held to have made great
strides. When the institution was opened, there
was doubt in many minds as to whether any real
need of a woman's college of the highest grade
existed in the Maryland city. For twenty-five years
the project of founding here a young ladies' sem-
inary of the common type had been mooted, and
at last the hope of doing this seemed near realiza-

The Woman's College of Baltimore 147

tion. There were many among the friends of the
proposed institution who felt that such a seminary
would fully meet any existing requirements. It is
now generally conceded, however, that the happiest
accident that ever happened to Baltimore was that
which made the new institution a college in the
true sense of the word. Founded by the Baltimore
conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the
prime aim was, as a matter of course, to provide
for the needs of the community which it repre-
sented. Yet for a number of years now the college
has drawn its students almost, if not quite, as largely
from the North and West as from Maryland and
other Southern States. Thus it will be seen that
Baltimore may yet hope to compete successfully
with colleges of the same character in the North.

Although the college is the offspring of a de-
nominational body, more than fifty per cent, of its
students are from families not affiliated with the
Methodist sect. This comes about, no doubt, from
the fact that the college has, from the outset, pur-
sued the liberal policy of placing the least possible
emphasis upon its denominational relations, the aim'
of the Church in founding the institution having
been simply to secure to the young women of the
community in which it exists certain intellectual
advantages under conditions in no way subversive

148 The College Girl of America

of their moral and religious welfare. Very nat-
urally, however, the foundation being as it is, mem-
bers of the college are required to attend the service
held every morning (except Saturday and Sunday),
in the beautiful little elliptical chapel, which is an
echo of San Vitale in Ravenna. On Saturday and
Sunday the devotional meetings are held in the resi-
dence-halls, and for these, too, each student is ex-
pected to be on hand. Sunday mornings, girls go to
service at the city church of the denomination with
which they are affiliated when at home.

President Goucher has very strong ideas as to
what should be done for girls when at college. He
would have a girl not only acquainted with a wide
range of subjects during her undergraduate year,
but he would have her know, besides, one or two
things thoroughly. Superficiality is the last thing
the Woman's College proposes to inculcate. Some-
where, wherever she seems by nature to run
deepest, the girl here enrolled must do rigid, in-
tensive work. In one subject or two subjects, she
is as thorough as the four years of college life
permit. Then, too, her electives are not chosen at
random. The curriculum is ranged in related groups
of subjects; her electives, or " minors," have to be
picked from the same group to which her major
subject belongs. So, while the variety of the re-

The Woman* s College of Baltimore 149

quired work makes for liberality and wide intelli-
gence, the check of the group system of electives
prevents a girl's course from being too widely
scattered. A student, for instance, who elects the
German-French group, carries on the study of
French daily for a period of two years beyond the
point at which others drop it, besides taking the
remaining studies prescribed for all alike. The re-
sult is that the girl who has chosen this particular
group feels at the end of her course that, besides the
discipline received from studying those other things
that go to make up a college curriculum, she has
such knowledge of her particular subjects as must
give her a confidence in herself and her powers not
possible to one who has merely a smattering of
many branches, without having gone very deeply
into any of them.

Culture in its broadest sense is what Doctor
Goucher desires for his girls. He believes that
every community should have a leisure class, not
composed of persons who have nothing to do, but
of those who will command time for educational,
benevolent, and religious work, giving their services
for the general good without direct financial re-
turn. This class he would have the graduates of
Baltimore swell. His object, therefore, is to produce
girls with forceful and resourceful personalities.

150 The College Girl of America

A very strong point in Doctor Goucher's edu-
cational creed is that a young woman has as much
need to be trained in social ease and grace as in
profounder things. Every effort is made at Balti-
more to develop appreciation, womanliness, and
poise. He will have no " digs." In his opinion the
truest womanliness is not attained by the " grind."

This educator believes that provision should also
be made for regulated social functions. Dinner is
a leisurely and a somewhat formal meal. Recep-
tions are provided for at irregular intervals, and
calls from young men permitted within proper
limits. Nor will he have his residence-halls pre-
sided over by teachers. " Instructors will have more
and a better influence if they come to their lecture-
rooms with the force of a fresh relation, and occa-
sionally entertain their students, a few at a time,
in their own homes." His faculty, too, must be
about equally divided between men and women,
chosen because of their strong, helpful personality,
as well as because of their scholarship and their
aptness for teaching.

The underlying thought of all this is his desire
that girls shall not become disarticulated from life
during their college course. Hence the city site.
" Women set off by themselves in a country soli-
tude are prone to develop abnormally. They accus-

The Woman's College of Baltimore 151

torn themselves so completely to the artificial stand-
ards of community life, that when they go home
they must spend one, and perhaps several, painful
years in becoming readjusted." So plant your col-
lege in a city, President Goucher says, near enough
to the suburbs to command clean air and easy access
to the open field, and you can keep your girls
healthy and yet in normal relation to the world
of men and women. Again, for country-bred girls,
who inevitably make up no small proportion of the
clientele of any college, contact with the elevating
life of the city is by no means to be despised.

Incidentally, Baltimore gains greatly in other
than social ways from its city site. It has, just
around the corner, a station of the Pratt Library,
and the vast resources of the Peabody and Johns
Hopkins Library are also at hand to draw upon.
From the university, too, come lecturers, and, for
that matter, full professors. Always there are many
Hopkins graduates on the college faculty. Wash-
ington is within easy reach of the students, and at
its Smithsonian Institute every possible facility is
placed at the disposal of girls from the Woman's
College. Moreover, many of the illustrious foreign-
ers who visit the nation's capitol are easily per-
suaded to run down to Baltimore for lectures at
Johns Hopkins and at President Goucher's charge.

152 The College Girl of America

The average student leaves this institution, it is
interesting to learn, in much better health than she
entered it. From inclination or training, or because
social standards restrain, young women are usually
more sedentary than young men. Their pursuits,
when not at study, tend rather to withdraw them
from exercise than to invite them to it. Careful
provision has therefore been made at Baltimore
for systematic required exercises under the personal
direction of skilful medical advisers and specialists
in mechanico-therapeutics. " For a disciplined body
is as essential to a thoroughly educated woman as a
cultured mind or loyal spirit." The climax of Bal-
timore's healthful system naturally comes in its
gymnasium, which has all kinds of appliances helpful
to girls; in connection with it is maintained ex-
cellent basket-ball practice, as well as instruction
in swimming. Health has again been carefully con-
sidered in the planning of the three college homes.
These are situated far enough away from the college
to necessitate an early morning walk and to remove
them from any possibility of an overlapping academic
atmosphere, which the president considers extremely
bad. In plan, the houses are like the best appointed
apartment-hotels, but they are carefully presided
over by women chosen for dignity and social effi-

The Woman's College of Baltimore 153

In the ideal college for women the number of
students, according to Doctor Goucher, should
never be more than about four hundred. The last
report gives three hundred and seventy-five as Balti-
more's registration. Of this number only one hun-
dred and fifteen are from Maryland. So it is plain
that this college stands in no immediate danger of
the ** provinciality " which this educational leader
particularly deplores as a " woman's college tend-

For day students the cost is $125 a year; for
residents, $400 a year.

To those of us who are inclined to think meanly
of education south of Mason and Dixon's Line, a
visit to the Baltimore Woman's College is in the
nature of a revelation. For not only are its capped
and gowned maidens decidedly academic in aspect,
but its faculty is very largely made up of men and
women who have won advanced degrees and at-
tained distinctly high rank in scholarly directions.
Its courses, too, are immensely ambitious in scope,
and its museums and libraries are second to none in
equipment. And, most important of all, it has in
its president an able man, filled with what seem
to many the best ideas ever evolved concerning the
proper method of educating girls.


The purest type of Southern college girl is prob-
ably that produced by the Randolph-Macon Insti-
tution at Lynchburg, Virginia. This school is a
branch of the Randolph-Macon Methodist educa-
tional system which stretches through Virginia,
and is presided over by William Waugh
Smith, A. M., LL. D., an educator of considerable
ability. It is conscientiously and splendidly aca-
demic, and its girls are enthusiastic, generous, and
loyal, as well as eager to represent the old Virginia
ideals, with such added breadth of culture as this
generation affords. The moral, as well as the men-
tal, atmosphere of the college is healthy and uplift-
ing. Probably there is no institution in the South
which cares less than does Randolph-Macon for
what a girl has, or more for what a girl is. The
brief but comprehensive rule of life here — the very
corner-stone, indeed, of the institution's discipline —
is " Studentlike and ladylike conduct is expected
of all who remain with us." This adequately covers



The Randolph-Macon Woman* s College 155

the ground. For, while it does not imply absence of
controlling influence, it states concisely and accu-
rately the attitude of the officers toward the Ran-
dolph-Macon ideal, any deviation from which could
not be safely indulged in by a girl who desired
to enjoy here the richness and fulness of college

The new student coming to Lynchburg is provided
in advance with a set of college colours, which
enables her to be quickly identified by the repre-
sentative of the school whom she finds waiting at
the station, and by the kindly Christian Association
girls there to help her feel at home. A fifteen
minutes' ride on the electric-car line brings her to
the college gate, from which the Randolph-Macon
building seems very large as well as very beautiful,
as it sits above an undulating expanse of blue grass
against a mountain background. Inside, the building
proves even larger than at first view. The grand
corridor itself is, in point of fact, more than a hun-
dred yards long, while up-stairs are very many spa-
cious lecture-rooms, chemical, physical, biological,
and psychological laboratories, music-rooms, a beau-
tiful library, a chapel, a large literary-hall, a well-
equipped gymnasium, and a skylighted art studio.
Two-thirds of this immense building is devoted to

156 The College Girl of America

public uses, the remaining third being given over
to dormitories.

The entering student soon finds that the relation
existing between the undergraduates and their in-
structors is almost ideal. Men as well as women
belong to the faculty, and the wives and families
of professors feel a very real interest in the girls
who have come to Randolph-Macon to grow into
women. Acquirements at this college are not simply
book-learned ; the development is many-sided, so
that, after the student's course is completed, she
must find herself intellectually, physically, socially,
and spiritually better fitted to enter life and to meet
its obligations. The teachers are specialists, en-
thusiastic and progressive in their work, and they
arouse the ambition of the student and make her
put forth her best efforts. The associations are
stimulating, and distractions are excluded.

Let us follow a Randolph-Macon girl through
an ordinary day, and see how her twenty-four hours
are spent. The rising-gong sounds at seven, the
dusky " utility man " who performs this duty evi-
dently having that joy in his work for which Pres-
ident Eliot of Harvard has lately been calling. At
seven forty-five comes breakfast, a meal requiring
not more than half an hour, even for the least
expeditious, while most girls are quite ready to




The Randolph-Macon Woman^s College 157

leave at the expiration of the twenty minutes' table-
time required of all. Then the morning mail is
distributed — a part of the day's work which is
always of absorbing interest. From eight forty-five
till nine is devoted to enjoyable chapel exercises,
which the professors conduct in weekly turn, and
from nine until ten minutes after one come the reci-
tation periods. Such students as have no classes
are meanwhile at work in their rooms, or in the
college library.

Dinner is at noon, and the food, the cooking, and
the service is of the kind dear to the Southern girl's
heart. After dinner recitations are resumed for
about two hours. E^ch student has three or four
lecture periods a day, perhaps, but when these are
over gymnasium attendance, walking, basket-ball,
and tennis fill up the time until tea, which comes at
half-past six. After tea, evening worship, and the
distribution of the afternoon mail, there is a delight-
ful half-hour which each girl spends as suits her
best. The chat, the promenading, and the sunset
confidences of this period are brought to an end
by the study-bell, which rings at seven-thirty. Then
the girls retire to their rooms, and quiet reigns
until half-past ten, when the retiring-bell rings, and
all must go to bed.

So runs the daily week-day life. On Sunday

158 The College Girl of America

morning there is regular Bible study, and each of
the resident professors teaches a class. Then, in such
groups as they prefer, the girls go to church in the
city, sitting in the congregation with other wor-
shippers. Sunday afternoon, under the presidency
of a popular woman instructor, the Ethical Society
meets, and discusses informally such questions as
''Meddlesomeness," ''College Duties," or "The
Proper Keeping of the Sabbath." Sunday evening
after tea there is an hour of religious exercises,
conducted three times a month by some officer of
the college, or by a visiting minister, and once a
month by the missionary department of the Young
Women's Christian Association, a body of large
membership and broad usefulness at this college.

Monday is the free day, which means the busiest
'day of the week. The morning is usually devoted
to odds and ends of work; but in the afternoon
there is visiting, shopping, or whatever else seems
to the individual girl the most attractive fashion
of having a good time.

Wednesday afternoon the workaday programme
is varied by a weekly musical rehearsal, preceded
by an instructive lecture which enables even non-
musical students to understand somewhat, and appre-
ciate a good deal, the choice programme then pre-
sented. Saturday also ends with a celebration. For

The Randolph-Macon Woman^s College 159

now the work of the week is over, and there is
opportunity for society meetings with their essays,
debates, and so on. After tea on Saturday comes
a Current Events Club, with papers and discussions
on matters of current interest. Every other Satur-
day is Social Evening, *' when gentlemen who are
on the college visiting-list are free to call."

Home Evening, which alternates on Saturday
with Social Evening, is, however, the " best time
of the week " to most of the students. '' Our Alma
Mater," one Randolph-Macon girl declares, " is
never so attractive as when she thus bids us put
away our books and gather in the parlour for a
jolly good time." Sometimes the good time is
social and humourous; sometimes it is musical;
sometimes literary. A Dickens Evening, with
everybody representing a well-known character, has
on several occasions given great pleasure. Tableaux
vivants from ^' Mother Goose " are always amusing;
for when a dignified professor becomes Simple
Simon, the girls in his courses naturally get con-
siderable fun out of the situation.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are, of course, times
of special interest, for then there are extraordinary
offerings in the dining-room, as well as jest and
jollity in the parlour. Field Day, devoted to athletic
competition, when the experts in basket-ball, tennis,

i6o The College Girl of America

running, and other sports of skill and grace win
never-to-be-forgotten laurels, is open to visitors, as
well as to the students, and is very much enjoyed.

Of out-of-door excursions this college has its own
distinctive variety. The Natural Bridge, one of the
great wonders of this big country, is easily accessible
from Randolph-Macon, as are also the Peaks of
Otter, a favourite resort for May outings. To take
a Friday evening train, get to the foot of the Peaks
about six o'clock, and hasten up the steep hill to
see the sunset from the top; to pack into the one
big dormitory of the house on the summit, and, after
such sleep as a big crowd of girls can get under
these novel and exciting conditions, to rise by day-
light and enjoy the glorious sight of mountains,
plains, and river beneath waking to life, is to
be uplifted and awed — to have, in a word, such an
experience as one can never forget.

A great deal is made at Randolph-Macon — and
with cause, too, it seems to me — of the fact that
it is the only woman's college in its section with a
standard high enough to entitle it to recognition
along with the old and famous women's colleges of
the North. But if its standards are high, its prices
are low. The entire yearly expense, including tui-
tion, is only two hundred and fifty dollars. That the

The Randolph-Macon Woman's College i6i

peculiar advantages it affords are being appreciated
may be understood from the fact that, though it is
only ten years old, the last report gives the total num-
ber of its students as two hundred and sixty-three.
Best sign of all, there is absolutely no preparatory
department here. The system is largely elective,
however, and it is quite possible for students who
do not care to go in for the A. B. or the A. M.
degree to secure proficiency in some special subject.
But it is w^orth noting that by far the greater number
of the girls do qualify for degrees and take them
with honours.

Randolph-Macon may well be proud of the work
which it is doing for Southern girls. Even the
casual visitor feels strongly the need and the value
of this college. And of course no young woman
who has spent four years in the institution can
possibly fail to appreciate the college's great mission
in the Southland; it is with deep feeling that she
sings at Commencement this alumnae song:


«« Oh ! we came from North and South, from East and West,

To Randolph-Macon, then to us a name,
And every college passed was called the best,

And all, indeed, to us were much the same ;
But once we entered Randolph-Macon's halls,

And passed within the shelter of her door,

i62 The College Girl of America

We found both love and knowledge in the dear old mother
And it's Alma Mater now for evermore.


" Oh ! dear old Alma Mater, how majestic now you stand,
You're a credit to Virginia and a blessing to the land ;
May your glory never lessen, may your children e'er be true,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryMary Caroline CrawfordThe college girl of America and the institutions which make her what she is → online text (page 9 of 18)