starting the movement in Massachusetts, when I say that the leading
spirit in the movement was Dr. Philbrick. In my various consultations
witli him, he surprised me, not only by the thoroughness of his observa-
tion of what had been done abroad, but also by his clear comprehension
of what was necessary to be done here before any success could be
expected. To Dr. Philbrick more than to any other* one person are
326 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATION
we indebted for our Massachusetts Normal Art School. It was through
his instrumentality, mainly, that Mr. Walter Smith was induced to
come to Boston in 1872."- And I may add that the influence of this
movement upon the industrial productions and upon the artistic tastes
of the people of this country, is beyond computation.
In the department of vocal music, great progress was made during
Dr. Philbrick's administration. When he took cliarge of the schools,
in 1856, singing was indifierently taught in only a portion of the
classes of the grammar schools, and in these it was not taught by the
regular teachers. In fact "there was no prescribed programme of
instruction, no harmony of methods, no uniformity of text-books, no
classification, in fact no system." At the close of his connection with
the schools, a thorough, systematic, and progressive course of musical
instruction was given to all the pupils, beginning with the youngest on
their entrance into school, and ending with the last year of the high
school course. And there was also a systematic course of instruction
given to the pupils of the normal school to qualify the students to teach
music, when they should be called to take charge of classes as teachers.
Dr. Philbrick, as long ago as 1860, took strong ground in favor of
the introduction of physical training, or gymnastics, into the public
schools. After much opposition, the plan that he proposed in 1860, was
adopted in 1864, and a special teacher of vocal and physical culture
was appointed. Not so much has been accomplished in this depart-
ment in Boston as is needed, on account of our lack of facilities. The
difficulty of improvement in this branch of instruction is a good illus-
tration of the conservative force of an established order of things. To
make physical culture really effective, a gymnasium is necessary in
connection with each school ; and in Boston the school-houses are so
situated that the acquisition of ground for suitable buildings would be
very expensive ; and so even those who are wise enough to see the
need of such buildings, hesitate to move in the matter.
The plan at present in operation in Boston of employing a force of
truant officers by the school committee was developed during Dr. Phil-
brick's administration. At first, truant officers were appointed by the
mayor and aldermen, and were not responsible to the school committee
for the performance of their duty. They for a long time met the super-
intendent once a month as a matter of courtesy, but not as a duty. At
last the authority to appoint these officers and fix their salaries was
conferred upon the school committee, by general statute ; and then they
met the superintendent once a week for consultation and direction.
THE LATE JOHN D. PHILBRICK, LL.D. 327
After this system had been developed and perfected by a series of
experiments in Boston, its beneficial eflfects were so marked that it
attracted tlie attention of other American cities, and finally produced
much efi*ect in England and other foreign countries. The action of the
truant force in Boston was so moulded by the superintendent, that the
moral influence of the officers in promoting a better state of feeling
towards the schools, among ignorant parents, and thus securing greater
regularity of attendance, was, perhaps, quite as great as that of their
direct, legally required worif.
Outside the public schools Dr. Philbrick's influence was constantly
felt for good. He was a member of the association that secured the
charter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From the
day of the chartering of this institution to the day of his own death,
he was a member of the corporation and of the committee on instruc-
tion. He was a constant attendant of the meetings, both of the
cor|>oration and of the committees to which he belonged, and by his
labors and counsel did much to develop this important institution.
He was no inconsiderable factor in the forces that created the
Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was the first temporary secretary
of this association, and did much to secure the necessary funds for
its establishment. Many of those who listen to me to-day will remem-
ber his personal influence in this direction.
His last work for Boston, as well as for the rest of the country,
was his great argument in favor of a permanent tenure of office for
teachers. His lecture upon this subject before the American Insti-
tute of Instruction, and his masterly treatment of the same in his
report to the Commissioner of Education upon city school systems,
did much toward securing the passage of the act by the Legislature
last winter, which confers upon school committees authority to dis-
pense with annual re-election of teachers, — a movement which, in the
opinion of Dr. Philbrick, is second to no reform in education that
has been inaugurated in this country.
But were I called upon to single out from all the grand achieve-
ments of Dr. Philbrick in Boston, the one more potent than all the
rest, the one stronger and more far-reaching in its influence than all
others, the one that has done most to make the Boston schools known
and honored wherever public schools exist in the whole world, the
one that is destined, unless destroyed by narrowness and jealousy, to
exeii; the strongest influence in the improvement of our schools in
the future, I should name, not school-houses, not school-furnishings.
328 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATION.
not piogrammes, not methods, not special schools, not even the
diffusion of a sound philosophical spirit, but rather the creation of a
higher icjeal of the schoolmaster's office, — an ideal that makes the
office respected and honored by the people, and that makes the school
itself the master's pride and glory, and the object of his entire con-
secration and devotion. This was the crowning glory of Dr. Phil-
brick's work in Boston.
One of the fundamental philosophical principles that was early
developed in Dr. Philbrick's mind, and that became a guiding force
in many of his reforms, was the truth that specialized functions
require speci.alized agencies. So soon as it became evident to him
that there was a special work to be done, he at once began to cast
about for the proper agency for its accomplishment. Hence we find
growing up in Boston under his wise guidance, and developing under
his fostering care, evening elementary schools, evening high schools,
evening drawing schools, schools for licensed minoi-s, a deaf-mute
school, in addition to the regular primary, grammar, and high schools.
The same principle, also, held him as a firm advocate of the estab-
lishment of a separate Latin school for girls, instead of having the
work of fitting girls for college done in the regular high school for
girls, where the chief business is giving a general education.
The application of this principle compelled him to take ground in
favor of a separate and distinct normal school. He saw, with the
insight of a sage, that the work of preparing young women to become
teachei-s in primary and grammar schools was, in its finishing process,
entirely distinct from the general work of developing scientific and
literary power; and, therefore, as he believed, a special agency
should be employed for performing this special work. I remember
well a visit to the Boston Normal School by the superintendent of
schools of New York, Mr. Kiddle, soon after the separation of the
Normal School from the Girls' High. We were then just struggling
into existence ; but after witnessing the work of the school for some
time, he remarked, " You have the right organization, — a special
school for special work."
And yet this is only a single instance of the profoundly philo-
sophic mould of Dr. Philbrick's mind. He told me, within a few
yeai*s of his death, that he had never written a sentence on education
that he would wish to blot. It is remarkable to observe what unity
and consistency run through all his writings. The reason of this is
obvious to those who know the deep principles that ran thiough all
THE LATE JOHN D. PHILBBICK, LL.D. 329
his educational thinking and unified all his educational work. Dr.
Harris well expressed this fact when he said, " His annual reports
were luminous with insight into the relations of practical methods
to the history of pedagogy. He was a city set upon a hill. He
never wrote a paragraph without considering the relation of its doc-
trine to the theory and practice of the world."
The ability to do this implies what we all cancedo, that he was pro-
foundly versed in educational history. Some have attempted to sepa-
rate a kuowledgd of educational philosophy from that of educational
practice, and to attribute to him the latter, but to deny him the former.
Bat those who so estimate the man know him ouly in part. He was,
indeed, deeply read in systems of school organization ; but these sys-
tems lay in his mind as the development of corresponding philoso-
phies. He was strong as a practical school man, but the secret of his
practical strength lay in his profound knowledge of the principles that
determine right practice.
This made him conservative. While others were ready to embrace
a newly presented theory or method, he felt compelled to hesitate.
He must first consider whether it had not already been properly tested
and rejected, and whether or not it was in accordance with those prin-
ciples that he held as fundamental. Often would he reject a method
of teaching which, for the time being, was popular, well knowing that
it was not in accordance with the views of the wisest educators. If
any new, really new method was proposed, he always inquired, before
lie accepted it, whether it was in accordance with the tendency of the
best practice of the world. But few men could apply this test. He
bad the necessary knowledge, and it gave him great strength. He
was so well versed in pedagogical history that he know what the
various nations of the world had formerly done, what they were now
doing, and the changes both in theory and practice through which they
were going. And he judged that if all the most enlightened nations
of the world were moving in a given direction, that direction, while
not necessarily absolutely right, was more likely to be right tlian any
course that would be thought out by one single mind. How many
times I have heard him say, *^ This practice is wrong, because it is
contrary to the unanimous opinion of the wisest educators." This
test be often applied with wonderful skill.
It has been said of him that he was not a great man. But what is
the standard of greatness ? This is a relative term, of course. No
one talent of his overshadowed all the rest ; but his mind was well
330 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATION.
rounded •and evenly balanced, and one of remarkable force. His
power of application was wonderful. His classmate, Rev. Dr. Spald-
ing, says of bim, " No man in college was more noted for his in-
defatigable industry." And the habit thus early formed clung to him
till the day of his death. His judgment of men was excellent, and
his opinion of the best means to secure a desired end was rarely
wrong. His view of a broad truth was clear, to a degree attained by
but few ; and his power to apply general principles to special cases was
equal to his power of insight. If greatness be judged by success, we
must accord it to him in no small degree. Few men of a generation
impress themselves upon the world so strongly or so widely. Probably
no school man lives to-day who is so widely and so favorably known as
was Dr. Philbrick at the time of his death.
Not only the esteem in which he was held by educators, but the
affection they felt for him, was unusual. What is the secret ? Is it
not to be found partly in the fact that his highest ambition was to be
of real service to mankind ? In the seclusion and sacredness of his
own study, July 9, 1866, he wrote, " I often urge as the chief end of
man, self-culture with the view to use talents and acquirements for the
benefit of others. I got a glimpse of this great idea while in college,
I know not how, and it grew and expanded till it came to be my guid-
ing principle. It was this which at length determined my choice of a
profession. I felt that the educational field was that in which I could
best develop my own character and at the same time do the most good
to mankind. I expected labor and trials ; but these are necessary for
culture. I have no regret on account of my choice ; I only regret
that I have not done more. Not but that I have worked hard enough,
but I have not always worked to the best advantage. To accomplish
great things, one must have great power of endurance and also great
wisdom to direct his efforts, so that he may always work to the best
advantage." The desire to do the most good to mankind determined
the clioice of his profession ! Have we not here the key to that cheer-
ful and unruffled patience with which he continually worked, to his
catholic charity towards those who delayed the accomplishment of his
cherished plans, and to that sweet spirit of Christian forgiveness of
his enemies that made him so lovable in the quiet retirement of his
later years ? How constantly he was guided by this principle, those
know best who knew him most. In his view, education was a high and
holy calling, worthy of the ambition of the noblest minds, and to this
he consecrated his life.
THE LATE JOHN D. PHILBRICK, LL.D. 331
His integrity never faltered. Honesty, both intellectual and moral,
was a native element of his character. Selfish aims and ambitions
found no lodgment in his heart. He preferred failure to insincerity.
Then he was generous and sympathetic. No man was quicker to
detect merit in others, or more ready to give credit where it was due.
How many have been cheered by his kind words of sympathy and his
wise counsels. He was a real friend to all who were honestly work-
ing for the good of public schools.
Able and industrious, devoted to his profession, and a student of its
history and philosophy, sincere, generous and sympathetic, patient and
forgiving, his life was a grand success. Wherever public schools exist,
liis influence is felt ; wherever popular education is studied, he is
known. His mind was clear and strong ; his character was round and
full and sweet; and his life contributed abundantly to the good of
mankind. Long may his memory live in our heart of hearts ; and
long may his noble example inspire us to emulate his virtues, and to
consecrate ourselves, head and heart, soul and body, to the great work
to which he devoted his life.
MPARTMENI OF SIlPERINIiMNCE.
Department of Superintendence.
According to previous announcement, the Department of Superintend-
ence met at the Presbyterian Church, July 13, 1886, and was called to
order by Hon. Warren Easton, President. Owing to the absence of Mr.
J. K. Preston and Mr. J. W. Holcombe, who were to read papers, the
meeting was adjourned to meet at 2.30, the 16th instant, in the City
Building. Before adjournment of this meeting, the president, on motion,
appointed Hon. LeRoy D. Brown, of Ohio, Joseph 6. Schofield, of Kan-
sas, and Hon. Joseph O'Connor, of California, a committee on nomination
of oiEcers for the ensuing year.
City Building, Topeka, Kansas.
Department met pursuant to adjournment and was called to order by
Reports of committees being called, Hon. LeRoy D. Brown, of Ohio,
chairman of committee on nomination of officers, reported as follows :
For President, Hon. Charles S. Young of Nevada ; for Vice President,
Prof. N. C. Dougherty, of Illinois ; for Secretary, Charles C. Davidson,
of Ohio. On motion, the report was received and a vote taken, which re-
sulted in the election of the above.
On announcing the result of the election, Dr. Thompson, of the Ohio
State Central Normal School, and State Commissioner Brown, of Ohio,
were appointed a committee to escort the President and Vice President
elect into the meeting. President Easton, in a few happy remarks, intro-
duced the newly elected President of the Department. In response, Mr.
Young spoke as follows :
Mr. President and Members of the Department of Superintendence :
The hope of this country is the public free school. In charge of the
interests of the free school are the State, County, and City Superintend-
ents. Theirs is a mission fraught with questions of greater national
concern and of more vital importance than any other in the field of edu-
cation. This organization, known as the Department of Superintendence,
represents more than 300,000 teachers of the youths in a population of
50,000,000 of people. In effecting state and national school legislation,
in moulding state and city school systems, the Superintendents are the
people's chosen agents.
336 THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION.
I take it that to be elected President of an organization of snch magni-
tude and of such momentous interests as this, cannot be considered other
than a distinguished honor. In selecting your presiding officer for next
year you, representing the more populous states on the Atlantic Coast,
have extended westward across the Continent the right hand of fraternal
friendship to compliment a state of but 60,000 people. I would not
have you unmindful that I appreciate the honor thus paid to the school
system of Nevada, one of the youngest of the States, as well as this com-
pliment paid to myself, its chief school officer.
Many of you are more familiar than I with the needs of the Depart-
ment, know better than I what are the objects it should accomplish. To
you, educators of the East and South Southwest, I shall look for counsel.
In the coming meeting to be held in Washington in February next, I ask
your earnest co-operation. Members of the Department, again I thank
you for the honor of having been made your President.
The following papers were then presented :
County Superintendents — ^Their Relations and Duties to Teachers, by
Hon. E. B. McElroy, of Oregon.
Teachers' Institutes, by Hon. D. C. Tillotson, of Kansas.
After which the Department adjourned to meet in the City of Wash-
ington^ D. C, sometime duriqg the coming winter.
CHARLES C. DAVIDSON, Secretary,
COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS.— THEIR RELATIONS AND
DUTIES TO TEACHERS.
BY E. B, MCELKOY, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
The office of County Superintendent was created in Oregon by-
act of the Legislative Assembly, Oct. 29, 1872. At the same time the
office of Superintendent of Public Instruction was detached from that of
Gk>vemor, and became a separate and distinct office. At that date, it may
be said, the Oregon school system was projected and formulated. It is
yet in a formative condition. The scheme of duties then prescribed for
the County Superintendents was as follows : —
1. He was required to lay off his county into convenient school
2. To make records of the same.
3. To superintend and assist in the erection and establishment thereof.
4. To apportion the school funds received from all sources to the
5. To draw orders in favor of district officers.
6. To keep accounts with the County Treasurer and the District
7. To select, locate, and appraise school lands.
8. To supervise and care for the same.
9. To examine applicants to teach.
10. To distribute blanks, school laws, etc., to school officers.
11. To hold public examinations quarterly.
12. To visit schools annually.
13. To receive, examine, and file reports made quarterly by teachers.
14. To receive, examine, and file reports from District Clerks, an-
16. To make an annual finance exhibit to the County Commissioners.
16. To make an annual report to the Superintendent of Public
For all of this work he received at that day the magnificent average
salary of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum, said sum payable at
338 THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION
the option of the County Court. This option was one of the unknown
quantities that disturbed the dreams of the then superintendent, and was
mitigated in no degree by the reflection that if any one of the sixteen
enumerated duties should be in any manner neglected, this '< dereliction
and malfeasance of office " should be promptly punished by a good round
fine of one hundred dollars, and if this pecuniary reminder should prove
insufficient to check his reckless carelessness, he was to be summarily
dismissed from his " high and lucrative " position. It is but jiistice to
state that history does not record a single fine during the first decade—
probably for the reason that no superintendent could be found whose
assets would meet such weighty strain.
The office of County Superintendent is one of the most important in
our public school system. His duties are numerous and often onerous iu
many ways only familiar to those who have had experience in this work.
It follows, therefore, that he should be a person of native ability, schol-
arly attainments, and of sound moral character. If, in addition to these
requirements, he has had some years' experience in the schoolroom as a
successful and practical teacher, it may be said that he possesses about all
the necessary qualifications that can be reasonably demanded of one who
is to administer the school affairs of a county.
The successful organization of a system of county schools requires an
active, able, and efficient leader. The County Superintendent may, by
some imprudent or ill-advised step, work disaster in his school districts,
and he should therefore be a person of comprehensive views and good
judgment, able to grapple with and adjust the complicated questions
The importanca of the work may be seen from several standpoints : —
The Superintendent's influence in shaping and directing the usefulness
of teachers and pupils ; his power to license teachers ; his responsibiUty
as a school visitor, are some of the prominent duties of the office demand-
ing our attention. The energetic Superintendent may do great good by
visiting his schools, especially if he has the work at heart and loves to
encourage the teachers and children more than he loves his salary. And,
from this point of view, we must award the greatest philanthropy and
disinterested motives to our Superintendents in Oregon, for, in many
instances, after deducting the expense of school visits from their salary,
they find nothing left. And here we are reminded that the word salary
formerly meant salt ; it still has that significance to several " Web-foot "
Superintendents, — they barely save their salt.
If, then, the Superintendent visits his school in the right spirit, — not
with the determination of impinging his own special plans of instruction
COUNTY 8UPEBINTENDENTS— THEIR RELATIONS TO TEACHERS. 339
and methods of class-work upon the school^ nor yet to criticise and openly
complain of the work being done by the teacher (this should be done
privately) — but he should enter the schoolroom, recognizing the teacher's
right, power, and authority there ; remembering that while the teacher
may have poor methods of instruction and may be limited in experience,
still the special condition and wants of the school are generally understood
by the teacher, better than any one else. And here is required prudent
action on the part of the Superintendent, lest he embarrass both teacher
and pupils by indiscreet criticism and unwise strictures. Bte should not
lessen his influence and usefulness as an ofEcer by meddling in matters
that do not concern him ; nor should he visit the school in a prying and