William Columbus Ferril.

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educators and friends of education ever convened in this country, and all to
do homage to one man. It was primarily a State demonstration, yet by look-
ing over the audience
one might notice the
representative of the
LTnited States Gov-
ernment, William T.
Harris of Washing-
ton, commissioner of
education ; the Hon.
James L. Hughes, in-
spector of schools in
Toronto, Canada;
Professor William G.
Sumner, one of the - V

most distinguished 1'

scholars and writers
on political economy
that Connecticut has
ever produced ; the
Hon. Charles R.
Skinner, superinten-
dent of public schools
of New York ; Pres-
ident Adams of Wis-
consin U niversity; from the fir^^t portr.^it of dr. barnard — made in 1836.


Thomas C. Stockwell commissioner of schools in Rhode Island ; the Rev.
Thomas Shahan, D.D., of the Catholic University of America; and George
H. Martin, superintendent of the schools in Boston. Thus the celebration
assumed a national rather than a local character.

At 10.30 a. m. the governor of the commonwealth, Hon. Lorrin A. Cooke,
called the assemblage to order, and a chorus from the Hartford High School
sang the following ode composed by Richard Burton for the occasion :

"In the early days in the morning haze
The builder builded his wall ;
He heard the cry of the By and By,
He harked to the future's call,
He saw the hall
Of learning uplift fair and high.

And now our sage in his beautiful age

Is pillowed in memories great ;

His work is blest, for his high behest

Was the nurture of the State.

Then let the children for whom he wrought

Hail him as Hero now ;

The sure eyed seer, the pioneer,

With the silver sign on his brow."


, LN(. M.-IDL IN l^(i(

Governor Cooke then congratulated those present and also the State of
Connecticut upon the remarkable and unique celebration. "This assemblage
is to celebrate an individual birthday," said he. "The man we honor today
was a pioneer and a hero. It was his hand that blazed the way for state super-


vision of public schools in our own and other states. The leaven introduced
by him more than fifty years ago has continued to work until we have the
present free school system, and still our educators, in the spirit and example
of their great predecessor, are marching forward to other and improved condi-
tions." After this the mayor of Hartford welcomed the -visitors, and added;
"Seldom is the opportunity given a community to honor itself by doing honor
to one of its most distinguished sons in his day. But we have such an oppor-
tunity, and on this day we do by fitting ceremonies demonstrate the apprecia-

• Cy-^TTcZ^tX^ &^ ICA-'UO-f^'t-^ '/-if L c^vT-^ C^ CT-.i^-^


tioa and esteem we have for our fellow honored townsman, the anniversary of
whose birthday we celebrate and whose deeds fruitful for our good and that of
all people call for our most profound veneration and gratitude." Following
the mayor distinguished men testified in eloquent words to their appreciation
of the life work of this one man, and in the evening his praises were still fur-
ther sung by those high in the educational circles of state and country. The
man whose birthday this large and intelligent body of American citizens had
gathered to celebrate was Doctor Henry Barnard of Hartford, whose wonder-



ful career began sixty years before. As he sat on the platform before that
audience the school children throughout the length and breadth of the State
were listening to the story of noble efforts made in their behalf two genera-
tions before by the " Nestor of American Education."

Henry Barnard, known in this country and Europe as the greatest living
educator, was born in the house where he now lives, at Hartford, on the 24th
of January, 181 1. His family, which was an old one, had lived in Hartford

from the first settlement of the colony.
As a boy he attended the "district
school," and he has often said that it
took half of his long life to rid himself
of the bad mental habits acquired there,
notwithstanding which he has always


Taken about i860. Engraved for the Conn. State Teachers'


remained deeply attached to this early seat of learning, not because of the qual-
ity of education it dispensed, but because the institution represented the best
ideal of American citizenship, where the children of the wealthy and poor
were brought together on terms of absolute equality.

In late years when he had become
a great reformer, he valued the per-
sonal knowledge which qualified him
to speak of the defects of the district
school. His especial college training
was had at the Monson Academy (Mass.)
and the Hopkins Grammar School in
Hartford, and in these he formed the
opinion held throughout his life that
all subjects taught in institutions of
their class could be easily introduced
into a common or public high school.
He has lived long enough to see the
hope of his boyhood days fully realized.
Dr. Barnard was graduated with
I'ROF. R. H. QUICK. high houors at Yale College in 1S30 in



the class with Edward
Hammond, Prof. Elias
Loomis, Prof. A. D.
Stanley, Judge Wood-
ruff, and John C. Smith.
During his course at
Yale he paid particular
attention to English
Literature and to the
practice of English
Composition, for which
the class room exercise
and the literary socie-
ties of the colleges then
furnished such an invit-
ing arena. The old Lin-
onian Society received
a large share of his in-
terest and he was at
one time president of
the association.

Having determined
to prepare himself for
the practice of law, he
began, after leaving
college, reading for that
purpose. In the office
of Hon. Willis Hall,
afterward attorney-gen-
eral of New York, and
W. H. Hungerford, Esq.
of Hartford, he con-
tinued his studies of
Kent, Blackstone, and
other legal writers.

Besides the law he
pursued a course of
general reading, and
thus at the age of
twenty - seven, he had
gained a knowledge of
ancient and modern lit-
erature rarely attained
by professed scholars.

Upon the suggestion
of President Day of
Yale, as a means of re-
viving and making per-
manent his knowledee





It-nrtcL clladlxt TaXt- axUrcLA^cxah ctt .atriu^
,t|nc7-ican Journal of Educatton. This enc3'clopaedic work was conducted b}-
Dr. Barnard until a short time ago. For a year or more he occupied himself
with literary work connected with tYie Jotinial. In 1858 he became chancellor
of the University of Wisconsin. It has been said that his principal reason for
undertaking the office of chancellor was to unify educational interests through-
out the state from the kindergarten to college halls, making them all free.
While laboring here with his old-time zeal to establish an institution where
3^oung men or women might be prepared for college or a business life, he at
the same time endeavored to raise the standard of the schools in order that
these young men and women might be better prepared for admission to the

Early in the year 1S60 he was attacked with nervous prostration, and after
sending his resignation — which was rehictantly accepted eight months later —
he remained idle for two years, being utterly incapable for work. But a Cen-

IlIl'I.OM.'i — MKI.liOUUNE E.\l'OSITION, iSSo.

tral Normal School and the Teachers' Institute were the direct products of his
energetic campaign in Wisconsin for a change in the school system of that
state. He also published four volumes, being the first of the series, "Papers
for Teachers," and intended as a guide for teachers in the instruction of their



pupils. His worlv in Wisconsin alone was enough to win for any man fame of
the most endurable character — nor is it forgotten, although a generation has
passed since the performance of those labors. In 1866 Dr. Barnard became
president of St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., where he remained a short
time only, for the year following (1867), when the United States Bureau of
Education was formed, he was chosen as first commissioner.

He himself had for almost thirty years pointed out the need for such a
bureau, and as James L. Hughes of Toronto wrote : " It was but fitting that the

Henry Barnard, Bureau of Education,


^^ /„„■ „M /.^.//' ,„.„.,..,/,/,.. ..,,- '-



man who had done most to organize the state and city school systems of the
United States, who had conducted the first County Teachers' Institute on lines
similar to the present summer schools, who had championed the cause of
woman by demanding for her equal educational privileges with man as a stu-
dent and as a teacher, who had established the first state system of libraries,
who was the first to propose a national organization of teachers, and who had
published more educational literature than any other man in the history of the
li-'orld, should be the first Commissioner of Education appointed by the gov-
ernment of the United States."

He remained in Washington four years, and performed the duties of that
high and honorable office with distinction.

It has been said by the same writer ( Mr. Hughes) that nearly every re-
form advocated by Dr. Barnard in his first report as Commissioner of Educa-
tion has since been adopted by the United States.

A separate article of great length would be needed to treat of the enor-



mous amount of literary work Dr. Barnard executed during the sixty years of
his active life. We can give only a very brief sketch of his publications, all of
which were originally written to assist him in his work of educational reform.
In 1839 he published "School Architecture," of which over 130.000 copies
were printed by legislative authority; in 185 1, "Normal Schools;" in 1854,
" National Education in Europe," a volume containing over 900 pages,

which has been described as
an encyclopaedia of educational
systems and methods. The
IVestininster Revieiv said it
"contained more valuable infor-
mation and statistics than could
be found in any one volume in
the English language, and it
grouped under one view the
varied experiences of all civ-
ilized countries." His "Educa-
tional Biography," a monumen-
tal work and a veritable thesau-
rus of pedagogical literature,
data, reminiscence and statistics
appeared in 1857. "Reforma-
tory Education " was published
in the same year ; " Object
Teaching" in i860, and "Mili-
tary Schools" in 1862. Later
volumes of hisworks are "Tech-
nical Schools and Education,"
" Universities and Colleges,"
" German Teachers and Educa-
FROM PHOTO TAKEN 1S70. tlou," aud " Pcstalozzl. "

The crowning work of his long and busy life, however, is the American
Journal of Education, beginning, as before stated, in 1856, and edited by him
until 1893. This remarkable publication, which has now reached over thirty-
one large octavo volumes of about eight hundred pages each, won for him a
distinguished place in Europe and fame in all civilized countries. It is the
only general authority in respect to the progress of American education dur-
ing the past century. It includes statistical data, personal reminiscences, his-
torical sketches, educational biographies, descriptions of institutions, plans of
buildings, reports, speeches and legislative documents. These books contain
facts, arguments and practical methods which no teacher or organizer can
afford to be without. The Westminster Revieiv said England had nothing in
the same field worthy of comparison with it, and the Britannica says of it :
" The Journct/ is by far the most valuable work in our language on the history
of education." Besides devoting his time to the preparation of these works,
Dr. Barnard spent more than forty thousand dollars from his private fortune
to keep up the publication of them when other means failed. There have been
several attempts to purchase the plates of ihe Journal (which are piled up in
the cellar of his house in Hartford) and thus partially compensate this noble



altruist for the large sacrifices he has made. Everybody admits the worth of
this Journal, and Prof. Quick, the famous English educator, when he heard of
the probable destruction of the plates, wrote to Dr. Harris : "I would as soon
hear that there was talk of pulling down one of our English cathedrals and
selling the stone for building materials." But in making this large financial
sacrifice Dr. Barnard was only following out the spirit of his own memorable
words uttered near the beginning of his career: "So far back as I have any
recollection, the cause of true education, of the complete education of every
human being without regard to the incidents of birth or fortune, seemed most
worthy of the consecration of all ray powers and, if need be, of any sacrifice of
time, money and labor which I might be called upon to make in its behalf."

What else save for his love of humanity could have prompted a man to
leave a profession in preparation for which he had devoted a large amount of
time and money, in which he was sure to win fame and fortune, to leave
all this and devote his time and all of a large fortune "simply to make
accessible in book form what is recorded of the wisdom of the race as it
relates to the instruction of children."

Pestalozzi — Froebel — Mann — Barnard ! To these men, especially to Bar-
nard, the United States owes its "new education." Have we as a people, as a
state, as a nation, forgotten the debt we owe this man, whose self-sacrificing
devotion founded our present magnificent school system?

No, Connecticut has not forgotten, nor has the nation; but both recognize
the brilliant work Dr. Barnard has done for them. Probably no American,
certainly no Connecticut man, ever received during his lifetime such universal
and continued recognition. In forming an estimate of him, let us look at the
opinions of his ablest coadjutors. More than a generation ago the Hon. John
D, Philbrick said of him: "The career of Henry Barnard as a promoter of the
cause of education has no precedent
and is without a parallel. Mr. Barnard
stands before the world as the national

"His Rhode Island work," wrote
Horace Mann, " is the greatest legacy
yet left to American educators." Dr.
Noah Porter wrote his opinion of '\\v.
Barnard's work in the Connecticut
School Journal forty-three years ago.
These are his words published in Janu-
ary, 1855: "But we will not forget in our
hour of success the earnest and able
advocate of that cause when neglected
and unpopular. We will not forget the
generous and indomitable spirit which
prompted him in the outset of his public
life to plead that cause without fee or
reward, which induced him to abandon a

professional career and in which steadily pursued he was sure to bring distinc-
tion and wealth, which has enabled him to turn a deaf ear to the voice of polit-
ical ambition and to close his heart to the seduction of popular applause so easily




gained by one possessed of his power of oratory in the discussion of questions
of temporary interest; which has led him to decline positions of the highest
literary dignity in college and university that he might give himself up unre-

Online LibraryWilliam Columbus FerrilThe Connecticut quarterly (Volume 2) → online text (page 14 of 46)