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I. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) Blandin.

History of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. online

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sulted their friend Mr. William Scott, who suggested
that they should allow the sale to proceed, and that
they would find five other men who would assist them
in buying the property. The claim of the contractor,
Mr. Elam Alexander, was $10,000; this was divided
into shares of $i,coo, and five men took one share each
and two men took two shares each. The plan was car-
ried out, and the property became legally the property
of these men, who gave it to the Annual Conference
of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

They offered the building to the trustees for what
it had cost them.. Rev. Samuel Anthony was appointed
agent, and by many and laborious efforts he succeeded
in collecting about $2,000. Mr. James A. Everett
proposed to pay the remainder on condition that the
trustees would give him four perpetual scholarships.
The trustees accepted the proposition and secured a
title to the College building leg-ally and lawfully.

Thus the Georgia Female College passed out of ex-
istence. The College was given to the Annual Con-
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the
name changed to Wesleyan Female College. The



136 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

president and faculty resigned and were immediately
elected to fill like places in the Wesleyan. Thus the
College, without loss of time in its great work, passed
under a new jurisdiction and set out on a new career.
The new board of trustees was almost identical with
the old, almost every surviving member of the old
being retained in the new. Several women were added
to the faculty at this time, and ever since the faculty
has been largely composed of women. The College
was kept open during the War between the States
and went on regularly with its work, with the excep-
tion of two or three weeks, when General Sherman
passed by on his way to the sea, and of two or three
days when General Wilson took possession of the
city. During the winter of 1873 the exercises were
suspended for six weeks on account of an epidemic
of small-pox. With these exceptions the regular ex-
ercises of the school have not been interrupted since
the opening in 1839 until the present time.

During the collegiate year of 1859-60 the Alum-
naean Association was formed. This association holds
triennial reunions. These occasions have been highly
enjoyable. The following ladies have been president
of the association : Mrs. Harriet H. Boring, Mrs. M.
H. de Graffenreid, Mrs. A. B. Clayton, Mrs. Alice
C. Cobb, Mrs. Eugenia Fitzgerald, Mrs. C. E. Benson,
Mrs. L. V. Farrar, Mrs. W. R. Rogers.

Bishop George F Pierce was the first president of
the Georgia Female College, Dr. William H. Ellison
the second and also the first president of Wesleyan
College. During the sixty years of its existence the
College has had five presidents.

Degrees While the charter of the College author-
izes the trustees to confer all degrees usually con-
ferred by universities and colleges, they have only ex-
ercised that authority by conferring the following de-
grees: Degree Artium Baccalaureae, upon regular
graduates, and as an honorary degree. Degree Lit-
erarum Baccalaureae, conferred on all who complete



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH 187

regular course with Latin language, but no modern
language. Degree Artium Magistrae. This degree
was conferred upon all regular graduates of ten years'
standing, up to 1886, when the custom was discon-
tinued. It may be conferred upon distinguished lit-
erary ladies, and upon candidates after careful examin-
ation in a prescribed course of study. Degree Ar-
tium Pingendi et Lineandi Baccalaureae is conferred
upon those who complete a full course in Art Depart-
ment. Degree Musica Baccalaureae is conferred upon
those who accomplish the prescribed course in Music
Department.

THE SENEY BENEFACTION

In the year 1881 Mr. George Ingraham Seney of
Brooklyn, New York, whose mother was an alumna of
Wesleyan, donated $125,000 to the College. Fifty
thousand of this amount was designated by him as a
permanent endowment fund for two chairs, one to be
called the " Lovick Pierce Chair of Mathematics and
Astronomy " ; the other was named by the trustees
" Seney Chair of Mental and Moral Science/' in honor
of the donor. Five thousand was designated by the
donor as a fund for furniture and grounds for a li-
brary; while $70,000 was placed at the disposal of
the trustees, and used by them for building and im-
provement.

In order to show the appreciation of the noble
Christian character of Mr. Seney, and of his generous
gift to the institution, Wesleyan has adopted his
birthday, which occurs on the I2th of May, as a regu-
lar College anniversary, to be known in the College
calendar as " Benefactor's Day," and to be observed
with suitable literary and musical exercises.

The origin of the Everett scholarships has already
been mentioned. These scholarships are not under the
control of the trustees or faculty, but are controlled
by the founder, Mr. James A. Everett, of Fort Valley,
Georgia. They secure to the holder board and tuition



138 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

in all departments of instruction. There are no regu-
larly endowed scholarships yielding revenue for the
gratuitous instruction of pupils, but the " lessee " of
the College gives free tuition in the " regular course,"
to all the daughters of all ministers who live by the
ministry, and to all worthy girls in needy circum-
stances who desire to prepare themselves to teach.

Free scholarships in tuition are offered to one pupil
each year in the Alexander School, and the high school
of the city of Macon, and to one pupil in the Bibb
County public schools; the pupils holding the highest
rank in their respective schools receiving the scholar-
ships as a reward of merit. The awards are made
annually and for one year.

(This sketch was prepared from catalogues.)



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH 139



CHAPTER XV

La Grange Female College, La Grange, Georgia,
1833-1908

THIS institution commenced its work under the
name of La Grange Female Academy, in 1833, under
the supervision of Rev. Thomas Stanley, a Methodist
minister. He taught successfully until his death in
J 835, when his wife, Mrs. Ellen Stanley, took charge
of the school until the close of the session. She was
succeeded by Mr. John Park, who continued until
1842. During that year Mr. Joseph T. Montgomery
leased the Academy from the trustees, and took charge
of the school January, 1843, beginning with thirteen
pupils. In less than two years the enrollment was
more than one hundred and increasing rapidly.

Mr. Montgomery wished to make it a school of high
grade, and a new charter was obtained granting the
privilege of conferring degrees, and La Grange Fe-
male Institute was organized with increased facilities
and extended charter privileges.

In 1846 the first three graduates of the new school
commenced the roster of alumnae which now contains
hundreds of names. Besides those who have com-
pleted the curriculum, received diplomas and had their
names recorded as children of their alma mater, hun-
dreds of others receiving here wholesome instruction
and fit preparation for after life have gone forth to
bless the world.

The College continuing to grow, it was deemed
necessary to increase its teaching facilities and to ex-
tend its charter privileges. On July 4, 1852, the cor-
ner-stone of old La Grange College was laid with ap-
propriate ceremonies by the Masonic fraternity of La



140 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Grange; and in June or July, 1853, the first class was
graduated in the new chapel.

Mr. Montgomery had associated with him his
brothers, Mr. Hugh T. Montgomery and Rev. T. F.
Montgomery. In December, 1856, the Messrs. Mont-
gomery sold their entire property to the Georgia Con-
ference of the M. E. Church South.

On March 28, 1860, the college building, with
pianos, library, apparatus, and many minor requisites
for a well-furnished school for girls were entirely
consumed. In less than thirty days $20,000 had been
subscribed and the work of rebuilding commenced.
Before the building was completed the War between
the States began, and financial ruin was the result.

In the division of the Georgia Conference this prop-
erty was given to the North Georgia Conference, and
was formally accepted at the Annual Conference held
at Augusta, Georgia, December, 1867. The walls
were then unfinished, and somewhat dilapidated by
exposure to the rains and frosts of seven winters. For
thirteen long years the Rev. J. R. Mayson labored
faithfully and energetically to rebuild the walls. The
friends of the enterprise were loyal and liberal even
in their poverty, and in Mareh, 1875, the work of
completion commenced and was finished in 1879.
Since that time the College has made steady, healthy
progress, under the presidency of Rev. J. R. Mayson,
and then of Dr. J. W. Heidt.

In 1885 Dr. Heidt resigned and Rufus W. Smith
was elected president.

In 1887 the increasing patronage required more
boarding room, and College Home was doubled in
size at a cost of $10,000. In 1891 the second annex
to College Home was built, and other improvements
made at a cost of $5,000. In 1892 Mr. William S.
Witham endowed the " Laura Haygood Witham Loan
Fund," with a donation of $10,000. The proceeds
of this fund are to be used in educating dependent
young ladies. In 1894 the College added a $4,000



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH 141

pipe organ to the advantages of its music department.
In 1897 about $2,000 were spent in improving the
college grounds, home chapel, and college auditorium.
These facts and figures show that this valuable prop-
erty, estimated at $100,000, is making rapid progress
in material growth and improvement. Its record of
literary, moral, and religious status is no less en-
couraging. During the past five years its graduates,
with two or three exceptions, have gone forth Chris-
tian women. During the past session the entire
patronage of the boarding-department found the
" pearl of great price."- Over half of the alumnae are
engaged in successful teaching. In 1898 the prospects
were brighter than ever before.

(From letters, catalogue, and sketch furnished by
the president, Rufus W. Smith.)

Southern Female College, College Park, Georgia,
1843-1908

The first session of this school began January, 1843,
under the management of Rev. John E. Dawson,
D. D., whose aim was to establish a college of high
order for women. On account of failing health he
retired from the presidency during the year and was
succeeded by Milton E. Bacon, A. M. Through his
efforts the College was chartered under the name of
La Grange Female Seminary, in 1845. I n I ^5 tms
charter was amended and the name changed to La
Grange Collegiate Seminary for Young Ladies, Pro-
fessor Bacon being the sole incorporator. In 1852
the name was changed by Act of Legislature to South-
ern and Western College, all the rights, privileges,
and powers of the old corporation passing over to the
new. In 1854, by Act of Legislature, the name was
changed by Mr. Bacon to Southern Female College
of La Grange, and all the rights and privileges trans-
ferred and confirmed. In 1857, by Act of Legisla-
ture, the charter was again amended, and that provi-



HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

sion of the original charter limiting the franchise to
a period of thirty years was repealed and its existence
made perpetual.

Professor Bacon erected the buildings and conducted
the College as an " individual enterprise." Never
knight espoused a cause and followed it with more
ability, zeal, and chivalry than Mr. Bacon undertook
the education of girls, when it was a novel and doubt-
ful experiment. The faded and stained parchments
of the early records of the College, containing his
printed addresses and circulars in advocacy of the edu-
cation of girls, glow with noble enthusiasm as he com-
bats prejudice against his noble work and outlines the
ideal woman, consecrated and cultured. Under his
administration the College prospered wonderfully,
maintained high standards, received patronage from
all over the South, and achieved wide celebrity.

In 1855 President Bacon retired from the school
and removed to Mississippi. He was succeeded by
Hon. John A. Foster, A. M., who was joined by Rev.
Henry E. Brooks from Alabama, in 1856. As asso-
ciate presidents they conducted the school through
1856-57. In 1857 I. F. Cox, A. M., became president.
When he volunteered with the La Grange Home
Guards for the War between the States the community
asked for his detail, and arrangements were made for
him to teach in the basement of the Baptist Church,
as the College had been seized and was used for a
Confederate hospital. From 1860-63 Rev. W. H.
Roberts, D. D., was associate president, and for a year
or two sole president. From 1855 to 1864 the West-
ern Baptist Association owned a one-half interest in
the school. In 1864 the College building, while oc-
cupied by the Confederates, was accidentally burned,
and as the Southern government was then in ruins
and soon dissolved, it could make no recompense.
With the exception of some insurance paid in Con-
federate money that soon became worthless, the loss
was total, and Mr. Cox was the chief loser.



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH

The distressing condition of the country during the
period of Reconstruction and recurring panic added
to the calamity of the College. With fortitude and
indomitable energy President Cox resolutely set to
work to overcome what seemed insurmountable
obstacles in the way of rebuilding and refurnishing the
institution. Alone, except with the aid of his wife,
he undertook the arduous work as a private enterprise.
The story of toil, self-denial, and struggle will never
be fully told on earth.

After teaching for several years in rented buildings,
first in one place and then in another, he purchased
in 1871, in his own name, a new site, paid for part of
the cost in cash, borrowed money at high rates of in-
terest, began the erection of buildings, and by degrees
paid off all claims. In recognition of his labors and
services for the College, and as a tribute to his per-
severance and success, the public gradually inaugu-
rated the custom of calling the institution " Cox Col-
lege," by which name it is now more generally known
than by its formal title.

The chapel on the south side of the grounds, erected
in 1877, besides being a monument to the enterprise
of President Cox, which indeed may be said of the
entire College, is also memorable evidence of the
generosity of the citizens of LaGrange and surround-
ing section, who largely aided in the construction of
that edifice by individual subscriptions amounting to
$2,345. Citizens also gave in 1872 about $800 in
contributions for the construction of the school build-
ing on the north side of the premises. These gifts
have been highly appreciated, and enabled the College
to show its gratitude to the community in many sub-
stantial ways. At the time of President Cox's tragic
death, which occurred from apoplexy in the midst of
the commencement exercises, June, 1887, he left the
College free from debt, equipped with handsome build-
ings, supplied with the best teaching appliances, and
strengthened by a large and able faculty. President



144 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Cox bequeathed the College to his family, who im-
mediately assumed charge. The administration was
as follows : Mrs. I. F. Cox, " Mother of the Col-
lege " ; Charles C. Cox, principal of the literary de-
partment; Misses Sallie and Alice Cox, directors of
music and disciplinarians in the College home; Mr.
W. S. Cox, business manager, and Miss M. E. Stakely,
secretary.

In 1888 President Cox married the youngest
daughter of Milton E. Bacon, and the descendants of
the two men who established the College in fame and
prosperity as a private enterprise are united in per-
petuating, promoting, and extending the life-work of
their parents as a sacred trust and labor of love.

The semi-centennial celebration, during the com-
mencement of 1893, was a notable occasion. The
orator was Hon. Henry Watterson. The alumnae
reunion was especially impressive. Upon the stage
were seated grandmothers, with their daughters and
grandchildren, who offered tributes of love and praise
to their alma mater. It was a memorable scene as
the representatives of the classes from 1893 back to
1845 came forward to read their papers, now pre-
served among the historical records.

Feeling that it had done its full duty in the field
where it had labored so long and pleasantly, the Col-
lege decided, in the summer of 1895, to remove to
College Park, Atlanta, where it believes it may occupy
a wide territory of usefulness and honor. It pur-
chased for cash its extensive property and holds it free
of debt; has enlarged its work and increased its pat-
ronage. The removal was largely effected by the
labors of Mr. W. L. Stanton and Dr. J. B. Hawthorne,
and by the co-operation of the board of advisers at
large. The old charter has been transferred and con-
firmed for the College.

President Bacon usually prefaced the annual cata-
logues with remarks in behalf of the education of
women. His discussion of the utilitarian objections



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH 145

to the education of women, in the catalogue of 1845,
is interesting as an exposition of the prevailing senti-
ment on that subject in Georgia in his day.

" If, in alleging that the education of women is un-
necessary, reference is had exclusively to its agency
in coining dimes and dollars, no argument need be
adduced. So contracted a view could not be affected
by an exhibition of its most evident benefits. The
same objections may be urged against food and dress.
The plainest diet and the coarsest apparel may subserve
the necessities of man; but the means used to elevate
his condition form the mainspring of civilized life.
It perpetuates the degradation of the savage, that he
is contented when the wants of nature are satisfied;
but it is the character of civilized man to aim at higher
attainments in his mental, moral, and physical condi-
tion, and to find happiness on loftier aspirations and
nobler employments.

" The well-informed man who confines his views of
education simply to its pecuniary benefits does not
consider the happiness which his own acquirements
afford. Like the free air around him, though the
source of life and health, he has ever enjoyed its
gratuitous support with scarcely a reflection of its
existence."

While Professor Bacon entered with whole soul
into the arena for woman's cause, he deprecated
the ante-bellum Northern conception of the ideal of
womanhood that partakes of masculinity and
" woman's rights."

For several years after its organization, the school
opened its sessions in January, sometimes in February,
and continued work until the last of October or No-
vember. These sessions closed with public examina-
tions and the usual graduating exercises.

During Professor Bacon's administration there were
in 1850 13 officers of the College and 160 pupils; in
1851 there were 210 pupils, no being music pupils;
in 1852 there were 217 pupils, and in 1853, 220. The



146 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

patronage was drawn from Georgia, Tennessee, Ken-
tucky, and Texas. Of late years no less than ten
States are usually represented in the boarding-depart-
ment, and students are enrolled from Canada to Mex-
ico and Cuba, and from all over the United States.
The average yearly enrollment has been 200, of whom
nearly one-half have been boarders. During the first
session after the removal of the College to College
Park (1895-6), there were in attendance over 200
pupils from a distance, representing eleven States and
one foreign country 146 music pupils, 52 in art, and
40 in elocution.

The College is located in a suburb of Atlanta, the
situation furnishing on the one hand the freedom and
peace of rural life and on the other embracing the ap-
proved attractions of a city. The campus includes
about forty acres, of which twelve at the front are
devoted to the cultivation of choice ornamental plants,
many being quite rare, while the remaining area is
used as experiment grounds for fruits and vegetables.
The main building is constructed of stone, brick, and
slate, and supplied with all modern conveniences. A
gymnasium is properly equipped, recreation grounds
for tennis and other games are laid off, and an in-
firmary or retreat is conducted by an experienced
nurse. The teaching appliances include a library of
five thousand volumes; a museum of natural history
and industrial chemistry with about seven thousand
five hundred specimens; physical and chemical labora-
tories; a four-inch telescope with other astronomical
outfit; also well-furnished studios for art and music.

All primary work has been discontinued, and the
time is devoted exclusively to college work. This
work is divided into, I. College of Liberal Arts, which
is organized into the following schools : Mathematics,
English, Latin, Greek, modern languages, natural
sciences, history and Bible philosophy, and elocution.
II. College of Fine Arts: This department of the
College consists of music, drawing, and painting.



OF WOMEN IN THE SOUTH 147

III. College of Practical Arts: This department is
divided into commercial arts; book-keeping, penman-
ship, phonography, and typewriting. IV. Household
Arts: This department includes dressmaking, cook-
ery, home decoration and embroidery.

Music, painting, and elocution are specialties for
which this college has long been distinguished, and its
summer concert tours have attracted much attention.

A Christian atmosphere pervades the school. At
daily twilight prayers all the hundreds of pupils who
have ever attended the College are remembered in
prayer. Many of the old pupils send back requests for
prayer as they enter upon new duties and trials. A
religious meeting is conducted every Sunday evening
by the teachers of the College. Bible study is promi-
nent in college work. The degrees conferred are A. B.,
A. M., B. L. The aim of this school, above all things,
is to prepare for home life.
(From catalogues sent by Dr. Cox.)

Andrew College for Girls, Cuthbert, Georgia, 1854-

1908

Andrew College is the property of the Methodist
Episcopal Church South, and is controlled by the South
Georgia Conference, being the only college for girls
belonging wholly to this Conference.

Andrew was founded in 1854, very largely through
the heroic efforts and sacrifices of Rev. Jno. H. Cald-
well, who spent much time and money in securing the
erection of the first buildings of the College.

A. A. Allen was the first president, and at the end
of the first year of his presidency was succeeded by a
man who afterward became a noted figure in Georgia
Methodism, Rev. Weyman H. Potter. He was suc-
ceeded by Rev. Oliver P. Anthony, who in turn was
succeeded by Rev. Morgan Calloway, whose adminis-
tration continued to the opening of the War between
the States, when he gave up the work of the school-



148 HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

room to take the field of active military service. The
College was practically closed, its buildings for a part
of the time being used as a Confederate hospital. Mean-
while, the ladies conducted a private school in connec-
tion with the College. In 1866 the College proper
was again opened, and Dr. A. L. Hamilton was elected
president. Under his able administration and man-
agement the College grew rapidly in influence and
reputation. After finishing his fifth year as president
of the College, Dr. Hamilton resigned, and was suc-
ceeded by Rev. J. B. McGehee and Capt. A. H. Flewel-
len as joint presidents.

In 1872 Dr. McGehee resigned and Captain Flewel-
len continued at the head of the College until 1887,
when Dr. Hamilton was again called to preside over
the affairs of Andrew. He remained at this post till
the early spring of 1881, when death closed his earthly
labors. The trustees placed Mrs. Hamilton in charge
for the remainder of that session.

In the fall of 1881 Dr. Howard Key was called to
take up the work of the lamented Hamilton. For ten
years the College enjoyed much prosperity under his
management, and its patronage was widely extended.
His successor, Rev. P. S. Twitty, held the office for
four years, and of all men who have labored for the
College, none have had greater obstacles to surmount
than he met when in 1892, near the close of a pros-
perous year, the entire buildings and nearly all the
equipments were destroyed by fire. In the midst of
financial depression, by persistent labors, with the


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Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 10 of 24)