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

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

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some time before she took charge; and in another
paragraph she says, " It is said that when the Institute
building was erected it was designed to accommodate
one hundred or more pupils."

The beginning of this school is really unknown,
but tradition says it was in existence ten or more years
before Mrs. Phelps took charge in 1841 ; the records,
if they ever existed, must have been destroyed when
the change was made, as nothing but traditions of it
now exist.

The normal, or teachers' class, was a pet scheme of
Mrs. Phelps, and much exploited by her. It was not,
however, a training class for any and all who might
wish to prepare for teaching, but a class of young
women who wished to teach, but who did not have
the means to defray the necessary expense of the
training. These young women usually paid their
board by work in the domestic department of the In-
stitution, and made a written contract to refund the
amount of tuition and clothes, if these were furnished,
but this seldom was the case, with interest. These
young women seldom failed to meet their obligations in
full. Occasionally some one failed to pay the whole
amount, and sometimes payment was long delayed, but
according to Mrs. Phelps's own statement this very sel-
dom happened, and a very small amount of indebted-
ness was lost by her.

Mrs. Phelps boasted much of her system of dis-
cipline, which was the " curatress system " ; that is,
the school was divided into sections of from six to
ten pupils; each section was under the supervision of
a teacher called a " curatress." Once a month each
" curatress " made a written report to the principal,


which was read before the whole school, " of the kind
and quantity of work performed, with the general de-
portment, industry, etc., of the pupils under her

The " monitorial " system was fully carried out.
Each pupil " was in turn a subordinate officer " ; that
is, each pupil was required to be a spy and informer.
These monitors reported weekly to the officers and
teachers the conduct and deportment of each individual
pupil, and these reports were read before the assembled

The principal of this institution from 1841 to 1856
was Mrs. Lincoln Phelps, known to the public as
the author of Lincoln's Botany, of a series of works
on chemistry, natural philosophy, and sundry works
on the subject of education.

Mr. Phelps, who had been the " power behind the
throne," died in April, 1849. Mrs. Phelps retired
from control in 1856, and was succeeded by Mr. Rob-
ert H. Archer, who continued in charge until 1879 or
1880. However, during the War between the States
the school was closed, as its patronage was entirely
from the Southern States. Mr. Archer was succeeded
by Miss Sarah Randolph, who continued the school
until 1896, when it had decreased in numbers so much
it was deemed unwise to continue any longer, and the
trustees sold the property to parties for a summer

The principal reason for its decline was, as local
institutions improved, boarding-schools became less and
less in demand, and the local patronage was not suf-
ficient to sustain it profitably.

From the establishment (about 1831) this school
was an incorporated school and had the right to grant
diplomas. These were granted for a full course in
English and proficiency in one foreign language.

The school sessions were of long duration in those
days. The annual opening was on the first of October,


the annual commencement occurred on the first Wed-
nesday in August, thus leaving only eight weeks for

During Mrs. Phelps's regime the text books

Preparatory Department Greenleafs Grammar:
Emerson's Arithmetic, 2d part; Willard's Geography
for Beginners; Woodbridge and Willard's Rudiments
of Geography; Willard's Abridgment of American
History and Historic Guide ; Phelps's Chemistry, Bot-
any, Geology and Natural Philosophy for Beginners.

Junior Year Kirkman's Grammar; Emerson's
Arithmetic, 2d part; Willard and Woodbridge's Uni-
versal Geography; Willard's Ancient Geography;
Dillaway's Roman Antiquities; Phelps's Larger Nat-
ural Philosophy and Chemistry ; Willard's Republic of
America and Universal History; Newman's Rhetoric;
Boyd's Rhetoric.

Middle Year Kirkman's Grammar; Emerson's
Arithmetic, 3d part; Totten's Algebra; Davies' Alge-
bra; Davies' Legendre's Geometry; Willard's Univer-
sal History, Chronographer and Historic Guide ; Bur-
ritt's Geography of the Heavens; Lincoln's Botany;
Phelps's Chemistry ; Hedge's Logic ; Legal Classic by
Hon. J. Phelps; Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric,
or Kames' Elements of Criticism.

Senior Year Marsh's Book-keeping; Olmstead's
Mechanics ; Trigonometry ; Lee's Physiology ; Willard
on the Circulation of the Blood; Lincoln's Botany;
Phelps's Chemistry; Wayland's Elements of Moral
Science ; Brown's Intellectual Philosophy ; Paley's Evi-
dences of Christianity ; Paley's Natural Theology.

French, Latin, Italian, and German were the lan-
guages taught. All the pupils were required to at-
tend lectures on botany, chemistry, natural philosophy,
history, and geology.

This list shows that half the text-books used were
written by Mr. and Mrs. Phelps and her sister, Mrs.
Willard of Troy Seminary. As none of these books


sold for less than $1.50 and most of them for $2.00
and $3.00, this was an important item in connection
with the school and netted a handsome income.

Much space has been given to this school, because at
one time it was very popular in all the Southern States,
and many of its text-books may still be found scat-
tered through the country, regarded as relics of a happy
past by a few who still survive, and investigated as cu-
riosities by a younger generation accustomed to a very
different style of text-book. Perhaps some of the old
diplomas may still be in existence, cherished as me-
mentoes of the past or regarded as curios.

After Mrs. Phelps's resignation, the text-books, the
discipline, and the whole regime of the school were
changed to suit modern ideas Southern ideas. Mrs.
Phelps boasted that she made Patapsco, " a Northern
school in all essential features and characteristics,"
and some time before she retired her patrons were
tired of her system.

(Mrs. Mackubin, an alumna of Patapsco, kindly
furnished the catalogue, Mrs. Phelps's report, and gave
some additional facts, from which this sketch has been
written. )

Kee Mar College, Hagerstown, Maryland, 1851-1908

Upon an eminence commanding a view of the entire
Cumberland Valley is located Kee Mar College. From
its porches may be seen the Blue Ridge, Crampton's
Gap, and South Mountain. The surrounding country
is rich in historical association, and famed for its
healthfulness, and the beauty of its scenery.

The buildings comprise a main college building, a
music hall, and a large auditorium. These are all
heated by steam and lighted by gas and electricity,
and the sanitary arrangements are complete as science
can make them. The campus contains ten acres,
adorned with shrubbery and evergreens, and shaded
by maples and choice trees of many varieties. The


greatest care is taken to promote the health of the
students, and careful attention is given to physical
culture and gymnasium work.

However important physical development is or may
be, it is at best only the beginning of education. In-
tellectual training naturally follows, and the means
which college life affords for development in this di-
rection are practically three : the faculty, including all
lectures and means of instruction in general; student
organization and publications which foster the acquire-
ment of knowledge ; and libraries and other apparatus
which are of assistance in illustrating the facts and
truths taught in the class-room.

Kee Mar has spared no pains to secure the very best
faculty. Some of its members have national reputa-
tions, one an international reputation, on the platform.
A close relation with the American Society for Exten-
sion of University Teaching is sustained ; one member
of its staff is an affiliated teacher.

Two courses of university extension lectures were
given during the year 1905-^06 and other lectures were
heard frequently.

Two literary organizations The Society of Elaine
and The Society of Antigone help the students to
put in practice the knowledge gained in the school-

The separate departments of the College have spe-
cial libraries of well-selected books, adapted to their
special work, and the reading-room is well supplied
with reference books and works of general interest.
The large and excellent library of the city of Hagers-
town is always available for the use of the students;
altogether, about 30,000 volumes are at their command
when needed.

Painting is taught as an allied department of the
institution, and history of art is studied as an im-
portant feature of the curriculum. A splendid col-
lection of art reproductions brought from Italy add
interest to the work. A series of over thirty reproduc-


tions of the Sistine frescoes of the Vatican, made
under the supervision of John Ruskin, which is prob-
ably unique of its kind in America, is available for the
use of students; while a large collection of similar
reproductions of drawings of the great masters, chiefly
Leonardo, Angelo, and Raphael, is also in the posses-
sion of the College.

Music has always received careful attention in this
College. The faculty is composed of teachers who
have received training from the best schools in this
country and the best conservatories of Europe. Much
attention is given to voice culture.

The Margaret Barry School of Expression, founder!
by one of the best readers in America, and under her
personal direction, affords an excellent opportunity
for development of aesthetic culture.

The capstone of the arch of education is character.
Intellectual training without proper moral balance can
only produce dangerous rather than useful members
of society, and the same is true of aesthetic culture.
A college that does not insist upon the absolute and
supreme worth of the moral life is an institution which
may do great harm, and which cannot accomplish
great good. Therefore, high ideals are constantly
kept before the minds of the pupils, and chapel services
are held every day during the week, and students are
expected to attend the church to which they belong or
which their parents select, on Sunday. Vesper services
conducted by ministers of different denominations are
held in the college every Sunday.

Social life is scarcely less important than intellectual
training; therefore, formal receptions are held during
the school term, and the laws of polite society observed
at all times.

The curriculum embraces the departments of philos-
ophy, English, Latin language and literature, Greek
language and literature, history, mathematics, German
language and literature, French language and litera-
ture, and natural science.


The degrees conferred are A. B. and A. M. ; diplo-
mas are conferred for literary course, music and art.

The President of Kee Mar is Bruce Lesher Kersh-

This school has had a continuous and progressive
career since its organization in 1851, and has adapted
its equipment, its standard, and its curriculum to the
demand of the educational ideals of the present

The college seal is a reproduction of an intaglio
found among the ruins of Pompeii. The original in-
taglio has been in the British Museum, has belonged
to a king of Saxony, and is at present in the possession
of Miss Margaret Barry.

Much space has been given to this school, because
so few schools of Maryland could be put on record,
though this is by no means the oldest school in Mary-

(The information on which this sketch is based was
obtained from catalogues sent by the president.)

Maryland College, Lutherville, Maryland, 1853-1908

Maryland College for Women was chartered in
1853 by the Legislature of Maryland. In 1895 a new
charter was granted, enabling the institution to confer
the usual collegiate and honorary degrees on women
of merit and distinction in literature and science. It
is located at Lutherville, a beautiful village suburban
to Baltimore, Maryland, on the Northern Central Rail-
way, in a high, healthy, and beautiful section of coun-

The main college building is of stone in a castellated
style of architecture, presenting a front of 126 feet,
and a depth of 68 feet, surmounted by a cupola, which
affords an extensive view of the surrounding country.
The campus is extensive and retired, occupying eleven
acres. The grounds in the rear are covered with a
forest of native oaks ; in front they are laid out in


walks and promenades, planted in ornamental shrub-
bery and shade trees.

The Institution is provided with pianos, organs,
chemical and philosophical apparatus, maps and charts,
and a cabinet of minerals, sufficient for the practical
illustration of the sciences.

Baltimore is only a few minutes' ride by rail from
Lutherville, and this center of wealth and culture at-
tracts the finest talent from all parts of the world, thus
the best in art and music is accessible to the pupils.

They have opportunities to hear great dramas, ora-
torios, operas, symphonies, and lectures, by noted art-
ists. The Peabody Art Gallery is open all the year
round, and the private art collection of Mr. Walter
Walters is open six months each year. These galleries
afford opportunities of surpassing excellence to lovers
of art.

The College has a library of standard authors, and
a reading-room furnished with choice periodicals and
scientific and religious journals, magazines, and news-

The Morris and Lyceum Literary Societies afford
opportunity and stimulus for the cultivation of habits
of reading and discussion, and literary taste. The
Current Comment Club meets weekly for recital and
discussion of current events.

Collegiate Department This department embraces
three separate and distinct schools : The English, Latin,
Classical (or Scientific) and Greek Classical, each cov-
ering a period of four years. The Greek and Latin
classical courses each require one modern language;
the English course requires two modern languages.
Pupils may become candidates for graduation in either
of them. The completion of either of them, upon
satisfactory examination, will entitle the applicant to
a diploma in that school. The Greek course leads to
the degree of B. A. ; the Latin course to B. S. ; the
English course to B. L. Bachelor of Literature. The
honorary degree of M. A. will be conferred on such


persons as may be recommended by the faculty and
approved by the board of control. A diploma, with
the title Graduate of Music of Maryland College for
Women, will be awarded to those who finish the
course of music prescribed by the institution to the
entire satisfaction of the faculty.

The Department of Art offers two courses: i. A
thorough course for those who expect to pursue art
as a profession; 2. A course for those who can give
but little time to the study of art, but who desire some
knowledge of it for home decoration. All the branches
of art taught in colleges receive attention.

Preparatory Department In order to provide for
those pupils who are unprepared to enter the regular
college classes, a sub-freshman class is conducted by the
regular faculty of instructors, offering the advantage of
preparing for and completing the collegiate course
under the same direction.

(This sketch is taken from catalogues sent by the
president of the College, Rev. J. M. Turner.)


Franklin Academy, Columbus, Mississippi, 1821-1908

THIS school, though not strictly a school for girls,
should be mentioned, because from its establishment in
1821 there were two entirely distinct schools one for
boys and one for girls.

It was a " sixteenth-section " school, and still has
an income from its sixteenth-section lands. This
school has been the subject of much legislation and
much discussion, and its management has been much
opposed and criticised. At one time great opposition
arose against the " high school department." It was
contended that the children of the poor could not at-
tend school longer than was necessary to complete the
grammar-school studies, therefore, the money should
not be used to maintain a school for the benefit of
the rich, who should maintain a school for their own
children. To meet this objection, a small fee was
charged for each of the higher classes. Still the dis-
satisfaction continued, and it was proposed to close the
school and distribute the funds among private schools
of primary grade. This proposition was submitted to
a vote of the citizens. Two tickets " School," the
other " No School " were presented ; the school ticket
was elected, and the school continued its course.

Fortunately, the city of Columbus was built on about
two-thirds of its school lands. This gave it an in-
creasing income, but even then this amount was not
sufficient for all expenses, and the manner of supple-
menting this fund was a bone of contention until
the Academy became a part of the State School system
in 1869. Since that time it has had its pro rata of the
State fund, and its own sixteenth-section fund.


In 1875 or 1876 the trustees of this school bought
the " Freedmen's Bureau " building and established a
school for negro children under the management of
the Franklin Academy.

The school has never been closed since it was char-
tered in 1821 until the present time. It has continued
its session nine months in every year, being three
months more than required by law. The establishment
of this school on the old " Military Road," that Gen-
eral Jackson had opened through the wilderness, at-
tracted settlers, a land office was opened, and soon the
town of Columbus was a thriving, busy mart. The
community was noted for its intelligence and high-
toned morality, and has maintained these characteris-
tics until the present time.

Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi, 1830-1850

Hampstead Academy was incorporated in 1826, and
located at Mount Salus, now Clinton, in Hinds County.
F. A. Hopkins was first principal of the school, which
began active work in January, 1827. On the fifth of
February, the same year, an Act of Legislature was
passed by which the name of the institution was
changed to Mississippi Academy, and to this institution
was donated, for a term of five years, the rent of such
portions of thirty-six sections of land granted by Con-
gress in 1819, for the aid of an institution of learning,
as had been leased.

In April, 1827, the trustees published this announce-
ment : " The school has been in operation three months,
and now numbers upwards of thirty students; both
boys and girls are admitted, but the house is so con-
structed that the boys and girls are taught in separate
rooms. The entire building will probably be com-
pleted this year, and when finished will accommodate
from 150 to 200 students." An amendment to the
charter, by which the name and grade of the school
were changed to Mississippi College, was approved in


December, 1830. However, the implication of the
name did not exist; it was never adopted as a State
institution, but was under a board of management
nominated by the citizens of Clinton.

The Constitutional Flag published an account of a
commencement in June, 1832, which gives us a glimpse
of an old time commencement.

" Male Department : The examination of the pupils
of this institution closed on Friday, the i^th inst. On
Monday (forenoon), Thursday, and Friday the stu-
dents of this department were rigidly examined in
various studies. The young gentlemen in the classes
distinguished themselves in a manner highly creditable ;
such was the spirit of emulation among them that it
would be difficult to distinguish any one in particular.
The oratorical society exhibited on Thursday and Tues-
day nights. This society elicited most unbounded ap-
plause, and promises a high degree of usefulness, and
to become a valuable auxiliary in the school. The
composition (original) was elegant and the elocution

" Female Department : This department is divided
into four classes, and the studies of each class pre-
scribed. The first class is distinguished by a red badge,
the second by a pink badge, the third class, by a blue
badge, and the fourth by a white badge.

" On Monday forenoon those studying music were
examined ; and it would be ungenerous to withhold the
mead of praise ; their performance met the admiration
of a large and respectable audience. On Tuesday and
Wednesday the young ladies were examined in classes.
Each class, stimulated by a laudable emulation to ex-
cel, afforded a triumphant refutation of their supposed
incapacity of high scientific attainments.

" On Wednesday morning two young ladies were
graduated. The ceremony of graduating and con-


ferring the degrees was truly imposing, and excited
the most lively interest. After the conferring of the
degrees, the young ladies were presented with a gold
medal with a suitable inscription, and a diploma."

The buildings having been completed, in 1834 the
institution was organized in two departments, entirely
separate from each other, and each had its own

In 1842 the school was placed under the control of
the Clinton Presbytery, and both departments were
placed under the same president, though still separate.
In 1848 the girls' department was again placed under
separate management; and Dr. Newton, an educator
of large experience, was president of this department.
He was assisted by Prof. John P. Mapes and Miss
Eliza Warren, who had been educated in Europe.
She was a linguist and musician, and had had much
experience in teaching.

The school continued to prosper until 1848, when
Rev. P. Cotton, president of the College, resigned.
The affairs of the College began to decline, and in
1850 the buildings, grounds, and apparatus of the
College became the property of the Baptist State Con-
vention. After this transfer the girls' department was

(This sketch is taken from " History of Education
in Mississippi," by Hon. Edward Mayes.)

Holly Springs Female Institute, 1836

From its earliest day the educational advantages of
the city of Holly Springs were of a high order. This
was especially true in regard to schools for girls. They
extended unusual facilities for learning, under the
guidance of enlightened and experienced teachers.
These benefits attracted the residence of families of
wealth and refinement, who came from a distance to
secure the education of their children. They brought
with them a high standard of religious, moral, and


intellectual culture, and gave unusual elevation to the
society of the place. This was so eminently the case
that in a very short time the population was over 4,000,
and its real estate was in demand at high prices.

In January, 1836 (the same year in which the
Chickasaw Cession was organized into counties), a
meeting of the citizens of Holly Springs and its vi-
cinity was held for the purpose of electing trustees
for the " Female Academy " of Holly Springs. At
this meeting a Miss Mosely was employed to teach dur-
ing the first session, with the rates of tuition fixed at
$8, $12, and $15, for the first, second, and third
classes, respectively. The building was south of the
road to Hernando, and fronting it. It was a modest
but comfortable structure of hewn logs, with clapboard
roof, overhung by friendly oak trees.

A Mr. Cottrell and his wife were elected to take
charge of the school, and agreed to open their session
the ist of January, 1837, but for some reason failed
to do so, and opened a school near Hudsonville in the
same county. A Mr. Baker and his wife were in-
stalled as principals for 1837. The school seems to
have prospered so much that the trustees determined
to provide larger and more comfortable accommoda-

During this year the town of Holly Springs was
incorporated. The owners of the land on which it
was located donated fifty acres to the city, and this
tract sold for enough money to build an excellent

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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 13 of 24)