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

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

. (page 19 of 24)
Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 19 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

interested in child study and desiring to become trained
kindergartners. Regular diplomas will be given to
those finishing the course required for graduation.

(From catalogues.)

Columbia College for Girls, Columbia, South Carolina,

In 1852 the South Carolina Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church South appointed a com-
mittee to receive " any offers that may be made on
the subject of establishing a college for girls in some
central or suitable place." The result was the es-
tablishment of two such colleges one at Spartan-
burg, the other in Columbia. The work of erecting
the building of the Columbia College for Girls began
in January, 1856, and the first session began on the
first Wednesday of October, 1859, under the presi-
dency of Rev. Whiteford M. Srnith, D. D. The col-
lege received immediately a liberal patronage. Dur-
ing its second session 160 students matriculated. In
1863 tne institution was forced to close, on account
of war and debt, and for several years the building
was occupied as a hotel. In 1873, under the. presi-
dency of Rev. Samuel B. Jones, D. D., the College was
again opened to the daughters of Carolina.


The original building, an excellent example of the
Italian Renaissance architecture, was enlarged in 1878.
In 1895, under the presidency of Rev. J. A. Rice,
D. D., the building was again overhauled, and fitted
with modern heating and sanitary equipments, and the
Annex, a large, commodious building, was erected on
the eastern campus.

The following have occupied the office of president :
Rev. Whiteford Smith, D. D., 1859-60; Rev. William
Martin, 1 860-6 1 ; Rev. H. M. Mood, 1861-64; Rev. S.
B. Jones, D. D., 1873-76; Hon. J. L. Jones, Ph.D.,
1876-81; Rev. O. A. Darby, D. D., 1881-90; Rev. S.
B. Jones, D. D., 1890-94; Rev. John A. Rice, A. M.,
D. D., 1894-1900; Rev. W. W. Daniel, D. D., 1900
to the present day.

" The great aim of the College is to offer to young-
women facilities and opportunities for broad and deep
culture, careful and exact training and thorough edu-
cation, equal to the best." It has always been the
policy of the College to raise its standard from time to
time, as much as the work done in the preparatory
schools would justify. Under the presidency of Dr.
John A. Rice the requirements for entrance and gradu-
ation came abreast with those of the leading colleges
for men in the State.

The faculty is composed of thirteen thoroughly
trained teachers. The course of study is carefully
graded and arranged on the university plan, allowing
girls to enter the class for which they are prepared, as
far as possible, in every department. As at present
arranged there are thirteen departments of instruction,
viz. : English language and literature, modern lan-
guages and literature, ancient languages and literature,
English Bible, art, music, elocution, physical culture,
business department.

In addition to the usual advantages, Columbia Col-
lege offers some special advantages. It is located at
the seat of the legislative, judicial, and executive de-
partments of the State, thus affording object-lessons in


the science of government. Columbia is visited by dis-
tinguished lecturers, tourists, etc. ; thus the pupils are
brought in touch with the leading men and measures of
the day. The pupils have access to several large li-
braries, in addition to the College library and well-
selected reading-table especially that of the South
Carolina College, containing 30,000 volumes. The so-
cial advantages are unsurpassed in the State. The
College is near all the leading churches in the city, and
is kept in touch with spiritual forces at work. The
Columbia Lyceum brings to the city lecturers of na-
tional renown and musicians of reputation. The de-
grees conferred are B. A. and B. S.

(This sketch was compiled from letters and cata-
logues. )

Dr. Marks and the Barhamville School.

" In 1785 the rice and indigo planters of South Caro-
lina invited Mr. Humphrey Marks, together with a syn-
dicate of wealthy men, to come to South Carolina to
invest money in mortgages on plantations along the
seaboard. Mr. Humphrey Marks had three sons
Alexander, who removed early in the nineteenth cen-
tury to Louisiana and settled in Avoyelles parish and
gave his name to its shire town or county-seat, Marks-
ville, on the Red River; the youngest son, Frederic,
always lived in Columbia; the other son, Dr. Elias
Marks, was born in Charleston, December 2, 1790, and
died in Washington, D. C, 1886.

" Dr. Marks early became a Christian, having been
converted by an old negro nurse. Some accounts tell
us that he was a Methodist, while others hold he was
an Episcopalian. He attended the public schools in
Charleston, and was graduated at the New York City
Medical College in 1815. His thesis, being distin-
guished by publication in the transactions of that Col-
lege, received special recognition of encouragement
from the celebrated Dr. Nott of that institution, and


he had every prospect of becoming a successful prac-

" After conducting a drug store a year or so he re-
turned South, and settled in the new capital, Columbia,
and opened a school for girls, called in the old phrase-
ology, ' a female academy.' Dr. Marks was an en-
thusiast, a gentleman of ingratiating address, and an
upright, pure-minded man, particularly adapted to the
education of girls. He said that knowledge consti-
tuted the essential difference between savage and civi-
lized man ; that the torch of intellect is to be kindled on
the altar of domestic affection ; that it burns intensely
and permanently only when fed by genuine piety.

" And here, he said, arose the question in what re-
spect ought the education of the female to differ from
that of the other sex ? * The education of either sex
is to be directed to the respective duties which each is
destined to perform on the great theatre of human

" He held that the right education of woman is es-
sential to the general weal ; that it is a legitimate source
of moral character and political happiness of a peo-
ple. ' Do we wish that a woman should be pious, re-
fined, and elevated ; do we desire a flexibility, strength,
and expansion of mind, essential to the every-day oc-
currence and vicissitudes of life, and yet not incom-
patible with all that is lovely and graceful in female
character? These can proceed only from an intellect
cultivated in all its parts, from an active, sustained,
and vigorous exercise of its powers, directing them to
practicable and valuable ends.' Dr. Marks held that
there were four difficulties that lay in the way of pur-
suing an efficient course of education: ' (i) The
errors in domestic education; (2) the desultory and
imperfect manner in which an academic course is pur-
sued ; (3) the desire of blending the advantages of
fashionable society with those derived from the
teacher; (4) the incapacity of the teachers themselves/


Despite these difficulties, Dr. Marks's school was a
most successful one and he was universally beloved.

"About 1817 he married Miss Jane Barham of
New York City, and the two were principals of the
Columbia Academy, 1817 to 1820. The building was
afterward occupied by the Rev. Mr. Gladney, then by
Mr. Muller, and later by the Misses Reynolds, all of
whom kept a high school for girls. At that time the
Marks's school was principally a day school.

" About 1819 the nearness of the Congaree flats and
the prevalence of contagious fever in the late summer
months directed Dr. Marks's attention to the sandhills
north of Columbia. There about a mile and a half out,
near the old sandy road that leads to ' sandhill cracker-
dom,' he erected a building, the plans of which, we
learn from Dr. Marks's daughter, are believed to have
been drawn by Mr. Zimmerman. In 1740 this gentle-
man resided just on the eastern edge of the town, near
the spot where the Methodist college stands.

" About 1821 the first ' gable roof range ' was built.
This was taken down about 1840, and three cottages
were erected from it. Then the center range was
built and the south range, and afterward, about 1841,
the north range. This academy was constructed after
the plan of Edgeworth School in Maryland, and all
the elder people thought it was an ideal place for a girl
to get an education, ' being very healthy and away from
the boys.'

" Mrs. Marks was a beautiful woman, a true aid and
ally in her husband's work. She died about 1828.
The school in the Sandhills was named for their only
son, who died in early life. Dr. Marks was now ( 1829)
a widower with three children and in charge of a large
family of school girls, and although from the first he
was surrounded by competent lady teachers, it was
evident that a lady head of his household was im-
peratively required.

" We are told that Providence directed him to the
one woman who could fully supply this responsible


position. Mrs. Julia Warne (nee Pierpont), who was
in 1830 at the head of a large and flourishing ladies'
school at Sparta, Georgia, at Dr. Marks's request
assumed the direction of the household and studies at
Barhatnville, in 1832. This lady was born at Har-
winton, Connecticut, March 9, 1/93, and died in
Washington, D. C, June 21, 1878. She had been one
of the earliest pupils of the celebrated Emma Willard
of the Troy Seminary, New York, and was educated
by her at Middlebury, Vermont, before Mrs. Willard
moved to Troy. She was the daughter of Robert Pier-
pont, of Litchfield, Connecticut, who moved to Man-
chester, Vermont, about 1776. One of Mrs. Julia
P. Marks's sisters married the Governor of Vermont,
another became the wife of Dr. Isham, whose grandson
became a partner of Robert Lincoln, afterward United
States Minister to Great Britain, and whose son, Pier-
pont Isham, was a judge of the Supreme Court of
Vermont. John Pierpont, the poet, was a first cousin
of Mrs. Marks and resembled her greatly.

" All of her associations at the North were of the
highest distinction. We are told she was an enthu-
siastic educationist, a woman endowed with remark-
able powers of quiet, unconscious government, of deep
religious feeling, dignified what we call at the South,
and mean much when we use the term, a lady.

" From the first she was welcomed by the Hamp-
tons, the Prestons, and other prominent people of
Columbia ; the relations with the Hampton family be-
ing almost affectionate and fraternal. So with the
Taylor family, who at times occupied a lovely, breezy
country-seat on the Camden road to the east of Bar-
hamville. Judge Cheves also had a place near by, and
these two families often exchanged visits. Dr. Rey-
nolds then owned and occupied a place east of Colum-
bia, afterward purchased bv General Hampton. The
Howells were not far off. The Trezevants, the family
of Dr. Shands, rector of Trinity, Mrs. de Bruhl and
the Bryces were people with whom the Marks family


interchanged visits during the early forties. Mrs.
Warne was married to Dr. Marks in the chapel at Bar -
hamville in 1833, and continued in active service there
until June, 1861, when they gave up teaching and
leased the school to Madame Togno of Charleston. She
was succeeded as lessee by Madame Sosnowski, who
was followed by Madame Torriani, a refugee from
Charleston. From 1865 to 1867 Dr. Marks and his
family lived on the place. In the latter part of 1867
they went North, leaving the buildings in charge of a
negro janitor. February 18, 1869, tne school buildings
were destroyed by fire. It was a complete loss, as
there was no insurance.

" Dr. Marks was a most excellent educator, and the
fame of his school brought daughters of wealthy
parents from all over the South ; every State was rep-
resented. The North also took advantage of the merit
of the school and its locality. So here were educated
together the representatives of the politics so diamet-
rically opposed.

" From the first coming of Mrs. Julia Pierpont
Marks (1832) the school became a college with colle-
giate classes and progressive, systematic methods.
The best teachers necessarily from the North were
employed and at high salaries. Between 1850 and
1 86 1 the annual outlay for teachers was from $12,000
to $14,000. There was a chaplain, who taught Chris-
tian Evidences, Paley's Moral Philosophy, Ethics,
and Butler's Analogy, besides preaching every Sun-

" Each year Dr. Marks would engage a chaplain of
a different denomination, and very often he would take
the girls in to service in the city of Columbia. A
gentleman, a graduate of a first-class college, was em-
ployed to teach the classic languages, the sciences, and
higher mathematics. There were also two lady
teachers of mathematics, geography, history, etc. Dr.
Marks lectured from his notes an hour every day, on
history. There were two foreign music teachers.


teachers of painting and drawing, and also a dancing-

" Mrs. Marks organized the school into classes twice
a year, and made out an individual ' list of time/ or
schedule of studies, for each hour of the day, for each
pupil, and supervised teachers and scholars alike. She
always had more trouble with the teachers than with
the scholars. It was a home school ; each pupil when
she arrived there was put upon her honor and expected
to govern herself and report herself. The day was
divided into recitation periods of three-quarters of an
hour each, beginning at 8 A. M. and closing at 4 or 5
p. M. Students were required to attend prayers every
morning at 7.45. About 8.15 they had breakfast, fol-
lowed by an intermission of an hour, when classes were
called and continued until 11.30; then every one went
to luncheon, when soft gingerbread was served. After
luncheon recitations continued until 2 o'clock, when
every one enjoyed a good dinner. Dinner was followed
by classes until 4 or 5. Prayers were held at night
as in the morning, and the roll was called as in the

" The pupils studied in their rooms, in the halls, and
under the trees, but there was perfect discipline and
good scholastic results. The written examinations
now so much in vogue were then unknown, though
exhaustive reviews took their place. The highest
mark possible was 10.

" The girls the thoroughbred ones, and they were
mostly that kind loved Dr. and Mrs. Marks, who
loved them in return. In 1854, when a malignant dis-
ease took one life and nearly took another, these kind
preceptors scarcely slept for weeks; their rooms were
given up to the sick and their strength exhausted in
behalf of the suffering ones.

" * If one had rung the door bell/ said the late Mrs.
Sophia Reynolds, ' he would have been answered by
an elderly brown man, who would take the cards and
usher him in through a wide, carpeted hall and up a


broad, carpeted, winding stair, with mahogany balus-
trades. This led to the upper hall, the counterpart of
the one below, from which he would enter a large
parlor into which the morning sun shone cheerfully.
Here he would see a wood fire burning in an open fire-
place. He would hear no sound but the notes of musi-
cal instruments coming from various directions
through the great building. In a few minutes an old
gentleman, gray-haired, but brisk in his movements,
would enter, accompanied by an elderly lady. Then
the Doctor would offer to show the visitors through
the school, and after thorough inspection they would
receive an invitation to dinner. They would go down
the winding stair into a piazza 120 feet long, from
which they would enter a small door and ascend a nar-
row, dark stairway. This led into one of the upper
rooms of the two-story brick range.

" * It was a large room, near the center of which
was a fire-place surrounded by several chairs as if they
had just been occupied, for the fire was still burning.
A curtain divided the room through the middle; an-
other also ran through the middle at right angles to
the first, so the room was divided into a parlor and
three bedrooms a very pleasant arrangement. I
have also heard that the large room was divided into
four smaller ones two bedrooms and two dressing-
rooms. This room, which was lighted by six large
windows, opened into another, also lighted by six win-
dows, having deep window seats. A curtain divided
this room into two a parlor and a bedroom. Each
suite of rooms contained a parlor, because the young
ladies studied in their rooms instead of in a general
schoolroom. They always had plenty of fire, and their
apartments were carpeted and very comfortable.

" ' Leaving the brick range rooms and passing down
to the lower floors, the visitor would enter a large,
long recitation-room. They would see one girl at the
blackboard, trying to explain an apparently knotty
problem, the teacher near by keeping her and the class.


some twenty girls, paying the closest attention. Pass-
ing out another door, through the long piazza, down
a few steps and through an open covered way they
would reach the laboratory. Here they found a class
of about sixteen girls, also closely attending to the
explanation, which the teacher was illustrating by ex-

" ' When the class was dismissed the girls walked
quietly out, but when they reached the covered way
they ran skipping, sliding, running, and chatting. Then
another class would take the place of those who had
just gone out, and so on through the day. At in-
tervals of three-quarters of an hour the monitress ran
along the piazza ringing the school bell, the signal for
the classes to change. For five minutes there would be
the sound of merry voices and rushing feet, then
would follow a hush, a silence to be wondered at
in a house as large and filled with so many young peo-
ple, but this was a school where work was done, good
work, thorough work, for education at Barhamville
was equivalent to practical sense with all the accom-
plishments acquired by young ladies of that era of time.
From those dear and consecrated walls, hundreds of
women went forth, types of the ladies of those days of
the long ago. Dr. Marks spared no pains, no expense,
to get good teachers wherever they could be found.
And these teachers knew how to interest young girls
in study, and Mrs. Marks knew how to make them
happy and contented/

" Sons and daughters from the same family would
be sent respectively to the South Carolina College and
Barhamville. Dr. Marks had many encounters with
the college students to prevent intercourse between the
young people. Only brothers and cousins were al-
lowed to visit the girls, and these relations were often
declared where there was no blood tie. History re-
peats itself.

' The young ladies were allowed to receive their
brothers and cousins on Friday evenings. Of course


there was always great excitement over getting ready
to receive their company, for certainly every girl had
a kinsman at the South Carolina College. They all
entertained in the parlor and sometimes in the library.
Dr. J. Marion Sims in ' The Story of My Life/ gives
an account of a serenade given to the girls at Bar-
hamville, which started in fun, but barely escaped end-
ing in tragedy.

" Notwithstanding the tone of this school was high
and exceedingly refined, this did not prevent the girls
from harmless tricks. At the table when one or more
had an unusual hungry fit she would cut a sweet po-
tato in half, eat the potato on the sly, fill the two holes
of the skin with bread, ham, etc., fit them together
and put them in her pocket ' for future reference.'

" Another bond of unity between the college life of
those days and that of the present time is ' mess-hall
biscuit ' they seem to have been always the same, for
the boys would ride around Barhamville grounds on
fleet-footed horses and throw these articles of food
with notes written on them to the girls.

" The girls had regular May-day parties. At these
they elected their queen, danced around the May-pole,
and enjoyed themselves quite as much as college girls
of the present time. Half of the girls would tie a
handkerchief on the arm and thus act the part of

" Whenever there were any very good performers
or musical companies in Columbia Dr. Marks would
get them to come out to Barhamville and play for the
young ladies. When Ole Bull, the famous violinist,
was in the city he played at the Academy before leav-
ing, and Blind Tom, the wonderful pianist, did the

" Another bond of union between the college girl
of past and present was midnight feasts.

' There was a rule that lights should be put out at
nine o'clock, but it is easy to imagine how that was
obeyed when one of the girls received a box from


home. Of course a midnight feast followed, and they
had all sorts of devices for hiding the lights. On the
first of April one girl would receive a box of old shoes,
then she would invite all of her friends to come help
open the * box from home.' When all were assembled
and the cover removed it was a great joke, and all had
a hearty laugh, hearty though smothered, and of
course each one had to take a pair of shoes, or more
likely two odd ones, as a souvenir. During these per-
formances of course they would lock the doors, but if
the monitress (one of the teachers), knocked, no mat-
ter at what hour of the night, the door must be opened.
Should she happen to come there would be a general
shoving of things under the beds, pushing into closets
and scrambling into bed with clothes on, followed by
a wonderful silence. Of course some teachers were
lenient and would overlook these things, while others
were very strict and would report the girls on every
occasion. Then next morning the culprits would have
to appear before Mrs. Marks, unless the transgression
was very serious, when Dr. Marks was appealed to.
The Doctor was decided but not harsh ; Mrs. Marks's
supervision over the girls was not severe, though she
too was positive.

" The spring was indeed a busy time at Barhamville.
Then the girls received boxes of ready-made clothing
from home, or more often, boxes of material to be
made. At that season a good seamstress or dressmaker
was employed, sometimes for months. The girls were
allowed to make purchases in Columbia, but were al-
ways accompanied by a teacher. Unless they preferred
to walk, they were driven over in one of the two car-
riages belonging to the school. Indeed, they went to no
place without being accompanied by a teacher ; not even
sketching from nature, or to the home of one of the
professors to gather grapes. Whenever they went out-
side the academy enclosures they were accompanied
by a teacher.

"When the school was at its zenith (1850) the


building consisted of a large three-story wooden build-
ing, with one long two-story brick wing, stretching
southward, all of which were painted white. There
was a large vegetable garden and a well-stocked poul-
try yard on the Barhamville farm, and much of the
food was raised there.

" There were two chapels, called the lower and the
upper chapel. The lower one was fitted up with maps
and blackboards all around the walls. Here Dr.
Marks taught history, using the maps and frequently
illustrating his lectures with drawings on the black-
board. In the upper chapel desks were placed all
around the walls, and here Mrs. Marks taught writing.
Every girl took writing lessons and learned to write
the famed * Barhamville hand/ well known and easily
recognized wherever seen.

"At that time (1850) Dr. Marks was at the head
of a corps of teachers, about eight in number, gathered
from the best sources. Professors taught music, paint-
ing, modern languages, chemistry, philosophy, mathe-
matics, and English. The pupils numbered one hun-
dred and twenty, and often many more came from
Southern homes where wealth and luxury gave ele-
gance and refinement to genial, generous Southern

" Between 1857 and 1861 the following were a few
of the members of the faculty lack of space prevents
the mention of more: Elias Marks, M. D., principal,
department of history and belles-lettres; Mrs. Marks,
writing; M. Douvilliers, French, drawing, modern lan-
guages ; Rev. Mr. Donnelly, Prof. Reynolds, Mr. Alex-
ander, Mr. Ward, chaplains at different times ; Mr. Or-
chard, music master; Madame Sosnowski, painting

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 22 23 24

Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 19 of 24)