High on the Hill

Dixon, Linda J.
1979

THE ROW

THE ROW

 

From Professors Row you will notice a double row of elms running up the hillside. Professors Row, bordered by these stately elms, originally curved up the hill at this point. The home of Tufts' first president, Hosea Ballou, stood about where the current president's house stands, but it faced Professors Row. That home was later moved further down where it now stands as No. 20 Professors Row.

Continuing along the Row, we arrive at the first women's dormitory, Metcalf Hall, a gift of Alfred Metcalf, H02, of Newton. Built in 1894 of yellow brick and originally ornamented by a tower on the east side, it was soon dubbed "The Bird Cage" by Tuftsmen, who frequently referred to girls as "birds," "canaries" or "quail." A new wing, now called Metcalf West, was added in 1937; the original section is known as Metcalf East.

Women were first admitted to Tufts in 1892. The decision to admit them, reached after considerable debate, was not easy. One of the chief arguments against the admission of women to college was that they would not be able to stand the physical and mental strain of college study — the view of President Eliot of Harvard who was frequently quoted on the subject. Some felt that the presence of the fair sex would weaken the academic standards of the college and threaten the moral fiber of the men students.

 

Jackson College, established in 1910, takes its name from its original benefactor, Cornelia Maria Jackson. She was a well-educated woman from Providence, Rhode Island with a lifelong conviction that women were entitled to rights and privileges equal to men. She was a

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champion of women's suffrage as well as higher education for women. Her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Henry W. Rugg, Honorary 1888, a member of the trustees committee that voted to admit women to Tufts, interested her in Tufts. Albert Metcalf was one of her former students.

Mrs. Jackson bequeathed a sizable portion of her estate to Tufts to help "remove the disabilities of women" and to provide special instruction in citizenship and government. The trustees of the college complied by establishing the Cornelia M. Jackson Professorship of Political Science in 1898.

You have probably noticed the iron fence which encircles most of the campus. It was not erected to keep anything in or out, but to enhance the beauty of the campus. Sections of the fence have been given to the university by various individuals and various classes. John Holmes, A29, one of the foremost poets of his day, was a beloved professor of poetry, English and composition at Tufts for over 30 years. He received an honorary degree from Tufts shortly before his

death in 1962. Professors Row inspired his lovely poem — the most popular lines of which are these:

The bell rang from the Chapel while we walked, Oh, where are autumn days and nights like these! I showed my friend the tower above the Hill, And Capen Path, Ballou between the trees. A gate in the Fence showed faintly in the dusk. In East and West the lights began to shine. A group of men passed by and called, "Hullo —" My heart sang, and I thought, "My college — mine!" The Row in autumn twilight! Tall dark trees Leaned kindly over us. We talked of games, But I remembered old familiar friends, And I was silent, thinking of old names. The men who walked the Row before my time Were by my side, good ghosts my thought awoke — While I must show my friend the tennis court, The newest hall for men, the gym. He spoke: "How you must love this place!" My heart stood still And ached to think how much I love this Hill.

We now come to Latin Way. Most older colleges have a Latin Way, a testimony to the former importance of Latin in their curricula. The home at the corner of Latin Way and Professors Row has been occupied by a number of Tufts notables; in recent years it has been the residence of the provost of the university. From the corner of Latin Way and Talbot Avenue, you can look to the right and see Alumni House, gift to the university of Clarence "Pop" and Marian Houston, about whom we spoke earlier.