History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
CHAPTER SECOND:PRESIDENT BALLOU'S ADMINISTRATION.
THE next day, Thursday, August twenty-third, regular work at the college began. President Ballou gave instruction in History and Intellectual Philosophy, Professor Marshall in Mathematics and Physical Science, Professor Drew in the Ancient Languages, and Professor Tweed in Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature. Enoch C. Rolfe, M.D., had been appointed Instructor in Physiology and Hygiene. Twenty-one students entered the Freshman Class, and, including the four young men who had been studying at the Hill during the previous year, there were six Sophomores and three Juniors, making a total of thirty students.
During President Ballou's administration only one course of study was offered, -that leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and nearly all the work of the course was prescribed. In the original arrangement of the curriculum, work in Greek and Latin was required for two years and a half; in Mathematics for two years; in History for three years; and in Rhetoric for four years. A half year's work in Moral Science, a year's work in Physical Science, and a year's work in Natural and Revealed Religion completed the prescribed studies. Work in the Modern Languages was entirely elective.
In Latin, the Freshmen read Livy and Horace, with supplementary exercises in Prose Composition and the study of Antiquities; the Sophomores continued the reading of Horace, taking in addition the De Amicitia and the De
|Officiis of Cicero; the Satires of Juvenal were required in the first term of the Junior year, and Tacitus and Seneca were offered as elective work in the second term.|
In Greek, the Freshmen studied Felton's Greek Historians, with exercises in Antiquities, Grammar, Composition, and written translation; the Sophomores read Demosthenes in the first term, and Aristophanes with a study of Greek Metres in the second term; the Juniors read Æschylus in the first term, and might elect a course in Pindar and Æschylus in the second term.
In Mathematics the Freshmen studied Algebra, and went through five books of Euclid; the Sophomores took up Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, Surveying, Navigation, and Calculus, while advanced work might be elected in the Junior year.
In History, Weber's Outlines was the principal text-book used. Ancient History was studied during the Freshman year; the Sophomore year was devoted to a consideration of the Middle Ages and the period prior to the colonization of America; and in the Junior year the period from the colonization of America to the French Revolution was taken under discussion. This historical course is deserving of special mention. At that time History was scarcely recognized as a college study. Books were written; they might be read; that was enough. Dr. Ballou, however, saw more clearly than the majority of his contemporaries the educational value of the subject. A profound historical scholar himself, he could thoroughly appreciate the value of a knowledge of the past in dealing with the problems of the present. He was singularly advanced in his methods of instruction, and made the utmost of the meagre facilities at his disposal. Meeting the class four times each week for three years, he offered a course far superior to that of any other institution in the country at the time. When he died there was no one else in whose hands the course could be
|placed, so it dropped from the curriculum; and, although for eight years during the administration of Dr. Miner the scholarly Richard Frothingham offered a course of historical lectures, more than thirty years were to elapse before the institution of a regular department of History.|
The required work in Rhetoric began with English Grammar, included Oratory, and extended over the entire course. Day's Rhetoric was used as a text-book, and themes and declamations were required. Revealed Religion formed a part of the curriculum in the first term of the Sophomore year, being replaced in the second term by a course of lectures on Physiology. Physics, Moral Science, Astronomy, Intellectual Philosophy, Logic, and lectures on Hygiene were included in the requirements of the Junior year. The Juniors also had the privilege of electing, besides the courses in Mathematics and the Classics already mentioned, French and lectures on Natural History in the first term, and French and Italian in the second term. In lieu of a regular instructor in Modern Languages, Professor Marshall directed what little work was done in the department during this first year.
The requirements for admission were substantially the same as those of Harvard, but many young men coming from the country with a poor preparation were admitted under heavy conditions, provided they showed themselves capable of carrying on the college work.
The first catalogue was issued in 1854-55; the second (1856- 57) was a pamphlet of 16 pp., and showed a few changes in the curriculum, the principal one being in the department of Mathematics. The required work in this subject was considerably expanded, being extended throughout the Junior year. As but little was added to the course the gain was in thoroughness of instruction. Some slight changes were made in the departments of Latin and Greek, and the practice of translating Latin into Greek and Greek into Latin was
|introduced into the classical work of the Junior Class. The lectures on Physiology and Hygiene were discontinued, together with those on Natural History; but work in the Modern Languages was greatly facilitated by the appointment of Jerome Schneider, Ph. D., as an instructor.|
The opening of this year saw the first Senior Class at Tufts College. Its work included Chemistry, Intellectual Philosophy, Political Economy, Logic, Forensics, Mineralogy and Geology, Natural and Revealed Religion, and Rhetoric, with opportunity for the election of Latin, Greek, German, and Spanish.
From this time until the death of Dr. Ballou but few changes of any importance were made in the curriculum. Considered separately they amounted to nothing, but taken as a whole they showed a tendency toward progress. In 1860 the requirement in Mathematics was reduced to two years, and some other minor indications of increasing liberality were observable. In 1857 Professor Drew resigned his position, and Alpheus A. Keen, A. M., a graduate of Harvard, was appointed Professor of Ancient Languages and Classical Literature. In 1860 he was relieved of a portion of the classical work by the appointment of Dr. Schneider as Professor of the Greek Language and Literature. Professor Schneider did not, however, relinquish his care of the Modern Languages until 1869.
By the year 1856-57, the number of students matriculated at the college had become approximately what it remained for several years. The Class entering in 1856 numbered fifteen, while the Sophomore Class, having lost two of its members, numbered nineteen. The Junior Class had gained three members, making nine; and the Senior Class one, making four, while six students were receiving instruction in partial courses. Thus the total number of students during the third year of the existence of the college
|was fifty-three. The next year it dropped to fifty, and the next year to forty-nine, rising to fifty-eight in the year 1859-60, and returning to fifty-three in the year 1860-61.|
The first Commencement exercises were held on July 8, 1857, when three young men received the Bachelor's degree, - Heman A. Dearborn, of Weare, New Hampshire, William N. Eayrs, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Harvey Hersey, of Calais, Vermont. At the Chapel exercises in the forenoon the Latin Salutatory was given by Mr. Hersey, the Philosophical Oration on the "Study of Man," by Mr. Eayrs, and the Valedictory by Mr. Dearborn. Great enthusiasm was shown during the exercises, and the "Boston Journal" records that "the President, calm as he is ordinarily, was at times moved to tears." The Commencement dinner was served in a large tent, and a long list of toasts met with enthusiastic responses. At three o'clock in the afternoon special exercises were held under the auspices of the Mathetican Society. It is recorded that this day, like all the college festival days which had preceded it, was beautiful, bright, and clear. The college was not so fortunate in its next Commencement, however, for the day was characterized by a most unpleasant drizzling rain. The chapel was so crowded that many could not obtain admission, and the "Trumpet" says that "the ladies with enlarged skirts found themselves in a peculiarly inconvenient situation." At this second Commencement the entire class of nine members received the degree, and for the next four years no student who had attained to Senior standing failed to graduate.
During the six years of Dr. Ballou's administration, from 1855 to 1861, one hundred and eight students registered in the regular course, and twelve in partial courses, while forty-seven men received the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
The college year was originally divided into two terms, of which the first began six weeks after the second Wednesday in July, and ended on the second Wednesday in January,
|while the second began six weeks after the second Wednesday in January and continued until Commencement, which occurred on the second Wednesday in July. In addition to the two vacations of six weeks each, the exercises of the college were suspended for six days at Thanksgiving, on Christmas Day, Fast Day, and the Fourth of July, and on the Wednesday and Thursday of Anniversary Week. Students of good average standing were permitted to absent themselves from the college for a period of six weeks in addition to the Spring vacation for the purpose of teaching school, provided that they continued their college studies during the time.|
Public examinations of all the classes, lasting at least four days, were held twice each year. In the second term a Junior Exhibition was held, in which parts were assigned according to the standing of the students. It was preceded by a rigorous examination, extending over a period of two weeks, in which the Juniors were called to account for all the work of the previous two years and a half. These "Junior Grinds" were looked forward to with fear and dread, and were responsible for the consumption of an enormous amount of midnight oil, not to speak of nervous tissue.
The rules and regulations of the early days were somewhat strict, as were those of all educational institutions at that time, but President Ballou and Professor Marshall, who had the principal oversight of the conduct of the students, were men of kindness and moderation, and there is no record of any of the young men feeling that they were particularly oppressed. Example was deemed better than precept at that day, and the Faculty as well as the students were required to attend prayers in the morning, and divine service on Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Fast Day. As at present, students were permitted to attend church where they pleased, provided the place of worship was reported to the Faculty.
|Students were not permitted to leave the town of Medford, in which their rooms were, without permission from the Faculty. Just what happened to the youth who carelessly strayed into the field across the Somerville line history does not say, but there appear to have been no restrictions on the use of the road to Medford Square. The college then, however, was much more a part of Medford than it is at present, the establishment of a college post-office having made a vast difference in that regard. President Ballou was a man who loved quiet, and he did his utmost in a fatherly way to make the behavior of the young men calm and decorous. Whistling is said to have been extremely distasteful to him, and many were the gentle rebukes administered for this expression of exuberance. In spite of all rules, however, and in spite of the dear old Doctor's solicitous care, numerous escapades appear to have been indulged in, and the eyes of many an old graduate twinkle to-day as he recalls the mischievous exploits of his college life. Hazing was indulged in, but it was of a mild sort, the Sophomores usually contenting themselves with requiring nocturnal orations from the Freshmen. The most rigorous stickler for good behavior among college men can excuse much to those students of forty years ago if he will but remember that there was at that time no Glee Club, no foot-ball team, no tennis, and even no base-ball, as the game is known to-day.|
The first society formed among the students was the Mathetican, a literary organization which owed its name to Thomas H. Angell, of the class of 1858, who died only a year after his graduation. Tradition makes the founding of the society almost simultaneous with that of the college; at any rate, it was full fledged in 1856. The Mathetican occupied the northeast corner room on the third floor of College Hall. The program of its meetings consisted of debates, essays, and orations; and for many years it occupied an important position in the life of the college. Special exercises were
|held under its auspices upon public days. Some time in 1857-58 several members of the class of 1860, who were dissatisfied with the way in which the affairs of the Mathetican were managed, instituted a rival society known as the Walnut Hill Fraternity. The room on the northwest corner was given up to this organization, and for a time it ran in lively opposition to the older society. It was short-lived, however, dying a natural death in less than three years. A Theological Society was early established, its membership being made up of those students who intended to enter the ministry. Evening meetings were held each week, at which regular religious services were conducted, followed by criticism. Two Greek-letter fraternities entered the college at an early date, the Kappa Chapter of Zeta Psi being instituted in 1855, and the Kappa Charge of Theta Delta Chi in 1856. The entrance of secret fraternities could not fail to have considerable effect on the life of the students. The two chapters mentioned had the field to themselves for thirty years, and there sprang up between them a rivalry which was perhaps bitter at times, but which in the long run had an invigorating influence on the life of the Hill. The year 1858 saw the birth of the Order of the Coffee-pot, which was designed primarily as a graduate organization. Only students of the two upper classes were eligible to membership. The badge was of silver, having a coffee-pot engraved on one side, and on the other the motto, Quum nobis placeat, cujus refert. It was worn upon all public occasions, when meetings were held at which coffee was served.|
The college was scarcely under way before an increase of accommodation became an imperative necessity, and in 1856 the brick building, which has since been enlarged to form the library, was erected at a total cost of $9,715.93. It was arranged for a boarding-house and dormitory, and accommodated twenty-six students besides the steward and his family. The college barn originally stood at the rear of this
|building, and was not removed until the end of Dr. Miner's administration, when it was torn down. The present barn at the foot of Packard Avenue was originally the property of Mr. Samuel Teel, and stood for many years on the spot now occupied by the Commons Building. In the Summer of 1857 a two-story wooden dormitory, accommodating twelve students, was built on the site of West Hall, and in 1860 the large brick dormitory known as East Hall was erected. The basement floor of this building was used as the college Commons for many years.|
In the Spring of 1856 Mr. Tufts formally transferred to the college the additional tract of land which he had previously promised, and some other gifts were made at about the same time. The report made by the financial committee in September, 1856, showed that the college was in possession of sixty-eight acres of land and of buildings valued at $51,600. The only other important contribution made during this period was the bequest of Colonel Wade, of Woburn. This property, which is as yet only partially available, now amounts to about fifty thousand dollars. Despite these liberal gifts, however, the college was in a financial condition far from sound, for the possession of land would not defray its running expenses; and too much honor cannot be paid to Mr. Thomas A. Goddard, who succeeded Mr. Mussey as Treasurer in 1856, and filled the office until 1864. Mr. Goddard dreaded all ostentation, and the extent of his munificence was probably not realized at the time; but during the period of poverty through which the college passed in its early years, he substantially defrayed its expenses from his private purse, paying out as much as six thousand dollars in a single year. In another chapter will be shown how his generosity has been continued through his widow, Mrs. Mary T. Goddard, whose interest in the college was one with that of her husband.
When Professor Marshall came to Tufts, he brought with him a small private collection of minerals and fossils which
|he made the nucleus of a college museum, and it was not long before, through his efforts, the little store of specimens began to increase rapidly in size. Numerous gifts of scientific apparatus, books, etc., were also received from various friends of the college.|
Thus before the breaking out of the war Tufts College was fairly launched on a career of prosperity. With a constantly increasing equipment, with more than half a hundred students, and with a corps of instructors whose ability had been thoroughly demonstrated, everything pointed to a brilliant future for the young institution; but he to whose labors this harvest was so largely due was not to live to see its ripest fruitage. Dr. Ballou was a man of extreme conscientiousness and intense sensibility, and the cares of his work, into which he had thrown himself with his whole soul, and to which he had freely sacrificed his physical repose, at length brought on an illness from which he died on May 21, 1861. He passed away peacefully and trustingly as he had lived, to take his place with those whose earthly lives have been a constant help and a noble example to their fellow-men.
Dr. Ballou's legacy to the college was his library, which was a remarkably fine one for the time. The student of to-day often finds upon the shelves volumes whose margins are thickly annotated in a fine, scholarly hand. The fly-leaves bear the name of Hosea Ballou, and as one reads those careful annotations, so indicative of painstaking thought and lofty understanding, one cannot but think that he who inscribed them must have been one who filled his place in the world well, and one without whom our college would scarcely be what it is to-day.
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
- This object is in collection:
- Digital Collections and Archives records
- Permanent URL