History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
CHAPTER FIFTH:THE DIVINITY SCHOOL.
ALTHOUGH the Divinity School was not opened until the college had been established some fifteen years, the movement which led to its existence was a part of the same agitation in which the college itself had its origin. As has been previously stated, the Educational Convention of 1847 resolved on the establishment of a theological school, as well as of a college, recommending that the latter be located in New York State, and the former in Massachusetts. When, however, owing to the munificence of Massachusetts men, Walnut Hill was decided upon as the site of the college, the New York Universalists thought the divinity school should come to them. Thus the intention to establish a college in New York, and a divinity school in Massachusetts was reversed, and resulted in the founding of Tufts College and Canton Theological School.
While it was by no means intended to make a divinity school of Tufts College, it was expected that those young men who intended to enter the ministry would avail themselves of the opportunities there offered for advanced education. But Mr. Packard, the largest benefactor of the college, was strong in his desire that a theological course should be offered at College Hill, and his will stipulated that the Trustees should establish and maintain out of the rents and profits of his estate a professorship of Christian Theology. To this provision was due directly the origin of Tufts Divinity School. It is not certain that Mr. Packard contemplated more than a course of lectures on theology in
|connection with the college curriculum, but the Trustees deemed it advisable to constitute a distinct theological department.|
The Rev. Thomas J. Sawyer, D. D., was elected Packard Professor of Christian Theology and placed at the head of the school; and the Rev. Charles H. Leonard, A. M., of Chelsea, was made Goddard Professor of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Theology. After a delay of nearly two years, occasioned by the settlement of the Packard estate, the school was formally opened in October, 1869, with four students in attendance, Abner Crosby Fish, William Willis Hayward, William Henry Ryder, and William George Tousey. All except the first mentioned completed the course.
The Catalogue of 1869-70 shows two names on the list of instructors, five on that of students, and six on that of the Visiting Committee. Among the members of this committee were Dr. Thayer and Dr. Paige. The school year extended from the first Wednesday in October to the second Wednesday in July; the regular course was three years, permission to take a fourth year being obtainable, but special courses were arranged under certain circumstances.
No charge for tuition was made, and the General Convention of Universalists began, with the opening of the school, the present practice of lending money to poor but worthy students. The amount which might be borrowed annually by a student was at that time one hundred and eighty dollars, but it has since been reduced to one hundred and fifty.
The accommodations of the school were at that time decidedly meagre. A small room on the second floor of Ballou Hall served as a recitation and lecture room for all the classes, and the students found lodgings wherever they could.
However, the school throve and grew steadily. During its second year there were twelve students in attendance, and by the third year the number had increased to twenty. To meet the increased demands, the teaching force was
|augmented, and with the Fall of 1872 the Rev. William G. Tousey, A. M., who had completed his course the previous June, was enrolled on the Faculty as instructor in Psychology and Natural Theology.|
A glance at the list of lecturers for this year is interesting as indicating the broad and progressive policy which from the first characterized the management of the school. It comprised the names of the Rev. Thomas B. Thayer, D. D., on Christian Evidences; the Rev. A. St. John Chambré, A. M., on Ecclesiastical History; the Rev. E. C. Bolles, Ph. D., on The Relations of Science to Christianity; and Rev. Elmer H. Capen, A. M., on The Study of Language, -its Value to the Theological Student. Among the students in the Junior Class of this year appear the names of George Milford Harmon and George Thomson Knight.
The Catalogue of 1872-73 announces that hereafter the degree of Bachelor of Divinity will be granted to all who complete the regular three years course, if they have previously passed through a regular course of academic study; others will receive it only at the end of a four years course. And for the first time a regular four years program is outlined.
When West Hall was built, in 1872, the western half of it was assigned to the use of the Divinity School. The rooms on the first floor were used for recitations and lectures, and those above for dormitories. No charge was made to the students for rental. One of the back rooms on the first floor was fitted up as a chapel, and here began the separate chapel services conducted by the students in turn, which have ever since been a feature in the school.
But West Hall was from the first considered only a temporary home for the school. The ambition of the Faculty was a separate building or buildings, and for nearly twenty years there is hardly a President's Report which does not urge the need of better and separate accommodations for the
|Divinity School. The reports of the Dean during the same period all contain earnest appeals for funds, buildings, and a theological library. In the light of subsequent events, Dr. Miner's own words, in his report as President for 1873-74, are interesting. He said: " It is hoped that some friend of the school will ere long appear who will honor himself by providing it a building adequate to its needs."|
But no such friend appeared, and year by year the necessity increased with the growth of the school. " We need, almost beyond the power of language to express, a divinity hall," says Dr. Sawyer in his report of 1886-87. As the college proper increased in size, the quarters of the school in West Hall were needed for other purposes, and the appeals for a new building became more and more urgent with each year, until, in 1891, Dr. Miner " honored himself" by the gift of the beautiful hall which bears his name.
Let us return now to the year 1874. At that time the course for those who had received academic training was divided into the Junior, Middle, and Senior years, while of those not so prepared a Sub-Junior year of preparatory work was required. The same arrangement is in operation at the present time.
The Juniors studied, under Dr. Sawyer, English Grammar and Language, an Introduction to the Jewish Scriptures, Biblical Archæology, Hebrew, and the Old Testament: under Professor Leonard, Biblical History and Geography: and under Professor Tousey, Rhetoric, Greek, and Logic. To the Middle Class Dr. Sawyer taught an Introduction to the study of the Gospels, and the Greek of the New Testament: Professor Leonard, Church History and Homiletics: and Professor Tousey, Rhetoric, Logic, and Mental Science. The Seniors studied Exegesis and Systematic Theology with Dr. Sawyer; Homiletics, History of Doctrine, and Christian Evidences, with Professor Leonard; and Moral Science with Professor Tousey.
The beginning of the year 1875-76 saw another name added to the list of instructors. The Rev. George T. Knight, A. M., a graduate of the class of 1875, was given charge of the departments of Rhetoric, Biblical History, Church History, and Greek. The following year a course in Oratory was added, under Professor Moses T. Brown, of the College of Letters.
Despite its serious limitations in the lack of proper quarters and sufficient funds, the school continued to prosper and grow both in size and efficiency. The catalogue of 1877-78 shows an attendance of twenty-five students, and the following words from President Capen's report of that year speak well for the character and reputation of the school. He says: " Its work has been examined by able men in our own church and other churches, who have borne emphatic testimony of approval. Presided over by our foremost living scholar, assisted by men who in their special departments have no superiors, the character and quality of its teaching could scarcely be improved. Indeed, I am satisfied, from careful scrutiny and a wide observation, that in the scope and thoroughness of its work it is equalled by few theological schools in this country, and by none surpassed. Moreover, the manner in which, by common report, those who have gone out from the school are discharging the duties of their profession, shows that their training is not wanting in those practical elements which are essential to the successful parish minister."
In 1879 a Jew, Bernard Maimon, A. M., was secured as Instructor of Hebrew Language and Literature, and taught in the school for one year.
In 1882 was inaugurated a change significant of the fact that the Divinity School was not a separate institution, but a part of the college. This was the abolition of the Divinity School Anniversary, which up to this time had been celebrated a week before the College Commencement, and which was in reality a separate Commencement for the school. From that
|time the school has had a place on the regular Commencement program.|
For nearly ten years nothing of especial importance occurred in the history of the school. The increase of attendance was good, there being at the end of that time thirty-five students in all, with a teaching force enlarged to meet the growing requirements. In 1882 Dr. Sawyer was given the title of Dean, but his advancing age made it necessary for him to retire from active work, and after 1884 his labors in the school were confined to a few lectures. Dr. Leonard succeeded him as the head of the Faculty, though not receiving the title of Dean until 1892, when Dr. Sawyer was made Emeritus. In 1883 the Rev. George M. Harmon, A. M., was appointed Assistant Professor of Theology, Professor Tousey was made Secretary of the Faculty, and Mr. Knight was made Professor of Church History. The following year Professor Tousey resigned the secretaryship, and was succeeded in the office by Professor Knight. In 1889 Assistant Professor Harmon was made Professor of Biblical Theology. With the beginning of the year 1890-91 the Rev. A. B. Curtis, Ph. D., was appointed Instructor in Hebrew and Old Testament Subjects, to be advanced in 1894 to the title of Professor.
In 1891, as has been said, the school received its first great benefaction since the original bequest of Mr. Packard, in the gift by Dr. Miner of the beautiful Divinity Hall named in his honor. At the commencement of that year Dr. Miner announced his intention of giving forty thousand dollars for a building to be devoted exclusively to the use of the School of Theology; adding however, that in his judgment "such a building should not be erected until the sum of twelve thousand dollars is in hand for the erection at the same time of an accompanying dormitory for the students of the school." To President Capen and Dr. Leonard is due most of the credit for raising the required twelve thousand dollars for the dormitory building. Men of means were written to, parishes
|were visited and funds solicited, and, sufficient money having been raised to pay for the building, the neighboring parishes were invited to contribute one hundred dollars each to furnish the rooms. The result was that within a year, Paige Hall, comfortable if not beautiful, was finished and furnished. Meantime work had progressed on Miner Hall, and on June 13, 1892, it was dedicated with appropriate exercises.|
One room in the building was set aside and fitted up as a library; another forms a cosey little chapel; a third was furnished as a reception room by Dr. and Mrs. Miner; and the Miner Charitable Society of the Columbus Avenue Church furnished a room for the use of the Faculty. The admirable furnishings and beautiful adornments of the two rooms last mentioned are due to the good taste of Miss Hetty Williams, of Boston. The furnishings of the lecture rooms were the gift of the donor of the building.
The opening of the college year of 1892-93 was made memorable by the occupancy of the new buildings, and for the first time in its history the school found itself in adequate and comfortable quarters.
With the beginning of the same year the Divinity School, as well as the college, was opened to women, and three entered, one in the regular course and two as special students.
In 1891 Professor Maulsby, who had succeeded Professor Brown in the department of Oratory, assumed the direction of that work in the school, and in 1894 the Rev. Warren S. Woodbridge was appointed Woodbridge Professor of Applied Christianity, the chair having been endowed by Mr. Samuel F. Woodbridge, of North Cambridge.
Beside the gifts and endowments already mentioned-Mr. Packard's original bequest, Dr. Miner's munificent donation, the subscriptions for Paige Hall, and Mr. Woodbridge's endowment - the school has received little direct financial aid. The following named persons have, however, shown their interest in its welfare substantially and generously.
Mr. George A. Dockstader, of New York, has given within the past ten years ten thousand dollars, the income of which is appropriated at the discretion of the Faculty to the aid of needy and worthy students.
Mrs. Eliza M. Greenwood, of Malden, bequeathed one thousand dollars, the income of which is given in prizes to members of the school for excellence in oratory. The Greenwood prize readings are now a feature of the school year.
Rev. John Vannevar gave five hundred dollars to Dr. Leonard in recognition of certain services in graduate studies; and the income of this sum the latter has generously devoted to the purchase of books for the department of Homiletics.
For several years Rev. W. S. Perkins, D. D., of Meriden, Connecticut, has provided a prize of twenty-five dollars to encourage extemporaneous preaching.
Although it still has some needs - among the most urgent, perhaps, being a dormitory for women -The Tufts Divinity School may be said to have passed through its days of trial, and can now calmly await what may come. With admirable material equipment and a thoroughly able corps of instructors it is in a position to do its work well; and its rapidly enlarging body of alumni is spreading its credit and influence not only throughout the denomination which it represents, but throughout the country at large.
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.
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