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Full text of "The '85 address, together with some newspaper and magazine articles discussing the Amherst idea"



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GIFT 
i MAY 16 1913 



THE '85 ADDRESS 

TOGETHER WITH SOME 

NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES 

DISCUSSING 

THE AMHERST IDEA 



v» 






THE '85 ADDRESS 

TOGETHER WITH SOME 

NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES 

DISCUSSING 

THE AMHERST IDEA 






» » » 






> > J 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



Address of Class of '85 3 

A Noteworthy Project in Higher Education ... 27 

By Theodore Roosevelt, the Outlook, February i8, 191 1. 

The Opportunity of the Small College 32 

New York Evening Post, February 25, 191 1, copied in the 
Nation, March 2, 191 1. 

An Intensive College -36 

"The New York Times, May 7, 191 1, copied in Springfield 
Republican, May 10, 191 1. 

The Regeneration of the Small College 38 

By Harry A. Gushing, New York Independent, April 13, 191 1, 

A New Alumni Movement 43 

Yale Alumni Weekly, January 13, 191 1. 

The Amherst Proposals 45 

Brown Alumni Monthly, ]sinxL&ry, 191 1. 

Favor Small Colleges 47 

The Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, December 3, 1910, 

The Suggestions of '85 48 

The Hartford Courant, February 20, 1911. 

The Amherst Plan -50 

Indianapolis News, January 21, 191 1. ' 

An Educational Opportunity 57 

Springfield Republican, February 21, 191 1. 



259960 



PAGE 



Amherst's Opportunity 60 

By Benjamin Baker, Boston Evening Transcript^ December 31, 1910. 

The Small College 70 

San Francisco Chronicle, April 9, 191 1. 

The Future of the Smaller Colleges 73 

New York Sun, February 19, 191 1. 

Amherst a Classical College 74 

New York World, February 12, 191 1. 

The Amherst Idea 75 

SilvcE, February, 191 1. 

The Classical Weekly yy 

Editorial article by Gonzalez Lodge, February 18, 191 1. 

A New Plan for Amherst 79 

Editorial article, Harper's Weekly, May 20, 191 1. 

The New Opportunity of the Small College . . . 8o 

Harper's Magazine, June, 191 1. 



ADDRESS 

TO THE 

TRUSTEES OF AMHERST COLLEGE 

BY THE 

CLASS OF 1885 



The Class of 1885, at its Twenty-fifth Reunion in 
Amherst last June, impressed by the progress of the 
College, and profoundly convinced of the value of 
those ideals which Amherst has ever set before its 
students, appointed a committee to present to the 
Trustees the question whether, at a time when educa- 
tion is so largely assuming a technical character, and 
when in the universities the work of teaching is to so 
considerable an extent performed without relations of 
personal contact and influence between teacher and 
student, it is not at once the opportunity and the duty 
of Amherst College to take a distinctive public posi- 
tion as a representative of that individual training and 
general culture which once was the purpose of all 
American colleges. We believe that the College 
should take this position, as a duty owing to its stu- 
dents, as an opportunity for a great public service, and 
in its own interest as a matter of self-preservation. 

Twenty-five years ago Amherst had a definite and 
necessary position in the educational scheme. The 
courses offered to its students were not different in 
character from those of other institutions of higher 
learning, while even in numbers colleges like Yale and 

3 



Princeton were not beyond comparison with Amherst. 
Columbia, Cornell, and the host of Western institu- 
tions had no such position as they occupy at present. 

Within recent years the character of education has 
so changed that the relative position of different insti- 
tutions, and the value of each in the new scheme of 
education, have undergone a reappraisal. The great 
State universities, now so important, take their stu- 
dents as they pass from the high schools, offering a 
technical training as a preparation for some profes- 
sional or commercial career, and so great is their sup- 
port in men and money that one who has thoroughly 
studied the situation recently expressed the judgment 
that "the scepter has passed from the private school 
and is threatened in the privately endowed college." 

Hence have come the enormous demands which 
Eastern universities without State support have made 
upon friends and alumni. New technical schools and 
professional and postgraduate courses have been 
needed, and for these purposes endowments have been 
given in tens of millions, so that Yale, Harvard, 
Columbia, and many other institutions are able to 
perform the work which State universities perform, 
taking students from high schools, and graduating 
them equipped to pursue a technical occupation. 

This scheme leaves no place for such a college as 
Amherst. The high school fits for the university, and 
the university for the selected calling. Amherst, on 
the other hand, demands a preparation not within the 
tendencies of the high school, and gives a course of 
training which does not fit for, but, on the other hand, 
postpones, preparation for a calling. 

What, then, is to be the future of Amherst? It is 
without the means necessary to enable it to take such 

4 



a place as that now filled by those institutions which 
were so long its competitors. Amherst cannot com- 
pete with the great universities in their extended fields, 
and so long, therefore, as we seem to occupy no sepa- 
rate and distinctive field, we must expect to see the 
numbers, reputation, prestige, and wealth of other 
institutions grow while Amherst becomes relatively 
of less and less importance. This is the prospect 
which we most unwillingly are compelled to face. 
Few there are indeed who nowadays go to a small col- 
lege because convinced that the training is superior to 
the university courses elsewhere offered. Under these 
conditions to raise our standard seems impossible; 
must we therefore be content to abandon our claim to 
an honorable place in the first rank of American insti- 
tutions? Is there no distinctive field which Amherst 
may occupy, no demand for an improvement in the 
quality of instruction which Amherst may supply? 

We believe that there is such a field ; that there are 
public services which Amherst may render ; that there 
are already signs of reaction from present conditions, 
and that no institution can better lead and give form 
to this reaction than Amherst College. 

The popular appraisal of education is commercial, — 
measuring the value of a training by the income it re- 
turns,— and if every man stand for himself alone, 
this appraisal may be right. It is in the relation of the 
individual to the community, however, that this view 
of educational training first breaks down. Amherst 
has never taught that every man stands for himself 
alone, nor that the value of education is in its pur- 
chasable gratifications. There is a training which 
should be undergone for the sake of learning and for 
the benefit of the State. 



"There are in this country," said Professor 
Nelson of Williams College, "no two wants more 
pressing than a literature of the first rank and 
statesmen of the first rank. The two go together. 
Your great statesmen are bred on literature 
and the historic achievements of mankind. . . . 
Those alone have the right to deal with the des- 
tinies of humanity who have learned the laws by 
which humanity has come to its present heritage." 

No literature, said De Tocqueville, ought to be 
more studied in democratic ages than that of the an- 
cients. This, classical training, modified from time 
to time by demands of modern scholarship, has always 
been the Amherst course, and the Class of 1885 urge 
that the College can and should make its work in this 
field of distinctive value and public importance; that 
this can be done by raising the standard of work 
among faculty and students— by getting together at 
Amherst the best teachers in the country in our chosen 
field of work and the most serious and able young men 
to profit by this course of teaching. These three 
things are the College— the course of instruction, the 
men who give the course, and the students who 
receive it. 

THE VALUE OF CLASSICAL EDUCATION 

Amherst has stood for a liberal or classical education, 
—the old-fashioned course,— and for many years 
there was in this respect no difference between 
Amherst and other institutions of higher education in 
this country. The value to the public of this training 
in making statesmen and leaders of public thought is 

6 



even now unquestioned. It is a training in civics, in 
the history of government, in the development and 
significance of institutions, in the meaning of civiliza- 
tion,— in brief, a training for public leadership, not a ^ 
personal equipment for a trade. 

"The American college,'' Dr. Woodrow Wilson 
said, "has played a unique part in American 
life. ... It formed men who brought to their 
tasks an incomparable morale, a capacity that 
seemed more than individual, a power touched 
with large ideals. The college has been the seat 
of ideals. The liberal training which it sought to 
impart took no thought of any particular profes- 
sion or business, but was meant to reflect in its 
few and simple disciplines the image of life and 
thought. Men were bred by it to no skill or craft 
or calling ; the discipline to which they were sub- 
jected had a more general object. It was meant 
to prepare them for the whole of life rather than 
some particular part of it. The ideals which lay 
at its heart were the general ideals of conduct, 
of right living and right thinking, which made 
them aware of a world moralized by principle, 
steadied and cleared of many an evil thing by 
true and catholic reflection and just feeling, a 
world not of interests but of ideas. Such impres- 
sions, such challenges to a man's spirit, such inti- 
mations of privilege and duty, are not to be found 
in the work of professional and technical schpols. 
They cannot be." 

Very few colleges follow this line now,— unfortu- 
nately few, for the old ideas were not all wrong,— but 

7 



among the few that can find no substitute in technical 
training for the ideals of the past Amherst has an 
honorable place. This is the opportunity of the Col- 
lege, to make it its work to give that sound training 
which fits men to become public leaders. Institutions 
and government have a history, and the best states- 
manship is that which meets the future with lessons 
derived from a profound understanding of what has 
gone before us. Technical education, which, so far as 
government is concerned, for the most part teaches 
devices but not principles, which seems to assert that 
successful business fits for successful statesmanship, 
proceeds upon the assumption that retrospect is not 
wise and that in any difficulty we should consider not 
how we got there but how we can get out, as if, said 
Edmund Burke, we should "consult our invention and 
reject our experience," Here, indeed, is to be found 
one of the causes of the increasing excitability of 
American politics. Invention is the parent of Utopias, 
socialism, radicalism of all kinds. Experience is the 
parent of improvement, progress, conservatism. 

It is perhaps unnecessary for the Committee to say 
that in any teaching of the experience of the race the 
sciences have a necessary place. None would advo- 
cate adoption of the unchanged classical course of 
fifty years ago. All would agree that some knowledge 
of science is part of a liberal education, and should be 
taught at Amherst— at least so far as to enable her 
graduates to enter the best professional schools. Not- 
withstanding all this, however, the day of the classics 
has not yet gone by. Mr. Charles Francis Adams, a 
quarter of a century ago a leader in the attack upon 
the old scheme of education, himself recently said that 
as an essential part of a college course 

8 



"I would prescribe one of the classic tongues, 
Greek or Latin, as a compulsory study to the day 
of graduation, the one royal road to a knowledge 
of all that is finest in letters and in art." 

Upon the specific question which Mr. Adams pre- 
sents, or even upon the broad question what at the 
present time should be the general character of classi- 
cal training, the Committee make no suggestions. The 
point which it is now sought to emphasize is that there 
is a great field which Amherst may occupy, that this" 
field is nothing less than training in public leadership 
and broad culture. In this instruction, if Amherst make 
its position publicly distinctive and different from that 
occupied by the great universities, she need fear no 
competition. 

The tendency of modern institutions— if we disre- 
gard their distractions— is to make breadwinners, to 
fit men to earn money. State universities are neces- 
sarily of this character, and the influence upon all in- 
stitutions which compete with them is strong. Size 
itself almost irresistibly drives this way. Back of this 
modern movement is the notion recently stated by 
Professor John M. Gillette, an apostle of vocational 
training,— his very language marked by the modern 
divorce from classical scholarship,— that 

'The assumption of State education is that its 
training is necessary for citizenship, that is, to be 
a valid member of society. But since one can be 
such only as he is able to function in society, that 
is, work in society, according to its fundamental 
nature, and since society is essentially specialized 
and vocational in constitution, it follows that to 

9 



make citizens in the best sense is to vocationalize 
them, make them able to further some dominant 
social interest/' ^ 

With Professor Gillette's conception of citizenship 
in the best sense we need not quarrel. None doubt, 
and at the present time none need emphasize the fact, 
that the world needs, and must have, engineers, chem- 
ists, electricians, biologists; that technical education 
and trade education are essential to the work of the 
world; that the vast development of schools and uni- 
versities in technical lines has been in response to 
urgent public necessity. For all this we have no im- 
favorable criticism. The point to be emphasized is 
that different institutions may well turn their attention 
in different directions. 

The proposition for which Amherst stands is that 
preparation for some particular part of life does not 
make better citizens than, in President Wilson's 
phrase, preparation for the whole of it ; that because a 
man can "function in society" as a craftsman in some 
trade or technical work he is not thereby made a better 
leader ; that we have already too much of that states- 
manship marked by abiHty ''to further some dominant 
social interest" and too little of that which is "aware 
of a world moralized by principle, steadied and 
cleared of many an evil thing by true and catholic 
reflection and just feeling, a world not of interests but 
of ideas." Amherst upholds the proposition that for 
statesmen, leaders of public thought, for literature, 
indeed for all work which demands culture and 
breadth of view, nothing can take the place of the 
classical education; that the duty of institutions of 

1 "Vocational Education," p. 73. 
10 



higher education is not wholly performed when the 
youth of the country are passed from the high schools 
to the universities to be "vocationalized," but that 
there is a most important work to be performed by an 
institution which stands outside this straight line to 
pecuniary reward ; that there is room for at least one 
great classical college, and we believe for many such. 
This is the training which Amherst has given, and if 
now the College were publicly and definitely to stand 
forward as an exponent of classical learning in such 
modified course as modern scholarship may approve, 
we believe that, with its history, its deserved reputa- 
tion, and its present position, it can take the place of 
leadership in this work. This once done, the College 
will no longer appeal for support solely to its friends, 
but would have reason to expect the efficient support 
of all friends of classical education— that is, of the 
most conservative, thoughtful, and scholarly persons. 
Among such persons the desire for sound classical 
training is frequently expressed. It was but recently 
that Professor Trent of Columbia said : 

"Perhaps in time certain colleges will be able 
to emphasize to a greater degree the tried clas- 
sical discipline and to cease to compete with the 
technical schools. There is room in this huge 
country for institutions of every kind, and there 
are still people who would gladly give their chil- 
dren an old-fashioned education, that is, a dis- 
cipline that has been tested, under teachers 
convinced of its merits, and not hampered by the 
necessity of defending it against colleagues who 
do not believe in it." ^ 

1 New York Evening Post, Saturday, October 8, 1910. 
II 



That Amherst should abolish its present course lead- 
ing to the degree of B.S. will probably not be seriously 
questioned. This was once, and perhaps not long 
since, a valuable course, but at the present time, in 
view of the courses of instruction given at such schools 
as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shef- 
field Scientific School, Cornell, and many others, it 
seems to the Committee that young men who desire 
scientific instruction make a mistake to come to Am- 
herst. That the degree should represent something 
less than a thorough scientific course of some char- 
acter, or be used to permit graduation of those who, 
for one reason or another, do not fulfil the require- 
ments of the arts degree, probably few would justify. 
Williams College refuses to grant this degree, and we 
believe that Amherst should do the same. It is to be 
supposed that this would reduce the number of stu- 
dents very considerably, but the Committee urge that 
the change is one which is due to the College itself as 
well as to its students. 

On the other hand, the classical field we believe be- 
longs to Amherst. This is the work in which the 
College may be made a leader. Of course such a posi- 
tion cannot be taken at once. Time is necessary, and 
it is necessary that in time the College so regulate its 
afifairs that it shall be enabled to give the training in 
its chosen field better than any other institution. The 
method by which all this may be accomplished the 
Committee believes is involved in changes which 
should be inaugurated as parts of a single well- 
matured policy. 

First: Our faculty must be composed of the best 
teachers in the country for our chosen course. 

Second : The body of students and the purpose and 

12 



life of the College must be directed toward excellence 
in scholarship. 



THE COMPENSATION OF THE FACULTY 

It is the belief of the Class of 1885 that the profession 
of teaching is of vital public importance and dignity, 
and that the compensation offered to teachers should 
be such as to draw into the profession men of the 
highest talents and effectiveness. That this is not so 
is common knowledge. It is well known, as the New 
York Times states,* that 

"The best brains of the country are going into 
business because in business the scale [of com- 
pensation] is pitched higher." 

We have in Amherst, as there are elsewhere, men 
who dignify the service of learning. There is no small 
consolation in the fact that there are such men and in 
the knowledge that, although the profession of teach- 
ing is not now drawing into its ranks its due propor- 
tion of talent, nevertheless, in order to remedy the 
existing evil, it is not necessary that teaching be made 
a conspicuously lucrative profession. What is needed 
is, in the first place, that the compensation be not con- 
spicuously low. Young men of ability must not be 
driven to other work by the knowledge that a profes- 
sor's salary is insufficient to support a family and to 
enable him to associate with equals on equal terms. 
In the second place, it is necessary that the position of 
a professor in a prominent college be made to compare 

1 September 20, 1910. 

13 



in dignity with the position achieved by success in 
other professions or occupations. 

No such condition now exists. The present fact is, 
as the New York Times recently said/ that 

"Many college instructors and some college 
professors would consider themselves lucky if 
they got the wages of a union bricklayer. They 
cannot marry and support their wives properly. 
Unless their wives have money, they cannot bring 
up their families.*' 

The great injustice of this condition and its serious 
consequences to the national life need no demonstra- 
tion. The evil is fundamental. It discloses present 
social standards— in no other great nation, said Pro- 
fessor Gillette, do educators stand so low in public 
esteem^— and holds out an unencouraging prospect as 
to the intellectual life of the country twenty-five years 
from now. What is needed, then, for this funda- 
mental evil is fundamental change. An increase of a 
few hundred dollars a year in the salaries of teachers 
may slightly diminish the hardships of a position 
which is too often humiliating, but it does nothing 
toward righting a great wrong. What is needed is 
not a slight increase but a radically new standard of 
compensation. We believe that it is possible for Am- 
herst to do something toward remedying this national 
misfortune and injustice. 

The College needs no more buildings and no addi- 
tional land. Its primary need is a body of instructors 
of acknowledged excellence. While it is possible for 

1 September 20, 1910. 

2 ** Vocational Education," p. 37. 

14 



other institutions to call professors from Amherst, we 
cannot expect, as a general rule, either to secure or to 
keep the best. To learn the facts about salaries paid 
at Amherst, the Committee requested information 
from members of the Faculty, thirty-nine of whom 
made reports, with the following results : 

14 of these members of the Faculty receive $3000; 
4 receive $2500; i receives $2200; 11 receive $2000; 
4 receive $1600; 2 receive $1400; i receives $1300; 
2 receive $1200. 

The Dean (one of the 14 to receive $3000) receives 
$1000 additional for his services in administration. 
The cases of assistants are not included in the above 
list, as they are in no sense permanent members of 
the Faculty. 

Corresponding to each of the above classes, the 
average reported expenditure per year is as follows : 



Salary 


Rent 


Cost of 
living 


Books, 

education of 

children, 

travel 


Total 


Excess of 
expenditure 
over salary 


Average of 
last column 


)3000 


$596 


$2633 


$807 


$4036 


$1036 


$620 


2500 


533 


2000 


416 


2949 


449 




2200 


500 


I 100 


300 


1900 


—300 




2000 


355 


1474 


476 


2305 


305 




1600 


337 


1323 


638 


2298 


698 




1400 


333 


1335 


405 


2073 


673 




1300 


175 


500 


350 


1025 


-275 




1200 


290 


1025 


362 


1677 


477 





The higher salaries are, in general, paid to men of 
long service, who, in the natural course of affairs, are 
compelled to meet higher expenditures. Professors 

1 The regular salary of this teacher is $1600. He has an extra allowance of 
$600 this year for special work. 

IS 



are more and more, as time passes, called upon to per- 
form representative duties for the college ; their chil- 
dren are growing, who must be educated, clothed, and 
fed; standards of living are entailed which are not 
necessary in the earlier period of the teacher's career. 
Higher salaries correspond not to a greater temptation 
to, but a greater need for, the increased expenditure 
which appears in the table. With this in mind, the 
significant fact shown is that at no period during a 
teacher's connection with the College is his salary 
sufficient for his support. 

If the $300 surplus noted against the $2200 salary 
be considered in the light of the foot-note, it should 
enter into the final average as +300. With this change, 
it appears that the average outlay of the Amherst 
teacher exceeds his salary by $635. The statistics 
from which this conclusion is established are based 
upon reports made in writing by the individual teach- 
ers upon a uniform blank. A careful reading of the 
remarks accompanying these reports shows that in 
many cases the expenditure is kept down to the point 
indicated only by an exercise of economy to the point 
of hardship. 

Almost without exception, the members of the Am- 
herst Faculty can live with a fair degree of comfort 
only as they derive income from sources other than 
salary. 

During the last ten years the increase in the cost of 
living at Amherst, taking the average of the estimates 
given by members of the Faculty, amounts to almost 
exactly 30%. 

An independent investigation to throw light upon 
this increase has been conducted by means of data 
obtained from the books of Amherst tradesmen. Pres- 

16 



ent-day prices of the following articles were compared 
with prices prevailing in the later nineties : groceries, 
meats, clothing, coal, services, including those of do- 
mestics, mechanics, day-laborers, etc. The results of 
this investigation (which the Committee has on file) 
appear to show a distinctly greater increase than that 
indicated by the teachers' reports. 

The gentleman who made the inquiries and tabu- 
lated the results (a very painstaking member of the 
Amherst Faculty) concluded his report with the fol- 
lowing comments, which seem to the Committee to 
have deep significance : 

"When I have indicated the increase in the cost 
of living based on increase in prices of commodi- 
ties and services, the story is by no means com- 
pletely told. The standard of life which a college 
professor must now maintain entails an increase 
in expenditure, as compared with fifteen years 
ago, that statistics of prices do not show. It costs 
him more to maintain his former standard. But 
the change of standard enforced upon him by 
social changes and the sentiments of the college 
community forces an additional expenditure. Be- 
sides this, the progress of knowledge calls for an 
increase in facilities in the way of books, travel, 
and general equipment in order that he may keep 
abreast or ahead in the running and meet the 
demands of service to his institution. Such 
changes of standard in living and equipment can- 
not be reduced to statistics, but they are known 
to all college men. 

"So much on the increased cost of living. Let 
me indicate a method by which to judge of the 

17 



adequacy of a college professor's income. Some 
investigation has led me to the conclusion that at 
Amherst a college professor spends his income 
approximately as follows with a family of four: 
rent 17%, fuel 6%, lighting 2%, food 35%, 
clothing 20%, sundries 20%. Assuming that he 
has a salary of $3000, that would mean $600 for 
sundries. But what does sundries cover? Such 
items as the following: laundry, house-cleaning, 
kitchen supplies, repairs, such as replacement of 
furniture, rugs, bed-clothing, etc., doctors' bills, 
dentistry, life insurance, subscriptions that he is 
called upon to make and wants to make, support 
of athletics and Y. M. C. A. benevolence, pres- 
ents, books, travel, vacations, and the education 
of his children. 

"There are college professors who for years 
buy no books because they cannot afford it, who 
for the same reason do not go to the theater, do 
not subscribe $5 to the musical program, never 
ride in a parlor-car, never have been to the sea- 
shore or to the mountains, and never could afford 
to take a sabbatical year to freshen up their life 
and their work." 

In explanation of the last remark the Committee 
add that during a sabbatical year but half salary is paid. 

Under these conditions the necessity for a change is 
evident. Some increase of salaries is inevitable. It is 
true that a small increase will accomplish something 
if it enable teachers to meet necessary expenses. The 
great public necessity, however, is that some step be 
taken toward establishment of new standards of com- 
pensation. 

18 



We believe that there is but one way in which to 
meet this situation. If the College were to adopt the 
settled policy that it would accept no gifts which 
involve increased expense, were it to announce 
that its deliberate purpose is and shall be the in- 
definite increase of teachers' salaries, and that to 
this purpose it will use all its resources, Amherst 
would at once occupy a distinctive position among 
the colleges and universities of the country, and 
would do something more than her share to restore 
the dignity of a great profession. Until this posi- 
tion is taken we must expect to be small workers in a 
great field, doing what others do, but not so well. 
When the new position is taken, not alone in the inter- 
est of the College but for learning itself, we believe 
that Amherst will represent a great public service 
which deserves support. We cannot believe that in 
such a matter this support would be wholly lacking, 
and we hope that the time would soon come when Am- 
herst would be able not to make a small increase only 
in its professional salaries, but to initiate a movement 
of profound influence throughout the country. 



IMPROVEMENT IN THE QUALITY 
OF SCHOLARSHIP 

Amherst is not a large college and has never been 
influenced by ambition for numbers nor participated 
in the race for size. We have no desire to use our 
students to magnify the institution, but, on the con- 
trary, wish to use all the means at our command for 
the greatest advantage of every student who comes to 
us. We have heard alumni of large colleges debate 
the future of the small college, and we see their class- 

19 



rooms so crowded that instruction is almost impossible 
and a lecture of an hour a week must be supplemented 
by two hours a week in which the class in small groups 
meets many tutors, hardly their seniors. Hence comes 
the suggestion of Mr. Charles Francis Adams that 
Harvard, "save in name and continuity, should cease 
to exist," and that in its place should be "a group of 
colleges, all independent, ... so limited in size that 
individuality would be not only possible but a neces- 
sary part of the system.'' Hence also the "quadrangle 
system" so called, the "preceptorial system," and 
whatever other devices may be used to make a large 
institution do the personal work necessary for educa- 
tion—in short, to secure for large colleges the in- 
herent advantages of the small ones. 

At Amherst there is no such problem. Here is in- 
dividual training capable of unlimited development. 
With a renewed faculty we may start this work, but 
to take a position of leadership as a great classical 
institution requires development among the students 
of a purpose and life directed toward scholarly excel- 
lence. Such a condition does not now exist. Dr. 
Woodrow Wilson says that 

"The real intellectual life of a body of under- 
graduates, if there be any, manifests itself not in 
the class-room, but in what they do and talk of 
and set before themselves as their favorite objects 
between classes and lectures. You will see the 
true life of a college in the evenings, at the din- 
ner-table or beside the fire, in the groups that 
gather and the men that go off eagerly to their 
work, where youths get together and let them- 
selves go upon their favorite themes— in the 

20 



effect their studies have upon them when no com- 
pulsion of any kind is on them. The effects of 
learning are its real tests, the real tests alike of its 
validity and of its efficiency. The mind can be 
driven, but that is not life. Life is voluntary or 
unconscious. It is breathed in out of a sustain- 
ing atmosphere. It is shaped by environment. It 
is habitual, continuous, productive." 

There are schools which have such an atmosphere, 
in which a young man finds an environment of vivid 
intellectual life ; schools which draw a young man into 
a current where yielding is easy and resistance hard; 
where he discovers a severe course of mental training 
whose vigor comes from his associations and the de- 
mands of his fellows, not from compulsion of the 
faculty. There is probably no college in the country 
in which such a condition exists. 

"Life at college," Dr. Wilson goes on to say, 
"is one thing, the work of the college another, en- 
tirely separate and distinct. The life is the field 
that is left free for athletics not only, but also for 
every other amusement and diversion. Studies 
are no part of that life, and there is no competi- 
tion. Study is the work which interrupts the life, 
introduces an embarrassing and inconsistent ele- 
ment into it. The faculty has no part in the life ; 
it organizes the interruption, the interference." 

No institution of which this is true arouses the be- 
lief which Mr. Gladstone expressed of the Oxford of 
his time— that "she is providentially designed to be the 
fountain of blessings, spiritual, social, and intellec- 

21 



tual, to this and to other countries, to the present and 
future times." No institution of which this is true 
answers the just expectation of those parents who at 
personal sacrifice, often great, send their sons to col- 
lege that they may be better prepared for that modern 
world of which it is said that "it contains an uncom- 
mon challenge to effort," "and all the achievements to 
which it challenges are uncommonly difficult." 

The life which Dr. Wilson describes is no prepara- 
tion for this modern world of difficulty. On the con- 
trary, as Mr. Birdseye says, the college too often 
teaches "a mental sloth, carelessness, and inaccuracy 
which are quite the antithesis of good education, and 
of the business training that the non-college competi- 
tor is getting under some stern master in the office, the 
shop, the factory, the store, or other business training- 
school. For eight hours or more each day, the latter 
is part of a carefully organized system, a machine that 
detects his every lapse and fits him for higher respon- 
sibility. These disqualifying habits of sloth, careless- 
ness, and inaccuracy, acquired or intensified at college, 
are often so bad as quite to negative the advantages of 
a college course, and are too high a price for a young 
man to pay for what he gets out of his four years." 
Much too high indeed, for this is but teaching failure. 

"Falso queritur," said Sallust, "de natura sua 
genus humanum, quod imbecille, atque aevi brevis, 
sorte potius quam virtute regatur. Nam contra 
reputando, neque majus aliud neque praestabilius 
invenias, magisque naturae industriam hominum 
quam vim aut tempus deesse." 

It is the belief of the Class of 1885 that the colleges 
of the country have permitted themselves to be led 

22 



aside from their true function, that some reaction is 
inevitable, and that no college can better lead such a 
movement than Amherst. "It is curious,'' Mr. Charles 
Francis Adams said, "to think how much the standard 
of classic requirements might be raised were not the 
better scholars weighted down by the presence of the 
worse." It is inspiring to think what might be the 
effects upon college standards and the life of the coun- 
try if even in but one institution, instead of this drag 
of poor scholarship, the better scholars were assisted 
by a living interest of their fellow-workers. 

Here is the work which Amherst can do better, we 
think, than almost any other college. We can take 
advantage of our position as a small college and place 
our emphasis upon the individual training and high 
quality of scholarship which should be characteristic 
of the small college. When Amherst takes this place, 
it seizes leadership, but no such distinction comes with 
half-way measures. 

The College cannot devote its whole strength and all 
its energies to the elevation of standards and improve- 
ment in the quality of its work, while at the same time 
it endeavors to receive increasing numbers. At this 
point choice is inevitable, and it is in the neglect to 
meet this demand of existing and imperative condi- 
tions by a deliberate decision that most of the small 
colleges have made their mistake. This is an error 
which Amherst can avoid. We are seekers for schol- 
arship, not for numbers, and our position can be made 
clear and publicly distinctive only by limitation upon 
the number of our students. 

Such a limitation being established, it is evident that 
the applicants for admission to the College must 
undergo some selective process— preferably, the Com- 

23 



mittee urge, by competitive examination. The honor 
of success in such a competition, the consciousness of 
having achieved individual recognition in the field of 
scholarship, the esprit de corps which must result, 
would create at Amherst a condition such as now 
exists in no American college, bringing together such 
a body of students and teachers intent upon serious 
work and the best scholarship as should, in time, 
make a deep impression upon the life and thought of 
the country. It is possible in this way to make Am- 
herst a place where, by four years of valuable work, 
students may receive a real preparation for the life of 
harder work which awaits them, and when this is 
done Amherst will have a conspicuous and honorable 
place, preeminent in its way among all American col- 
leges. 

By doing these things, perhaps not all at once, but 
nevertheless as soon as may be, Amherst will become 
known all over the country. A great influence will be 
exerted to restore the dignity of the teaching profes- 
sion. More seriousness will be forced into college life. 
It will become an honor to prepare for Amherst ; am- 
bitious students will desire the prestige which comes 
from entering, and an Amherst diploma will have a 
distinctive value. 

The effect upon the income of the College the Com- 
mittee has been unable to study thoroughly. Over 
one quarter of the students who attended Amherst last 
year were candidates for the scientific degree. The 
abolition of this degree would, therefore, make a very 
considerable difference in the numbers attending the 
College. The reduction would in all probability be 
somewhat less than the figures alone would indicate, 
for some men preparing for the scientific degree could 

24 



without great difficulty, and if necessary undoubtedly 
would, qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 

In any event, nevertheless, the abolition of the B.S. 
degree seems to be required. Men who desire a thor- 
ough scientific course must in fairness be sent else- 
where, and from this would come our greatest loss in 
attendance. 

From the numbers remaining there would at first 
be some slight reduction resulting from competitive 
admission, but it seems that this would very soon right 
itself. There is good reason to believe that as schools 
and many other institutions have found the sure cause 
of growth in the establishment of a waiting list, so 
Amherst might find that with a limitation upon at- 
tendance, and admission by competition, the number as 
well as quality of applicants would improve. It would 
be reasonable to hope that in less than five years the 
College would again have an attendance equal to the 
present, or as near thereto as the limit which may be 
established would permit. Such deficiency of income 
as might exist in the meantime, amounting perhaps to 
fifteen or twenty thousand dollars a year, could, the 
Committee believe, be covered by five-year pledges 
from alumni who would be glad to see the College 
take such a stand as has been outlined. 

We therefore urge upon the Trustees : 

( 1 ) That the instruction given at Amherst College 
be a modified classical course as the meaning of that 
term has been described ; 

(2) That the degree of Bachelor of Science be 
abolished ; 

(3) That the College adopt the deliberate policy 
to devote all its means to the indefinite increase of 
teachers' salaries ; 

25 



(4) That the number of students attending the Col- 
lege be limited ; 

(5) That entrance be permitted only by competitive 
examination. 

E. Parmalee Prentice, ChairmaUj 
Ellsworth G. Lancaster, 
William G. Thayer, 

Committee of the Class of 1885. 



35 Wall Street, New York, 
November, 19 10. 



26 



A NOTEWORTHY PROJECT IN HIGHER 
EDUCATION 

The Outlook, February i8, 19 ii 

A real democracy must see that the chance for an elementary- 
education is open to every man and woman. This is the first 
essential. But it is also essential that there should be the 
amplest opportunity for every kind of higher education. The 
education of the mass, while the most important problem in 
democratic education, is in no way or shape by and of itself 
sufficient. Democracy comes short of what it should be just 
to the extent that it fails to provide for the exceptional indi- 
vidual the highest kind of exceptional training; for democracy 
as a permanent world force must mean not only the raising of 
the general level but also the raising of the standards of excel- 
lence to which only exceptional individuals can attain. The table- 
land must be raised, but the high peaks must not be leveled 
down; on the contrary, they too must be raised. Highly im- 
portant though it is that the masons and bricklayers should be 
excellent, it is nevertheless a grave mistake to suppose that any 
excellence in the bricklayers will enable us to dispense with 
architects. 

In this country we have met better than in other countries 
the demand for general education, and there is now on foot 
a widespread and most useful and important agitation to better 
this type of general education by making it more practical, by 
making it more a training of the average boy and girl for what 
that average boy or girl must do in after life. The higher tech- 
nical schools carry out the same purpose on a more advanced 
scale. Law schools, medical schools, agricultural institutes, 
engineering schools, and all similar schools for technical train- 
ing are being improved and are increasing in numbers. The 
average State university takes its students as soon as they leave 
the high schools and gives them a technical training as a prepa- 
ration for some professional or commercial career, and it does 

27 



this on so large a scale and so successfully that the small, 
privately endowed college of the old type cannot in this field 
compete successfully with its great State-aided rival. The 
large private universities, especially in the East, which have 
no State support, have been forced to meet this rivalry, and 
have been enabled to do so only by the extraordinary gifts 
which they have received from friends and alumni. Through 
these endowments new technical schools and professional and 
post-graduate courses have been established in profusion, and 
it is this fact that enables Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, 
and certain other similar private institutions to perform the 
work which the State universities also perform, by taking stu- 
dents from high schools and graduating them equipped to 
pursue a technical occupation. 

It is to meet the state of affairs thus created that Messrs. 
E. Parmalee Prentice, Ellsworth G. Lancaster, and William G. 
Thayer, of the Class of 1885 ^^ Amherst, have as a committee 
prepared a plan which they have submitted to the Trustees of 
that College. Their report is one of the most noteworthy 
of recent educational documents. In their opinion, Amherst 
at present has no place such as that which it filled fifty or even 
twenty-five years ago, when education was not of so technical 
a character, and when a college man was more representative 
of individual training and general culture than at present. As 
things are now, the high school fits for the university, and the 
university for the selected calling. Amherst, on the other 
hand, demands a preparation not within the tendencies of the 
high school, and gives a course of training which does not 
specially fit a man for any particular calling. Moreover, Am- 
herst has not the means which will enable it much longer to 
compete on their own terms against the State universities and 
huge privately endowed universities. Either Amherst must be 
content to occupy an entirely secondary position in the educa- 
tional field, or else it ought to occupy a no less entirely separate 
and distinctive portion of that field. 

The three men who have signed the address then proceed 
to give the reasons why they believe that here is a distinctive 
field of the highest value which Amherst both can and ought to 
occupy. With equal boldness and wisdom, they advocate 
Amherst's frankly taking the position that it does not intend 

28 



to have anything to do with that tjrpe of education — necessarily, 
much the most popular type— the appraisal of which is purely 
commercial, the value of the training being measured by the 
income it returns. They insist that, in addition to this more 
ordinary and usually more necessary form of training, there is 
another which should be undergone simply for the sake of 
learning and for the benefit of the State; the kind of training 
which will help in giving to the State the incalculable benefits 
of a literature of the first rank and statesmanship of the first 
rank. For this purpose they believe that Amherst, so far from 
diminishing the attention given to classical training, should 
greatly increase it, modifying it from time to time, of course, to 
meet the demands of modern scholarship; and that for this 
purpose Amherst's aim should be to get the best teachers of the 
country in its own chosen field of work, and the ablest and most 
serious of the young men who desire to profit by such a course 
of teaching. They propose that Amherst shall frankly abandon 
the purely scientific part of collegiate work and stand for a 
liberal classical education, an education along the old lines, but 
better than could be obtained by the old methods ; an education 
which will make Amherst of high value to the public by train- 
ing statesmen and leaders of public thought in civics, in the 
history of government, in the development and significance of 
institutions, in the meaning of civilization. This education is, 
in Amherst, to be the substitute for the effort personally to 
equip a man for a trade. 

The Committee is careful to explain that it does not advocate 
the elimination of the sciences nor advocate the unchanged 
classical course of fifty years ago. A knowledge of science is 
part of a liberal education ; but the science is to be taught so as 
to turn out, not an engineer, a chemist, an electrician, a biolo- 
gist, but a man of broad general scientific as well as of broad 
general classical training. The Committee also expressly dis- 
claims any kind of criticism upon what is done by the average 
big university of to-day, and especially by the average State 
university. On the contrary, it explicitly recognizes the fact 
that technical education and trade education are essential to 
the work of the world, and that the vast development of the 
schools and universities in technical lines has been a public and 
urgent necessity. But it insists, and quite rightly, that this does 

29 



not meet all the demands of the world, and that different insti- 
tutions can with profit to the public turn their attention in 
different directions. Its theory is that Amherst should stand 
for a cultural education, for one which will give breadth of 
view, which will fit a man not so much to be a leader in any one 
special calling as to be a leader of public thought; that the 
graduate of Amherst shall not be specially fitted for one voca- 
tion, but that his training shall have been such as to stand out- 
side the straight line to pecuniary reward. There is room in 
our country for institutions of every kind, and the need for 
highly efficient technical schools does not imply that there is 
any less need than formerly for the highest and best type of 
classical education. 

Accordingly the Committee states that, in its judgment, Am- 
herst should now completely cease the effort to compete in tech- 
nical education with other institutions, and devote itself to the 
classical field of education — to what were once called the 
"humanities" — and that in this field it should endeavor to take 
a position as a leader. To accomplish this end, it advocates, 
first, that the Faculty should be composed of the best teachers 
in the country for their chosen courses, and, second, that the 
body of students and the purpose and life of the College should 
be directed toward excellence in scholarship. The most funda- 
mentally important part of the proposition is the proposal to 
stop all effort to increase the material equipment of the College, 
and, instead, to endeavor to increase the infinitely more impor- 
tant intellectual equipment by very largely raising the salaries 
of the instructors. Not only is the Committee absolutely right in 
this proposition as regards Amherst, but what it says applies in 
only a less degree just as much to other institutions of learning. 
Altogether too much money has been put into bricks and mor- 
tar in our colleges compared to the amount that has been put 
into the salaries of the men who are to give the instruction. A 
really good university should have among its professors not 
only good teachers, but men of creative and productive scholar- 
ship. There are many such now. But there ought to be many 
more. It is not necessary that teaching be made a conspicu- 
ously lucrative profession, but it is necessary that the compen- 
sation be not conspicuously low. A young man of ability with 
high ideals ought not to make money-making his first pre- 

30 



occupation. But he certainly and emphatically ought to insist 
upon an adequate salary, one sufficient to support his family 
and to enable him to associate with his equals on equal terms. 
A successful professor in a prominent college should occupy 
a position that will compare well in dignity with the position 
achieved by success in other occupations. The very low salaries 
of our college instructors and professors represent a funda- 
mental national evil. There should be a fundamental change, 
and, as the Committee says, in order to bring about this fun- 
damental change what is needed is not a slight increase but a 
radically new standard of compensation. If Amherst would 
take the lead and in striking fashion inaugurate this new stand- 
ard, that mere fact would at once give the College a command- 
ing position of a unique kind. 

In conclusion, the Committee urges, to carry out its policy: 

( 1 ) That the instruction given at Amherst College be a 
modified classical course, 

(2) That the degree of Bachelor of Science be abol- 
ished. 

(3) That the College adopt the deliberate policy of de- 
voting all its means to the indefinite increase of teachers' 
salaries. 

(4) That the number of students attending the College 
be limited. 

(5) That entrance be permitted only by competitive 
examination. 

I am by no means sure that this fifth provision is wise ; and, 
in my judgment, the "classical course" should include also a 
wide sweep of general history and literature. But the proposi- 
tions, taken together, represent a proposal which, though radi- 
cal and startling in its novelty and in its utter divergence from 
the ordinary type of educational proposal, nevertheless if put 
into effect, will mean far-reaching benefit to our national life. 
If Amherst College is willing and able substantially to adopt 
the suggestion of the Committee, a great good will have been 
accomplished; and in any event the Committee is to be con- 
gratulated for having so clearly set forth the principle which 
it is more essential for America than for any other nation 
effectually to realize. Theodore Roosevelt. 

31 



THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE SMALL COLLEGE 

New York Evening Post, editorial article, February 25, 1911, 
copied in The Nation, March 2, 191 1 

We have increased our machinery of education enormously and 
have thrown the old engines into the junk heap, yet somehow 
we cannot get away from an uneasy feeling that the product 
has in some respects deteriorated. The continual complaint 
that athletics and social functions have usurped the place of 
study in our colleges is only one expression of a pretty wide 
dissatisfaction. President Lowell made this the key-note of his 
inaugural address, and declared that the one thing necessary 
was to reawaken the imagination of the students and to arouse 
their ambition by some sharpening of competition for honors 
in scholarship. Many causes have contributed to this con- 
dition of benumbed intellects; perhaps the most obvious is 
the simple fact that students no longer have any real community 
of intellectual interests, owing to the variety of courses fol- 
lowed. What common ground of conversation can there be, or 
what basis of stirring emulation, between the student, for 
example, who is spending his afternoons in a laboratory in- 
vestigating the pressures of steam, and one who is giving 
laborious days to a comprehension of the human problems that 
underlie the Greek tragedy, or between the student who is ab- 
sorbed in the delightful research into Gothic roots and one 
who is concerned with the literature of an age that used the 
word Gothic as a synonym for barbarous? 

Here is a difficulty which, for the large university at least, 
may seem at present insurmountable. The university, in the 
very nature of the case, may feel bound to foster all the diverse 
activities of the world for which it is at once a place of training 
and of progressive experiment. And in truth the lack of 
community among the students of our universities is only a 
reflection of what has come to be the state of society at large. 

32 



Compare any circle of men who meet together to-day for the 
discussion of intellectual matters with a similar reunion of 
one or two centuries ago. It used to be a common rule of 
such gatherings that any subject might be the center of con- 
versation except politics. On the contrary, any such circle 
to-day, which does not exclude men of affairs, is almost sure 
to drift away from every theme except politics and reform— 
only there can all minds touch. There is no greater error than 
to suppose that bodies of men are attracted together by diver- 
sity of interests. 

The way of escape from this deadening dispersion is thus 
almost blocked, as matters now stand, for the large university. 
But with the small college, technically so called, the case is 
different. The very limitations of its means and Faculty pre- 
vent it from competing with the large university as a general 
workshop, so to speak, of all the intellectual activities of the 
age. If it develops its laboratories, the humanities are bound 
to suffer; and if its money and choice of men are for the 
humanities, the laboratories are sure to go unfed. And even 
within a particular study it cannot look for completeness from 
a number of balancing specialties, but must cultivate the sub- 
ject itself in a general way. 

This limitation has been recognized by some of the more 
firmly established Eastern institutions. A few years ago there 
was a good deal of talk, for example, about definitely limiting 
the number of students at Williams, but we note that this 
year's freshman class is considerably above 200. An "Address 
to the Trustees of Amherst College by the Class of 1885," 
recently published, goes into the question more thoroughly 
and with more decisive purpose. The Committee makes five 
proposals : 

(i) That the instruction given at Amherst College 
be a modified classical course as the meaning of that term 
has been described; 

(2) That the degree of Bachelor of Science be abol- 
ished ; 

(3) That the College adopt the deliberate policy to 
devote all its means to the indefinite increase of teachers' 
salaries ; 

33 



(4) That the number of students attending the college 
be limited; 

(5) That entrance be permitted only by competitive 
examination. 

The real difficulty is likely to lie in the matter of the first 
two articles, which define the quality of the excellence to be 
aimed at. To abolish the degree of Bachelor of Science, and 
make the classics the heart of the curriculum— one can hear the 
protests that are likely to be hurled at the authorities. Yet it 
is not easy to see how the small college, leaving out of account 
the technical institutions which give science degrees and have 
their own exclusions, is to derive any advantage from the limi- 
tations save in just this direction. In salary it can scarcely 
hope to go beyond the richer universities, if it can equal them. 
It can, however, attain that unity of scholarly interests— with, 
of course, proper variety— the absence of which is having so 
benumbing an effect on the larger and more heterogeneous 
institutions. At a dinner where were present several members 
of the Faculty of a certain small college which apes notoriously 
the university system, the talk turned into kindly remembrance 
of the absent brothers; and said the learned investigator in 
biology to his neighbor of the physical laboratory: "Do you 
know that Smith came to me to-day and wanted to know about 
something in biology; what has a philosopher to do with 
biology?" It is just that spirit of dispersion that might be 
eliminated by giving to education, where it can be given, a 
sure order and hierarchy. And, whatever may be said here 
and there against the "dead languages," however they have 
been abandoned for easier and seemingly more direct paths 
to success, there are no studies other than Latin and Greek 
that can be practically proposed as the center of such a system. 
Indeed, the Committee whose report we are considering makes 
a strong appeal for their unique value in individual culture and 
in the national life. And there are other indications that such 
views in regard to the classics are becoming commoner to-day 
among men of wide knowledge of life and among our profes- 
sional educators. It is not unusual to hear from practical men 
such opinions as Mr. Bryce put so well in his letter to the Sym- 
posium on the Classics held at Ann Arbor in 1909 : 

34 



"It is a mistake to live so entirely in the present as we 
are apt to do in these days, for the power of broad thinking 
suffers. 

*'A mastery of the literature and history of the ancient 
world makes every one fitter to excel than he would have 
been without it, for it widens the horizon, it sets standards 
unlike our own, it sharpens the edge of critical discrimina- 
tion, it suggests new lines of constructive thought." 

In the same spirit Mr. James Loeb, formerly of Kuhn, 
Loeb & Co., could say: "That a classical course is a valuable 
training for business life has always semed to me a self-evident 
proposition." 

Latin and Greek are still the humanities, and the first small 
college that shall be brave enough to bring back to its halls 
the true humanistic spirit, may be an influence in education 
the ends of which no one can foresee. 



35 



AN INTENSIVE COLLEGE 

The New York Times, editorial article, May 7, 191 1, reprinted in 
Springfield Republican, May 10, 19 11 

A new form of college is described in a recent number of 
the Independent by Prof. Harry A. Gushing, formerly of the 
Columbia Law School. It is based on an address issued by 
the Class of 1885 in Amherst College through a committee 
consisting of E. P. Prentice, Esq., of this city ; President Lan- 
caster of Olivet College; and Dr. Thayer, Head Master of St. 
Mark's School, all names entitled to respect. 

We shall not now discuss the general nature of the college 
course recommended, save to remark that it seeks thorough 
culture rather than preparation for any special vocation. What 
interests us particularly is the means proposed to make the 
College potent in a high kind of utility for those who are ad- 
mitted to it. For this purpose it is proposed that the number 
of students be strictly limited; that only the most promising 
among applicants be selected; that the high standard set at 
entrance be rigidly maintained, and that the resources of the 
College be devoted, not to buildings and grounds and "ex- 
pansion" generally, but to securing enough pay to professors 
to get the very best in their several lines. In other words, the 
College is to be organized to give the best culture by the best 
teachers to young men best adapted to take it and most eager 
and efficient in pursuit of it. 

This, we believe, is in the right line. It is by no means the 
model for all colleges, and it is not intended to fill the place 
of the universities which deserve the name. Much less is it 
intended to replace professional or technical schools, or the 
increasing number of institutions that aim to fit young men 
for callings other than professional. But it would benefit a 
certain class, numerous when we take our whole population 
into account, who seek through hard work to attain a really 
thorough training in the art of thinking and of study, which 

36 



is, essentially, education. For this class at present the pro- 
vision in the United States is pitifully inadequate. It is in a 
way less than it was fifty years ago, when college students 
generally were confined to those who were seeking to 
enter one of the three professions then recognized. 
For these general culture in a limited course was consid- 
ered sufficient, and usually proved so. But the saving 
condition in the relatively modest institutions before the Civil 
War was that nearly all the students "went through college" 
at substantial cost and sacrifice to themselves and their families, 
and were disposed to work hard to make the most of what was 
a real privilege. 

The Amherst Committee seek to secure this same spirit and 
to make the most of it. They would sift out the lazy, dull, the 
incapable, and give to those really able and determined to 
take it careful and thorough training in such general culture 
as can be had in four years. They would establish a working 
college for working students, and for such an institution there 
is a definite and strong demand. 



37 



THE REGENERATION OF THE SMALL COLLEGE 

New York Independent, April 13, 191 1 

The old, unsettled problem of the status and service of the 
small college has never received such keen discussion as has 
followed the recent address of the Class of '85 to the Trustees 
of Amherst College. The solution of that problem thus far 
either has been made unnecessary or has been avoided. In 
some instances the small college has ceased to be small; 
in other instances it has ceased to be a college; in still 
other instances it has temporized in the hope of out- 
growing one characteristic or the other under the stimulus 
of purely business management or of academic competition. 
This indecision has been met squarely by the proposals of this 
address; and if these can be adapted to past traditions and 
existing conditions, either at Amherst or elsewhere, there 
may be one small college unique in its definite and ambitious 
purpose, which will stand for a higher ideal in collegiate schol- 
arship, which will not represent the prevailing spirit of inert 
opportunism and philosophic compromise, and in which the 
Faculty will do more than "organize the interruptions" of 
college life. 

The address, in which the Class has "stepped boldly into a 
relation to their College which opens up an entirely new field 
for alumni activity," has already aroused abundant comment 
and has been regarded as a summons to some small college to 
realize and seize upon what many believe to be a real oppor- 
tunity for public service. Unconsciously it applies the test 
of the unsatisfied world to the satisfied college. 

The underlying idea is that the small college should provide 
a broad cultural training adapted to meet the present call for 
carefully trained graduates, should lead in a rational reaction 
against the prevailing trend to vocationalism and "business" 
education, and should illustrate the utility of a reversion to 
the old humanities, using them, with their modern develop- 

38 



ments, as the basis for four years of discipline. The college 
course would become a real business for all and not a diversion 
for many. Having once adopted an ideal and a standard of 
training, those would be maintained, and to their maintenance 
all else would be subordinated. As no responsible newspaper, 
even though a purely commercial enterprise, should allow 
its editorial page to be influenced by its business department, 
so no college should permit its standards to be lowered or its 
methods to be relaxed in order to preserve the numerical 
strength of its student body. 

To these ends, as attainable in this instance, only five specific 
suggestions are made: the strengthening of a modified classi- 
cal course; the abolition of the B. S. degree; the indefinite 
increase of the salaries of professors; the limitation of the 
number of students; and the admission of students only 
through a competitive examination or some other really selec- 
tive process. 

The proposal of anything bordering on classicism is certain 
in these days to meet much hostile criticism ; and the use of the 
term "classical" will in some quarters be reason for prejudice 
against any plan. No word seems more available as a descrip- 
tion of the course in the small New England college of fifty 
years ago. It was classical, in that Greek and Latin were 
predominant; but it was much more. Then the small college 
was stimulated by a spirit of puritanic idealism and devotion ; 
singleness of purpose was strengthened by the possession of 
an unusual opportunity; vigor and thoroughness in all work 
were maintained by the realization that college then meant 
privilege; and through all ran the conviction that the college 
man owed some especial duty to the public. That was the 
controlling spirit of the classical college; and a return to that 
is to be desired quite as much as a return to Latin and Greek. 
Indeed, the proposal of a modified classical course takes its 
start from the proposition that a college should train for public 
usefulness men who will have breadth and thoroughness, the 
power of application as well as of appreciation, and the per- 
sistence which usually is developed only in the work of the 
world. If the spirit of the small college could be the spirit 
of the old classical days modified by the better portion only of 
the modern college spirit, there would be little demand for 

39 



any change of curriculum. For such a revival of the old spirit 
and old ideals no more favorable place and no more congenial 
atmosphere can be found than in the small college of New- 
England. 

So far as the curriculum is concerned, these most recent 
proposals are not radical. While the cultural and even in- 
spirational value of the classics is insisted upon, recognition 
is also given to the importance of the modern languages. The 
sciences, too, are specifically valued as important factors in a 
well-rounded course. In fact, so far as subject matter goes, 
the modified classical course is substantially the present course 
in many colleges, but for the fact that in recent years some 
colleges have appeared to treat the classics as dying languages, 
of none but sentimental value. Against that tendency to decry 
the utility of the classics now appears this vigorous revolt. 
If there is to be anything of idealism in college life, it can only 
be by properly subordinating those tendencies which aim at 
developing chiefly an earning power. The attempt is to bring 
about a reversion to old ideals, and some college, equipped 
with a Faculty suitable for such work, may take the leadership 
in reforming American college life and in freeing college 
education from the criticism of the business man who sees 
in it neither sound business training nor broad scholarship 
and only disqualification for success in business. 

The second proposal, the abolition of the B. S. degree by a 
college of the modified classical type, calls for no comment or 
argument. If the small college does not, as few do, train for 
a scientific calling, the courses underlying the degree can be 
little more than cultural courses, and the degree will be a mis- 
nomer. If such a degree really differs from the B. A. degree 
only by ignorance of Greek (and sometimes Latin also) and, 
possibly, by slightly greater knowledge of the sciences, then it 
really means nothing distinctive. This would still more clearly 
appear to be the case wherever a candidate for the B. A. degree 
is permitted to take even more courses in science than are re- 
quired of the candidate for the B. S. degree. The proposition 
is unanswerable that a degree should not in itself be a deceptive 
figure of speech. 

The third proposal, that the college should declare for a 
policy of indefinite increase in the salaries of professors, will 

40 



commend itself to many. This has been a prevailing and futile 
dogma since colleges began. The first professors looked upon 
their calling as akin to that of missionaries, and this error 
has burdened all their successors. The early types were not 
urged to go into teaching; they felt called to the work; and, 
exercising a choice of a well-filled calling, they did not com- 
plain of its scant recompense for devoted service. No amount 
of comment has been able to alter this situation. The press 
to-day, and for years, has been full of generalities on the 
subject; but seldom are figures offered. When it appears that 
in a well-endowed college the average man of the entire faculty 
pays out yearly for the necessaries of living a few hundred 
dollars more than his salary, certainly in that college the pro- 
fessors have to "magnify their calling" at their own expense 
and sacrifice. To demonstrate this injustice a combined bal- 
ance-sheet of the Faculty is conclusive. To provide an adequate 
remedy, and to establish quality as the final test of usefulness, 
a college must be content to have the bulk of its funds so 
obscurely invested as to show a return only in the classroom. 
This requires the rare power to resist the temptation to build 
and expand. The Committee who prepared the address in 
question would seem to go further, and have their College 
decline all gifts of buildings which might be unaccompanied 
by provision to meet the increased maintenance charges or 
which might provide facilities for more than a fixed maximum 
of students. To adopt this policy involves an excess of modesty 
in finance to which few college presidents will be able to yield. 
They might cease to be financial solicitors and be able to take 
this ground if once their productive endowments were ade- 
quate, their working equipment sufficient, and the size of their 
college so limited as to quiet the ambition for mere numbers. 
Such a degree of content with outward conditions will never 
exist as long as there is the stimulus to outgrow a proper and 
normal plant. To secure such content there must be adopted, 
as is now proposed, a policy of intensive college development. 
The two remaining propositions, the limitation in number 
of the student body and admission by a competitive process, 
are interdependent. Granted that the maximum of an entering 
class is arbitrarily fixed, those applying (unless mere priority 
of date of application is to control) must necessarily be sifted, 

4r 



and if the limitation amounts to anything, the best among the 
applicants, up to the number needed, will be chosen. Whether 
this result is secured by competitive examination, or by the 
choice of those whose certificates show the most creditable 
preparation, or of those whose preparatory record otherwise 
shows the greatest capabilities, the fact is that by some selec- 
tive process the best only among the applicants will be received. 
Admission will then mean something real, and the limitation 
will be fully justified if the work in the college itself can be 
made of such a superior type that membership in such a college 
will mean excellence, and its degree will be truly distinctive. 
If any board of trustees will exercise the discrimination and 
courage properly to apply such tests to the work in their charge, 
and to establish such standards and keep to them, they will 
win the approval of many doubting parents and will develop 
an American college unlike any we have had in the thorough- 
ness of its work, the influence of its Faculty, and the character 
of its graduates. The problem seems not to be whether any 
college will be able and willing patiently to attempt this, but 
what college it will be. 

Harry A. Gushing. 
New York City. 



42 



A NEW ALUMNI MOVEMENT 

Vale Alumni Weekly, January 13, 1911 

The influence of the alumni of the Eastern universities on 
the work of their institutions has, within the last ten years or 
more, become a fact of striking interest and significance. We 
need not here rehearse the application of this generalization to 
Yale. Through the Alumni Advisory Board, the Alumni 
Fund, the Class Secretaries' Bureau, the various Alumni Asso- 
ciations, the Associated Western Yale Clubs, and the Alumni 
Weekly, Yale graduates have of late been coming to take a 
more and more interested and effective part — as far as their 
sphere of action permits them— in Yale affairs. Amherst 
graduates of the Class of 1885 have recently stepped boldly 
into a relation to their College which opens up an entirely new 
field for alumni activity. A memorial from that Class to the 
Amherst Trustees last November is a new thing in Eastern 
university life. It will be highly interesting to note the out- 
come. The plan proposed is a notable one. It calls for a con- 
fining of the Amherst curriculum to a broad classical education ; 
for the elimination of professional scientific branches; for a 
higher standard of undergraduate scholarship ; for competitive 
examinations for entrance; for a restriction of the number of 
students to a personal working proportion to the teachers ; and 
for a very considerable increase in the salaries of the Faculty. 
With the exception of the last-named clause, this proposal of 
the Amherst '85 graduates reads like a reconstruction of the 
old-fashioned Eastern college education. It has in it a great 
deal of matter for solid consideration. It is a far cry from the 
efforts seen now and then on the part of some Eastern institu- 
tions to strike out into the field of competition for numbers. 
It is far removed from the readjustments of entrance require- 
ments which now and then are adopted to attract the students 
who now go to other places. It is a distinct movement away 
from the kind of rivalry for popularity that one sees now and 

43 



then in some losing institution, and which, unfortunately, 
makes of intercollegiate athletics an advertising medium. Just 
how much will come of the Amherst memorial remains to be 
seen, but it may be said at this stage that in no recent mani- 
festation of alumni interest in a college's development has there 
been so vital a proposition made, nor so fundamental a policy 
offered. A brief review of some of the points brought out by 
the Amherst '85 graduates is given elsewhere in this issue. 



44 



THE AMHERST PROPOSALS 

Brown Aluntni Monthly, January, 191 1 

Amherst's twenty-five-year Class has stirred the educational 
world by suggesting certain new policies for its College, one 
being that the curriculum be limited to a "modified classical 
course." Another proposal is the following: "That entrance 
be permitted only by competitive examination," the avowed 
purpose being to limit the number of students. Another in- 
teresting suggestion is : "That the College adopt the deliberate 
policy to devote all its means to the indefinite increase of 
teachers' salaries." What action, if any, the authorities of 
Amherst will take on these proposals can only be a matter of 
conjecture, but the suggestions are obviously applicable, if at 
all, to more than one institution. 

The expression, "a modified classical course," is open to 
various interpretations; but if it means an academic rather 
than a technical or trade course, there can hardly be any ob- 
jection to it so far as our older collegiate foundations are 
concerned. It may be of immense importance that our country 
should have skilful bricklayers or watchmakers, and an institu- 
tion might do a noble service by providing for their education, 
but it is still more important to the country to have men who 
are trained in thought and knowledge. It is to this latter 
service that our colleges were devoted by their founders, and 
it would seem to be their business to promote this end, rather 
than any other, however good ; and this end and aim we under- 
stand to be the one championed by the Amherst Class of 1885. 

Competitive entrance examinations are efficient means of 
reducing the number of students in a college if that result is 
thought desirable, and cases may arise in which restriction 
becomes the most natural course to pursue. It is clear that any 
educational plant can suffice for only a certain number of 
students. If the attendance has reached this limit, there is 
nothing to do but to enlarge the college in all directions or to 

45 



keep the numbers down. Eleven years ago Brown had greatly 
exceeded its accommodations — how much can best be judged 
by the enormous extension of its facilities that have been made 
since. It is now in substantial equilibrium as regards numbers 
and accommodations, and its numbers have remained the same 
during that period. But suppose we had an immediate pros- 
pect of another trebling or doubling, would our corporation 
favor undertaking the enormous outlay involved, or would it 
set the limit at one thousand and seek some device to keep our 
numbers within it? The method suggested for Amherst is the 
readiest one, but a juster and wiser one, in our opinion, is that 
employed at Park College, of insisting constantly upon a high 
standard of work, not only from term to term, but from week 
to week. The standard can evidently be so set as to afford any 
desired degree of exclusion. It is of course possible that the 
same practice may be suggested in the interest of scholarship 
as well as in that of physical accommodations. 

As to the matter of professors' salaries, while the word 
"indefinite" certainly sets no limit, however high, we need not 
consider so much the wording as the principle, which seems to 
be altogether businesslike, that if you expect to have good 
work, you must be willing to pay for it. Though altruism 
enters far too much into the teachers' side of the bargain, the 
ultimate result is that inadequate salaries mean inadequate 
teaching. This is the most wide-reaching of all the Amherst 
suggestions, and its principle is one that all governing boards 
everywhere are too apt to neglect. 

An Amherst Class has given serious counsel to its Alma 
Mater. Are there not Brown Classes that can give the univer- 
sity the result of their high thinking? 



46 



FAVOR SMALL COLLEGES 

The Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, editorial article, December 3, 1910 

Most colleges and universities smile a smile of satisfaction as 
the number of students at their respective institutions increases. 
They are proud of the large list of undergraduates, and to 
many the success of an institution is based on the length of 
the roll-call. During the last decade the number has greatly 
increased in all the more prominent institutions of learning, 
and the increase has probably been much greater in proportion 
than the growth of population. 

But here and there is a sign of a reaction against the tendency 
towards extremely large colleges. The Class of 1885 of Am- 
herst, one of the best of the smaller New England colleges, has 
presented a memorial to the Board of Trustees in favor of 
restricting the instruction given at the College to a modified 
classical course, limiting the number of students, and admitting 
these -by competitive examination. This is a novel suggestion, 
and yet it is likely to attract serious attention on the part of 
those who favor the smaller colleges and who still stick to the 
classical course. If Amherst should adopt the suggestion of 
the Class of 1885, it would hold a unique place among the 
colleges, but no doubt there would always be a waiting list of 
those who desired to attend. 



47 



THE SUGGESTIONS OF '85 

The Hartford Courant, editorial article, February 20, 1911 

The Trustees of Amherst College are considering — very 
thoughtfully, we may be sure— a communication from a Com- 
mittee of the Amherst Class of 1885. The members of the 
Committee are Mr. E. Parmalee Prentice of the New York 
bar, President Ellsworth G. Lancaster of Olivet College, and 
Head-master William G. Thayer of St. Mark's School, South- 
boro, Mass. They are filial sons of their Alma Mater, troubled 
in mind about her, solicitous for her future. Their com- 
munication is of an extraordinary character, interest, and im- 
portance. They represent to the Trustees that Amherst— for 
all the increase in the number of her college buildings and the 
size of her college classes — does not have the standing and 
distinction among American institutions of learning she had 
fifty years ago, or twenty-five years ago. They say that it is 
idle for her to attempt to compete with the endowed universi- 
ties of the East or the State-supported universities of the West 
in the work they are doing. She has not their funds or their 
facilities for it. They can train and equip engineers, chemists, 
electricians, etc., or business men and money-makers, as Am- 
herst cannot do. Either she must accept a position of acknow- 
ledged and permanent inferiority, or she must make for herself 
a place and mission and distinction of her own. 

It is such a new departure — which, after all, is only a return 
—that these members and spokesmen of the Class of 1885 urge 
upon the Trustees. They would have Amherst College defi- 
nitely renounce all thought of rivalry with the universities. 
They would have her be content with her present size and 
housing, limit the number of her students, and receive only 
such as are able to pass with credit a searching competitive 
examination at the threshold. They would have her abolish 
the degree of Bachelor of Science, requiring all her under- 
graduates to qualify themselves for that of Bachelor of Arts. 

48 



They would have her become once more a college of the 
humanities, giving her sons a sound classical education (with 
as much of science in it as a college graduate of the twentieth 
century ought to know), and sending them out into the world 
to be scholars and teachers, men of letters, professional men, or 
statesmen, according to their bent. And as one of the first steps 
in this return the Class of 1885 would have Amherst College 
cease to plan new buildings and for the present use every 
dollar that comes her way in increasing the salaries of her 
professors. 

Theodore Roosevelt, we notice, shakes his head a bit dubi- 
ously in the Outlook over the competitive entrance examination, 
and suggests (wisely) that the classical education should "in- 
clude a wide sweep of general history and literature." For the 
rest, he heartily approves. "The propositions, taken together, 
represent," he says, "a proposal which— though radical and 
startling in its novelty and in its utter divergence from the ordi- 
nary type of educational proposal — nevertheless, if put into 
effect, will mean far-reaching benefit to our national life. If 
Amherst College is willing and able substantially to adopt the 
suggestion of the Committee, a great good will have been 
accomplished." 

In this opinion we heartily concur. If the Trustees accept 
the suggestions of '85 and act upon them, it won't be long 
before Amherst's A. B. will take on a meaning and value not 
always attaching to that degree at the American universities 
which Eliotized themselves in haste and are now — some of 
them, at least — repenting at leisure. There are things much 
better worth while and more to be desired than mere bigness. 
Amherst could not set a finer example to her sister colleges in 
New England and the younger colleges in the younger States 
than by re-entering— contentedly, proudly, and once for all 
— into her heritage as a college of liberal arts. 



49 



THE AMHERST PLAN 

Indianapolis News, January 21, 1911 

Progress 

Something was said in this column last week of the plan pro- 
posed by the Amherst Class of 1885 looking to a reconstruction 
of the college course. The proposition is to give a broadly 
classical education, to eliminate the professional scientific 
branches, to raise the standard of undergraduate scholarship, 
to hold competitive examinations for extrance, to restrict the 
number of students, and to increase the salaries of the teachers. 
In its discussion of the subject the Yale Alumni Weekly says: 

This proposal reads like a reconstruction of the old- 
fashioned Eastern college education. It has in it a great 
deal of matter for solid consideration. It is a far cry 
from the efforts seen now and then on the part of some 
Eastern institutions to strike out into the field of com- 
petition for numbers. It is far removed from the read- 
justments of entrance requirements which now and then 
are adopted to attract the students who now go to other 
places. It is a distinct movement away from the kind of 
rivalry for popularity that one sees now and then in some 
losing institution, and which, unfortunately, makes of in- 
tercollegiate athletics an advertising medium. Just how 
much will come of the Amherst memorial remains to be 
seen, but it may be said at this stage that in no recent 
manifestation of alumni interest in a college's development 
has there been so vital a proposition made, or so funda- 
mental a policy offered. 

If the policy is "vital" and "fundamental," it does indeed 
deserve "solid consideration." There are two or three very 
simple truths which ought to be kept in mind by any one who 

so 



discusses this question. The first is that not all that seems 
to be progress is progress. Men and society may move, but it 
may be in the wrong direction. Or they may be carried by the 
pressure of forces which it seems at the time impossible to 
resist. So when we are told that our movement from the older 
to the newer ideals in education marks a real progress, we have 
a right to demand of those who make the assertion that they 
prove it. In truth, the burden is on them. All change is by no 
means improvement, as we have often seen in religion and 
politics. The Amherst men— and many agree with them — 
are profoundly convinced that the changes in education have 
been very decidedly for the worse. The general dissatisfaction 
with present conditions still further supports this view. Not 
for years has there been so much unfavorable comment on 
education as there is at the present time. The fact that things 
are different from what they once were by no means proves 
that they are better. 

Lost Ideals 

As change from the old does not necessarily indicate progress, 
so recurrence to the old does not indicate a failure to progress. 
Whether reversion to type is or is not a bad thing depends 
wholly on what the type is. The drunkard makes progress 
when he returns to the old and clean Hfe which he had left 
behind him. The prodigal in the gospel first "came to himself," 
and then went back, or returned, or reverted to his father and 
the old home. Repentance always involves something of this 
return. Most of us would give much if we could once again 
know the innocence and artlessness of our earlier years. So 
in fancy we journey back, and at every step of the journey we 
feel that we are making in truth a royal progress, though we 
may be sadly conscious all the while that we shall never again 
wear the old garland. But we have no doubt that the backward 
path is the path of progress, and the thing that makes us sad is 
the realization that we are unable or unwilling to tread it. 
So it is quite clear that reversion to the old is very often the 
truest and noblest sort of progress. This is, of course, recog- 
nized by the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote of those who had 
caused the people "to stumble in their ways from the ancient 



paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up." To the same 
great man and great teacher we owe the following admonition : 

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, 
where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find 
rest for your souls. 

The old paths were blazed out by men who had had much ex- 
perience with life, and some knowledge of human nature. They 
were not mistaken about everything, are not false guides. A 
thing is not good because it is old, but then neither is a thing 
good because it is new. There is, however, a certain presump- 
tion to be indulged in favor of the old— of what has been tried 
and tested. That is a truth of which we, in our passion for 
change and innovation, make far too little. Our educational 
reformers have given it almost no weight, their theory being 
that whatever is, is wrong. Progress, therefore, does not 
necessarily mean going ahead; it may, and often does, mean 
going back— back to old and forgotten truths and principles. 

The Past 

The third general principle which it is desired to lay down is 
that history can have no value to any man who is unwilling to 
profit by its teaching, or unable to catch inspiration from the 
great lives that were lived long ago. If we accept the theory 
that truth is new-born in every generation; that knowledge, 
which can come only from patient study or painful experience, 
is a matter of special revelation to a chosen few who call them- 
selves reformers, then, indeed, the study of history is the most 
futile of all things. But to such may be commended the words 
in an address recently delivered : 

On and always on, to be sure, the Gleam that Merlin 
glimpsed must guide the footsteps of the race; but it is 
well at times to look backward to the brave days of old; 
to think of the men of the past whose services made this 
present possible; to listen to the elder voices— how they 
spoke to their time ; to refresh our spirits at the perennial 
fountains of their wisdom of thought, and of their pa- 
triotic fervor of action. 

52 



But why all this unless we expect to be refreshed, stimulated, 
inspired and instructed? It was St. Paul who said to the 
Romans: "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were 
written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort 
of the scriptures might have hope." And again he said to the 
Corinthians: "Now all these things happened unto them for 
ensamples: and they are written for our admonition; upon 
whom the ends of the world are come." In this latter case, 
to be sure, the experience of the past was to be avoided. But 
the point is that whether for instruction as to what we should 
do or for warning against what we should not do, the teaching 
of the past is of the highest possible value. Cultured men 
ought to stand steadfastly against all attempts to create a 
schism in life, against the efforts to discredit the experiences 
of the ages. The surest sign that a man is cultured is his 
ability to "see life steadily and see it whole," and his deep 
and loyal reverence for a great and sacred past. There are 
some things to which mere age gives dignity and charm- 
wealth and learning, for instance. There was life on this planet 
before we were born, and it affects and influences present life 
more profoundly than we, in our satisfaction with our own 
achievements, always realize. Much of our research is de- 
voted to the rediscovering of lost and forgotten truth. Truth 
is not always an affair of the future. 



THE OLD EDUCATION 

Old Voices 

So the men of Amherst ask us, at least by implication, to re- 
consider our hastily delivered judgment on the old scheme of 
education. Did we condemn it too hastily, and without suffi- 
cient warrant? Is or is it not true that the present plan was 
at first considered to be merely an experiment? If so, has the 
experiment proved successful? Probably not one of these 
questions can be answered without some qualification, unless 
it be the first. It does seem as though we had been too sure of 
ourselves when we overthrew the old curriculum. But it must 
be recognized that it was the product of two forces, one of 
which has, to a certain extent, ceased to operate. Largely the 

53 



product of a time when the common people were not expected 
to be educated, it was based on the theory that learning was for 
the few. Greek and Latin were necessary to men who were to 
have anything to do with affairs. So the old system grew up, 
and it met the needs of the time. As it then existed it does not 
fit the needs of our time, and the very men who four or five 
hundred years ago followed the scheme then in vogue, would, 
were they alive to-day, be the first to admit the need for re- 
adaptation. For they were progressive men, many of them the 
heretics of their day. But this is far from being the whole 
story. For the classical course was not simply a development 
— it was also a manufactured thing. Great men saw that it 
was good, and that under it an admirable training could be had. 
This was true even in this country so late as thirty years ago. 
The writer of the article in the Yale paper must have had in 
his mind such men as Porter, Woolsey, Thacher, Packard, 
Dwight, and the rest, to say nothing of the great roll of alumni 
nurtured on the old wisdom. These men were not mere stupid 
reactionaries and Bourbons. On the contrary, they profoundly 
believed in the virtue of classical and literary study. Such 
authorities are not to be despised. They all had power and 
personality, and they themselves, and scores and hundreds of 
others who might be named, were the products of the old 
training. The idea that they should now be overruled by a few 
technical men seeking to magnify themselves is utterly prepos- 
terous. To them the "old paths" seemed to lead to the highest 
and most fruitful truth. 

Life's Work 

But there is other testimony, and of the highest value. It is to 
be found in the lives of those great men of affairs trained in 
the English universities. The Balliol type is perfectly well 
known. Some of the greatest men who have served England 
were trained at that famous college, and they have been men 
who "did things" — prime ministers, lawyers, judges, adminis- 
trators, viceroys, and governors. The present prime minister, 
Mr. Asquith, is himself a Balliol man. Mr. Balfour, the leader 
of the Opposition, was educated at Eton, and Trinity College, 
Cambridge. Lord Rosebery is an Oxford man. Gladstone, 
Salisbury, Macaulay, and a host of others were all fed on the 

54 



old studies. In our own country such men as President Taft, 
President Hadley of Yale, former President Wilson of Prince- 
ton—now, happily, Governor of New Jersey — Governor Bald- 
win of Connecticut, Chief Justice White, and many others 
prominent in public affairs, were all educated classically. Judg- 
ing the training both by those who have advocated it and those 
who have been bred from it, surely we must say that it has 
much in its favor. The question is, are we developing such 
men to-day? Undoubtedly, but we are not developing them 
by the new methods — and that is the point. Our product is 
becoming more and more specialized. We are training men 
away from public service rather than toward it. The man 
who takes a four-year course in science, giving only such at- 
tention as he is grudgingly permitted to give to the older 
studies, comes out of college unfit for anything except the 
particular task which he has been taught to perform. As Presi- 
dent Jordan has shown, we are no longer getting scientists, 
even, with a true love for science as science. So it does seem 
as though there was something wrong. If that is so, we may 
well study the past, consider how it was that the classical course 
got itself established, and dwell somewhat on the fact that 
great men have championed it and been produced by it — men 
with a sort of general fitness, with an ability to turn their 
powers in several directions, men with an adaptation, not per- 
haps to any special task, but to life itself. As the author of the 
address already quoted from well says : "The business of life 
is not business, but life." That is a truth which the reformers 
persistently ignore. 

The True Ideal 

There does not thus seem to be any reason why the friends and 
lovers of liberal studies should assume an apologetic attitude, 
or allow themselves to be put on the defensive. It is not 
necessary for them to prove the soundness of their theories, 
for they have proved themselves, supported as they are by a 
great body of the highest sort of testimony, and by the ex- 
perience of the race. It is the innovators who are on the de- 
fensive — it is they who must prove that their experiment has 
succeeded. Right reason, too, is on the side of those who, like 
the Amherst men, would make at least some approach to the 

55 



old curriculum. The mistake of those who would continue 
things as they are is that they look at the matter solely from 
the point of view of the supposed good of the college, their 
idea being to make the college popular and to attract large 
numbers of students. But the college does not exist for itself, 
but for those to whom it ministers. The question thus is, not 
what is good for the institution, but what is good for 
the young people who attend it. Obviously, what they 
need most of all is a general training in the fundamentals, 
discipline, and as much culture as they can get. They 
must be brought into contact with the great minds of the race, 
with the treasures of art and literature. Not mere knowledge, 
but command of one's powers, is the thing to be sought. In 
this case, as in so many other cases, service of others is service 
of self. And so what is best for the pupil is, after all, best 
for the college. "The true university of these days," says 
Carlyle, "is a collection of books." The man who is not 
brought into intimate contact with books in his youth, who 
has not learned to love them and how to use them, suffers a 
loss which it is almost impossible to make good. So great is 
the sin of those who would divert the college boy from the 
library to the laboratory. That college which is true to its 
mission and function, which gives the best and most inspiring 
instruction in the essentials, and which sets and maintains a 
high standard, will never lack for patrons. The appeal of such 
an institution will, we may be sure, win an enthusiastic re- 
sponse. It will not only deserve success, but it will achieve it. 



56 



AN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY 

Springfield Republican, editorial article, February 21, 191 1 

"Few persons familiar with the conditions here and abroad," 
writes President Lowell of Harvard in his annual report, "will 
deny that respect for scholarship in American colleges is lamen- 
tably small." The causes for this development— and it is pre- 
eminently a development of the past thirty or forty years— are 
not regarded by educators as at all obscure. When "going to 
college" became fashionable in the numerous class possessed of 
wealth, for the most part newly acquired, and hungry for social 
prestige, the general tone of college life and the character of 
college ideals began to undergo a transformation. Why should 
young men who plan to succeed their fathers in the several 
commercial callings in which the family "pile" has been made 
seek to distinguish themselves as scholars? It is impossible 
to have a college crowded with students whose primary pur- 
pose is to gain social position and a set of swell acquaintances 
for use in later life, without, at the same time, having its at- 
mosphere profoundly affected by the alien ideals they breathe 
into it. Respect for scholarship declines, of course. And the 
mania for "student activities" of the widest possible range 
outside of the class-room and the study becomes inevitably 
what we see to-day — a consuming passion, apparently, of 
college life, against which college presidents and faculties strug- 
gle until they are so dead tired that they cannot tell whether 
they are in the main tent or the side-show. 

The newspaper published at the University of Chicago, the 
Daily Maroon, attracts attention just now by declaring its 
opposition to intercollegiate athletics as at present conducted. 
It is against athletics, it says, for the same reasons that it 
opposes the entire system of student activities which "has made 
the academic side of college education a mere incident." Ath- 
letics presents the extreme illustration of the tendency, so 
much deplored, toward that fatal loss of esteem for scholarship 

57 



among the student body. The richer, more largely attended, 
and more celebrated institutions have set such a pace in the 
"major sports" that the expense has become almost killing to 
those smaller and weaker colleges which endeavor to copy the 
methods of the leaders. A recent article in a college publica- 
tion—it was, of course, a dollar-mark appeal to the loyal alumni 
— was really pathetic in its description of the harrowing efforts 
of the athletics department to turn out ''winning teams" on 
nothing a year. Consider the question of coaches. Nowadays, 
expensive coaches are indispensable, and they must be paid 
higher salaries than full professors, if "our college is to keep 
in the procession." It had become a serious question, evidently, 
whether that institution should retire utterly from the "major 
sports" because the alumni could not be depended upon to fur- 
nish thousands of dollars a year to pay itinerant young athletes 
exorbitant fees for coaching the team a few months. Of 
course the entire performance is getting to be an imposition 
upon the friends of those colleges which are frantically trying 
to conform to a standard of living that is unmistakably beyond 
their means. 

It is remarkable that some college does not perceive in this 
situation, to which athletics contributes merely its share, an 
opportunity to distinguish itself by being as different as possi- 
ble from the run of colleges. It is by no means improbable 
that the time has come when enthusiastic support would be 
given, by people who have retained somewhat the old-fash- 
ioned conception of the higher education, to an institution that 
would close its doors, if necessary, rather than surrender to 
that prevalent spirit which makes scholarship the "mere inci- 
dent" of a college training. If such an institution would reor- 
ganize "student activities" as determinedly as Stein reorgan- 
ized Prussia, if it would shoot a streak of sanity through the 
athletics mania, if it would enforce respect for scholarship 
or die in the attempt, we should have in America at last a 
college to be proud of. 

Since the special Committee of the Class of '85 made its 
highly interesting report to the Trustees of Amherst College 
regarding the wisdom of having that institution specialize in 
liberal culture and stop trying to compete with the universities 
and technical schools, there has been a gleam of liope in the 

58 



murky atmosphere. Few things more attractive have been 
offered in the way of an educational program in recent years 
to those people who have sons to educate rather than squander 
money on. Amherst, possibly, could combine the best points 
of several programs without adopting all the points of 
any in particular. But by admitting students under com- 
petitive examination, as suggested, and raising materially 
teachers' salaries, and bending every energy to the end 
that the ideal of scholarship should actually dominate the in- 
stitution to its uttermost corner, a new departure in American 
collegiate education might be scored that would astonish the 
land. 



59 



AMHERST'S OPPORTUNITY 

Boston Evening Transcript, December 31, 1910 

AN INNOVATION IN EDUCATION THE PLAN OF '85 

A Striking Memorial from the Members of That Class to the Trustees 
. . . They Would Pay the Professors More Money, Provide Only a 
Classical Curriculum, and Restrict the Students . . . The Aim to Bring 
Teacher and Student Together . . . Their Education Not as Special- 
ists, but as Citizens . . . The Scheme in Detail 

Amherst College faces a proposal of revolutionary change in 
its purpose, its standards and its methods. Much has been 
said during the past ten years of the alleged failure of the 
American college to give to its students that intellectual and 
moral fibre, that essential discipline and hardening of mental 
and moral muscle that is fairly to be required of the educated 
man, and that is a crying need in the conduct of our public life. 
The foremost men of the college and university world have 
frankly admitted that at least all other institutions than their 
own were somehow failing to meet the reasonable expectations 
of society. And not a few of these leaders have set themselves 
manfully to work in an effort to change the intellectual and 
moral current and standards of their own institutions. For 
the large and complex university, moving with the huge mo- 
mentum of numbers and custom, any radical change is a task 
of supreme difficulty. But for the small college already suffi- 
ciently equipped with land, buildings, and nearly so with funds, 
the setting up of a new and more adequate standard of general 
education is mainly a question of seeing the light and then hav- 
ing the moral courage to break out the path forward. 



Just What Amherst Would Do 

This is the unique opportunity of Amherst. The circum- 
stances of the case, and the great benefits to higher education 
in this country that would result from a hearty adoption of 

60 



the proposed plan are so striking that they deserve the close 
attention of all who concern themselves with the future of 
American education and American public life. Briefly, the 
proposed plan is for Amherst to confine itself to the providing 
of a broadly classical education, cutting off altogether its pro- 
fessional scientific courses; that the standard of scholarship 
required of its students shall be high; that the students shall 
be selected by competitive examination for admission ; that the 
number of students shall be so restricted as surely to secure 
close personal relations between students and teachers; and 
finally, that the salaries of the teachers shall be indefinitely 
increased, so that the College may secure and retain the ser- 
vice, influence, and enthusiasm of the best men— so much has 
already been inconspicuously noted in the daily press ; but the 
importance of the new plan is hardly even suggested by this 
bare outline. 

In preface to a more detailed account of the new plan, some- 
thing should be said of the educational conditions and the 
alumni and faculty sentiment out of which the new plan arose. 

It is a commonplace that within the past fifteen years the 
center of gravity of our American university and college system 
has suffered a considerable displacement. The rise of the great 
State universities, with their nominal tuition fees, their strongly 
"practical" instruction, and the comparatively great funds de- 
voted to their support has brought the great, privately en- 
dowed universities of the East into a new rivalry. For a time, 
numbers were taken as a nearly sufficient index of progress, 
but in the East this soon gave way to the providing of pro- 
fessional instruction of increasingly higher grade. Hence came 
the vast diversity of our present university conditions, offering 
every conceivable variety of special training, and seeming 
thereby to give up the power, if not even the disposition, to 
provide for the young man seeking a general education the 
strenuous intellectual discipline, the solid knowledge, and the 
poise and understanding that pertain to broad and high schol- 
arship. 

The Universities Too "Practical" and Utilitarian 

The tendencies in the universities that have given concern 
to the wisest friends of higher education have resulted from 

6i 



a great variety of causes. Chief among these has been the 
utiHtarian, not to say the commercial, eye with which the pubHc 
has been disposed to measure the value of university training. 
Rivalry in numbers, due partly to obscure, and partly to very 
patent, financial motives, has led to the admission into the 
universities of many boys ill-equipped in either scholastic train- 
ing or general purpose and disposition to make good use of the 
opportunities put before them. Athletic reputation has proved 
an exceedingly corrupting influence, causing many boys to 
choose this place or that for reasons entirely foreign to serious 
interest in education ; and distracting them after their entrance 
with diversions and false standards which the best efforts of 
faculties have done not much to overcome. 

With the "small" colleges the same influences have been 
operative. The effects have been rather more detrimental than 
in the universities. In the effort to increase numbers, and thus 
to increase fees, and the gifts that may spring from the enthu- 
siasm of alumni, the small colleges have dangled the lure of 
athletics, and have perforce tempered the wind of scholarship 
requirements to their increasing flock of shorn lambs. Some of 
them have added to their normal academic courses semi-pro- 
fessional lines of training, thus entering into competition with 
the universities and technical schools in the doing of tasks for 
which they are quite inadequately equipped. The general result 
is that the small colleges furnish their students with a training 
that is, on the whole, distinctly mediocre, attempting tasks 
utterly beyond their capacity, and neglecting in large part the 
task that they were best fitted to perform adequately. 

This situation holds true of Amherst. The course of study 
has been improved during the past year by a rather rigid 
restriction of electives, but the College is burdened with a 
scientific course in which it cannot offer a training in any way 
comparable to similar courses in larger or special institutions. 
Athletics and "college life" are more powerful influences than 
scholarship. The salaries of teachers are far too low for pres- 
ent-day requirements, and the Faculty has suffered the loss of 
first-class men, and failure to secure others, for this reason. 
In short, Amherst, like other colleges, is not doing conspicu- 
ously well the work for which its position makes it suited. The 



62 



facts of the situation have been accurately appraised both 
within the Faculty and among the alumni. 



Amherst to Provide a Broader Training 

The address to the Trustees, presented by a Committee of the 
Class of 1885 last November, deals frankly with the needs of 
higher education in America, and with the necessity of Am- 
herst's casting its work in new lines if it is to do effective and 
valuable service under the new conditions of education. The 
Class of '85 contains many men prominent in educational work, 
and its committee of three which signed the address has pro- 
duced a paper of much sagacity and shrewdness. The Com- 
mittee consisted of E. Parmalee Prentice of New York City, 
chairman ; Ellsworth G. Lancaster, and Dr. W. G. Thayer, head 
of St. Mark's School, Southboro. 

First and foremost, the address urges that Amherst adopt 
as its exclusive task the providing of a liberal or classical edu- 
cation aimed not at fitting the student to secure quick pecuniary 
reward, but at preparing him for the broader duties of public 
life. It reviews the changing character of the higher education 
in this country, and draws the conclusion that Amherst has no 
high prospect in further competition with institutions whose 
resources enormously exceed hers. The present scheme of 
education, it asserts, leaves no place for Amherst. "The high 
school fits for the university, and the university for the selected 
calling. Amherst, on the other hand, demands a preparation 
not within the tendencies of the high school, and gives a course 
of training which does not fit for, but on the other hand, post- 
pones, preparation for a calling.'* 

"Amherst has stood," continues the address, "for a liberal or 
classical education— the old-fashioned course— and for many 
years there was in this respect no difference between Amherst 
and other institutions of higher education in this country. The 
value to the public of this training in making statesmen and 
leaders of public thought is even now unquestioned. It is a 
training in civics, in the history of government, in the develop- 
ment and significance of institutions, in the meaning of civili- 

63 



zation— in brief, a training for public leadership, not a per- 
sonal equipment for a trade." The address quotes President 
Woodrow Wilson: 

"The American college," says Dr. Wilson, "has played a 
unique part in American life. ... It formed men who 
brought to their tasks an incomparable morale, a capacity 
that seemed more than individual, a power touched with 
large ideals. The liberal training which it sought to impart 
took no thought of any particular profession or business, 
but was meant to reflect in its few and simple disciplines 
the image of life and thought. Men were bred by it to no 
skill or craft or calling; the discipline to which they were 
subjected had a more general object. It was meant to pre- 
pare them for the whole of life rather than some particular 
part of it. The ideals which lay at its heart were the gen- 
eral ideals of conduct, of right living and right thinking, 
which made them aware of a world moralized by prin- 
ciple, steadied and cleared of many an evil thing by true 
and catholic reflection and just feeling, a world not of 
interests but of ideas. Such impressions, such challenges 
to a man's spirit, such intimations of privilege and duty, 
are not to be found in the work of professional and tech- 
nical schools. They cannot be." 

The proposition for which Amherst stands, argues the ad- 
dress, is that preparation for some particular part of life does 
not make better citizens than, in President Wilson's phrase, 
preparation for the whole of it. This is the training which 
Amherst has given, and if now the College were publicly and 
definitely to stand forward as an exponent of classical learning 
in such modified course as modern scholarship may approve, 
the Committee asserts its belief that, with its history, its de- 
served reputation, and its present position, Amherst can take 
the place of leadership in this work. "This once done, the 
College will no longer appeal for support solely to its friends, 
but would have reason to expect the efficient support of all 
friends of classical education— that is, of the most conservative, 
thoughtful, and scholarly persons." 

, 64 



The Ill-Paid Amherst Faculty 

Turning next to the compensation of the Faculty, the address 
points out clearly the damage to Amherst and to the cause of 
the higher education that comes from the hardships and limita- 
tions due to insufficient salaries; and the necessity of largely 
increased pay. 

Fourteen members of the Faculty receive $3000, four receive 
$2500, one receives $2200 ($600 of this being payment for 
special work this year), eleven receive $2000, four receive 
$1600, two receive $1400, one receives $1300, two receive 
$1200. The dean (one of the fourteen who receive $3000) 
receives also $1000 additional for his services in administra- 
tion. Assistants are not included in the list given above, since 
these men are not permanent members of the Faculty. 

The following eloquent statistics regarding the income, living 
expenses and annual deficit (so far as salary is concerned) of 
the classes of the Faculty whose salaries are noted above were 
compiled from reports made in writing by thirty-nine indi- 
vidual teachers upon uniform blanks. Careful study of the 
remarks accompanying these reports shows that in many cases 
the expenditure is kept down to the point indicated only by 
economy verging upon hardship. Here are the figures, and 
they will well repay a close examination : 

Books, Excess of 

Colo.-. T?».,f Cost of education of t„»„i ,^.,»„„ Average 

Salary Rent ^^.^^ ^^^^^^^^ lotal ^^o^gf^^ last coltLn 

$3000 $596 $2633 $807 $4036 $1036 $620 

2500 533 2000 416 2949 449 

2200 500 1 100 300 1900 -300 

2000 355 1474 476 2305 305 

1600 337 1323 638 2298 698 

1400 333 1335 405 2073 673 

1300 175 500 350 1025 -275 

1200 290 1025 362 1677 477 

In commenting on the facts disclosed by this table, the 
address goes into a somewhat detailed and highly significant 
explanation of the economic and social problem that confronts 
the professor dependent on such salaries as those noted. 

65 



The higher salaries, it notes, are in general paid to men of 
long service, who in the natural course of affairs are compelled 
to meet higher expenditures. Professors are more and more, 
as time passes, called upon to perform representative duties for 
the College ; their children are growing and must be educated, 
clothed, and fed; standards of living are entailed which are 
not necessary in the earlier period of the teacher's career. 
Higher salaries correspond not to a greater temptation to, but 
a greater need for, the increased expenditure which appears in 
the table. With this in mind, it is significant that at no period 
during a teacher's connection with the College is his salary 
sufficient for his support. 

If the $300 surplus noted against the $2200 salary be con- 
sidered in the light of the fact that $600 of this salary is extra 
pay for special work during this year, the surplus should enter 
into the final average as a deficit of $300. With this change, it 
appears that the average outlay of the Amherst teacher exceeds 
his salary by $635. Almost without exception, the members 
of the Amherst Faculty are dependent for a fair degree of 
comfort in living upon income from sources other than their 
salaries. 

Cost of Living jo % Higher in Last Ten Years 

During the last ten years the increase in the cost of living, as 
shown by averages of the estimates given by members of the 
Faculty, amounts to almost exactly thirty per cent. But this 
appears to be under the real truth. An independent investiga- 
tion of the matter has been based upon figures obtained from 
the books of Amherst tradesmen. Present-day prices were 
compared with the prices prevailing in the later nineties on the 
following items : Groceries, meats, clothing, coal, services (in- 
cluding those of domestics, mechanics, day laborers, etc.). The 
results of this investigation seem to show a distinctly greater 
increase than that indicated by the teachers' reports. 

The address presents, as of deep significance, the following 
comments from the member of the Amherst Faculty who made 
this independent investigation into prices and the conditions of 
living under the present salary scale. Fie says : 

"When I have indicated the increase in the cost of living 
based on increase in prices of commodities and services, 

66 



the story is by no means completely told. The standard of 
life which a college professor must now maintain entails 
an increase in expenditure, as compared with fifteen years 
ago, that statistics of prices do not show. It costs him 
more to maintain his former standard. But the change 
of standard enforced upon him by social changes and the 
sentiments of the college community forces an additional 
expenditure. Besides this, the progress of knowledge calls 
for an increase in facilities in the way of books, travel, 
and general equipment in order that he may keep abreast 
or ahead in the running and meet the demands of service 
to his institution. Such changes of standard in living and 
equipment cannot be reduced to statistics, but they are 
known to all college men. 

"So much on the increased cost of living. Let me indi- 
cate a method by which to judge of the adequacy of a col- 
lege professor's income. Some investigation has led me to 
the conclusion that at Amherst a college professor spends 
his income approximately as follows, with a family of 
four: Rent, 17%; fuel, 6%; lighting, 2%; food, 35%; 
clothing, 20%; sundries, 20%. Assuming that he has a 
salary of $3000, that would mean $600 for sundries. But 
what does sundries cover? Such items as the following: 
Laundry, house-cleaning, kitchen supplies, repairs such as 
replacement of furniture, rugs, bed-clothing, etc. ; doctors' 
bills, dentistry, life insurance, subscriptions that he is 
called upon to make and wants to make, support of ath- 
letics and Y. M. C. A. benevolence, presents, books, travel, 
vacations, and the education of his children. 

"There are college professors who for years buy no 
books because they cannot afford it; who for the same 
reason do not go to the theater, do not subscribe $5 to the 
musical program, never ride in a parlor car, never have 
been to the sea-shore or to the mountains, and never could 
afford to take a sabbatical year to freshen up their life and 
their work." (During the sabbatical year at Amherst, 
only half-salary is paid.) 

The meaning of these facts could hardly be evaded even by 
one who wished to evade their unhappy significance. 

67 



In its comment on the necessity for limiting the number of 
students, the address touches pointedly on the devices and 
makeshifts that have been adopted in various universities to 
infuse individuality into the instruction, and a spirit of respect 
for scholarship into the student public. These devices it con- 
siders imperfect remedies for overcrowding. 

"The college cannot devote its whole strength and all 
its energies to the elevation of standards and improvement 
in the quality of its work, while at the same time it en- 
deavors to receive increasing numbers. At this point 
choice is inevitable, and it is in the neglect to meet this 
demand of existing and imperative conditions by a delib- 
erate decision that most of the small colleges have made 
their mistake. This is an error which Amherst can avoid. 
We are seekers for scholarship, not for numbers, and our 
position can be made clear and publicly distinctive only 
by limitation upon the number of our students. 

"Such a limitation being established, it is evident that 
the applicants for admission to the College must undergo 
some selective process— preferably, the Committee urge, 
by competitive examination. The honor of success in such 
a competition, the consciousness of having achieved indi- 
vidual recognition, in the field of scholarship, the esprit de 
corps which must result, would create at Amherst a con- 
dition such as now exists in no American college." 

The Lack of Leadership 

With this wise and inspiring plan before the Amherst public, 
the situation is in some respects extraordinary. The address 
has been referred to joint consideration by the instruction com- 
mittees of the Trustees and the Faculty. Among the Trustees, 
the Faculty, and the alumni, and even among the students, the 
plan has been received with a good deal of favor, though the 
idea of competitive examinations for admission seems to a few 
rather drastic. Amherst now has about five hundred students. 
It has abundant equipment, in land and buildings. The new 
plan would somewhat reduce the number of students, but be- 
tween the aid that may be relied on from graduates and from a 
new fund already nearly completed,- there is no financial ob- 

68 



stacle to the change, even including a marked increase in the 
salaries of the Faculty. Amherst seems to have within reach the 
easy accomplishment of an ideal whose pursuit is a heavy tax 
on President Lowell, and which burdens the head of more than 
one other university. In the face of all this opportunity there 
is no leadership — there is a lack of initiative that must impress 
at least some observers as little less than astonishing. It may 
well seem the duty of all who know, either by possession or by 
deprivation, the abiding, solid value of a classical education 
held to high standards to bestir themselves in support of the 
new Amherst. 

Benjamin Baker. 



69 



THE SMALL COLLEGE 

IT HAS A WELL-DEFINED AND IMPORTANT PLACE IN EDUCATION 

San Francisco Chronicle, editorial article, April 9, 191 1 

Some weeks ago there was a despatch from New York printed 
in the Chronicle and such other journals as consider educational 
news worth printing, to the effect that Amherst College, in 
Massachusetts, proposed to discontinue instruction in science 
and become an old-fashioned classical college. 

The despatch was incorrect, as a letter from an alumnus 
informs us, the fact being that an influential committee of the 
alumni has recommended that the College reduce its present 
amount of instruction in science, but that it shall cease to 
confer the B.S. degree which, so far as it indicates anything, 
implies that the holder has a scientific equipment which fits 
him to undertake some branch of scientific service. 

Amherst College is an institution of some antiquity for this 
country, and, like other New England colleges, was founded 
at a time when the chief duty of an American college was to 
prepare earnest and devout young men for the Christian min- 
istry. If some turned out to be doctors or lawyers, so much 
the worse for them. In those days America had no leisure 
class, and collegiate training, except with a view to entering one 
of the three recognized "learned professions," was not taken 
into consideration. 

Amherst is typical of a considerable number of American 
colleges with moderate but gradually increasing endowment' 
and a considerable body of alumni, but which are not so situ- 
ated as to be able to grow great and accumulate the enormous 
endowments required for the work of a large modern univer- 
sity. 

All these colleges— at least the older of them— have a history 
behind them precious to the memory of those who have helped 
make it, whether as instructors or students. Most of them, like 

70 



Amherst, are situated in pleasant country villages, with the 
best of moral environment, of which they are the chief attrac- 
tion, and around which most of the village activities revolve. 
The professors, with modest stipends, living the simple life, 
although usually unknown very far in the outer world, are the 
most highly respected citizens of the vicinity, and the president 
is a truly great man. The students, ranking in the order of 
their classes, have the pick of the company of the village girls. 
Writing in the memory of years spent at such a college, the 
life as one remembers it is idyllic. It recalls the traditions of 
the medieval cloister, free from the distractions and conten- 
tions of the outer world, with learning, not athletics, the com- 
munity ideal— the simple thoughts, the simple pleasures, the 
simple life. 

The question is what to do with these colleges. For equip- 
ping for the very strenuous life they cannot compete with the 
great universities, and ought not to try. There are great uni- 
versities enough, and all are enlarging their activities and need 
strengthening, not more competition. The degrees of the small 
colleges have not the commercial value of those of universities, 
nor are the college acquaintanceships so helpful in after life as 
those of the rich men's sons whom one comes to know, espe- 
cially if one happens to be a football hero. 

What is to be done with the small colleges depends on our 
conception of what they can do, and the Alumni Committee 
of Amherst College seems to have solved the problem for all. 
It is proposed that they become primarily builders of charac- 
ter based on broad culture, acquired under the inspiration of 
personal contact with earnest men in favorable environments. 
This the small colleges can do and the universities cannot do 
so well, for the reason that, with all their money, they are none 
of them able to bring men of power, character, culture, and 
maturity into constant personal contact with the students. The 
junior instructors are necessarily young men whose small salar- 
ies compel them to be constantly alert for better positions, and 
as a class they do not stay long enough in one place to absorb 
its atmosphere or impress themselves upon the student body. 
If they remain and advance, their spare time is absorbed in 
research or in the larger activities of the world about them. 
And the students themselves are so distracted by the various 

71 



student body activities, few of them character-building and 
some demorahzing, that normal development seems almost 
impossible. Of course, those who attend the universities with 
earnest purpose progress there as they would anywhere, and 
have the advantage of a range and equipment wholly beyond 
the reach of the small college. 

Certainly there is a demand — or at least a necessity — for such 
products of small colleges as these recommendations of the 
Amherst alumni contemplate. Undertaking nothing which they 
are not equipped to do thoroughly, the output of such institu- 
tions should be the choice spirits of their generation — those 
who both think and feel, but whose intellectual and emotional 
natures have developed under wholesome discipline and lofty 
inspiration. 

The one danger to which such institutions will be exposed 
is that as they become known they will begin to receive huge 
endowments and become fashionable. 



72 



THE FUTURE OF THE SMALLER COLLEGES 

New York Sun, editorial article, February 19, 191 1 

An "Address to the Trustees of Amherst College by the Class 
of 1885" represents a careful investigation into the declining 
popularity of the liberal classical courses in colleges and uni- 
versities and the increasing popularity of the courses that lead 
to degrees in science. The report is signed by E. Parmalee 
Prentice, a lawyer of New York ; President Ellsworth G. Lan- 
caster of Olivet College, and William G. Thayer, head master 
of St. Mark's School at Southboro, Massachusetts, represent- 
ing the class. It recommends that the College devote "all its 
means to the indefinite increase of teachers' salaries"; that 
the number of students received be limited to competitive ex- 
amination; and of more general interest to the college world 
is the request that Amherst should abolish its present course 
leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science and devote all its 
resources to a modified classical course, with a Bachelor of 
Arts degree for those who qualify. This is radical conser- 
vatism. Twenty-five years ago there was no occasion for such 
a recommendation. 

Although Amherst and Williams have each increased in size 
nearly forty per cent, in the last twenty years, they cannot hope 
to compete in their technical courses with the large universities, 
with their heavily endowed schools of science. Even the 
academic departments of these same universities in the East 
and in the very important Western State institutions have not 
kept pace with the growth of other departments. An increasing 
number of students each year pass from the high schools into the 
universities for a technical training to prepare them for some 
professional or commercial career. The high school fits for the 
university, and the university fits for the selected calling. Such 
a college as Amherst gives a course of training that does not 
fit for, but postpones, the preparation for a calling. Science 
is taught as a part of a liberal education only far enough to 

7Z 



enable the graduates to enter the best professional schools. 
The committee whose report we are considering believes that 
the university and the college should each have its distinctive 
field, and that it is wasteful of the college to expend any 
energy in an attempt to compete with the university in techni- 
cal training. They illustrate this with the statement that one- 
quarter of the students at Amherst to-day are studying for a 
Bachelor of Science degree. Fewer men each year are taking 
Greek, not only in the fitting schools but in the colleges. In 
fact, President Harris of Amherst has said sadly that Greek 
is now almost a lost cause. 

With due emphasis on the fact that the world needs engineers 
and chemists and technically trained men, this address to the 
Trustees of Amherst upholds the proposition that for states- 
men, leaders of public thought, for literature, and indeed for 
all work that demands culture and breadth of view, nothing 
can take the place of a liberal classical education. There are 
probably many who will agree with this report in the assertion 
that the duty of institutions of higher education is not wholly 
performed when the youth of this country are passed from 
high schools to universities to be "vocationalized," but that 
there is a most important work to be performed by an institu- 
tion that stands aside from this straight line to pecuniary re- 
ward as an exponent of classical learning in such modified 
courses as modern scholarship may approve. 



AMHERST A CLASSICAL COLLEGE 

New York World, February 12, 1911 

Amherst's reported intention of running a real college, of 
sticking to classical culture, as the plan is understood, and 
providing students with an academic education mainly, may 
not suit "progressive" educators. But the plan will be indorsed 
by many old alumni of other colleges as a departure from the 
prevailing cult of the practical in college education. Amherst 
will give a further basis of justification to Webster's well- 
known eulogy of "the small college" by following the old clas- 
sical curriculum and leaving the isms and ologies to the larger 
institutions. 

74 



THE AMHERST IDEA 

Silvae, published by the Classical Club, Normal College, New York City, 
editorial article, February, 1911 

The Class of '85, Amherst College, has presented an "Address 
to the Trustees" urging the adoption of a new policy, of which 
the salient points are the following: (i) Limitation of the 
number of students; (2) Admission by competitive examina- 
tion; (3) The use of "all its means" for the indefinite increase 
of teachers' salaries; (4) Abolition of the B.S. degree; (5) 
The adoption of a single course of study, described as "a modi- 
fied classical course." This policy is now under discussion by 
the Faculty and the Trustees ; on their decision rests the most 
important question, it is safe to say, that now confronts not 
only Amherst, but also a large number of American colleges 
which in situation, size, and spirit have, like Amherst, re- 
mained truer to the historic type than has been possible for our 
overgrown universities. 

Silvae is primarily interested, of course, in the part assigned 
to the classics in this proposed course of study. The address 
does not urge (as has been mistakenly reported) that the 
sciences should be omitted from the curriculum. And no sensi- 
ble classicist would approve such a scheme. But it does pre- 
sent cogent reasons why Amherst may well devote itself to a 
type of education in which well-tested, well-organized, well- 
taught classical studies are to be neither ignored nor minimized. 
There are many places where technical subjects can be prof- 
itably studied, where professions can be anticipated, and "voca- 
tions" assured. There is, surely, room and need for at least 
one institution where the old-fashioned humanities can exist 
on some other terms than the usual contemptuous tolerance. 

This address is only one among many signs that American 
educators are realizing how much too far the reaction against 
the study of Greek and Latin has gone. Even Mr. Charles 

75 



Francis Adams, the writer of the once- famous pamphlet on 
Greek as a "College Fetich," is now reported to maintain that 
at least one classical language ought to be included in every 
student's college course. If it were any longer the fashion to 
quote Latin, it might be remarked, with Ergasilus in *'The 
Captives" : 

'Tum denique homines nostra intellegimus bona 
Quom quae in potestate habuimus ea amisimus." 

Yet even if the classics were to be utterly banished from the 
curriculum, the Amherst proposal would be eminently worth 
trying. A group of competent, well-paid teachers, a uniform, 
well-devised curriculum, a manageable number of adequately 
prepared students — such a combination should produce unique 
results, far-reaching in their influence on national culture. It 
sounds like a new chapter in the "Day-Dreams of a School- 
master." Is Amherst daring enough to make it a reality? 



76 



The Classical Weekly, editorial article, February i8, igii 

Other matters have crowded out, for a time, the consideration 
of a most interesting and important document in regard to the 
future of our small colleges. I refer to an address submitted 
to the Trustees of Amherst College by the Class of 1885. 

With the enormous additions in recent years to the re- 
sources of our great universities, whether private, as are most 
of the Eastern institutions, or public, like the Western institu- 
tions, the question of the future of the small college has become 
more and more a burning one. Scientific instruction, as at 
present carried on, requires such an expensive plant that only 
in the great institutions can it be adequately provided for. 
Our smaller colleges have neither the equipment nor the in- 
structors necessary for those who are looking forward to a 
life-work in what may be called scientific fields. The alumni 
of Amherst College, frankly recognizing this situation, have 
made the rather revolutionary suggestion that young men 
seeking a scientific training should not go to Amherst at all, 
but should try such institutions as the Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology. What, then, is left for the small college? Has 
it any function at all? This address asserts positively that it 
has, and proceeds to define it as in general the training of men 
for the larger life of the community, **a training which should 
be undergone for the sake of learning and for the benefit of 
the State." This training is, in brief, the old classical training 
modified to meet the modern conditions of human interests. 
With the further suggestions in the report as to the necessity 
of raising salaries of professors so that they can be adequate 
teachers, I have nothing to do. 

It seems to be high time to distinguish clearly what the 
advocates of vocational training really have in view. They 
put forward a very specious plea that a child's training should 
fit him for what he is going to do in life. They ignore entirely 
the other side. They have no concern with what a man is 

77 



going to he in life. The conditions of life have been profoundly 
modified by scientific discoveries made by men, many of whom 
had no personal influence at all, but the majority of those who 
make their living by engineering or the other so-called voca- 
tional pursuits are not going to modify human conditions in this 
fashion. The question with them is not so much what they 
are going to do as what they are going to be, what influence 
they are going to exert by their own personality upon their 
neighbors. It is a significant as well as unfortunate fact that 
the life of our nation has been and is being directed almost 
entirely by men who have no experience in statesmanship. 
They do not get this experience, nor even the preliminary 
breadth of view, from vocational training. They can only get 
it from a study of the world movements and world influences 
that have been moulding the life and the thinking of man for 
centuries upon centuries. That is a modern classical education. 
Our present view of the classical education does not mean one 
limited to the old curriculum of Latin, Greek, and mathematics, 
but the ancient literatures must have an important place in any 
such training. The proper place for such an education is in the 
small college and not in the large university ; in the small college 
men have time to grow instead of hustle, the object in view 
is primarily life and not money. Amherst could not do better 
than follow the suggestions of this address, and many other 
smaller colleges would do well to give them serious attention. 

Gonzalez Lodge. 



78 



A NEW PLAN FOR AMHERST 

Harper' s Weekly, editorial article, May 20, 1911 

In the June number of Harper's Magazine, Mr. E. Parmalee 
Prentice, of New York, describes the proposal, now under con- 
sideration and Hkely, we understand, to be adopted, to change 
the poHcy of Amherst College, abandon all effort and intention 
to compete in numbers with other colleges, and take what 
measures are possible to attract a limited number of able and 
zealous students, and give them four years of the best procur- 
able general preparation for work in life. The chief changes 
suggested are to raise the standard of admission and of study 
after admission, limit the number of students, and devote the 
resources of the institution, not to buildings, grounds, and ex- 
pansion, but "to the indefinite increase of teachers' salaries." 

A fair trial of this experiment would be interesting to every 
friend and student of education in the country. If Amherst 
can operate a system of education that will attract abler young 
men, and turn out abler and more thorough scholars than the 
other colleges, she will confer a great benefit on the country, 
not only by providing useful men, but by demonstrating im- 
proved processes of training. The amount of time and money 
that is spent in the great popular universities of the East in 
giving lazy boys the mere rudiments of mental training is a 
sorrow to lamenting educators. It will go on, no doubt, with 
all its vast provision for the social and athletic side of college 
life, and immense diversion to them of time and attention, 
until it is demonstrated somewhere that for really ambitious 
youths there is something better offered which it will pay them 
to embrace. Inspiring teachers are nine tenths of the battle of 
education. How interesting is this idea of paying out money, 
not for advertisement, scholarships, and the provision and 
operation of huge plants for the accommodation of boys who 
want to play, but for "the indefinite increase of salaries" of 

79 



men fit to inspire and instruct boys who want to work ! Let us 
hope Amherst will try it. It will take a good while— twenty 
years, say— to give it a fair test. There must be time to see 
what sort of a product the renovated Amherst can turn out, and 
how it compares in human efficiency with the men who emerge 
from the ruck of the great universities. For, after all, the 
crowd of a great university is a school in itself, out of which 
some able men get valuable lessons. 



See also the article on The Amherst Idea, in Harper's Maga- 
zine for June, 191 1, under the title, "A New Opportunity for 
A Small College." 



80 



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