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n Amherst College 

Nathan Allen 






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Amherst College is very much indehted for the estah- 
lishllient of the department of Phvsieal ('ulture to the deep 
interest and personal lahors of its President. At his inau- 
guration in l( s -il. several pa^es of his discourse were occu- 
pied in showing 1 the important relations that exist hetween 
the mind and the hedv ; that hoth should alwa\'s he 
exercised in harmony with each other, and thai no course 
of education was complete without devoting special attention 
to secure a ^ood development and healthy state of the 
physical system. In his first report tothe Trustee- in i. s ~>~i. 
upon the condition of the Institution, he sa vs. no one thin u 1 

J has demanded more of mv anxious attention than I In' Innl/li 

a/ l//r .s'/Vr/r/i'/.v. The Wailing of the physical energies 111 the 
(.TI midwav o! the ('ol'e^e course is almost the rule rather than 
the exception amoiii:' us. and cases oi eoni[ilete hreakilig 
down are painfully numerous." 

And in his repoi t for U V "HI. he savs. "the lireak- 
- in- 1 do\vn of the health of the students, especially in the 
i-pruiL:' o|' the year, which is exceedingly eoimnon. in\'ol\- 
HIL:' the ni'cessit \ - of leaving college in many instances. 
and crippliii ( u' the energies and destroying the prospects of 

'cessai v. 

lire ill' Hir I ,\ l,|]|;,-il|lll." 

i tlir annual tih-i'liiu nl' ilu 1 l;.>aril. .hi , ... i,. i" .'. 

if proper measures could be adopted to prevent it." He 
.suggested that some lectures upon the subject should be 
obtained from distinguished medical gentlemen, and accord- 
ingly Dr. Morrill Wyman. of Cambridge, was employed, 
who. in the spring of 1857, gave two lectures before the 
students upon the laws of health. 

In President Stearns' Report to the Trustees for 18o9, 
the health of the students again constituted a prominent 
topic. Fie says. " time and experience have convinced me 
of an imperious demand, in the circumstances of an academic 
life, for immediate and efiicient action on this subject : 
many of our students come from farms, mechanic shops, and 
other active occupations, to the hard study and sedentary 
habits of college. Physical exercise is neglected, the laws 
of health are violated, the protests and exhortations of 
instructors and other friends are unheeded. The once active 
student soon becomes physically indolent, his mental pow- 
ers become dulled, his movements and appearance indicate 
physical deterioration; he makes occasionally spasmodic 
efforts to reg;iin his former elasticity by exercise, but bv 
finding discomfort more than advantage from it. he eschews 
exertion and becomes more inert than ever. 

15v the time the Junior year is reached, many .-indents 
have broken down their health, and every year some lives 
are sacrificed. Physical training is not the onlv means of 
preventing this result, but it, is among the most prominent 
of them. If it could be regularly conducted. if a mod- 
erate amount of physical exercise could lie secured as a 
general thing to every student dailv. I have a deep convic- 
tion, founded on clo><> observation and experience, that not 
only \\oitld lives and health be preser\ed. but animation and 
cheerfulness, and a higher order of efficient >tudv and intel- 
al life would be secured. It will be for the con>jdera- 
this Board, whether, (or the encouragement of this 
exercise, the tune has not come, when efficient 

measures should he taken for the erection of a Gymnasium, 
and the procuring of its proper appointments. It is a settled 
conviction, in mv own mind, that oiih hv a certain amount 
of regular exercise, together with attention to other laws of 
health, can that list lessness and dullness and inefficienc v 
which is so hostile to u'ood scholarship and so common 
anion^ students, he overcome.' 1 

In concluding his remarks the President stated, that 
two of the most promising students in the Senior class had 
just deceased, whose deaths had pl'ohahlv heeil occasioned 
hv violating the laws of health in college: and other stu- 
dents were fast hreakinv; do\vn their constitutions, and 
paving the wa\" to follow them. The statement of these 
facts had at the time an impressive effect, and served to favor 
immediate action in the matter. The Tru-teos chose a com- 
mittee, consisting of the President. Dr. X. Allen. II. Kd- 
wards. Ks<|.. and Col. A. II. Uullock. to take the suhject into 
consideration, who reported at once, that it was expedient to 
erect a suitahle hiiildiiiu' for a (J vmiiasium : and. provided a 
certain amount could he raised hv suhscription. ihev recom- 
mended that an eijiia amount he appropriated for that pur- 
pose fioiu the treasur\ (if the Corporation. This report was 
accepted hv the ]>oard. and a committee was appointed, 
consisting of lion. .1. 15. Woods. Prof. \V. S. Clark. ll<.n. S. 
\\ illiston and the President, with full powers to collect fund-. 
procure plans, select a location for the huiidiuLi'. and to make 
contracts for jl,c erection and completion of the same. In 
ohtaiiniiu' snhscript ions, and as a memher of the huildm^ 
committee. Prof. \\.S.CIark.\\ith his accustoineil ener^v. 
performed efficient and successful service. 

'I IM place selected for the site of the hiuldlllLi' was ea.-t 
of the drove, and diroctlv north of Ka-l ('olle-e. It was 
huilt of Pelham granite. t\\'o stories hinli- lifl\' hv se\ent\'- 
t\\'o ted ; and though tin- committee exceeded their iilst 
plan iii the -i/.o of the huildin-. still, if twciitx feet more 


hud been added to its length, the edifice would huve been 
better proportioned and uflbrdod more ample aceommoda- 
tions. It is verv desirable that this addition sliall yet be 
made, us the \vaiits of this department render it neressuiy. 
I pun the completion of the building, the name of " Barrett 
Gymnasium " was given in it. from Dr. Benjamin Barrett, of 
Northampton, who had contributed liberally towards its 
erection. Since thai time, this same gentleman has put in. 
at his own expense, u gallery a f the west end of the hail, 
and also paid a part of the annual expenses, for repairs, im- 
provements, ^'c.. ^'e. It is now hoped that some generous- 
minded individual may he found who will liberally endow 
this professorship of Hygiene and Physical Education, 
thereby placing it upon an independent foundation. 

As this department was new. and from its peculiar 
character might, encounter more difficulties than usual, on 
uccoiint of which its teucher might desire advice and counsel. 
it was thought best bv the Trustees to have a (Gymnasium 
Committee. Pre-ideni Stearns. Drs. K. Alden and X. Allen 

were therefore appointed such committee in iMil) and iMll. 
Since that time, the Pi'esideiit and Dr. Allen have served 
evorv year, with the addition to the committee in dillereni 
veurs of l)r. Benjamin Barrett. Kev. \\"illiam P. Pain-'. 1>. I)., 
and Kev. L Sabin. I), i). 

In hi- Annual Ueport for ISi'.O. the President s iid. 

one <ij the pi'oiiiini'iit subjects requiring attention at the 
present meeting of this lizard i- the ( Jymnusium. 'I lie 
llnildniLi ('ommitlee \\ill reporl it.- cost, and the measures 
taken bv them lo -ecill'e its erectidii : also wh;it \\iil be 
nei'ded i'nr it- apparatus and oilier appouil men! .-. 1 he 
Kaciihv are .if ihe opinion ih.-it it- exercises shouid he cim- 

dilcted 111 -oiue -llch m.ililiel' ;i- ihe loilowillii' : 1 -t - 

main oh]ect shall he not to secure feats of ability and 
strength, or even powerful llllis:de. hut to keep ill good health 

the whole body. 'Jd--That all the students, (unless there 

should lie exceptional cases) shall he required to attend on 
its exercise- for half an hour, de-ignated for the purpose at 
least four das sin the week. -Id That the instructor shall 
assign to each indi\idual such exercises as may he best 
adapted to him. taking special care to prevent the ambitious 
from violent action and all extremes, endeavoring to work 
the whole body and not over-Work any part of it. 1th That 
whih- ii may not he expedient to mark the gradation of 
attainment a- in the intellectual branches, vet le^ularit v. 
a 1 1 en i ion and doeilit v -hould be carefully noted so as to ha ve 
it- pioper weight in the deportment column of the student's 
general position. -it h That some time shall be allowed out 
ol study hours for those volunteer exercises which different 
men. according to their tastes may elect for recreation, and 
particularly that the howling alleys be not given up to 
promiscuous use. but be allotted at regular hours to those 
who wish to make u-e ol' them. all these voluntary exer- 
cise.-, of whatever kind, to be conducted under the supervis- 
ion of t he ( i ymnasiiim instructor. iiih 'I hat the building 
.-hall always be closed before daik. that m> light shall be 
u-eil m it. and no smoking or irregularities o| any kind 
shall be allowed in it. 7th That the instructor nf a -mt- 
able person s loiild be employed ) oimht to be a member of 
the Faculty, and give in to it his mark- and occasional ac- 
count-, and receive direction-, as other oflicers of the college 

are accustomed to do. It niii-l I hvious." h<- a< d-. " hm 

tin- general view, i iat a teacher of very hiuh qualifications 
\\iil b:> demanded. \\ ith such a teacher we max be alnio-t 
-ure of siicee-- : \\iih an inferior man our failure need noi 

be foretold. 

" \\ hat we lieei is a professor-hip which shall extend 

0\'el' the ell I !l e i 1 e 1 ,a 1 1 1 1 1 e Ii 1 of p]|\ sical edlll " H"!'. I -1 'I lie 

officer .should be a skillful gymnast, capable of conducting 
his classes, by example as \vell as precept, through all the 
exercises which the best training would require them to 
perform. 2nd He should have a good medical education, 
with sufficient knowledge of disease, if not to manage severe 
cases, yet to know whether a student is sick or well, obeying 
the laws of health or breaking them. and. as a wise friend, 
to caution him. advise him and put him on the track towards 
physical vigor, ord -That he should have such knowledge 
of elocution as would enable him to teach those movements 
of the bodv. lungs and vocal organs which are essential to 
graceful and effective oratory. Elocution is properly a 
branch of gymnastics, and the highest degree of health, to 
say nothing of good manners and good speaking, can hardly 
be secured without it or a substitute for it. This officer, 
while having charge of gymnastics, would naturally teach 
physiology as far as might be necessary for all practical 
purposes, including the laws of health and the physical part 
of oratory : and as he would be much with the students, and 
would be likely to have great influence over them, he ought 
to be a man of cultivated tastes and manners. a man of 
honorable sentiments and correct principles, having high 
aims and a Christian spirit. Such a man. with such a work 
as I have mw marked out successfully pursued, would he 
an incalculable' advantage to the College and to mankind. 
\Ve should not onlv have the honor of being the lir-t in>ti- 
tiition in ihe roimtrv which has over sustained such a pre- 
fessorship. but we ,-hould probably save to the word a vast 
amount of physical and mental power which would other- 
wi-o be wasted, and further the great ends of education. 

/I'ltit'/l i/i'i' In n/ilhi an ii. 

-aine meeting of the Tru.-tees. a lloport was 
the Building Committee on the (lymiiasium. 
August. IS") '.i. which, with the preceding 
>f tin.- I 're.-ident. was carefully considered bv the 

Board, and referred to a committee consisting of Dr. X. 
Allen. HOY. Dr. Paine and Il.m. S. Williston. The Hoport 
of this committee approved the doings of tlio Building Com- 
mittee, notwithstanding they liad enlarged the. original plan 
of the Gymnasium, and considerably exceeded UK; expenses 
first contemplated. It states that the structure first planned 
would not have conformed with the other college edifices, and 
would in>t have been adequate in si/e and accommodations 
to meet all the wants of such a department. It recom- 
monded further appropriation to complete the, building, and 
to equip it at once with all the necessary apparatus. It also 
recommended the following general [dan, which was unani- 
mously adopted : 


IN THIS CoLLKiii-;; and that the duties of its Professor 
shall he: 

1st. To take charge of the Gymnasium, and give 
instruction to the students in Gymnastics. 

2nd. To take a general oversight of the health of the 
students, and to give such instruction on the subject as mav 
be deemed expedient, according to the general plan stated 
bv the President in his Report, and under the direction of 
the Faculty, like all the other studies. 

ord. To teach elocution so far as it is connected with 
physical training. 

4th. He shall give lectures Iroin time to time upon 
Hygiene. Physical Culture, and other topic.- pertaining to the 
laws of life and health, including some general knowledge 
of .Anatomy and Physiology. 

~>th. The individual appointed to have charge of this 
department shall ho a thoroughly educated physician, and, 
like other teacher> and professors, shall he a member of the 
College Faculty. It is distinctly understood, that He hiUk 

of thf students shall at all times be an object of his special 
watch, care and counsel. 

The title or name of the Professorship in this depart- 
ment having come under consideration by the Board, it was 
moved by Dr. Allen, (and the vote unanimously adopted.) 
that the stvle of this Professorship shall be " The Professor 
of Ilyylem and Physical Education." 

It was the intention of the Trustees to incorporate 
these exercises into the regular curriculum of college studies, 
and make it obligatory upon all students to attend upon 
them as much as on instruction in Mathematics or the 
classics. It should lie observed, that nearly all Gymnasia 
connected with literary institutions, both in Europe and 
America, had failed to accomplish the results intended or 
expected, because no system of exercises was adopted in 
harmony with the laws of the body, nor did the character 
given them correspond to their importance, or to require that 
dailv regular training, which was accorded to mental acqui- 
sitions. In the present instance, instead of leaving the thing 
to take care of itself. for students to exercise or not. at 
their option or convenience, without any guide, system or 
instruction. the Trustees determined at the outset to place 
the enterprise in the position which its importance and suc- 
cess demanded. To accomplish tin's object, two things were 
deemed indispensable: 1st --The living frm-hcr one 
thoroughly acquainted with the structure and functions of 
the body, with a knowledge of the laws of Hvgionc : and 
-dly. this physical training must be made a part of the 
regular exercises of the Institution, and must be stamped with 
the same importance, authority, rewards and sanctions as 
are accorded to the other branches of studv. 

With this feature in the history of Physical Culture. as 
connected with large litorarv Institutions, College. 
we believe, take- the lead. In fact, it is the first instance 
in the whole history of modern education where the claims 

1 1 

of the body, its proper development and hoaltliy training, 
have been placed upon the same plat Conn, and the same 
importance attached to them as to anv other branch of study 
or mental acquirement. 

(ireat expectations were on-ce raised from the establish- 
ment in this eountry of manual labor schools, and some of 
them attracted fora time large numbers of scholars, and 
enjoyed apparently great prosperity. ]>ut the experiment 
proved of shoit duration. 'I hev all failed and were given 
up. principally for two reasons: 1st 'I he pocuniarv re- 
sults, which were held out as a leading motive, were not 
found practically to correspond to the anticipations created 
or promises made: and '_Mly. neither the work undertaken 
nor the employments pursued were of a character to interest 
properly the mind, and thus exert that beneficial influence 
upon the health which was desirable. They weie not calcu- 
lated to develop harmoniously all parts of the bodv. and 
create a pleasurable excitement in the exercise itself. And 
it is questionable whether any kind of work or employment 
suitable for a large body of young scholars to pursue 
together can be found, that will be remunerative, and, at the 
same time, productive of health and agreeable excitement. 
In this department, at Amherst. we have, in addition to its 
physical exercises, the services of a well-educated and skillful 
phv.-ieian. who is the appointed supervisor of the health 
of the Institution. whose duty it is to forewarn students 
collectively and individually of the first symptoms or appear- 
ance of disease, and whom they may feel at perfect liberty 
to consult in respect to all manner of weaknesses and com- 
plaints. Then, besides these physical exercises and the more 
public lectures on hvgiene and health, this physician will 
have familiar talk.- with students just entering college upon 
the character and danger of habits of dissipation generally, 
and of private vice in particular, to which vnung men con- 
gregated together are p-culiarly exposed. 


At the meeting of the Board of Trustees, August 6th, 
John W. Hooker, M. D.. of New Haven, Ct., was 
appointed professor in this department. Dr. Hooker was a 
graduate of Yale College, and had spent some years in 
Europe in completing his medical education. He had given 
special attention to physical training, and. being himself a 
skillful gymnast, possessed qualities that eminently fitted 
him for starting such an enterprise. But before the close 
of the year his health failed, and he resigned his position, 
and died in about two years afterwards. 

Dr. Hooker, during his short residence here, made an 
excellent beginning in this department, by creating much 
interest among the students in matters of Hygiene and 
Physical Education, as well as in reducing the gymnastic 
exercises to regular system and order. On account of the 
martial spirit that everywhere prevailed at that time, the 
attention and co-operation of students were more readily 
secured. The urgent calls of our country for young men to 
volunteer as soldiers for the war raging at a distance, and 
the music of the " Fife and Drum." heard in almost every 
town and village at home, were peculiarly calculated in those 
times to inspire, students with a fondness for physical exer- 
cises, and military drills. Such was the demand in this 
direction, that Col. Luke Lyman. of Northampton, distin- 
guished as a drill-master, was employed, in the Spring of 
1801. to give instruction and training to students in military 
tactics and exercises. 

At the annual meeting of the Trustees. August Nth, 
1801. Kdward Hitchcock. M. D.. a graduate of the College 
and of the Medical School of Harvard I niversitv. bearing 
a most-honored name, and possessing manv qualities admir- 
ably fitting him for this charge, was appointed professor in 
this department. And in his iirst report to the Trustees, 

Dr. Hitchcock remarks: ' I am agreeably surprised that 
the interest h,-is been kept up during the vear in this depart- 
ment, as it certainly has. And I speak from knowledge on 
the subject when I say, that there is no more disposition to 
evade the duties of this department than there is of any 
other exeivise of college. I have always insisted upon order 
and obedience to rules. I have had but little dillicultv in 
securing them. During a portion of the exeicises. I urge 
upon the captains the necessity of introducing plavi'ul exer- 
cises, Mich as running in grotesque attitudes, singing college 
songs, ^c. Sometimes this mav seem boisterous and undig- 
ut it seems desirable to me that a portion of the 

should be worked oil' inside the stone walls 

of the gymnasium, under the eve of a college officer, rather 
than out of doors, rendering night hideous; and in no 
instance has the captain found the slightest difliculty in 
bringing his men into line at the word of command.'' 

At the close of the third year, the Professor in his 
repoit says : In regard to the success of physical exercises 
in the (iymnasium. as at present carried on. I can only reit- 
erate what was stated in my report one year ago. and this 
is that the plan originally proposed works admirably. '1 he 
noveltv passes o|T by the end of the first six months, and 
then the students regard the principal exercise in the same 
light as they do any other college duties. Ami 1 feel confi- 
dent nf the truth of the statement when I say. that a required 
exercise in the gymnasium is no more irksome to the students 
than is a required dutv in anv of the literary and scientific 
departments of college." In Julv. 1S!>4. the Professor says 
in his report to the Trustees: '1 he past year's experience 
shows that this department is being rapidly established upon 
a permanent ami systematic basis." It mav be proper 1o 
explain mon- in detail, how and in what wa v these exercises 
are conducted from dav to day in th<' ( ! vmiiasium. 'J he 
leading design is. that all the muscles of the bodv shall be 


brought into exercise in harmony with the laws that govern 
their natural action, and in a manner to promote the 
greatest possible amount of health. It is the practice 
of classes to perform some exercises together in concert, and 
they generally occupy one half-hour in the forenoon for this 
purpose ; sometimes sections of a class will go through cer- 
tain exercises, one right alter another, and then again here 
and there individuals will be seen trying their agility and 
strength upon some parts of the apparatus. 

Each class has a unil'oim of its own, and forming 
together in a line, in the lower room, marches in regular 
order into the upper hall under its respective captain, fre- 
quently singing ;l lively song : the roll is then called by the 
Professor, absences and deportment marked ; the members 
of the class then dividing into sections, and obtaining their 
dumb bells. Indian clubs or wands, take their places in the 
centra] portions of the hall, where they go through with an 
almost endless variety of evolutions, assuming 1 every position 
of the legs, arms and liodv possible. It is intended by the 
kind and variety of movement to exercise every muscle 
of the body in a manner to afford pleasure, not fatigue, and 
und'r such circumstances as to keep up an increasing inter- 
est to the close of everv performance. These movements 
are made sometimes with great rapidity, and at other limes 
very slowly, and then again interchanged from one kind to 
another, so that thev shall not tire, and are performed appa- 
rently with remarkable ease and /est. 

A writer in one of the popular newspapers of the dav, 
after referring to the regular performances, give-- the tnlh>w- 
ing amusing description of these miscellaneous exercises : 
'And now." says he. " thev lay down their clubs or dumb 
hells and perform a variotv of genuflexions and prostrations 
on the floor, with more than Mahommedan /eal. or down on 
all-fours, plav at leap-frng. and put themselves in every con- 
ceiyable and inconceivable attitude, tdl in spite of them- 

selves every m;m is in ;i roar of laughter. Then breaking 
up into smaller squads, or every man on his own hook, they 
chase each other along the parallel bars and horizontal lad- 
ders; run up and down inclined planes; hound over horses 
from spring-hoards; turn somersets on springs; mount up 
to the roof on a series of parallel spring-bars asifbv magic ; 
and by magic come down again unhurt, and when thev have 
gone through with all these evolutions and others too numer- 
ous to mention, (not all in every half-hour, of course, but 
always enough to touch everv muscle in the most hidden 
recesses of the frame, and local! forth a gush of life and joy 
from the darkest and deepest fountains of the soul.) after 
all this apparent medley of confusion, enough to distract 
almost as much as it amuses the looker-on, they are brought 
up standing at the expiration of the half-hour, like the sing- 
ers at the end of our old-fashioned fugue tunes, and sent 
away to their meals or to their studies, as the case may be. 
with an appetite to relish, and a stomach to digest without 
dilliculty or danger classics or mathematics, physics or meta- 
physics. beet-steak or roast pig. mince pies or plum-pudding." 
(Mi \Vedne.-days and Saturdays, the regular exercises are 
omitted, part !v to o'ivo to the ofHcers of classes, as well as indi- 

1 < ' 

viduals. an opportunity to perfect themselves in gymnastics, 
but more especially because those days in college are gener- 
ally appropriated to miscellaneous duties, and the afternoons 
particularly to recreation, reading, work, business. tS:e. 

The ijuestion has often been asked, what kind of gym- 
nastics is best V This depends mi the object sought. If it 
is intended to make acrobats, pugilists, gladiators, or persons 
distinguished for physical strength or particular feats of 
anility, then it requires long training of certain mu>cles and 
di>tinct parts of the bndv. together with groat care in the 
kind and quant it v of |i KM!. 

Again, if certain parts or organs of the body are weak 
or diseased, and the hygienic influences of exercise are sought 


to restore strength and health, in this case, particular muscles 
must be exercised in just, such a manner, and to just such an 
extent as may be directed by a skillful physician. This is 
what has been denominated the movement cure, and has met 
with great success, both in Europe and in our own coun- 

But in an Institution where a large body of students 
require daily exercise, with as little exposure and loss of 
time as possible, the lighter gymnastics as here practiced 
are undoubtedly best adapted to effect the object intended. 
It is surprising what a great number and variety of exercises 
are here devised and practiced, amounting in the course of 
the year to some five hundred. The design is. that all the 
muscles of the body should be exercised in a manner to 
equalize best the circulation of the blood. to expand the 
lungs. to aid the stomach in the digestion of food. to 
strengthen the joints, develop all parts of the bodv in har- 
mony with the most efficient action of the brain. Thus not 
only agilitv and strength of the limbs are acquired, but the 
vital forces of the system fed from their natural sources 
of nutrition, absorption and respiration are most abund- 
antly supplied. The true course pointed out for phvsical 
exercise is. imitate the natural action of the muscles, or. in 
other words, follow the laws of nature in bringing the svstem 
into tin? higbest state of physical health compatible with 
mental exercise. If there is danger of injury from anv 
source in this svstem. it \vill arise either from the ton rapid 
movements of the muscles, or from excessive exhaustion of 
the system. l>oth these extremes should be careful! v watched 
and guarded against. In some quarters an attempt has been 
made to draw a broad line of distinction between what are 
denominated on the one hand/'//'' /////// ////////^/*//r.v. and on the 
other I lie licurii. and to create prejudices in the coiniiiuinlv 

' ' It' , 

against one class or the other. Such a distinction is entirolv 
unnecessary. There is plenty of room for both classes: one 

kind may be hotter adapted tu certain purposes than the 
other: and again lor other purposes they should go 

As an evidence that the public has been greatly inter- 
ested in this department, the number of visitors present from 
time to tune is a prettv good index. At first no count was 
kept ; but from September 1st. I Slid, to the close of the 
college year in -Inly. 1807. there were present at these exor- 
cises ).tl~)S persons as visitors, and from September. ISO", to 
July 1 Uth. I SOS. the number was l.T'-'S. more than one-Court h 
ol' whom were ladies; and the average number of visitors 
present at each exercise was over ten Cor both vcars. 

The newspaper press generally, and the Springfield 
Republican in particular, has always manifested great interest: 
in this department, speaking oC it in the most commenda- 
tory terms. From many such notices we must. Cor the want of 
room, make only one ([notation, from a correspondent in 
the Congregational Journal of October Liord. 1SO published 
at Concord. X. II.: Xo description." .-ays this writer. " of the 
gymnastic manoeuvres can give any idea of them : they 
are such as call into action every ligament, joint and muscle 
of the body, the whole frame. not the least the chest and 
the lungs. Xo snail-like movement is tolerated. All their 
motions are as quick and regular as those of the well-disci- 
plined soldier : they inarch, run. hop. jump ; their legs ami 
arms swing back and forth : the dumb iron bell they throw 
over head and shoulders with quick regularity; they run up 
long ladders with folded hands, their feet doing all the work" : 
they >wing. climb, hop. jump from place to place, from pule tu 
pole like squirrels, and all done in perfect order, under the 
command of company officers. 

Xow what is the olfect of those gymnastic exercises mi 
the students'.' (Jood and onlv gnod. on Imdv. mind, man- 
ners and character. Thev are greatly proinotive of health. 
This is evident fn>m the general appearance of the students. 


Their countenances are ruddy, their persons erect, their step 
quick and elastic, their manners easy, their gait gentle- 
manly, all their motions indicate healthfullness and cheerful- 
ness. Casting my eye over the assembled college on sev- 
eral occasions, I was struck with the apparent joyousness of 
the students. No sad countenances were visible. 

The gymnastic exercises greatly promote the good 
order and murals of the students. Their animal spirits \vork 
off by the correct movements of ihe gymnasium. They are 
indisposed to the unmanly and olten mischievous doings of 
students too frequent in our colleges. A citizen of the town 
assures me. that the amount of injury done to the college 
and other buildings in the village is almost nothing since the 
opening of the gymnasium, compared with what it was be- 
fore. Xo less advantageous, probably, is the gymnasium to 
the )Kcul((l progress of the students. They come from the 
gymnastic exercises to their studies with healthful bodies, 
clear minds and cheerful spirits. The blues,' those most 
formidable enemies of successful study, assail them not. 
All is bright and promising, all hopeful. Time will undoubt- 
edly show that no one adjunct, no one department of col- 
lege, will conduce more to the noble object for which the 
Institution was founded, than the Gymnasium." 

When the subject was first agitated in respect to intro- 
ducing into college gymnastic exercises, there we're various 
prejudices and objections to such a course. One of the orig- 
inal objections to the establishment of a gymnasium and 
it still exists to some extent is the danger of some serious 
harm or injurv befalling those engaged in such exercises. 
]>ut such accidents very seldom occur in the regular prac- 
tice of gymnastics, ll should be remembered, that the more 
OIK- exercises in this wav the better command of his limbs 
and body lie obtains, and therefore is less likely to meet 
with injuries. During the eight years since the establish- 
ment of this department there have been quite a number 

of bruises and sprains, one broken limb and one dislocated 
joint, but no really serious or permanent injury. Consid- 
ering the great number and variety of exercises and the 
extraordinary exposures in the performance of daring feats, 
-that over six hundred students haye taken a part in 
these exercises, and most of them, for a time, entirely inex- 
perienced, the accidents haye certainly been very few in 
number and slight in character. And those that have taken 
place occurred generally out of the regular exercises, for 
the want of care, or on account of some physical weakness 
of the individual injured. It is stated on good authority, that 
the accidents arising in ball-playing. practiced only a few 
weeks each year. are four times larger than those from 

Another objection to the introduction of such exercises 
was drawn from the fact. that, in one sense, all the students 
were to be compelled to engage in them the same as in any 
other branch of study or general college exercise. This was 
something new. It was pretended that the Trustees and 
Faculty of the College had no direct control oyer the bodies 
of students, and had no business to direct when and how 
they should use their limbs. The plan proposed here of 
introducing gymnastics and making it compulsory upon all 
students to take part in them, was a new and advanced 
position in respect to a class of exercises or duties to which 
no members of a college or large literary institution in our 
country had ever been obliged to conform. It was appre- 
hended by some that opposition to this course might be found, 
or a question of discipline between the Government of 
the Institution and its members might arise upon the ground 
of right or propriety of f<>////>ti/x"/'// exercise. I>ut fortu- 
nately no trouble or difficulty of this kind or even the shade 
of any has ever arisen from such source. The students have 
always promptly and cheerfully responded to all demands 
made upon them in this direction. It is now the opinion of 

the Professor as well as the general sense of the students, 
we understand, that they would rather dispense with any 
other department or college exercise than that of Hygiene 
and Physical Education. To no other task, exercise or duty 
connected with college studies and requisitions do students 
now more readily repair, or so heartily engage in as those 
ol the gymnasium. 

But there is one feature in this department that deserves 
careful consideration, and which is here introduced bv two 
([notations from the annual reports of the Professor to the 
Trustees. Tn 18 ()"), he says. - I experience some trouble in 
being obliged to giye excuses to new students on account 
of direction or request from parents or physicians, nianv of 
of whom kim\v nothing of our exercises except that they are 
styled " gymnastics." and hence infer that they are of the 
severer form of labor, such as formerly were always con- 
nected with gymnasia. The students themselves who apply 
for these excuses are geneially of the effeminate class, or 
the decidedly la/v ones." 

In IMiStho Professor says. "I ought to speak upon 
one point, for fear that it might seem a weakness in the 
system unless fully understood. I am obliged to be more 
liberal in granting excuses for absences than are the oHicers 
of other departments. Une reason is. because no idea of 
rank is attached to excellent and faithful performance at the 
gymnasium. Another reason is. our exercises in this depart- 
ment wore established for recreation and exercise, so that 
extra work, such as wood-sawing, coal-carrying, other extra 
labor. &c.. seeiu to be equivalent to an occasional exorcise. 
Hence one who is well acquainted with the si/e of a class 
might often wonder at the proportion of their numbers pres- 
ent at an exercise. I am. however, careful that these excuses 
shall be given only occasionally, and that no one student 
shall be in the wa v of obtaining excuses as a regular habit." 
It 1.-5 possible that there mav sometimes be found a vouii" 1 

student possessing a constitutional weakness or nervous 
idiosyneracy who should he excused iVoin gvmnastic exer- 
cises at the request of his parents or physician : but such 
cases will seldom occur; and then instead of being sent to 
college, such students should rather lind a home in some 
invalid's retreat, or he placed under the inornnenl cure for 

In respect to the other topic referred to. it is. perhaps, 
the weakest point, and the source of u'reatest danger con- 
nected with this department. And the more excuses are 
granted on such grounds or expedients, the greater is the 
danger. Let ;i little choring. or \\ork. or business, or a 
walk displace these regular gymnastic exercises to any 
groat extent, and it constitutes a verv weak point an 
entering wedge, which if constantlv. }>ersistantly and suc- 
cessfully applied, would break down this whole department. 
In the first place the students themselves, as a body, should 
make it a conscientious dutv. and should allow no incidental 
work or trilling consideration to interfere with their constant 
attendance upon these exercises. An examination of the 
table showing the number of absences in the different classes 
from these exercises, does not speak well for the higher 
classes. that the absences should increase with each class. 
so thai those of the Senior class are almost 1 wice as many 
as tho>e of the Freshman class. 

While the Professor should pursue a most wise and 
judicious coiir>e m granting excuses, his general rule in the 
matter, if not resembling in fixedness, the laws of ihe .Medes 
and Persians, should certainlv partake much of the Roman 
character. Something mav be done bv the other teachers 
in the Institution to sustain in this respect the Professor of 
( ivmnast ics. and to create the right kind of public sentiment 
upon this subject : and in our opinion it should be a serious 
ipiestion with the Facullv of the ('ollege why improvement 
or excellence iii performance here should not count in rank 


or attainment as well as in an}' other branch of study. If 
punctuality and deportment are favorably considered, why 
not improvement and excellence? "Why not put this de- 
partment upon a par in every respect with the others in the 
Institution ? 


When the erection of a Gymnasium was first agitated, 
and even for some time after gymnastics were introduced, 
it was said by some persons that the whole thing was an 
experiment ; that after the novelty was over the interest 
would soon subside, and the enterprise would prove a failure. 
It is now eight years since this department was established, 
eight different classes, numbering in all over six hundred 
students, have taken part in its exercises, and four classes 
have enjoyed its benefits throughout their whole collegiate 
course. What then has been the effect of these upon the 
health of the students, as well as upon the sanitary condition 
of the Institution ? This may be exhibited in a variety of 

1st. There has been a decided improvement in the 
very countenances and o-eneral physique of students. In- 

* o 1 * 

stead of the pale, sicklv and sallow complexion once very 
commonly seen, with an occasional lean, care-worn and hag- 
gard look, we now witness verv generally, fresh, ruddy and 
healthy countenances, indicative of a higher degree of vitality. 
and that the vital currents, enriched bv nutrition and oxy- 
gen, have a free and equal circulation throughout the whole 
system. This change is so marked as to attract the atten- 
tion of the casual observer, and has been commented upon 
by those formerly attending Commencements or other public 
occasions here, as exhibiting a stiiking difference between 
the personal appearance of students at those times, and. that 
at the present dav. This fact is also corroborated by the 
testimony of boarding house keepers. some who have been 

here twenty years or more. who say lh;it the students now 
have ;i more rctjuliii' \\\\(\ wilnm! appetite than formerly, 
muni tested not so mncli in the quantity 01 quality consumed, 
as in ;i hetter relish for plain, suhstantial and wholesome 
food. There is certainly the promise of a more; harmonious 
development of the whole system. a hetter commingling 
of all the temperaments in the physical organization of the 
students now than formerly. 

2nd. In the use of the limhs and the hodv. in the 
physical movements and conduct of students generally, there 
has heen. we think, decided improvement. Once the awk- 
wardness of manner and the ungraceful hearing of scholars 
were matters of common remark, and such characteristics 
not unfrequently followed them through life. This resulted 
not so much from the want of early training and instruction 
on this suhjoct. as from the formation of had hahits in study, 
and the long continued neglect of proper exercise. It was 
frequently exhibited in stiffness of the joints, a clumsy use 
of the limhs. in round shoulders and a stooping posture, and 
sometimes hy a countenance set. stern and almost devoid of 
expression. Now gymnastics, when properly practiced, are 
calculated to product/ in this respect, a surprising effect upon 
the use of all parts of the hodv. as well as upon its devel- 
opment. They give not onlv agilitv and strength to all 
the muscles, but a quick and ready control of them, thereby 
begetting an easy and graceful carriage of the person. In 
other words, they tend to bring out the most important ele- 
ments of a polished manner in the natural and dignified car- 
riage of the liodv. in the easy and graceful movements of all 
the limbs, together with those expressions o| countenance 
and those gestures which constitute the highest style of elo- 
quence, whether in conversation or public speaking. And 
what gives tins physical culture so much advantage and 
heightens its power is the fact, that the mind, whose disci- 
pline is co-ordinate, is conscious of this power. conscious 


that it can direct, control and command every muscle or 
part of the body at its own will. 

3rd. The practice of gymnastics in concert is calcula- 
ted to beget personal sympathy, cheerfulness and buoyancy 
of spirits. The fact that a large body of students go through 
with precisely the same exercises together, at the same time 
and under the same general influences. and these exercises 
continued for years. creates a peculiar kind of sympathy, 
of interest and affection. In some respects it resembles the 
common practice of large companies eating and drinking 
together as expressive of their mutual good-will and friend- 
ship. It brings a whole class upon one common level, and in 
personal contact in such a variety of ways, that it tends to 
bind its members together b\- the strongest sympathies and 
bonds of fellowship. Kxercises that would be monotonous 
and burdensome to the individual performed alone, when 
practiced by a largo company, create the greatest interest 
and even enthusiasm. There is also a strong tendency at 
such times to mix in with these exercises no small amount 
of amusement and occasionally real fun : the odd. the gro- 
tesque and comical, producing bursts of enthusiasm or shouts 
of laughter. All this with improved circulation, digestion 
and respiration mu.-t. in the very nature of ihings. piodnce 
cheerfulness, hopefulness and buoyancy of -pints, expelling 
from the mind all despondency, melancholy, and "the 

4th. \\ e come now to consider what, has been the 
effect more directly upon the health of tin.' students, and the 
sanitary condition of the Institution. It is nee, d less to state 
how many student- formerly impaired or broke down their 
constitution.- for want ol suHiciont exorcise, or from irregular 
or excessive hours of studv. or from .-ome improper habit-, 
oi' for want of suitable attention to diet, sleep or ,-omo other 
physical law. Perhaps the effects of violated law were not 
always visible at the lime, and did not apparently impede 

the college course, luit tlio seeds ^v/v ln-rc x<ni'n which aftcr- 
w;u'(ls brought on disease and jireiiiature death, or crippled 
the energies and limited the usefulness through alter life. 
This may still happen : hut with such exercise and instruc- 
tion as can now he obtained it is not near so hkelv to occur. 
Besides, where the vitality of the system is kept up bv 
regular muscular exercise, to an even healthv state, it is 
OIK; of the strongest, safeguards against disease; and then 
when any organ or portion of the body is affected, nature is 
more powerful to throw oil the attack. In a uoininunitv 
thus trained and instructed the more common complaints, 
such as colds, headaches, sore throats, feverish attacks, will 
seldom occur, and the diseases to which scholars are pecu- 
liarly liable, such as dyspepsia, neuralgia and consumption 
stand a far less chance of finding victims. Anv skillful and 
experienced physician will testily at once, that such a com- 
munity is possessed of a wonderful power to prevent as well 
as throw olf disease. The common proverbs, "a xfih-h in 
Itini' xtii'c* itii)i\ and "an o/u/cf />/ n rev cut ion t* (t'ui'tli d iiouud 
of cure" are not more truthful than the statement here made 
of the remarkable exemption from disease of a community 
trained and educated as above described. 

~>th. A comparison of the present health of students 
with what it was ten or fifteen vears ago. shows a snrpiising 
improvement. It is rare now for any student to break down. 
suddenly in his health, or to be compelled to leave college 
on this account. In IS-)-) (i 7 and S such cases were 
common, as mav be seen by icferring to tin: statements of 
I'resident Stearns in the opening of this paper: and the 
truth of the statements is moreover confirmed by others 
personally conversant here fur twenty or thirty years. As 
no record was formerly kept o| the amount of sickness from 
year to year, or ol the number ol students leaving college 
on account ol illne>s. no exact comparison on these points 
in figures can be instituted. lUit the experience am 

id oiise 


vation of those who have been on the ground a long time 
must bear decided testimony to a greatly improved state of 
health among the students over that of former times ; and 
as for those who once were members of the Institution, and 
return here on public occasions. the} r cannot fail to see a 
great improvement in this respect. 

Oth. But the evidence of improved health does not 
rest wholly upon individual opinions or upon loose compari- 
sons. Since 1801. a register has been carefully kept of the 
kind and amount of sickness in college, an analysis of which 
presents some striking facts. Xo student is placed upon the 
sick list, unless he is detained two consecutive days from the 
usual exercises of the Institution. The number of students 
reported sick ranges in the course of the year from twenty- 
five to sixty, showing a far greater amount of sickness in 
some years than others, which depends very much on the 
fact, whether some epidemic prevailed, or whether the year 
as a whole, either on account of the weather or from some 
other cause, was not generally unhealthy. If allowance is 
made for this extra sickness in two of the years out of the 
eight, the register shows that the actual amount of sickness 
in college has diminished in these eight years more than 
(nK'-tltinl. That is. in the year just closed, there were only 
two-thirds as much sickness as in 1SG1, the year when gym- 
nastics were introduced. 

Again, the average number of students sick each year 
of these eight was thirty-eight, and the average number 
present in college was two hundred and twenty-four, show- 
ing that there were one hundred and eighty-six students on 
an average each year who did not experience two days' 
sickness at anv one time. The register reports fortv-one 
diflerent diseases or complaint.- to account for this sickness, 
and a careful inspection of the list shows a remarkable 
exemption from what are considered generally the more vio- 
lent and dangerous diseases. Most of the complaints were of 

a common class that might occur in ;iny community ; and the 
number which naturally would grow out of the usual exposures 
of college students is very small. In 1'act there are scarcely 
any diseases reported as connected with the stomach and 
the brain, organs which are. in some respects, the most likelv 
to become deranged bv the sedentary habits of student 

7th. Hut the most marked evidence of improved health 
is found in the diminished sickness of every class each year 
after entering college. In a table giving the amount of sick- 
ness arranged by classes, it seems there has been for these 
eight years on an average ntor<' flixu /I/ /'<'< iiin<'* as much 
sickness in the Freshman Class as in the Men/or Class. It 
mav be said that the students upon first entering college do 
not know so well how to take care of themselves as they 
do in the third and fourth years ; or that some students who 
come here feeble and sickly, leave the Institution early, so 
that the vigorous and more health}" alone remain. This may 
account in part for the change, but only for a small part of 
it. For some students who now enter college with slender 
constitutions encounter considerable sickness the first year. 
but afterwards improve in health, and in the third and fourth 
years are comparatively well. And the number now leaving 
college during the first and second rears, on account of ill- 
health is very small. Then again, if we compare the sick- 
ness or health of a class all the way through college now. 
with that of one ten or fifteen years ago. a surprising diil'er- 
euce will be found ; if the sickness did not then increase or 
keep up through the whole course, it certainly did not 
diminish so much in the second and third years ;iud almost 
entirely cease in the fourth, as is the case now. 

Sth. There is still another class of facts verv import- 
ant in their bearing, though their value can not be fullv 
exhibited at present. These are properly denominated >'ilnl 
xfalisticx, and con.Mst of nine items to each student, taken 


twice the first year and once each year afterwards. Every 
student upon entering college is examined upon these points, 
namely; his age, weight, height, girth of chest, girth of arm 
and forearm, capacity of lungs, power of expiration, and a 
simple test of muscular strength. These points, making 
about three thousand distinct items each year, are carefully 
recorded in a ledger, and in the course of time will become 
very valuable, when comparisons can be instituted between 
results recorded here at different periods, and similar results 
obtained in other Institutions and elsewhere. This is com- 
paratively a new field of inquiry, and when sufficient statis- 
tics are gathered, it will lead to the establishment of some 
very important facts, such as the size and strength of 
particular limbs and muscles as increased by exercise, and 
also of the capacity and power of the lungs as affected by 
the same means. They will help to settle or throw some 
light upon what is the normal standard of students of the; 
same age as it respects the several points given in these 
vital statistics, and then what are the best means or kinds 
of exercise to bring or keep them up to this standard. 

As far as these statistics are already collected, they 
present some curious and instructive facts. The average 
age of all the students for these eight years has been 21.723 
years; Seniors 23.04S, Juniors 22.32!), Sophomores 21.241, 
and Freshmen 20.27-"). The average weight of all has been 
130.4 SO pounds ; Seniors 145.021, Juniors 130.009, Sopho- 
mores 139.970, and Freshmen 132.041. The average height 
has been 5. (JO I feet; Seniors 0.634, Juniors 0.006, Sopho- 
mores ;).664 and Freshmen ;).G-)1. In those two last items, 
(weight and height,) there was a decided gain to each class 
all the way through college, and they will compare favorably 
with other statistics collected upon these points. Qnelelet, 
who has devoted more attention to this subject than any other 
writer, gives the average weight of an adult male 136.003 
pounds, and the average height ->.333 feet. 

Dr. Gould, who examined a large number <>f students 
in tlic .Junior and Senior Classes at Harvard 1 'niv<;rsit v ami 
Vale College, together with some members of the professional 
schools, reports their average height ").i;ri feet, and average 

O < - f5 

weight I -'ill. 700 pounds. A. Maclaren. who lias charge of 

O 1 ^ 

the ( i vmnasium connected with the Oxford I'niversit v, Kn<'- 

* * O 

land, reports of the first one hundred names on his book as 
they arrived at the I'niversity. their average height O.8U5 
feet, and average weight l^.'.'TO pounds. 

A careful inspection of the Table giving the vital sta- 
tistics of each class as it entered Ainherst College, and then 
in its senior year, shows a decided enlargement of the arm. 
at both points of measurement, and also of the girth of the 
chest, together with a marked increase in the capacity and 
power of the lungs. It is surprising what a change in sev- 
eral of these particulars some individuals have undergone 
in their college course. Instead of dwelling farther upon 
this part of the subject, the reader is referred to some facts 
and tables at the close of this paper. 

There is still another very important consideration, viz: 
has the standard of scholarship in college been raised by 
means of gymnastics ". A* the svstem of marking or mode 
of exhibiting this standard was changed a few years since, 
an exact comparison in figures cannot here be instituted ; 
but it is the decided opinion of the Registrar, (the College 
(Mlicor who has charge of these statistics.) that there "has 
been an elevation of rank within the past few vears." It 
mav be that .-mc individuals in a class formerly reached as 
hiii'h scholarship as aiiv now do; hut the </<////> ///ill' scholar- 
ship of a whole class, we are confident, is higher now than 
it once was. and. to sav the least. i< much easier obtained, 
with fewer hours of studv. and less loss of health and 



After having recounted in the preceding pages so many 
beneficial results of gymnastics, it may seem almost super- 
fluous to point out any further advantages, but there are 
some which have not yet been noticed, the value of which 
will be better seen and appreciated by way of comparison 
with other kinds of exercise. 1st --How can the student 
find, with so little loss of time and all the requisite mate- 
rials at command, other exercises equal in every respect to 
these, where, at all seasons, he is protected in his person 
from the storms and the cold, and his character shielded so 
much from temptation to bad habits as well as from immoral 

2nd. In attempting to carry out the motto. '' ruens 
sana in corpore sano" preference should always be given to 
those exercises in early life, which serve not only to keep 
the body sound at the time, but will help to lay such founda- 
tions as will afterwards tend most effectually to keep it so and 
improve it. Now no kind of gymnastics or physical exercises 
whatever is so well calculated to do this as those under 
discussion. As they are designed to exercise everv muscle 
in the human body, and to produce a harmonious development 
of the whole system, we may reasonably expect that they 
will ward off local weaknesses, or abnormal developments. 
The more evenly balanced is the organization, or the more 
perfect the harmony in the temperaments, the sounder is {he 
constitution, and the better is the general health. And what 
is there so important to the professional man as a well-bal- 
anced constitution or uniformly good health ? What multi- 
tudes fail for the want of them ! Neither genius, talent nor 
learning can make up for them. 

3rd. Again, there is another advantage from such ex- 
ercises bv way of creating wlf-i'didiicc or avti'dubitity <>f 
power. It is frequently found in public life that neither 

brilliant talents nor great learning achieve success so often 
or so much as a readv skill, lad or aptness to use one's 
resources. 'I he same is true from a phvsical jtoint oi' view. 
It is not the mere possession of vjood health or sound consti- 
tution, however advantageous these mav he. so much as the 
knowledge ;md control over the phvsical svstem obtained bv 
years of gymnastic exercises, that gi\ es that real srlf-rcliance 
that true xi'lf-finsst'iiiiion which sustains one under all cir- 
cumstances and emergencies. In order to applv knowledge 
and mental power most successfully 011 all occasions, there 
must be combined with it a strong feeling of self-reliance, 
the outgrowth of a healthy', well-trained and evenly-balanced 
physical system. The full force of this statement can he 
appreciated only by those who have had experience in public 
life, and passed through changes that are not uncommon at 
the present day. 

4th. There is another advantage from these exercises 
worthv of notice, that is in preventing vicious and irregular 
habits. While no svstem of gymnastics alone can he ex- 
pected to break up settled habits of dissipation, such as intem- 
perance, licentiousness, and the excessive use of tobacco or 
an v other stimulant, still, combined with other good influences, 
thev have a direct tendency to forestall or arrest such practi- 
ces bv giving a safe vent to the animal spirits, by regularity of 
phvsical exercise, bv improving the general health, and pro- 
ducing a more normal condition of the brain. J5nt there is 
a vice. ( nameless here.) more terrible in its effects, both 
phvsical ami mental, upon the student, than either of the 
above, and over which gymnastic exercises have great influ- 
ence. In fact, it is the te-tinionv of the highest medical 
authorities, that regular and tolerably severe gymnastic ex- 
ercise is not onlv the most ellcctive means of preventing or 
checking this vice, hut is really the be-t curative agent. 
And it is a ui at ifvinu' fact that we can add the testimonv of 


the Professor in this department, that gymnastics have been 
working to a like result in this Institution. 

5th. It is found that a rcaular system of gymnastics 
operates in a variety of ways as a powerful auxiliary of dis- 
cipline ; that it answers as a kind of safety valve to let off 
in an indirect way that excess of animal spirits which is 
characteristic of some young men, arid which not unfre- 
quently leads them into trouble or conflict with authority. 
Again it serves with others as a kind of regulator to the 
system, exercising certain parts of it to such an extent as to 
produce weariness arid fatigue, so that the individual seeks 
repose ; and with another class it tends to remove any un- 
natural or innate weakness of the frame, and by such im- 
provements serves to equalize and regulate all the forces of 
nature. Thus such a system of gymnastics sets up a stand- 
ard of law for self-government ; for it is based upon those 
great laws of life and health which are a part of the will and 
government of God in this world, as much as the ten com- 
mandments. Xo by-laws or code of ethics established by any 
human teacher or institution can compare in authority or 
final appeal to those great natural, primeval lavs engraved 
upon our constitutions by the Creator. It will be seen at 
once v:hat a power the instructor has over the conscience and 
reason of a student thus trained. There are. it is well 
known, in every institution various misdemeanors and overt 
acts, which may not come under any formal rule, with plan- 

J J 

sible excuses for the same ; but here, in the laws of our own 
being, we have alwavs at hand a standard of appeal. It is 
based upon that sacred injunction, "do thyself no harm." 
Every well-informed teacher, and especially one versed in 
the laws of physiology, will see almost intuitively the great 
importance and convenience of having such a standard ol 
law [\>v f> rira/ ! as well as fmhllr discipline. Said President 
Felton to the writer, shortly before his decease, referring to 
the gymnastics at Amherst which he had just witnessed : 

' Such a system of physical exercises thoroughly understood 
and applied bv the members of Harvard I niver.-itv. would 
aid me in the matter of discipline in that In.-t it ution more 
than anything else." We are here aiithori/ed to state, that 
the Faculty of Amherst College have found 21 eat assist- 
ance in government from this source ; that since the intro- 
duction of this department, the cases requiring discipline 
have been far less numerous, and more easily managed, than 

I'dh. Within a few years great interest has arisen with 
reference to physical exercises, partly on the score of amuse- 
ment and recreation, but more for the sake of sanitary 
advantages. Few of these exercises are new. but a fresh 
interest in many quarters has been kindled up in their 
behalf. The following list comprises most of them : walk- 
ing, horseback riding, skating, cricket and croquet plaving. 
gymnastics and calisthenics, base-ball, foot-ball, boating. Xc. 
Now no two of these exercises are precisely alike : they all 
have their peculiarities, calling into exercise dill'erent classes 
of muscles, and exerting diverse influences upon the system. 
The great objection to some of those exercises is. that they 
call into practice only a few muscles, and that over and over 
again. Others do not have that physiological influence upon 
the brain, nor produce that pleasurable excitement in the 
mind that is desirable. In fact it is found dillicult to keep 
up the interest in many of them for month.- or years, with- 
out resorting to collateral aid-, such as set uaine-. bets nr a 
species "I gambling. 

Walking, the oldest of all exercises and the most exten- 
sively practiced, has many advantages calling into play a 
large part of the muscles; requires no expense. is pur- 
sued in the "pen air : and. \\heii one ha- leisure, plea-ant 
company and objects or attractions -uflicient to interest the 
mind, ii" better physical exercise can be t'"iind. 

Horse-back riding- and skating; may be reckoned among 

o o / O 

the most delightful exercises ; but then these, to say nothing 
of the expense, can be enjoyed only at particular seasons of 
the year or in certain kinds of weather ; and, to be rendered 
really pleasant and profitable, one must have company of the 
riyht stamp. These exercises are admirably fitted for indi- 
viduals or small companies in pursuit of pleasure or health, 
or to resort to occasionally, but could never be practiced 
regularly and systematically by a large body of students. 
In pleasant weather children and young ladies can find 

/ o 

no better physical exercise than in cricket and croquet 
playing, but, when congregated in school or in seminary, 
calisthenics afford in these places the best kind of exercise 
for them. It is an encouraging fact that more and more 
attention is being devoted to such training both in the 
School and in the Family. Base Hall. always popular 
and formerly practiced somewhat extensively. has of late 
years come into great favor, and may be considered almost 
a national game. The ellects of this exercise as a whole 
upon the system are decidedly beneficial. It is peculiarly 
calculated to call into practice nearly all the muscles of the 
limbs, as well as most of those of the trunk. The munncr 
in which all parts of the body are called into action, afford- 
ing a constant change of muscle, and variety in the rapidity 
of movement are very conducive to the promotion of both 
health and strength. Hut when this game is played with 
great x.eal. there may be danger, in the too rapid and long 
continued exercise of running and violent efforts at striking 
the ball, of producing an injurious eilect upon the heart and 
lungs. 1st. by increasing the circulation of the blood to an 
unnatural extent, and. 2nd. by causing a congested state of 
both these organs. If there should happen to be any con- 
stitutional weakness or abnormal formation here, the injurious 
eilect and the danger would be still 'greater. There is also 

;in objection to this kind of exercise from tin; intense and 
general excitement sometimes created hv competition, ami 
again hv resorts to wagers or lids. The sanitary effect is 
entirely lost sight of in the strife for victory. As this pi me 
can he carried mi milv in pleasant weather, and ri'ijiiires 
extensive grounds where the numhers are lame, it is not at 
all well suited to the wants ol an Institution whose momhers 
require daily exercise throughout the year. 

The onlv remaining exercise that can properly claim 
attention is that of Boating. .In>t at the present time this 
is creating verv great interest hoth mi the jiart of the puhlic 
as well as of smne of our literary institutions. While, mi 
the one hand there are great advantage-, physical and men- 
tal, arising from this kind of exercise, on the oilier there are 
evils of a most serious character. In order to ascmtain its 
real hygienic or sanitary etl'ect< it hecomes necessary to 
examine the physiological changes it produces. '1 here are 
two styles or modes of rowing, and where long training has 
heen had the elfect is marked in the difference of physical 
development. One mode increases particularly the muscles 
of the arms, shoulders and chest, while the oilier enlaiLivs 
more t he muscles of the legs, hi p> and hack. \>\ the former 
stvle. the rowers heml the hack, how the head forwaids. and 
raise the shoulders, making a Ion LI', sweeping stroke \\n imit 
dipping the oar very deep into the water. Hut hv the other 
mode, the hack is more erect, the leet are lirnilv hraced. the 
ro\ver resting upon the oar. partlv. does t!ie \vork more \\iih 
his legs, hips and hack. Sometimes these two styles of 
rowing al'e lilem ei| together, and til' 1 developinenl \ muse e 
is more etjual. In eithei case a powerful >tiain comes upon 
the hack and chot. exert in u; a n'reat inlluence o\ei the func- 
tions ol' respiration and eii'culatiou. Tin- elfect i- \\ell 
descl'lheil in the |o||o\\m^ ipictatlon ll'om the London Lan- 
cet of J a i ma i v. 1 MiS : " the act ion ol ro\\ m u intei fere- more 

directly with the respiratory process than almost any other 
exercise. In running. which, however, is equally liable to 
injurious excess. it is within the power of the voluntary 
muscles to regulate the rate of the respiratory movements; 
and it is well known that a well-expanded chest and rhyth- 
mic breathing greatly diminish the disturbing effects of 
exercise upon the heart and lungs. But in rowing the 
chest is nearly always fixed, and the respiratory movements 
are only possible in the short interval of rest at the termi- 
nation of the stroke. As the racing pace is forty strokes 
per minute, the rate of respiration is doubled, and the act 
itself, being necessarily shortened, is reduced to a mere 
involuntary gasp. Under these circumstances the lungs he- 
come rapidly congested and the heart seriously oppressed. 
It involves a draught on the muscular, and we should add, 
nervous and respiratory powers of those engaged in it more 
or less injurious to their future health, some temporarily, 
others permanently." 

Mr. Skcv, one of the most eminent surgeons in (Jreat 
Britain, in an article discussing this subject, in the London 
'finies. 1SI17. referring to the condition of the crews at the 
termination of the races as he had witnessed it, describes it 
thus; -the men look utterly exhausted. Their white and 
sunken features and palid lips show serious congestion of 
the heart and lungs, and the air of weakness and lassitude 
makes it a inanel how such great exertion should have been 
so noblv undergone. We have repeatedly seen the after ill- 
ellects, spitting of blood, congested lungs, and weakness of 
the heart and great vessels from over distention of their 
walls: and we are therefore of the opinion, that some re- 
strictions should be put upon the candidates for boating 
honors, and that the regulations for training should be based 
upon scientific principles rather than the crude dogmas of a 
blind experience." Dr. Hope, one of the most distinguished 

writers upon diseases of the heart, gives it as a settled opin- 
ion, that "hard exercise in lowing" is one of the most 
prominent causes of heart disease. 

There can he hut one opinion on tin; part of the medical 
profession in our own country ;ts well as in (Jrea.t Britain, 
as to the injurious ell'ect of h'lal-riu'iinj upon the constitution 
and health. If the exercise could he practiced moderately 
or upon scientific principles, the profession, we presume, would 
he equally agreed that its sanitary effects were decidedly 
henelicial. Here is the difficulty: can its practice be kept 
within proper hounds, or he conducted upon right principles, 
where especially large numbers of young men are concerned. 
representing different localities, communities and institutions'.' 
lint the welfare of //n' /"///// is not alone endangered: what 
can be said respecting the exposure of regular habits and 
good morals of young men on too many public occasions 
growing out of boating and l><ml racing ? Let the public 
accounts given us by the press answer. As this exercise, is 
now conducted, and is likely to be. is it becoming scholars 
and educated men to engage in it. or wise for our public 
institutions to encourage it '.' 

VI. ITS hiroin'AN' '!:. 

That there is a most intimate and necessary connection 
between the improvement of the mind and the culture of 
the bodv all will admit. It is now prcttv well established 
by the highest authorities in medical science, that the brain 
is. in some sense, the or LI'; i n of the mind. that all mental 
manifestations in this world depend very much upon the sixe 
and <iiialilv nl the brain, and the varim^ agencies aflectiiig 
its functions. If. therefore, all intellectual culture is imt 
only dependent upon. but. in a u'rcat measure, controlled and 
y certain ph\sical conditions, it is of the highest 



importance in the course of a liberal education, to under- 
stand what these conditions are, and to be able to turn- them 
to the best possible account. And it is not alone the rela- 
tions which the brain itself sustains to the mind that are 
important, but those are equally so, in some respects, which 
it bears to other parts of the body. For instance, it is well 
known, that the mind is sometimes greatly affected by the 
state of the stomach, the liver and the digestive organs 
generally. In fact there can scarcely be a diseased or 
abnormal condition of any organ in the human system that 
will not have some influence upon the mind. Now while the 
primary object of gymnastics is to facilitate, in the highest 
degree, mental culture for the time being, they tend also, 
when properly conducted, to prevent disease by checking or 
removing in their incipient stages those weaknesses or lire- 
dispositions which, if neglected, will inevitably terminate in 
sickness of some kind. And to do this most successfully 
every part or organ of the body must receive its due pro- 
portion of exercise, and that too not only in harmony with 
the laws that govern its own functions but with the laws 
and functions of every other part or organ of the system. 
For it is in this way that the greatest measure of health as 
well as of strength and longevity are secured. 

The human body in its normal or most healthy state, 
may be compared to a perfect machine, made up of a great 
variety of parts, each part performing its own work, doing 
just so much and no more, and not interfering with the 
exercise of others, so that the wear and tear will come upon 
all parts of the machinery alike. The lungs, the heart, and 
the stomach. &c.. have each a specific work to do. which 
requires a ceitain amount of exercise of not onlv the muscles 
immediately connected with these organs, hut of the muscles 
more or less, in all other parts of the system. For illustra- 
tion, in order that the lungs should become well developed ami 


receive healthy exercise, it is indispensihle that the muscles 
about the chest and shoulders be properly trained, no less 
than those of the arms and the legs. 

1 heit> are several modes or kinds of exercise in popular 
use. which however otherwise allowable, are open to this 
objection. \ i/... that they develop and strengthen mainly the 
extreme portions of the body. Health and strength are not 
synonymous terms. A person may have great strength in 
his limbs or in certain muscles about the body, but really 
not have good health. It is altogether a mi-taken idea to 
suppose, that physical exercises have for their sole object 
the attainment of strength. There are othei tissues and 
organs in the human system besides the muscular: and. 
the healthy action of the lungs and the stomach is far 
more important than great strength in the arms. legs, or 
the back. It is here, in this general exercise of all the 
muscles and parts of the body, that the system of gymnas- 
tics advocated in this paper has its great excellence. It 
aims to produce just that development of the human sv-ieni 
upon which good health is permanently based, described by 
a distinguished writer as follow- : "health is the uniform 
and regular performance of all the functions of the body. 
ari.-ing from the harmonious action of all its parts. a physi- 
cal condition implying that all are sound, well-lining and 
well matched. Some minds do not look far enough into life f 
see ibis distinction, or to value it if seen ; they fix their eyes 
loiiii'iiiiilv upon sliTH'/llt upon strength //'///'. and seemingly 
care not for the [tower to \vm k long, to \\oik \\ell. to woik 
successfully hereafter, which is ll<tt/llt. 

There is another, a higher and more commanding po>i- 
tioii from \\hich thi> subject max be viewed: it i- in the 
livjit of x/i/i'nrilsliiii of accountability to (iod lor all the 
-ifl-. (he powers and talents that Me ha- elltlll.-ted to our 
care. These bodies, however we max pamp'T '>r ahu.-e them. 


are not our own. They are a sacred trust from the Al- 
mighty, for the use and improvement of which we shall 
individually be held responsible in the great day of accounts 
no less than for mental talents and acquirements. When 
the inter-depenent relations of body and mind are considered 
in their true light with reference to the life eternal, it is 
scarcely possible to overstate or overestimate the importance 
of physical culture. 


Statistirsin the Department of Physical Ivlm-ation ami Hygiene 
in Amherst College, extending from Srptcmher, l y ul, to SfjiU-iiilirr, 
1XM : 



Juniors, - 


, r .(kV> 17.'. '.''.'.i ,",."1. :rj ! . i 2i->.2iMi 11.7."'- iu.,-c>;j 
r.-iitu l:j9.iiTU :;:>/i7i -j'U.u'U n..>- !t.:^--2 

ll.;;:i s.sol 




Colds and Pneumonia, 


Intermittent Fever, 
Liver Complaint, . . 






Nervous Irritability, 


Meningitis, (parti}- of a moral character) 









Typhoid Fever, . , . . 





Dysentery, ...... 



Quinsy and Sore Throat, 



Camp Fever, .... 


Colic, ....... 






Chicken Pox, ...... 



Fi-tula, ..... 



Doubtful, .... 



A"MHKI!ST (V)I.l.K(iK, JuiH' 14th. 1S()0. 

The Class of ISOo, having compk'tod its studies in Amherst Col- 
lege, desires to express its hiu'h appreciation of the physical culture 
which it has received under the direct ion of Prof. Hitchcock. As 
this class is the first one in College which has enjoyed through its 
whole course this physical training, some cx])ression of opinion seems 
quite proper. There have l>ecn ninety-two ditl'erent students con- 
nected with the class, liftv-five of which now [graduate; ei^ht have 
died, two with consumption, and six in the Army from wounds or 
disease. There is no one <>f the tjratluatinj* class lut could pass a 
complete examination I'm- life in>urance <>r admission into the I'nited 
Stall's Armv. From a thorough trial of four vears' coiir>e of train- 
ing, we can fairlv jud^e of the system here adopted. Our exercises 
have been conducted in a well-furnished ^\ mnasiuni, and alwavs under 


the direction of tilt 1 Profe--or in tin- department. \Vehave found 
tlii' required at 1 endance a part of tin- sv-tcni \\<>\ at all objec- 
tionable, and, what at tir-t in the e\erci-e was a little embarrassing 
or unpleasant, soon became a po-iti\e pleasure. The simultaneous 
participation of manv persons in tlir same e\erci-e- ha- contributed 
a lively /e-t to them, \\hen otherwise thev would ha\e proved dull 
and unmt ere-t MIL:.'. Tlu'st 1 exercises have lieen so varied in character 

as to In- adapted both to the -tronu'e-t and the \veal\e-t -t lldent. eoli- 
diicinu' alike to health, slreiiu'th and 'jfraee of action. The halt-hour 
rei|iiired tor eM-rcisc lia> jiroved t lie golden mean hetueen len^t h and 
brevity of time for thi- purpose, aii'l ha- ne\er been considered lo>-t 
by us, as our health at the close of our college course te>tities to the 
inestimable \alne of this traiiiinjj, 1 , \\'e are contident, if this matter 
of exercise had been left a voluntarv thinu'. manv ot' our cla->, who 
are now strong and healthv, \\nuld ha\e vielded to the di-ea-o inci- 
dent to student life, while other-, uho were \\eak and -lender bovs 
on entering college, are now stion^und vii^oroii- men. ('a-e- ot' pro- 
tracted illnes- have been almo-t unknown amon<_r u-, and lar^e num- 
bers in the cla-s ha\e not been detained bv illne-s from a -MiLi'le col- 
lege dntv. Believing that a -tronu' body is the be-t luilwark to a 
sound mind that strong museles and well-developed limbs are pow- 
erful aids to the brain, and beini* indebted verv much tor these re- 
sult- in our ease to the phv-ieal trainiiiLf we have received in Amherst 
(', illru'e. \\ e <_d\ e this voluntary testimony to the value of the -y>t em 
ot' u'ymna.-tic- here adopted. 

!:. P. FHU>T, ) 

.M. K. PAS. o, Cint tl itte:. 

A. 11. H..\\ I.ANI', } 

AMIII;];-!' ('OLLKUK, Ma\ Tin. l^t) 1 . 1 . 
1 )i:. N \ rii \ \ A 1.1 i:\ : 

Deal- Sir, 

The Senior Cla-s learn through Prof. Hitch- 
cock that \ on Uould be gratified t'' IVceh e ail e\pre--ioll "I our 
dpinioii a- tii 1 he \ al lie ot' our L;'\'] e\erci-e> \t-ar- 

experieiu-e. I; -i\ - u- --real plea-ure : > -> nd yon a co| \ re.-o- 

lution- adopted tinit,i'intii*l>i l>\ the da a- I'ollow-: 


and knowing that an expression of our opinion of it is desired, there- 

" Resolcc-fl, That the daily required exercise, as at present con- 
ducted by Prof. Edward Hitchcock, by the happy union of pleasure 
and exercise is exactly suited to our needs, giving us strength and 
vigor for our other duties, and developing a more manly physique. 

"Resolved, That we convey to the friends of the gymnasium our 
hearty thanks for its foundation and support." 

You will not understand of course, when we say "exactly suited," 
that we consider that the gymnastic system is brought to perfection. 
We refer to the union of exercise and pleasure, which contributes so 
much to make everything pleasant, and which we do not think can 
be changed for anything better. 

"With great respect, 


JOSEPH 15. SEAUI'KV, > Committee. 

GEO. M. GAGE, ) 


Numerous testimonials from this source might be obtained, but 
only two cases will here be stated, of students coming to college 
from city lite, who experienced great changes one in his mural 
character, and the other in his plnjxirul condition by means of this 
Department. The first says, in a letter to Dr. Hitchcock : " As my 
college course draw- to a clo>e, I owe it to von to state how com- 
pletely my opinion has changed in reference to voiir department in 
college. T came here, von remember, from the citv, with certain <1[1- 
li'tiiitti- and delicate-handed notions, which led me to look witli some 
contempt upon the gymnasium, though I was soon obliged to submit 

to its salutary authority. /*'"/ t/ti* I (:<in //< r< roi: too <//'<if<fi/l 

I have reason to believe that the melancholy which always clouded 
my intellectual and religion-- life, would still shut out the cheerful 
health and sunshine I now enjoy, had it not been for the beneficial 
effects of the phv^ical e.\erci>es in vour department, combined with 
your kind and faithful treatment." 

The other student referred to writes a- follows: " When I came 
to Amherst College, mv physical condition could not be called good. 
o\I v limbs were slender, mv flesh was thin; I feared trouble from 
my lungs, and not imfrequeiit ly had spell- of sickness of different 
kinds. Since my connection with college, I have been almo-t con- 
stantly well, and, when I have been otherwise, I have generallv been 
able to trace my illness to some violation of the laws of health. This 
change I ascribe mainly to gvmnastic training. I)iinnir mv first 
year, my arms increased in -i/.e two indie-, and mv che-t three 
inches. J have exercised more than most students, and so perhaps 
but few of them could show so great u'ain. but mv exercise has never 

interfered in the least with mv studies The general health of 

college students is not only better during' their college coiir.-e, but it 
has uniformly improved, so much so that there i- a marked difference 
in the verv appearance of the clas>es as they advance in >tandin'_r. 
The' round shoulders, lank limbs and li-tle-< motion- of the lower 
classes are in striking contraM with the erect carriage, robu-t frame 
and vigorous action which, as a rule, are exhibited by those who have. 
been in college two or three years. Of cour-e, there are some well- 
developed physiques among the Freshmen, and some who are far t'n 'in 
being muscular amon^ the Seniors; but generally the fact i> as stated 
above." " 


AND r>owij\<; ALLFYS. 

The (Gymnasium is open for exercise from 
prayer time, excepting the hour tor dinner. 

1. No person is allowed to use the Parallel I'.ar-, the Rack P>ars, 
the Ladder-, or the Incline Hoard, without -lipper-. 

'.!. I )itr'mu' the regular cla exercise, no member of the cla^s will 
be admitted to it \\ithoiit hi- complete unitbnu ; and each -Indent 
will keep hi- po-ition in the rank- dui'iii',;' the whole exerci-e. 

;-{. I'ei'siins nut ci'iinected with collect', even it'in\iti'd by one 
of its members, cannot be allo\\-ed to exen-isc in anv part <>t' the 
building', without -peeial permi--i"ii tV"in the Profes-or, and no per- 
son, not a member of the college, can at anv time u-e any of tlie 
apparatu-, or an alley, to the exclusion \ any member ot eiilK-'je. 

4. A ]>art\ after n-im_r an alh-\' for one name, niu-t gi\e way. if 
others are waiting for their turn. 


5. It is forbidden to throw the balls on the alleys, or indulge in 
any but the legitimate game. The balls must never be sent from 
East to West except in the gutters made for the purpose. 

0. It is also forbidden to smoke, or spit on the floors, or litter 
them ; to use improper language, or indulge in violent or boisterous 

7. Each person, after using any piece of the movable apparatus, 
\vill at (nice, in an orderly way, return it to its proper place. 

S. Persons wantonly or carelessly injuring the building or any 
of its apparatus, will be held strictly accountable therefor. 


' Such are the dominating powers with which we, and we alone, 
are gifted ! I say gifted, for the surpassing organization was no work 
of ours. It is lie that hath made us; not \ve ourselves. This frame 
is a temporary trust, lor the uses of which we are responsible to the 

u ()li! you who possess it in the supple vigor of lusty youth, think 
well what it is that lie has committed to your keeping. Waste not 
its energies ; dull them not by sloth ; spoil them not. by pleasures ! 
The supreme work of creation has been accomplished thai you might 
possess a body the soul erect of all animal bodies the most free, 
and for what ? for the service of the soul. 

"Strive to reali/e the conditions of the possession of this won- 
drous structure. Think what it may become, the Temple of the 
Holy Spirit! Defile it not. Seek, rather to adorn it with all meek 
and becoming gifts, with that fair furniture, moral and intellectual, 
which it is your inestimable privilege to acquire through the teachings 
and examples and ministrations of this Seat of Sound Learning and 
Religious Education." [/Vo/1 Otctn, Jh'itiah Jfuneuni, London.] 

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