Over Long Years

Abbot's Staunchest Friend


J. B. C.


JANE BRODIE CARPENTER, Abbot '92! This is her book, the testimony of her loyalty and affection for her school. Only the historian, the research scholar, can truly appreciate the competent recording of material of every sort which is now gathered together in book form. During the years, as she noted details of the daily life of the school, she was at the same time eager to get information for stories of the past, and in this way she became "through constant watching, wise." She worked closely with Miss Bailey, and her efforts were recognized by Miss Bailey's tribute to her in the Centennial Bulletin in 1929:

Through all the years of her service to the Academy, she has been quietly and tirelessly laying the foundations upon which all the accomplishments of these later years have been built. The development of the Alumnae Association with its far-flung Abbot Clubs, the Bulletin, the Loyalty Fund, and finally the Centennial Celebration are all absolutely dependent not only upon the patiently accumulated data with which the Alumnae Office is filled, but upon the wisdom, tact, and farsightedness with which the alumnae affairs have been administered. . . . [In preparation for the Centennial] we all turned to her continually for information and advice, and all the lines ran through her office. . . . How she ever kept her head clear with all the demands upon her, it is hard to understand, but that she did was evident at every turn of the proceedings.

As Jane Carpenter went her observant way, she was no provincial. Knowing the methods of her own college, she became familiar with those of many others through the meetings of the American Alumni Council, which she faithfully attended. She always came back full of enthusiasm and new ideas. The Office in Abbot Hall, with its unlimited biographical material about individual alumnae and its splendid collection of photographs covering the history of the School, compares favorably with alumnae offices in colleges.

This book has been a true labor of love, the work of many years, completed after triumph over heavy personal cares and grave responsibilities, over illness. That it can be published now is due to the devotion of her sister, Miriam F. Carpenter, known to the alumnae as the compiler of the 1952 Alumnae Register. To the alumnae, Jane Carpenter has ever been the welcoming friend. To the members of the Faculty she has brought understanding and wise counsel. For all of us she has now composed a fascinating record. It is fair and accurate, a true picture of an era, and it is very evidently the work of the "Keeper of Alumnae Records," who, especially, may say, "Wherever in the world I am, in whatsoe'er estate, I have a fellowship of hearts to keep and cultivate."

Dorothy Hopkins Morris



MUCH of this book has been written really for readers a hundred years hence ---if indeed it should live so long! Therefore commonplaces and trivial incidents have purposely been included, not solely to bring the Era to life again now for the benefit of the alumnae who were in School at that time, but with the idea of giving color and atmosphere as well as enlightenment to a later generation of students who may not ever have thought back to the origin of enduring customs, and who may be amazed to find that human nature does not change through the years.

The first part of the book covers the years 1912-36 and Part II treats of the very beginnings of the School and its gradual growth. Sources of information for the main story have been found in contemporary reports, in various publications, and in interviews with people in all groups associated with Miss Bailey, in addition to my own memories, since official Faculty and Trustee records have been accessible only in part.

Hearty thanks are hereby given to all who have so generously helped in providing facts and background material, especially to Dorothy Hopkins Morris who has studied the manuscript with meticulous care, amending it with skill; to Betty Dix Goddard, 1931, for emergency aid; to Mrs. Crane whose gracious and discriminating suggestions have been invaluable; and to my sister without whose energetic and experienced help the book could not now be issued.

If the book may seem to many unduly detailed, it is partly because of the temptation to make the history of private secondary education in that day as complete as possible, and partly because my sense of proportion has failed me in speaking of my own much loved work for the School. Besides the really interesting record-keeping and research, the constant association with so many capable and congenial people has been a great and continued satisfaction and has brought many lasting and treasured friendships.

Jane B. Carpenter
June, 1959



PART I. Abbot and Miss Bailey

I .Miss Bailey's Beginnings
II. First Developments
III. War Time
IV. Social Conventions and Morale Builders
V. A Review of Some Educational Policies at Abbot Academy
VI. Physical Education
VII. Department Dealing with Speech
VIII. Keeping Up Scholastic Standards
IX. Educational Opportunities and Resources for the Faculty
X. Publications
XI. The School and the Alumnae
XII. The Library
XIII. Traditions --- and Changes Old and New
XIV. Financial Policies and Problems
XV. Religion and Philanthropy
XVI. Outside Influences
XVII. Buildings and Grounds
XVIII. Trustees of Miss Bailey's Era
XIX. Close-Ups of Three Teachers --- and an Ally .
XX. The Centennial
XXI. Leave of Absence for Miss Bailey
XXII. Miss Bailey "in Person"

PART II. Abbot in the Early Days

          Explanatory Note
XXIII. The Very Beginnings, 1829
          Information for Reference
XXIV. Personalities in Abbot Finance
XXV. A Garland of Memories
XXVI. Women Pioneers
XXVII. Harriet Beecher Stowe
XXVIII. Early Plans for Housing
XXIX. Commons
XXX. The Story of the Dormitories
          Smith Hall
          Davis Hall
          South Hall
XXXI. The Early Curriculum
          Physical Education and Sports
          Abbot and the Training of Teachers
XXXII. Extra-Curricular Traditions
          Graduation Customs
          Presidential Elections
          Good Times
XXXIII. Annals of the Alumnae Association

Part One: Alice and Miss Bailey