WHENEVER a young teacher asks me, "How can I become a headmaster?" my first reaction is to inquire, "Why such a foolish ambition? The burdens are heavy, the grief is constant, and the rewards are nebulous!" But if he persists, I can only answer, "Nobody knows. Headmasters are recruited from all walks of life --- not only from teaching but from business, from school and college deans, from the ministry, and even from the army. No specific form of training leads to school administration. Furthermore luck, good or bad, has a lot to do with it."
In the late autumn of 1932, Stanley King, who had just been inaugurated as President of Amherst College, asked me to come to see him and then offered me a Professorship of Biography at Amherst, at a generous salary, with complete freedom to write and teach as much as I pleased. I was to be resident on the campus, with a position in the field of biography similar to that occupied by Robert Frost in poetry. After my wife and I had talked it over, we made up our minds that perhaps we were ready to make a change. I had done about all I could do as a teacher of English and was moving rapidly towards history as my major interest. Here was my chance!
While the Amherst matter was still in abeyance, I made a trip to New York by train and found myself talking in the parlor car with General Edward L. Logan, the eminent commander of the 26th (Yankee) Division in the First World War. At Providence the porter came through announcing, "Calvin Coolidge is dead!" That was on January 6, 1933. As we rode on, General Logan and I exchanged stories about Mr. Coolidge, and when I reached the University Club in New York I drafted an outline for an article on the ex-President which I submitted on my return to Edward A. Weeks, editor of the Atlantic. He looked it over and asked quickly, "Why don't you do a biography of Coolidge?" I was already committed to a biography of Henry Cabot Lodge, but that task had for several reasons become distasteful, and the idea of writing about a fellow Amherst man was most appealing. Furthermore it occurred to me that Amherst would be the perfect place in which to carry on research about Coolidge and steep myself in the proper atmosphere.
As the weeks went on, the project seemed more and more attractive. In early March I made an engagement with Mrs. Coolidge at Northampton and persuaded my friend, Horace M. Poynter, to accompany me. We spent two days in the Connecticut Valley, seeing Mrs. Coolidge three times, and on Sunday afternoon, March 12, we drove back to Andover with my plans all settled for an indefinite future. As we stepped out of the automobile in front of the Phelps House, Elsie Poynter appeared in tears and said, "Jack, Charlie Forbes is dead, and the trustees are waiting to see you in Jim Sawyer's library."
Although Forbes, the acting headmaster, had not been well, this news was staggering, and I could hardly believe that another major disaster had happened to the Academy. At the treasurer's house I found Judge Elias B. Bishop (who had only recently been elected President of the Board of Trustees), Alfred L. Ripley (former President of the Board), Mr. Sawyer, and one or two others, sitting around in very solemn conclave. After telling me the details, Judge Bishop -- whom I then didn't know very well --- glared at me and said, "Fuess, we've decided that you are to take over the school tomorrow morning!" "But I can't," I protested. "I've made different plans. I'm going to Amherst as a professor." "Nonsense!" replied the judge. "You've just got to help us out here." "Do you mean to say," I asked, "that I've got to be headmaster whether I want to be or not?" "Not necessarily headmaster," came the answer. "This doesn't mean that you're not going to be headmaster; on the other hand it doesn't mean that you're going to be." I was tired and hungry and emotionally shattered, and perhaps may be forgiven for coming back vigorously "You're damned right it doesn't!" Then Judge Bishop, with a quizzical expression on his face, inquired, "Fuess, do you often say damn?" "Not too often," I rejoined "but when I do say it, I mean it!" The judge leaned over, patted my knee, and said "Young fellow, you're a man after my own heart!" That was the beginning of my close friendship with one of the most generous, humorous, and fair-minded of men. The next morning I walked over to the headmaster's office, took my seat with my knees shaking on the platform at morning chapel, and explained to the boys the situation. I continued to sit on that platform, with varying degrees of timidity, until June 1948.
There is no moral to this story. I became a headmaster in spite of my designs or desires. That is what happens to most headmasters. Very few start out their careers with the announced intention of becoming the administrative heads of schools. By far the largest proportion come direct from the teaching profession, as I did. Perry and Saltonstall at Exeter, Heely at Lawrenceville, Kittredge at St. Paul's, Arthur B. Perry at Milton, and many others were teachers before being elected to headmasterships. From the Deerfield Academy faculty have been drafted several headmasters, including Eames of Governor Dummer, Wickenden of Tabor, Allen of Hebron, Poor of Fountain Valley, and Hagaman of Holderness. A man who has gone through the mill as an instructor should, as a headmaster, be able to talk the same professional lingo as his teaching staff. Until I tried to run Phillips Academy, I never realized how much protection a Phi Beta Kappa key and a doctorate could offer.
As I have intimated, I had no inauguration or formal investiture. One week I was quite contentedly preparing seniors for the College Entrance Board examinations; the next I was sitting behind a desk in an office in George Washington Hall, endeavoring to regain my bearings. My friend, G. Grenville Benedict, hastened back from Bermuda to take my place as teacher and ultimately became the very reliable Dean of Students. The situation in some respects was critical, for the school had been shaken by a succession of unparalleled misfortunes, and it was necessary to restore confidence. Fortunately for me, I was well known on the campus, and even those who didn't like me preferred to take a chance with my familiar defects rather than risk somebody entirely new. Thus I had the initial strong support of both faculty and boys.
It seemed to be essential to dramatize the new administration in some appealing way. With unprecedented rapidity we broke with tradition by shifting the hour of morning chapel from 7:45 to 10 and abolishing the second compulsory Sunday service. These reforms were both long overdue and very popular. Because I was not, like most of my predecessors, a clergyman, I recognized the desirability of placing somebody at once in direct charge of the Academy's religious activities. Accordingly I asked my younger friend, the Reverend A. Graham Baldwin, then on the staff in the Department of Religion, to fill the position of school minister. His acceptance was a guarantee that I need have no worries about a field in which I was certainly without experience. I believed then --- and still believe --- that the school physician and the school minister occupy unique positions and must be selected with the greatest care. No man could have been more cooperative than Gray Baldwin --- or better suited to his job.
Baldwin was hardly settled in the Cochran Chapel before he called one morning at my office, sat down, and said, "Jack, wouldn't it be a good idea for you to join the church?" "Why, Gray," I responded proudly and reproachfully, "I joined the Presbyterian Church at the age of eight in Waterville, New York, and can even repeat part of the catechism." A smile of relief passed across his face, and then he said, "That's fine --now why not get yourself transferred to the Church of Christ in Phillips Academy?" This seemed to me sensible, and he went away happy. I then wrote a letter to the minister of the Waterville church requesting a transfer, but no reply came. Baldwin would stop in my office three or four times a week and invariably ask whether the necessary document had arrived; and I had to confess that it had not. Finally I communicated directly with my brother, who explained that the present local minister was new and unacquainted with his responsibilities; and the next time Baldwin propounded the familiar query I was able to take from my desk a Manila envelope and hand it to him. He opened it, read a few lines, and then began to laugh. "What is there funny," I asked, "about a church transfer?" "Well, read it yourself," he retaliated. I took it from him. It was an impressive-looking sheet of parchment, adorned with gilt letters certifying that Claude Moore Fuess was herewith transferred from the First Presbyterian Church of Waterville, New York, to the Church of Christ in Phillips Academy. But down at the bottom the cautious clergyman had typed the sentence, "We know nothing of the conduct of this man for the past thirty years." I had the document framed and it hung for years on the wall of my office, as a reminder that pride goeth before a fall.
To my delight the Faculty Curriculum Committee passed with amazing unanimity a revised curriculum, placing Latin upon an elective instead of a required basis and providing for a compulsory History Sequence, with ancient history in the junior year, European history in the lower middle year, English history in the upper middle year, and American history in the senior year. Under the old program, few boys had taken more than one course in history and many had taken none at all.
As a member of the Curriculum Committee I had been trying for three or four years to have these changes made, but they had been blocked in the end by two members of the Board of Trustees. One of them had said at a meeting of the Board in 1931, "American history will become a compulsory subject at Andover only over my dead body!" Within a year he was in his grave, and American history was a required subject ---and has been ever since.
It is wise for any school, no matter how well established, to re-examine its curriculum at least every ten years and make what changes seem to be desirable. The course of study should not be allowed to become static, and at different periods different subjects require different emphases. The hour had unquestionably arrived at Andover for the abandonment of compulsory Latin. It was distasteful to many students, and in the existing state of the world other subjects assumed greater importance. I do not intend here to add my contribution to the already too long dispute over the value of Latin for adolescent boys. The faculty felt that there were boys in Phillips Academy to whom a modern foreign language offered a greater reward than Greek or Latin, and this the revised curriculum permitted them to take.
With the recent opening of the Addison Gallery and the installation of the magnificent Cassavant Frères Organ in the Cochran Chapel, Andover was at last equipped to institute required courses in the appreciation of art and music. I must confess that I felt like shouting when the faculty finally agreed to allow this experiment to be tried.
While these changes were taking place, I was still acting headmaster, with the possibility increasing that I might have to face the prospect of being elected permanently to that position. During the spring vacation my wife and I went to the Partridge Inn, at Augusta, Georgia, where I tried each of the four fine golf courses, including the famous Bobby Jones course, which I was delighted to play one morning in 89. Each evening we would sit before the log fire, usually with my father's boyhood friend, Frank L. Babbott, and try to decide whether, if it were offered to me, I would accept the headmastership. Mr. Babbott, a graduate of Amherst in the Class of 1878, was strong for my going back to the college. My wife, however, who had lived in Andover most of her life, obviously preferred to stay there --- although she promised to abide by my decision. I returned to Andover for the spring term with my mind still in a turmoil and with my problem still unsettled. Although I was aware that the trustees were carrying on an investigation of possible candidates, I was much too busy to concern myself about that. So far as I knew the Amherst job was still open, and I was ready for it.
One May morning Judge Bishop came unexpectedly into my office and said, "Fuess, we've been looking over quite a number of other fellows, but all of us know that we really want you, and we're going to elect you permanently at the next meeting. What have you got to say about that?" As he was speaking, I was aware that I would have to accept. I had committed myself to projects which I didn't wish to abandon. I had begun to enjoy getting things done. It seemed to me that if I had any real mission in life, it was probably at Andover. Almost without a pretense of reflection, I replied, "All right, Judge Bishop --- if you want me, I'll take the job!"
Some questions of housing had to be discussed, for Judge Bishop wanted us to move out of the ugly and poorly located Tucker House into the beautiful Phelps House, built by Bulfinch in 1810 for the President of Andover Theological Seminary and the most attractive residence on the campus. My friends, the Poynters, who were then renting it from the trustees, with characteristic abnegation consented to occupy other quarters. At the meeting of the trustees on May 28 I was instructed to be available in my office on the ground floor of George Washington Hall. While I waited, I was formally elected headmaster and was then escorted upstairs to the Trustees' Room by my friends, Philip L. Reed and Lloyd D. Brace. When my acceptance was publicly announced, the boys gathered at Bulfinch Hall and, headed by their band, marched to my house to cheer me. About all I could say was, "This has been a co-operative year, and I hope there will be many more co-operative years to come." At the commencement in June I tried to sum up my own views by saying:
To me education is the process of so broadening and intensifying a person's latent intellectual, artistic, and moral power as to enable him to develop his capacity for enjoyment, to increase his efficiency and his capacity for service, and to enlarge his aesthetic and spiritual resources.
One of my difficult problems was how to conduct religious services, for until I was elected headmaster I was unaccustomed to liturgies and litanies. I did believe, however, that it was the duty of a headmaster to place himself squarely and unequivocably behind the religious program of the school, and I resolved to do my part in both chapel and church exercises. Accordingly I presided at these whenever I was in Andover. Often, too, I pronounced the prayers but never extemporaneously, for I recognized the literary quality of the Episcopal prayer book and always used it whenever possible. Once in my early experience on the platform I actually forgot the Lord's Prayer, but the boys carried on without my leadership. After that, I had several typed copies made and framed under glass so that one would be available wherever it might be needed. I have heard several clergymen confess that they have forgotten the familiar words; and even Bishop Lawrence told me that he was never free from the fear that the words might fade from his memory.
I still feel that compulsory chapel and church are very desirable in schools. The mere assembling of the entire undergraduate body at least once a day is in itself important and makes for community fellowship. Beyond and above that is the fact that for a few minutes the boys are lifted above their ordinary surroundings into a higher atmosphere. The program can be very simple --- a short prayer, a hymn, a brief scripture reading, perhaps a simple talk --- but these do at least remind them that life has its spiritual values.
As my older readers will remember, the country in 1933 was in a mood for changes, and it was not difficult at Andover to effect what I regarded as improvements in procedure. When we opened in the autumn, we tried to greet the new students in a friendly manner and make them feel at home. Basically we wanted to pay more attention to each boy as an individual --- to test his aptitudes to advise him wisely, and to help him adjust himself to the society of which he was a unit. We gave the Senior Council more power and attempted to create a closer relationship between pupil and teacher. We made some experiments in small classroom sections, and the trustees, in order to test the idea thoroughly, allowed me to enlarge the teaching staff. Soon we were bringing in a new group of first-rate teachers and increasing the ratio of masters to boys with amazing rapidity. In April 1934, by arrangement with Exeter, the two Phillips Academies announced a flat rate fee, covering every expense, instead of the former separate items for room, board, and tuition. This was a reform which increased the revenue for the school and also made parents much happier.
One of the major changes was brought about in the field of disciplinary cases. We decided to give the accused lad a hearing, and if he were guilty, we discussed punishments with an eye on the school morale and also the consequences for the victim. On the faculty were still survivors of the old regime who wanted a rigid code strictly enforced; but a majority were ready to make the experiment of examining each case on its merits. At any rate, the matter occasioned some fruitful debate, and in the end the liberals had a free hand.
One of my keenest interests then and later was in the health of the undergraduates. Dr. Peirson S. Page, who for years had been not only school physician but also Director of Athletics, was preparing to retire, and came to me himself to recommend that we find a younger man to take his place. We were fortunate to draw from the Hill School Dr. J. Roswell Gallagher --- a doctor with a fresh approach, a passion for research, and a knowledge of adolescent psychology which eventually made him the foremost man in that field in the independent schools. At just the right moment, furthermore, we received a bequest from Mrs. Frederick F. Dennis of more than $300,000 ---enough in those days to allow us to build a modern addition to the obsolescent infirmary and to construct a new dormitory, Rockwell House, for the smaller boys. The new infirmary was completed in the autumn of 1935, with approximately seventy-five beds, and the school was embarked on a health program of tremendous importance.
Another significant project was the establishment of a retirement plan for Andover teachers. Although we were in the midst of the Depression, the trustees were still under the hypnotic influence of Tom Cochran and inclined to believe, with him, that any feat was possible when backed by enthusiasm and persistence. At a period when other similar campaigns languished or failed, a small group of alumni, headed by Lansing P. Reed, John W. Prentiss and F. Abbot Goodhue, actually raised more than $500,000, and we were able to put our project into operation on July 1, 1937 --- a truly remarkable feat under the circumstances. The plan, worked out with the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Corporation, was contributory on the part of both teacher and school, but special arrangements were made for the older men.
My sponsorship of what was called the Teachers' Fund lost me the friendship of three or four of the older instructors who felt that it was unjust to insist on their quitting at the age of sixty-five. One of them, I recall, said to me angrily, "I'm really in my prime ---far better than any young fellow could be!" Nevertheless the idea still seems to me essentially sound and fits with the broad philosophy of caring for the elderly. Once in a while in the Good Old Days a teacher who lived on into his seventies became a valuable decorative tradition, around whom legends were clustered and perpetuated. But the teaching of most older men in schools is likely to become rutted, and routine unconsciously supersedes inspiration. The system which Phillips Academy was one of the first private schools to adopt has since then been established by dozens of others. The problem has been, with rising costs, to keep the pensions adequate; but every effort is being made to preserve financial security for those who, having labored valiantly through the noontide, are approaching the evening of life.
The faculty at Andover was strong, and several of the men were at the top of their profession. In such a community a bachelor teacher is at a premium because of his value as a housemaster, for he takes up less space for quarters than a married man with a family. On the other hand, a married man with children is likely to understand boys better and to be more settled in his mind. The faculty on which I had served for twenty-five years included Freeman in American history, Benner in Greek, and Graham in chemistry, all of them bachelors of more than middle age, authors of books and scholars of distinction, with great prestige among their former students. Among the married instructors of high quality were Lynde, Tower, and Sides in mathematics, Leonard, Blackmer, and Paradise in English, Poynter and Benton in Latin, Stone in French, Barss and Dake in science, Pfatteicher in music, and others. Two able bachelors who later mended their ways and took wives were Shields, in biology, and James, in history. These were stalwarts, upon whom I knew I could rely. Heely, one of the best of the younger men, left in 1934 to become Headmaster of Lawrenceville, Eccles, whom I shortly appointed registrar, later withdrew to accept the Headmastership of St. George's. Charles H. Sawyer, the first Director of the Addison Gallery, is now Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Yale.
I am very proud of the group of younger men who joined the faculty during my regime. Several of them were Andover graduates, representing many colleges and universities, and a few were former students of mine. Darling, who succeeded Freeman in American history, came to us from Yale and had several books to his credit, and Miles Malone came from Hill and Hotchkiss. Bender, also an American history teacher, is now the able Director of Admissions at Harvard College. James H. Grew arrived as instructor in French, and shortly was promoted to be head of that department. Dudley Fitts, formerly at Choate, is not only a fine teacher but also a poet and critic of distinction. Chase, once on the Harvard staff and a teacher of Greek, has also made a name for himself as a translator and essayist. Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., succeeded Sawyer as Director of the Addison Gallery and is one of the most influential men in his field. It is good for a school to have on its faculty men who are productive scholars and authors. The number of books for which the Andover faculty has been responsible would fill a long shelf. Among the others whom I lured to Andover were Pen Hallowell and Walter Gierasch in English, Dick Pieters and Bob Sides in mathematics, George and Harper Follansbee in biology, and Fritz Allis in English.
In our efforts to enlarge and strengthen the teaching staff we were aided greatly by the late Edward S. Harkness. I first met Mr. Harkness at Yeamans' Hall, a private club near Charleston, South Carolina, and later followed with intense and somewhat envious interest his munificent gifts to the Phillips Exeter Academy. When we started to think about reducing the size of our classroom sections, it occurred to me that Mr. Harkness, who had a keen and perceptive acquaintance with education on all levels and who had already given to Andover in 1928 the sum of $320,000 for the establishment of two "professorships," might conceivably look with favor on our plan. With this hope in mind I wrote asking him for an appointment and shortly received a courteous invitation to call on him in New York.
In his office on Madison Avenue I was greeted by Malcolm P. Aldrich, his executive secretary. After he and I had chatted a while, a door opened, and I was escorted in to Mr. Harkness, who was sitting in front of a blazing wood fire, evidently at leisure. He inquired about my plans, and I explained that I wanted to establish five new instructorships, each paying the income on $100,000 --- that is, a salary of approximately $4000. He listened intently, asked some searching questions, and then moved on to general conversation about people whom we knew. As I shook his hand at departure, I felt very pessimistic ---and Mac Aldrich was completely noncommittal. About three days later, when I had lapsed into despondency, my secretary came in waving a letter in her hand. "I haven't dared to open it," she cried, almost as excited as I was. As I slit the envelope, I caught a glimpse of a long piece of green paper, and looked at it with my heart beating at the rate of a hundred to the minute. "Five hundred thousand dollars!" Needless to add, it was the largest check I had ever received --- or seen!
In my agitation I believe that I called up every member of the Board of Trustees by telephone. It was a period when the country as a whole was trying desperately to pull itself out of the depression, and this magnificent gift arrived at precisely the right moment to boost our morale. But when I began to reflect, I quickly saw that if we were to have five new instructors, we must have homes in which to put them. Mr. Platt had died in the autumn of 1933, just after his final building on the campus had been dedicated, and we had to engage another architect. I talked with Mr. William G. Perry, of Perry, Shaw & Hepburn, and asked him for advice. When his drawings and figures were ready, I called again on Mr. Harkness and explained my problem. "How much can you put up a modest house for?" he asked. I was prepared with the answer. "We can do it for about $15,000." "All right," he said at once, "I'll give you $75,000 for the five houses---but what about the classrooms?" I then told Mr. Harkness about the beautiful Bulfinch Hall, erected in 1819 and used for many years as the chief school building, but which during the late nineteenth century had been allowed to deteriorate, and after having been used as a gymnasium and then as a dining hall, had finally become a refuge for boxing, bowling, wrestling, and fencing, and even for the school band.
Mr. Harkness was apparently absorbed in my historical narrative. Then I added that I had consulted architects who had drawn tentative plans for putting a steel framework inside the brick shell and remodeling the interior to provide classrooms and conference rooms for the Department of English, together with an attractive small debating room. The cost, I explained, would he about $150,000. Mr. Harkness studied the drawings carefully and then remarked, "Mr. Fuess, you are certainly very farsighted. Did you have these plans made especially for me?" "I thought that I would be ready for anybody, Mr. Harkness," was all I could say. "Well," he commented, "it wasn't accidental that you had them with you." When I was forced to admit that I had him and his generosity in mind, he smiled and said, "All right, you go ahead with the five houses and the building. I'll take care of it."
Thus it came about that at commencement in June 1936, I was able to announce not only the Retirement Plan but also the establishment of the five new teaching foundations, the construction of five faculty houses, and the arrangements for the renovation of Bulfinch Hall. It is not strange that I said, "My heart is very full over these gifts from Mr. Harkness" A few, at least, of my dreams were coming true.
The new houses were put up in an area on the West Campus locally known as Little Siberia, because of its exposure to winter blizzards, and were shortly assigned to married teachers who, after years of dormitory duty, were entitled in middle life to some respite from the wearing responsibility. Bulfinch Hall, when rehabilitated, was as beautiful inside as it had always been outside, and the English teachers rejoiced in small sections of not over fifteen and in their personal attractive conference rooms. From being a structure of which we had all been a little ashamed it now became one of the show places on the campus.
The sequel to these interesting events ought not to be left untold, perhaps as a warning to other younger headmasters. The other Bulfinch building on the Hill was Pearson Hall, purchased by the Academy from the Theological Seminary and later moved by Mr. Cochran in the 1920's from its central position in Seminary Row to a site on the south side of the Great Quadrangle. There on the ground floor I had taught English for many years, in a classroom eighteen feet high, with old-fashioned desks and antediluvian lighting. In a mood of optimism I thought how fine it would be if Pearson Hall could be reconstructed as Bulfinch Hall had been and devoted to the study of foreign languages. Again I consulted Mr. Perry, who made some sketches, and when all was ready I paid a visit to Mr. Harkness.
His response was just as gracious as it previously had been, and he chatted with me as usual in front of the grate fire, pipe in hand. He had never been able to visit Andover, but when I described to him the visible results of his philanthropy he seemed much pleased. Then, as the conversation lagged, I drew out of my brief case a photograph of Pearson Hall and described in my most eloquent and appealing voice what I had in mind. He listened without comment until I had finished my story and then said, "Mr. Fuess, I think I have done quite a little for Andover and for you, and I'm afraid I shall have to stop now." I perceived that, in my ardor to get a large number of things done in a hurry, I had pushed the matter too far. I rose and said, "Mr. Harkness, you have done for Phillips what amount to miracles. You have enabled me as headmaster to do things which I could never otherwise have accomplished. I am deeply grateful, and sorry that I troubled you at all on this final matter." With that I shook his hand and went out. Unfortunately the school has never since been able to make the interior of Pearson Hall what it properly should be.
Bulfinch Hall was dedicated on May 15, 1937, on which occasion I attempted to point out that it was a symbol of the process through which a school like Phillips Academy should advance, by making the past contribute to the present and the future:
The sturdy granite, the strong brick walls, still stand as firm as ever, but the building itself is modified to meet changed conditions . . . . The intellectual standard is as high as it ever was --- I believe even higher. But the method of instruction, the technique of teaching, have unquestionably altered. Rigidity is giving way to flexibility. Restriction is yielding to reasonable freedom . . . . Here the old Andover and the new Andover are joined, one merging with the other, and not averse to perhaps even greater transformations in the future. For education can never stand still, but must evolve in orderly growth, using the best of the old as a basis for the new.
The period of the 1930's was as difficult in education as it was in economics. New types of tests were being experimented with by the College Entrance Examination Board. The advocates of progressive education were zealous in spreading their ideas, some of which were indeed major reforms. Nobody could be quite sure what direction trends would take. The problem was to keep Phillips Academy true to the best of its traditions and yet not to allow it to be cramped by theories rapidly becoming obsolete. Our policy had almost necessarily to be that laid down by Alexander Pope:
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
We were not, however, afraid of new projects. A program of adult education in the town of Andover was started in 1934, at the instigation and through the co-operation of the faculty, and is still in operation. It has done an incalculable amount of good in the community. In 1939 we secured from the Carnegie Corporation a grant of $10,000 a year for five years to enable Dr. Gallagher and his staff to test a group of adolescents in every conceivable way through the four years of their Andover course. Exchanges of students with foreign countries, especially England, were arranged and carried through with much success.
Meanwhile the Academy, even in a period of financial depression, had been prospering. In 1936, for the first time in its history, the enrollment passed the seven hundred mark, and the number on the faculty had risen to over seventy. We were deliberately trying to enroll a larger first-year, or junior, class, on the theory that the longer a boy stayed at the school, the more we could accomplish with him. The building of Rockwell House gave us more and better accommodations for lads of thirteen and fourteen, and we aimed to provide the special treatment which they obviously needed.
Rather amazingly we succeeded each year in balancing the budget. Costs of heat, food, and wages were relatively low, and the gifts to the school did not perceptibly fall off. Not until the Second World War disrupted our national economy did Phillips Academy face a deficit. Even then, the situation was never so serious that it could not readily be mended.
For me personally those were pleasant years. My wife and I went to Europe nearly every summer, usually spending some time with English headmasters whom I knew. I was not so busy that I could not write, and I did my full share of speaking at schools and colleges, with trips each year to visit the alumni. Our vacations at Christmas and in the spring were spent usually at Palm Beach, where we found relief from the strain of school administration.
Then in 1938 came the shock of Munich and the unrest and fear from which the United States and the world have never since been free.
AT a conservative estimate, I must have known during my four decades at Andover six thousand boys. They march before me in my memory like a panorama of the generations, a procession of American life, with its brilliance and folly, its accomplishments and failures. I can see now the fledglings who later became a Mayor of Denver, a Governor of Wisconsin, a Bishop of Minnesota, author of The White Tower, the producer of Oklahoma!, the President of Oberlin College, the Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Director of the Yale Art School, the President of Boston's largest bank, the Headmaster of Lawrenceville School, the Managing Editor of Fortune, the Sports Editor of Newsweek, a foreign correspondent of the New York Times, the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Board, two of the greatest of American surgeons, the toughest of motion picture actors and the most benign of clergymen, as well as heroes, alive and dead, on many a battlefield around the world.
They are scattered now from Maine to Oregon, from Duluth to New Orleans. When my wife and I were taking a motor trip across the continent in 1949, we had been greeted and entertained in every city where we had stopped, and Mrs. Fuess had reached the point where she would not have been astonished if an old Andover boy had stepped from behind an isolated cactus plant in the Arizona desert. We had reached San Antonio on our way back from Los Angeles to Hobe Sound. It was rainy, and we stayed most of the time in the hotel resting. As we stepped into the garage to pick up our Buick and push along to Houston, she remarked, "Well, this is one place where you don't know anybody." Within fifteen seconds a voice called out from one of the stalls, "Why, Claudie, what are you doing down here?" It was one of my former pupils whom I had not seen for thirty years!
In his delightful and authoritative book, Understanding Your Son's Adolescence, my former school physician, Dr. Gallagher, has a chapter headed "There Is No Average Boy." With this dictum I fully concur. Each boy, like each man or woman, is an individual, with his own personal traits, emotions, ambitions, hopes, and whimsies. Each is a male, with all which that implies, and likely to be in some moods rough, predatory, and obscene. Furthermore boys have their mob movements, resembling hysteria, when they are swept as a group by uncontrollable impulses. But the variations among seven hundred youngsters from fourteen to eighteen are immense. They are usually co-operative but often unpredictable, sophisticated but also childish, idealistic but also vulgar, lovable but also exasperating, noble but also degraded ---in short, just like children of a larger growth.
Andover was in no sense an exclusive school, except in the sense that it was not easy to meet the scholastic requirements for admission. Nearly one third of the students were either being aided by financial grants or working their way, but that made no difference in the treatment which they received from the faculty and their mates. It seemed to me to be a completely democratic society, in which each member made his way on his own merits, regardless of the social position or financial status of his family. It was highly, sometimes ruthlessly, competitive, not only in studies but in athletics and all the other alluring phases of undergraduate activity; but in this respect it was like life. Indeed the school was a microcosm, a miniature world, with most of the problems of human relations to be found in its larger counterpart. Perhaps this is why the "type" was rugged, resourceful, and self-reliant.
As a corollary, we displayed a cross section of American life --- the opulent and the indigent, boys from farms and from city apartments, representatives of almost every state in the union. If there was any discrimination on the basis of race or color, I was not aware of it. In a school established by rather bigoted Calvinistic Congregationalists, we had nearly 10 per cent of Jews and about the same proportion of Roman Catholics, who attended assembly and sang the Protestant hymns without protest. We usually had two or three Negroes and would have accepted more if they could have met the stiff entrance requirements. They told me afterwards that they never felt themselves at any disadvantage.
Treated as they were like men, the Andover undergraduates met the challenge amazingly well. Many of them had traveled in foreign lands or possessed exceptional proficiency in languages, art, and music. They had seen interesting people in their homes and had talked with writers and statesmen. Among my pupils I recall an authority on firearms, a specialist on snakes, several competent airplane pilots, the owner of more than a hundred motion picture theaters, two Quiz Kids, a race handicapper, a pomologist, a steam-shovel operator, a professional xylophonist, and one expert tap dancer. We had representatives of all religions, including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism. One unbeliever who madly craved martyrdom refused to bow his head in prayer during the church services, but sat defiantly staring into space. The school minister spoke to him briefly on the matter --- without effect. Finally one day the boy met me on the street and announced, "You know, Mr. Fuess, I'm an agnostic." I merely replied, "What of it?" He was so much disconcerted that he continued, "Well, I thought you might be disturbed when I didn't pray with the others, and perhaps I ought to explain." All I said was, "David, I only thought your conduct was a remarkable exhibition of bad manners by a fellow who is supposed to be a gentleman!" He flushed and walked off in silence; but within a few weeks he was bowing his head lower and lower while the Lord's Prayer was being recited, although I must confess that I never saw his lips move. He is probably now a pillar of the Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.
Some boys are blessed by their ancestors or by the fickle gods with every attribute making for social success. With sound bodies, they are capable if not outstanding sportsmen; they have the mesmeric quality of making friends easily; they do their class assignments without strain and possess the precious knack of passing examinations; they are emotionally well balanced, responding normally to the violent stimuli of adolescence; and they have an instinct for avoiding serious blunders. These are the "naturals," the delight of parents' hearts, who advance uninhibited and undismayed through the ordeals of school and college, captaining the teams and making the "right" fraternities, evading disaster and claiming leadership as their privilege. I have known many such, and have thanked God for them.
But side by side with these Olympians are the less conspicuous who are glad for modest honors and occasionally slip sadly into failure, who bear uncomplainingly the inevitable disappointments of group living, whose progress is often slow and painful, and who are content to serve in the ranks while others win letters and other decorations. One never knows, however, what the end will be. Often the campus favorites weaken early, perhaps because they are not toughened by adversity; while some lad relatively obscure on commencement morning turns up forty years later as an eminent surgeon or judge. I liked to feel that Phillips Academy was a good training ground for both types. I hope I was right.
The boys sorted themselves out with bewildering rapidity through a process seldom understood by their elders. As the new youngsters of fourteen and fifteen appeared each September at the headmaster's tea, they seemed superficially to be all equally well-mannered, shy, and undistinguished. By Thanksgiving, however, some were standing out above their mates for qualities which gave them prestige. Neither too aggressive nor too diffident, they had aroused the admiration of those around them. We on the faculty often deplored the choices, but they were the consequences of a pure democracy functioning freely. The boys would have resisted any attempt by the faculty to select their leaders. They wanted their own.
Allowing again for the inevitable exceptions, the students were basically well-intentioned and serious-minded. The reprobates won a good deal of publicity, just as hoodlums make the headlines in the newspapers; and the faculty knew them all. Indeed these offenders took up an inordinate amount of our time at meetings. But the large proportion of the undergraduates, day in and day out, worked reasonably hard, tried to obey the rules, and kept out of trouble. Like any other body of isolated males on a battleship, in an army camp, or in prison, they had their gripes, especially over the food and the minor regulations. But I found them pleasant in manner, amenable to argument, and in an emergency very reliable. However they may have behaved on their vacations, their conduct in public places was as impeccable as that of the teaching staff.
Dr. Stearns more than once quoted to me with approval the advice which he received from his predecessor, Dr. Bancroft, "Alfred, a lot of things go on all over the campus that a school principal ought never to see!" If a headmaster spends his time looking for little infractions of the rules, he will soon find himself with shattered nerves. Having been no angel myself in my childhood, I was often tempted to laugh when a frightened lad was brought before me for some offense like chewing gum in chapel or indulging in mild profanity. But I suppose that no teacher in a school can avoid occasional irritation. When I first went to live in Tucker House, I raked and seeded a neat bit of ground for my lawn and then put up signs: NO CROSSING! The land was on a corner, and the temptation to cut across was almost irresistible. One spring when I had been particularly vigorous in my denunciation of depraved young men who trampled down my grass, a diminutive offender squeaked, "Mr. Fuess, do you know who walked across there just before me?" "No," said I, "I guess I didn't see him." "It was Mr. Wilkins, the physics teacher --- did you bawl him out?" The situation was a trifle difficult to explain, and I am sure that I was inconsistent in meeting it. In the following June the Pot-pourri, the Academy yearbook, devoted an entire page to a drawing of my house, with my face at each one of the twenty or more front windows glaring with baleful eyes at my newly seeded lawn. After that, I tried to keep my irritation under control. I eventually concluded that the proper place to make paths on a campus is where boys --- and men --- naturally go. Having been taught that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, they put that knowledge into practise.
Each boy is an individual, but collectively they have their lapses, when they are swept by uncontrollable impulses. Phillips Academy traditionally has no faculty supervision in the dining hall. Week after week everything would go smoothly as it does in the average restaurant. Then during the week before an Andover-Exeter game some excited lad would throw a bun, and soon there would be an outburst of bun throwing, with the accompanying clamor. The student headwaiters could do little to quell the riot. Inevitably the bachelor teachers sitting by themselves in their own dining room would be disturbed, some of the chief offenders would be reported to the Discipline Committee, and we would have penalties to inflict. Because some of the best boys in school were often involved, the problem of suitable punishments was difficult. The attitudes of faculty members would range from the savage to the gentle, with all the emotional variations in between. Some of the instructors whom I most respected felt that we should tolerate no nonsense, but should act promptly and severely. Others merely murmured, "Boys will be boys," and were inclined to forget the episode. The final votes usually reflected both the violence of the provocation and the weariness of the staff.
Through experience I learned that heavy penalties do not prevent violations of the rules. When we were "firing" boys for many offenses, we had much more disorder than we did later when we became more reasonable. Expelling undergraduates for smoking does not stop the use of tobacco any more than prohibition shut off drinking in the 1920's. A cigarette addict can always be tempted by a convenient grove or fireplace. Even when smoking is allowed under specified conditions, as it is at Andover, it is a perennial problem; but it should not be treated like drunkenness or stealing.
A few responsible school leaders with good instincts and a feeling for law and order can do more than any number of irate faculty members. If the students, guided by their elected officers, reach the conclusion that certain things just "aren't done," the headmaster can cease to worry. Here again boys are extraordinarily like sheep in their proneness to ape the sartorial habits of the Big Men on campus and to co-operate when co-operation becomes fashionable. Ian Hay was right when he wrote, "The god that schoolboys dread most is Public Opinion."
I made plenty of mistakes in administering discipline. Being temperamentally quick-tempered, I sometimes burst out angrily, thus losing whatever advantage I claimed over the offender. Occasionally I took matters into my own hands and exercised my constitutional right of pardon, only to learn that my soft-heartedness was regarded as weakness, even by the beneficiary.
The saddest sequence was when, after I had pleaded for an offender and he had been let off lightly, he was shortly detected in an even more heinous breach of regulations. Then my associates cried, "We told you so!" and I was left with the awareness that I was regarded as an "easy mark." I was obliged reluctantly to reach the conclusion that, in spite of what the psychologists maintain, there are some "incorrigibles," on whom kindness or sympathy is wasted and who insist on going wrong, no matter how decently they are treated. More times than I like to admit, my confidence in the essential goodness of human nature was shattered by a gross violation of my trust.
I soon came to perceive a kind of pulse beat or rhythm for the school year. The hubbub and adjustment of the opening days in September were followed by a period of relative quiet, when the correspondence was light and I could relax and play golf and pass untroubled evenings. After the first marks were given out in late October, the scholastic goats were separated from the sheep, letters of warning multiplied, and I had to meet with disappointed parents. During the two weeks before the Andover-Exeter football game, tension mounted, and the entire school was on edge. Then came the letdown of the Thanksgiving recess and the studious weeks before the Christmas vacation, when the boys were too busy preparing for examinations to engage in many illicit activities. As the holidays opened, I was busy for three or four days, dictating more than seven hundred personal letters to parents in an attempt to present a brief description of their sons' successes or failures. After that heavy pressure, Florida for a few days was always a welcome relief.
With the return at the opening of the winter term even the drones settled down to hard work, broken by the Winter Promenade, which stirred the boys who were susceptible to female charms. At the end of the term came another period of intense application to books. I always felt that in our American educational system we gave too many set examinations; and as a teacher I deliberately tried using only short tests --- unannounced. I still believe that this procedure is a more accurate way of finding out what a pupil really knows than any formal examination can be. Here again, however, there is a difference of opinion, and I was never able to marshal enough convincing arguments to influence some of my colleagues. The examinations, mostly informal, which we have to face as adults are usually unexpected, and we are allowed little time for getting ready.
Spring was a delightful season at Andover. Most far-sighted teachers completed the hardest part of their assignments during the winter, when conditions were favorable for study. The dullards in the student body were by that time pretty well sorted out. Some of them had left, unable to meet the competition, and others had undergone enough of a reform to meet the minimum requirements. Hence the atmosphere in May and June was pleasant, except for those borderline seniors who were worried about getting into college. The tempo slowed down, the boys could lie around on the grass on warm afternoons, and life seemed again worth living after the New England winter. It is true that the faculty had to keep prodding the delinquents into action, and then more action, so that the lights in certain rooms burned far into the night. Moreover the first humid winds of spring stirred the blood and inspired some undergraduates with a desire for a little deviltry. But for the most of us the days passed altogether too quickly, and commencement, with its absorbing busyness, was upon us before we knew it. After that came hurried faculty meetings, the "Good-by" greetings, and then the almost oppressive calm which envelops school campuses when the life force has gone and "all that mighty heart is lying still."
Placing myself in the confessional, I must admit that I sometimes took terrifying chances. After one close football contest with Exeter, a gang of adventurous students tore down two Exeter banners from the dormitories where they had been hanging. When the news spread on Sunday morning, I was much concerned, for Bill Saltonstall and I had an informal understanding that no such high jinks would be permitted. On Monday morning, after spending a restless night, I rose in assembly and explained that while this in some respects was only a childish prank, it did involve me in an embarrassing situation with the Exeter authorities. "I should greatly appreciate it," I continued, "if the fellows who have those stolen banners would return them to my office this morning. I shall be out from eleven to twelve and would like to find them there when I come back. No questions will be asked."
This was one of those speeches which either succeed --- or fail miserably! As I walked back to my office after assembly, not quite sure whether or not I had made a tactical blunder, two boys --- members of the Student Council --- asked to see me for a moment. One of them announced rather sheepishly, "Mr. Fuess, Bill and I have those banners, and we'll bring them in to you right away. To tell the truth we didn't realize that there would be so much fuss about the matter. We just wanted to pep things up a bit!" I could only thank them warmly, and before night the banners were on their way to Exeter, with my apologies. But suppose they hadn't been returned!
The schoolboy code of honor, no matter how absurd it may seem to an adult, can never be ignored in dealing with undergraduates. Only when one of their mates has become positively vicious will they testify against him. He may copy his neighbor's answers, he may have liquor in his room, he may filch magazines from the newsstand, he may sneak out of his dormitory on nefarious missions --- but nobody will "squeal" on him. This is the chief reason why honor systems, however successful they may be in some colleges, seldom work in secondary schools.
On the other hand, the code is subject to strange interpretations. When I was busy with the alumni fund and with money-raising campaigns, I often had to desert my class to keep an engagement. I would then explain, "I'm sorry, but I am called away for the rest of the hour, and I'm leaving an examination for you to take. Please put your papers on the desk when you have finished and leave quietly." In after years several of my former pupils told me that on such occasions nobody did any cribbing. One of them remarked, "You did a smart thing in just going out and never warning us not to cheat. The way you left us completely to our own devices made it impossible for anybody to pull anything crooked!" That is one interesting aspect of boy psychology.
To "visiting firemen," boys are not only tolerant --- they are courteously demonstrative. They may complain bitterly of the monotony of talks by the headmaster or the school minister, but when anybody from the outside speaks, no matter how platitudinously or tediously, they will applaud until their palms are sore. In church, they suffered patiently the dullest of sermons. When Dr. Stearns was principal, one expected clergyman was taken ill, and a preacher had to be secured on short notice from a neighboring city. When the moment arrived for his discourse, the minister leaned over the pulpit, smiled expansively, and began, "I love boys!" The situation was critical. Al put on his fiercest expression and glared at the seniors in the two or three front rows as if to say, "If you start anything, there'll be trouble!" But nothing happened, and afterwards one of the school leaders came up to the principal and asked, "Didn't we do well, Mr. Stearns?" He replied, "John, you're a credit to the school and to your family's training."
The patience of a schoolboy congregation is often sorely tried. One winter three successive clergymen took as their theme the parable of the Prodigal Son. Again three visiting clergymen in a row ended their sermons with a stereotyped quotation from Sir Henry Newbolt, beginning, "There's a breathless hush in the close tonight," and concluding dramatically, "Play up! Play up! and play the game!" There was a hush all right as number three started on his peroration, and I could see the lips of many undergraduates forming the familiar words. Indeed I almost expected to have the whole congregation burst out simultaneously, in accord with their leader, "Play up! Play up! and play the game!" But again some deep-seated respect for the church as an institution repressed any demonstration.
On one painful morning a clergyman of national reputation preached a sermon identical in text and argument with that used by an eminent divine the week before. A little Sherlock Holmes investigation disclosed the unfortunate fact that both were "canned" sermons, evidently from the same source. At another tense moment a Yale dean suddenly stopped in the middle of his remarks and said, "If the man who is moving about in the gallery will only keep still, I shall be grateful. I am speaking extemporaneously and can't keep my mind on my theme." The "man" thus admonished was one of the faculty proctors who were moving cautiously about, checking the attendance below. A lady present in the congregation told me afterwards that she had heard the dean deliver precisely the same "extemporaneous" talk the week before at Vassar College. Such are some of the weaknesses of members of "the cloth."
Boys are diabolically clever at discerning, mimicking, and ridiculing the eccentricities of their teachers. Often at commencement the seniors would prepare and present a skit of some kind, "taking off" on the peculiarities of the faculty. I was cured forever of rubbing the bare top of my bald head by an imitation of me given by a clever student. When in assembly I announced that most of the trouble in the school was caused by a disorderly "5 per cent" of the undergraduate body, I was haunted by ironic references to that unfortunate phrase. A boy caught in an indiscretion would grin and say, "Well, sir, I guess I'm one of the disreputable 5 per cent!" At first I laughed, but as time went on I smiled only as if I mocked myself, and I was soon sick of the expression.
During one recitation a young instructor talked for some time about a trip to the British Isles which he had taken the previous summer. After class a very small lad looking as innocent as one of Murillo's cherubs came up to the master's desk and asked, "You've been a good deal in England, haven't you, Mr. Odell?" "Well, yes, I think I might say I have." "I guess you know a lot about their customs, don't you?" "Yes, I probably do," was the reply. Then the tiny youngster looked up and, his eyes twinkling, said, "Well, Cheerio, Old Top, Cheerio!" What could be done about that?
I had one most regrettable weakness as a headmaster. It was difficult for me to remember faces and to associate names with them. I was not quite so bad as the headmaster of a neighboring school who on one occasion after a baseball game shook hands with all the members of his own team as if they were visitors and invited them to spend the night. But I frequently, when meeting a group, forgot the names of my own boys; and once I resolved to address each one as Pete, thinking that the law of averages would make me more often right than wrong. In this case they all turned out to be Bobs or Bills.
On the other hand, probably because I have dealt so much with the printed word, if I am given a name I remember everything associated with it. Thus if an old Andover boy meets me on Boston Common, I may not recognize him until he says politely, "I'm Bullwinkle, class of 1921." Then all sorts of facts rush to my mind, and I can recall his record in his class, his family relationships, and even the time when he was put on probation for overcutting.
Boys in these days have a genuine respect for rules, especially when the reason for them is explained. When a mother would plead for some exceptional privilege for her son, he would frequently come to me privately and say, "I knew perfectly well that I couldn't have my Christmas vacation extended, but Mom simply wouldn't listen to me." A youngster deprived of some of his precious week ends because of his poor scholastic record told me, "I got exactly what I deserved, and Dad should never have come up here to kick about it to you." Boys understand all the recognized conventions of the school much better than their parents do, and this is the chief reason why they don't like to have them too much around on the campus. Their elders simply do not comprehend the principles by which the lives of their sons are governed.
In dealing with boys it is imperative that a headmaster should have two important qualities --- a sense of relative values and a sense of humor. He should perceive the difference between a sin and an indiscretion, between a calculated defiance of law and order and a careless neglect of a rule. He should understand that laughter is a great solvent of confusion, often clearing completely an atmosphere fraught with tragedy.
As I have suggested, differentiations in temperament and ambition appear very early and are readily recognizable. Some boys are visibly nervous; others are lethargic. Some are conscientious; others are excruciatingly careless. I once escorted a bishop through a senior dormitory where two rooms were side by side on the second floor. One was neat and orderly, with every necktie smoothed out and each article in its proper place. The other was strewn with shirts and shoes and crowded with miscellaneous and unattractive junk. Both boys were members of the Student Council, and each was a reliable citizen. But they were entirely opposite in personal habits and modes of living, and probably neither has changed to this day.
Living in my house at one period we had a most extraordinary aggregation of undergraduate types. Ned was shy, methodical, reserved, and studious. Pete was a muscular and gregarious extrovert, interested chiefly in games and regarding classes as a sideshow to the main tent. Horace wanted to spend all his time in the biological laboratory nursing snakes. Oscar had a passion for stage carpentry and could be found at almost any hour designing and constructing scenery. Bill was a born trader who made a profit on every financial transaction. Hank was constantly writing editorials for the school paper although he loathed his English class on general principles. Each had his own private interests; yet they dwelt together in amity.
I do not mean to imply that these boys were static. Their special interests sometimes shifted almost overnight, and after a summer vacation they came back physically bigger and intellectually more mature. Sometimes what might be called Lady Luck operated in an unpredictable way. A boy whom everybody called Mac had been in school for three years and one term, faithful, reliable, but relatively obscure. By sheer hard work he had made the board of the Phillipian, the undergraduate newspaper, and had moved up automatically until he was the first assistant editor. Nevertheless he was inconspicuous and certainly had little influence. In early January of his senior year the editor in chief of the Phillipian unexpectedly had to leave school. The next person available for the position was Mac. He took over, and within two weeks the paper, which had been following a conventional and tame course, took on new life. The editorials were sprightly and entertaining, and even the changed make-up reflected the personality of the editor. Mac was then elected to a vacancy on the Student Council and within a few weeks was a power on the campus. By the close of the year he was recognized by both boys and faculty as one of the three or four outstanding members of the graduating class. Throughout this experience Mac was calm and self-possessed, confronting prosperity as if he had been accustomed to it all his days. His rise from insignificance to prominence was so rapid as to be startling, and made me wonder how many other "mute inglorious Miltons" might be waiting for their opportunity.
People often ask me what I think of the "younger generation." This is a difficult question to answer, for the boys of the 1950's are as varied as any group which preceded them, and no generalizations can be more than approximately accurate. Furthermore I have been in contact only with a rather carefully selected group, which included very few perverts or "hot-rods" or amateur holdup men. The teen-agers who set fire to school buildings, chop up grand pianos, and overturn tombstones in cemeteries do not often seek admission to a school like Andover.
The boys whom I know in this generation give the impression of competence and self-reliance. They are not communicative, even with their parents; consequently it is difficult to find out what their real reactions are. But they have an amazing capacity for meeting crises without quailing --and they have already had plenty of them to face. These youngsters born in the 1930's know little from personal knowledge of an orderly world. No one could blame them very much for crying simultaneously and with anguish:
The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
This, however, they do not do. About them is little of the notorious Lost Generation of the 1920's. Although they manifestly do not relish the confusion in the midst of which, without their desire, they have been thrown, they make few complaints. They accept military service, even when it interrupts their cherished plans, as if it were as inevitable as birth or death. Because they wish to snatch what happiness they can before their universe dissolves, they plan to marry early. But they do not quit! It may be resignation which keeps them going, but it more closely resembles pride. Pity in any form is what they least desire.
Perhaps because of bitter family experience they care less about making money than their fathers and more about doing good. More and more they are choosing the missionary professions, such as teaching, medicine, the Christian ministry, and public service. They have a very real concept of which satisfactions are durable and which are transitory. They do plenty of thinking about such perennial and intrusive problems as labor relations, racial discrimination, censorship, poverty, disease, crime, and education. In many cases they have, as adolescents, evolved for themselves a pattern for living. They are aware that they have to fight for the freedoms which then enjoy, but they are ready --- not enthusiastic or glory-seeking, but prepared to face whatever comes.
If we haven't confidence in these boys, we may as well abandon hope for the world. For these will be the men who must carry its burden, twenty and thirty and forty years on. What they are thinking now in their hearts will determine the course which the evolution of the race will take. If they are early disheartened, if they view themselves as the unhappy victims of an irrational society, if they cannot make sacrifices willingly, then humanity is doomed. But if they are, as I believe them to be, aware of their responsibility and equipped to meet it, conscious of our internal weaknesses but confident in our latent strength, endowed by nature and training with patience and vision, then we can leave the scene without crying: Après nous le déluge! I wish to put myself on record as feeling, after living long with youth, that the newer generation is better, more to be trusted, than the old.
TEACHERS, like clergymen, are sensitive regarding the stigmata of their occupation, and indeed the general public once did place the two professions in a class by themselves. Even now the impression cannot be entirely eradicated that schoolmasters are less robust and virile than industrialists; and they themselves are still afraid of being treated as if they belonged to a third sex, not forceful enough to be masculine and certainly not delicate and alluring enough to be feminine. But no impression of educators I have known could be more mistaken. My acquaintances among teachers have not needed to yield to any group --- bankers or lawyers or engineers --- in what are considered to be the rugged virtues. The caricature of the pedagogue, with his trousers above his ankles and his sleeves halfway up his wrists, his emaciated and bony body, his oversized horn spectacles, and his hairless, shining dome, in no respect corresponds to reality. As they chat in the lobby of the Statler or the Biltmore, headmasters are as well groomed as the members of the National Association of Manufacturers, and unquestionably more articulate.
Naturally teachers, like clergymen, do not want to be classified as epicene or even peculiar. The Reverend Nehemiah Boynton, one of the most eloquent preachers of his day, was often annoyed by the too ebullient adulation of admiring ladies. Once when he was idling in his bathing suit on the beach at Nantucket, he was approached by two simpering spinsters, one of whom inquired, "Is this the Reverend Nehemiah Boynton?" Back snapped the reply, "Not in July and August, madam!" In the summer he wished to have the immunity of any other vacationer.
No apology is needed for American educators of the last half century. One of them, Woodrow Wilson, belongs with the world's Very Great. Others, like Charles William Eliot and Nicholas Murray Butler, Bliss Perry and William Lyon Phelps, have had an influence extending far beyond their own campuses. Among secondary-school leaders, several have left their stamp not only upon their own boys but also upon American culture and civilization in the broadest sense.
The first headmaster whom I knew well was, of course, Alfred E. Stearns, of Phillips Academy. Nobody could have been less of a dry-as-dust pedant or cloistered dreamer. He had a magnetism which attracted old and young. Even before the development of modern psychology, he was aware of the complicated motives which lead students into indiscretions and he never magnified a youthful peccadillo into a crime. Yet he did not hesitate to punish severely any meanness or viciousness of mind.
No one could come within Al Stearns's range without being impressed by his sincerity, his kindliness, and his simplicity. He had no subtleties or hidden schemes. He seldom disguised his emotions, but went straight to the point, without evasion. At times he displayed a fiery temper, and on at least two occasions peremptorily "fired" an instructor in anger, only to repent and apologize before sunset. Sometimes he made enemies by the stout fashion in which he spoke out, but the boys liked his positiveness and strong convictions. Without being in any sense a prig, he continually stressed the importance of moral issues; and like Thomas Arnold he was more interested in forming character than in producing scholars. Down in his heart he preferred men who do things to men who think things.
In the Headmasters Association, of which he was president in 1914, Stearns was a leader on the conservative side. An undismayed advocate of the Greek and Roman classics because of their value as cultural subjects, he was a believer in intellectual discipline and a critic of "progressive" theories in education. When these issues were introduced in the Association, he, with Endicott Peabody and Horace Taft to back him up, staunchly upheld the traditional program, and it took an audacious "modernist" to stand up against their wit and raillery. The trio loved to poke fun at the professional jargon of psychologists, and they hated Teachers' College at Columbia and all its works.
Great though his public success had been, Stearns underwent tragic family experiences, and his retirement at the age of sixty was due to illness both of body and of nerves. But he made a glorious recovery, became President of the Board of Trustees of Amherst College, wrote some excellent books, and kept himself very much alive. He made up his mind to live away from Andover, feeling that his presence there might embarrass his successor. But whenever he did come back at my urgent invitation, he gave much pleasure to all of us, his friends.
Endicott Peabody, who founded Groton School in 1884, was twenty-eight years older than I, and I did not begin really to know him until 1934, when he was nearing eighty. To me then he was awesome, very definitely an Olympian. When the Headmasters Association once met at Amherst, I was housed at President King's residence, with Al Stearns, Horace Taft, and Peabody. One evening he said to me, "I understand that although your real name is Claude, everybody calls you Jack. My name is Endicott, but my friends call me Cottie. Why don't you try it?" I did "try it," but it was difficult for me not to think of him as "Dr. Peabody" or the "Rector."
When at the Headmasters Association we instituted a memorial service for the dead, it was inevitable that we should ask Dr. Peabody to conduct it. The occasion being formal, he wore his full clerical regalia. After paying an impressive tribute to the deceased brethren, he proceeded to the reading of the names. Unluckily, however, his eye fell by mistake on the list of the newly elected members, and when he continued solemnly to read it one by one, the faces of the novitiates presented a study in bewilderment. It is my impression that Dr. Peabody never realized what consternation he was spreading, but some of us found it difficult not to smile.
Dr. Peabody conveyed a human grandeur such as few people I have known. He was a magnificent specimen of the Grand Old Man, still erect and towering in his eighties and looking like the embodiment of rectitude and moral force. He had built a great school by his own personality. Many people thought him austere and unbending, but he was very gracious to a younger and inexperienced headmaster. It was good for us to have him around as an example to follow.
Horace Taft, who had also created an important school, was outstanding too, but in a different way. Like Stearns and Peabody, he was well over six feet tall and dominated any gathering. He was, however, far more of a humorist, and a twinkle always lurked in his tolerant eyes. No one in the Association knew more good stories or told them better. No one was quicker with the retort courteous and witty at just the right time. Once Dr. Peabody rose to protest that the name of his school had been misprinted in our little catalogue so that it appeared as "ROTON" with the initial "G" left out. Mr. Taft promptly remarked that it was not an important matter --- only a mistake in spelling.
At one meeting the genial Frank S. Hackett, of Riverdale School, was describing his recent campaign for the school committee in a New York City district. He was saying how amazing it was that he polled so many votes in spite of the fact that he had previously been almost completely unknown. "But I went out," he continued, "and talked and talked and talked. I must have spoken all in all to more than ten thousand people!" Taft, who had been listening keenly, inquired, "Do I understand, Frank, that by talking you managed almost to get elected?" "That's right," replied Hackett. "Suppose you hadn't talked!" commented Taft, with his broad smile.
In Memories and Opinions, his autobiography published in 1942, Mr. Taft wrote delightfully of his experiences and recounted some of his best stories. He liked particularly to quote what was once told to him by Headmaster William S. Thayer, of St. Mark's School. After Dr. Thayer resigned he made the mistake of criticizing some of the changes which were being made by his successor in the curriculum. "Ah!" commented one of the teaching staff, "you fellows who have served your term and retired are like rovers in croquet. You have been through all the wickets yourselves and now have nothing to do except to go around and knock the other balls out of position."
"Uncle Horace" could make comments which nobody else in the Association would have dared to speak out loud. Two distinguished and very well-known clerical members were engaging in a heated discussion on some minor matter of undergraduate discipline. After listening a few minutes, Mr. Taft left the room, and I followed him outside for some fresh air. "How's that debate coming out?" I asked. "There won't much come of it," he replied, "one of them never was a boy, and the other never grew up!" This brief characterization was so perfect that it was ludicrous.
In recent years the meetings of the Association have been held in midwinter, at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York; and the members, isolated, often penned in by the weather, and with no outside recreations to tempt them, find themselves thrown much in one another's company. The atmosphere is informal, the addresses are above average, the conversation is stimulating, and everybody has a good time. Since the proceedings receive no publicity and the group never commit themselves to any educational policy or program, the members feel free to speak out their minds; and here and there in smoke-filled rooms or in corners of the lobby all the current problems of schools and colleges get discussed. The fact that nothing is ever really settled does not discourage the disputants.
During the early stages of the progressive movement, when it had the aspect of a crusade, the liberals in the Association were headed by the "Three Smiths" --- Perry D., of the North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka; Herbert W., of the Francis W. Parker School, in Chicago; and Eugene R., of the Beaver Country Day School, in Chestnut Hill. When one of this famous triumvirate rose to his feet, the conservatives, headed by Peabody, Taft, and Stearns, prepared for the fray, and the younger members sat back to watch and listen to the battle of words. The debate was carried on with the rapier, not with the bludgeon, and one could almost hear the audience murmuring, "A hit---a very palpable hit!" Every shade of opinion was represented, from the cautiously reactionary to the audaciously radical. Some members were loquacious; a few never said a word unless called upon. Some were scholars; others were clearly good fellows and men of the world. Some were convivial; others were on the ascetic side. Very few were dull.
Among the members have been some of my closest friends --- those whom I admire most in the procession. It would be difficult and perhaps unjust to discriminate among so many choice spirits, but I cannot help mentioning Wilson Farrand, of Newark Academy, neat in body and mind, master of the crisp and cutting phrase, and Spencer McCallie, of Chattanooga, hard-fisted, jovial, and resilient, who was equally at home making stump speeches and carrying on a revival meeting and who became the Voice of Dixie to his fellow members. Among those who have retired from active school administration but who are still welcomed as honorary members are William C. Hill, formerly of the Springfield Classical High School, whose occasional addresses sparkle with epigrams and glow with erudition; Charles C. Tillinghast, once the Head of the Horace Mann School, a brilliant and entertaining public speaker with a gift for clarification and summarization; Norman Nash, translated from St. Paul's School to a bishopric, who has adorned two kindred professions; the talented Archibald C. Gaibraith, of Williston, long Secretary of the Headmasters Association; William L. W. Field, of Milton Academy, a fine example of the dynamic liberal mind; N. Horton Batchelder, a grand old stalwart, who built Loomis School into a distinguished institution; Walter F. Downey, formerly Headmaster of the English High School in Boston and for a time Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts; John Briggs, of St. Paul Academy, with his robust and penetrating wit; and Richard M. Gummere, formerly of Penn Charter School and until recently Director of Admissions at Harvard, the model of the courtly and cultured gentleman.
Believing as I do in the motto Ad Juniores Labores, I feel no regret that the conduct of the Association has fallen on younger but equally capable shoulders: George Van Santwoord, Greville Haslam, Allan V. Heely, Frank D. Ashburn, Edward W. Eames, John Crocker, James W. Wickenden, Howard Rubendall, Arthur Milliken, Lester W. Nelson, Paul Cruikshank, Seymour St. John, and many others who represent the best in schoolmastering. These very active brethren welcome the "old-timers" with a courtesy which we greatly appreciate and which makes us still, in our retirement, feel at home.
Of two Olympians I must speak with rather special affection. Lewis Perry became Principal of the Phillips Exeter Academy in 1914, and I first met him and heard him speak on October 10 of that year, at an Andover Founders' Day. His address on that afternoon was a masterpiece of relevancy and humor, and it was there that I became aware of his genius as a raconteur. One of his anecdotes seemed to me perfectly conceived to illustrate the point that teachers must be human as well as scholarly. Let him relate it in his own words:
I remember very well a college professor of great erudition, of profound learning, but whose common sense if it appeared at all appeared but rarely and was usually in eclipse, who one day was taking his afternoon stroll and came to a colored man who was putting his dog through some tricks. The professor stopped and then after a moment said, with a condescension which no man, black or white, who lives in a New England village will tolerate, "How do you teach your dog those tricks? I can't teach my dog any tricks." And the colored man without raising his eyes from his task said, "You've gotta know more than the dog---you've gotta know more than the dog, or you can't learn him nothing!
Under Lewis Perry, Exeter prospered as never before in its history, and the friendship between him and Dr. Stearns brought the two Phillips Academies closer and closer together. In each institution were faculty members who in the old days almost hated the other school. Shortly after settling at Andover, I became acquainted with Professor James A. Tufts, the Head of Exeter's English Department and a very dignified gentleman. In the early autumn we met by chance on Stratham Hill near Exeter and chatted pleasantly about things in general. As we parted, Tuffie, as he was universally called, said to me, "Professor Fuess, you are the only decent Andover man I ever met." "But Professor Tufts," I protested, "you know I didn't go to Andover." "Ah!" he exclaimed, "Professor Fuess, that explains a lot!" I have always regarded that as the almost-perfect tribute.
Al Stearns and Lew Perry, as the heads of the two Phillips Schools, had many common interests. Both were thorough sportsmen, both were fond of people, and both believed in the development of character as the culmination of secondary education. They worked together as friendly competitors until Al's retirement in 1932; and when I suddenly took over in 1933 I found in Lew a counsellor who helped me over many an obstacle. We realized that the origins and objectives of Andover and Exeter are identical and that the success of one is tied up with that of the other. In June, 1946, when Dr. Perry closed his distinguished official career, I said of our two schools:
We are indigenous, not exotic, as thoroughly American as grapefruit or chewing gum. We came into being, with similar aims and ideals, as the consequence of the same philanthropic impulse. We have never ceased to be liberal, democratic, and national, concerned with the production of good citizenship and sterling character. Never have we lowered our standards in response to an ephemeral wave of mediocrity. I venture to think that we stand for something important in an age when isolationism, intolerance, and materialism are increasingly prevalent.
This was doubtless highly prejudiced testimony, and I quote it mainly to show that the schools are part of one family, united by intangible but unbreakable ties. Their rivalry has been a stimulus to both institutions, and they have regularly stood together in crises against the preachers of false doctrine.
Frank L. Boyden was a senior at Amherst when I was a freshman, and I did not see him again for many years after graduation, when the news gradually began to spread of an unusual school at Deerfield under an unusual headmaster. But I really did not come into close contact with Frank --- or Bill as he was known in college---until the 1930's. Then we became intimate friends; and of recent years I have probably seen more of him than of any other school head.
Once when Frank, Harold Dodds, and I were spending a spring vacation at the Hillsborough Club near Pompano, in Florida, Harold and I had been taking a nap on a rainy afternoon. As we woke up, Harold asked, "Where's Frank?" We looked around in our little cottage and finally discovered him sitting on the side of his bed, one foot tucked under him, looking through the pictures of his boys in the Deerfield yearbook. He was fifteen hundred miles away from the school, supposed to be taking a rest, and yet it was his students who were always on his mind. It was the perfect unconscious pose for the portrait of a great headmaster.
My admiration for the achievements of Helen and Frank Boyden is unbounded. In 1902, just after his graduation from Amherst, he took over a local academy with only eleven pupils and one small schoolhouse. Fifty years later, it had become one of the foremost independent schools in this country, with nearly five hundred students and a score of beautiful buildings. Originally unique in its methods, it has sent out teachers who have carried on Boyden's policies in other schools, including Governor Dummer, Tabor, Hebron, Fountain Valley, and Holderness.
Some American headmasters have possessed great talent, but Frank Boyden has genius. Indeed his personal touch has made Deerfield what it is. With his love for horses and antiques, his Yankee shrewdness, his aversion for public speaking, his passion for telephoning and automobiling, his unaffected simplicity combined with benevolent despotism, his complete absorption in the life of his school, Dr. Boyden is a fascinating phenomenon, but he is also a powerful influence on our secondary education. I have long enjoyed talking each year at the Deerfield vesper service, and I was proud to be a speaker in 1949 at its huge sesquicentennial celebration as well as at dinners in 1952 to observe Frank's fiftieth anniversary as headmaster.
The New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, of which I was president in 1942-1943, includes many of the headmasters whom I have already named, but also a strong group of college presidents. I suspect that I may be the only man who ever breakfasted with President A. Lawrence Lowell, of Harvard, in full evening dress. In the winter of 1931, when I was working on a biography of the late Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (a project subsequently abandoned), I went to a dinner given by Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Winslow at the Club of Odd Volumes at which President Lowell was a guest. It was a very frigid February evening, and as we left in our silk hats and tails, I said to him, "Let me take you back to Cambridge." But when I turned the key in the lock of my ancient Dodge, it broke off, and I was left with no means of opening the door. Much chagrined, I said to Mr. Lowell, "You'd better find a taxicab." But he replied, "No --- I want to see how resourceful you are!"
My only thought was to walk down Mount Vernon Street to the Charles Street Garage, and we slid down the slippery slope together. There we mounted to the front seat of a wrecking car and returned to the scene of the disaster, where my automobile was lifted and towed back to the garage. Again I urged Mr. Lowell to go back to his home, but he seemed to enjoy the situation and declined to leave. The proprietor sidled up to me and whispered, "Who is that guy? I've seen his picture somewheres!" "That," I answered nonchalantly, "is President Lowell of Harvard." "Oh, my God!" he almost shouted, and then went out and returned with a box of the longest, noblest cigars 1 ever saw. Mr. Lowell carefully selected one, lighted it, and then settled back in his chair to await developments. The mechanics had to remove the door of my car, and the job must have consumed at least an hour. Finally, well after midnight, the repairs were completed, and soon I deposited the president at the door of his residence on Quincy Street in Cambridge. I started to say "good night" and drive off, but he asked, "Where are you going now?" "Out to Andover," was my natural reply. "Oh, no, you're not," he responded. "You leave the automobile right there in the driveway and come in. I'll supply you with pajamas and a razor, and you'll be perfectly comfortable." He was so graciously insistent that I had to accept his hospitality. The next morning, after a comfortable sleep, I appeared in my white tie and evening clothes for breakfast.
I watched his spaniel, Phantom, perform his tricks and then stepped into my Dodge and drove back to Andover, where I changed my outer garments and appeared just in time for my morning class in English literature.
When President Lowell was very much occupied with the construction of the Appleton Chapel, at Harvard, he came out one day to inspect our Cochran Chapel, at Andover, one of the finest of Charles Platt's buildings. Looking up at the elaborately carved oak capitals of the interior pillars, he remarked whimsically, "There you have it, Fuess, the symbols of the difference between Andover and Harvard --- you have cherubs, we have lions!"
In 1937, when James Phinney Baxter, III, was drawn from the mastership of Adams House, at Harvard, to become President of Williams College, I sat next to Mr. Lowell on the platform in Williamstown when Baxter was being inaugurated. He had evidently been through an exhausting period and as the ceremonies began fell quite peacefully asleep. When the presiding officer introduced Mr. Lowell, I reached over and nudged him in the ribs. He aroused himself at once, stepped to the speakers' desk, and delivered a most felicitous address, beginning, "What can an Old Bird like me say to those who rob its nest?" At his conclusion, he returned to his chair and without embarrassment resumed his slumbers during the remainder of the proceedings.
My connection with the New England Association has been made even more pleasant by my intimacy with two of its executive secretaries, George S. Miller, of Tufts College, and his successor, Dana M. Cotton, of the Harvard School of Education --- men who have carried the routine burden with ease and have made the association influential. Their contribution to education in New England has been great.
The College Entrance Examination Board, with which I have been associated in many capacities since the 1920's, has been for me a source of pleasure and stimulation. I have served at one time or another on nearly every one of its committees. Twice I helped to rewrite its constitution, and I was a member of the group that in 1947 made the arrangements for setting up the Educational Testing Service, which took over some functions of the Board. For several years I have been the Board's chief custodian, responsible for the investment of its considerable reserve fund. Something of my regard and respect for the organization I tried to incorporate in my book, The College Board ---Its First Fifty Years, published in the autumn of 1950 in commemoration of its founding in 1900.
The Board was in its early days operated effectively, if somewhat parochially, by an Inner Ring of keenly interested persons identified with Eastern colleges and schools, especially Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and the seven women's colleges. In 1930 Professor Carl C. Brigham, of Princeton, became the Board's Associate Secretary and through his adventurous aggressiveness persuaded his colleagues to experiment with what were first called "psychological tests." For its present position of leadership, however, the man chiefly accountable is Professor George W. Mullins, who became secretary in 1936. It is far from being my intention to reiterate here what has been said more at length in my History; but I cannot leave the topic without paying a deserved tribute to George Mullins, who quietly but persistently put Brigham's rather iconoclastic ideas into operation and thus led American education along a new and different track. Mistakes were made, of course, and often the fascinating new theories were ridden too hard and too far; but Mullins had vision --- a rare quality in scholars --- and could see far enough ahead to disregard temporary difficulties. Furthermore he had the skill to win his point without antagonizing those who disagreed with him. I might add that he possesses to an unusual degree the priceless gift of friendship.
Before his death in 1942, at the ripe age of eighty, Wilson Farrand, formerly Head of Newark Academy and one of the founders of the Board, had been accustomed to invite a group of six or seven of his associates to dine with him twice a year, on the nights before the New York meetings in spring and fall. After he died, the survivors continued the custom, calling themselves in his memory the "Farrand Cabinet," and the informal dinners are still held, usually at the Century or the University Clubs. Here ideas were tossed about, often before they had reached even the nebulous stage, and the exploratory discussions sometimes led to permanent policies. The Nestor of these dinners in recent years has been Dr. Frederick C. Ferry, formerly President of Hamilton College, to whose wisdom the Board is deeply obligated.
In another connection I have suggested that George Mullins might be compared to D'Artagnan, in his relationship to what could be styled the Board's "Three Musketeers" ---Radcliffe Heermance, of Princeton; Richard M. Gummere, of Harvard; and Edward S. Noyes, of Yale---each of whom has been at one time Chairman of the Board. Rad Heermance undoubtedly has some of the physical characteristics of Porthos, but unlike that rather gullible guardsman, he is not easily taken in and his common sense is equal to his intelligence. Again and again in Board meetings his calm and witty arguments have won the majority over to his side. Dick Gummere, whom I have mentioned before, is well cast as Athos, with his happy balance between conservatism and exploration as well as his native aristocratic dignity. Ned Noyes, the youngest of the three, must be the Aramis, cool and farsighted, one of those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please.
It would be easy to make a long catalogue of College Entrance Board leaders who have affected and determined its philosophy. This would include, of course, the two chief founders, Presidents Eliot and Butler. Among the others not already mentioned would be William Allan Neilson, long the President of Smith College; Professor Robert M. Corwin, of Yale, for eighteen years on the Board's Executive Committee, a man of sound Yankee humor and mental robustness; Miss Mary E. Woolley, of Mount Holyoke, the first woman to be chosen chairman; Miss Marion E. Park, of Bryn Mawr, who became chairman in 1939; and Miss Katharine E. McBride, also of Bryn Mawr, who heads the organization at this date of writing. Although the Board in a mood of extraordinary self-sacrifice transferred its test-making skills and facilities in 1949 to the Educational Testing Service, it still has a rich future ahead of it. I said in my History, "Its job is certainly not finished, and the enticing vistas that lie ahead encourage it to go forward with faith and hope."
In this hurried survey of educators within whose range I have been fortunate enough to be drawn, I have omitted some of the most eminent and interesting. President Ernest M. Hopkins, of Dartmouth, was on the Andover Board of Trustees for several years and at the meetings never failed to make some salty contribution to the discussions. Once I conceived the bright idea of awarding each June at commencement a Phillips Medal to some outstanding alumnus. The members of the Board listened with patience and apparently with approval to my explanation of the plan. Finally when the motion was about to be passed, Hopkins said, "Well, Jack, I suppose you've thought it all out. But have you considered that every time you present one of those medals there will be fifty alumni who think they deserve one ---and the forty-nine who don't get it are sure to be sore?" I did some quick meditation myself and then replied,
"Hoppy, you're right as usual; let's forget my suggestion." Yankee common sense triumphed in this case, and it was not the only one.
As President of Dartmouth, Hoppy would with great regularity and mild humor protest against the power of the Yale influence at Andover. He felt, as I often did, that it was a mistake for the school to send such a disproportionate number of its graduates to one college, no matter how good. There was nothing that he or I could do about it, however, and he eventually abandoned the battle. When he resigned from the Board, it was not on that issue.
The presidents of my own college, Amherst, I have of course known well. Of President Alexander Meiklejohn I recall chiefly his famous reply to an observer of educational procedures who, commenting on the average American college undergraduate, said, "Well, you can lead a student to water but you can't make him drink." "Ah," observed Meikiejohn, "but you can make him thirsty!" Just how this could be done Dr. Meiklejohn did not fully specify, but the theory was sound.
President George D. Olds, able though he was, took office in 1924 when he was in his seventy-second year, too late to formulate and carry through any important changes in policy. President Arthur S. Pease, who succeeded him, was a learned classical scholar who once, when he was harassed by administrative duties, said, "How I hate to make decisions so rapidly and on so little evidence." He it was who reminded me of the Vermont farmer who engaged a hired man to help him with his chores. On one blistering July day the farmer found the hired man complaining of the sun and sent him to the cool cellar to sort out potatoes. A little later he paid a visit to the fellow and found him in an ugly temper. "What's the matter now?" asked the farmer. "You were sore about the hot weather, and then I put you down where everything is comfortable. What are you grousing about now?" The man pointed to the pile of potatoes and answered, "Too damned many decisions!"
Nevertheless Stanley Pease was a good president, in spite of his protestations, and the trustees, in accepting his resignation, rightly declared, "He has fulfilled the high hopes attending his election." His successor, Stanley King, was the ideal college executive, imaginative, efficient, and decisive. As I have explained, he wanted me to join the college faculty, and I should have been very happy in that atmosphere. With the selection of Charles W. Cole, in 1946, following King's resignation, I had something to do, for we had worked together on the Executive Committee of the Alumni, and I was only too well aware not only of his scholarship but of his gifts as an administrator. Amherst has been indeed fortunate in King and Cole, two different but extraordinarily effective leaders through a critical period.
Of all contemporary college presidents I suppose that I have known best Harold W. Dodds, of Princeton. For many vacations we have been together, first at Summerville, South Carolina, then in Florida --- at Palm Beach and the Hillsborough Club --- and finally at Yeamans' Hall, near Charleston, South Carolina. Often Frank Boyden would come with us, and the three of us, each one a different personality, got along perfectly. Wherever we could, Harold and I played golf, neither one of us being a star performer. When I was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Princeton in June 1938, President Dodds, after reading the citation and watching the hood placed over my shoulders, shook my hand and with an impassive congratulatory face muttered, "I'll beat the life out of you at golf next time we meet!" It is my recollection that the threat was fulfilled.
I received an honorary degree at Yale in 1934, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the most distinguished guest. Billy Phelps, in his Autobiography with Letters, has described vividly what happened on that occasion. All the degrees had been given out but two --- those for President Conant and President Roosevelt --- and Phelps was about to proceed with his presentations when Governor Wilbur L. Cross, from his place among the members of the Corporation, rose and addressed the President of Yale, James Rowland Angell. Much embarrassed, Phelps retreated and sat down, only to be called up and awarded by Angell the degree which he had so well earned. "I think," wrote Phelps, "that it was the most stunning surprise of my life." Certainly it was a highly dramatic incident to those of us who were the observers.
In 1925, just as Ernest M. Hopkins, of Dartmouth, was being cited for an honorary degree by President James R. Angell, a man in the front row fainted and had to be carried out. Hoppy turned to Angell and asked, "Is this a regular part of your Yale ceremonies?" Angell came back with his customary felicity, "Well, we have had protests, but I don't recall any as immediate as this!"
Education in America can boast of a body of men and women who in public spirit, good citizenship, and devotion to duty can hold their own with the representatives of any profession. Many of them are not inferior to bankers and industrialists in their ability to read and analyze budgets, to institute efficient practices, and to carry on human relations. This country has had no wittier speakers than President Angell and Principal Perry, President Baxter and Headmaster Tillinghast, and no more competent wartime leaders than Presidents Conant, Carmichael, and Compton. Educators have a habit, especially in national emergencies, of roaming beyond their local range into national and international affairs. As I said at the opening of this chapter, the time has long since passed when any teacher needs to present any apology for his occupation. It is one to which anybody may dedicate himself with the consciousness that the rewards and opportunities are both great.