"Were American Newcomen to do naught else, our work is well done if we succeed in sharing with America a strengthened inspiration to continue the struggle towards a nobler Civilization---through wider knowledge and understanding of the hopes, ambitions, and deeds of leaders in the past who have upheld Civilization's material progress. As we look backward, let us look forward."
This statement, crystallizing a broad purpose of the society, was first read at the Newcomen Meeting at New York World's Fair on August 5, 1939, when American Newcomen were guests of The British Government
AMERICAN NEWCOMEN, through the years, has honored numerous educational institutions, both in the United States of America and in Canada. Such a Newcomen manuscript is this, dealing with the history of Phillips Academy in New England and its contributions, throughout 179 years, in the schooling of America's future leaders!
"It is a very real pleasure for me and for a number of my colleagues to be guests of The Newcomen Society in North America this evening, and I am glad to have this opportunity of discussing some aspects of the history of Phillips Academy. It is also, though, an assignment that I approach with great diffidence."
---JOHN MASON KEMPER
This Newcomen Address, dealing with the history of Phillips Academy during 179 years (1778-1957), was delivered at the "1957 Massachusetts Dinner" of The Newcomen Society in North America, held in Louis XIV Ballroom of Hotel Somerset, at Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., when Dr. Kemper was the guest of honor, on November 14, 1957
INTRODUCTION OF DR. KEMPER AT BOSTON ON NOVEMBER 14, 1957, BY CLAUDE MOORE FUESS PH.D. LITT.D. L.H.D. LL.D., OF CHESTNUT HILL, MASSACHUSETTS; HEADMASTER EMERITUS PHILLIPS ACADEMY; VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE NEW ENGLAND COMMITTEE, IN THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY IN NORTH AMERICA.
My fellow members of Newcomen:
ONCE after a gathering similar to this, the clergyman in his Benediction prayed: "Lord, have mercy upon us and justify the high esteem in which we hold ourselves." The danger of over-humility on this occasion is only slight, and you will not expect me this evening to be very critical of Phillips Academy. Indeed it would be difficult for me to be anything but complimentary about its history and its present Headmaster. All I have to do is to speak the truth! In the oft-repeated words of the god-like "Dan'l" Webster, about Massachusetts: "There she stands!"; and Phillips Academy has a record which enhances the glory of the Commonwealth.
Founded by generous and public-spirited citizens in the darkest hour of the American Revolution, the school has become national, even international, in its reputation. To it from all quarters of the Nation have come young men to profit by its Yankee discipline, traditions, and standards.
Among its alumni are such men as Samuel F. B. Morse, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry L. Stimson. Four important contributions our New England area has made to America---namely: its history, its literature, its recreational facilities, and its colleges and schools. And it is one of the foremost of these schools that we are honoring tonight.
For our guest and speaker I have admiration and affection, and I shall always be proud that, at the decisive meeting of the Trustees, I was given the privilege of making the motion for his election. He is young, but wise; conservative, but imaginative; conscious of the rich past, but even more aware of the expanding future.
He has maintained and enlarged the reputation of an independent boarding school now opening its 180th Year of continuous and prosperous operation.
I could, with accuracy and propriety, call him Colonel or Doctor, but I prefer to present him to you as "Johnny"; and I introduce him with a pleasure which I make no effort to conceal. Fellow Members of Newcomen: the eleventh HEADMASTER of Phillips Academy!
My fellow members of Newcomen:
IT IS a very real pleasure for me and for a number of my colleagues to be guests of The Newcomen Society in North America this evening, and I am glad to have this opportunity of discussing some aspects of the history of Phillips Academy. It is also, though, an assignment that I approach with great diffidence. My good friend, and my predecessor as Headmaster, Jack Fuess, who has just introduced me, knows more about the history of our school than any living person. Long ago he wrote a history of the school, and it is his work that has provided the inspiration for this Newcomen address. Happily, he is the most charitable of men and I am sure he will forgive any historical heresy of which I may be guilty.
I understand, Mr. Chairman, that our Society held a meeting recently at Governor Dummer Academy, and you doubtless were given a lot of misinformation about its being the oldest of the New England boarding schools. We at Andover believe that whether one is speaking of birth, marriage, or the founding of schools, it is nice to have it legal; and we suggest that an act of incorporation, like a birth certificate or marriage license, gives a certain respectability to the enterprise concerned. If you accept this principle, Phillips Academy is the oldest incorporated boarding school in the United States of America, for it was not until 1782, nearly twenty years after it had opened, that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts made an honest woman out of Governor Dummer---two years after the "State of Massachusetts-Bay" had given us its blessing. On the other hand, we must admit that both our founder, Samuel Phillips, and Eliphalet Pearson, Andover's first principal, were graduates of Governor Dummer, and we are grateful for the fine training our boys received there.
When Samuel Phillips drew up what we call the school's Constitution, he aimed to establish "a public free School or Academy for the purpose of instructing Youth, not only in English and Latin Grammar, Writing, Arithmetic, and those Sciences, wherein they are commonly taught; but more especially to learn them the Great End and Real Business of Living."
There were several other significant provisions in the Constitution by which Samuel Phillips made it very clear what kind of school it was that he wanted to found. I have already mentioned that it was to be a "public free School." There was also this statement: "This Seminary shall be ever equally open to Youth, of requisite qualifications, from every quarter; . . ." Though the use of the word "free" did not mean literally that no tuition was to be charged, the basic concept was that the most deserving boys, regardless of race, creed, or financial circumstance, should be admitted. Samuel Phillips was concerned that the student body be representative not only in the social sense but also in the geographical, and he applied this second concept to the Trustees as well, by specifying that a majority of the Board must be men who were not inhabitants of the Town of Andover. Not long after the school was founded, George Washington, who had been a friend of Phillips, began to send a number of his great-nephews to the school. In those days, it must be remembered, Virginia was a long way off. So, from the very start, a group of students known as "charity scholars" made their appearance on the Hill, and the Academy began to draw its students from all over the Country. Such an admissions policy has made for an extremely variegated student body, with the result that a good part of the education of every Andover boy has been provided by his classmates.
This policy, particularly the scholarship part of it, has had great appeal over the years for both students and alumni and has served to bind them all together. The Class of 1854 in its Senior year founded with a $100 gift the "Students' Educational Fund for the Benefit of Worthy Indigent Students." Endowment funds restricted for scholarships today amount to nearly two million dollars, and in 1906 the alumni went a step further, starting in that year the Alumni Fund, a program of annual giving which has also had for its major purpose the support of scholarships.
This present year the Trustees of Phillips Academy voted to instruct the Admissions Committee to admit the best 250 boys they could find, regardless of the financial circumstances of their families. While this policy had been carried out in part in the past, it had always been limited by budgetary considerations. The school took the best boys it could find, but if the scholarship funds ran out, the search then had to be limited to those who could pay the tuition. Now, for the first time, the Trustees have taken what we believe to be a truly momentous step in saying that they will pay whatever such a policy costs. If you will ponder this for a moment, you will realize what such a policy can do to a school budget---one year the scholarship expense might be $50,000, the next $300,000. It speaks, I believe, highly of the courage of the present Board and of their real devotion to what has long been an Andover tradition that they have been willing to take this gamble, and I believe that this policy is unique among American educational institutions, both secondary and college.
The admissions policy that I have outlined has made it possible for Phillips Academy to answer effectively the age-old charge that private schools are, by definition, snobbish and exclusive---that they represent an unhealthy, if not un-American influence in the educational life of the Nation. Hardly had Phillips Academy been founded, than Samuel Adams, Governor of Massachusetts in 1795 and still sniffing undemocratic influences on every tainted breeze, saw fit to take a few pot shots at the growth of academies in Massachusetts. Old Sam had this to say about them:
"While it is acknowledged that great advantages have been derived from these institutions, perhaps it may justly be apprehended that multiplying them may have a tendency to injure the ancient and beneficial mode of Education in Town Grammar Schools. The peculiar advantage of such schools is that the poor and rich may derive equal benefit from them, but none excepting the more wealthy, generally speaking, can avail themselves of the benefits of the Academies."
Nor did this charge die with Old Sam. This Autumn Mr. Herbert L. Brown, Jr., writing in defense of public schools in The Saturday Evening Post, let fly the following bad-tempered blast at private schools:
"I want my children to understand that there is no necessary correlation between virtue and money, between decency and circumstances of birth. I want them to mix with the children of the Ph.D., the ironworker, the man who runs the grocery .... I want my children in no hothouse, no headmaster's private preserve, no snob factory. If they want to go to an elevated private college later on, that's fine. By that time they will be proof against being made prigs or jerks ...."
Andover has, throughout its history, been able to give these detractors the lie---and never more so than today, with an admissions policy that insists only on character and brains.
To the ideal that Andover be a national school---and a public one in the sense of its being open to any deserving boy---there must be added a second: Our tradition of great teaching. I'd like to put special emphasis on this topic because I believe that Andover early found ways of attracting and holding gifted teachers. This is the more significant in these times of desperate shortage of good teachers, and we can do worse than look to history for guidance.
In the early years Andover was small, and the first headmasters, with one or two assistants, did the teaching. What kind of men they were has been said best by Oliver Wendell Holmes in his famous poem, The Schoolboy, written for Andover's 100th Anniversary. Holmes had been a student under John Adams, the fourth headmaster.
"Grave is the Master's look; his forehead wears
Thick rows of wrinkles, prints of worrying cares;
Uneasy lie the heads of all that rule,
His most of all whose kingdom is a school.
Supreme he sits; before the awful frown
That bends his brows the boldest eye goes down;
. . . "
By mid-Nineteenth Century the school had grown to around 300 boys on the average, but it had not become a place to attract great teachers in the sense that we think of them today. There were two obstacles, primarily, to the development of a vigorous independent teaching program: the first was the Andover Theological Seminary, and the second was Samuel H. Taylor, the Academy's sixth principal. Let us look, for a minute, at the way these two forces mitigated against the growth of inspiring teaching on Andover Hill.
The Theological Seminary had been founded in 1806 as a protest against the growth of Unitarianism at Harvard College. Many Ministers in New England thought that Harvard had, literally, gone to the devil when it began to appoint Unitarians to its chairs of divinity, and believed it essential to provide some place where clergymen who clung to the old Calvinistic Faith could be trained. The Seminary, then, was founded to combat new heresies, and almost by definition was destined to be conservative, if not reactionary. It is well to remember that at the very time the Theological Seminary was flourishing, it was doing so in direct opposition to that extraordinary ferment in New England life and letters which we call Transcendentalism. Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, and the rest who were doing so much to lead America to a fresh and original spiritual life would never have been welcome at Andover. Furthermore, when the Seminary was founded, it was decided to have the same board of trustees govern the Seminary that were in charge of Phillips Academy. The result was that the school was all but ignored while the Trustees concerned themselves with what they considered the more important of the two institutions.
I do not mean to imply for a minute that the Seminary people were not sincere in their Faith. They were. I do not mean that there were not some distinguished theological scholars, for there certainly were. I do insist that the atmosphere of the Seminary, extending as it did to the Academy as well, could not help but stifle any fresh approach to education and keep Phillips Academy immune from the challenging intellectual developments all around her in New England.
If the Seminary's influence were not enough to explain the absence of inspiring teaching in the Academy in the mid-Nineteenth Century, Uncle Sam Taylor, the school's principal from 1838 to 1871, could more than make up the difference. He was an excellent drillmaster and without question was eminently successful at pounding rules into the heads of his pupils. But there is no evidence that his students ever enjoyed the experience, or that Uncle Sam would have wanted them to. Like many pedagogues of the day, Uncle Sam believed in ruling by fear. Though he never resorted to corporal punishment, he had, to judge by the testimony of many of his students, the same effect on his charges that a snakecharmer has on a snake. He was, in addition, a first-class detective and proved extraordinarily successful in ferreting out and punishing every species of student crime. One of his students testified to this ability as follows: "There was nothing he did not know. There was no wall so silent, there was no bedroom so secret, there was no midnight so dark, there were no recesses of the mind so obscure that the thought of any boy was not known to him; and oftentimes when we came up in the innocence of an artless life, supposing that we had walked alone, there came that momentous sentence after morning prayers, when every boy awaited the words that should come next, "The following individuals are requested to remain . . ."
I do not wish to give the impression that Uncle Sam was unique. He was simply an unusually well-developed specimen of the dictatorial type of principal of his day who ran a one-man school. Dr. Abbot at Exeter was cut from the same bolt of cloth. When Lewis Cass, later Democratic candidate for President, went to Exeter in the early 1800's, his father expressed concern that the boy was too much of a rowdy to get along. After a couple of months he wrote Dr. Abbot that if young Lewis feared The Almighty half as much as he feared his principal, there was nothing to worry about. It is obvious, however, that teachers of independence would find little satisfaction in working under men of this breed. Uncle Sam was almost as hard on his faculty as he was on his boys. He would have been outraged at the thought of holding a faculty meeting and apparently never held one during his thirty-three years as head. Furthermore, he had an unpleasant habit of dropping in on a class and criticising the teacher in front of the unfortunate man's pupils. This hardly contributed to faculty morale, and it is not surprising that among the "assistants," as they were called, there is no name that stands out during Uncle Sam's term of office.
Until 1870, therefore, Phillips Academy did not have a distinguished faculty. The influence of the Seminary kept it isolated from most of what was fresh and challenging and stimulating in the intellectual life of the day, and Uncle Sam Taylor, with his Napoleonic complex, crushed whatever spirit might have been left in his subordinates.
Uncle Sam Taylor died characteristically. He suffered a heart attack just as he was about to start a Bible class on a Sunday morning in 1871. After a brief interregnum, the Trustees of the Academy appointed as principal Cecil Franklin Patch Bancroft, a Dartmouth alumnus who also had graduated from the Theological Seminary. The determining influences which led to the choice of Dr. Bancroft are not clear, but the selection proved a very fortunate one for the Academy. Despite a fairly rigid training, Bancroft soon showed that he had no intention of keeping the school as it had been, and in the space of some fifteen years he wrought remarkable changes. Not the least of these was his transformation of the Phillips Academy faculty from a small group of brow-beaten assistants into a much larger, vigorous group of teachers.
How did this important change come about? First of all, Dr. Bancroft must have had a real gift for picking able young men. And there is much evidence that he spent a good deal of time searching for talented teachers. Two, for example, who served with him, Professors Comstock and Coy, were to become the founders of the Hotchkiss School. How concerned he was can be illustrated in his own words at the talk he made at what were amiably called the "postprandial exercises" at the school's first alumni dinner in 1886:
"The second point has been the creation of a faculty. In the years from 1870 to '75, a period which will always be memorable in the history of the Academy . . . every place in the Academy, from the highest to the lowest, was twice vacant and twice filled. It was nobody's fault; it was everybody's misfortune. It would be a very strong school that could stand such a strain as that. To gather a faculty, able and stable, is not an easy task. It is one which has absorbed the attention of the authorities, and the results are, to many of you, already measurably well known. We have aimed to get teachers who are both able and willing to remain with us, giving us not alone their 'prentice work, but also their highest and best professional work in the glory and pride of their teaching powers .... "
In the second place, Dr. Bancroft seems to have been much involved in the educational ferment of his time. Among many who helped produce this ferment the name of Dr. Charles William Eliot, the President of Harvard, must surely lead the list. Eliot became president in 1869, just a few years before Bancroft became principal, and there is evidence to show that the two men kept in fairly close touch on educational matters. We know that Dr. Bancroft used to repair occasionally to Cambridge to discuss educational problems with Eliot. They worked together toward the establishment of the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. There are letters from Eliot to Bancroft asking for information on Andover's curriculum and related matters. For the headmaster of Andover to be having anything to do with Harvard was certainly new and different, especially, when contrasted with Uncle Sam Taylor's oft-expressed belief that a student who didn't plan to go to Yale was as good as damned! Doubtless Dr. Bancroft knew and sympathized with some of President Eliot's convictions expressed in his famous inaugural address:
"The actual problem to be solved is not what to teach but how to teach . . . . Philosophical subjects should never be taught with authority .. . . A university is the last place in the world for a dictator: learning is always republican."
The record seems to suggest, therefore, that principal and college president saw eye to eye in matters of broad educational philosophy. A headmaster so interested in the educational spirit of his time must inevitably have attracted to his school able men. That Dr. Bancroft was making progress in building a faculty by the early 1880's is evident from the testimony of the Hon. Henry L. Stimson, a member of the Class of 1883. Secretary Stimson writes of his secondary school education at Andover:
"Andover fitted a boy for college and it fitted him well. The courses taught were fewer than they are today, but they were taught with extreme thoroughness. And the numbers of each class being large, the mere experience of standing up before a good-sized audience and answering tough problems before a rapid-firing instructor was in itself a stiff discipline to the average boy. To me it opened a new world of effort and competition. It also opened to me a new world of democracy and of companionship with boys from all portions of the United States. At that time Phillips Academy contained about two hundred fifty students, many coming from rural New England, but the remainder from nearly every other state in the Union. A large percentage of them were working their own way in whole or in part.
"The result for me was association with a very different group of young men from those I had met in New York; they were representatives of homes of many varieties scattered all over the United States---most of them simple homes---but in general the boys were drawn to Andover by the desire to get the teaching given by a school which was known to have represented for over a hundred years the ideals of character and education believed in by the founders of our Country."
Finally, Dr. Bancroft seems to have been one of the earliest of the school heads to realize the importance to the teacher of a sense of status, of the belief that his role is vitally important within his school, and that his professional judgment is respected in matters of moment to the school. A close look at the minutes of the faculty meetings of the 1890's shows what striking changes had taken place since Dr. Bancroft first took over.
The first recorded faculty vote that I have been able to discover was taken on September 11, 1891, and reads as follows: "Voted, That the school examination blanks be sold at a price not exceeding1¢ each." This is, on the face of it, an extraordinary decision for the faculty to be making. One would presume that a matter of this kind would naturally be for the administration---probably the Treasurer---to handle; yet here are the faculty setting policy in a purely business matter. This vote is symptomatic of many to follow which, taken together, show very clearly that by the 1890's the faculty had been given a large measure of authority over Discipline, Curriculum, Extra-curricular Activities, Athletics, Health, Business Management, and finally, over the principal himself. Let us examine in more detail what the faculty meeting minutes reveal about the activities of the group in these areas.
In the old days, the principal took care of discipline, usually with a vengeance. When a boy got fired, he stayed fired. The difference now was, as many a graduate of the 1890's can testify, that it was the faculty who did the dirty work. Happily, since the Clerk of the Faculty believed in spelling out the reasons for disciplinary action, one can get a pretty clear view of what was going on in this area. The usual student high jinks were landed on heavily: a group were dismissed "for holding carnival in their room after the Exeter game"; another boy was suspended for failure to conform to "requirements as to his return from New York City after the funeral of his aunt"; another was dismissed for sneaking out to attend what is described as "Grand Opera"; another theatrically-minded boy got the same treatment for attending Uncle Tom's Cabin. Drinking was always hit hard: one boy was fired for "taking liquor in Lawrence"; another "for taking intoxicating liquor on Washington's Birthday." From the point of view of the faculty mere conversation with members of the opposite sex was ipso facto evidence of complete depravity. One boy in 1900 "forfeited his school standing for conversing with unknown women upon the street"; another was dismissed for riding in Lawrence with an Abbot Academy Senior, thereby contributing to her dismissal from her school; and a third unfortunate was dismissed for "walking with girl during church time" (presumably a time when the culprit thought nobody would catch him). At times the faculty resorted to unusual methods of preserving order: in 1898 it was voted: "that in view of the recent disturbances near the Latin Commons and the cottages, certain selected members of the school be held as hostages for the good behavior of those houses"; and another wretch, "on account of offensive disorder at" the Episcopal Church in town, was "required to attend the Chapel Church, occupying the front seat in the same." Finally, the faculty was death on plagiarism throughout this period: in one instance a boy was called to account for a story in the school magazine that bore "resemblances to an Easter story in The Ladies' Home Journal." Throughout this continual cops-and-robbers contest, however, the faculty gradually began to draw up a disciplinary code differentiating among various types of crimes, and by the end of the decade they certainly had the matter well in hand.
One of the most extraordinary evidences of faculty participation in the running of the school is to be seen in their relationship to Principal Bancroft. In 1892, for example, the faculty voted that in their judgment the school needed a Recorder, and requested the principal to "secure the appointment of such an officer and to define his duties." Later, after Dr. Bancroft had obediently complied with this request, his report on the matter to the faculty was "accepted and adopted." On another occasion the minutes read: "All present. Dr. Bancroft tardy." On at least three occasions Dr. Bancroft was elected a member of faculty committees to deal with such matters as the Dramatic Club, prize debates, and commencement entertainment. On the other hand, one reads occasionally of a boy's case being left to the principal; and on another occasion the faculty, after directing the registrar to assign the teaching of supplementary reading equitably among the whole faculty, added the note, "the principal excepted." Toward the end of the 1890's one begins to read of committees appointed by the chair, rather than elected, as in the past, and there are other signs that whatever the latitude allowed the faculty at an earlier time, the principal was beginning to reassert himself. Even so, there is no question but what the faculty had, by 1900, been given a large amount of power in dealing with school affairs, and that the principal was primus inter pares rather than a dictator of the old type. This development is all the more remarkable when it is remembered that in the Constitution of Phillips Academy, all the power to run the school is lodged in the principal.
Since there was no regularly-established athletic department, and since Andover undergraduates of the '90's were as athletically-minded as the next man, someone had to take over this part of school life, and the faculty moved in with apparent relish. They took, first of all, an active interest in what sports were to be played. In 1892 they voted a list of events for track meets, including among other more familiar ones, "pole leaping" and a "two mile safety bicycle race." When interest in tennis appeared, it was voted: "that the Tennis Association give an account of itself and its proposed plans." The faculty disapproved of "public boxing contests in school tournaments" and abolished them. In those days it was the practice of the undergraduates to hire "professional trainers"---i.e., coaches---a system which the faculty apparently disliked. In any event, several votes were passed urging that such trainers be eliminated. For a while a faculty committee met with an Exeter committee to arrange for contests between the two schools, but disagreements led finally to the abolition of this group, at the request of Exeter. Nonetheless, the faculty could come to the defense of an Academy team when occasion demanded. In 1893, when a certain Exeter baseball player was apparently suspected of being a ringer, the faculty voted that if his name "be certified in the list of players upon the Exeter nine, the protest of our management against his name be endorsed and supported." In addition to formulating policy, the faculty concerned itself with many practical matters in athletics. They set hours of practice for the football team, allowing them to "play evenings until 9:00 o'clock"; they appointed an undergraduate janitor of the Athletic House and made various attempts to get better physical facilities for athletics; they appointed a committee "to consider the umpiring of football games"; they made various rules governing the establishment of a training table, including the cost of the board; and finally, they wound up with a magnificent vote to the effect "that the use of ale at the training table be discouraged." The word "discouraged" was later crossed out in the minutes and the word "prohibited" substituted. Early in this Century the program was delegated to a Director of Athletics who was a member of the faculty. So for a long time it has been the faculty, rather than the principal, who set policy in this area.
The faculty had the temerity to move into the medical field also and pass judgment on the health of various students, but the problem of sickness remained a difficult one, as it remains today. One of the most persistent problems was that of boys whom the faculty called "Chronic Invalids" and whom they apparently suspected of malingering. They finally drew up a list of the students with the largest number of absences through illness, labeled them "Chronic Invalids" and voted not to excuse their absences in the future without a doctor's certificate. On occasion the faculty would vote to have a boy withdraw until his health was improved, and they refused to allow a boy to change his room because of his lame knee. They ordered that the football teams have medical exams, but apparently there was no regular system of physical examination beyond that. The area in which the faculty evidently considered themselves most competent, medically speaking, was eyes. There were numerous boys excused from a course of supplementary reading for "weak eyes." Since an even larger number of petitions to drop supplementary reading were turned down, one wonders whether it was not the reading course, rather than the eyes, which caused the trouble. The Clerk of the Faculty was a most precise man in these matters: after the faculty had voted to excuse a boy from a course, the clerk added in parentheses: "(on account of eyes---one eye)."
Finally, the faculty took over supervision of a wide variety of extra-curricular activities in the school. They voted: "that the Business Manager of The Philippian (the school newspaper) be rebuked for permitting advertisements in the editorial columns," and when the rebuke didn't do the trick, they warned him a second time. They appointed one of their number to investigate "the anonymous circular, issued in reference to the election of editors to the new literary magazine," and they reprimanded a student "for printing objectionable articles in said magazine." They granted permission for a Chess Club of ten men to go to Cambridge to take on Harvard, elected a faculty "escort" for the debaters on a trip to Worcester, and went on record as "opposed to the addition of dances to the programmes of the Glee Club concerts, as arranged by the managements of these clubs." Lastly, there is a charming vote, just before election day 1900, to the effect that the request of the Republican Club to take part in the Ballardvale parade be referred to the Athletic Committee.
Whatever one may think of particular policies developed by the faculty during the 1890's, one fact stands out: here is a lively group of men, clearly dedicated to the school, and more important, having a large share in the administration of Phillips Academy. Though lack of specific evidence makes it impossible for me to be dogmatic on this point, I believe that sharing in the running of the school was of first importance in attracting great teachers to Andover and what is more, in keeping them there after they had come.
Another piece of evidence that shows the school's power to attract teachers in the 1890's is provided by a folder of applications for the position of Professor of Greek which became vacant in 1894 when a distinguished scholar, later to be Professor, of Classics at Harvard, left to go to the University of Chicago. There are twenty-three applications in all in Dr. Bancroft's records, though there may well have been more than that; but the impressive thing is not the number of applications but the quality and training of the men who applied. Five of he applicants were Ph.D.'s, two of them from Johns Hopkins, then perhaps the leading graduate school in the country. Several more had done graduate work in foreign universities---Leipzig, Athens, and the like. Among the younger applicants was a Magna Cum Laude from Harvard and a Salutatorian at Yale, while others had had college teaching experience at Amherst and Princeton or had taught at numerous secondary schools. Finally, a professor of Greek at the University of Utah---then still a territory---had had the unpleasant experience of losing his position when the territorial legislature abolished his job because of lack of funds. Why did all these distinguished candidates take the trouble to apply at Andover? In some cases the chance for an improved financial position may have been an influence: the school paid as high as $2,000, which as late as 1904 was the average being paid professors in the large universities and which would amount to nearly $7,500 today. Yet I suspect that more than salary attracted them. It must have been the knowledge that at Andover a teacher would have a chance to teach and study with freedom and, in addition, to participate to a large extent in the running of the school.
A final piece of evidence of the fundamental change that had taken place in the status of the teacher at Phillips Academy by the 1890's is a letter from one of the younger teachers to Principal Bancroft---a man who, incidentally, was to remain at the Academy for forty years and to become one of its two or three greatest teachers. Writing about his concept of what he wants to do at Andover, this man says: "Andover suits me, and I think I have something to give to Phillips . . . . The schoolmaster of the book-and-rule type has absolutely no attraction for me, but I would like to continue the effort to become an educator of boys. I would prefer to have my pupils remember me as something more than a mechanical piledriver of facts---useful as such engines may be. It would also be pleasing if they left the recitation room with minds somewhat better than mimeographic reproductions of the books they have used." Here, obviously, is a man speaking in an idiom that Uncle Sam Taylor could never understand, or that would have enraged him if he could have understood it. Here, obviously, is an exponent of the "modern" concept of teaching, a concept which became firmly established at Andover in the 1890's and which has been strengthened and expanded and refined ever since.
The policy of building a strong faculty at Andover is remarkable because it occurred so early in the history of American schools. It is remarkable also in that it so clearly accepts the premise that a teacher is not a hired hand, but a highly trained professional whose experience and judgment are vital assets to society, and for whom an adequate salary and satisfactory working conditions must be provided. It places the teacher in his school on a par with the lawyer in his firm or the doctor in his hospital. It is a way of persuading the teacher that others respect him and his calling.
For Andover, this has meant much. Fine men came and stayed. Fine men have kept coming and staying right up to this moment. As a result, headmasters since 1900 have not felt constrained to limit the school to a size where they could exercise personal responsibility for every boy. They have known that this responsibility could be delegated to the teachers with confidence. And this, in turn, has made it possible for the school to grow---in numbers and in the quality of education that it offers.
Here, then, as Jack Fuess has called it, is "An Old New England School"---proud of the boys who, from the very beginning, have come to Andover "from every quarter"; and equally proud of the men who have wanted to spend their lives at Phillips Academy "and gladly teach."
THIS NEWCOMEN ADDRESS, dealing with the history of PHILLIPS ACADEMY at Andover, Massachusetts, U.S.A., during 179 Years (1778-1957), was delivered at the "1957 Massachusetts Dinner" of The Newcomen Society in North America, held at Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on November 14, 1957. DR. KEMPER, the guest of honor, was introduced by DR. CLAUDE MOORE FUESS, Headmaster Emeritus of Phillips Academy; Vice-Chairman, New England Committee, in American Newcomen. The dinner was presided over by the
"Headmasters since 1900 have not felt constrained to limit the school to a size where they could exercise personal responsibility for every boy. They have known that this responsibility could be delegated to the teachers with confidence. And this, in turn, has made it possible for the school to grow-in numbers and in the quality of education that it offers."
---JOHN MASON KEMPER
"This present year the Trustees of Phillips Academy voted to instruct the Admissions Committee to admit the best 250 boys they could find, regardless of the financial circumstances of their families. While this policy had been carried out in part in the past, it had always been limited by budgetary considerations. The school took the best boys it could find, but if the scholarship funds ran out, the search then had to be limited to those who could pay the tuition. Now, for the first time, the Trustees have taken what we believe to be a truly momentous step in saying that they will pay whatever such a policy costs."
---JOHN MASON KEMPER
"By mid-Nineteenth Century the school had grown to around 300 boys on the average, but it had not become a place to attract great teachers in the sense that we think of them today."
---JOHN MASON KEMPER
|NEW ENGLAND can well be proud of her rich heritage of learning, education, and common sense! Her schools and colleges have pointed a way; and have trained young men for posts of responsibility and leadership in every walk of American life---throughout America and indeed beyond her shores. In the pages you have read is the life-story of a time-honored and distinguished institution upon Andover hill!|
MORE THAN 30 years ago, the late L. F. Loree (1858-1940) of New York, then dean of American railroad presidents, established a group now known as "American Newcomen" and interested in Material History, as distinguished from political history. Its objectives center in the beginnings, growth, development, contributions, and influence of Industry, Transportation, Communication, the Utilities, Mining, Agriculture, Banking, Finance, Economics, Insurance, Education, Invention, and the Law---these and correlated historical fields. In short, the background of those factors which have contributed or are contributing to the progress of Mankind.
The Newcomen Society in North America is a voluntary association, with headquarters in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, within the fox-hunting countryside of Eastern Pennsylvania and 32 miles West of the City of Philadelphia. Here also is located The Thomas Newcomen Library, a reference collection open for research and dealing with the subjects to which the Society devotes attention.
Meetings are held throughout the United States of America and across Canada at which Newcomen Addresses are presented by leaders in their respective fields. These manuscripts represent a broadest coverage of phases of Material History involved, both American and Canadian.
The approach in most cases has been a life-story of corporate organizations, interpreted through the ambitions, the successes and failures, and the ultimate achievements of those pioneers whose efforts laid the foundations of the particular enterprise.
The Society's name perpetuates the life and work of Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729), the British pioneer, whose valuable contributions in improvements to the newly invented Steam Engine brought him lasting fame in the field of the Mechanic Arts. The Newcomen Engines, whose period of use was from 1712 to 1775, paved a way for the Industrial Revolution. Newcomen's inventive genius preceded by more than 50 years the brilliant work in Steam by the world-famous James Watt.
Members of American Newcoman, when in Europe, are invited by the Dartmouth Newcomen Association to visit the home of Thomas Newcomen at Dartmouth in South Devonshire, England, where the festival of "Newcomen Day" is celebrated each year on the anniversary, August 16th, of his death.
"The roads you travel so briskly
---LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES G. HARBORD,
The Newcomen Society of England