History of

Saint Mark's School








ST. MARK'S was formally opened on the thirteenth of September, 1865. After religious services in St. Mark's Church, at which the Rev. G. M. Randall, D.D., President of the Corporation, made the address, the pupils, their parents, clergy and invited guests "partook of a collation in the Dining-Room of the School-house," Dr. Pynchon in his address at the dedication of the new school building twenty six years later points out the value of the "collation" as an institution laudably established by the Founder on the very day of the opening. A meeting in the Headmaster's study immediately followed it, and the Rev. G. S. Converse reported that two assistant teachers had been engaged: Mr. Louis C. Lewis for the classics, and Mr. James O. Hoyt as teacher of mathematics. Through the memories of one of the boys of this first year the impression persists that they were " fine men," and perhaps no further characterization could be desired; but it is significant that at a meeting of the Trustees on the twenty-fifth of April, 1867, it was "voted, that the Trustees present a copy of Shakespeare's Works to Mr. L. C. Lewis and a copy of Lord Bacon's works to Mr. James O. Hoyt for their faithful labors in behalf of the School in the first year of its organization." The "old fashioned square house" had of course been adapted as far as possible to scholastic needs; and since the ten acres of ground attached to it did not give much ground for a ball-field, a field was hired about where the golf-course now is, and at another time a piece of land opposite where the Roman Catholic Church now stands. It was not until 1885 that the School owned more than these ten acres. [page 29]

Joseph Burnett


St. Paul's, the first Church School in New England, was founded in 1855, when the older endowed schools were beginning to lose in numbers because of the increased facilities of the high schools; and ten years later it was difficult to obtain a place in it without patient waiting. Mr. Burnett had sent his eldest son, Edward, to St. Paul's; and Dr. Coit, the Headmaster, suggested to him when he was entering another son, Harry, that, as he had four boys it would be a good thing to start a church school in Massachusetts. Thus the words of Dr. Coit and the success of St. Paul's undoubtedly suggested to Joseph Burnett the possibility of another school on the same plan; and his own large family of boys nearing the school age brought him to serious consideration of the matter, as had been the case with Dr. Shattuck and St. Paul's. It is probable that in the words descriptive of Southborough which are found for many years in the School catalogue, "healthful," and "singularly free from objectionable features," we have his own perception of the fitness of Southborough for such an important venture. At this time there was for sale a well-built old-fashioned square house in the middle of the town. One morning on his way to Boston Mr. Burnett was approached at the railroad-station by a fellow townsman, who had heard. of his plans, and was asked for an offer on it. Mr. Burnett made one, and on his return in the evening was informed that the estate was his. [page 11]


One of the most significant to St. Mark's of other Southborough institutions is the Fay School, which was founded in 1866, a year later than St. Mark's, by Mrs. Eliza B. B. Fay and Miss Harriet Burnett, largely through Joseph Burnett's influence. It was probably the first strictly preparatory school for young boys in the vicinity, and was opened in what was formerly the parsonage of the Unitarian Church. From its original number of three boys it grew to a dozen in the late seventies, and moved its schoolroom into another building; and in 1885 and 1886 important additions were made, and the numbers rose to thirty-two, with a waiting-list. Upon the death of Miss Burnett in 1890 Mrs. Fay took entire charge, but survived her sister by only six years; and in September, 1896, Mr. Waldo B. Fay, her son, became Headmaster. Under his wise and devoted management, and with the unstinted love and motherly care of his wife, the School soon became a force in education throughout New England, and in 1908 extensive changes and additions became necessary, and the numbers were increased. In 1918 Mr. and Mrs. Fay retired after twenty-two years of service,' and the present Headmaster, Edward Winchester Fay (St. Mark's '04), and his sister took charge. In 1921 Miss Fay's marriage to Mr. Brinley, now a master at St. Mark's, left Mr. Fay the only member of his family in active service at the School, a service Mrs. Fay died in June, 1923. He had taught two years at St. Paul's, and eight as a master at the Fay School. More boys go from the Fay School to St. Mark's than to any other school. It was incorporated in 1922. [pages 7-8]

The School Buildings, 1870


At the same meeting in September a system of medals, prizes and diplomas was ordered, and a catalogue of the School planned. The last was printed with the date of 1870, and institutes in its main features the plan afterwards followed: an introductory note of the purposes and accommodations of the School; a calendar for the school year; a list of the Trustees, Faculty, and Monitors; a statement of "rewards"; extracts from the rules, in which tobacco, ardent spirits, firearms, gunpowder and other explosives, borrowing or lending of money, and buying on credit are explicitly forbidden, and neatness, decorum, readiness, kindness, good-breeding and Christian dutifulness specifically encouraged. Lists follow of boys by forms; the Missionary Society (founded in 1866) and the "Home-Reading Society," under its auspices; the Baseball Club (founded in 1866, --- club color, red); the Boat Club (founded in 1870,-club color blue,---motto "Pariter insurgite remis"); the Dramatic Society; the Glee Club; the Church Choir, consisting of twenty-four boys; the list of scholars past and present (whole number since 1865, ninety); a schedule of the courses of study; and finally two pages of description and instruction, in which among other matters the charge for tuition and all items of living is stated as $500 per annum, and each boy is instructed to bring a Bible and Prayerbook, six towels, six napkins, and a napkin ring. At the next meeting, on the eighteenth of October, Dr. Lowell was on the motion of Mr. Burnett elected a trustee, evidently the first Headmaster to hold the office without reservation. Joseph Story Fay of Boston was also elected, a man of continued value to the school for many years not only because of his practical wisdom, but for his active sympathy with the boys' point of view in sport and general activities.

With the establishment of prizes, the matter of scholarship assumed prominence. On the twenty-fifth of April, 1871, it was resolved that the giving of the medal and of the prizes should thereafter be on the ground of reaching a certain standing, so that all boys in all forms who reached that standing should receive rewards. The requirements of various colleges were thoroughly discussed, and it may have been in this connection that at the same meeting a prize was voted "to the boy in the Fifth and in the Fourth Form who at the next annual examination shall in the opinion of the majority of the Trustees present be the best reader of such selections in English prose and poetry as may be given him at the time; for there were but five forms in the year 1869-70, and later than this the line between the Sixth Form and the Fifth was vague, many boys nominally in one form taking certain studies in the other. On the twenty-fifth of April, 1873, it was voted that the Headmaster and the Standing Committee should draw up a course of study to be strictly adhered to thereafter; and the opinion was added that the boys' sacred studies, prescribed for each form, should be under the personal instruction of the Headmaster. [pages 35-36]

(Mssrs. Flood, White, Pride, Barber, Rees, Flichtner, King, Hopkings and Cambridge. 1903)


on the athletic fields

The personal nature of the relation between boy and tutor has made it inevitable that the influence of individual tutors has been almost entirely unrecorded except in the lives of the boys who knew them. But before Dr. Lowell resigned four men appeared who were to contribute incalculably to the character of the School: Warren Andrew Locke, Senior Tutor; James Russell Soley; Walter Deane; and William Edward Peck. Mr. Locke's fame rests on his career as a musician after leaving St. Mark's, and his best-known work at the School was the continuation and development of what Mr. Patterson had begun in the interest and cultivation of music through the choir and the clubs; but the modesty, devotion and sincerity of the man left their effect on the community, particularly on his collaborators, for he gave not merely his work, but himself with it. To the example of Mr. Soley and another tutor, Mr. William, Hunter Orcutt, we owe very largely the practical beginnings at St. Mark's of one of the most significant and far-reaching characteristics of modern school life, the close association on the athletic field between boy and master. With it began to crumble away the artificial wall by which tradition had kept the two apart as though by conscious intent; "discipline," the spectre whose very name implied disorder and punishment, and which had even given to the traditional boarding-school some grewsome flavor of the reform school, began to disappear in the light of mutual respect and affection. And it is perhaps safe to say that the new custom did as much for the teacher as for the boy. [pages 39-40]


We have seen that football did not take a firm hold as a School sport for several years." It was a rough and tumble game, played with an inflated rubber ball. No holding, tackling, off-side, passing, and running with the ball were allowed; the ball had to be kicked; and a player trying to kick it could be bumped out of the way by the shoulder of an opponent. When two opposing players rushed to kick and met each other at the ball the result was infallibly a sore shin for one or the other, for there were no such things as pads or protective uniform of any description. Little interest was taken in the game; the popular fall sport was land hockey. [page 56]

James Ivers Trecothick Coolidge

a home, a newspaper

It is reported by a boy in School at the time that with Dr. Coolidge's administration the boys began to feel more at home in their school life; his family took them into their home circle, and they began to entertain a different view of "boarding-school." The earlier formality between master and pupil began to merge into the closer relation of personal friendship. The tutors, too, thawed out; the atmosphere had lost its chill; and the boys found that their masters had once been boys themselves, and began to love them as well as to respect them. "Thus the seed was sown that has transformed the early typical boarding school, which happily so few of us still living ever attended, into an attractive home, full of inspiration and opportunity. And it is this aspect of the highest type of boarding school that constitutes its chief charm and merit."

Another new enterprise was the starting of a school paper called the Courier, on the fifteenth of April, 1875, under the editorship of W. B. Chapin, J. L. Breck, W. A. Howe, and W. C. Eames. This was an uncovered sheet of four pages. Only two numbers appeared, but they served to blaze the way for the Vindex, which issued its first number in February, 1877; and they throw a sudden flood of light on the interests and occupations of the School. [pages 61-62]

the Golden Age

The boys whose knowledge of the School covers the period from 1874 to 1877 have always looked upon that period as the Golden Age of St. Mark's School. The period of her infancy was over, the policies of the School had become fixed, and after many vicissitudes the control had been handed over to a Headmaster who was destined for many years to conduct affairs with dignity and success. The staff of instructors had been built up of men of scholarly attainments and marked personal characteristics; the number of pupils had steadily increased; and St. Mark's, originally intended to satisfy a local need, enjoyed a reputation which in 1874, had brought boys from New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and even Grand Rapids, Michigan. During this period and until 1882 Dr. Coolidge exerted an important influence in the School's development.

 In front of the old school

 Ready to start down Hickson's

There were never so many sports as in the fall of 1881, but with fifty-three boys it was possible to arrange them so that they would not interfere with one another. There was a tennis tournament on the eighth of October, with prizes given by the ladies, silver scarf-pins in the form of racquets. A remarkable game of baseball between the School and the Town nine stood in favor of the latter by the score of eighteen to seventeen at the end of the first half of the ninth inning; but in the second half St. Mark's made sixteen runs, fifteen of them after two men were out. Football seemed to be asserting its claim as the autumn sport, however, and a victory over Adams Academy by three touchdowns to one was described as the hardest fought and most scientific struggle the School had ever engaged in. The "quarter-back " appears with two half -backs this fall, instead of three half-backs. The season was in general successful, Hopkinson's and Noble's being beaten by four touchdowns to one. [page 65.]


The School numbered sixty, and the interest centred in football. The uniforms of the team were now a dark blue jersey with monogram in white, white breeches, dark blue stockings, and blue skull-cap --- which last had to be gathered up after every scrimmage, though sometimes an impatient player would throw his to the sidelines in disgust. St. Mark's was beaten by a picked team from Harvard, by Roxbury Latin, and by Adams Academy. [pages 89-90]

St. Mark's vs. Harvard Picked, 1886


In the life of the School the football season started with energy, and again resulted in a clean slate, though the team played five games and averaged only 146 pounds in weight. One of the games was with the Harvard Freshmen, and resulted in a score of twelve to nine. A colony of huts had sprung up behind the backstop and served as welcome shelter after the games for those who had been watching the play. Stimulated by the efforts of the Vindex, a journalistic fever attacked the School, and in a short time there were four illustrated weeklies, the Student, the Star, the Chic and the Fancy, which were printed on hektographs in the recitation-rooms. These sheets, unhampered by censorship or by the self-consciousness so hard to avoid in a Vindex piece, sometimes show great cleverness and skill in caricature; but the best and most vigorous of them were the Lion and the Chapel Alley Daily Bulletin, which came into existence several years later, and were somewhat more restrained. [page 94]


The football season of 1886 opened with peculiar interest because of the game with a new rival, Groton. The first three games on the schedule were successful, and when the team and its backers went to the neutral ground of Lancaster on the third of November the prospects were good. Blue and white, the colors of both schools, waved everywhere, and the crowd seemed a very large one. Groton won the toss, and chose the west goal. St. Mark's did not kick off, but rushed her opponents back to their goal, and inside of three minutes after the beginning of play, Fitzhugh of Groton touched for safety, and the score stood two to nothing for St. Mark's. But the Groton line was heavy, and in it, the former very lively and the latter very large. Aided somewhat by fumbling on the St. Mark's side, Groton forced the line back and Mr. were two masters, the Rev. William G. Thayer and the Rev. Endicott Peabody Thayer soon went over for a touchdown. This was followed two minutes later by another by Mr. Peabody, from which no goal resulted, and the score stood ten to two, where it remained for the rest of the evenly contested game.

The game was lost; but in the evening there was a torchlight procession in honor of the election to Congress of Mr. Edward Burnett, son of the Founder, old St. Mark's boy, and President of the Alumni Association. The boys joined delegations from Westborough and Fayville, and clad in white sweaters marched to the lawn in front of Mr. Burnett's piazza. [page 97]

the new prize

Prize-day was notable for a new acknowledgment of the educational value of athletics. Mr. Peck gave testimonials to the captains of the nine and the eleven, and for the first time the Fearing Athletic Prize was given, and was won by S. V. R. Crosby, '87. The Hon. Daniel Butler Fearing was graduated from the School in 1878, had been a monitor and an athlete, and afterwards became one of the School's most beloved trustees. His purpose in establishing the prize was to reward the best general athlete in the School; but he considered that the winner's performances should be not merely victories won, but a wholesome and positive effect on the athletic life of the School. This prize instantly gained great popularity, and has in athletics stood for what the Founder's Medal stands for in scholarship; in fact it might at times in the past have been embarrassing to ascertain which of the two the average boy in the School would rather win.

I remember very well that one of my first ambitions was to be the Editor-in-Chief of the Vindex. Any apparent conceit, beyond a natural pride in mentioning that I achieved it, will, 1 believe, disappear when 1 say that it was entirely due to Gordon Arthur Smith and to Joseph Husband that the Vindex in 1903-4, was able to keep up to form. Smith wrote eight stories that year and Husband seven, and they weren't skimpy ones, either. Each of them disclosed the talent which has since shown itself in what they have published; in Smith's work narrative, and in Husband's description, was predominant. Some one,' either Lawrence White or George Bull, wrote an Anniversary Poem in the metre of " Hiawatha " on the triumph of " Archer," a fine horse owned by a member of the Faculty, over an automobile belonging to White which stopped on the road and had to be towed home. There were a great many amusing verses written, and drawings made by White, which never found their way into print. He always saw the ridiculous side and his caricatures were famous; I remember one of a gentle man who visited Mr. Barber's Greek class one day, which caused both the class and Mr. Barber a great deal of amusement; and another of a football " pig-pile " with White at the bottom. His imitations, too, were first-class of dear old Bishop Hare, now dead, who talked about " Da-ko-tah " and the " Eendeons," of John Galatti as quarter-back, and of most of us, masters and boys, who had any peculiarities that he could imitate. [page 99]

Boy's room, Old Building

school life during the '80s

THE GRADUATE of the eighties finds on a visit to St. Mark's today not much radical change; only a great development. The village streets are no longer so quiet, but in his day the same white church spire rose over the trees, the red brick town hall stood guard, and our own stone church was there, though yet without its ivy-clad clock tower; the common, and the soldiers' monument, then less weather-beaten; and the same blazing autumn foliage, winter cold, and long spring afternoons of baseball and swimming. The new First-former went into the upper dormitory, which was precisely like the present dormitories only much smaller and lower-studded, and for many years heated by but one small register which hardly served to take off the edge of the cold. It was an orderly place on most winter nights; the vapor of one's breath rose like smoke in the gloom of the two tiny gasjets, and the master sometimes appeared with an overcoat on. The bell stood high on the wall over the master's door, and at its single, stroke --- for there was no electricity --- the talking stopped abruptly and the subdued bustle of bed-clothes and opening windows took its place, gradually dying down to an occasional guarded whisper. It is certain that the nature of the conversation was the same as now: personalities and nicknames of the most vivid description called from alcove to alcove, and perhaps a subdued chuckle from the master, who sat at his desk with the door open, writing, as some fondly believed, poetry, and hearing nothing: at least the lines on the paper were of uneven length, it was reported by some belated boy. A dictionary of nicknames for any given boarding-school would require a small volume, and would certainly fail to determine the sources of most. In general, however, they were of course caricatures: " Shark " was the boy whose mouth opened at meals slightly wider than the average; "Bloody" the one with determined jaw; "Hen" any Henry; "Whale" one who had been growing rapidly; "Tim," "Kitty," and "Woman" evident, but analysis-baffling. When, as was demonstrated years later, it was possible for a boy to be named "Cocoa" for life, to distinguish him from a schoolmate of the same name who once came down to breakfast with coffee-colored stockings on, the difficulties of the historian will be appreciated.

The rising-bell rang at half-past six in the morning, but the popular rising-time in the winter was five minutes of seven. There were steam-pipes in the washrooms; and if one was a naturalist the first task was to go to one's locker, get one's cap and the squirrel left in it over-night, and thaw the latter out on the radiator. Stiff, unconscious squirrels were repeatedly thawed thus into normal activity, apparently none the worse for their experience, and fed with stylographic pen fillers from a small bottle of milk. The lower forms reported at the school-room, scarfs tied on the jump, and were sent by individual names to the dining-room, where all stood with hands on chair-backs awaiting grace, but gaze intent on the nearest milk-pitcher and muscles covertly adjusted. Then the chairs came out with thunderous sound, and a moment later burst forth the rattle of those dozens of important conversations, which astonished and confused a mere visitor, and made him or her lean forward politely to catch a neighbor's remark, and reply so loudly as to cause faces at near-by tables to turn.

After breakfast came "Prayers" in the schoolroom. Two important-looking boys seized the ends of the great kneeling-bench in front of the chancel, swung it with one motion and without noise into its place, swiftly folded back the doors before the little chancel, and took their seats. The room quieted down; the tutor rose from his seat at the desk, swept the room slowly with his eyes, and raised his hand to the bell-pull on the wall. When the last desk-cover was down and the last sound stilled the bell rang. The Headmaster entered, the tutor retired, the School rose, and prayers began. At their close all remained standing until the Headmaster had left the room, and then sat down quietly, without opening desks.

A few seconds later the Headmaster re-entered, mounted the platform in the midst of silence, and took from his pocket a small paper. Never did war-bulletin command deeper attention nor the face of its reader more anxious scrutiny; for if Zebedee Taylor's orchard had been looted or somebody had been out on the roof the night before, ---even if somebody's socks had been filled with potted ham, the record of it was surely there. But it might be ---for the Head's steady, impassive eye betrayed nothing,---that there was to be a half-holiday about something or other. The matter and its consequences were announced in an even voice; the first recitation called; and the day's work began.

Dinner came at one, and immediately after it the School scattered to lockers and the athletic fields if it was autumn or spring, and in winter to the bicycle-house, where sleds, toboggans, or double-runners were yanked out, and hauled off through the snow by a mittened, moccasined crowd to the distant Second Red Mill. But sometimes if the cold was nipping two or three boys would creep into the library, where the sun shone warmly through western windows and cast summer-like tracings on the walls, and bury themselves in Blackwood or the Little Classics until the Headmaster, riding-crop in hand, would come in with mock fury and drive them out, crying "Goodness, go out and get the air! Scatter ---do you want to grow up to be pasty-faced men? Put the books back and run --- quick! " Sometimes the coasting was near at hand, and permission was given to go out at night and plant torches all along both sides of the coast. There were sometimes choir sleigh-rides over the white country, when the west was red with the sunset and the moon already silvery, to Northborough or some other adjacent town, where a turkey dinner, a country pool-table and a huge roaring fire awaited the benumbed crowd. Then the silent fields would reëcho the songs, and the blank face of some farmer standing by his door and staring over his shoulder with wide open mouth would relax into an embarrassed grin as the impudent sleighfuls gave three times three cheers with a hearty "Silas" on the end. There was no motor custom for the inns in those days; the cooking was of old New England excellence; and on the jolting road home Mr. Morgan or Mr. Prince would sing "Seeing Nellie Home," or "The Bull-dog on the Bank," while the boys would come in comfortably and sentimentally on the chorus.

The Dining-Room, Old Building

But most evenings were for the schoolroom and the fight with algebra and Greek under low-hung lamps, whose shades threw the upper half of the room into darkness. At half-past eight the welcome bell rang, the younger boys trooped off to their dormitory, and a monitor appeared, importantly carrying his green-shaded student-lamp already lighted, which he placed on the desk as the tutor rose with a smile of comradeship. Hands flew up all over the room; the monitor waved them down as well as he could, perhaps threatening sotto voce some whispering youngster in a front seat with a licking. On regular "parlor-nights" there was a homelike welcome from Mrs. Peck, and a few books, one of which was a huge Doré-illustrated edition of "The Ancient Mariner." There everybody was on his good manners, turning over the pages together; the older boy would condescend genially to the younger, and the younger lay aside for the time his studied indifference to the dignity of the older. The elderly matron would sometimes read aloud to a small group; and on occasion the Headmaster would come in and tell to an almost breathless circle the story of some historic ball-game with Adams Academy, ending theatrically "---and the ball slipped through his hands and rolled twenty feet back; and Mr. Prince crossed the plate and won the game!" Sunday evenings the Headmaster would read in his study to a roomful sitting on chairs and floors and tables, "The Prince and the Pauper," "The Last Days of Pompeii," or some other book recommended by his ample experience.

Sunday was still a somewhat stern day. The boys went to church twice and to prayers twice. The music at the latter was supplied by a small house-organ, played by a master and worked by his feet; and every Sunday evening the hymn was "Sun of my Soul." The sermons at church were not especially adapted to the boys; the boys had to adapt themselves to the sermons. One was not allowed to use the school piano on Sunday unless one played hymns; a choice which resulted in sending the young musician off to the woods or to scrutinize the tombstones in the cemetery, for the gymnasium was of course out of all reverent question. Prize-day---that day when parents came, and so many of the boys wished they had something to show them, and vowed that they would have next year, --- prize-day has changed little. Then for the older boys came the good-bye; that, at least, has not changed with the years. College examinations had to be taken in Cambridge; no proctor came to the School.[ A Harvard examiner,---none from Yale,---came to the School in June, 1890.] A Yale man was a comparative rarity, and he was always brought to appreciate it by simple, perennial methods.

When the new building began to rise the School viewed it with mixed feelings. What did it mean: a new St. Mark's? A homesick affection for the old things so redolent of the past came to the observers, and with it an understanding, vouchsafed usually only to the graduate, that the School is a very real thing. All were going into the new place together: not a face would be missing, not the slightest habit or custom changed; and above all, the same leader. The new building was made for the School, and not the School for the building. And the new dress was very becoming and dignified.

"But you can't shin down those pipes, fellows," remarked one young pragmatist. [pages 106-110]

raising the standard

The Committee on raising the standard of scholarship, in which Dr. Morgan had been especially active, presented in print the following report in regard to admission requirements, and the Board voted to insert it in the catalogue: "An applicant for admission to the First Form should be twelve years of age, and able to read easy English prose and poetry, and to spell correctly. He should have a fair knowledge of arithmetic through common fractions, of the geography of the United States and of Europe, and of the elements of the history of the United States. He should also be able to write plainly. Special attention to these points is asked of those preparing boys for admission, and no boy will be admitted to the First Form unless he can satisfy these requirements. The course of study in the School will show that a boy entering this form at the age of twelve, and passing through the six forms in consecutive years, will be able to enter college to advanced standing at the age of eighteen. Boys who are not able to satisfy this requirement will be placed in the Lower First Form, and receive instruction there until fitted for promotion. Boys under twelve years may be received into this form to be fitted for the First if parents desire." The previous requirements were the ability to pass an examination in the reading of easy prose, spelling of words in common use, and in the first four rules of arithmetic. The Committee believed that this reasonable increase in requirement for a boy entering the School would leave the Sixth Form year greater freedom for the pursuit of higher studies than are required for mere entrance to college, and enable a boy better to comprehend the value of the opportunities soon to be opened to him. The Committee further recommended more attention to English literature and composition, and a broader instruction in German. In regard to the matter of physics and chemistry, the Committee announced that the time had come when a first class school could no longer limit itself to classical education, and that St. Mark's should make ready as soon as possible to offer scientific training also. The Committee finally recommended that less time should be given to the support of the choir, and that the whole School should receive instruction in singing for or at least half an hour a week throughout the year. Upon presentation of this report, the subject of physics and chemistry, with the fitting up of a laboratory, was referred to the same committee, Messrs. Peck and Morgan.

About forty new boys appeared this year for or benevolent assimilation, and two new masters. The excellent football record of 1889, all games won except for the tie with Groton, was not repeated, two games being won and two lost, one of the latter to Groton by a score of twenty to six. The game was played at Lancaster. Groton's team work was the greatest factor in the victory, and St. Mark's' only score was made by a criss-cross play and a run past Groton's right end. [pages 118-119]

The new building, 1891

St. Mark's chapel

the Harvard evaluation

At the meeting in the fall a communication from Harvard had been read in regard to a School Examination Board, whose purpose was to study the curriculum methods and requirements of school work, and to report with suggestions. During the year examiners visited all school classes, and in July it was voted to print their report, which was dated June 22, 1893. This commented upon the loss of time, energy and interest in work consequent upon the assignment of too many subjects to each tutor, and upon the impossibility under the conditions of securing and retaining properly equipped men to plan and conduct the work of the various departments. The report contained valuable suggestions, and these were recognized and gradually put into effect after a report on January the tenth, 1894, by Messrs. Morgan and Chambré, to whom the examiners' report had been given for consideration. The most notable of them was an increase of inducement for competent men to undertake teaching at St. Mark's for more than a brief period,* and a division of the School work into departments, each in charge of a tutor, henceforth to be called master, specially fitted for his subject. The Committee were of the opinion that the establishment of a chemical laboratory would not provide a boy with as good an educational training as the classical, and for this and other reasons the matter of a course in chemistry was dropped for the time.**

*The Report recognized the condition at St. Mark's as follows: The discipline of the School is remarked upon as being kindly, although strict; the manner of the boys gives an impression of respect and good feeling towards their teachers; the tone of the School is generally commented upon by the examiners as excellent. Although the good original quality of the boys under instruction has no doubt contributed to this result, it is obvious that success of this kind cannot have been reached without the exercise of good judgment in the selection of subordinate instructors. It is also obvious, however, that the maintenance of the existing school system in this respect has an important bearing upon the organization of the School for purposes of instruction. To take charge of the daily life of the pupils the School requires the services of young men contented for the present with the duties, if not with the nominal grade of the usher. Young men highly qualified as teachers require stronger inducements than St. Mark's can offer to persuade them to remain long in such a station."

**In a sheet of information issued for parents at the time of Dr. Coolidge's coming, is the following: "The School was founded for the classical education of boys. Its course of study is prepared with the purpose of giving a thorough preparation for admission to the Universities and Colleges of the country. By a recent action of the Board of Trustees this course is made imperative, it being their conviction that such an education is the best adapted for the development and refinement of the young mind, whether the pupil at the close of the course should enter college or pass at once to the pursuits of business life."
[ pages 121-122]

Groton wins again

W. H. L. Edwards,'89, and R. Floyd, '91, helped the eleven greatly in the fall by coaching, and the outlook looked promising; but the final result of the games was four won and four lost, one of the latter to Groton by a score of thirty-four our to ten. The team played a creditable game, but was clearly outplayed by Groton, whose wonderfully well-developed team work gained her an early advantage which St. Mark's labored in vain to overcome. The uniform of the eleven was moleskin trousers, blue jerseys and white canvas jackets with blue monogram, and the sweaters with broad white collars and laced front with a white monogram, and it was suggested this year that this uniform should be made permanent. [page 123]

Groton finally beaten

In 1894 two events occurred of notable interest. Mr. Thayer became Headmaster, and St. Mark's won her first victory over Groton in football. Time has proved that the former occurrence was the more important, but I do not recall that this point of view prevailed at that time. The present School, to whom victory is almost a commonplace, --- if that desirable consummation can ever be so termed, --- cannot appreciate the heart-burnings, the intense rancor which the associated thoughts of football and Groton could produce. The School seethed with excitement. I don't mean the gentle ebullition of spirit which passes for excitement nowadays, like the bubbles in a champagne glass, but a real upheaval as when one mixes a seidlitz powder, an excitement which sent the team off that memorable eighth of November, 1894, with the equivalent of the stern mandate to return " with their shields or on them."

History has it that nobody expected St. Mark's to win. We had a green team; Groton a veteran one. The previous year conditions had been reversed and, against Southborough expectations at least, Groton had won. In '94. the critics allowed us a fighting chance but no more. The critics came very near being right.

The first half ended ten to nothing against us. I am sure that during the intermission the only question that could have occupied the minds of the spectators was the size of the final score. But, and it was a long-legged "but," the second half developed differently. Fish Benjamin, our Captain and right half-back, by means of a delayed pass, developed such a scoring mania that, when the referee's whistle blew, St. Mark's' score had mounted to twenty-four, while our opponents were still nursing the ten points which had looked so big such a short time before.

There was one nerve-racking period when we led at twelve to ten, during which Groton forced the ball to our five-yard line and then lost it on downs. St. Mark's immediately punted; the kick was partially blocked and Groton recovered it on our three-yard line. However, we held for downs again, and then Fish repeated his earlier performance, which put us out of danger.

Owing to a recent snowstorm the field was in a very wet condition, so it was with difficulty that our smiles could break through the calcimining of mud which overlaid our countenances. We were a dirty and enthusiastic lot when the whistle blew and we rushed to dress. We were still enthusiastic, but only slightly cleaner when we boarded the barge for Ayer junction. Mr. Thayer had warned us that we had scant time to catch the train. There was only one tub. The water ran with appalling slowness. Eleven baths would have taken eleven hours. We all had to bathe and we did; but never before or since have I seen one tubful of water so shamefully overworked.

We beat Groton again in '95, six to nothing. That was Fred Mills' team. It was a nip and tuck game all the way. We got within scoring distance only once, and then would probably have been held for downs, if Mills had not invented a new play through his own position at left tackle, which took Groton by surprise and secured the touchdown by inches.

All football memories are not so pleasant, however; '96 for instance, when our old rivals got ample revenge and broken winds in running up a 46-0 score. I have always believed that the premature baldness of Steve Nash, our Captain, was brought on by the spectacle of Hawkins running circles round our team. Gordon Brown, afterwards a great captain of a great Yale team, was their leader that day. [pages 133-135]


evenings over the chafing dish


Our life was not all athletics, deviltry, and study. It had its home side as well, and very sweet and vivid is the memory of it. You of the lower school ---does Mr. Thayer read aloud and Mrs. Thayer patiently let you beat her at checkers on those gala evenings you are excused from the schoolroom? Do the monitors still raid Mrs. Thayer's sitting-room of an evening for scrambled eggs? How we used to impose on her kindness, and how homelike she made those simple evenings.

Mrs. Thayer

I should like to be back once more with the old crowd: Frank Pepper sprawled on the sofa rumpling Dyer Hubbard's hair, indifferent to the latter's shrill complaints; Hugh Blythe rising daintily on his tiptoes as he industriously slices the bread and unnecessarily asks our hostess how many slices will be needed; Bert Nason stirring the eggs, considerably interfered with by Oden Hörstman, who suffers from the delusion that he knows how to cook; and the writer waiting patiently for supper to begin. Then Mr. Thayer, belated by affairs of state, and with well-founded anxiety as to the state of the larder writ large upon his countenance, pokes his head in at the door; and the feast is on.

I know we felt that no one would ever take our place in their affections; and I am hopeful that, though we share with many, '97 still keeps a foothold in the niche of remembrance. This we do know: that eggs will never taste so fresh, milk so sweet, or life so clean as in those evenings over the chafing-dish. [pages 136-137]

the new headmaster

William Greenough Thayer

WILLIAM GREENOUGH THAYER was born in New Brighton, Staten Island, New York, on the twenty-fourth of December, 1863, the son of Robert H. and Hannah (Appleton) Thayer. He attended Amherst College, from which he was graduated in 1885, and has been President of his class for more than twenty years. In 1888 he received the degree of Master of Arts from Amherst. He was at the Union Theological Seminary in 1885-86 and 1887-88, and received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity at the Cambridge Episcopal Theological School in 1889. In 1906 he was given the honorary degree of Master of Arts by Columbia College, and in 1907 that of Doctor of Divinity by Amherst, when he was also made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was married to Violet Otis, of Boston, on the first of June, 1891. He was a master at Groton School in 1886-87, and from 1889 to 1894, and was elected Headmaster of St. Mark's School on the seventeenth of July, 1894. He was made Deacon in 1889, and a Priest of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1890. He was chosen President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Massachusetts; delegate to the General Convention in 1922; delegate to the Republican State Convention of Massachusetts in 1904; member of the Cooperating Commission of War Council, Young Men's Christian Association; Chairman of the Diocesan Commission on Camps; member of the American Historical Association, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; President of the Amherst Alumni Association of Boston; and Chaplain of the First Regiment, Massachusetts State Guard. He was also made Chairman of the Commission of Church Schools of the Department of Education of the Protestant Episcopal Church, which meets twice a year, and visited and reported on all our Church schools from Maine to Nebraska.
[page 138]

fortune smiles

There were forty new boys in the fall of 1894. The Vindex notes that the Sunday afternoon services were now held in the Chapel instead of in church as formerly, and evening prayers in the schoolroom. Dating from the time of Mr. Thayer's coming, this afternoon service, at which the School hymn "Sun of My Soul" is always sung, has perhaps gone deeper into the hearts of St. Markers than any other school memory, with its beautiful and hearty singing of the familiar School hymn, its prayer for a blessing on St. Mark's School and on those who have gone forth from it to labor in the world, and its peace in the beautiful light of the memorial windows. And this fall fortune smiled for the first time on the football team, and Groton was decisively thrashed! The Groton team under Captain Haughton was much larger and stronger than St. Mark's, and at the end of the first half the score stood four to nothing in Groton's favor, mounting to ten at the beginning of the second; but soon H. F. Benjamin and Lawton began a series of runs, with White bucking the centre, and St. Mark's scored. A run of sixty-five yards by Benjamin soon yielded another touchdown; and though Haughton got the ball down six inches from St. Mark's' line, the team held, threw their opponents back, and soon had another touchdown chiefly through a sixty-five-yard run by Lawton. Shortly afterwards Benjamin ran through left tackle seventy yards for St. Mark's' fourth touchdown, making the final score twenty-four to ten, for Benjamin kicked all goals. The average weight of the team was 157 pounds, and the score for the season was 220 to the opponents' twenty. [pages 141-142]

an innovation

In football the wise innovation was made of providing for post-season practice and games, and members of the first elevens were appointed coaches of the lower school teams. The pennants won by the football league champions were put in the dining-room.' The season had been only moderately successful, Pomfret having been beaten by a score of eighteen to ten, and St. Mark's defeated in the game with Groton by seventeen to two; but the Vindex remarks that the fall of '97 had been remarkable for the interest and visits of alumni. [page 148]

football and alumni

Football did not stop after the Groton game, and was stimulated by the Harvard St. Mark's Club's offer of cups to the twelve boys playing on the winning team in the league series.

On the thirteenth of February about eighty graduates were present at the dinner at the University Club in New York. The Hon. D. B. Fearing, '78, spoke on athletics; and Mr. Thayer reported the work of the School, announced various improvements and certain changes in policy for the future, and warmly praised the Treasurer, Mr. Harry Burnett, '69, for his interest and efficiency. Barnes, '00, also spoke, and voiced the alumni's appreciation of Mrs. Thayer. [pages 164-165]

the taste of defeat

We won no football games the last three years I was in school. When the class of 1901 left, there was a huge gap, and when 1902 left there seemed to be no heavy men at all. Men were continually being laid up---I remember one game we played with ten substitutes -and there was no adequate system of coaching. It is a great pleasure to see that all this has changed and that we are now getting our share of football victories. [page 169]

Dining-room decorated for Sixth Form Dance.
New Building. About 1902


The football season of 1904 was marked by a determined effort on the part of the Captain, Alfred A. Biddle, to establish a more effective attitude towards the game, and in this he was successful. The light team lost to Groton in a splendidly fought contest by the score of eleven to nothing, but the record of victories was good, a better spirit was awakened, and at the end of the season Biddle was presented with a loving-cup for what he had done for football. The Vindex had steadily increased in ability and value through the years, and was now as creditable a school paper as could be found in the country, doing much to cultivate school spirit by its fidelity as chronologist as well as by offering an opportunity for literary talent in fiction. [page 177]

the Galatti spirit

The football season yielded six victories, a tie with Milton, and two defeats; but one of the last was by Groton, with a score of seventeen to nothing. Captain Galatti, following Biddle, had shown a spirit similar to his predecessor's, and the record was the best for five years. The game with the superior Groton team was hard and clean, and in spite of defeat a credit to St. Mark's; and to the continued interest of Galatti, particularly in the last five years, football at the School owes a debt which it would be hard to overestimate. The hockey season was also a most successful one; 'and this year a dual athletic meet was arranged with the Noble and Greenough School, in which St. Mark's lost by a score of twenty-seven and a half points to thirty-five and a half. The baseball team won fourteen games out of sixteen played, a percentage never before equalled, including a victory over Groton of eleven to three, which put St. Mark's ahead in the series by ten games to nine. The success was largely due to Potter, the captain, whose enthusiasm was as great as Biddle's and Galatti's in football. [page 170]

a successful season

The record of the previous year in football was repeated in the fall; a successful season, but a defeat at the hands of Groton by a score of sixteen to eleven. But Biddle's and Galatti's efforts to rouse greater interest and create a better spirit were beginning to bear fruit. Groton's three touchdowns were cleverly made within ten minutes; but the St. Mark's team then found itself, and for the rest of the time outplayed their opponents in a clean, hard game, scoring eleven points. Revenge came in the spring after a not over-successful season by a score of six to nothing in St. Mark's favor,---the first shut-out of Groton. [page 183]

coach Galatti

The coaching of the football team was undertaken this year by S. Galatti, P.G., '06; and though the results of his excellent work were not of course immediately visible in games won, as Biddle's had not been, they were soon to appear. Groton won the annual game by eleven points to none through Hardwick's splendid punting, variety of attack and forward passes, and promptness in taking advantage of two fumbles by St. Mark's. [pages 188-189]


The football team showed in the season of 1911 the results of Galatti's work by defeating all opponents but Middlesex. A successful forward pass, a brilliant run by McKinlock, and a criss-cross produced the only score of the game against Groton. When colder weather came the School enjoyed a characteristic address by Jacob Riis on how he became an American citizen; and on the evening of Thanksgiving Day one by Theodore Roosevelt, which was the more appreciated because informal and witty. [page 190]

war time

ATTENTION had now been forced by events to the menace of war, and it became evident to the Trustees that military training should be introduced into the School, according to the Headmaster's suggestion.

The usual school activities were curtailed as little as possible, though they were colored by the absorbing interest of the war. There were lectures, Missionary Society meetings and Dramatic Club rehearsals. We read in the Vindex that Mr. Francis one of the boys. In April an appeal was made by S. Galatti, '06, who had spent many months in relief work in Alsace, for an ambulance to be purchased and equipped by the School. This was at once answered by both boys and graduates, the former and the Faculty contributing $1,000 and the latter $1500, through the efforts of Hamilton Fish, Jr., '06; so that two ambulances were sent to the work in France. A letter of thanks was received from Mr. A. Piatt Andrew, the Director. [pages 206-207]

Daniel Butler Fearing, '78

On the nineteenth of May, 1918, the School and its graduates lost a lifelong friend by the death of Daniel Butler Fearing, '78, who had been closely associated with St. Mark's for forty seven years. He entered in 1871, was graduated in 1878, and entered Harvard in the class of 1882. In 1886 he was one of the organizers of the St. Mark's Alumni Association, of which he successively became Vice-president and President. He was elected a trustee in 1891, the first from the alumni, and served very actively for twenty-seven years. In an appreciation drawn up by Bishop Lawrence and Dr. Thayer it is stated that no alumnus was better known to the boys both of the past and the present; that his visits to the School were frequent; and that his friendliness and unfailing and enthusiastic loyalty made his presence felt wherever St. Mark's boys were to be found. He gave for nearly thirty years, in person when possible, the much coveted Fearing Athletic Prize, which was awarded to the boy in the Sixth Form who had done the most for athletics in spirit and accomplishment; and endowed the Morgan Greek Prize, instituted by his friend Morris H. Morgan, '77. His gifts to the School were continuous, amongst them many valuable books to the library; in fact whenever he heard that anything was needed he usually either supplied it or helped to do so. His own library on fishing and angling, which became the largest and best collection on the subject in the world, he gave to Harvard College; and for his work as a collector he was given the honorary degree of Master of Arts. As a man, he was essentially a friend to all he came in contact with, and his large heart, ingenuous manner, devotion to the causes he loved, and bountiful spirit endeared him everywhere. St. Mark's was the great interest in his life, and the love he gave, returned in full measure by generations of St. Mark's boys, is the measure of the School's loss at his death. [page 214]


At the May meeting the resignation of Mr. Castle as a trustee was announced, and Professor George Harold Edgell, Ph.D., was elected to take his place.

Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Snyder and Mr. Blake returned in October; and with them a new master, Mr. Eaton, and twenty-one new boys. With Mr. Galatti and the others on hand the football team carried through a full schedule with good success, beating Groton by a score of seven to nothing. [page 219]

a winning team

The results of the football season of 1921 were six victories and one defeat, the latter perhaps due somewhat to the fact that the Cambridge Latin was a well-knit, experienced team, and St. Mark's had been together only one day. Groton was defeated by seven to three in a very hard-fought game, in which, although Groton was nearly always in her own territory, her splendid defensive work permitted St. Mark's to score but once. The touchdown resulted from a well executed series of plays which carried the ball over sixty yards. On the twenty-third of November St. Mark's Also defeated St. Paul's at Concord by a score of thirteen to nothing in the first football game ever played between the two schools. The team owed much to the coaching of S. Galatti, '06, and to the skill and enthusiasm of Captain Caulkins. [page 227]

associate trustees

Of the thirteen members of the Board of Trustees, there were now seven who were graduates of the School; but the fact that no one of them represented the alumni of the last twenty years suggested to the Board the idea of choosing two graduates from this body to serve for two years as associate trustees, having all the privileges of membership except a vote. The purpose of this plan was to put the Trustees into close contact with the younger alumni, and to teach the representatives the temper and traditions of the School's governing body. A committee of three graduates was appointed in the spring of 1924 to nominate six candidates, and a description of the plan and of the records and activities of these candidates was sent in the fall to the alumni for a postal ballot. The result of this was the election in October of Stephen Galatti, '06, for a term of two years, and Harrison Tweed, '03, for one. [page 233]

private schools and democracy

The increasing interest of the alumni in the progress of the School was shown by an attendance of one hundred and twenty-five at the annual dinner, which was held at the New York Yale Club on the evening of the sixth of February. Interest centred largely on Dr. Thayer's speech, of which the text was the recent act of the Oregon Legislature in barring out private schools. While this subject and its innumerable ramifications, which have brought forth nation-wide discussion, are too large even for a summary here, the matter as far as the School is concerned amounts to a challenge to St. Mark's to show the reasons for her existence in a democracy; and though all good Americans who have ever graduated from the School realize that such a challenge obviously proceeds from ignorance of what such schools are doing, and is due perhaps also to the failure on the part of those who make it to understand democracy, Dr. Thayer's explanation is of great interest to everybody concerned in the fate of the School. He mentioned an article in the November, 1923, number of The Atlantic Monthly entitled "The Dissociated School" as typical of the attacks made on private schools. He believes that the opposition to the private schools involves a misconception of democracy and a false definition of its function, and agrees with Professor Ryan in the February number of The Atlantic that the true philosophy of democracy considers the development of the individual, and that the State is not a super-organism synonymous with democracy. The obligation of the individual to the State is the highest, but the State has no life except as it is made up of individuals who are working for the common good. Collectivism is not democracy, and the corollary is not tenable that, the individual can be more and more deprived of his freedom for the benefit of an imaginary collection of individuals called the State; for on this theory any legislation is permissible that the majority in the State may deem advantageous according to their theory for the good of the State. Applying this theory of collectivism to the school question, the speaker pointed out that the road led inevitably to the social theory that abolishes the family and makes the child a ward of the State, and instanced Germany as a result of such a system. He then stated that while the public school justly demands the unstinted support of true Americans, it was not true that the private school has grown out of a desire for exclusiveness. It was through the leadership of private institutions that the State established public schools and state universities; and if the State determines, as in the case of Oregon, that all children under sixteen must go to public schools, it must also legislate out of existence such private schools as Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

St. Mark's must exist for the training of boys in good citizenship; and if democracy means a socialistic state where distinction between brains and culture and all other distinctions are to be done away with, the School has no place in this country. But if democracy is the government of men for the good of all, where every man has the same opportunity as every other man and at the same time where there are distinctions of brain and physique, opportunity and personality, and all the other things that go to make this world worth living in, then St. Mark's exists to train boys for special service in the community, for the training of good citizens in a democracy; and to do this it has from the beginning insistently kept in view that the best citizenship can be built up only on godliness, healthiness, and education in all good learning. The product of the School must meet the needs and expectations of the State, as do those of the public schools; but the champions of the latter stress the wrong attitude towards democracy, and emphasize the wrong kind of nationalism. The State should insist that children up to a certain age should receive an education in order to prepare them for citizenship; but just here the State's function ends. The State's function is not to direct education throughout the Nation; and if the agitation to create in the Cabinet of the United States a Secretary of Education should be successful, the resulting centralization, which has always proved detrimental to education, would be a heavy blow to American democracy.* In speaking of the limitation of numbers to which Harvard, Yale and Princeton have been forced by the undue pressure at their gates, Dr. Thayer believed that it would operate to the advantage of the School by stimulating St. Mark's boys to more vigorous scholastic work to meet the more exact standards, and better still would keep before them the importance of their development in character to fit themselves for the requirements, other than scholarship, which the colleges will consider in their selection for admission.

The dinner of the Harvard St. Mark's Club on the fifteenth of January was held at the Boston Harvard Club, with about forty present. The invited Harvard guest, Professor Julian Coolidge, spoke of the chronic debate between schoolmasters and the college authorities as to the responsibility for the failure of many boys to make the most of their opportunities at college.

*For further. extracts from Dr. Thayer's speech, stenographically reported, see the Alumni Bulletin, Vol. III, Number 2. Later discussions of the matter indicate that a more intelligent understanding of the work of the private school is being reached throughout the country. The following extract from the Boston Transcript of May 10, 1924, is fairly typical. "One may perceive in the mission of the private schools an element which may be described as operating like a balance-wheel for public education. Our public schools are necessary in order to give universal or democratic 'opportunity' to American youth, as well as to insure all-around good citizenship and Americanization; but when an institution becomes indispensable it is liable also to become dangerous if not watched with that eternal vigilance which is said to the price of liberty. Left utterly to themselves, the public schools might develop features and tendencies almost as dangerous to Americanism as the mission they now fulfill is indispensable to it. Were there no academic standards from outside their gigantic pale with which to compare public school standards, the latter might autocratically take on freaky or too uniform or too superficial characteristics. Publicly owned and operated, these great common schools might by their very example become tacit exponents of Socialism, were there no corresponding institutions under private control to which the community could turn its eyes by way of comparative appraisal. For consider: in order to live at all, to stand on their own feet financially and wholesomely to compete with each other, not to speak of competition with the free public schools, the private schools simply have to he adequate to their professed academic purpose. By the operation of ordinary economic motives they must necessarily be efficient, for patrons will not pay money for nothing or for continuously inadequate service; and even if they were independent of tuition fees, as in case. of some very unusual endowment, they still would have an academic prestige to uphold, and their success would still depend on unremitting effort at excellence. Unlike our public schools, they could not keep on living automatically should there happen to afflict them a prolonged period of degeneration. . . . Private schools cannot afford to experiment with anything like artificial standards . . . it is almost self-evident that their standards must respond to certain actual needs and demands. . . . It is hardly too much to aver that the ideal public school could not exist without the private schools, while the ideal private school could, conceivably, exist without the public school."

In a volume published in 1915 called The Best Private Schools, about 1200 are described.
[pages 235-238]

visiting lecturers

The winter term passed with the usual Sixth Form dance on the first of February, the Fourth Form debates," lectures every Tuesday evening by Mr. Snyder on current events to the Fourth Form, the Dramatic Club play, meetings of the Missionary Society, the fives tournament, the indoor athletic meet, lectures by Professor G. H. Edgell of Harvard and Major Guy Envin, and in the spring a concert in the gymnasium by the Pierian Sodality, of Harvard. [page. 238]