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Private Collegiate Instruction for Women

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COLLEGIATE INSTRUCTION FOR WOMEN, PRIVATE (familiarly known as the " Harvard Annex"). For several years prior to 1879, the question of the higher education of women had fixed the attention of a small circle of friends of Harvard college, including a portion of its alumni and instructors. The opening of many other colleges to the entrance of women, and the founding of several more for their exclusive advantage, naturally raised the question whether Harvard should not take some part in a movement which was exciting so profound an interest both in this country and in Europe. The opposition to admitting women to the college was based on cherished traditions, and strengthened by fears that could not be lightly disregarded. Yet it was felt that in some way the superior advantages of Harvard should be made available to those women that sought them. The parents of one family, who had the subject much at heart, after consultation and inquiry, happily succeeded in devising a plan which quickly commended itself to leading members of the faculty, and which has been executed with satisfactory results. The plan, in brief, was, to provide for women a course of private study, under the direction, voluntarily given, of the most distinguished members of the faculty; and to give to those who successfully pursued this course certificates of their proficiency-. Some of the most eminent and conservative friends of the college gave this plan their hearty concurrence, and the professors whose co-opera tion was most desired offered their assistance. It was seen that an experiment of the highest importance could thus be made without involving the college itself in responsi bility or alarming its most conservative supporters. Every step in execution of the plan was carefully and deliberately taken. A board of managers, composed of ladies of the highest social standing, was formed. The president of the college was duly informed of the whole project, and his advice carefully weighed. A committee of five of the professors was appointed as an advisory board, with instructions to establish a working scheme, lay out the courses of study, and fix the conditions for the admission of students. When due preparations had been mKle, the lady managers issued a circular explaining the plan, and stating that further information as to the qualifications required of pupils, with the names of the instructors in any branch of study, might be had upon application to their secretary or any one of their number. The requisitions for admission were estab lished by taking as standard the Harvard examinations for the admission of freshmen.

April 9, 1878, a second circular was sent out, in width the conditions of admission were definitely stated for the academic years 1879-80 and 1880-81, with the announcement that the courses, if successful. would be continued. "Any one," said the circular, "will be admitted to the instruction here afforded who passes satisfactorily in any eight of the following subjects: 1. English; 2. Physical geography; 3. Botany or physics; 4. Mathe matics, including arithmetic, algebra through equations of the first degree, proportions, fractions, and common divisor; 5. Mathematics, including algebra through quadratics, and plane geometry; 6. History; 7. French; 8. German; 9. Latin; 10. Greek. Examina tions to be held in Cambridge, New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati; beginning May 28, 1879. Regular fee for examination, $15. Fee for a year's instruction, $200." Arrangements were proposed also for special students in selected branches, and for advanced studies. Applications came in rapidly, and 27 women, most of whom desired to take advanced studies, were admitted. Twenty-four courses of instruction were ;given during the first year by eight professors, seven assistant professors, and eight instructors. The college recitation rooms were not used by the lady students. Two ladies, living near the college, generously opened their houses to the "annex," one giving up her library for recitations, the other her parlor as a consulting-room. Thus, without any departure from the privacy of home life, the ladies pursued their studies, with no excitement in or around the college. It was feared that the presence of the lady readers in the library, side by side with the young men, might lead to unpleasant consequences; but the young lady who most frequented the place testified that the courtesy of the college students was all that could be desired, It rimy possibly be discovered in the future that the same courtesy is to be depended upon if the lady students should be admitted to the recitation room as well as the library. The "annex" has more than fulfilled the best anticipations of those who created it. The professors and instructors who have had charge of the lady students are cheered, perhaps even surprised, by the result of their labors. "There is, on the part of our academic faculty," says the professor of ethics, the venerable Dr. Peabody, "entire satisfaction with the working of our system for the education of women." The simple organization, which is all that is required, has Arthur Gilman as its secretary.