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WITH every year of progress it becomes more evident that the movement in favor of the higher education of women is one of the most important developments in the intellectual life of our country. We have been more deeply impressed with this truth by recent protracted visits to Wellesley College, during which we entered the classes, inquired into every department, and examined minutely its past history and its present condition. After a careful examination of the whole field, we select this as the typical woman's college. It seems to-day to be the highwater mark of this great tidal wave, whose influence has been so broadly felt in our own land, and which is now extending so rapidly to the Protestant countries of Europe. We give this prominence to Wellesley College, not merely because it has the largest number of students of any American college for girls, nor on account of its magnificent architecture, its affluence in libraries, apparatus, scientific collections and works of art, but because its class-rooms and laboratories present the most successful and practical illustrations of great principles and natural methods in education, for the promotion of which, among other objects, this Journal was originally established.


The carriage whirled in at the wide gateway; we passed the entrance-lodge and entered the College grounds through a long avenue of elms. This led us to an evergreen wood, where the avenue was bordered by graceful hemlocks; we then crossed an open glade; and, after skirting an old oak forest, with its stately trees, we finally emerged upon the margin of the wide lawn, across which we saw the beautiful College, in all its superb proportions. We had only time for a glance at the varied architecture when the carriage stopped beneath the porte-cochère, and we entered the building. It was not a girls' school-it was a palace! A stately hall was before us, with

marble columns, beautiful arcades, galleries rising tier upon tier, corridors stretching out upon either side, and in the center a tropical garden- a vast marble basin, filled with foliageplants, unknown to us even by name, growing in all their oriental beauty. Was it all a dream? Was this a college? But no time was left us to dwell upon the question. We were immediately ushered into the reception-parlor, with its furniture of carved teak-wood, its pictures and bronzes, where we were cordially received by an officer of the College. Our errand made known, every facility for inspecting grounds and buildings, cabinets and libraries, class-rooms and laboratoriesfor conference with the president and professors, with instructors and students, with teachers and taught in recitation and preparation, at work and in recreation,― was freely proffered, and as freely accepted. Our inquiries were protracted beyond the few hours we had assigned to this visit, into the next day, and were continued through several subsequent visits, with a constantly deepening admiration of the wise liberality which has provided all these conditions of a healthy domestic life for hundreds of girls from every part of the country, in the pursuit of useful knowledge and liberal culture, under able teachers trained in our oldest colleges, and brought together to work out the problem of the highest education of women, and the best preparation of teachers for its perpetuation.

American educators in general cannot be aware of the remarkable work which is going on at Wellesley. It is really a delightful surprise to be in such an atmosphere of intellectual activity, to notice the enthusiasm and thoroughness in every department, and to see the practical working and results of truly philosophical methods of instruction for young women.

We admit that we went to Wellesley with some predetermined opinions, and with the intention of comparing its work critically with the results that are attained in our best colleges; and we must confess to having entertained some misgiving as to the precision and thoroughness likely to be met with in the girls' recitations. We expected to find a certain fluency, perhaps, but that we should miss the accuracy and the honest solid work of masculine minds. As we passed from recitation to private work, not only did these doubts vanish, but we found that we were moving in a keenly intellectual atmosphere.

The standards of study and instruction were all on the highest plane-new developments of old principles, to be sure, but all carried out so thoroughly, with such elegant precision, with such accuracy and completeness, that gradually all thoughts of criticism vanished in delight and sympathy and surprise.

To understand Wellesley College and appreciate the perfection of its system, methods and equipment, we must go back to its origin and foundation principles.


The institution was opened as a college for women in 1875. From its commencement it has been crowded with students, and has taken a prominent and decided position for advancement in the education and elevation of the sex.

It may be stated, in a very general way, that the purpose of its Trustees was to found a college in which girls should have as good opportunities for higher education as were given to young men in the best institutions, and to work out practically this great problem with due regard to health, without which true education is impossible. They proposed to form character, give a purpose to life, strength to the physical powers, and educate a generation of useful, accomplished and learned women, whose power and influence would be felt everywhere, and especially in the instruction of their own sex.

The first important step was the selection of a favorable site. that would furnish the great requisites of healthfulness and freedom from malaria, together with the advantages of nearness to a great intellectual metropolis, without the annoyances and dangers arising from too close contact with city life.

The village of Wellesley is located fifteen miles west from Boston, on the line of the Boston and Albany Railroad. It is a quiet village, remarkable for the beauty of its scenery. It is principally occupied by the country-seats of Boston gentlemen who have done much to develop its natural beauties. It was found in a scientific survey of the State that this region was the most healthy portion of the country. Here the Trustees. located the future College in the midst of a magnificent estate, beautiful with lawns and glades, oak forests and evergreen groves on the northerly shore of Waban-Mere. Eight years were occupied in preparing the grounds and constructing and

furnishing the buildings; and when the College was opened, in 1875, it was the unanimous voice of the many visitors who flocked there, that this was the most charming home that could be desired for the four beautiful years of a girl's college life.


The leading idea of the landscape gardening has been to develop the domain like an English Park. From the stone Lodge, which is an exquisite gem of architecture, an avenue, nearly a mile long, winds through the grounds to the main College building. There are no fences anywhere, except the external ring-fence that protects the grounds from intruders. The girls wander at will through the woods, lawns and meadows, and over the hills. The marked feature of the landscape is the beautiful lake where the girls exercise with their boats in summer, and skate in winter. The accessory charms of the scene, the shrubberies, the shaded walks, the romantic glens, make it one of the loveliest spots in the country. Wellesley should be visited in the spring-time, when everything is in full leafage; when Waban-Mere is glimmering in the sunlight, gay with boats filled with girls in their pretty boating-costumes. The woods are filled with the songs of birds, and the shores echo with the boating songs. Under the awnings of the park seats which are scattered about the grounds, some of the girls can be seen studying, while others are returning home from their rambles with hands full of flowers for Wellesley is a land of wild flowers. Not only are the woods and meadows filled with them, but countless flowering plants and shrubs have been planted there. Last year more than a thousand rhododendrons and azalias were imported for the grounds; and while we were there the gardeners were planting seven thousand crocusses and snow-drops in the lawns around the College, to surprise the girls in the spring-time by their early blossoms. But the domain is beautiful at all times, and every year will add to its attractions.


A wise liberality characterizes the construction of the College buildings. No description can give an adequate idea of their beauty, and it is more difficult still to describe the solidity and

thoroughness of the work, the perfection of the architecture, and the minute attention which has been given to all practical points. Four years were occupied in the construction of this educational palace. We were told that it was necessary to build a branch railroad to convey the materials to the spot. More than seven million of bricks were employed in one building! There were four miles of steam, water and gas-pipes. used in its construction! The result of all this vast labor is a most beautiful home, provided with every comfort and luxury.


We all acknowledge that pure air is essential to health. They seem to have pure air "on the brain" at Wellesley. In our judgment there is no public building in the country so perfectly ventilated as this College. We visited every part of it, from the cellar to the attic, and everywhere is the same purity of air. Without diagrams we cannot fully describe the various methods of ventilation, but some points are worthy of a passing notice.


Everyone knows the disagreeable effects of the hot, dry air that is produced by the ordinary system of heating with furnaces or steam-pipes. This is overcome at Wellesley in a very simple and effective manner. More than a hundred minute jets of steam are discharged into the basement, which may be described as one great air-chamber, and there this moist fresh air is warmed, and conveyed through the flues to every room. an instance of the care which is used in the regulation of the atmosphere, we may mention that hygrodeiks are placed in different parts of the building, by which the moisture of the air is gauged, just as the degree of heat is measured by the thermometers. There is a certain fixed standard of heat and moisture called the "Health Line," which is best adapted for comfort and health; and this provides for a charming summer atmosphere throughout the building.

On going through the basement, which is whitewashed twice a year, and kept in a careful state of purity, we noticed hundreds of shallow boxes of charcoal placed at intervals along the walls. We were informed that sanitary engineers in England had applied fresh charcoal in various ways for purification of the air, and that this suggestion, among others, had been tested.

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