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CIRCULAR RESPECTING FEMALE EDUCATION.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., 1867.
The undersigned desires to obtain in response to this Circular,
First, (A.) Information on the system and condition of Female Education generally in your State, or such portion of the same (county, city, or district) as you feel authorized from your knowledge of institutions, and of the subject in the same, to speak;
Second, (B.) A particular account of a few Schools for Girls, which are regarded as the best of their class—public, denominational, or incorporated, and whether for both sexes, or for girls exclusively, and for resident or non-resident pupils ;
Third, (C.) Copies of any printed documents—address, report, catalogue, circular, &c., relating to the general subject, or to any institution.
Commissioner of Education.
A. FEMALE EDUCATION GENERALLY.
1. Name and general condition of the State, or portion of the same to which the Return refers-as to number, occupation, property, valuation and popu lation.
2. Any historical data respecting the home or school instruction of girlsthe date and peculiarities of the first school avowedly or exclusively for themwhen they were for the first time admitted to Academies and public High Schools-date of the first Boarding School for girls-present number of institutions especially for them-any facts illustrative of their home instruction and training.
3. Citation of any law of the State which recognises any distinction of sex in the general provision for schools and education, and of any law conferring on any institution special privileges respecting female education.
4. Citation of any Regulations of the local Public School authorities, making special provision for girls, or excluding girls, to any extent, from participation in the school privileges of boys.
5. The practice in your Public Schools (naming the locality of the school) so far as it is exceptional to girls, viz.: (a) in the conditions of admission; (6) seating and classification in the house; (c) studies, books and teachers; (d) extent to which instruction in all or certain studies is given; (e) kind, and conditions of diploma, or certificate of graduation.
6. Your experience, and the testimony of any teacher who has had such experience as entitles his or her opinion to special respect, as to (1) the relative mental powers of male and female students, and their relative aptitudes and success (for example) in language (our own or foreign, ancient or modern,), mathematics, logic, mental, moral, and political philosophy, the natural sciences,
&c.; and (2) the modifications and limitations which such experience has sug gested in a course of school instruction for girls, having regard to general culture, and not to special training for teaching or other occupation.
7. Your experience, or the results of your observation and inquiries of institutions within your own knowledge, as to the co-education of the sexes— in respect to the (a) health; (b) intellectual vigor; (b) moral susceptibility and power; (c) manners and tastes; (d) character and influence of the female pupils in after life.
8. Your experience, and the results of similar observation, as to the sepa rate education of girls in Boarding Schools, or other Seminaries, in the partic ulars specified in the foregoing paragraph.
9. Your experience, or the results of your observation and inquiries, as to Special Institutions and Courses of Instruction for girls, having reference to external circumstances, such as wealth and social position, or to the future occupation, such as teaching, heads of families, &c.
10. Any suggestions on the great subject of the right education of woman.
B. PARTICULAR INSTITUTIONS.
Any information, as to the origin and objects-denominational control-endowments-grounds, buildings and material equipment-studies-instructorsstudents-domestic and sanitary arrangements—daily routine—tuition, follow. ing in general the order of topics given in the Circular respecting Academies.
C. PRINTED Documents.
All documents forwarded in response to this Circular, will be preserved in the Library of the Department of Education.
I. SUGGESTIONS ON THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS.
BY VARIOUS AUTHORS.
In addition to elaborate articles, new and old, on the subject of Female Education, we propose to bring together, in successive numbers, the best suggestions we have taken note of in our reading, by different authors in different ages and countries, as to the instruction and practical training of girls.
JEROME or Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius-and better known from his canonical title as St. Jerome, was born of Christian parents, at Stridon, a town in Pannonia, on the confines of Italy, about the year 331. Gifted with fine natural powers, he enjoyed and improved all the opportunities of learning which the best schools and the most erudite teachers in Rome and Gaul could afford, and to the acquisitions from books and living teachers, he added the fruits of the widest travel, and of profound meditation for years in the solitudes of the East. He wrote on almost every subject-defending the doctrines of the church as held at Rome, preaching religious abstinence and mortification, and obtaining a remarkable influence over the women of his time. Under his eloquent exhortations, many of the wealthy and noble ladies of Rome devoted themselves to perpetual chastity, distributed their possessions among the poor, and spent their time in attendance on the sick. Among these converts was Paula, a descendant of the Scipios and the Gracchi, who, on the death of her husband, having provided for her family, visited the holy places of the East and finally established herself at Bethlehem-building three monasteries for devout women, all under one rule, and a house for St. Jerome and his brethren. Her son, Toxotius, married Læta, a daughter of a Pagan priest, who became a convert under Jerome's preaching. For the education of their daughter, St. Jerome wrote a letter, which has been the highest authority in regard to female training with devout Catholics ever since. This daughter resided for a time with her grandmother at Bethlehem, and succeeded her in the government of the monasteries which St. Paula founded. St. Jerome is best known to the general scholar for his translation and edition of the Scriptures, styled the "Latin Vulgate," and for his "Catalogue of Ecclesiastical History." Incidents in his life and representations of his character are favorite subjects in pictures, prints, and sculpture. The "Last Communion of St. Jerome," by Domenichino, in the Vatican at Rome, is one of the most celebrated pictures of the world.
LETTER OF ST. JEROME TO LETA, ON THE EDUCATION OF HER Daughter.
Or this kind must be the education of a soul which is intended for a temple of the Holy Ghost:-Let her not learn to hear or say any thing but what savors of the fear of God. Impure language let her not understand, or know any thing of worldly songs; while her tongue is yet tender, let its acquaintance be only with sweet psalms. Keep her away from the wantonness of youth; nay, let even her maidens and attendants be debarred all secular connections, lest what they have learnt amiss they should teach worse. Let her have letters made of box and ivory, and learn to call them by their proper names; these will amuse her, and thus amusement will become instruction. And let her not only know the letters in their order, so as to repeat their names by rote, but change the ⚫ order frequently, mixing the middle with the first, and the last with the middle, till she can recognize them by sight as well as sound. But when her trembling hand begins to hold a pen, let its tender joints be guided by the hand of another, placed over hers; or else let the letters be engraved upon a tablet, so that she may trace out their forms without wandering from the lines of the engraving. Induce her to put syllables together by rewards, and encourage her with such little gifts as please the mind of infancy. Give her also companions in her lessons, to excite her emulation, and even sting her by the praises they receive. Do not find fault with her, if she is slow; but call out her powers by commendation, making her feel pleasure in excelling, and pain in being excelled. Above all things, take care that she does not get disgusted with her studies; lest any prejudice against them, contracted in her infancy, should extend beyond it. Let the very names by which she learns to make up letters into words be not taken at random, but selected and brought together with a view to some good purpose; the names, for instance, of prophets and apostles, with the whole line of patriarchs, from Adam downward, according to St. Matthew and St. Luke; thus, while otherwise engaged, her memory will be preparing for its future duties. Then you must look out for a tutor of approved age, and character, and learning; nor will a man of learning blush to do that for a relation, or for any noble virgin, which Aristotle did for the son of Philip, for whose sake that philosopher condescended to the office of a clerk, and instructed him in the first rudiments of knowledge. Small things must not be despised, when great things can not come to pass without them. The letters themselves, and the first rules of education, sound very differently from the mouth of the rustic and the learned. You must take care, therefore, that the silly affectation of women does not give her a habit of pronouncing her words imperfectly; and that she does not idly amuse herself in dress and jewels,―of which things, one is fatal to the morals, the other to the elocution: do not let her learn in infancy what she will have to unlearn afterward. The Gracchi are said to have been not a little indebted for their eloquence to their mother's conversation. The style of Hortensius was formed in his father's bosom. It is a hard thing to get rid of that which the untutored mind has first imbibed. Who can restore the wool of purple dye to its native whiteness? The vessel long retains the taste and smell with which it has been fresh imbued. Greek history tells us that Alexander, the most powerful of kings, the conqueror of the world, never could throw off the defects in manner and gait which he had contracted in his infancy from his instructor, Leonides. For we are all disposed to imitate the bad; and we can soon copy a man's vices, though we can not reach unto his virtues. Take care, therefore, that her nurse is not
St. Jerome's Works, Vol. I., fo. 26. Edition of Erasmus. Basil, 1516. We have omit. ted a few introductory paragraphs of St. Jerome's Letter to Læta as irrelevant to the main subject.
drunken, or wanton, or fond of talking; but let her have a modest woman to carry her, and one of becoming gravity to nurse her. Above all, let the infant soldier know the Captain, and the army, for whose service she is trained. Let her long for them, and threaten to go over to them. Let even her dress and apparel remind her for whom she is intended. Do not pierce her ears for ear-rings, or defile with artificial colors the beauty that is consecrated unto Christ. Load not her neck with gold and pearls, nor burden her head with jewels, nor give her hair a flaming dye,-too true an omen of the flames of hell. Let her pearls be of a different kind from such as she may sell and buy, "the pearl of great price."
Eli, the high-priest, offended God by the vices of his sons. A man can not be a bishop, if he has profligate and disobedient children. On the other hand, we are told that "a woman shall be saved in child-bearing, if they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety." If the virtues of those who are of mature age and independent will are imputed to the parents, how much more of those who are but babes and sucklings, and do not know their right hand from their left, the difference, that is, between good and evil! If you are so anxious that your daughter should avoid a viper's sting, why are you not equally careful that she be not stricken by "the hammer of the whole earth;" that she drink not of the golden cup of Babylon; that she go not forth with Dinah, or wish to see the daughters of a strange land; that her feet grow not wanton, or her garments trail behind her? Poisons are never given, unless the cup is smeared with honey; and vices can not deceive, except under the shade of virtues. How, then, you will say, are the sins of the fathers not imputed to the children, and of the children to the fathers, but “the soul which sinneth, it shall die?" This is spoken of those whose years admit of wisdom, of whom it is written in the gospel, "He is of age, let him speak for himself." But so long as he is a child, and thinks as a child, till he has arrived at years of discretion, and the point where good and evil, like the Pythagorean letter,* become divergent-up to that time his actions, good or evil, are imputed to his parents. Unless, indeed, you suppose that the sons of Christians, if they continue unbaptized, bear all the guilt of sin themselves, and that none of it falls on the head of those who refuse to bestow that sacrament upon them, especially at a time when its recipients could not reject it; just as, on the other hand, the salvation of the infant is a gain unto the parents. It was in your own power to offer your daughter or not (though here your condition is peculiar, inasmuch as you had vowed her to God's service before she was conceived;) but now she is offered, you can only neglect her at your own peril. He who offers a victim lame or mutilated, or blemished in any other way, is guilty of sacrilege; how much heavier the punishment of him who offers a part of his own body, and the purity of an untainted soul, to the acceptance of his King, if he is careless in preserving that which he has so disposed!
When she is growing up, and beginning, like her Bridegroom, to increase in wisdom, and stature, and favor with God and man, let her go with her parents to the temple of her heavenly Father; but let her not depart from the temple. Let them seek her in the journeys of the world, among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, and find her nowhere but in the sanctuary of the Scriptures, asking questions of prophets and apostles about the spiritual marriage of the soul with Christ. Let her imitate Mary, whom the angel Gabriel found alone in her chamber; and therefore, perhaps, she was alarmed, because she beheld the form of a man to whom she was a stranger. Let her imitate her of whom it is said, “The king's daughter is all glorious within."
The letter Y was made by the Pythagoreans a symbol of the parting road of human life one of its branches representing virtue, the other vice