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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, July 1, 1875. It is apparent that a representation of education for the century of our national history, now closing, at the International Centennial Exbi. bition at Philadelphia in 1876, can neither be adequate nor successful without the most extensive consultation in regard to the peculiarities and manifold phases of educational systems and institutions. The interest in this department of the Exhibition will be very great to all Americans and all visitors from other countries who attempt to study the causes of our national growth and peculiarities. It should be remembered that it is a public interest, and not a source of private profit, save in reference to its aids and appliances. The producers of these articles would naturally come forward to participate in the representatiou, as do all other producers of articles of profit. Yet it is plain that if the educational exhibit were limited to these appliances, the impression made would be most inadequate; indeed, the value of these aids to education is best seen in connection with the results obtained in systems and institutions, in respect to which the leading motive must necessarily be, not one of pecuniary profit, but of public benefit. For the attainment of this result in the exhibit there must be time for consultation, harmony of plans, and organization. This Office, as the central educational agency in the country, has from the first definite anticipation of the Exhibition naturally been addressed for plans and information. The recent rapidly increasing interest has greatly multiplied the demands for definite plans. Officers of institutions and systems in many parts of the country have already fully determined to go forward and make some preparation for the Exhibition, and are now only waiting to know definitely what to do in each case and how to do it. This Office could have promptly projected a theoretical reply to the various inquiries. There would have been a possibility of its being the plan fitted to the facts, to be worked out with facility and success. The object of the Office, however, has not been to direct, but to represent, to ascertain what could be done, to gather from every quarter the suggestions in reference to what should be done and how to do it. In pursuance of this idea, attention was called to the subject in the Reports of 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874.
Our attention must be turned necessarily in two directions: First, to
wards the Centennial Commission, which has entire charge of the classi. fication, and which determines what plans of classification shall be adopted for this, as for all other departments of the Exhibition. Secondly, we must consult with all those who are to participate in the Exhibition with regard to the materials they are to present and their plans of presentation. This Office has been in constant correspondence and communication with the officers of the Centennial Commission, and it is only due to say that they have from the first and always manifested a most earnest desire that everything possible should be done to render this department of the Exhibition thoroughly successful.
With respect to the educators of the country, every means has been taken to gather full public and private expressions of interest, and to act solely and fully in co-operation with them. And while gathering these, whether from personal or organized sources, it has seemed appropriate to eonsult, as the special representative of them all, the National Educa tional Association. This association, at a meeting of its department of superintendence, in January, 1874, passed resolutions upon the subject, and, again, in January, 1875, appointed an executive committee to advise with and act through this Office. This committee has since had two meetings, at the request of the Director General of the Exhibition, in Philadelphia, at which the plans of the Centennial Commission were carefully studied, and all indications of what could be done by the different institutions and systems of education, so far as known, were brought into consideration, and an earnest effort was made to answer the two great questions “ What to do ?” and “How to do it?" One thing has been manifest from the first, that, while certain outlines for a scheme could be laid down, the details must, in the necessity of the case, be announced only as the circumstances upon which they depended were more clearly unfolded in the action of the different sections interested. With a view to giving each institution and system information with regard to the purposes of other institutions and systems proposing to participate, and of putting before the eye a unified scheme to which fuller suggestions could be made, this Office prepared, in January, a “Synopsis of the proposed centennial history of American education." At the first meeting of the committee above mentioned with the DirectorGeneral of the Centennial in Philadelphia, it became manifest that a change in the classification there presented was essential for the unity of an educational exhibit. At the second meeting of the committee their views were given in a statement, at the request of the Director-General, and presented to the commission. The committee also agreed upon certain amplifications and specifications, which should be published as a far ther aid and guide to those wishing to participate in the educational exhibit, when the commission had given a final revision to its classification. The Centennial Commission have now issued their revised classification, and that part of it relating to education is herewith presented. The committee have added their embodiment of suggestions, and hereby submit it as a further step in the development of the work in nand. While in general the scheme must be executed as it is now established, it is desired that there may be the utmost freedom of suggestion with reference to the details. In the prosecution of this work it should be added that it will be impossible for this Office to perform the part assigned to it, save in and by the provision made by Congress at its last session for an exhibit by the Executive Departments. The law and executive orders connected with it are therefore published. The amount of money provided for this expenditure is a small share of the $115,000 assigned to the Interior Department. It will be obvions, on a moment's thought, how little of the vast work to be accomplished can be performed by this Office. It will be seen from what has been previously published, and, indeed, in all that has been done by this Office, how much more highly we prize the historical than the competitive elements of the Exhibition. We are thoroughly convinced that no institution, that no State or city system, can do better for itself, or can more efficiently work for the improvement of its instruction or its discipline, for the enlargement of its resources or for the increase of its attendance, than by seizing this occasion, when everybody is talking about the past of our country, to turn the attention of its constituents to the incidents of its establishment, growth, present condition, and the con siderations which should determine its future plans. Moreover, we cannot fail to feel the obligation imposed upon the actors in this memorial year to leave all the facts in regard to their institutions and systems in the best possible shape for the benefit of education in the centuries of our Government which are to follow.
Dr. Franklin B. Hough, of Lowville, N. Y., well known for his historical and statistical labors, who has already accumulated numerous and valuable data with regard to the origin and history of collegiate education, has been invited to co-operate with this Bureau in the preparation of the exhibit of collegiate and university instruction. The following special suggestions are hereby submitted; others will be added after consultation and agreement with the officers in charge of these institutions :
The several officers in charge of the institution for deaf-mute instruction in the county have already appointed a committee to take charge of the preparation of the representation of this department of education. The chairman of the committee is Hon. E. M. Gallaudet, president of the National Deaf-Mute College, at Washington, D. C., who should be addressed on the subject.
The necessity of extended personal intercourse between those familiar with expositions and the several officers of institutions has rendered it necessary for the Bureau of Education to invite Hon. John D. Philbrick to confer specially with these gentlemen in New England, and Dr. J. W. Hoyt to perform a similar work, in connection especially with colleges of agricultare and the mechanic arts, in the Mississippi Valley. Dr. L. P. Brockett, of New York, whose historical writings on the subject of education are well known, has undertaken to aid in the preparation of a historical representation of text-books.
Two hundred and forty-eight institutions for the benefit of the young, such as reformatories, asylums, industrial schools, &c., have already been visited by an agent of this Bureau, and a large collection of facts gathered with reference to their history and administration, which is now ready for the printer, and which will be made to constitute a portion of the Centennial publications upon education by this Office.
The progress of the medical art and medical education prior to the Revolution was the subject of a recent publication by this Bureau, the material having been collected by Dr. J. M. Toner, of this city. N. S. Davis, M. D., of Chicago, Ill., is now preparing an account of medical education in the United States during the century for this Office.
This Office has also in course of preparation a work on libraries in the United States, past and present, which will shortly appear.
The subject of art-education in the United States during the past century is also receiving attention, with a view to early publication. The attention of all the officers of systems, institutions, and associa. tions of an educational character is specially called (1) to the desirableness of making the graduating exercises of academies, normal schools, commencements of colleges, and the several andual gatherings of alumni, of teachers, and other promoters of education, in some form commemorative of the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the Republic; (2) that the donors of funds for educational purposes be invited to mark this year by the increase of their endowments and benefactions; (3) that a special effort be made to collect at institutions, offices, and other appropriate places, busts, portraits, and other fitting memorials of eminent educators and promoters of education, and that these also, as far as expedient, be made part of the educational exbibit at Philadelphia. Other outlines of the great forces of education in the country are under advisement, and all interested are generally invited to offer suggestions.
A considerable number of inquiries having come to the Office with regard to the form of State organizations, the Commissioner of Education takes this opportunity to suggest that, where appropriations have been made by States, and commissioners appointed to prepare the State representation for the Centennial, a committee be designated by this commission, consisting of the State school officers and others of well-known fitness, to take special charge of the State educational exhibit. This plan has already been adopted in several States with the happiest results.
It is difficult to express in a classification or programme of arrangements all the details of the methods by which education will be illustrated: (1) as increasing the productiveness of industry; (2) as diminishing pauperism ; (3) as diminishing vice and crime; (4) as increasing the public wealth; and (5) as specially qualifying man for the pursuits of life and the duties and privileges of citizenship. It is hoped that no one who has worked out any valuable material wbich would contribute to this end will hesitate to make it known.
It is suggested that the several annual educational reports in the country may be made to have some special reference to the Centennial Exhibition, and so relieve other documentary statements, and that surplus copies should be furnished at the Centennial with a view to distribution.
The duty of the educator in this matter is twofold: (1) to aid in the exhibit of educational facilities and (2) to use the material thus collected at the Centennial-nay, the Exhibition itself—for the purpose of future instruction.
Among the further details already under special consideration are: (1) the manner of investigating and comparing the work of students so as to bring out the best results; (2) what attempts shall be made to provide special arrangements for formal visitation to the Exhibition by students of institutions of learning, under the guidance of experts, for special investigation and study of the exhibition; (3) the arrangement of an educational congress.
It is hoped that further special consideration will be given to these subjects at the meeting of the National Educational Association in Augnst, at Minneapolis.