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AMERICAN

ANNALS OF EDUCATION.

OCTOBER, 1838.

COLUMBIA FEMALE INSTITUTE.

• MOTHERS and schoolmasters,' says Dr. Rush, plant the seeds of nearly all the good and evil that exist in our world ; its reformation must therefore be begun in nurseries and schools.' We have long believed so; and this should be a sufficient reply to the question so often asked, why we devote so much of our time to writing for these two classes of citizens. Half, or almost half the adult world are mothers. Is it not therefore a matter of consequence how they are educated who educate the world? True, the occupation of a schoolmaster is highly dignified. · Next to mothers,' as Dr. Rush also informs us, the schoolmaster is the most important member of civil society. But in putting him next to mothers, he obviously gives to the mother the first place.

It is in the spirit of these sentiments that we often dwell so largely on the education and influence of females both in the family and elsewhere. It was in this view that we gave so much space to this subject in our last number, especially to the address of Dr. Wylie. In the same view, and not to compliment a particular institution-one in which we cannot possibly have any personal concern or interest—we now present a brief account of the Columbia Female Institute. We are sure the account will be highly gratifying to many a western and southwestern citizen, besides Dr. Wylie ; as well as to many a friend of female education this side of the mountains. Philanthropy is not bounded by rivers or mountains; or by state or national limits.

The Columbia Female Institute was established nearly three years ago. A general idea of the building may be obtained from the engraving on the opposite page. It is a noble Gothic structure, 120 feet in length, and three stories high, with spires

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Course of Studies. and towers; and is now nearly completed. When completed it will contain not only the Hall of the Institute, and a room for the Preparatory School, but room for the accommodation of the Rector's family and of the tutoresses, and for the necessary employments connected therewith-parlors, sitting rooms, store rooms, offices for the directors, dormitories, &c. In short, the building is designed to accommodate a large boarding school, though there are to be students admitted, in considerable numbers, who are not boarders.

Until recently the Institute was conducted by Mrs Howe, and a competent number of female assistants. In September last, the Rev. Franklin G. Smith, formerly the conductor of a Female school, in Lynchburg, Virginia, assisted by his wife and six other females as teachers in the various departments, and by Dr. Otey, the Bishop of Tennessee as a lecturer on various subjects as appropriate to the male as to the female instructer.

The Institute is in three departments. 1. A Preparatory or Pestalozzian School, for beginners, in which are taught spelling, reading, writing and the elements of arithmetic, grammar and geography. 2. A Junior department, for orthography, orthoepy, defining, reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history of the United States, Jewish, Grecian and Roman antiquities, mythology, and an introduction to rhetoric, mental philosophy and ancient history. 3.

3. A Senior department, where a course of instruction is given, equally liberal, as appears, to that which is given to the young ladies, at Ipswich, Bradford, Wethersfield, Oberlin and elsewhere. For those who are properly and strictly boarders in the institution there is also a course of Sunday lessons.

Music is to receive particular attention in this institution, of which Mrs Smith is the teacher or professor. Vocal music is to be practised every hour. Instrumental music on the organ, harp, piano and guitar, is given, at regular lessons, to those wbo desire it. The same is true of drawing and painting. All the pupils are to be instructed in needlework, and in domestic economy.

The Institute is furnished with an extensive chemical and philosophical apparatus, and with a library; and lectures are given on the use of the physical sciences. The school begins on the first of September and is divided into two sessions of five months each.

In regard to the general views of those who are to give character to the females of this region,* the following remarks from the first'annual catalogue' will give us some idea.

Columbia is about 40 miles southward of Nashville, Tennessee, in a high and healthy region of country.

Quackery Disavowed.

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"This Institute knows nothing of a “royal road to learning.” It has no faith in an art being taught in six lessons, or a language in twentyfour. Its aim will be to inspire, in all its members, a love of study and diligence in study, and to offer its best aids to all the zeal and industry it can excite—remembering that there is a point in rendering such assistance beyond which the interpretation of the teacher

is a positive injury, rather than benefit to the youthful mind. Learning is an acquisition. It is neither nature's endowment nor the teacher's gift. The pupil must put forth her own energies, or the bright jewel will never be hers.'

We are exceedingly glad to find the skill to communicate an art in six lessons, or a language in twentyfour, so plainly disavowed. We are ashamed of those, in this day of light, or of the means of light, who make these base pretences; nor are we much less ashamed of those who patronize such quackery. Yet the world-our American world at least-is full of it; and no where, perhaps, more so than in Boston, the would be Athens of America. Look, for example, at the pretences made to teach writing in a course of twelve or six lessons! And what is more painful, see good men lending the influence of their names to such folly and absurdity! But this is not the place for a lecture on quackery or human gullibility.

To show that mere scientific instruction is not made the beginning and end of all things in the Columbia Female Institute we extract the following paragraph; though, as will be seen, it applies only to that portion of the students who board in the family of the Rector.

• In reference to the boarders, the teachers will recognize no suspension of the duties of instruction. The household will associate with each other, out of school hours, on terms of easy and respectful familiarity; and the errors and ignorances of the pupils will be noticed, with a kind solicitude for their improvement. On all occasions-in their recreations, walks, or fireside conversations-young ladies who use provincial, improper, or ungrammatical expressions will be kindly corrected. A vicious pronunciation is especially to be noticed. The same care will be devoted to their personal deportment, mien and habits. An awkward gait, an ungraceful stoop, a nasal twang must be expected to call forth from any tutoress the proper advice and direction. But the chief care of the educator, in these hours of relaxation from the severer duties of the schoolroom, is to be devoted to the cultivation of a christian politeness, amenity, ease and naturalness of manner. To do an un

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Peculiarities of the Institution.

lady like thing calls for authoritative advice; but any violation of the law of christian kindness and courtesy, is to be checked by the teacher with the most anxious concern.'

In short the Institute as it is set forth in the prospectus and catalogue-is to resemble a well ordered home. The utmost attention is to be paid to order, neatness and cleanliness, as cardinal virtues, especially in young ladies. To take away, as much as possible the formalities of the monastic school room of former days,chairs are substituted for benches, and single desks for those long, ungraceful things which were always unworthy of the name.

In regard to the discipline, and general regulation of the Institute, we have but little to say, because there is little which is peculiar. Those who have read the accounts of Ipswich Female Seminary in former volumes of this journal, will get a general idea of the state of things at the Columbia Female Institute. We believe the following are the principal peculiarities.

In order to diminish the expense of dress, and especially to restrain the ambition of extravagant display, the following uniform is established for boarders at the Institute, viz: For winter-Sunday dress-purple merino or circassian robe, with white collar and white pantalets; Leghorn or straw bonnet trimmed with scarlet; shoes adapted to the season. For summer-robe of white, with collar and pantalets of the same color; bonnet trimmed with sky-blue. No jewelry is allowed except a plain breast pin ; embroideries are prohibited.

. No boarder will keep a purse of her own, and all remittances on her behalf will be made to the Rector.'

* The responsibility assumed by the Institute for all the members of its family, renders it necessary to require that boarders shall never leave the lot unless in company with some one of the tutoresses, nor be absent after sundown. This rule will not prevent the boarders from enjoying, to the proper extent, all the advantages of the society of Columbia. Company will occasionally be invited to the Institute with a special view to the improvement as well as gratification of the members of the family.

· Letters addressed to boarders at the Institute, should be directed to the care of the Rector. The young ladies will never send to the post office, nor call there. Any instructions relative to their correspondence will be scrupulously followed. They will be required to write home every fortnight, and such attention and criticism will be devoted, by a tutoress, both to the composition and penmanship of their letters, as to make the exercise improving to their scholarship.

A Necessary Explanation.

489 Their literary pursuits will be relieved by the attention they will regularly devote to the various subjects of domestic economy. Every boarder over the age of ten years will, in her turn, accompany the Matron, for one day, in all the duties of superintending the household affairs of the Institute. She will go with the Matron to inspect the dormitories, parlors and other apartments, noticing every thing in relation to the beds, floors, furniture, &c. of the rooms. But her attention will be especially directed to every subject of the culinary department. She will accompany the Matron through all the duties of the cuisine with her cookery book in hand, and be able to show at dinner that she has learned from the morning's engagements, something worth remembering. The refection at eleven o'clock will, as far as possible, be under her own direction exclusively.

• Boarders will never perform any servile or menial offices in the Institute. They will never bring their water or wood, or make their beds or sweep their rooms. Nor, on the other hand, will they be permitted to call a servant to pick up a pin. Every thing pertaining to the comfortable supply of their wants will be provided by the servants of the house; and should any one of the domestics fail in the duty required of her by the regulations of the family, the boarders will confer a favor by giving the Matron or mistress of the house such information as will enable them to correct the evil.'

To those who forget that the Institute we are describing is in Tennessee and not in New England, a word of explanation may be necessary in regard to one point. We are told that the attention of the pupils will be directed to domestic economy, and especially to every subject of the culinary department; and yet, in the next paragraph, we are assured that the boarders will

never perform any servile or menial offices in the Institute;' not even 'to bring their water or wood, or make their bed or sweep their rooms.' But it should be remembered that much of the population of Tennessee consists of emigrants from the southern states, and their descendants, who retain the customs and habits of the latter states; and that it is out of the power of the Rector of a Seminary-were he disposed to do so—to change at once the manners and customs of a whole section of country. This will doubtless be a sufficient apology for Mr Smith and his assistants, even to those who, bred to different habits, could never consent to the education of daughters in a manner so poorly calculated to render them healthy, happy and efficient mothers, as well as good and useful companions and housewives.

It should moreover, be added that the health of the inmates

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