The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Harvard University
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, the oldest and the most amply endowed institution of learning in the United States, situated in Cambridge, 3 m. W. of Boston, Mass. Six years after the first settlement of this region by the English the following entry appears on their records, under date of Oct. 28, 1636: “The court agreed to give 400l. towards a schoale or colledge, whearof 200l. to bee paid the next yeare, and 200l. when the worke is finished, and the next court to appoint wheare, and what building.” The next year the court ordered that the college should be at “Newetowne,” and designated the governor and deputy governor, with ten others, including the principal laymen and ministers of the colony, among whom were John Cotton and John Winthrop, to have charge of the undertaking. Under date of March 13, 1639, it was “ordered, that the colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shal bee called Harvard Colledge.” By the change of the name Newtown to Cambridge it was designed to honor the famous English university, of which some of the early settlers were graduates, and the name Harvard was given to the institution in recognition of the liberal endowment of about £700 left by the will of the Rev. John Harvard in 1638. It is doubtful whether the original grant of £400 was ever actually paid. It is certain that the project for a college lay in abeyance until the bequest of Harvard at once initiated the necessary measures. In 1638 a class began a course of study in the college under Nathaniel Eaton. The first class graduated, in 1642, consisted of nine members. Efforts were made to educate a few of the aborigines as teachers of their own race, but only one Indian was ever graduated. In 1642 the general government of the college and the management of its funds were vested in a board of overseers, consisting of “the governor and deputy governor for the time being, and all the magistrates of this jurisdiction, together with the teaching elders of the six next adjoining towns—viz., Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester—and the president of the said college.” In 1650 the general court granted a charter to the college, under which it became a corporation with the title of the “President and Fellows of Harvard College,” consisting of the president, five fellows, and a treasurer or bursar, to have perpetual succession by the election of members to fill vacancies. In October, 1680, by order of the general court, the ferry between Boston and Charlestown was granted to the college. The town of Cambridge gave several parcels of land, as did other public bodies and private individuals. The legislatures of the colony, province, and state of Massachusetts made grants, in early times regular ones annually, to pay the salary of the president, and to aid in the support of some one or two other officers or teachers in the college, as also occasional gifts for special purposes; while lotteries were chartered to obtain money for building some of the older college halls. The last grant made to the college from the public treasury was in 1814. When a constitution was framed for the commonwealth in 1780 the perpetual enjoyment of all their vested rights and powers was secured to the president and fellows of Harvard college, and the council and senate were made the successors of the magistrates in the board of overseers as constituted in 1642. The organization of the board of overseers, under the direction of the legislature, underwent various changes until 1865, when the connection of the college with the commonwealth was dissolved, and the control of the university was vested in its alumni. Besides the president and treasurer of the university, who are ex officio members, the board consists of 30 members, divided into six classes, of five each, who after a term of six years go out of office in rotation, five overseers being elected by the alumni each year. The first election of overseers by the alumni was held in Cambridge on commencement day in 1866. Only inhabitants of the state are eligible as members of the board, and no alumnus is “entitled to vote for overseers before the fifth annual election after the graduation of his class.” The first degree of D. D. ever granted by the institution was conferred upon Increase Mather in 1692. A few years later Harvard college received the first of a series of munificent gifts from the Hollis family, including some valuable books. In 1764 the library was destroyed by fire, and about 6,000 volumes were lost, including all of Harvard's books except one, the oriental collection bequeathed by Dr. Lightfoot, and the Greek and Roman classics presented by Bishop Berkeley. Harvard has had presidents, as follows:
|NAMES.||Term of service.|
|Samuel Willard (acting)||1701-1707|
|John Thornton Kirkland||1810-1828|
|Cornelius Conway Felton||1860-1862|
|Charles William Eliot||1868 |
—The external administration of the university is vested in two separate boards, viz., the president and fellows, known also as the corporation of Harvard college, and the overseers. The latter body has undergone various changes in its organization, but its general powers and duties are the same as those conferred by the act of 1642, giving the board “full power and authority to make and establish all such orders, statutes, and constitutions as they shall see necessary for the instituting, guiding, and furthering of the said college, and the several members thereof, from time to time, in piety, morality, and learning;” and “also to dispose, order, and manage” all the funds and property of the institution. The “corporation,” consisting of the president and treasurer of the university and five fellows, is vested with the right to acquire and to hold property and to sue and to be sued. With this board originate all nominations to office in the university, as well for filling vacancies in its own body, as for president, professors, and other officers of instruction. Its action, however, is subject to the approval of the board of overseers. The functions of these two governing bodies extend to all the professional and special schools of the university. The internal government of the institution is administered by the president, deans, and faculties composed of officers of instruction. Besides the dean and faculty of the college proper, each professional department has a dean and special faculty; but the president of the university is the president of each of the faculties. In 1870 the office of dean of the college faculty was created to relieve the president of a portion of his duties.
—The university lands in various parts of Cambridge comprise about 60 acres. The college yard contains about 15 acres, tastefully laid out and adorned by many stately old elms. Here, forming a large quadrangular enclosure, are clustered 15 extensive buildings, of brick or stone, from two to five stories high. Hollis, Stoughton, Holworthy, Grays, Thayer, Weld, and Matthews halls, the last three erected since 1870, are exclusively dormitories, which, with College house and Holyoke house, on the opposite side of the street from the college grounds, have accommodations for nearly 700 students. The remaining buildings include Massachusetts hall, erected in 1720, Holden chapel, and Harvard, University, and Boylston halls, all devoted to recitation, lecture, and examination rooms, offices, and laboratories; Appleton chapel, with seats for 900; Gore hall, containing the library; and Dane hall for the law school; besides several residences occupied by the president and professors. In the near vicinity of the college yard are the gymnasium, the scientific and mining schools, the divinity school, and the museum of comparative zoölogy. About three fourths of a mile N. W. of the college group is the botanical garden, containing a valuable herbarium, and near it the observatory. On the delta near the college yard stands Memorial hall, erected by the alumni and friends of the college in commemoration of the students and graduates of the university who died in the national service during the civil war. It is constructed from designs by Ware and Van Brunt of Boston, of red and black brick, with copings and window tracery of Nova Scotia stone, and is 310 ft. long by 115 ft. wide. The interior comprises three grand apartments: dining hall, 164 by 60 ft., and 80 ft. high, capable of seating 1,000 persons; memorial vestibule, 112 by 30 ft., and 60 ft. high; and the academic theatre. The dining hall, said to be the grandest college hall in the world, will be used for college festivals, and probably by the Thayer club, an organization supported and managed by students for the purpose of obtaining board at cost. The great west window, 23 ft. wide and 30 ft. high, will be filled with stained glass, as will also in course of time the 36 side windows. Between the dining hall and the academic theatre, which is not yet completed, is the memorial vestibule, surmounted by a tower 200 ft. high. The interior is surrounded by an arcade of black walnut, with marble tablets inscribed with the names of the 120 students commemorated, and the date and place of their death. The walls above are simply decorated in color, with Latin inscriptions, mostly taken from the poets. At either end are large windows tilled with stained glass. The estimated cost of the entire structure is $575,000.
—Besides the college proper, the university comprises the divinity school, law school, medical school, dental school, Lawrence scientific school, school of mining and practical geology, Bussey institution of agriculture and horticulture, observatory, botanic garden and herbarium, and Peabody museum of American archæology and ethnology; and is connected with the museum of comparative zoölogy. All of these are in Cambridge except the medical and dental schools, which are in Boston, and the Bussey institution, which is in Jamaica Plain. A notice of the Episcopal, theological school in Cambridge appears in the catalogue of the university, but there is no connection between the two institutions.
—During the past few years many radical changes have been made in the courses of study in the college, with a view of perfecting a system of instruction which by its elasticity and thoroughness will best accommodate itself to the widely varied tastes and abilities of different students. The preparatory course of study, pursued in schools having no connection with the university, has also undergone a marked revision, in consequence of the changes in the requirents for admission to hhe college, the aim of the faculty being that the best preparatory training shall be afforded to young men, up to an average age of 18, who intend to pursue non-professional studies for four years or more. Since 1874 candidates have been required to pass an examination in one of two courses of study, the selection being optional with the applicant. Each course embraces 14 subjects (including subdivisions) which are substantially the same in both, viz.: Latin, Greek, mathematics, ancient history and geography, modern and physical geography, and English composition. In one course, however, classical studies predominate, and in the other mathematical and physical. Besides these, there are optional examinations in the classics, mathematics, and physics, for the accommodation of those who desire to be admitted to advanced standing in these, or to pursue elective studies in other departments. In addition to the above, applicants for admission in 1875 and thereafter will required to translate “easy French prose at sight,” with the option of substituting German; and in 1876 requirements in elementary science will be added, the applicant having a choice among the subjects of botany, physics and chemistry, and descriptive astronomy. Two examinations for admission are held, one the beginning and the other at the close of the academic year. In view of the recently added requirements for admission, and to enable students to enter college at the average of 18, candidates may divide the admission examination into two, separated by an interval of not less than an academic year. The academic year, which is the same for all departments of the university, extends from the last Thursday of September to the last Wednesday of June, with a vacation of two weeks at the winter holidays. The studies pursued in the academic department are classified into prescribed and elective; the former occupy le whole of the freshman year and about one third of the sophomore and junior years. The studies of the freshman year are Greek, Latin, mathematics, German, ethics, and chemistry, 16 hours a week being devoted to recitations. In the sophomore and junior years the required studies are elementary, embracing in the former physics, rhetoric, themes, history, and elementary French for those who have not passed a satisfactory examination in that language at the beginning of the year; and in the latter logic, psychology, and a portion of the course in rhetoric, as well as of that in themes and forensics. In the senior year only certain written exercises belong to the required course. Numerous courses of elective studies are provided for students in the sophomore, junior, and senior years, who may also choose any of the prescribed studies in the course upon condition of being qualified to pursue them. The elective studies embrace the following courses: 1, the classics, including, besides Latin and classical Greek, ecclesiastical Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit; 2, modern languages, including the Anglo-Saxon, and early English, modern Greek, German, French, Romance philology, Italian, and Spanish; 3, philosophy; 4, history; 5, political science; 6, mathematics; 7, physics, including chemistry; 8, natural history; 9, music. In addition to the prescribed studies, every sophomore is required to pursue four courses chosen by himself from the elective studies, with at least two exercises a week each, every junior three courses with three exercises a week each, and every senior four courses with three exercises a week each. Sophomores and juniors may be relieved from pursuing any of the required studies of those years by passing an examination in such studies at the beginning of the year. It will thus be seen that the opportunity is afforded to students of pursuing the ordinary collegiate course, or of concentrating their study upon a limited number of subjects. Examinations in writing are required in every study at the end of the year, besides similar examinations on nearly every subject in the middle of the year. A large portion of the instruction is given by lectures. A system of special honors, classified as “honors” and “second-year honors,” has recently been established for the encouragement of those who wish to attain distinction in special departments of study. The former are awarded at the close of the college course to such students as prove by examination exceptional proficiency in any one of the following courses: classics, modern languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, physics (including chemistry), and natural history. Candidates for honors in the classics or in mathematics must have previously taken second-year honors in the same department. Second-year honors in the classics and in mathematics are awarded to sophomores and juniors upon special examination. The honors awarded are stated in the diploma. The degree of bachelor of arts conferred by Harvard university has been graded as the ordinary degree and the degree with distinction. In the latter case the distinction is indicated in the diploma by the words cum laude; to obtain this the candidate must have attained 80 hundredths of the maximum mark for the whole college course, or 87 hundredths of that for the junior and senior years combined. The necessary expenses of an undergraduate during the academic year range from $400 to $650, the tuition being $150. Pecuniary aid afforded to students removes the necessity of any leaving college through indigence. Ninety-two scholarships varying in their annual income from $40 to $350 have been established, and the number is rapidly increasing. More than $20,000 from this source is gratuitously distributed each year among the undergraduates, the preference being given to those ranking highest as scholars. From other beneficiary funds about $750 is annually distributed in gratuities ranging from $50 to $100. There is also a loan fund, the annual interest of which, amounting to more than $2,000, is lent to students in sums ranging from $50 to $150, payable at their option. Besides the above, students may derive an income from acting as monitors; the various monitorships amount to about $1,200 a year. Twenty-three prizes, yielding annually $895 in sums from $15 to $100, are open to undergraduates.—In the divinity school are two professorships of theology, one of ecclesiastical history, one of New Testament criticism and interpretation, and one of Hebrew, besides a lectureship on Biblical literature. Bachelors of arts are admitted without examination; others are required to pass an examination in Latin and the Greek text of the gospels. The full course occupies three years, on the completion of which the degree of bachelor of divinity is conferred only upon examination. The necessary expenses are about $300 a year. There are nine scholarships, yielding $1,695 annually, in sums ranging from $125 to $260, and nearly $3,000 from other funds is annually distributed among the students. The course of study in the law school occupies two years. There are no requirements for admission except that the applicant, if not a college graduate, must be at least 19 years old. But an examination is required for admission to an advanced portion of the course in the case of candidates for a degree. Instruction is given by recitations, lectures, and moot courts, by three full professors, an assistant professor, and several lecturers. The cost of tuition for the first year that a student is a member of the school is $150, for the second $100, and for any subsequent year $50. Eight scholarships, of the annual value of $100 each, are assigned at the beginning of each academic year to students who have been in the school the whole of the preceding year, and intend to remain throughout the ensuing year. Prior to 1871-'2 the degree of bachelor of laws was conferred upon all who had been enrolled as students a year and a half; it can now be obtained only upon examination. In the Lawrence scientific school courses of instruction are provided for three classes of persons: 1, those desiring the ordinary practical education in engineering and science; 2, those preparing to be teachers; 3, those desiring advanced instruction in science preparatory to the degree of doctor of philosophy or doctor of science. The instruction preparatory to the degrees of civil engineer and bachelor of science comprises a four years' course in civil and topographical engineering, and three years' courses in practical and theoretical chemistry, in natural history, and in mathematics, physics, and astronomy. The teachers' course embraces one year's study in the elements of natural history, chemistry, and physics. Instruction for candidates for the doctor's degree and other advanced students is provided in physics, chemistry, zoölogy, botany, and mathematics. Candidates for admission to any one of the regular courses leading to the degree of civil engineer or bachelor of science must be examined; but no examination is required for admission to the teachers' course, or that for advanced students. The degree of civil engineer is conferred after examination upon students who have completed the course in civil and topographical engineering. To obtain the degree of bachelor of science the student must have attended the school for at least one year, have completed the course of studies in one or more departments, and pass the examination. The course of study pursued and the grade of merit are specified in the degree, the three grades being indicated by cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. The tuition fee for any of the courses in the scientific school is $150 a year. There are four scholarships yielding annually $150 each. The full course in the school of mining and practical geology occupies four years, on the completion of which degree of mining engineer is conferred after examination. In the case of candidates for this degree an examination for admission to the school is held. Instruction in practical astronomy and the use of astronomical instruments, including the spectroscope, is given at the observatory by the director and three assistants. In 1871 a complete revolution in the system of instruction was made in the Harvard medical school. The new plan went into effect at the beginning of the academic year 1871-'2, and up to this time (1874) this institution has stood alone in its efforts to introduce this radical reform into the system of medical education in the United States. Under the new system instruction is given by lectures, recitations, clinical teaching, and practical exercises distributed throughout the academic year. This extends from the last of September to the last of June, and is divided into two equal terms. The course of instruction occupies three years, beginning with the fundamental subjects of anatomy, physiology, and chemistry in the first year, and proceeding systematically through all the recognized branches of a good medical education. In the important subjects of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pathological anatomy, obligatory laboratory work is substituted for or added to the usual didactic lectures. Instead of the customary oral examination for the degree of doctor of medicine held at the end of the course, a series of written examinations on all the main subjects of medical instruction is distributed for regular students through the entire course. Other students may pass all of those examinations together at the end of the course. Besides being obliged to pass the required examinations and present a thesis, every candidate for a degree must be 21 years of age, and must have studied medicine three years and attended this school for one year. The cost of tuition is $200 a year. A special course is provided for graduates in medicine desiring advanced instruction. The marked diminution in the number of students which attended the introduction of this change has been followed by a rapid annual increase in the number of applicants for admission. The dental school affords, by lectures, recitations, and practical demonstrations, a complete course of instruction in the theory and practice of dentistry. Courses of study are provided in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, surgery, operative and mechanical dentistry, and dental pathology and therapeutics. The academic year is divided into two equal terms. Attendance during the winter term only is required for graduation. The degree of doctor of dental medicine is conferred upon those candidates of adult age who have pursued their professional studies three years under competent instructors, and attended two courses in this institution, and who pass the required examination. Attendance upon one course of lectures in another dental or medical school may be substituted for the first course in this school. The tuition fee is $110 for the winter term, or $150 for the year. The school of agriculture and horticulture, established in execution of the trusts created by the will of Benjamin Bussey, affords thorough instruction in agriculture, useful and ornamental gardening, and stock raising. The regular course of study to be pursued by candidates for a degree occupies three years, and embraces instruction in physical geography, meteorology, geology, chemistry and physics, botany, zoölogy, and entomology, in levelling and road building, and in French and German. The studies of the first year are pursued at the Lawrence scientific school in Cambridge; those of the remaining two years at the Bussey institution near Jamaica Plain. The museum of comparative zoölogy was founded in 1859, with Agassiz as director, in which position he continued until his death in 1873. It is under the direction of the faculty, while the property is held by the trustees, who also appoint the director; the assistants are appointed by the faculty. The extensive collections are open to visitors every day except Sunday. Instruction in natural history is given by the director and 11 assistants. The building of the museum contains 10 distinct working laboratories. Connected with the museum of comparative zoölogy is the Anderson school of natural history on Penikese island, one of the Elizabeth group, about 16 m. S. W. of Cape Cod. This institution was founded by John Anderson of New York as a summer school of natural history, and was opened in 1873 under the personal supervision of Prof. Agassiz. (See Elizabeth Islands.) The Peabody museum of American archæology and ethnology was founded by the late George Peabody, who gave $150,000 for that purpose. The object of the founder was the formation and preservation of collections in archæology and ethnology, and to afford instruction in those departments. No building has yet been erected for a museum, and no organization except the board of trustees has been effected; but large collections pertaining to archæology and ethnology have been made.—Besides those already mentioned, the degrees of master of arts, doctor of science, and doctor of philosophy (Ph. D.) are conferred in accordance with the regulations adopted at the beginning of the year 1872-'3. Prior to that time the latter two degrees had not been conferred by this university, while that of master of arts could be obtained by any Harvard graduate after a period of three years from graduation, by paying a fee of $5. These degrees are now conferred only upon written examinations, and in conformity with specified regulations as to residence, graduation, &c.; the aim being to encourage young men to devote one or more years to liberal study after obtaining the bachelor's degree. The degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy are open only to bachelors of arts; those who have not graduated at Harvard must prove that the course pursued by them is equivalent to the requirements for the bachelor's degree in this university, or must pass such additional examinations as the faculty may prescribe. To become a master of arts, the candidate, after taking the bachelor's degree, is required to pursue for at least one year at the university an approved course of study, and to pass an examination on that course. This degree is also conferred upon graduates of the law or divinity school of Harvard university who are at the same time bachelors of arts, and who pass an examination in a course of study in law or theology after pursuing that course one year at the university. A university residence of at least two years is required of the candidate for the degree of doctor of science, who, besides being a bachelor of science, must also have pursued during three years an approved course of scientific study embracing at least two subjects, and must sustain an examination in those studies. Only a two years' course, however, is required of students who are both bachelors of arts and bachelors of science of Harvard university. The degree of doctor of philosophy is conferred upon those who, after taking the degree of A. B., pursue at the university for two years an approved course of liberal study in any of the following departments: philology, philosophy, history, political science, mathematics, physics, and natural history. Candidates are further required to pass a thorough examination on that course and present a satisfactory thesis. The fee for the examination for the degree of master of arts is $30, and for that of doctor of philosophy or doctor of science, $60. All the elective courses of study in Harvard college are open to graduates of other colleges on payment of the fees. For male students, and for candidates for the advanced degrees, the fees range from $50 a year for three hours of instruction a week, to $120 for six hours. For the encouragement of a more thorough scholarship than is acquired by undergraduates, six fellowships for graduates have been established, each of which has an income large enough to support a student. Four of them are so far free from restrictions that students while holding them may pursue their studies either in this country or in Europe. No distinction is made as to color or age in the admissions to Harvard college, but women are excluded. A system of examinations for women has however been adopted, the first of which was held in June, 1874. A general or preliminary examination in English, French, physical geography, botany or physics, mathematics, history, and German, Latin, or Greek, is held for those not less than 17 years old. The advanced examination is for women not less than 18 years old who have passed the preliminary examination. It comprises five departments, languages, natural science, mathematics, history, and philosophy, in one or more of which the candidate may present herself. The function of the university is limited to preparing the examination papers, examining the work of the candidates, recording its results, and giving certificates to those who pass. The examinations may be held in any city or town. The preliminary examination continues during seven days. A fee of $15 for the preliminary and $10 for the advanced examination is required.—The various libraries of the university contain 200,000 volumes, distributed as follows: college, 136,000; botanical garden, 4,000; divinity school, 16,000; law school, 15,000; Lawrence scientific school, 3,000; medical college, 2,000; museum of comparative zoölogy, 5,000; observatory, 3,000; society libraries of students, 16,000. The university has no funded property from the public treasury, but has always depended upon the revenues from students and the gifts of individuals, which have far surpassed in number and magnitude those made to any other American institution of learning. No value is reported for the lands and buildings used for college purposes, and the various collections, libraries, apparatus, works of art, &c. The total investments of the college in 1873 were stated by the treasurer at $2,765,110, of which $1,854,372 was productive and yielded an annual income of $133,676. The total number of officers of instruction in the university in 1873-'4, exclusive of librarians, proctors, &c., was 110, including 50 professors, 25 assistant professors, 12 lecturers, 5 tutors, 11 instructors, and 12 assistants. In the college proper there were 18 professors, 15 assistant professors, 5 tutors, 4 instructors, and 8 assistants. The whole number of students was 1,174, including 35 candidates for higher degrees and 10 resident graduates. Of the 706 undergraduates, 217 were in the freshman, 170 in the sophomore, 155 in the junior, and 164 in the senior class. The following statement indicates the number of instructors and pupils in the different departments of the university, the same instructors in some instances being counted in two departments:
|Lawrence scientific school||10||4||8||22||42|
|Museum of comparative zoölogy||..||..||..||12||..|
|School of mining||9||1||..||10||..|
The total number of instructors in all departments has increased from 45 in 1865-'6 to 110 in 1873-'4, the number of students from 936 to 1,174, and the number of volumes in the libraries from 165,000 to 200,000. In the college proper during that period the number of instructors has increased from 22 to 50, the number of students from 413 to 706, the library from 110,000 to 136,000 volumes, and the number of scholarships from 41 to 92. According to the triennial catalogue of 1872, the university had conferred 12,175 degrees, including 596 honorary. The number of graduates from the college was 8,330, of whom 3,088 were living; 2,036 students had graduated from the medical, 1,720 from the law, 428 the theological, 183 from the scientific, 39 from the dental, and 4 from the mining school.—See “A History of Harvard University,” from 1636 to 1776, by Benjamin Peirce (1833); “The History of Harvard University,” Josiah Quincy (1840); “A Sketch of the History of Harvard College,” by Samuel Atkins Eliot (1848); and “Biographical Sketches Graduates of Harvard University” (1642-'58), by John Langdon Sibley (vol. i., 1873).