« PreviousContinue »
all such aid on the part of the richer members of the community must be cordially acknowledged by the less rich, the institution must depend, for a flourishing vitality, upon the energy of the employed themselves. Without that the institution cannot permanently succeed; and, further, it will not deserve success.
Yes, I am sure you feel this truth-a truth that, it is manifest, has been widely acknowledged, from the fact that, at the present moment, the Whittington Club numbers upwards of a thousand names, and the list is daily, hourly, lengthening.
May the spirit of Whittington wait on the good work! Yet, of Whittington, our patron—as I think we may venture to call him-how little do we truly know, and yet how much in that little! We see him, the child hero of our infancy, on Highgate stone—the orphan buffeted by the cruelty of the world—cruelty that is ever three parts ignorance-homeless, friendless, hopeless. He is then, in his little self, one of the saddest sights of earth-an orphan only looked upon by misery! And the legend tells us—and I am sure that there are none of us here who, if we could, would disbelieve it—the legend tells us that suddenly Bow bells rang out from London—from London, that stony-hearted mistress, that with threats and stripes, had sent the little wanderer forth. A voice flew from the far-off steeple—flew over field and meadowsang to the little outcast boy a song of hope.
Childish fancy dreamt the words, but hope supplied the music-“Turn again, Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London!" And the little hero rose and retraced his steps, with new strength, and hope, mysterious, in his little breast-returned to the city-drudged and drudged-and we know the golden end. In due time Bow bells were truest prophets. Such is the legend that delights us in childhood; but as we grow to maturity we see in the story something more than a tale. Yes, we recognize, in the career of Richard Whittington, that Saxon energy
which has made the City of London what it is; we see and feel in it that commercial glory that wins the noblest conquest for the family of man; for the victories are bloodless. And therefore am I truly glad that our club carries the name—that when the idea of this institution rose in my
mind, rose instantly with it—the name of Whittington. And I cannot think it otherwise than a good omen that one of our houses already taken—the house in Gresham street—is a part of the estate of the little Highgate daydreamer. Yes, we are, so to speak, tenants of Richard Whittington. And in conclusion, let us hope that as, in the olden time, voices from Bow steeple called the hopeless wanderer to a long career of usefulness and fame, so may voices from this present meeting find their way to the hearts of many thousands of our mercantile and commercial brethren, crying to them: “Join us-join us, Whittingtons!”
DAVID STARR JORDAN
HIGHER EDUCATION OF WOMEN
[Address of David Starr Jordan, President of Leland Stanford Junior University since 1891 (born in Gainesville, N. Y., January 19, 1851; -), delivered in 1895, at Pasadena, Cal.]
The subject of the higher training of young women may resolve itself into three questions :
1. Shall a girl receive a college education?
2. Shall she receive the same kind of a college education as a boy?
3. Shall she be educated in the same college?
As to the first question: It must depend on the character of the girl. Precisely so with the boy. What we should do with either depends on his or her possibilities. No parents should let either boy or girl enter life with any less preparation than the best they can give. It is true that many college graduates, boys and girls alike, do not amount to much after the schools have done the best they can. It is true, as I have elsewhere insisted, that "you cannot fasten a two-thousand-dollar education to a fifty-cent boy”—or girl either. It is also true that higher education is not alone a question of preparing great men for great things. It must prepare even little men for greater things than they would otherwise have found possible. And so it is with the education of women. The needs of the times are imperative. The highest product of social evolution is the growth of the civilized homethe home that only a wise, cultivated, and high-minded woman can make. To furnish such women is one of the worthiest functions of higher education. No young woman capable of becoming such should be condemned
Copyright, by David Starr Jordan. Published by permission.
to anything lower. Even with those who are in appearance too dull or too vacillating to reach any high ideal of wisdom, this may be said-it does no harm to try. A few hundred dollars is not much to spend on an experiment of such moment. Four of the best years of one's life spent in the company of noble thoughts and high ideals cannot fail to leave their impress. To be wise, and at the same time womanly, is to wield a tremendous influence, which may be felt for good in the lives of generations to come. It is not forms of government by which men are made or unmade. It is the character and influence of their mothers and their wives. The higher education of women means more for the future than all conceivable legislative reforms. And its influence does not stop with the home. It means higher standards of manhood, greater thoroughness of training, and the coming of better men. Therefore, let us educate our girls as well as our boys. A generous education should be the birthright of every daughter of the Republic as well as of every son.
2. Shall we give our girls the same education as our boys? Yes, and no. If we mean by the same an equal degree of breadth and thoroughness, and equal fitness for high thinking and wise acting, yes, let it be the same. If we mean this: Shall we reach this end by exactly the same course of studies? then my answer must be, No. For the same course of study will not yield the same results with different persons. The ordinary college course” which has been handed down from generation to generation is purely conventional. It is a result of a series of compromises in trying to fit the traditional education of clergymen and gentlemen to the needs of men of a different social era. The old college course met the needs of nobody, and therefore was adapted to all alike. The great educational awakening of the last twenty years in America has lain in breaking the bonds of this old system. The essence of the new education is individualism. Its purpose is to give to each young man that training which will make a man of him. Not the training which a century or two ago helped to civilize the mass of boys of that time, but that which will civilize this particular boy. One reason why the college students of 1895 are ten to one in number as compared with those of 1875, is that the college
training now given is valuable to ten times as many men as could be reached or helped by the narrow courses of twenty years ago.
In the university of to-day the largest liberty of choice in study is given to the student. The professor advises, the student chooses, and the flexibility of the courses makes it possible for every form of talent to receive proper culture. Because the college of to-day helps ten times as many men as that of yesterday could hope to reach, it is ten times as valuable. This difference lies in the development of special lines of work and in the growth of the elective power. The power of choice çar the duty of choosing rightly. The ability to choose has made a man out of the college boy and transferred college work from an alternation of tasks and play to its proper relation to the business of life. Meanwhile the old ideals have not risen in value. If our colleges were to go back to the cutstraw of medievalism, to their work of twenty years ago, their professors would speak to empty benches. In those colleges which still cling to these traditions the benches are empty to-day-or filled with idlers, which to a college is a fate worse than death.
The best education for a young woman is surely not that which has proved unfit for the young man.
She is an individual as well as he, and her work gains as much as his by relating it to her life. But an institution which meets the varied needs of varied men can also meet the varied needs of the varied women. The intellectual needs of the two classes are not very different in many important respects. The special or professional needs, so far as they are different, will bring their own satisfaction. Those who have had to do with the higher training of women know that the severest demands can be met by them as well as by men. There is no demand for easy or “goodygoody "courses of study for women except as this demand has been encouraged by men. In this matter the supply has always preceded the demand.
There are, of course, certain average differences between men and women as students. Women have often greater sympathy or greater readiness of memory or apprehension, greater fondness for technique. In the languages and literature, often in mathematics and history, they are