« PreviousContinue »
annually granting the regents a sum which they deemed sufficient for necessary expenses, but as many of the members were totally ignorant of the needs of the institution it could not be expected that they would be sufficiently liberal in their apppropriations to meet the demands of a young and growing university. The people at large were as ignorant of the condition and necessities of the university as many of the legislative body, and claimed with them that the institution was chiefly maintained in order to afford superior advantages to a few "aristocratic” young men rather than for the good of the State. Notwithstanding such baseless jealousy and the parsimonious policy of the Legislature, the regents continued to labor zealously for the advancement of higher education. Three separate reorganizations were successively attempted as the times seemed to demand, in 1858, 1860,5 and 1866, but it was not until the last that their efforts were notably successful. Public opinion had by this time undergone an entire change. The people throughout the State saw their mistake in discouraging such an institution, and they now manifested a more liberal, friendly spirit, and were willing and anxious to give their influence to support the university. Under this happy condition of affairs the regents took courage, the course of study was enlarged and improved, the university being divided into the College of Letters and the College of Liberal Arts, with such professional and other colleges as might be added thereto or connected therewith. The Agricultural College which had been under discussion for years was now organized as an important department of the university, and the income from the Agricultural College grant was pledged to the university as an endowment in addition to that which she already had from the seminary lands.8 It is a strange fact that up to this date, 1866, not one dollar of State money had been devoted to university expenses."
THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE.
When the regents reorganized the university and incorporated this new department in 1866, they wisely arranged that a liberal education should precede the special instruction in agriculture. All students were therefore advised to pursue the same course of study until the end of the Sophomore year, when the agricultural course could be taken by those who preferred it.
As a necessary adjunct to the college just mentioned the Legislature wisely planned in 1866 for an experimental farm, which was to be pro
7 North-West Territory, 156.
consin University, 48. 10 Historical Sketch, 52,
vided “without expense to the State or to the funds of the university." The county of Dane, in which the university is located, immediately claimed the honor of making the institution a gift of some two hun. dred acres of land lying near the university for this purpose, and spent forty thousand dollars for the farm and uecessary buildings thereon.? Up to this period the entire support of Wisconsin University had been furnished by appropriations of the National Government and the funds resulting therefrom. The wisdom of this selection for the farm was that it best showed the adaptation of various soils and locations, and where the best kind and greatest quantity of a certain product could be obtained from a particular piece of land. For such practical reasons the experimental farm was far better than a model farm, for which this was not intended. The work of this department has been confined to the field of farm experiments covering the ordinary farm operations, instead of the more showy and striking experiments usually followed in such institutions and which prove more interesting to scientists than to farmers. Experiments have been conducted to determine the value of new varieties of grains and roots, the best method of seeding and cultivating, and the value of various manures. The results of these experiments are published annually in the report of the regents.3
FOUNDING OF THE LADIES' COLLEGE.
The university having passed through her period of discouragement is now attended with prosperity. In 1870 she received substantial assurance of the Legislature's newly-awakened interest in her behalf; this was the liberal donation of fifty thousand dollars for the erection of a Ladies' College, and is noteworthy as being the first. State appropriation for university purposes.
The old-time prejudice against co-education long existed in Wiscon. sin, but the advanced ideas of the times would no longer exclude women, and we note their first admission to have been in 1860 when a class of thirty entered the normal department for a ten weeks' course of lectures ;5 this school had been formally opened in 1856, but up to this time its advantages had been entirely restricted to young men. From 1860 to 1863 the work in this department was suspended, but was finally resumed in 1863 with the opening of the department of theory and practice of elementary instruction, to which both sexes were admitted. The course now adopted remained in use until 1871, when the Ladies' College was completed, and young women were then granted the privilege of pursuing the studies of their own college with lady teachers or of entering the regular college classes. 6
1 Wisconsin Laws, chap. 114, sec. 15. 2 Historical Sketch, 48. 3 Department of Education, Annual Report, 1867–68, 284. 4 Sketch of Wisconsin University, 50. 5 Ibid., 63.
The normal department of the university was thus transformed into a Ladies' College and the course of study was made to correspond with that in the College of Arts, except that substitutions were allowed for agriculture, calculus, analytical chemistry, and determinative mineralogy. But in 1873 these were discontinued, and ladies have since been permitted to take any study in the university course. The normal work of Wisconsin, which first began in the State university, is still actively carried on by five normal schools located respectively at Platteville, Whitewater, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Stoughton.
DONATIONS BY THE LEGISLATURE.
Still continuing its new and generous policy the Legislature made in 1872 an annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars, of which we have spoken; again, in 1875, the university was aided by a gift of eighty thousand dollars from the State for the building of a Hall of Science, which was now deemed necessary to the highest success of the institution.
The friends of the university were inspired with new hope to see this rapid growth and increase in usefulness; in 1876, as before mentioned, the Legislature still further redeemed its past record by adding to the yearly income.
This was done by voting an annual tax of one-tenth of a millon every dollar of taxable property in the State for university purposes. The annual tax previously made, in 1867, has since this year (1876) been included in the tax just mentioned. Up to the year 1883 the total amount of State donations, exclusive of that raised by the tax of one. tenth of a mill levied since 1876, has been $235,769.84.6
FREE HIGH SCHOOLS.
It may be well to give a passing notice of the State appropriations for the encouragement of secondary schools in Wisconsin. There was an attempt made some years ago by several States to organize and support by State taxes a system of high schools immediately connected with the university. There now seems to be a tendency to delegate all control and support of high schools to local authorities and local taxation, respectively.
In order to increase the efficiency of this class of schools the Legislature of Wisconsin appropriated, in 1876, the sum of “twenty-five thousand dollars in the aid of free high schools,”to be applied to towns,
Department of Education, 1867-8, 757. 2 Historical sketch of Wisconsin, 50, 56.
3 By an amendment passed in 1883 this tax of one-tenth of a mill was changed to one-eighth of a mill. Wisconsin Laws, 1883, chap. 300.
4 North-Western Territory, 168.
cities, and villages that contained a graded school of two or more departments. “A second appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars was made by the Legislature of 1885, and was limited to towns that contained no graded school of two or more departments.” 1
RECENT STATE ASSISTANCE.
From the State Superintendent of Wisconsin’ we learn that at present the only annual sum paid to the State university is the income resulting from the tax of one-eighth of a mill upon every dollar of taxable property in the State; this amounts to about seventy-four thousand dollars per year. During the last three years, 1885–88, the Legislature has also appropriated the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars to restore university apparatus, cabinets, and buildings which have been destroyed by fire. An annual appropriation, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars, is also given by the State to aid free high schools, but only about thirty thousand dollars of this amount is used each year; the grade of the school and character of the instruction given determine the portion each school receives.?
SUMMARY OF GRANTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.
For Ladies' College, 1870.
$50,000.00 80,000.00 40,000.00 65,733. 84 350,000.00 304, 915.00 312, 729.00
Total for higher education
-$1, 203, 377.84 Grant for free high schools.
$50,000.00 Under the provisions of chapter 117, Laws of 1876, the income from the tenth of a mill tax for the support of the University of Wisconsin, is as follows:
Since 1883 the eighth of a mill tax was as follows:
$57,442 | 1888...
1 Letter from State Superintendent J. B. Thayer, November 14, 1888.
STATE EDUCATION IN THE SOUTH-WEST,
The States of the South West showed in general the same eagerness to found colleges and universities as that evinced by those of the North-West Territory. The famous Ordinance of 1787, which was so warmly supported by Southern men soon extended its privileges and influence to the newly admitted States of the South-West.
The conditions of the admission of Kentucky gave that State entire control of the public domain within its borders. But the Legislature, following after the example of Virginia, very early granted one-sixth of all the fees arising from the surveyor-general's office for the support of public education. Kentucky endowed early educational institutions with grants of public lands. Here, as in many other States, schools did not flourish owing to the rudeness of the times and the struggles for existence in attempts to subdue the forces of nature.
Tennessee received Federal grants of public lands for two colleges and a system of county schools. The early policy toward these insti. tutions was encouraging and liberal. In modern times the Legislatures of Tennessee and Kentucky have done comparatively little for the sap. port of higher education. Alabama and Mississippi have each received Federal land grants, and each has shown an earnest desire to found and maintain universities. The results are highly encouraging, though the amounts given for their support are not large.
Louisiana likewise received the benefit of the Federal grant for sem inaries, and while yet a Territory, began to build a school system. The main plan was to assist in the founding and maintenance of academies and colleges throughout the State. A great deal of money was spent in this way and with no permanent benefit to higher education. At present, educational institutions are on a more permanent foundation, and the liberality of the State is again manifesting itself after a long interval of comparative quiet.
In the South-West, educators and statesmen, zealous for the cause of education, had much to contend with in executing measures, no matter how excellent they might be, for the establishment of higher education. The sparsely settled rural districts occupied by planters, the absence of large towns, the presence of the African race, and the absence of the sterling middle class of mechanics and tradesmen which characterizes 880--No 1-17