« AnteriorContinuar »
THE Table of Contents sufficieutly indicates the purpose and aim of this book. The essays are the thoughts of American women, of wide and varied experience, both professional and otherwise; no one writer being responsible for the work of another. The connecting link is the common interest. Some of the names need no introduction. The author of Essay IV. has had an unusually long and varied experience in the education and care of Western girls, in schools and colleges. The author of the essay on English Girls is a graduate of Antioch, has taught for many years in different sections of this country, and has had unusnal opportunities, for several years, of observing English methods and results.
The essays on the first four institutions, whose names they bear, come with the official sanction of the presiding officers of those institutions, who vouch for the correctness of the statements. Of these, VII. is by a member of the present Senior Class of the University, who has instituted very exact personal inquiries among the womenstudents. The author of VIII. is the librarian of Mt. Holyoke Seminary. The writer of the report from Oberlin is a graduate—a teacher of wide experience, and has been for three or four years the Principal of the Ladies' Department of the college. The resident physician at Vassar is too well known as such, to need any introduction.
There are many other institutions whose statistics would be equally valuable, such, for instance, as the Northwestern University of Illinois, which has not only opened its doors to girl-students, but has placed women on the Board of Trustees, and in the Faculty.
From Antioch, which we desired to have fully represented, we have been disappointed in obtaining statistics, which may, however, hereafter be embodied in a second edition. In place thereof, we give the brief statement of facts found under the name of the institution, supplied br a friend.
With reference to my own part of the volume, if the words on “Physical Education ” far outnumber those on the “Culture of the Intellect," and the “ Culture of the Will,” it can only be said that the American nation are far more liable to overlook the former than the latter two, and that the number of pages covered is by no means to be taken as an index of the relative importance of the divisions in themselves. Of the imperfection of all three, no one can be more conscious than their author. The subject is too large for any such partial treatment.
To friends, medical, clerical, and unprofessional, who have kindly given me the benefit of their criticism on different parts of the introductory essay, my thanks are due. Especially do I recognize iny obligation to Dr. W. Gill Wylie, of this city, whose line of study and practice has made his criticism of great value.
I cannot refrain from adding that I am fully aware of the one-sided nature of the training acquired in the profession of teaching. Civilization, implying, as it does, division of labor, necessarily renders all persons more or less one-sided. In the teaching profession, the voluntary holding of the mind for many hours of each day in the position required for the work of educating uneducated minds, the constant effort to state facts clearly, distinctly," and freed from unnecessary details, almost universally induce a straightforwardness of speech, which savors, to others who are not immature, of brusqueness and positiveness, if it may not deserve the harsher names of asperity and arrogance. It is not these in essence, though it appear to be so, and thus teachers often give offense and excite opposition when these results are farthest from their intention. In the case of these essays, this professional tendency may also have been aggravated by the circumstances under which they have been written, the only hours available for the purpose having been the last three evening hours of days whose freshness was claimed by actual teaching, and the morning hours of a short vacation.
I do not offer these explanations as an apology, simply
as an explanation. No apology has the power to make good a failure in courtesy. If passages failing in this be discovered, it will be cause for gratitude and not for offense if they are pointed out.
The spirit which has prompted the severe labor has been that which seeks for the Truth, and endeavors to express it, in hopes that more perfect statements may be elicited.
With these words, I submit the result to the intelligent women of America, asking only that the screen of the honest purpose may be interposed between the reader and avy glaring faults of rnanner or expression.
ANNA C. BRACKETT.
117 East 36th strect, New York City,