Frederick S. Allis, Jr.
Youth from Every Quarter



THERE ARE often periods in the history of educational institutions when the titular head is not the dominant force in determining policy. The period from 1810 to 1840 was such a one in the history of Phillips Academy, when Samuel Farrar, the school treasurer, ran things rather than the Principals. Farrar was certainly a conservative---in most ways the epitome of the old New England Calvinism. Yet, paradoxically, it was he who conceived and executed the important innovations of this period. There have been few Principals in the history of the School who were more dedicated than Samuel Farrar, its treasurer from 1803 to 1840. Farrar was born on a farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts, on 13 December 1773, and spent much of his time during his youth working on the farm.(1) The most eventful episode during these early years occurred when he fell from the roof of the barn and broke his leg. Characteristically, "he made no sound, but crept along to the house, dragging his broken leg the best way he could." After secondary schooling at New Ipswich Academy in New Hampshire,(2) his family was able to send him to Harvard, where he graduated in 1797. By the merest chance, he came to Andover. Judge Samuel Phillips, Jr., had engaged a classmate of Farrar's, Daniel Appleton White of Salem, to be an assistant at Phillips Academy the following year. During the Commencement exercises, which the judge attended as an Overseer, White gave a speech in which he questioned the orthodox doctrine of human depravity. After the ceremonies, the judge suggested to White that if he would like to be released from his assistantship, the judge would not object. White resigned, and when the judge asked him to name some one to replace him, he chose Farrar.(3) Like most assistants during this period, Farrar spent only one year at Phillips Academy, but he must have impressed the Phillipses, for he became a member of their family. At this time, as in later years, he suffered from dyspepsia and according to tradition Madam Phoebe Phillips took pains to see that he got a proper diet and generally looked after his health.(4) After a year Farrar returned to Cambridge, where he received an A.M. in 1800. He served as a tutor during the academic year 1800-01 and, determined to study law, spent the next year in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the law office of George Bliss.(5) He then returned to Andover early in 1802 to hang out his shingle and become a country lawyer.

Farrar arrived in Andover just as Judge Phillips was dying---indeed he witnessed the judge's last bequest, made just a few days before his death.(6) It is clear that he must have been a great comfort to Phoebe Phillips in the years ahead, for he became once again a member of the family. The other Trustees also must have had confidence in him, for they elected him to the Board in November 1802.(7) The following year, when Oliver Wendell resigned as Treasurer of the Board, Farrar was chosen to succeed him, a position he would hold until 1840.(8) From the start, he was a dedicated and generous supporter of both Phillips Academy and the Andover Theological Seminary. In 1807 he offered to contribute three years' back salary---the munificent sum of $450.00---to a fund to be invested for the benefit of the school.(9) At the time of the founding of the Theological Seminary, when Madam Phoebe Phillips and her son John were having difficulty meeting their pledge to erect Phillips Hall, he came to their aid. His daughter remembers seeing in his account book entries that said simply "Ch----y" [charity] with no statement as to the object aided.(10) His legal acumen proved invaluable when the complicated negotiations leading to the founding of the Andover Theological Seminary were taking place; the original draft of the Associate Statutes was in his handwriting.(11) Madam Phoebe Phillips, near the end of her life, experienced financial difficulties, partly because of the drain placed on her resources by the cost of Phillips Hall and partly because of her son John's business reverses. Squire Farrar---as he was called---again helped. In 1812 he finished building a new house, located on the site of the present Archaeology Building. As soon as it was completed, he asked Madam Phillips to move in and spend her remaining days there. Even though she died that same year, it must have been a comfort to her to know that she was provided for.(12) Two years after her death, Samuel Farrar married Mrs. Phoebe Hooker, widow of the Reverend Asahel Hooker, and established his family in the new house, where he was to live for the next fifty years.

Squire Farrar had a precise lawyer's mind, and it offended him to discover legal inconsistencies in matters connected with the Academy and the Seminary. When he tangled with the Massachusetts General Court in 1815, however, he was forced to admit defeat. The matter started in 1807, at the time of the founding of the Seminary, when the Trustees petitioned the Massachusetts legislature to be allowed to hold more property than was specified in the original Act of Incorporation in 1780. The legislature obliged, with an act passed on 19 June 1807 which allowed the Trustees to hold additional property with an income of up to five thousand dollars.(13) Increased gifts to the Seminary soon made it clear, however, that the Trustees had not asked for enough, and in 1814 a trustee committee came back to the well with a new petition.(14) Once again the legislature obliged with "An Act in addition to an Act entitled 'An Act in addition to an Act entitled an Act to incorporate the trustees of Phillips Academy in Andover.'" This time the General Court enlarged the power of the Trustees to an amount of property the income from which should not exceed $20,000. They put a hooker at the end:

provided that no student belonging to the said institution sustaining a fair moral character shall be deprived of any privileges of said institution or be subjected to the forfeiture of any aid which has been granted by the said institution for the purpose of enabling him to prosecute his studies or be denied the usual testimonial on closing his studies on the grounds that his interpretations of the scriptures differ from those which are contained or may hereafter be contained in the Articles of faith adopted by said institution.(15)

This clause struck hard at some of the basic provisions in the Constitution and Associate Statues of the Theological Seminary, and accordingly Squire Farrar and Trustee Samuel H. Walley, a Boston merchant, were appointed as a committee to petition the Massachusetts legislature for a repeal of the disputed clause. In their petition it was pointed out that the Constitution of the Seminary provided that none but Protestants should be admitted, while the Statutes of the Associate Foundation limited the students to Congregationalists and Presbyterians. This did not jibe with the disputed provision of the act, which "provides that all students indiscriminately, of whatever denomination or religious opinions, shall be entitled to the privileges of the said Institution." The petitioners therefore prayed that "this incompatibility may be removed by the repeal of that part of the said Act" so that the Trustees of Phillips Academy could manage their Seminary "with the freedom which is indulged to other similar institutions."(16) The request seemed reasonable, but at this time the Massachusetts legislature was reflecting more liberal trends in political and religious matters and was unsympathetic to the old Calvinism. After what a Boston newspaper called "a very eloquent and animated debate," the motion to repeal was lost, 126-90.(17) Although there is no record of any member of a bizarre religious sect coming to the Seminary as a result of the act, the Trustees---and particularly Samuel Farrar---had to accept what was, in part at least, a political decision on the part of the legislature.

Samuel Farrar, Treasurer of Phillips Academy from 1803 to 1840.
From a portrait by Joseph Eames on loan to the Trustees of Phillips Academy
by the Trustees of the Andover-Newton Theological Seminary.

After 1814 until his retirement in the 1840's Squire Farrar became more and more powerful in Phillips Academy and the community generally. What one writer has described as "his methodical habits, and his cautious and exact manner of doing business"(18) gained him the confidence of all he dealt with. As Treasurer of Phillips Academy he had charge of the funds of both the School and the Seminary, and he managed these funds with rare acumen. He believed that the best investments he could make would be in loans to local farmers and businessmen, and from all reports he had scarcely a single default during his entire term. Aside from his responsibility for school finances, Squire Farrar was a combined business manager and superintendant of buildings and grounds. He supervised the construction of the first buildings of the Theological Seminary and of the professors' houses. When the Academy building burned down in 1818, he saw to the construction of Bulfinch Hall. He was clerk of the works when Samaritan House was built and may well have designed Stowe House. Finally, he oversaw the construction of the Double Brick on Main Street. For most of these buildings the design was not his, but he had an itch to be his own architect, and before his career was over he was to make additional important contributions to the Academy plant. He was an enthusiastic tree planter and followed the policy established by Samuel Phillips of landscaping the Hill with plantings, particularly of elms. The present Elm Arch was laid out by him.

As if this were not enough, he took a leading part in the management of other local institutions. He was the first president of the Andover Bank when it was established in 1826, and he remained so for thirty years. When a group of citizens met to consider the establishment of a female seminary, Abbot Academy, in Andover, the Squire took a leading part and loaned the new institution the money to construct the first building. He served on the Abbot Board of Trustees from its founding until 1851.(19) Other groups and individuals would call on him for help. In 1818 he was asked to help elect the "federal republican" ticket in Essex County.(20) In 1811 a Yale official asked his advice about "Rumford's cooking apparatus," apparently under consideration for adoption in New Haven.(21) Finally, as a change from business affairs, he was for many years librarian of the Theological Seminary. With all these manifold activities, it is not surprising that Squire Farrar became one of the most respected men in the community and that his opinion would not be opposed lightly.

During these years the Squire developed a life style that made him the talk of the town. Precision, discipline, and routine were the qualities he prized and built his life on. He was always an old-fashioned figure, dressed in black with a frilled shirt. His daily regimen was rigid, to put it mildly. Precisely at 6:09 (not 6:10) AM. each morning family prayers were held---which meant that in the wintertime it was still dark. The Squire would stand by the table on which was placed the family Bible and lead the prayers with one hand resting on the back of his chair. Either before or after prayers he would spend some time in the woodhouse sawing wood, primarily for exercise, though this practice had to be abandoned as he grew older. After breakfast he would retire to his office chamber and read from his boyhood Bible, which had his favorite texts underlined, and afterward set out on the first of his daily walks, downtown to the bank. On all his walks he invariably followed the same route at precisely the same time, so that, it was said, people could set their clocks by him. He would return for dinner at 12:30 and walk back and forth in the south parlor of his house for a little while. Then up to his office room until time for his afternoon walk. It was said that on his walks he always carried a cane with an iron ferrule that he kept precisely nine inches off the ground. According to tradition it had touched the ground only twice in his lifetime. To vary the routine, on some days he went on a third walk before supper. During most of his career he took his evening meal by himself upstairs. It was always the same---bread and butter with a glass of water. But even the Squire could slip up occasionally. It was reported that his clock had run down three times in forty years. If variety is the spice of life, the Squire's was unseasoned. As one who knew him well wrote, when asked to give incidents from his life, "I think I never knew a life that had fewer."(22) From the foregoing it might seem that Farrar was no more than a very efficient treasurer and business manager, but he was much more. In the course of his career he was responsible for important educational innovations. Indeed, despite his extreme conservatism in other matters, he was the only innovator in what was otherwise a very static period in the history of Phillips Academy, as will be made clear.

John Adams, Principal from 1810 to 1833, was born in Canterbury, Connecticut, on 18 September 1772, the eldest of ten children of a successful farmer in that town. As a boy he had his full share of farm chores and was early given a good measure of responsibility. On one occasion, when he was nine, he was sent to Providence to market some butter, only to be cheated on the price by a kind-looking lady. Until his marriage he vowed that he would never trust a woman again. On another occasion, when fifteen, he drove a flock of his father's sheep ninety miles to Boston and never lost a head. "Take care of the ringleaders and the rest will follow of themselves" was his maxim in sheep-herding and one he applied later to schoolmastering. In 1791 his family sent him to Yale, where, in contrast to his later piety, he proved a very gay blade. He was reputed to be the best dancer in his class. He wore a powdered wig and queue, knee breeches, shoes with silver buckles, and a three-cornered hat. Nor did the subject of a speech he gave at commencement foreshadow his later life. It was entitled the "Benefits of Theatrical Establishments." After graduation he returned to Canterbury, to find his mother seriously sick with an eye infection. At her request he agreed to teach in the local schools so that he could nurse her properly, an arrangement that he maintained for three years. One of these summers his father, needing a hired hand, asked John if he would work for him, thinking that perhaps a Yale graduate would shun hard manual labor, but the young man accepted the job with a will. Just before his mother died, a charming young woman named Elizabeth Ripley came to visit in Canterbury; it was apparently love at first sight, and some months later the two were married. In 1801, after his mother's death, he was called to head Plainfield Academy, then in what was described as a "sickly condition." In two years Adams restored the School, but the stay in Plainfield had its tragic side; his eldest son, Gamaliel Ripley, died at the age of two, and it is from this event that the beginning of his piety can be dated. In 1803, because of the reputation of Plainfield, he was called to Colchester Academy, where he was equally successful at building up the School. Under his leadership its reputation reached well beyond Connecticut, and a number of Southern students attended. In 1810, however, he got into a dispute with the trustees over a matter of discipline. He insisted that in this area he must have a free hand, and when the trustees refused his request, he resigned. Thus, when he was called to Phillips Academy, he was an experienced schoolmaster of thirty-eight, with a growing family (there were eventually ten children) and a steadily growing concern for the moral education of his students.(23)

John Adams, Fourth Principal of Phillips Academy.
From a portrait by an unknown artist,
in the possession of the Trustees of Phillips Academy.

The new Principal was an imposing figure. He has been described as "erect, handsome, of good presence, the habitual sternness of his expression relieved by the humor which lurked in his full blue eyes." Another remembers him coming into church "with the prestige of one born to command . . his great ivory headed cane coming in before him and ringing down with an emphasis not to be mistaken."(24)

The Principal was not the only Adams to make an impression on Andover Hill. His wife was one of the kindest women in the community, ever ready to nurse the sick and comfort the unfortunate, and her garden at the back of the present Hardy House, where they lived, was a delight to all beholders. With her ten children---"Mrs. Adam's children made a flight of steps which seemed to reach the stars," wrote one friend---one might think that she had enough young people in her house, but there were usually five or six Phillips Academy students boarding there as well. A pillar of strength in the running of the household was the family maid, Betsey Cleveland, who was almost a second mother to the family.(25) (Principal Adams found the highly religious atmosphere on the Hill completely to his liking, and it was not long before he joined the group of Seminary professors who met regularly in Phelps House to discuss the founding of such organizations as the American Education Society, the American Tract Society, and the American Temperance Society. There is no evidence that he took a leading part in any of these movements, but he was apparently an accepted and respected member of the group.(26) In order to get away from his duties as Principal, Mr. Adams purchased some farm land near the school and used to drive over to it in his shay. There were two houses on the property that provided him with some income, and in addition, supervision of the estate gave him an outdoors interest that became his chief relaxation.(27) In short, it was not long after their arrival that the Adams family was firmly settled in the Andover community, accepted and respected by all.

As a schoolmaster Principal Adams was methodical and strict. Josiah Quincy the younger wrote of him:

He was an excellent man with no distinguishing traits. He was very religious, but had no literary tastes. His classical attainments enabled him to fit boys for college, but went no further. He was particular in the observance of all religious exercises, both in the family and in the school, and did all he could to promote the moral and spiritual interests of his pupils.(28)

The following is a description of the daily routine of school as it was practiced in the 1820's:

For morning prayers the scholars assembled in the academy, where two desks upon separate platforms were built for the principal and his assistant; the floor was an inclined plane; the desks of the scholars had movable lids; the monitors, all older boys, at the appointed time rapped down the lids, calling "Order!" Mr. Adams arose and pronounced the invocation, a selection from the Scriptures was read with some of the notes from Scott's commentary, the hymn was given out, in the singing of which all were expected to unite, the music being led by a violin, a most impressive prayer was offered, and the discipline of the school attended to, after which there was a loud call for the "Class in Daboll's Arithmetic!" Mr. Adams and Mr. Clement heard classes upon their respective platforms; two other teachers, usually students from the seminary, heard recitations in the adjoining rooms; a writing and a music master each visited the school once a week ... every Monday morning a class recited in Mason's Self-knowledge, and on Saturdays a parsing exercise was held, in which the grammatical antagonists were matched against each other very much in the style of an old-fashioned spelling bee ... on the appointed day the principal solemnly ascended the step-ladder and wound up the school clock in the presence of the scholars, making some comment upon the motto inscribed upon the dial, "Youth is the seed time of life."(29)

It was not to be expected that a man as conservative as John Adams would plump for any radical change in curriculum. The only time during his term when the matter was discussed was in 1820 when a Trustee Committee composed of Adams and Josiah Quincy the elder recommended to the Board the study of twenty different subjects. Thirteen were Greek and Latin-grammar, Caesar, Virgil, and the like; two were English, though the course in English composition was to be held only once every three weeks; two were Mathematics: one, Geography; one, Declamation, to be held Wednesday evenings; and one, the study of religious texts like Mason's Self-Knowledge. For students who were advanced in the Classics, special programs for the study of more difficult classical authors could be set up at the discretion of the Principal. It was a regimen that Eliphalet Pearson, then President of the Board, must have supported heartily.(30)

In 1818 the Trustees approved the granting of the forerunner of the modern diploma. Every student of "fair character" who had passed all examinations on the prescribed course of study and paid all his bills was entitled to receive a certificate from the Principal, except that scholarship boys had either to pay the money lent to them or get permission from the Trustee Committee on Charity Scholars before receiving their certificates.(31) Aside from these relatively minor changes, the routine and curriculum of Phillips Academy remained unchanged while John Adams was Principal.

For all his benign and avuncular appearance, Adams was a strict disciplinarian who "ruled not a little by the ferule,"(32) and he was ably abetted in his use of corporal punishment by his Assistant, Jonathan Clement, who, unlike most previous assistants, remained at the Academy for ten years, from 1819 to 1829. A former student describes the disciplinary system as follows:

The doctrine of a cruel Jehovah, who had survived the purpose for which Judaism created him, naturally led to an imitation of his methods on the part of our preceptors. There were two of them, Adams and Clement. I am not quite sure if I spell the name of the latter correctly. If so, he notoriously belied it. It was an almost invariable rule with them that one or more boys should be called up on the platform to be feruled after morning prayers. The practice seemed to our tyrants to be a sweet accompaniment of devotion. I remember that Mr. Adams, who usually "led in prayer", had a peculiar way of blinking his eyes, so that about half the time they were closed as if he was in the presence of the Almighty, and during the other half he could catch some boy in a misdemeanor.

Moses Stuart, the son of the great theological professor, was always in mischief; and this was almost a foregone conclusion of the prayer: "And thine, three persons in one God, be all the glory forever and ever, amen---Moses Stuart, come up and hold out your hand." While the hand and heart of Moses had become so callous that he took his punishment most philosophically, it was not so with all the rest of us. We often yelled with the pain and shed tears at the degradation.(33)

The most famous disciplinary case that occurred under the Adams regime was the beating that Oliver Wendell Holmes received at the hands of Jonathan Clement. Just what Holmes's offense was has never been determined, but the punishment was unforgettable:

I was subjected to the severest castigation known, I believe, in the annals of punishment in that institution, such as made a sensation among all the delicate females of the vicinity, and caused young men to utter violent threats, and was, in fact, almost the occasion of a riot. It was an unfortunate display of temper on the part of one of the instructors.(34)

A fellow student remembers Holmes's stoicism:

What a noble boy he was! Clement would have stopped if he had only said he was sorry, but he wouldn't say it. There he stood, and let him welt him. He never flinched nor cried; but he has carried the memory of it through his life, all the same.(35)

This system of discipline, thoroughly documented, is at strange variance with a set of rules that Adams himself drew up for the government of a School. Among his maxims are: "Never threaten; . . . never reprove, never punish a child in the presence of others . . . Never punish a child who criminates himself rather than tell a falsehood; Never deceive a child."(36) In a statement he wrote on teaching, there is little of the stern disciplinarian.(37) Yet in practice it is clear that he was a firm believer in the "Spare the rod" principle.

"Mr. Adams was, by all his views, habits, and impulses, a revival man, and was never happier than when he saw a revival beginning and going forward. His favorite hymns were in that strain. He often conversed personally with individuals on the subject of personal piety."(38) All who knew John Adams agree that this was his major concern in life. As another puts it, "Never before was such a powerful religious influence exerted upon the school; the spirituality of the principal was like a strong and penetrating atmosphere. Mr. Adams held prayer meetings at his house for the benefit of pupils, and tried to present the claims of religion personally to every scholar; revivals in religion were frequent and lasting in their effect, nor has any previous administration been so powerful in stimulating pupils to become ministers of the gospel."(39) It should be remembered that the revival meetings and prayer groups were in addition to a full schedule of religious exercises which was a basic part of the school's program. At one of the revivals a group of boys began meeting in the attic of the present Bulfinch Hall in what they called "the Academy Loft prayer meeting." One who attended describes the quality of the gathering: "We held for a long time what might be called a boys' prayer meeting in the third story of the academy building, an unfinished loft and very retired. As I remember them they were excellent meetings. There were members of the seminary in those years who took great interest in us boys and encouraged any appearance of a religious awakening."(40) Not all the boys were enthusiastic, however. Josiah Quincy the younger had this reaction:

During the six years I spent in Andover there were several revivals of religion. The master believed in their utility and did everything in his power to encourage them. We had prayer meetings before school, after school, and in recess, and a strong influence was exerted to make us attend them .... One summer's day, after a session of four hours, the master dismissed school in the usual form. No sooner had he done so than he added: "There will now be a prayer meeting: those who wish to lie down in everlasting burning may go; the rest will stay." It is probable that a good many boys wanted to get out of doors. Two of them only had the audacity to rise and leave the room [one was Quincy] .. . . But no sooner was the prayer meeting over than Mr. Adams sought me out, asked pardon for the dreadful alternative he had presented, and burst into a flood of tears. He said with deep emotion that he feared that I had committed the unpardonable sin and that he had been the cause. His sincerity and faith were most touching; and his manliness in confessing his error and asking pardon from his pupil makes the record of the occurrence an honor to his memory.(41)

The records of the Board of Trustees during the Adams years reveal the same static quality that characterized the School as a whole. For the most part the Board dealt with routine matters, and it was only some fortuitous event like the burning of the Academy Building in 1818 that would galvanize them into action. The standard annual meeting consisted of an opening prayer, the reading of the Constitution, the election of officers, the licensing of Andover townspeople to keep boarders, the choosing of boys to receive scholarships, and the approval of the Treasurer's Report. There were Committees appointed, especially a Select Committee to visit and inspect the Academy. Aside from these matters, the Board concerned itself with trivial matters, though some of these were from time to time delegated to the Committee of Exigencies. Concerned about the danger of fire, the Board ordered a fire engine, had the well checked, and authorized Samuel Farrar to purchase one hundred fire buckets, six ladders of three different lengths, six firehooks, and four lightening rods. Ironically, all this was done before the Academy fire and was not enough to save the building.(42) The Board was also exercised about the perennial problem of the School stoves and appointed committees to deal with the matter.(43) They cooperated with the Exeter Trustees in the erection of a proper tombstone for John Phillips.(44) They licensed one Andrew Seaton to take in boarders provided he did not get a liquor license, and removed the restriction that had previously limited single ladies to two boarders apiece.(45) The Trustees were most considerate to John Adams, voting him grants in addition to his salary and also allowing him time off for reasons of his health.(46) They were concerned with the scholarship students and developed the position of "scholar of the house," the holder of which could earn most of his expenses cleaning, ringing the bell, and tending to fires. They started paying this scholar $1.25 a day, later raised it to $2.00, and finally decided to give him free board instead of money.(47) They also found it necessary to raise the costs for regular students. What had been a five-dollar deposit on entrance now became an entrance fee, and tuition was raised to five dollars a quarter to protect the income from the funds for charity students. In 1817 the tuition was raised to six dollars a term.(48) Another way of saving money was to underpay assistants: in 1829 one Kinsman Atkinson, presumably a student at the Theological Seminary, was hired to teach the younger boys at ten cents an hour.(49) So that there would be no running up of charge accounts, no student was allowed to obtain credit at any Andover store.(50) Finally, in 1827 the Trustees passed a dreary motion that the Board would "dispense with the provision of wine or spirits for their entertainment at their meetings."(51)

Only when outside events impinged on the routine of the School did the Trustees take aggressive action. In 1812 it became clear that Madame Phoebe Phillips would no longer be able to maintain the Mansion House, and, not wishing the property to fall into unfriendly hands, they offered to buy it for $15,000. They drove a hard bargain, however, for they insisted that some money due the school from unpaid pledges of Samuel Phillips be subtracted from the purchase price. To sugar the pill they offered to let Madam Phillips or her son John live in Mr. Blanchard's house if they so desired.(52)

Bulfinch Hall, constructed in 1818.

Early in 1818 a student wrote his family:

With a trembling hand and aching heart I attempt the painfull task of disclosing to you the afflicting scenes of providence I have latly [sic] witnessed. PHILLIPS ACADEMY IS NO MORE! Those sacred walls, within which the seeds of knowledge and virtue have been sown in my tender mind, where pious instruction has been faithfully given for many, years, where the sacred gospel trumpet has often sounded, where the impenitent have often been pierced to the heart by the pointed arrows of the Almighty ... I say those sacred walls, together with all therein contained, excepting a few volumes of the academic Library, lie in one undistinguished mass of ruin. The cry of fire! that dreadful cry, which strikes terror through the stoutest heart was heard one O'ck on Friday night. The ringing of the church bell . . . alarmed me and those with whom I reside, and called us forth from the sweet embrace of sleep, to behold the raging flames rapidly devouring our beloved Academy, which in less than 20 minutes lay prostrate in ashes.(53)

One reason why the old academy building burned so fast was that it was made of wood, and the Trustees moved promptly to replace the building with something more permanent. After making temporary provision for the continuation of the school---the Seniors would continue classes but the younger boys could go home---a vote was taken to construct a new building on a line with those of the Theological Seminary. It would be made of brick and slate. Within a month plans for the building---the present Bulfinch Hall---had been approved, a committee had been formed to raise money for the project, and William Phillips had started the ball rolling with a contribution of $2,000.(54) The fund-raising committee, consisting of Eliphalet Pearson, Daniel Dana, and John Adams, prepared an effective prospectus in which they pointed out that they could not invade funds given for charity students or for the Theological Seminary and therefore were dependent on the public to help them rebuild. They called attention to the fact that "the oldest Academy in the United States" had graduated over thirteen hundred students, three hundred of whom had gone to Harvard. And they appealed to the public not to let the institution die.(55) Their appeal was not in vain. The new building was started that summer with the redoubtable Samuel Farrar supervising construction at a salary of $300.00,(56) and before the year was out, the School was able to move in. The Trustees had shown that, whatever their conservatism about existing routines, they could act with dispatch when the occasion demanded.


In 1814 Adams had the first school catalogue printed, after which it is possible to learn much more about the students. Adams was able to increase the size of the School markedly. In 1809, the year before he came, only sixteen new boys had been admitted, and it looked as if the institution were in serious trouble. But things soon began to improve. In 1813 thirty-four new boys came, and in 1816 the number was increased to sixty-three. In 1820 seventy-seven, a bumper crop, were admitted. Though this record was not equaled again, for the rest of the decade there was no problem about filling the school. It is always difficult to determine just why students enter a particular institution. It is probable that the relative prosperity of the postwar period, coupled with the appeal of the Seminary for ministers, who sent their sons in much larger numbers, was responsible for the increase. Of course, not all the boys who entered remained to graduate, but the size of the School as a whole remained stable during this period. The bumper year was 1820, when there were a total of 142 students, but the number was over one hundred for eight of those years and dropped below that figure only at the end of the Adams term. The college choices of the boys also shifted. Despite the "devil down at Harvard" the largest number went there until 1819, when there was a definite shift to Yale. Adams was a Yale man and must have urged his charges to go there. In addition, Eliphalet Pearson was in the background, and he could be counted on to dissuade boys from going to Cambridge. In the class that entered in 1822, for example, three went to Harvard and fifteen to Yale, while of the 1829 entrants not one went to Harvard. For the rest, a few boys each year went to Dartmouth, Brown, Williams, Bowdoin, Amherst, and a scattering of other institutions.

There is also an interesting shift in the careers the boys eventually followed. After 1813 there was a marked increase in the number going into the ministry. Of the group who entered in 1819, for example, twenty-eight became clergymen, while the 1808 group produced but two. Clearly the combined influence of the Seminary and the piety of John Adams was having its effect. A similar shift occurred in the direction of teaching, where there had been but a handful before 1815, but in 1820 there were sixteen. Throughout the period law and medicine were well represented, with merchants, bankers, politicians, and other occupations also present. The claim of Phillips Academy to be a national school, which is made with such pride today, could certainly not have been made during this period. Almost all the boys came from New England, and almost all the New Englanders came from Massachusetts. In 1811, Adams' first year, of thirty-seven admitted, thirty-five were from New England, with the two exceptions from South Carolina. In the bumper crop of 1820 only four out of seventy-seven came from outside New England. In short, it would be some years before the geographical distribution on which the School prides itself would become a reality.(57)

Josiah Quincy the younger, who graduated in 1817, gives this description of the undergraduate body of his day:

In the Academy were two classes of scholars-those whose expenses were paid by their parents, and "charity boys", as they were called, who were supported by certain funds controlled by a society for supplying the ministry with pious young candidates. These were persons who, having reached manhood, had determined to enter the sacred profession. They had served out an apprenticeship at some trade or in farming, and were generally uncouth in their manner and behavior. We, who were the real boys, never liked their sanctimonious demeanor. We claimed that they were spies, and shrank from them with all the disgust which their imaginary calling could not fail to excite.(58)

Even Quincy, however, had to admit that a 'charity scholar' named William Person was a fine boy.(59) Person was illegitimate; as he said of his origins, "They picked me up in a tan yard, and that was all they could find out about me. I was just a person." His chances for an early education were dashed when he was, in effect, kidnapped by a tanner in Providence and forced to work for him for some thirteen years. Finally released from his indentures, he walked the sixty miles from Providence to Andover, a friend having promised to support him at Phillips Academy. He was duly admitted and soon found himself at home in his new school. He thought the religious exercises "delightful", found that "the most pious" were Principal Adams' peculiar favorites, and wrote, "We have the most excellent preaching here, especially on Sunday evenings at the chapel---and their music, O Heavens! 'Tis enough to animate the stupid marble!" After this promising start Person's status was radically changed when his sponsor withdrew financial support, with the result that the boy was required to become the "scholar of the house" and earn his way through school ringing bells, sweeping, making fires, and locking up. His job was onerous, to say the least. "I rise early, breakfast by candle light, hie to the Academy and make a fire by sunrise," he wrote. In the cold winter of 1814 he was also obliged to cut wood for three fires. On one particularly cold day he found the temperature in the Academy Building zero and managed to raise it to 38 degrees. The next day, with all fires going strong, he could not raise the temperature to half that and was obliged to stay in the Academy all night to keep the fires up. But help was on the way. Even though Person did not feel he could promise unconditionally to enter the ministry, he was interested in the calling, and accordingly he was made a charity scholar supported by funds from the School and was thus able to finish his education. The story has a sad ending. Person entered Harvard and seemed headed for a brilliant career when he contracted consumption, brought on by years of deprivation and hard work, and died. Still, during his years at Andover, he can stand as a prototype of the "charity scholar" of the day.

One can get a different view of the life of a Phillips Academy undergraduate during this period from an examination of the account book of Horace James, who was at Andover during the mid 1830's, at the end of the Adams period. James was anything but a charity scholar, but he kept close account of what he did spend so that he could justify School costs to his father. From early entries it is clear that not all the boys sawed their own wood, as tradition has it. Horace bought a cord of wood for $5.00 and then paid somebody $1.50 for sawing it. While he was about it, he picked up basic supplies---writing paper 12-1/2 cents; an inkstand, 12-1/2 cents; ink, 12-1/2 cents; a toothbrush, 12-1/2 cents; quills, 30 cents; wafers and pencils, 6 cents; and a peck of apples, 16 cents. A good deal of Horace's money went for schoolbooks: Greek Lessons, 42 cents; Herodotus, 75 cents; Greek Reader, one dollar; Greek Grammar, 83 cents; Greek Lexicon, five dollars; Pilgrim's Progress, 37-1/2 cents; and others. Occasionally he would purchase books presumably for pleasure, as with The Last Days of Pompeii, 50 cents; Demonology and Witchcraft 5 cents; and the History of Alcohol, 10 cents. There were personal expenses as well: an umbrella, $1.50; cutting hair, 12-1/2 cents; lucifers, 6 cents; court "plaister," 6 cents; a hat, 60 cents; peaches, 12-1/2 cents; riding, 33 cents; a lamp, 42-1/2 cents; tamarinds, 12-1/2 cents; suspenders, 25 cents; frogs, 8 cents; a tuning fork, 75 cents; and a "bass viol" [?], 50 cents. Horace's concerns were not limited to material things. In the course of his stay on Andover Hill he contributed to a number of worthy causes and attended some lectures: singing school, 10 cents; Society tax, 12-1/2 cents; contribution, 12-1/2 cents; subscription to missionary society, $1.50; Philomathean society, 50 cents; Lyceum lecture, 14 cents; phrenological lectures, 25 cents; seaman's friend society, 22 cents; Social Fraternity 50 cents; and fee of admittance to society, 10 cents. Apparently Horace had some trouble with his teeth while at Phillips Academy. In addition to buying several toothbrushes at 25 cents each, he bought toothpowder for 33 cents and went to the dentist, thus producing an ominous entry: filling teeth, $6.00. Horace lived in Medford and apparently went home for weekends fairly regularly, for there are numerous entries like stage fare $1.25, stage fare, 75 cents. Finally, Horace's father gave him money to pay his tuition and his room and board bills. At that time the tuition was $6.00 a term, but it is difficult to tell how much his boarding charge was per term because it is not clear what period was covered. One entry for board is $30.01, the presumption being that this was the charge per term. Fortunately for us, Horace was a scrupulous accountant, and it is possible to obtain a fresh picture of an Andover undergraduate in the mid 1830's.(60)

In May 1819 there arrived at Phillips Academy a ten-year-old from Providence named James A. Burrill, the son of Rhode Island United States Senator James Burrill, Jr. The Senator had written a long letter of introduction to Principal Adams, spelling out what schooling the boy had had in the past and concluding, "I confide my only son to your care and can give you no stronger proof of my high opinion of your talents and moral character."(61) The boy had been instructed to write home regularly, which he did, and a substantial number of his letters have been preserved. His first report stated that the Theological Seminary buildings "are handsome and make a fine figure." He said he had bought a quire of paper and a bunch of quills and needed more money. He closed, "We have 2 prayers in the morning and one at night. Excuse the writing.' "(62) Apparently James was a bit homesick. He writes of going down to the post office every day to see if there was a letter from home, and he asks frequently about his friends in Providence. In June he reported that Principal Adams had told him that if he did not pay his entrance money, he could not stay, but this matter was satisfactorily settled. He was not the only homesick boy:

"There were 2 boys came here to school one of them being home sick ran away home and today his father brought him back."(63) By the end of June, James was clearly settled in:

Mr. Adams says I am the best boy in my class. We study one hour and an half in the evening or morning just as you please and 8 hours in school besides; all the time we have is at night. When we go into school we have two prayers and sing; we have one prayer in the morning at 6 oclock and another in the evening at 9. I commonly get up at 5, dress and wash myself and study till prayers, then eat breakfast and study till oclock, play till 8 and then go to school, come out at 12, eat dinner at 1/2 past twelve, go to school again at 2, come out again at 6, supper as soon as school is done. In the evening we go in to the water or take a walk .... I have been a little poisoned on my hands but I have got over it. There are a great many whortleberrys and blackberrys here. I could pick a quart in a few minutes.(64)

In July Senator Burrill received a letter from Principal Adams telling him that his son was very deficient in Latin grammar, but that "We are now labouring the point with him, to set this business right. We find him to be pleasant and teachable, but like most other boys, fond of play." And he went on to say that no French was taught at Phillips Academy."(65)

The following November, James wrote that he was determined to succeed at Andover. "I am glad that you reproved me for my faults, for now I know them, I will try to do better for the future. I am much pleased with my situation here, for I am placed here for my good."(66) During the winter term James began to get bored. "I wish you would send me the newspapers for I want some employment for the long Winter evenings, for though I study an hour and an half and I begin at 6 oclock, I have a great deal of time."(67) In December sickness struck the Adams family. "Mr. Adams has been ill ever since Saturday; he was in such pain last night that he took hold of the bedpost and broke it off short; his wife thinks he is dying."(68) The following months one of Principal Adams' sons became seriously ill: "his complaint is the throat distemper. He got it by taking off all his clothes and rolling in the snow." But there were also more cheerful things to report. One of James's friends had managed to acquire a tame raccoon, and they were all having a great time playing with it. James had bought a copy of John Marshall's speech on the death of Washington and seemed dutifully impressed by it. The boys had worked up a kind of private language or code; James signed his letter in code for his parent's information:

Tenut E Dvgg, jkk
Agjhkjot Efebune

James also wrote enviously about a boy named Dexter "who has got a complete set of carpenter's instruments which cost 9 dollars" and added, "I wish you would get me a set of them."(70) In March, James was looking forward to the summer and asking his father to get him a little gun "and next summer you and I can go out to the farm and shoot birds."(71) In April something unpleasant happened. His father had sent him a fairly substantial amount of money, to be used among other things, to pay his board bill of seventy-two dollars. About this time forty dollars was stolen from the Andover postmaster, and since James had possessed a large amount of money, he was suspected of the theft. Principal Adams grilled him and said he was going to write the Senator to see if the money had really been sent to James. It was not his character that made Mr. Adams suspicious but simply the fact that he had had so much money.(72)

The Principal finally decided that the boy was innocent and could return to pleasanter things: "We have very good amusement when out of school by playing ball. I have got a cross gun and ball. "(73) And there the correspondence stops, even though James stayed on at Phillips Academy for another two years and graduated in 1822. Four years later he took his degree at Brown and five years after that, he died.

Passages from a few other undergraduate letters during this period are worth including. Edward J. Lowell of Boston had come to Phillips Academy at the age of nine in 1813. In 1817 he wrote a charmingly boyish letter to his aunt, Mrs. R. R. Gardner, asking for various items. He said they had all had good fun coming up on the stage, but that he had forgotten various things. Since he was studying algebra he needed his algebra book, which he had left with his sister Susan. He had also forgotten his slate. He was unable to find his comb and thought that if his aunt could locate it, she might send it up. Also he needed money to pay his term bill. He was enjoying the pears and cake that he had brought up with him. And then the punchline: "How are the rabbits?"(74) Illness was apparently a constant problem at the School. In November 1829 a boy who signs his letter simply "Thomas" wrote his mother a long account of an epidemic. It was blamed on the Academy's being cold in the forenoon and hot in the afternoon. True to form, Mr. Adams was "likewise affected." One of Thomas' friends believed the reason for his illness was his "wearing a flannel waistcoat pretty well impregnated with musk." He asked his landlady for "an egg dropped in water for his supper," but had nightmares all that night. In the morning, the landlady gave him a Rochelle Powder, but all to no avail. Finally Dr. Underwood was called, who gave the boy an emetic (ipecac) "which operated five times." The Doctor was sure the boy would be better in the morning and left.(75) Finally, an account of a temperance lecture written by Horace James in 1835---he of account book fame:

I attended a Temperance lecture last evening in the meeting house by Mr. Sargeant and another one this evening by Rev. Mr. Cheever of Salem. I think it is pretty well to go to Tem. lectures two evenings in succession. Mr. Sargeant lectured very powerfully and eloquently for more than two hours; it was very interesting. He spoke, chiefly about the use of tobacco in all its forms, and cider, wine, beer, etc., things not usually prescribed by Tem. Societies. He enforced the principle that these ought not to be used any more than Rum, Brandy, etc. He said that in a quart of Sicily wine there is as much alcohol, as in a pint of brandy. He held up the use of tobacco in all its forms in a most ridiculous light, enough to excite the disgust of every one. Mrs. Brown did not like him at all. She loves her snuffbox too well. He said that the most thorough pledge he had ever heard of was among the Oneida tribe of Indians. They pledge themselves to abstain from every thing that makes drunk come. Mr. Sargeant has a red face and looks a great deal like an old soaker himself.(76)

The Phillips Academy administration during the Adams years did not concern itself with the boys' free time. There was not much of it, to begin with, and as long as the boys behaved themselves, they were usually left on their own. It was not long before the undergraduates began filling the vacuum by founding various societies---some secret and some not---to provide a social life that the authorities were not interested in. The first of these student organizations was founded in 1813 and was named "The Society for Promoting Good Morals in Phillips Academy, Andover." As the name implies, the outfit was very pious. It held meetings to discuss moral questions and drew up a list of "Engagements," which the members were bound to follow---no swearing, strict keeping of the Sabbath, daily Bible reading, and the like. The organization continued until the late 1820's and then faded away, to be replaced later by the Society of Inquiry.(77) In 1817 a stronger society met for the first time---the Social Fraternity. Its purpose was "mutual improvement in the following branches of English literature, Viz. Composition, Criticism, Declamations and Extemporaneous Debates." Membership was limited to the Senior Class, and an elaborate set of rules was adopted. To ensure regular attendance, members who were late or absent were fined. At the start the organization was secret, with a certain amount of mumbo-jumbo connected with it. The initiation procedure has been described as follows: "One of the members, perhaps 'Master of Ceremonies', dressed in a black robe, a black cap, and a black mask, conducted the candidate before the society, and addressed to him, in sepulchral tones, a few verses, which described in very strong language the fate awaiting him if he revealed the secrets of the society." The writer of this passage adds that he could remember no secrets to be preserved. This group had debates and compositions on subjects like slavery, and attempted to get some Latin, Greek, and English poetry written, but without much success. In order to stimulate interest, the members established a box, like a suggestion box, into which the boys could put questions, statements, and other expressions of opinion, but this procedure had to be abandoned because there were too many "scurrilous and indecent" communications. Occasionally a mock trial was held. One boy was accused and convicted of "pilfering apples," another forgoing out of town without Principal Adams' permission. Though the Social Fraternity was not to last beyond mid-century, while it was functioning it was a lively organization, and must have provided its members with welcome relief from the rigors of school life.(78)

Since only seniors could join the Social Fraternity, the younger boys determined to establish one of their own and in 1825 founded the Philomathean Society, the oldest student society currently extant at Phillips Academy. As with the Social Fraternity, the aim was mutual improvement in literary matters and, again like the Social Fraternity, the Society decided to build up a library. An early list of the books includes among others, Johnson's Rambler, The Lady of the Lake, a life of Franklin, a life of Patrick Henry, twelve volumes of the Spectator, Young's Night Thoughts, and Pope's Essay on Man. Great care was taken that the books be proper. All plays, for example, were considered dangerous. At one meeting it was voted that Campbell's Journey and Scott's Guy Mannering be burned as improper literature, though the members relented on the latter of these two and rescinded the vote at a later meeting.(79) Like the Social Fraternity, Philo had initiation ceremonies. Ray Palmer, one of the founders of the society, gives this description:

The affair took place in the evening, and the end of the stage was converted into a dark closet in which sat a personage so arrayed as to make, by the light of a very feeble lamp, a tolerable impersonization of Beelzebub. Into this presence the candidate was solemnly ushered, and found himself alone with this distinguished looking personage, who in awful and sepulchral tones addressed him in the following fashion:

"If e'er these secrets thou reveal
Let thunders on thy forehead peal;
On thy vile bones thy flesh shall rot,
and witches dire around thee trot."

Nothing of what was coming was known to the wight who was to pass the ordeal; and the awe felt at the moment was very real, as was shown in one case by a student who, having some suspicion that there might be some humbug, courageously declared that, if there were any, he should treat it with contempt. This same person, when he found himself in the dimly lighted place, face to face with what seemed the Prince of darkness, actually got on his knees at the summons of his Princeship, whom he afterwards found to be none other than his own chum! This of course was nuts to the boys.(80)

Philo, in its early years, seemed to concentrate more on debates than on other literary exercises. Among the topics debated were "Do females possess minds as capable of improvement as males? (decided in the affirmative). "Are females as worthy of being introduced into society as males?" (decided in the negative); "Would the freedom of slaves be beneficial to our country?" (decided in the negative); "Is the condition of the monarch happier than that of the begger?"; "Ought persons stealing dead bodies for dissection be punished according to law?" (decided in the affirmative); and many others.(81) On several occasions during its early history, Philo appeared about to collapse, but the Society managed to hang on and eventually became a powerful influence in the School, supplanting the Social Fraternity and publishing a magazine of its own.


Considering Squire Farrar's extreme conservatism (as noted above), it is extraordinary that he took the lead in educational experiments. The period from 1820 to 1860 in the United States was one of ferment in the field of education. It saw a drive for universal public education, the brilliant work of Horace Mann and Henry Barnard, and a willingness to experiment with all sorts of new forms and concepts in education.(82) It would be easy to believe that Samuel Farrar and the Andover Board had been influenced by these new trends, but if they were, there is no record of it. Just where Farrar got his idea for a Teachers' Seminary combined with an English Department is impossible to say. But whatever the source his proposal was right in line with some of the most forward-looking thinking of the day in education. And there seems no doubt that he was the prime mover in the project. One authority speaks of the Teachers' Seminary as being established "largely through the influence of Samuel Farrar and William Phillips," who had given the money.(83) The Reverend Lyman Coleman, second Principal of the Seminary, wrote, "the Teachers' Seminary, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, was the conception and creation of Esquire Farrar."(84) It was natural that a practical man of affairs like the Squire should be interested in training boys for practical occupations like accounting and business. Though the institution eventually ended in failure, it might have succeeded had it been given more financial support by the Trustees; in any event it was a brave attempt to blaze new educational trails in the growing country.


In 1827 William Phillips, then President of the Board and long a generous benefactor of the School, died. When his will was read, it was found that he had left $15,000 to Phillips Academy. At a Trustee meeting that fall, Treasurer Farrar was authorized to invest the Phillips money, and the Board voted that because existing funds seemed sufficient to maintain the Classical School, the income from the new gift should be used to establish an "English Classical School," independent of Phillips Academy and with a separate building.(85) Since there was no money for the building, the question was referred to a committee. The next year the Trustees reiterated their support for an English School and authorized a committee headed by Samuel Farrar to erect a building for that purpose, borrowing what was needed above and beyond the accrued income from the Phillips legacy.(86) The Squire needed no prodding. In this case he could be architect as well as clerk of the works. Claude Fuess describes what happened:

Towards the close of John Adams's administration, in the spring of 1829, workmen were excavating a cellar on the northeast corner of Main Street and Chapel Avenue; and soon there rose an oblong, two-storied, massive edifice, with thick walls of rough gray stone, and a slanting roof, surmounted by a high wooden cupola or bell-tower, on which was perched an equally tall weather-vane. The architect was Squire Farrar, who, obsessed by a craving for simplicity, had created a style that was all his own, not Grecian or Gothic or colonial, but essentially "Farraresque." Bare, somber, and unrelieved by ornamentation, the building resembled a jail or tomb, and seemed to be at once the strongest and the ugliest structure ever produced by the hand of man.(87)

This Stone Academy, as it was called, was to play an important part in the life of the School until it, too, burned down, in 1864.

Even before the English School opened, the Trustees had shifted its focus. In 1830 they voted "that a leading and primary object in this [English] department be the education of Teachers for common and other schools and that instruction be also given to other persons in various branches of an English education."(88) Thus from the start the purpose of the School was ambivalent; it would train teachers, it would offer courses for nonclassical, noncollege-bound students, and later it would have classes of younger boys for the budding teachers to practice on. The interest in training teachers led to the appointment as Principal of the Reverend Samuel Read Hall, one of the leading exponents of teacher training in his day. Hall, who is credited with being the first teacher to use a blackboard, went to Kimball Union Academy but never got to college. In 1823 he established a kind of normal school in Concord, Vermont, and in 1829 he became nationally known when he published his Lectures on School-Keeping, the first teachers' manual printed in the United States. Hall had no use for the harsh discipline based on fear that characterized so many schools. "The great object is to prepare children to be happy," he thought, and for that reason the teacher should "adopt such a course as to render the school pleasant." In addition, his book was filled with practical suggestions -----the usefulness of maps, globes, and visual aids, for example.(89) Hall was a prolific writer, and before he was through he had written an arithmetic book, a United States history, and several others for use in the schools. In arranging for Hall's salary, Squire Farrar devised a diabolical scheme that had a great deal to do with Hall's eventual resignation. The Principal was to receive no cash salary at all but was to have the use of the Stone Academy, the entrance fees and tuition money of the students, and the freedom to set those fees himself. In this way the Squire hoped to encourage the Principal to develop a thriving institution and at the same time save the Phillips Academy Trustees a lot of money.(90)

The first Seminary catalogue, published in 1831, the year the School opened, lists 80 students, over half of whom were from Andover. The purpose was "to educate Instructors of common and other Schools. Another object is to educate practical men, for all the departments of common life." Emphasis was placed from the start on instruction in the Natural Science, and the catalogue boasted of a fine set of apparatus, including a magic lantern with several hundred slides, an "Electrical Machine of a very superior kind," a chemical laboratory, "Pneumatic Apparatus," a telescope, and a cabinet of minerals. By 1832 the number had increased to 115, a course in civil engineering and surveying had been added, and a list of twenty-six subjects for the English Department (or "School") had been drawn up. The list shows no courses in Latin or Greek; it stresses mathematics and the sciences. By the middle of the decade the Teachers' class had been divided into three groups---Senior, Middle, and junior---with the curriculum for each year spelled out more precisely. Up until 1838 the catalogues were printed as emanating from the Teachers' Seminary; in that year the title was changed to "English Department and Teachers' Seminary," indicating again the basic ambivalence of the institution. Tuition costs varied. At the start they were six dollars a term, then were raised slightly, and finally were changed to fifty cents a week. A Commons for meals was established on a farm that the boys were required to work on and thus helped to reduce the cost of their board, which averaged between $1.00 and $1.25 per week. As at Phillips Academy, attempts were made to help indigent students meet their tuition charges. By 1840 the catalogue had become more flowery: "The repeated calls from the South and West and from the public generally, for well educated teachers, have induced the Trustees from time to time to make large appropriations for increasing the advantages, and, at the same time, diminishing the expenses of the students in the Seminary." Yet the statement did no more than reemphasize in fancier language the hopes that the Trustees had for the institution.(91) Most of the Assistants at Phillips Academy during this period were a mediocre lot. By contrast the Seminary could boast several truly distinguished men. Alonzo Gray, teacher of chemistry and natural history, was a highly competent scientist who was interested in applying science to agricultural problems. William H. Wells, teacher of mathematics and English literature, later went on to become Superintendent of Schools in Chicago; and Lyman Coleman, the second Principal, taught at Amherst, Princeton, and Lafayette after leaving Andover. When the Seminary scheme was abandoned and these teachers forced to leave, the Phillips Academy community lost some very able men. In 1832 there appeared in the Annals of Education an article on the Seminary which was highly favorable to it. The author had spent some time in Andover and had been impressed with what he saw:

School books of a good character are selected, and the most improved methods of instruction adopted ... much is accomplished by familiar lectures, giving the student ample opportunity for asking questions, suggesting doubts, etc. No attempts are made to hurry through a science for the sake of having gone through it. .

In both departments of the school, there is nothing of that routine of mere memory work which is so often witnessed in our schools ....

In both departments of the institution every branch is pursued . . . independently of every other . . . . In the higher departments, the exercises for every day of the week are written down plainly and minutely, and a monitor rings a bell at the arrival of the time for every new exercise. So exact is the order, and so accustomed to it have the students become, that, so far as discipline is concerned, it matters little whether the teachers are present or absent, provided the monitor performs his duty.

The higher branches of the mathematics, geography, grammar, history, composition, drawing, philosophy ... chemistry, political economy; indeed everything to which the attention of the pupil is called, is pursued . . . in the same rational and thorough manner, as spelling, reading, and arithmetic. Not only is everything rendered intelligible, but interesting; and the thinking powers of the pupils are called into useful activity. During my visit a course of chemical lectures was commenced by an assistant, which promised to be highly practical and useful ....

But what rendered this Seminary most deeply interesting to me, was the conviction which I was unable to resist, that all its methods, and plans, and processes, were eminently adapted to the development and formation of character. As a place of instruction, it justly ranks high; and I do not believe it has been too highly appreciated. But as a place of education it has still higher claims. Knowledge of the best kind is successfully circulated by the best means; but the capacity and disposition to make the best use of Knowledge is regarded as of more importance.(92)

It is unlikely that the author of this article would have been able to say the same things about Phillips Academy had he visited it during his stay in Andover.

There were certainly some able students at the Teachers' Seminary---for example, James S. Eaton, who later became head of the English Department at Phillips Academy. In 1837 Eaton decided to found a newspaper called The Literary Recorder, and until he graduated in 1838 it came out fairly regularly. Whether it was ever printed is not clear; the only extant copies are in manuscript. In his first number he invited all kinds of literary communications and then proceeded to an article defending the Seminary students against various charges impugning their conduct. Generally the students were attacked for "their clownish habits, slovenly dress, and indecent appearance," especially in comparison with the students of Phillips Academy. It was also charged that when Seminary students paid their bills to Squire Farrar, they kept their hats on. Eaton vigorously defended the Seminary students against these charges and added bitterly, "But the Classical scholar is never guilty of such coarseness. He is in comparison, a gentleman." Furthermore, he added, if Seminary students did not have to pay tuition and if they were helped by the charity fund, they might be able to dress more like gentlemen. During its period of publication The Literary Recorder carried a variety of articles---"The Revolutionary Soldier," a long poem entitled "The March of the American Army to Trenton," an account of a trip "down east," "Friendship and Tenderness of Heart," and "Funeral Thoughts."(93) Not many letters from Seminary students have been preserved. One such is a communication from Davis Smith to his mother in 1834. Davis had this to say about the School:

I board in the commons. Mr. Hall told me that he thought it would be cheaper and that I should enjoy greater advantages than if I boarded myself. As I wish you to know all about my situation here I will tell you something about our diet. For breakfast and supper we have wheat bread with milk or molasses---of each one may choose. I take milk in the morning and molasses at night. For dinner we have rice and indian pudding, pork, fish, potatoes, beans, etc. My health is, and has been, very good. I enjoy myself very well. There are among the students many professing Christians and I should think the greatest part. We have a prayer meeting every Saturday night. There are generally several other meetings every week. My studies are at present Euclid's geometry, Grammar, Chemistry and Intellectual Philosophy. These studies do not take all my time; therefore I spend the remainder in reading on arithmetic and algebra.(94)

Despite the success that Samuel Hall and his corps of teachers had with their students at the Teachers' Seminary, the institution was soon in trouble financially. For one thing the number of students listed as enrolled was misleading. Students training to be teachers were excused during the winter terms of their second and third year to engage in practice teaching, thus reducing the number substantially. In addition many students in the General Department came for a term or two and then left. The catalogue of 1840, for example, lists 154 students, but then indicates that only 90 were enrolled for the term during which the catalogue was printed. Samuel Hall became more and more unhappy about his lack of a guaranteed salary,(95) and it was often difficult to recompense the assistant teachers adequately. All through the 1830's, however, the Trustees worked hard to keep the institution viable. In 1834 they restated their position that the main aim of the Seminary was the education of teachers, and the following year they initiated a loan program for the students. To be eligible a boy must have a certificate from the Principal certifying his good moral character, must contract to go into teaching after graduation, and must sign a note, to be paid back a year after he left the School.(96) That same year the Trustees embarked on their most ambitious enterprise when they voted to conduct a drive for $40,000 for the Seminary. In February 1836 they published a circular announcing their intentions and inviting the interested public to a meeting in Boston. The meeting was held, and Samuel Farrar spoke on the subject of the Seminary, but the returns were disappointing and the problem remained.(97) In 1837 the Trustees introduced a department of Civil Engineering and voted one thousand dollars for equipment, but this did little more than spread the School more thinly among the various departments.(98) Despite the Trustees' insistence that the main purpose was the education of teachers, it was clear that the institution was going in too many directions, trying to serve too many different kinds of students.

In 1837 Samuel Hall, frustrated by the many problems of the institution and by his own unsatisfactory financial situation, resigned his position as Principal. He was succeeded by Lyman Coleman, a graduate of Yale and an ordained minister who was then head of the Burr Seminary in Manchester, Vermont. Coleman gave lip service to the idea of training teachers, but he was primarily interested in running an English High School, The statement that he wrote in the 1840 catalogue bears this out:

The plan of this Institution, as here developed, is that of an English High School, occupying an intermediate grade between our common academic institutions and our colleges. The object of this system of instruction ... is not to hurry the student through a superficial course, teaching a little of everything and nothing to any good purpose; but lead him to begin a thorough course of mental discipline, and to pursue it as far as circumstances will admit. To such as continue with us a sufficient length of time it offers essentially the advantages of a collegiate education in the several departments of English literature.

Although Coleman was an energetic and resourceful administrator, he arrived too late to save the institution. But the Trustees were slow to give up. In 1834 they published a circular for public distribution, with an attractive cut of the Andover campus, in the hope of attracting more students.(99) That same year they considered applying to the Massachusetts legislature for financial assistance for the Seminary, but finally gave up the idea as "inexpedient."(100) In 1841 they passed a resolution that they considered it "eminently desirable that the English Department in Phillips Academy be sustained," and they advertised the institution in a Boston newspaper,(101) something they had never done for the Classical School. Finally, in 1842, came the mournful decision:

That after the close of the present term in the English department the contracts with the Rev. Mr. Coleman and Mr. Gray should be closed for want of means to retain them.

Squire Farrar was authorized to "make the necessary communications to the several members of the English School."(102)

The reasons for the failure of Squire Farrar's interesting experiment are not hard to find. First of all, the institution could never decide just where to focus its energies, witness the different names it was given---"Teachers' Seminary," "English Department," "English High School," and the like. Stimulating courses were introduced, but often without reference to any overall plan. The courses in agriculture, for example, though advanced for their day, had no direct bearing on teacher training. The Seminary got little support from Phillips Academy itself. Its students were generally looked down upon by boys from the Classical School, as James Eaton's article indicates. More important, "Uncle Sam" Taylor, who became Principal of Phillips Academy in 1837, was a dedicated classicist who had little interest in, or respect for, the English School. Later in life Lyman Coleman wrote:

The high and deserved reputation of Phillips Academy, its overshadowing influence, its total lack of sympathy and cooperation, served to cast into shades and distance the Teachers' Seminary, and to give it the air of an abandoned orphan rather than a cherished part of the venerable institution.(103)

Finally, there is some reason to believe that Squire Farrar's interest in the project waned during its later years. In 1840 he had retired as Treasurer of the Board at the age of sixty-seven, and while he continued on the Board for another six years, he could never provide the driving support that he did at the project's inception. Furthermore, if he had had to choose between training teachers and balancing the Phillips Academy budget, there is no question what his decision would have been.

Yet the experiment was not all loss. The Seminary continued as the English Department of Phillips Academy for the rest of the century, and though its students were still treated as second-class citizens, it provided a wholesome alternative to the rigidly classical curriculum of Phillips Academy. Later in the century, as American education drew away from the classical and as the role of science in contemporary curricula became more important, the English Department would prove a useful vehicle for curricular change.


The English Commons, built in 1836.

When Phillips Academy was founded, it was assumed that private families would take care of the students' room and board. There had been talk of building a boarding house that would be run by the school, but nothing had ever come of it. Another of Squire Farrar's important innovations was to advance the idea that the School should provide dormitories and boarding facilities for at least some of the students. In 1830 the Trustees took the first step in this direction. They voted that "those of suitable age and character and standing who have commended themselves to their Instructors by orderly deportment and studious habits, may be permitted to study at their own rooms, such portions of each day, upon such conditions, and under such regulations as the Principal shall direct . . . . The motion went on to say that this would never excuse a boy from attending religious exercises and that abuse of the privilege would result in its being withdrawn.(104) Until this time the boys had had to study in Academy Hall in the main school building during times when they were not in class. Thus was initiated a policy that was for many years almost unique with Andover and Exeter---abolishing formal study halls and allowing the students to study on their own in their own rooms. The next logical step was to provide rooms in School houses where the boys might study. Again it was Squire Farrar who provided the leadership in what came to be known as the Latin and English Commons. Again Farrar was his own architect, and before he was through he had had erected six ugly tenements on what is now the north side of Phillips Street, and another six facing them in a line in front of what is now Draper Cottage. The first six were called the Latin Commons, the second six the English. The buildings were all identical wooden structures, clapboarded, and boxlike. On each of the three floors there were two suites consisting of a living room and two bedrooms. Plumbing consisted of one pump outside each row of tenements and a brick privy. The rooms were heated by stoves, with each student responsible for providing his own fuel and emptying his own ashes. Why the buildings were not all burnt down immediately is one of the great mysteries of the period. All the furniture for the rooms had to be provided by the students themselves, and as it was passed from hand to hand over the years, it resembled the contents of a junk shop. The Commons were designed primarily for scholarship boys, and the room rent was therefore one dollar a term.

Squire Samuel Farrar in his old age.

The construction of the Commons marks the first step in a policy that would eventually result in housing all Phillips Academy students in buildings owned and supervised by the School. The ownership was a fact in the 1830's, but the supervision certainly was not. In effect, under Squire Farrar's plan the boys were turned loose to fend for themselves. A half-hearted attempt was made to have the Commons inspected by a member of the faculty once a week, but these visitations were never taken seriously and could easily be anticipated by the boys. As a result they developed into a hardy, self-sufficient breed who had to learn how to run their own lives or perish. It was certainly no place for pampered weaklings.(105) It would be many years before Phillips Academy could provide adequate housing for its undergraduates, but the Commons at least established the principle that housing boys in its own buildings rather than in houses in the town was a proper policy for the school to follow.

Squire Farrar lived until 1864, when he died at the age of ninety-one, but for some years before that he had been sloughing off his manifold responsibilities. He resigned as Phillips Academy Treasurer in 1840 and as Trustee in 1846; in 1851 he left the Board of Abbot Academy, and in 1856 he resigned as President of the Andover Bank. In his later days he could look back on a career of extraordinary usefulness to Phillips Academy and the community. He it was who conceived the plan for the Teachers' Seminary; and although his project eventually ended in failure as far as the training of teachers was concerned, the goal was realized by the Phillips Academy English Department, which provided breadth to the curricular offerings of the School. He was probably instrumental in getting Trustee support for the decision to allow the students to study in their own rooms, thereby initiating a policy that has been a hallmark of Phillips Academy ever since. Finally, he started a program of lodging undergraduates in School-owned houses, which was eventually to become an axiomatic policy for the Academy. Although the first half of the nineteenth century was generally a sterile period in Phillips history, the innovations that were made came as the result of the imagination and drive of Samuel Farrar.

Chapter Eight

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