Frederick S. Allis, Jr.
Youth from Every Quarter

III. The Modern Andover

DURING ITS two centuries of existence Phillips Academy has really been two schools. The first, from its founding in 1778 until the death of Samuel Harvey Taylor in 1871, was essentially an eighteenth-century institution, on which Eliphalet Pearson had imposed his imprimatur in no uncertain terms. Though there was some variation and some experiment during the first hundred years, the Academy in 1871 subscribed essentially to the basic principles that Pearson had insisted on from the start. In its second century it changed markedly. The School of fifteen years ago, let alone today, bears little resemblance to the first institution. The chief architect of the modern Andover---at least until ten years ago---was Cecil Franklin Patch Bancroft, the greatest headmaster of the Academy. He took an institution that was falling behind contemporary educational practices and concepts and brought it up to date. Perhaps his most important contribution was to change completely Pearson's concept that the Principal should be a dictator. Bancroft insisted that the faculty as a whole be given a share in administration, and before he was through the faculty meeting had become an important locus of power in running the school. Though Bancroft was a classicist by training and taught the classics, he refused to agree that they were the be-all ad end-all of a school curriculum. In the course of his term as Principal, the curriculum was modified to include modern foreign languages, additional science courses, and four years of English. Pearson's School had depended on families in the town of Andover for the housing and boarding of the students. Bancroft embarked on a program that sought to have all Academy students live in School-owned dormitories, where they would be supervised by members of the faculty. Though Bancroft was a deeply religious man, he tried to modify the rigid emphasis on Calvinist beliefs and practices that had characterized the School's first one hundred years. He emphasized the humane and the loving in the Christian religion, rather than the stern and the punitive. At the same time that he was changing many of Eliphalet Pearson's original concepts, he held firm to two---an insistence on scholastic excellence and concern for poor boys (he hated the word "indigent"), both of which had characterized Phillips Academy from the very beginning.

Bancroft's concept of what the School should be served well until the 1960's. Indeed, one student of the early sixties has written that the School of his day was closer to 1910 than to 1975. Alfred E. Stearns, who succeeded Bancroft, in effect completed the original Bancroft plan, particularly by providing enough dormitories to house all the students and enough other buildings so that it could be a self-sufficient social unit. Claude M. Fuess, beset by depression and war, could do little more than attempt to preserve what had been accomplished. John M. Kemper, though he put through important tangential programs like School-Year Abroad, the Washington Interns, Outward Bound, and the study that led to the Advanced Placement Program, changed very little of Bancroft's original program.

It was not until the late 1960's, in the last years of the Kemper administration and the early years of the Sizer administration, that truly revolutionary changes in the School took place. The challenge to governmental authority in the conduct of the Viet-Nam War soon was transferred to a challenge to all authority, particularly that of schools and colleges. As a result, in the last ten years of the School's existence more changes have taken place than in the first one hundred and ninety years. This latter period saw the abolition of compulsory religious services (shades of Samuel Phillips), a revolutionary change in the curriculum with the introduction of term-contained courses, a fundamental change in the disciplinary system with the abolition of the "cut" system and the "sign-in" system in most areas, and, finally, coeducation.

Viewed against the School of the 1970's, Bancroft's reforms may seem mild. Yet at the time that he struggled to achieve them, they were forward-looking and wise, and the concepts that he insisted on served Phillips Academy well for over ninety years.




CECIL FRANKLIN PATCH BANCROFT did not assume the Principalship of Phillips Academy directly upon the death of Uncle Sam Taylor. From 1871 to 1873 the institution was under the direction of Frederic W. Tilton, whose term served as a transitional period between the old School of Uncle Sam and the new School that Dr. Bancroft would develop. In some ways Tilton was like Ebenezer Pemberton, Principal in the 1790's. Both men were highly trained schoolmasters who started to introduce interesting changes. Both were sensitive human beings who found the harsh disciplinary system of Phillips Academy distasteful. Both men were unhappy with the rigid and oppressive insistence on conformity to the old Calvinist creed. And, finally, both men resigned supposedly for reasons of health but probably because they could not stand the pressures of the job. At least both were healthy enough to take up new teaching positions almost immediately after their resignations. The changes that Pemberton sought for Phillips Academy were never introduced during his lifetime; almost all of Tilton's proposed reforms, however, were soon put into effect by Dr. Bancroft. In short, Tilton was a man with the right ideas but without the emotional strength to put them successfully into practice.

Frederic W. Tilton was admirably trained for his position.(1) Born in Cambridge in 1839, he graduated from Harvard in 1862, studied for part of a year at the University of Göttingen in Germany, and after teaching for four years at the Highland Military Academy in Worcester was called to be Superintendent of Schools in Newport, Rhode Island. That he was a Harvard man would have made Uncle Sam turn over in his grave, but the Trustees liked him and went after him aggressively. At their meeting in May 1871 they voted unanimously to offer him the position, and when Tilton said he would accept "on condition that the Trustees approve of his views in regard to the administration of the Academy," they voted unanimously to approve them.(2) Unfortunately, the record is silent on just what those views were.

Frederic William Tilton,
Seventh Principal of Phillips Academy.

With this matter taken care of, Tilton and his wife, the former Ellen Trowbridge, daughter of a Harvard professor, moved to the north side of the Double-Brick house on Main Street in the summer of 1871, and he prepared to take over his duties as Principal. He retained the staff that he had inherited from Uncle Sam. William G. Goldsmith, who had taken charge of the School after Dr. Taylor's death, continued as Head of the English Department, while George H. Taylor---Uncle Sam's son---and William W. Eaton remained as Assistants. In order to give Tilton a good send-off, the Trustees had voted to advertise the fact of his election as Principal in at least two newspapers.(3)

One of the most serious problems facing him was how to develop an academic program that would prepare Andover graduates for any good college in the country. In Uncle Sam Taylor's day, boys, as noted, could get into Yale simply on a Taylor recommendation. The boys who went to Harvard after the Rebellion of 1867, however, had found gaining admission a difficult task that required special tutoring. In 1871 President Charles W. Eliot had written the Andover Trustees about this problem. In addition there was the problem of providing an adequate course in mathematics, which had long been all but ignored in the Classical School. Principal Tilton made a start, at least, in dealing with these problems. To buck up the course in mathematics, he took it over himself and gave his students a very different kind of regimen. He and Assistant Eaton also worked with the seniors in the classics so that their preparation would be adequate for any college and not just Yale. At the end of his first year on the job Tilton could point with pride to the seventeen Phillips boys who had been admitted to Harvard and all the rest of the class to the college of their choice. A subtle change appeared in the catalogue; under Uncle Sam the classical students were to be prepared "for college"; now the statement read "for the best colleges."(4) Finally, Tilton introduced the study of modern languages into the curriculum of the English Department. With the backing of the Trustees he obtained the services of Professor Oscar Faulhaber, who had been conducting a small private school of his own in Andover, to teach French and German. There was, however, an extra charge of five dollars a term for boys taking these courses.(5)

Principal Tilton also took a different approach from that of Uncle Sam in dealing with his faculty. During the Taylor years the Principal dictated what was to be done in the School, whether the matter concerned curriculum or discipline. Tilton started having weekly faculty meetings at which disciplinary cases were discussed. To give the Assistants a share in the running of the School was obviously a great morale booster. The Principal also worked hard to appoint able men to the faculty. In his last year two distinguished men joined the School---Edward G. Coy, who was to be one of the School's great teachers until 1892, and John M. Tyler, who left after one year to go to Amherst, where he had a brilliant career as a teacher of biology.(6) Up until this time the Assistants, for the most part, had been men of mediocre ability who stayed but a short time. If the School could attract truly gifted teachers, Tilton believed, the whole atmosphere of the place would be changed. The Principal also moved to break the hammer-lock that the Theological Seminary had on the Sunday services. Twice each Sunday the boys were required to go to church to listen to long, involved sermons that they often did not understand. Tilton got the Trustees to vote that a Vesper service for the School alone be substituted for the afternoon Seminary service. According to the record the Seminary Professors approved this change, but if they did, they changed their minds, for it was not long before the permission to hold Vesper services was rescinded.(7) But this only paved the way for the establishment of such services under Dr. Bancroft.

It was in the field of discipline that Principal Tilton had his greatest difficulties. One alumnus wrote:

I remember Mr. Tilton one day stating in the school that a certain number of boys would be expelled if another bonfire were started in the yard. I happened to be among those he named. Well a bonfire was started and yet we were not expelled. Such statements, of course, hurt his power over the boys. Doctor Taylor would not, probably, have made such a statement but if he had he would have carried it out and every boy knew that he would.

The same writer added: "Mr. Tilton did not have the force of character to succeed in disciplining the school along the line that Doctor Taylor followed."(8) As time went on, Tilton became more and more apprehensive about student outbreaks and is reported to have been out all night in hopes of forestalling them. At the Exhibition of 1872 a mock program entitled "The Pony Phaeton" lambasted the Principal harshly. "The depth of Misery-Tilly leading morning prayers" "Faculty Meeting: Tilly in the chair, George [Taylor] at the desk, Tommy [Thompson] drunk in the corner... Tilton---Well, I loike Wsgy bully. He gave me some gin onct; guess we'll keep him and kick some one on the list."

All Old Clothes Dealers are hereby notified to fight shy of the Phillipian commons, as I want all the old clothes for myself. Donors please leave only shirts and pants, as I'm fond of them.
                                  F. W. Tilton.

Tilton and Eaton were billed as "The Great Egyptian jugglers" in a bogus theatrical performance while Thompson and Starbuck were to juggle seven whiskey bottles previously emptied by the faculty.(9) All good clean fun, but with a bite to it.

Tilton did get the best of the students on one occasion. Fearing that some miscreant would steal the clapper to the chapel bell and thus prevent its being rung for church on Sunday, Tilton had a spare clapper made. Sure enough, one cold December Saturday night, the clapper vanished. Armed with his spare, however, the sexton simply replaced it and much to the discomfiture of the culprits, the bell pealed out as usual at the appointed time. Despite this victory it seems clear that the maintenance of discipline at Phillips Academy proved too difficult a job for a man with Tilton's temperament to handle successfully. And that must have been primarily responsible for his decision to resign "on account of his health being insufficient to a longer continuance of so onerous a trust."(10) So Frederic W. Tilton left Andover with his family in the summer of 1873 and returned to be Principal of a Newport high school. He remained there until 1890 and then retired to spend the rest of his life living in Cambridge and traveling. Despite his short stay and his weakness as a disciplinarian, Tilton moved purposely in the right direction while he was Principal, and he undoubtedly made it easier for Cecil Bancroft to continue where he had left off.


The man who came to Andover in the summer of 1873 to serve as the eighth Principal of Phillips Academy had an unusual background. Cecil Franklin Patch Bancroft was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, on 25 November 1839, the fifth child of what were to be eight in an old New England family that had for several previous generations lived in Groton, Massachusetts. Early in his life he was in effect adopted by a Mr. and Mrs. Patch of neighboring Ashby, Massachusetts, who named him for their son, who had recently died. His foster parents saw to it that he had a good education; after attending the public schools in Ashby, he was sent to Appleton Academy at New Ipswich, where he met John Wesley Churchill, who was to become a life-long friend. From Appleton he went on to Dartmouth, where he graduated in 1860, fourth in a class of sixty-five. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, gave a commencement oration entitled "The Rhine," and was highly respected by his classmates. Like other undergraduates at that time, Bancroft taught school in the winter to help defray expenses, spending two seasons in Groton, Massachusetts. Upon graduation from Dartmouth, he returned to Appleton Academy, where he became Principal for four years, assisted by his sister, Susie F. Bancroft. During this period he became acquainted with one of his girl pupils, Frances A. Kittredge, whom he was later to marry. After four years at Appleton, he determined to enter the ministry and enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in New York City for a year, serving for part of this time as a member of the Christian Commission, a forerunner of the Red Cross, at the front lines in the waning days of the Civil War. The following year he entered Andover Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1867, making his first contact with Phillips Academy by serving as an Assistant to Uncle Sam Taylor during part of his last year in Andover.(11)

After the Civil War a wealthy New York merchant, Christopher Rhinelander Robert, determined to found a "loyal, Christian, New England school" in the South, in an effort to help bind up the nation's wounds. He selected Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, as the site for his project, purchased from the federal government some hospital buildings that had been constructed during the war, and began looking for a Principal to run his institution for him. Knowing of Uncle Sam Taylor's reputation as a New England schoolmaster, he came to him for advice. As one of Bancroft's eulogists puts it, "the Lord, speaking thro' Dr. Samuel H. Taylor of young Bancroft who, David-like, was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to, said, 'Arise, anoint him: for this is he.' "(12) Robert proceeded to anoint, Bancroft accepted, and there began what was to be a five-year experiment in bringing New England education to the South. On 1 May 1867, Bancroft was ordained at Mt. Vernon, New Hampshire. Five days later he was married to Frances Kittredge, and immediately the bride and groom set out for Tennessee. One who remembers them at that time describes the young couple as "young, handsome, genial, enthusiastic," being taken from Chattanooga "on a fresh May morning, up the winding, military road to the summit of Lookout Mountain."(13)

From all accounts the Bancrofts made an extraordinary record in a very difficult situation. It could not be expected that the recently defeated Southerners would welcome emissaries from that section of the country most identified in the public mind with the antislavery movement. The presence at the school of former slaves, not as pupils but as paid servants, served as a constant reminder of the basic change in Southern society. Nor did visits of Jefferson Davis and Robert Toombs to a nearby hotel make life any easier. Yet Bancroft and his wife proved to be masters of conciliation. As one pupil remembers it, "It was one thing for an orator of red blood in this climate in the days of Reconstruction to fire the Northern heart; it was altogether a different and more difficult thing for an orator from hated New England to speak words of wisdom and conciliation that won the respect of a Southern Constituency and at the same time maintaining unimpaired the respect of the Union. Dr. Bancroft did it." In addition to running the school, the new Principal preached regularly on Sundays. When an associate asked if this did not put too heavy a burden on him, he replied, "I like to preach Sunday to keep sweet thro' the week.' A former pupil at Lookout Mountain remembers "when on Saturday afternoons we sauntered thro' inviting ravines, climbed the outstanding cliffs or gathered flowers from historic battlefields in the company of this bridegroom and bride, who were not only our teacher and matron, but our familiar friends." As long as Northern interest in Reconstruction remained strong, the school apparently prospered. White students, both boys and girls, came not only from the surrounding area, but from Georgia as well. In its five years of existence close to one thousand pupils attended. When in the early 1870's, however, Northern interest in Reconstruction began to wane and Southern leaders began to regain control of Southern society, difficulties developed. Former owners of the land on which the school was located brought suit against Robert and threatened to tie up the operation entirely. Robert himself transferred his main interest to the founding of what became Robert College in Constantinople. And finally, as one writer puts it, "local opposition to its [the school's] Yankee origin led him [Robert] soon to abandon the experiment."(14) In 1872 the institution closed its doors, and Bancroft was forced to leave what was for him "a romance of love, a romance of patriotism, and a romance of missions."(15)

Upon leaving Lookout Mountain, the Bancrofts, with their two children, Cecil and Frances, both of whom had been born in Tennessee, determined to spend a year in Europe. Part of the time was passed in travel and part at Halle, where Bancroft studied theology and the German educational system. In the early spring of 1873 he was in Rome apparently considering a position with "a mission station in Italy,"(16) when he received the offer to become Principal of Phillips Academy. The cablegram with the offer had been forwarded from Halle and pretty well mangled in transmission, so that it was not until he had returned to Germany and received further communication from the Trustees that he was able to determine the conditions of his appointment. His reply to the Trustees was characteristically modest:

The work at Andover is so great, so conspicuous, and of such a quality that I could not regard myself as equal to it, nor for a moment think of undertaking it without a strong conviction that the Lord was preparing the way before me, and would not withhold the wisdom and strength necessary to the execution of this appointment.

Dr. Wellman assures me of the unanimity and promptness of the action of the board. In such a momentous matter I value their judgment above my own.

If I were equally certain of the cordial welcome and endorsement of the appointment, by the members of the Theological Faculty, and by the teachers to be associated with me in the Academy, I think I should give, in this, my unreserved acceptance.

With a fair field and everything possible in my favor, I feel that I should imperil the interests of the Academy quite too much. Any individual disadvantage under which I should be put would seem to me decision against the acceptance of the trust. But of these things I cannot judge at this distance and with no opportunities of inquiry.

I must therefore commit the question to the board of Trustees. If no better man in the meantime, willing to accept the position, is found, and the Trustees still desire it I will do the best I can. I wish the Trustees to recall the appointment, without the least hesitation as regards me personally, if the interests of the institution can thereby be promoted. The question is one transcending personal interests . . . . Till I hear from you again I shall regard our engagement as binding upon me, but not binding upon you. And may God guide to the right decision.(17)

On receipt of this letter Dr. Seth Sweetser, President of the Board, wrote Bancroft what must have been completely convincing assurance of the Board's support, for on 17 May he telegraphed his acceptance of the position.(18) Thus it was that on the last day of July 1873 Bancroft with his family moved into the Double-Brick on Main Street to start a career of leadership that was to last close to thirty years.


The problems facing the new Principal were enough to daunt a man of less heart. In the first place, people were always getting his initials wrong.(19) The curriculum was antiquated, and Academy boys were having trouble gaining admission to some colleges; the faculty was demoralized by rapid turnovers, and between 1870 and 1875 every position was twice vacant and twice filled; the discipline of the School, as a result of Tilton's lack of firmness, was ragged at best; and the Academy's financial position was perilous, with a sizable debt and an unbalanced budget. Cecil Bancroft moved purposefully to deal with these problems directly, and after one year had begun to make progress. In June 1874 he made his first report to the Trustees, a most impressive document. After commenting on a slight drop in enrollment which he believed due to the large number of new teachers and the unsettling effects of Frederic Tilton's resignation, he proceeded to the problem of discipline, where, he said, the new administration had had "considerable trial." Since he was ignorant of the "familiar forms of disorder," he had had to do the best he could "in much ignorance and inexperience." Still and all, there had been some improvement over the immediately preceding years: the government had not been resisted, and "the school sentiment has with remarkable unanimity sustained the authority of the Teachers." There were always troublemakers: "Some students have used strong drink, some left town to play billiards, and a few kept company in Lawrence and elsewhere with lewd women." As a result, twelve had been rusticated, four expelled, and five suspended for a term. At the start, discipline was administered by the Principal, but later in the year cases of misconduct were referred to the Faculty as a whole, who voted the penalties. This became possible as new teachers became accustomed to the School and their jobs. At the start, the Principal added, he did not dare risk it.

Cecil Franklin Patch Bancroft, Eighth Principal of Phillips Academy.

As for the course of study, the new Principal proposed the addition of a fourth year for boys who would need it to gain college admission. In the new program there would be time for a more thorough drill in mathematics, courses in English for the Classical School could be included, and French and German could be available electives. There would still be boys who could complete the course in three years, but the fourth would create added flexibility. The new program was, however, still in the planning stage. During the summer the Principal and Assistants proposed to interview "various educated men, school officers and instructors, Presidents and Professors and hope to receive more light." Cecil Bancroft made six points in summary: not to fit specifically for any one college; not to invite boys to enter college from the Middle Year; not to curtail the course so that boys trying for Harvard would be "so heavily conditioned as to be practically excluded"; not to neglect students with good English instruction but no classics; not to forget that in the past the average stay of a student at Phillips Academy has been much less than three years; to provide a course that will enable "men mature, in good health, with strong purpose and aptitude to study" to finish in three years. Another new feature of the proposed plan would be the introduction of written examinations, replacing the oral grillings that had been such a terror to undergraduates in the Taylor years. Biblical studies had been rearranged so as to occupy one half hour on Monday mornings. The Principal added candidly, "This was a compromise with the pupils for being required to attend church twice on the Sabbath." Furthermore, instruction was being given by the new teachers rather than by Seminary people. "This has secured better instruction, better work on the part of the boys, and made each teacher more specifically a religious teacher." As soon as possible, the Principal wanted to substitute one hour of Bible study for the "afternoon preaching service in the Chapel. "I see no good reason for not omitting that service altogether," he added. After listing some material needs of the school, Principal Bancroft summed up his concerns about the future of Phillips Academy:

It is not enough that we have a history, not enough that we have an honorable fame; to live we must grow, comparing ourselves not with ourselves alone but also with our great rivals for the youth who are to be educated, many of whom surpass us already in numbers, endowments and equipment. Doing the advanced work now demanded renders, it more important than ever that we have able and permanent teach and keep up the numbers without which it is impossible to realize the best features of a great school. The increased expense of getting an education at Andover makes it necessary to render the school superior to the old order of things in educational merit. (20)

This first report has in it almost all the germs of Cecil Bancroft's long-range program: allowing the Faculty to participate in the running of the School; enlarging and modernizing the academic program so as to meet realistically the needs of the students, particularly with regard to college admission; determining to get advice from others outside the School and generally to involve the Faculty in educational movements at the state and national level; modifying the previous religious program, which was dominated by the Theological Seminary; and generally making Phillips Academy competitive with other preparatory schools in the nation. Seen in terms of the School's needs, the report is an extraordinary document.

Having been given a go-ahead by the Trustees for the introduction of a four-year program, Cecil Bancroft set out to draw the best plan possible. Nor did he intend to rely solely on the resources in Andover itself. He determined to get the advice of leading college presidents and other educators in the New England area and thus became the first Principal of Phillips Academy to go outside the School for advice on educational matters. To be sure, back in the 1780's judge Samuel Phillips had asked Timothy Pickering to make suggestions on the School's constitution, but when he did so, the judge paid no attention. From Eliphalet Pearson on, the Principals of Phillips Academy had run the School pretty much by themselves and made no attempt to confer with other educators on curricular matters. By contrast, Bancroft had the proposed four-year program printed up and sent to such people as President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard and President Noah Porter of Yale. Though Eliot's reply is no longer in the record, he and Bancroft corresponded regularly about college entrance requirements and other problems in what was certainly a fruitful exchange, and it can be assumed that he made some incisive comments on Bancroft's proposal. The response to the four-year course was generally favorable. President Porter of Yale thought it was a poor idea to print the titles of the books used and also the precise number of hours per week. He believed that the individual teacher should be given flexibility in these matters. He also thought that natural history might be better than physics and chemistry. But generally he praised the plan.(21) President William A. Stearns of Amherst, an Academy Trustee, was particularly pleased with the introduction of French and German. One of his Amherst professors thought that both should be required, but Stearns thought that would be too much.(22) President Robinson of Brown turned the plan over to two of his professors, who heartily approved it, suggesting only that the Odyssey be used instead of the Iliad.(23) Though few of the specific recommendations of these educators were adopted, their overall support for the program was encouraging, and in 1875 the new four-year course was published in the catalogue, including more mathematics, French or German, chemistry, and training in English composition once a week. It would be twenty years before Cecil Bancroft could get all the curricular changes he wanted for the Classical Department, but he had made a good start.

In July 1874 Bancroft was invited to address the University Convocation in Albany on "The Relations of the Colleges and the Secondary Schools." This was another first for Phillips Academy, as there is no record of any previous Principal speaking before a gathering of educators. Bancroft took his assignment seriously. After talking of the current revolution in education, he examined two forces at work in the country; one sought to extend the task of the secondary schools and have their graduates go directly to the university; the other sought to have the colleges reach down into the secondary school years and take over the last two years of their work. The first force, modeled on the German educational system with its gymnasia, was not, Bancroft believed, suited to conditions in the United States; the second force would dilute the work of both schools and colleges, to the disadvantage of both. More important was the tendency of the colleges to increase their requirements for admission. Harvard had done so by demanding another year of preparation from the schools, which had necessitated the development of four-year rather than the old three-year courses. This, said Bancroft, had produced "a feeling of suppressed revolt" among the schools. It would make a school "a mere appendage of another institution." It would mean that secondary school teachers would be no longer be free to teach as they thought best and would thereby tend to drive the best men from the schools. Preparation for college entrance examinations, with its precisely defined drill, destroyed the teacher's chance to teach as he wished and meant that, in effect, the colleges were dictating the content of school courses. What was the solution? The colleges must be willing to accept a certificate from a school stating a student's eligibility for admission and abandon the present examinations. Only by so doing could the morale and quality of secondary school teaching be maintained for the tremendous benefit of the students themselves and the country generally. The address was well conceived and well written; the theme that comes through loudest is Cecil Bancroft's concern for the welfare of secondary school teachers.(24)

Most heads of schools and colleges who are new on the job wish to make a name for themselves by revising the institution's curriculum. In many cases they push through a fairly comprehensive reform and then sit back and rest on their laurels for the remainder of their term of office. Bancroft did not follow this approach. His curricular reforms were instituted gradually and piecemeal and were continuing right up to the time of his death in 1901. In dealing with the Classical Department, his major aims were clear. Though a classicist himself, he agreed that too great an emphasis had been placed on Latin and Greek, and he sought to introduce French and German as well. He also believed that all members of the Classical Department should have more training in English, following the advice of President Eliot of Harvard, who had urged such a step.(25) Finally, he wanted to see a stronger science program at the School. It is not necessary to trace each step in the process by which these changes were instituted. The French program got under way in 1875 under Phillips Academy's first woman teacher, a Miss Courtis. "I had hoped," wrote the Principal, "that some friend of the woman's cause would have assisted in securing her an adequate salary." There was some difficulty introducing a female teacher at first, but she had done well, and he would be glad to retain her services.(26) The following year Bancroft reported that Professor Edward G. Coy was teaching nothing but Greek, realizing the first step in what he hoped could eventually become a standard policy whereby all teachers would instruct in but one subject.(27) As the quality of the program was stepped up, the need for books increased, and the Principal managed to divert $500 from the Phillips fund for that purpose.(28) By 1885 a great deal had been accomplished: the four-year program was well established, four years of English were required of all classical students, modern languages were required in the third year, and Bancroft could report to the Trustees that it was time to shift attention from instruction and the curriculum to buildings. Even though the shift was made, however, there continued to be curricular changes, and steady progress toward limiting teachers to one subject.(29) In 1893 six teachers had purely departmental work and three more approached it.(30) The policy made possible the specialization that led to superior teaching.

The best way of summarizing the curricular changes that Dr. Bancroft made in the Classical Department is to compare the curriculum of 1873, when he took over, with that of 1900, just before his death:

1873   1900
1st Term Latin Grammar
(Full year courses)
2nd Term Latin Grammar
Latin Composition
Natural Science
3rd Term Latin Grammar
Latin Prosody
Greek Grammar
Method of Classical Study
1st Term Virgil
Greek Grammar
History of Rome
2nd Term Cicero
History of Greece
French or German
Algebra and Geometry
3rd Term Cicero
History of Greece
1st Term Virgil
Greek Syntax
Homer' Iliad
Latin Synonyms
Greek Composition
2nd Term Virgil
Latin and Greek Verse
Ancient Geography
Review of Arithmetic
Algebra and Geometry
French or German
3rd Term


Translations from Greek into Latin and Latin into Greek

General Review

    Electives from a long list including the above and Physics, Chemistry, three history courses, Botany and Mechanical Drawing(31)

While these changes were being made in the curriculum of the Classical Department, similar reforms were being introduced into the English Department curriculum. When Cecil Bancroft took over in 1873, the English Department was still an independent branch of the school, under the leadership of La Roy F. Griffin. When he left in 1875, Dr. Bancroft quietly suggested that his successor, George C. Merrill, be Peabody Instructor in the Natural Sciences but have no independent administrative control over the English Department. By eliminating the previous two-legged administrative system, the Principal gained overall supervision of the whole School, avoided duplication in procedural matters, and achieved uniform treatment of the students in the two departments. But the Principal left curricular matters in the hands of the Peabody Instructor, who continued to make separate reports to the Trustees. In 1881 Dr. Bancroft succeeded in persuading William B. Graves, who had been Peabody Instructor from 1866 to 1870, to return to that post, and for the remainder of the century the English Department prospered under his vigorous and enthusiastic leadership. Professor Graves frankly admitted that the nature of the science courses in his department was determined by college science courses and college requirements. In 1887, for example, Graves was busy preparing a new physics course that would meet a new one at Harvard, and the following year he reported that the Andover chemistry course was shaped by Harvard's "Chem. B."(32) As the requirements of scientific colleges like M.I.T., the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, and the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard grew stricter, pressure mounted to add a fourth year to the English Department program, and in 1884 this was done. It was also found that Latin was a useful subject in the scientific colleges, and accordingly at least one year of that subject was required after 1885.(33) This move did much to break down the barrier between the two departments and to remove the superciliousness with which the Classical students had regarded their English counterparts. As Professor Graves wrote, "The Introduction of Latin as a required subject has done much to give strength and steadiness to the Dept. It can not be said now that the 'English boys' have nothing to do. "(34) As time went on, it became steadily clearer that the term "English Department" was a misnomer, and all the more so because the four-year English requirement in the Classical School was leading to the formation of an "English Department" there. Accordingly, in 1894 the name was changed to the much more appropriate "Scientific Department."(35)

William Blair Graves, Head of the English Department
under Principal Bancroft.

In the Classical Department it was possible to conduct classes pretty much on the principle of Mark Hopkins and a log. A teacher, some pupils, and some books, and they were in business. In the Scientific Department, however, good laboratory equipment was essential if the boys were to be properly prepared for college. Thus in almost every report Professor Graves tried to dun the Trustees for more money for better scientific equipment. In 1883 he wrote of the existing apparatus: 'Purchased the year the Academy was dedicated, with scarcely any additions since, it is hardly worthy of the school."(36) The Trustees were sympathetic and each year granted from three to five hundred dollars for apparatus.(37) When Professor Graves went on a sabbatical in 1888, one of his main purposes was to purchase laboratory equipment in Europe, and it is clear that he overspent his grant in doing so.(38) Gradually the facilities for scientific study improved, as such items as a spectroscope, a polariscope, and a new gas machine---contributed by a parent---were added.(39) The trouble was that laboratory courses took a lot of time. In 1883 Professor Graves was complaining that he had to teach trigonometry, surveying, geometry, algebra, arithmetic, astronomy, physics, political economy and the Constitution of the United States, and insisting, reasonably enough, that he could not do justice to his science courses as a result.(40) In 1882 the sciences got a shot in the arm when the Trustees constructed a building to serve as a laboratory. It was a hideous brick, designed as part of a larger science building to come later.(41) The science people had to make do with this structure until 1891, when the rest of the building was completed to form the present Graves Hall. Professor Graves was ecstatic: "The completion of the Science Building marks an epoch in the history of the English Department. It restores to the Department something of the prestige which it had during the first ten years of its existence, when it possessed buildings and a faculty of its own .... it is clear that the new building, set apart for scientific work, will not only elevate the Dept to its proper relative position, but will tend to make the school more attractive to students. In its architectural proportions, the arrangement of rooms and their equipment, little is left to be desired." The only fault that he could find was that the lavatory was not properly ventilated.(42) Thus by the end of the century the newly named Scientific Department was well staffed and well equipped to turn out well prepared students for the best scientific colleges in the country.

An English Department Classroom in 1878.

One educational reform that Dr. Bancroft insisted on from the start was the substitution of written for oral examinations. No copies of exams for the Classical Department during this period have been preserved, but a few for the English Department, prepared during the 1870's, reveal something about classroom procedures of the day. A German exam, for instance, included the following question:

Translate and write in German script. Give that letter to the count; we have seen a comet.


What is the partitive article and to what does it answer in English?

Mental Philosophy:

Define Consciousness, and state all that it presents to the mind.


Describe the process of making H2S04 and give the reactions used.


Give the laws of vertical downward pressure in liquids.

English Literature:

Write on the works of Fielding, Smollett, and Richardson.


What important rivers would you cross in going from Boston to Albany in a direct line? From Nashville to Chicago?


Analyze according to model. Parse underlined words. "An axiom is a truth assumed as self-evident."


Correct and tell which rule is violated. "I am obliged to remain as I have not enough money to proceed."

English History:

Identify from the Cromwellian period: The Dutch War, Ireland, Foreign Policy, Religion, Long Parliament.


The three sides of a triangle are 627, 718, and 1140. Find the angles and give the formula.


If the bricks for a wall 30 ft. long, 24 ft. high and 1 ft. thick cost $72, when bricks are worth $5 per 1000, required the cost of bricks for a wall 128 ft. long, 37 ft. 6 in. high, and 16 in. thick, bricks worth $6 per 1000.

The questions indicate that being examined at Phillips Academy in the 1870's was pretty much a matter of rote memory. This was particularly true of the nonscientific and nonmathematical subjects, but even in algebra there are no word problems.(43) It would be many years before the students would be asked to think for themselves on examinations and not merely regurgitate what they had learned by heart.

The undergraduates followed the curricular changes of the Bancroft years with keen interest, at least if one is to judge by the School newspaper, the Phillipian, founded in 1878. The paper early noted the shift in emphasis to mathematics and the sciences and remarked that it was becoming fashionable to attack Greek and Latin while favoring modern languages and the sciences. The article went on to suggest, however, that those who attacked the classics were generally those with poor academic records, while the 'brighties" stuck with Latin and Greek.(44) What was needed, the Phillipian thought, was a happy medium between the old rigidity and a system of free electives; they thought it should be possible to take modern languages instead of Latin and Greek and English history and literature for mathematics.(45) At the same time, the paper demanded more instructors, pointing out that the existing staff was working six hours a day when three were normal.(46) Some five years later it suggested that Greek and Latin were dying out as a monopoly and that modern languages were coming to be on a par with ancient ones. When, however, an attempt was made to have language tables at one of the boarding houses, the Phillipian pronounced them a "bore."(47) Since there was no hope of the administration's introducing such a course, the students themselves set up one in what was then called "phonography", or shorthand, much as students today arrange for courses in typing on a voluntary basis.(48) The two debating societies, Philo and Forum, debated such topics as the superiority of elective courses over prescribed ones and the superiority of a classical curriculum over a scientific one. When History Instructor Archibald Freeman decided to substitute a course in current events for one in medieval history, the Phillipian gave him a "Right On."(49) Nor were their articles limited to affairs on Andover Hill. In 1894 the paper published a full report on the work of the so-called "Committee of Ten" of the National Educational Association, under the chairmanship of President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard.(50) The chances are that no one in authority paid much attention to what the paper had to say about curricular matters, but at least the editors were attempting to make the undergraduate body aware of the educational trends of the day.

In achieving these curricular changes Cecil Bancroft, unlike previous Phillips Academy Principals, kept in touch with a wide variety of educators whom he used as a sounding board for his proposals. He had found the advice of college presidents useful when he established the four-year program for the Classical Department, and he determined to pursue the same line with later reforms. Exchanges of this kind can be a two-way street, and by the end of his career, Dr. Bancroft was probably the most sought-after secondary school man in the United States. He corresponded with President Eliot and Dean Briggs of Harvard on entrance requirements and the Andover program for the classics;(51) he wrote Albert C. Perkins, Principal of Exeter, about salaries.(52) President Franklin Carter of Williams, an Academy Trustee during most of Dr. Bancroft's term of office, unburdened himself frequently about a variety of matters---student smoking, the alarming competition from Amherst, language programs, and the need for moral tone in educational institutions.(53) Headmaster J. C. MacKenzie of Lawrenceville covered a wide range of topics---the pronunciation of Latin, football games between the two schools, and scholarships. "As I figure on your funds and running expenses I marvel that you do not increase your tuition," MacKenzie wrote. "I think it is a just principle that the rich should pay approximately what an education costs, and any income that comes to an institution in this way could be used to give additional help to the meritorious indigent student."(54) And he asked Dr. Bancroft to help him form the Headmasters' Association. Headmaster Richard M. Jones of Penn Charter thought the Headmasters' Association would be a waste of time.(55)

Nor was Bancroft content to pick only American brains. In the summer of 1878 he traveled in England and spent a good part of his time studying the great British schools---Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester, Westminster, Christ's Hospital, and Charterhouse. He was convinced that the success of these schools rested on their "enormous endowments," which made the Headmasters "rank with Bishops in consideration and emolument." He also thought them progressive, with new buildings, new courses, new masters, and new prizes. Finally, he was impressed that the Chapel was the center of school life; "the Established Church, its ordinances, and creeds are recognized and honored and loved, and the religious life is represented and treated as exceeding in dignity and importance the intellectual life of the school."(56) The three things that Dr. Bancroft found impressive about the British schools---endowment, progressivism, and a meaningful religious program---were all things he had set his heart on for Phillips Academy, and thus his English summer must have served to urge him on all the more resolutely. In dealing with the school in general and the curriculum in particular, Cecil Bancroft was not content to depend on Andover resources; throughout his career he availed himself of a wide range of advice from other educators. And the result was just the kind of progressive program that he was looking for.

At the same time, Dr. Bancroft was no radical reformer. At the start of his administration he believed that the curriculum was too heavily weighted with the classics and that English, modern languages, and the sciences should be given more time and attention. But he had no intention of allowing the pendulum to swing too far in the other direction. In 1893 he gave an address before the International Congress of Education in Chicago on the question whether the time for languages should be further reduced to allow for more comprehensive science courses---a question that he answered with a resounding "No." According to Bancroft the increased amount of time accorded the sciences had benefited not only them but the languages as well. "It has been found possible to do in less time an equal amount of good work," he claimed. "The laboratory has not excluded the lexicon; on the other hand, the grammar and the lexicon have demanded for themselves a laboratory, and the languages have taken on methods as exact and scientific as botany, physics, and chemistry. It is now incumbent upon the sciences to make the most of the time already conceded, and to make a gain by an improved method equal to that which the languages have made." Furthermore, the schools should emphasize subjects that could be taught only in school, like the classics. Scientific studies could be pursued outside School much more easily. "Commerce and the arts are fostering the scientific studies" but cannot help cultural studies, at least directly. Thus the present balance between language and scientific studies was a healthy one, with the two programs being complementary rather than antagonistic. "Time given at the outset grudgingly is now accorded willingly, and the disparagement of the old education has given place to a grateful recognition of its coordinate value in the training of the coming generation." A classicist himself, Cecil Bancroft could not be expected to jettison the classics in contemporary curricula, but his defense of language was so conciliatory that it is hard to see how even the most committed scientist could object.(57)


It was all very well to devise a new curriculum for Phillips Academy, but without a strong faculty to teach the courses, curricular reform would be meaningless. In building a faculty, Dr. Bancroft made his most important contribution to Phillips Academy and eliminated Eliphalet Pearson's old concept of the dictatorship of the Principal in the running of the school. Dr. Bancroft would surely have subscribed to the statement made many years later by John Mason Kemper, Eleventh Headmaster of Phillips Academy, who wrote:

The policy of building a strong faculty at Andover ... is remarkable also in that it so clearly accepts the premise that a teacher is not a hired hand, but a highly trained professional whose experience and judgment are vital assets to society, and for whom an adequate salary and satisfactory work conditions must be provided. It places the teacher in his school on a par with the lawyer in his firm or the doctor in his hospital. It is a way of persuading the teacher that others respect him and his calling. (58)

Dr. Bancroft clearly stated his policy on building a strong faculty when he addressed the Boston Alumni Dinner in 1886. On that occasion he said:

The second point has been the creation of a faculty. In the years from 1870 to '75, a period which will always be memorable in the history of the Academy ... every place in the Academy, from the highest to the lowest, was twice vacant and twice filled. It was nobody's fault; it was everybody's misfortune. It would be a very strong school that could stand such a strain as that. To gather a faculty, able and stable, is not an easy task. It is one which has absorbed the attention of the authorities, and the results are, to many of you, already measurably well known. We have aimed to get teachers who are both able and willing to remain with us, giving us not alone their 'prentice work, but also their highest and best professional work in the glory and pride of their teaching powers.(59)

Dr. Bancroft's aim to attract teachers who would spend their whole careers at Andover was a new concept; before he became Principal, as we have seen, the Assistants seldom stayed for more than a year or two. Dr. Bancroft's concern for his teachers never flagged throughout his entire career. In 1891 he reported to the Trustees:

The past year has been one of fidelity on the part of the teachers, some of whom are frequently approached with offers of attractive work elsewhere. It is very desirable to keep our tried teachers, even at great effort and cost. The teaching force is the strongest element in the school and must not be sacrificed.

Dr. Bancroft understood that good teachers would be more likely to stay at Andover if they were given a share in the running of the School. In his first report he announced to the Trustees that disciplinary cases were being handled by the Faculty as a whole, and he reported later that Faculty meetings were discussing a wide range of topics and were a useful institution in the administration of the School.(60) There are no full records of Faculty meetings before the 1890's, but the minutes of that decade indicate that the administrative role of the Faculty was significant. An important area of concern was the perennial problem of discipline. The usual student high jinks were landed on heavily: a group were dismissed "for holding carnival in their room after the Exeter game";(61) another boy was suspended for failure to conform to "requirements as to his return from New York City after the funeral of his aunt" ;(62) another was dismissed for sneaking out to attend what is described as "Grand Opera";(63) another theatrically minded youth got the same treatment for attending Uncle Tom's Cabin.(64) Drinking was always hit hard: one boy was fired for "taking liquor in Lawrence";(65) another for "taking intoxicating liquor on Washington's Birthday."(66) From the point of view of the Faculty mere conversation with members of the opposite sex was ipso facto evidence of complete depravity. One boy in 1900 "forfeited his school standing for conversing with unknown women upon the street";(67) another was dismissed for riding in Lawrence with an Abbot Academy senior, thereby contributing to her dismissal from her school;(68) and a third unfortunate was dismissed for "walking with a girl during church time" (presumably a time when the culprit thought nobody would catch him) (69) At times the Faculty resorted to unusual methods of preserving order: in 1898 it was voted "that in view of the recent disturbances near the Latin Commons and the cottages, certain selected members of the school be held as hostages for the good behavior of those houses."(70) Finally, the Faculty was death on plagiarism: in one instance a boy was called to account for a story in a school magazine that bore "resemblances to an Easter story in The Ladies' Home Journal. "(71) There is no evidence that the Faculty were any easier on the boys than Uncle Sam Taylor had been, though they were probably less arbitrary. Throughout this cops-and-robbers contest, however, they gradually began to draw up a disciplinary code differentiating among various types of crimes, and by the end of the decade they had the matter well in hand.

One of the most extraordinary evidences of faculty participation in running the School is to be seen in their relationship to Principal Bancroft. In 1892, for example, the Faculty voted that in their judgment the School needed a Recorder, and requested the Principal to "secure the appointment of such an officer and to define his duties." Later, after Dr. Bancroft had obediently complied with this request, his report on the matter to the Faculty was "accepted and adopted."(72) On another occasion the minutes read: "All present. Dr. Bancroft tardy."(73) On at least three occasions Cecil Bancroft was elected a member of Faculty committees to deal with such matters as the Dramatic Club, prize debates, and commencement entertainment.(74) On the other hand, one reads occasionally of a boy's case being left to the Principal; and on another occasion the Faculty, after directing the Registrar to assign the teaching of supplemental reading equitably among the whole Faculty, added the note, "the Principal excepted."(75) Toward the end of the 1890's one begins to read of committees appointed by the chair, rather than elected, as in the past, and there are other signs that whatever the latitude allowed the faculty at an earlier time, the Principal was beginning to reassert himself. Even so, there is no question that the Faculty, by 1900, had been given a large amount of power in dealing with School affairs, and that the Principal was primus inter pares rather than a dictator of the old type. This development is all the more remarkable when it is remembered that in the Constitution of Phillip's Academy, all the power to run the School is lodged in the Principal.(76)

The Faculty also moved into two areas of School life that had hitherto been neglected by the authorities---athletics and health. When the new Main Building was occupied in 1866, Bulfinch Hall---the old Brick Academy---became available as a gymnasium, and from time to time the Trustees voted small sums of money to buy equipment for the building. Mere gymnastic exercises could not serve, however, as a permanent solution for the athletic interests of the undergraduates, and in the 1870's they began fielding baseball teams that played outside games, the first with Exeter being played in 1878. The score of this first Andover-Exeter contest was Exeter 11, Andover 1. During those early years the teams were supported by undergraduate contributions, and the entire interscholastic program was run by the boys themselves. Since athletic activities were, in the long run, of great importance for the School, it was just a matter of time before the authorities would want to control and regulate them, and in the 1890's the Faculty moved in with apparent relish. First of all, they took an active interest in what sports were to be played. In 1892 they voted a list of events for track meets, including among other more familiar ones, "pole leaping" and a "two mile safety bicycle race. "(77) When interest in tennis appeared, it was voted: "that the Tennis Association give an account of itself and its proposed plans."(78) The Faculty disapproved of "public boxing contests in school tournaments" and abolished them.(79) In those days it was the practice of undergraduates to hire "professional trainers"---that is, coaches---a system the Faculty apparently disliked. In any event, several votes were passed urging that trainers be eliminated.

The Faculty could come to the defense of an Andover team when occasion demanded it. In 1893, when a certain Exeter baseball player was apparently suspected of being a ringer, the Faculty voted that if his name "be certified in the list of players upon the Exeter nine, the protest of our management against his name be endorsed and supported."(80) They also concerned themselves with such practical matters as hours of practice, improved athletic facilities, umpiring football games and the like. They made various rules governing training tables, including the cost of the board, and wound up with a magnificent vote to the effect that "the use of ale at the training table be discouraged." The word 'discouraged" was later crossed out and "prohibited" substituted.(81) What had started as a completely unregulated undergraduate activity was gradually taken over by the Faculty, the logical outcome being the appointment of Alfred E. Stearns as Director of Athletics in 1897. In this area it was the Faculty rather than the Principal who made policy.

In several of his reports to the Trustees Dr. Bancroft had expressed his concern about student health and the inadequate facilities for dealing with sickness. Several boys had died of disease---for example, consumption---while students at Andover, and the School had no program for dealing with such cases. (82) A sick student simply stayed in his room until he got better; if he were sick enough, he could call on a town doctor for treatment; but aside from physical examinations for athletic teams, the individual student was pretty much on his own in this area. One of the most persistent problems the Faculty had to face was boys they called "Chronic Invalids" and whom they apparently suspected of malingering. They finally drew up a list of the students with the largest number of absences through illness, labeled them "Chronic Invalids," and voted not to excuse their absences in the future without a doctor's certificate.(83) On occasion the Faculty would vote to have a boy withdraw until his health improved, but they refused to allow a boy to change his room because of a lame knee. The area in which the faculty evidently considered themselves most competent, medically speaking, was eyes. There were numerous boys excused from a course in supplementary reading for "weak eyes." Since an even larger number of petitions to drop supplementary reading were turned down, one suspects the trouble to have been the course, not the eyes. The Clerk of the Faculty was a most precise man in these matters: after the Faculty had voted to excuse a boy from a course, the clerk added: "(on account of eyes---one eye) "(84) Whatever one may think of particular policies developed by the Faculty during the 1890's, there is no dispute that here is a lively group of men, clearly dedicated to the School, and, more important, having a large share in the administration of it. Though it is unwise to be dogmatic, it seems clear that sharing the running of the School was of first importance in attracting great teachers to Andover and, what is more, keeping them there after they had come. Dr. Bancroft's policy of respecting his Faculty and treating them decently earned rich dividends.

Another piece of evidence that shows how teaching positions at Phillips Academy were valued in the profession is provided by a folder of applications for the position of Professor of Greek, which became vacant in 1894 when Clifford H. Moore, a distinguished scholar who would later be Professor of Classics at Harvard, left to go to the University of Chicago. There are twenty-three applications in Dr. Bancroft's files, and there may have been more than that; but the impressive thing is not the number of applicants but their quality and training. Five were Ph.D.'s and two of them from Johns Hopkins, then perhaps the leading graduate school in the country. Several more had done graduate work in foreign universities---Leipzig, Athens, and the like. Among the younger applicants was a Magna Cum Laude from Harvard and a Salutatorian at Yale, while others had had a college teaching experience at Amherst and Princeton or had taught at strong secondary schools. Finally a professor of Greek at the University of Utah---then still a territory---had had the unpleasant experience of losing his position when the territorial legislature abolished his job because of lack of funds.(85) Some of these applicants may have hoped to improve their financial position; the School paid as high as $2000, which was about the average being paid professors in the large universities during this period. Yet if many must have been attracted by more than salary, it would have been because at Andover a teacher had a chance to teach and study with freedom and, in addition, to participate in the running of the School. On the other side of the coin, teachers who voluntarily left Andover during the Bancroft years in most cases had been called to positions of greater importance in the field of education. A partial list would include John M Tyler, who left to be Professor of Biology at Amherst; H. C. Bierworth, who, like Moore, became a language professor at Harvard; M. Clement Gile, who became a professor at Colorado College; and Walter R. Newton, who became a professor at Rutgers. Finally, Edward G. Coy and David Y. Comstock left in 1892 to found the Hotchkiss School and thereby established the tradition of Andover faculty members being called to head other secondary schools.(86) In short, both the quality of the applicants for positions and the important posts that members of the Faculty left the School to hold testify to the high reputation of Phillips Academy teachers.

A high percentage of Dr. Bancroft's faculty appointees not only gave the School their " 'prentice years" but remained at Phillips Academy for their entire careers. The list is impressive:(87)

Matthew S. McCurdy 1874-1921
George T. Eaton 1880-1930
Charles E. Stone 1890-1937
Charles H. Forbes 1891-1933
Archibald Freeman 1892-1937
Allen R. Benner 1892-1938
James C. Graham 1892-1937
John L. Phillips 1894-1938
Frederick E. Newton 1895-1939
Alfred E. Stearns 1897-1933

Some of these teachers were truly great; others were no more than competent; but the group as a whole constituted force for stability and excellence in the School for the first third of this century. It is appropriate to mention briefly the work of some whose teaching was limited to the Bancroft administration. One of the foremost among them was Edward G. Coy, Instructor in and later Professor of Greek. A graduate of Yale in 1869, he came to Andover the same year as Dr. Bancroft, having taught for a few years at Williston Academy. Coy has been described as stiff and unbending in his attitude toward his students, but he was a highly competent scholar, and the boys, who called him "Eddie Greek," found his classes inspiring.(88) They also appreciated the frequent cuts that he gave.(89) In 1884 he was given a sabbatical and spent his time studying archaeology and philosophy at the University of Berlin and traveling in Italy and Greece.(90) His correspondence with Dr. Bancroft shows him to have been a stickler for precision in School administrative matters. At times he could be a prickly person for the Principal to handle. When he came to Andover, his contract read that he was to teach eighteen hours a week; as the School grew, it became necessary to increase the teaching loads, with some of the faculty teaching as many as twenty-six hours a week. Coy refused to budge, however, and insisted that the terms of his contract be honored.(91) When Dr. Bancroft went to Europe in the winter and spring of 1889, Coy, David Comstock, and William B. Graves became a 'Triumvirate' in the running of the School, with Coy technically top man. In his report to the Trustees that June he complained about not having been given proper authority for the job and went on to make sharp criticisms: "Our 'service' is wretched: our grounds are unkempt, our outbuildings are neglected, and even the school-rooms, at certain seasons of the year, are positively unfit for the reception of visitors for four days a week." He went on to suggest that the 'supposed night policeman" for the Hill should be fired.

Edward Gustin Coy, Professor of Greek under Principal Bancroft.

David Young Comstock, Professor of Latin under Principal Bancroft.

He was also disturbed about undergraduate drinking: "Thus while it is true that drunkenness in its coarser and more beastly forms has been less and less among us, yet the habit of intemperance seems to have increased, and that, too, among boys from families of culture, refinement and high social position."(92) Coy was a scholarly man who wrote a short history of Phillips Academy for the New Englander Magazine and served in the Greek section of President Eliot's Committee of Ten. In 1892 he left Andover, as noted, to become the first headmaster of the newly founded Hotchkiss School. Since Comstock went with him, many thought that Phillips Academy could never recover from the loss of these two distinguished teachers, but there is reason to believe that Dr. Bancroft may not have been too unhappy about their departure. As Headmaster J. C. MacKenzie of the Lawrenceville School wrote: "I am not sure that I ought to sympathize with you in your recent losses. If I were in your place I should be glad to have a body of men about me wholly of my own choosing."(93)

Mention has already been made of the work of William B. Graves in the English Department during this period. The third member of the Triumvirate was David Y. Comstock, Professor of Latin, who maintained the strict discipline in teaching that subject which has characterized most Academy Latin teachers until recent years. One of his pupils wrote of him:

Anyone who was taught Latin by Mr. Comstock may well be grateful that his boyhood's lot was cast in Phillips Academy in that great teacher's day. A thorough foundation of grammar, the requirement of exactness, the demand for promptness of thought, insistence on rigorous clearness of distinctions---all these admirable qualities of drill in what was then the center and marrow of a boy's education, were present in his teaching in the fullest measure. To many of us, the lively, almost fierce excitement of Commy's classroom was a stimulus that has left a deep influence on our whole life.(94)

A graduate of Amherst in the Class of 1873, he came to Phillips the following year, the second of Dr. Bancroft's administration. He was not merely a teacher; he edited a volume of the Aenead for use in the schools and was a strong right arm to the Principal in many Academy problems. His colleague, Matthew S. McCurdy, wrote at the time of his death:

We sat at the same table at the old Mansion House for nearly two years. We "inspected" the old Latin and English commons together for many years; and at the request of the Principal put in a good many evenings looking up the origin of campus fires, horn-blowing, out-of-town trips, and other things that occupied the attention of some of the boys of forty years ago . . . . He was a most delightful companion, quick at repartee, quick to see and make good use of any amusing situation, and an adept in getting harmless fun out of the follies and foibles of other people and yet always sympathetic and helpful, generous and kind, not only to his immediate friends but to all with whom he came in contact .... He had a quick temper which he usually kept in control; a slight vein of suspicion which sometimes led him to misjudge the motives of others; a stronger one of sarcasm which he occasionally used rather too freely, and was extremely sensitive to the opinions of others as to his methods and attitudes. (95)

Reading between the lines suggests that David Comstock was a difficult person to deal with, and when he left Andover to go with Edward Coy to Hotchkiss, Dr. Bancroft may not have regretted his departure all that much.

Finally, there was John Wesley Churchill, Professor of Elocution and an old friend of Cecil Bancroft. The two had prepared for college together at Appleton Academy, and while Churchill went to Harvard and Bancroft to Dartmouth, they joined forces again at the Andover Theological Seminary. Churchill was not, strictly speaking, a Phillips Academy instructor in the usual sense, for he also taught at the Theological Seminary, at Abbot Academy, and at numerous colleges, where he would offer a course for a term or so. In addition he was in great demand as a preacher and traveled widely over New England to meet preaching engagements. Even though he gave only a small part of his time to Phillips Academy, however, he was a strong influence in the School. Until he came to Andover in 1866, the Wednesday afternoon elocution exercises had been pretty feeble affairs, often taught by some disinterested theologue. From then on, with patience and enthusiasm for his work, Professor Churchill made the art of speaking an important part of a Phillips Academy education. He drilled the boys for the annual Exhibitions and saw the quality of speaking at these performances improve steadily year by year. His ability and his reputation were such that when Matthew Arnold came to the United States for a lecture tour, he turned to Churchill for instruction in speaking. Perhaps his most important contribution to the Academy, however, was as a staunch supporter and friend of Cecil Bancroft. There was probably no one on the Faculty on whom the Principal depended more. Thus, while his role in instruction at the School was relatively minor, he more than made up for that by his capacity for friendship and his support for useful causes.(96)

One reason why Cecil Bancroft was able to attract good teachers to Phillips Academy and, for the most part, hold them there, was that he understood what teaching was all about. Speaking before the Massachusetts Classical and High School Teachers' Association in 1894, he made a powerful statement about new teaching methods as opposed to the old. Today, he thought, instruction was based on educational theory rather than tradition. "We have come to understand . . . that learning lessons is not education. The valedictorians of the olden time were the men who got more A plusses than their fellows. We hold that accumulated information is not education. An encyclopedia is not literature. Accomplishments are no longer accepted as education. Today, teachers have studied the mind, its capacities and limitations, and have based upon a living and growing psychology the order and method of a new education. There is a nobler conception of what truth is, and how it comes into our lives, and how we can set others on its quest. There is a growing interest among teachers of all grades for a careful observation and understanding of mental phenomena, a careful study of the evolution of the mind and heart of the child." And he continued:

The seriousness of life is the great motive. Our appeal is to something larger than the rod or a medal. We are somewhat beyond bribing or frightening children into learning. The order, the industry, the constancy, the hopefulness of scholarship rest on ethical theory. Our best teachers are trying to live the intellectual life indeed, but do not stop there .... they are caught by the enthusiasm of humanity and they come to their pupils to work with them in a true sympathy. . . The magnificent emphasis which our generation lays upon sacrifice and service has created the new Sociology and it is changing the face of education. The old methods of governing and of teaching give way before the new spirit of mutual helpfulness .... Sympathy is not new in teaching, but as a habit, an attitude, a principle it was almost lost out of the magisterial school-master of the not long-ago.. . . The use of the library, the laboratory, and of extra-school material of various kinds, is one of the methods very much in vogue at present. To send pupils straight to the sources, to teach them how to accumulate material and how to conduct a genuine investigation has proved less difficult, more attractive, and more profitable than we used to think. Some years ago I often saw in school programmes in Southern States "The Dictionary" as one of the prescribed subjects of instruction .... The only way to learn to use a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a library, an arboretum is to use it. The laboratory physics is as much superior to text-book physics as drawing is to looking at pictures. A Kodak is more than a tool or a toy.

The good Doctor closed by deploring the growth of special classes for students and special treatment for particular individuals. The whole address has an extraordinarily modern ring to it and is striking evidence that Cecil Bancroft was one of the most thoughtful educators of his day. No wonder that his Faculty was happy to follow his leadership in educational matters.(97)

Impressive evidence that at least some of the Faculty had accepted Dr. Bancroft's philosophy of teaching can be seen in a letter written to him by Charles H. Forbes, destined to be one of the Academy's great teachers and Acting Headmaster in 1933. After teaching at Andover for two years, Forbes wrote:

Andover suits me, and I think I have something to give to Phillips. The school-master of the book-and-rule type has absolutely no attraction for me, but I would like to continue the effort to become an educator of boys. Would prefer to have my pupils remember me as something more than a mechanical pile-driver of facts---useful as such engines may be. It would also be pleasing if they left the recitation-room with minds somewhat better than mimeographic reproductions of the books they have used.(98)

By the end of his term as Principal, Cecil Bancroft had made tremendous strides in building a strong Faculty and in introducing the kind of pedagogy he wanted. Not all his teachers would be as sensitive as Charles Forbes to new teaching methods; there would still be "pile-drivers of facts" at Phillips Academy. And the road had not been easy. In his report to the Trustees in 1893, the Principal used the expression "sometimes I despair" in connection with meeting the problems that had to be overcome if Phillips Academy were to be the School he hoped for. On the other hand he must have been heartened by letters like the one from George Herbert Palmer, Professor of Greek at Harvard and an Andover alumnus, in 1888:

I find a curious impression current in the community that Phillips reached the height of its prosperity and teaching power under Uncle Sam, and that now it is doing as well as could be expected when deprived of that mighty influence. In my judgment the Andover of today is enormously better than any other Andover that ever was known; and if I am asked to say anything at the Dinner, I shall be very apt to say this---civilly of course, but with no undue reverence for the Uncle Sam legend, which I believe rests on no solid foundations. Educationally and morally I believe him to have been a humbug.(99)

Seen from the perspective of the 1970's, there can be no question that Cecil Bancroft did more to modernize the curriculum and establish the tradition of a strong Faculty than anyone else in the history of the School.

Chapter 10

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