THE POSITION of Principal of Phillips Academy in the last third of the nineteenth century was a back-breaking one, particularly if, like Cecil Bancroft, one had set the highest of standards for the School. Dr. Bancroft became Principal of the Academy before the Trustees had realized that he would need help if he were to carry out effectively the manifold duties of the position. It was not until 1888 that George D. Pettee, Instructor in Mathematics, was appointed Secretary of the Faculty and began to assume some of the routine responsibilities that hitherto had devolved solely upon the Principal. Up until that time Cecil Bancroft carried on all the correspondence---with parents, with prospective parents, with alumni, and with a wide variety of people interested in the School---and did it in longhand.(1) This was in addition to the classes he taught, the discipline cases he and the Faculty had to deal with, the Faculty concerns that demanded attention, the problems of the boarding-house ladies, the complaints from Abbot Academy, and the myriad other demands that his position as Principal brought him. Friends worried about his health. One thought he was not getting enough rest and offered to nurse the children and look after Mrs. Bancroft if only he would go away for a few weeks of complete freedom before School started.(2) A colleague wrote, "I am afraid you will get sick. I hope you won't try to teach any next year. I don't believe in suicide.(3) Though he did take several leaves of absence during his twenty-eight years as Principal, his death at the age of sixty-one was undoubtedly hastened by the demands of office. Cecil Bancroft burned himself out in the service of Phillips Academy, but that was the way he wanted it.
Dr. Bancroft's task of running Phillips Academy was not made easier by his Board of Trustees, who provided little assistance. Ever since the founding of the Andover Theological Seminary, that institution had taken up a large part of the Trustees' time and energy. In the 1880's and 90's, as the difficulties of the Seminary multiplied, this situation became worse. The so-called heresy trials, the decline in enrollment, the problem of holding strong professors all combined to concentrate the attention of the Trustees on the Seminary, at the expense of Phillips Academy. The minutes of meeting after meeting read, "No Academy business transacted," and at times there was no quorum. The nadir was reached in 1893 when Clerk Bancroft's minutes read, "The Clerk only was present at the hour to which the Trustees adjourned."(4) What a blow to Dr. Bancroft's morale it must have been. On the other hand, the Trustees were most considerate of the Principal himself. In 1876 a dispute developed over Edward G. Coy, the Professor of Greek, presumably because of his refusal to teach more than eighteen hours a week. Apparently the Trustees split on this issue, and some hard words were said to Dr. Bancroft. Trustee E. K. Alden wrote Bancroft, "You ought to receive a most humble apology for what was said to wound your feelings; and yet I am afraid you will not .... For one, I engage to use appropriate instrumental agencies . . . to reach the source of your chief annoyance, and to make it sure that your official relation is treated with its due respect."(5) The Reverend Seth Sweetser, President of the Board, urged the Principal not to resign because of this flap and added, "You have, I may not doubt, sufficient confidence in your own integrity, not to be moved by groundless assertions."(6) The crisis passed, and there is no record of further difficulty between Cecil Bancroft and his Board. The Trustees were understandably concerned about the Principal's health and were generous in giving him leaves of absence. In 1881 they gave him a vacation with an extra two hundred dollars; in 1888 they granted him a year's sabbatical with an extra one thousand dollars. In 1895 they granted five hundred dollars for a vacation abroad.(7) But for the most part they concerned themselves with routine financial matters, accepting gifts to the School, voting salaries, and appropriating money for building repairs. Evidence that dissatisfaction with the Trustees was fairly widespread can be seen in the move on the part of some of the younger alumni---for the most part pupils of Dr. Bancroft---to get the Phillips Academy Charter amended so as to provide for alumni trustees. This group petitioned the Massachusetts legislature in 1893, citing among other things that the membership of the Board had been more than half clergymen, in violation of the Constitution, and hoped to get some younger men chosen. The legislature turned a deaf ear, however, and the matter died quietly.(8) During the days of Samuel Farrar the Treasurer was a powerful force in support of the administration, but during the Bancroft administration Edward Taylor and Alpheus H. Hardy, though dedicated and conscientious Treasurers, stuck closely to purely financial matters and contributed little to Dr. Bancroft's broad program. This is not to denigrate the Trustees but rather to demonstrate the extent to which Cecil Bancroft had to go it alone in achieving what he did for Phillips Academy.
A major problem throughout his entire administration was the proper housing and feeding of the undergraduate body. In these areas Phillips Academy lagged far behind other schools. Writing to the Trustees in 1875, the Principal said that there were six New England schools, including Exeter and Williston, that had equipment superior to Andover's. Four years later he reviewed the whole problem of student boarding and housing:
Our commons and club arrangements are a serious drawback. As compared with Easthampton [Williston], Exeter, Quincy, St. Johnsbury, New London, Wilbraham, Dean, St. Paul's and several other academies our accommodations are mean, expensive, and very unattractive. The unsightliness of commons is of little account, but it is too true, that our supervision of them is insufficient, that the care of rooms is left to the boys entirely, even to the removal of wastewater and ashes, the sweeping, bed-making and cleaning. The boarding arrangements are capricious, the room often unduly crowded, the table manners boisterous, the expenses considering the quality of food and cooking too high. Nothing saves the system from breaking down utterly but the average high moral sense of the boys, their interest and determination to obtain an education, and their previous home training in self-help and self-reliance. I know how difficult it is to improve accommodations without increasing the general scale of expense, but if the Academy is to be a great educational establishment it must regard the physical, social, and esthetic requirements of its pupils, and it may be a serious question whether we are not sanctioning or tolerating conditions too perilous to the manners, the morals, and the health of our boys.(9)
In 1882 two members of the examining committee for the Seminary inspected the Phillips Academy plant while they were about it and steadfastly backed Dr. Bancroft. They urged the construction of a Commons Boarding House and suggested a program whereby cottages would be built to replace the old Commons barracks. "Both called my attention to our public privies as an outrage on health, comfort, and decency," wrote Dr. Bancroft, "and requested me to speak of them to the board."(10) As late as 1893 the Principal was worrying about the increasing cost of board at the boarding houses and the effect on the School that this might have:
The tendency is to the community life of minimum expenditure, as at Moody's schools [Mt. Hermon and Northfield] and at Kimball Union Academy, or to the conventual life of aristocratic flavor at St. Paul's and Lawrenceville. Andover is very likely to be the chief representative of a school ministering to all social classes from the richest to the poorest, and providing a wide range of accommodations for the various pecuniary ability of its pupils .... The immediate danger is that the school will divide as some of the great English schools were once divided into a group of rich boys on the one hand, and a group of poor boys on the other. In the English schools the poor boys were gradually crowded out. It is our present obligation to make it possible for persons of moderate means to get good accommodations at Andover at a moderate price.(11)
A striking evidence of his genius was his ability to see the long-range implications of developments taking place around him and to move vigorously to deal with them.
When Dr. Bancroft reported to the Trustees on the problems of room and board, he knew whereof he spoke, for each year he was obliged to spend a vast amount of time dealing with unhappy landladies, obstreperous undergraduates, irate parents, and complaining townspeople, all of whom were dissatisfied with the workings of the Commons and the boarding house system. Major William Marland, who ran the so-called Commons boarding house in what is now Clement House, was a frequent object of attack. One mother described the Major as getting old and easily teased, his house so ancient that plaster fell down whenever the boys ran up stairs. She wanted a place for her son "where the boys do not feel as if in the hands of an enemy."(12) On another occasion, the Principal received an anonymous letter signed "One of the sufferers," complaining that the Major, in a fit of pique at some rough-housing in his dining room, had locked out all the boys in bitterly cold weather and made them wait outside a long time before being served.(13) Since all the Commons boys had to eat at the Major's, the situation was unhealthy, as Dr. Bancroft realized. Sarah Abbot wrote plaintively to the Principal, "What shall I do with my boys who break into my house by smashing glass, after eleven o'clock at night?"(14) A parent complained, "Miss Wiggins is so exceedingly particular in her description of the only kind of a boy that she will consent to take that I would not dare send a boy who fell very short of an angel."(15) Mrs. Davis complained that she could never tell where her boys were in the evening and that furthermore they had been abusing the boy who delivered papers.(16) Mrs. John Smith was worried for fear her boys would sneak off to a "colored" ball in Lawrence.(17) Mrs. R. A. Tilton wrote the Principal that she did not want any more Roman Catholics in her house and was trying hard to stop card-playing.(18) At the heart of the discipline problem was the fact that the landladies depended on the income from the boys for their livelihood and thus were unwilling to enforce the rules too strictly for fear of losing customers.
In the 1890's the Faculty moved to improve the difficult situation. They believed the board prices too high and suggested that contracts with the landladies be made a regular procedure. They also refused to grant licenses to three of the ladies.(19) Obviously there could be no adequate supervision of undergraduates under these circumstances; yet Dr. Bancroft was invariably kind to the ladies. Shortly after Alfred E. Stearns became Principal, he received a letter from a landlady asking if she could see him to discuss boarding house regulations. "I would like to tell you all about it as I used to tell Dr. Bancroft," she wrote.(20)
It was not merely the landladies whom Cecil Bancroft had to deal with. There was a hue and cry from parents, Abbot Academy, and townspeople as well. Mrs. Butterfield's boarding house on School Street was close to Abbot Academy, with unfortunate results for that institution. One of the Abbot teachers, Laura Watson, complained that Phillips Academy students climbed onto the roof of Butterfield's and shone a large mirror into her classroom, making it necessary to pull down all the shades. Miss Watson also complained of "insults" shouted from Butterfield's at Abbot teachers. "One ox-like creature," she reported, had called her "darling" and "birdie dear."(21) And Headmistress Philena McKeen wrote the Principal asking that Mrs. Mason not be allowed to rent a certain room to a boy because it looked out on the Abbot campus and the girls would be constantly watched.(22) But it was not just Abbot that was bothered by the boys in Butterfield's. John Phelps Taylor, a Professor at the Theological Seminary, lived nearby with his wife. In 1892 Mrs. Taylor delivered herself of the following jeremiad to Dr. Bancroft:
I should like to call your attention to the fact that we are no longer able to enjoy our grounds with any comfort, owing to the encampment of Phillipians who at all hours and every day are lying on the grass at Mr. Butterfield's just over our borders .... On Sunday I counted seventeen---yesterday there were ten---this morning I find on our grounds numberless stumps of cigarettes, paper wrappers of 'straight cut tobacco', and half eaten bananas, as well as their skins. I cannot work in my flower beds or take my little sick dog out for a quiet stroll without countless eyes upon me---my maid servants, both young women, are whistled to if they appear in the clothes yard.(23)
Mrs. Taylor wanted the practice "checked at once."
Parents tended to complain about the price and quality of the food. One irate father threatened to send his son elsewhere if the food prices were not lowered. He thought that Andover was the best School in the country, but he refused to put up with "extortion." "I can room and board at the Grand Pacific, Chicago, for less than you are paying Mrs. Butterfield," he concluded.(24) Another father was shocked that there was no "WC" in his son's house and only a very inferior one outside.(25) In addition, the cooking was poor, the food scanty, the rooms and bedding dirty. Another parent withdrew his son because "plain, nourishing food" could not be obtained at his boarding house.(26) The most aggressive father of the lot inspected the room in Commons where his son was to live, was dissatisfied with it, went down town and hired workmen to paint, paper, and repair it, then sent the bill to the Trustees. He did not think much of the plumbing facilities for the Commons either. "Worse water does not exist in a civilized community. I wonder you have not had typhoid fever, diphtheria, and other things from it. It certainly is in a dangerous proximity and relationship, and the pump ought to be taken out and the well filled up."(27) One of Cecil Bancroft's favorite stories was of a distinguished parent who was trying to decide between Andover and Exeter for his son. After he had been given a tour of the Commons buildings, he announced that Phillips Academy was the place for his boy. "Any institution which can keep the fine reputation which Andover has, and yet lodge its students in such disreputable barracks, must have about it some miraculous quality which I want my son to learn to know."(28)
Though the parents were probably more dissatisfied with the living arrangements at Phillips Academy than the boys themselves, the facilities were in many cases substandard, as the Principal would be the first to admit. In 1885 he reported to the Trustees:
The wants of the Academy are chiefly now in the way of buildings. Something has already been accomplished, but the main thing for many years was the perfection of our courses of study, the coordination of the Faculty, the winning of the confidence of the Colleges and the public, the raising of funds for the support of instruction, the payment of the debt, the improvement of the discipline of the academy.
He went on to list important needs---repairs to the Main Building, improvements for the Gymnasium, completion of the Science Building, better dormitories, and above all a new Dining Hall for the boys who lived in the Commons.(29) Dr. Bancroft was not able to accomplish all these projects during his administration, but he did at least make a start, and his program provided a blueprint that would be completed under his successor, Alfred E. Stearns. In 1881 a laboratory was constructed behind the Main Building, and ten years later a large addition was built, making the present Graves Hall. The new building not only provided excellent facilities for the study of science but relieved the pressure on recitation rooms in the Main Building. In 1883 the Trustees voted $10,000 for the construction of a small administration building with offices for the Principal and the Treasurer and a room for Trustee meetings. This building, later used as a Faculty Club, now houses the staff of the Office of the Physical Plant. Some new equipment was purchased for the Gymnasium and housed in the old Brick Academy, now Bulfinch Hall, but the facilities left much to be desired. For one thing there were no showers or baths in the building, a lack the Phillipian called attention to regularly. In 1896 after the Brick Academy was gutted by fire, the Trustees and Alumni had to build a new gymnasium, and the interior was eventually repaired to provide a school dining hall. But these two improvements were not accomplished until after Cecil Bancroft's death.
It was in the development of new dormitories that the Principal made his greatest contribution to the physical plant of the School. Ever since Phillips Academy had first opened, the undergraduates had been housed in private homes, with resulting disciplinary problems stemming from lack of supervision. Squire Farrar had made a stab at reforming this situation, particularly for the scholarship boys, by erecting the Latin and English Commons, where at the start rent was one dollar a term. But despite efforts on the part of the Faculty to police these buildings, inspection and supervision were never adequate, and the boys who lived there were pretty much on their own. The heating and plumbing facilities were antediluvian; the danger of fire constant. Cecil Bancroft dreamed of being able to house all the boys in modern buildings, with modern facilities and a resident Faculty member in charge. The first step in the implementation of the dormitory program came in 1891. At the New York Alumni Dinner of that year, Alpheus H. Hardy, Treasurer of the Board, announced to the assembled gathering that the Trustees would be happy to receive gifts for buildings and pay an annuity of five percent on the gift for the lifetime of the donor, the building becoming the property of the School at the donor's death. Melville C. Day, of the Class of 1858, who had lived in the Commons as an undergraduate and remembered them well, was greatly taken by this idea. He had made a fortune in the law, had no close relatives, and was about to retire from practice. He consulted with his old friend, John Phelps Taylor, Professor at the Theological Seminary, who urged him to support Dr. Bancroft's dormitory program. Accordingly he gave eight thousand dollars to construct a "cottage" to be named "The Taylor," after his friend.(30) At about the same time Professor Taylor was attempting to stir up interest in the Town of Andover in helping Phillips Academy meet its needs. In an article that appeared in the Andover Townsman he made a strong case. The Theological Seminary, he said, was relatively wealthy, but none of that money could be used for the Academy, even though the two institutions had the same Board of Trustees. He thought the School must have a new Science Building, a new Dining Hall, a new Gymnasium, "two blocks of modern Cottages," and endowments for teaching professorships. Following Professor Taylor's article was one by Warren F. Draper, an old friend of the Academy, showing that the Town received about $170,000 a year in the form of payments for food, rent, and labor. Shortly after these articles had appeared, a mass meeting of townspeople was held at which Miss Emily Carter announced that she had already collected over $1600, and before the meeting was over pledges brought the total close to $7,000. Thus a second cottage, "The Andover," was made possible.(31) The Phillipian suggested that Miss Carter's portrait should be painted and hung in the new building.(32) Inspired by all this, Warren F. Draper agreed to finance the construction of a third cottage if an annuity were paid to his wife. And finally, Melville Day was so pleased with his first cottage that he financed another the following year. To site the buildings properly, the Trustees engaged the firm of Frederick Law Olmstead, which placed three cottages in a group on the south side of Phillips Street and the fourth, "The Draper," near the English Commons. Thus by 1893 four cottages had been built as a start toward the realization of Dr. Bancroft's dormitory program.(33)
Those who live in these cottages today and compare them with the facilities of the new dormitories around Rabbit Pond may find it difficult to realize how proud the School was of these new buildings in the 1890's.
Designed by the architect A. W. Longfellow of Boston, they were considered the last word in student comfort. An article in the Masque, the senior yearbook for 1893, said of the new buildings: "One of the features is ... the most excellent view that can be seen from their windows. The rolling hills of the western landscape extend away towards the horizon, where the peaks of Wachusett and Monadnock may be seen faintly outlined against the sky."(34) The Taylor had large spacious study rooms, with two ample bedrooms connected, was heated by indirect radiation, and had hot and cold water baths in the cellar. The rent for Draper Cottage was less because it had no furnace at the start. The Andover was handsomest of all:
The building is situated on an elevated knoll and presents a commanding appearance. Its architecture is more pleasing than that of the other cottages, and its rooms are considered the most attractive. The structure is built of brick having granite trimmings. An arched entrance opens into a spacious hall from which one ascends a broad staircase to the rooms above. The inside finish is in hard polished pine. Each room is provided with an open fire-place as in the other cottages. The building is heated by steam. The characteristics of the Andover cottage are its roominess and its light.(35)
The Trustees decided that the new buildings should be income-producing. A statement in the School catalogues for the late 1890's says that the income will be used first for maintenance of the buildings, secondly to help pay the annuities, and third to provide help for needy students. The prices were as follows:
|For a double suite, each boy||$ 80.00|
|For a double suite in Draper||40.00|
|For a single suite||100.00|
|For a single room||35.00 to 45.00(36)|
It is obvious that at these prices no scholarship boys would be living in the cottages, when the rent of a Commons room was $5.00 a term. One former Faculty member wrote Dr. Bancroft that the cottages would simply provide rooms for those who had previously been living in the boarding houses and would depress the Commons boys even further. He hoped that the time would come when the whole School could be in cottages.(37) This was certainly the wish of Dr. Bancroft and the Trustees; as the catalogue stated, the cottages were part of a plan "to replace, as fast as funds are provided for the purpose, the present Latin and English Commons with modern buildings, as favorable as possible to the best student life."(38) Yet there was still a long way to go. In 1895, for example, there were 524 students, but the cottages housed only 44 boys and four teachers.
Just at the close of the Bancroft administration, the Principal received additional support for his program. Indeed, as he sickened in 1901, his last days must have been made more bearable by the knowledge that more and more friends of the School were coming forward to help with his plan. In 1898 Melville C. Day, who, until Thomas Cochran, was the School's most generous benefactor, wrote Treasurer Hardy to ask if he would like another dormitory. His only stipulation was that any surplus income from his gift, after maintenance and annuity charges had been met, should be under his control. The Trustees were more than willing to agree to this mild restriction, and accordingly work was started on what was to be named Bancroft Hall. Bancroft Cottage's name was changed to Eaton Cottage, after James S. Eaton, of the English Department in the 1850's and 1860's. Unlike the cottages, Bancroft Hall was to be a full-sized dormitory, combining, as it were, three cottages together in one building. Erected on Phillips Street, across from the Latin Commons, in what is now the Vista, it was finished in 1900 at a cost of about $42,000.(39) The new building provided eighteen double suites for the accommodation of another thirty-six boys, making it possible to have better than one fifth of the student body housed in modern facilities. Dr. Bancroft's project for a new gymnasium was close to realization before he died. After the burning of the Brick Academy, a drive was instituted to raise $50,000 toward a new building. Mainly because of the Principal's untiring efforts, the goal was reached and the new building, named Borden Gymnasium after the principal donor, Matthew C. D. Borden, was completed a year after Cecil Bancroft's death.(40) As part of the athletic program, a new playing field, given by George B. Knapp and called Brothers Field, was not completed until after the end of the Bancroft administration.(41) Finally, the Principal was still alive when Robert Singleton Peabody gave the School an extraordinarily generous grant to establish a department of archaeology at Phillips Academy. The gift was to be used to construct a museum to house a collection of some forty thousand American archaeological specimens, to provide for its maintenance, and to endow the salary of a curator.(42) In summary, Dr. Bancroft had, during his administration, made a strong start toward realizing the physical needs of the Academy; he had developed plans that would show the way for future expansion and development; and he had provided the momentum that would make it possible to achieve all his goals---far beyond his wildest dreams---in the next administration.
In 1877 there were 177 boys enrolled in the School, the smallest number of the Bancroft years; this was followed by a steady increase throughout the 1880's until a high of 524 was reached in 1895. Even though this number fell off to around 400 during the last three years of the Bancroft administration, physical growth was extraordinary. Though the English- and later the Scientific-Department was always smaller than the Classical, each department contributed about equally to the growth. Another characteristic of the students was their increasing geographical distribution. In 1884 a little over one half came from the New England states, while fewer than one third came from New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and there was scattering representation from such faraway places as California, Iowa, Florida, Quebec, Chile, Turkey, and the Hawaiian Islands. By 1892 the New England states had dropped to 4 percent of the School, while New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, and Missouri accounted for 38 percent. In addition there were now 42 states and foreign countries represented, including many southern ones, Japan, and Ontario. In 1900 the figures were almost exactly the same as in 1892, except that places like Africa, England, Greece, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island had been substituted for similar ones in the 1892 list. Certainly Andover's geographical distribution was infinitely wider than in the early days, and it looked as if it had become a permanent characteristic of the School.(43) Unfortunately there is nothing in the record to indicate whether this was a conscious policy on the part of Dr. Bancroft and Mr. Pettee, but the presumption is that it was. The Phillipian had no doubts about why these boys were coming to Phillips Academy from all over the country; it was because of the School's wide reputation,(44) and Dr. Bancroft echoed this explanation in a report to the Trustees. Though there had been two black students at Phillips Academy in the early 1850's, in 1870 the first post-war black student entered and for the rest of Dr. Bancroft's administration there were usually several in the undergraduate body.(45) Just at the end the number increased a little, with four in 1899 and 5 in 901.(46) At least some of the blacks seem to have been protégés of Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee or of the Hampton Institute.(47) A black preacher spoke to the School in 1884, and in 1899 Washington visited the Hill in person. The following year the Phillipian was suggesting that the School found a scholarship at Hampton, and generally the presence of a few blacks on the campus was accepted with equanimity.(48) Not that complaints were nonexistent. In 1899 a Mississippi father who was considering sending his son to Andover wrote, "The only objection I have to your Institution is this, that you do not draw the color line, and that you have colored people in the Institution, but . . . there is no trouble arising from this irregularity, inasmuch as the white boys are kept away from them."(49) The following year Dr. Bancroft received a letter protesting because a black was captain of one of the School teams.(50) A second group to appear on Andover Hill during the Bancroft years were the Orientals. Joseph Hardy Neesima, later founder of Doshisha University in Japan, had attended Phillips Academy for two years in the 1860's as the protégé of Alpheus Hardy, a Trustee, and then had gone on to Amherst. The most famous Oriental of the Bancroft era was Pi Yuk, as he was known here, later Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, Chinese minister to the United States in the early 1900's. He had been sent to this country by the Chinese government, which later reversed its policy and recalled all the students in the United States, preventing Pi Yuk from finishing his study at Phillips Academy.(51) Just how many more Chinese came during this period is difficult to determine, but there are several letters in the Bancroft correspondence from former Chinese students, and there are five listed in the 1880 catalogue. When one student shirked his work and a report to that effect was sent to the Chinese government, the reply, according to tradition, was, "Send him home and we will behead him." This story got in the newspapers and poor Dr. Bancroft had to spend many hours assuring anxious correspondents that this dread event would not take place.(52) In the 1890's there was occasionally a Japanese student or two, but they had stopped coming by the end of the decade. Finally, in an attempt to add a further dash of spice to the undergraduate body, a gentleman wrote to sponsor two Sioux, George Frazier and Chauncy Yellow Robe. George wanted to go into the ministry, while Chauncy, aged twenty-six, wanted to improve his English. Unfortunately, they never made it.(53)
Though the religious affiliations of the families of Andover boys tended to follow the traditional Calvinist doctrines of earlier days, there were signs that this monopoly was weakening. Reporting to the Trustees in 1885, Dr. Bancroft said:
As compared with the patronage at Exeter, it appears that we have a much larger proportion from Presbyterian and Congregationalist families than they, and our quota from Episcopal, Catholic, and other denominations is much less. We have almost no patronage from Methodist, Unitarian, and Universalist families. For the first time in twelve years we have had a Jew.
That there was a group of Catholic boys in 1898 is indicated by a letter from Father O'Mahony of St. Augustine's Catholic Church in the Town of Andover to George Pettee. He was concerned about a belief among the Catholic students that they did better at Phillips Academy, especially if they were on scholarship, if they attended the School's services rather than going to the Catholic Church in the town. Father O'Mahony hoped that Mr. Pettee would disabuse them of that notion.(54) The chances are that the image of the Theological Seminary in the public mind, particularly after the so-called heresy trials, was a strong influence against increasing religious diversification. It is easy to see why a Unitarian would not think of Phillips Academy as suitable for his son. It would not be until after the Seminary had moved to Cambridge that the School would become more diversified religiously. One of the School's basic policies at the time of its founding was to assist "indigent" young men in getting an education, and this policy was continued vigorously under Dr. Bancroft. In the 1874 catalogue, under the heading "Beneficiary Aid," it was stated that the income from two scholarship funds of about $20,000 would be used for aid, with an additional $80.00 from a special fund. The grants, it added, would range from $3.00 to $25.00, with pecuniary need, scholarship, and conduct all being taken into consideration. When it is considered that tuition alone was $60.00 that year, it can be seen that the beneficiary aid was hardly munificent. There is, unfortunately, no record of the number of boys aided, but if the grants were small, it could have been a substantial number. In 1900, at the end of the Bancroft regime, the scholarship aid program had grown considerably. There were now seventeen separate funds amounting in all to just under $52,000. For the first time there is a statement about the number of grants made---forty, each covering a year's tuition.(55) In addition, boys of modest means could earn money waiting on table and doing other useful jobs around the School. Just how much diversity the scholarship boys contributed is difficult to say with precision. Relatively, however, the Andover undergraduate body was much more diversified economically and socially than the other preparatory schools, with the exception of Exeter.
Starting in 1882, the senior classes of Phillips Academy began publishing little books of statistics that give additional dimensions of the undergraduate body during the Bancroft years. Data on the occupations of parents, the physical characteristics of the class, their interests and college choices, and their eventual career plans were included. In the class of 1883 there were 9 ministers' sons, 3 doctors', 6 lawyers', 2 teachers', 12 businessmen's, farmers', 2 mechanics', and a scattering of others. Five were sons of Yale graduates, 2 of Amherst, 2 of Bowdoin, 2 of Union, and 5 scattering. The average age was just over 19, with the extremes being 27 and 15. Seventeen graduated at 18, 10 under 18, 16 over 18, and 9 over 21 The average height was 5 feet 8-1/4 inches, with extremes of 6 feet 1-3/4 inches and 5 feet 5 inches. The average weight was 143-1/2 pounds, with extremes of 165 and 117. The average chest measurement was 36-1/2 inches, with extremes of 40-1/2 and 32 inches. The average hat size was 7-1/8, the average shoe size 7. Thirty-three were Republicans, 8 Democrats, and 2 Independents. There were 16 Congregationalists, 9 Episcopalians, 5 Presbyterians, 3 Baptists, 1 Dutch Reformed, 1 Universalist, 1 Unitarian, and 7 with no religious views. The Class of 1883 disliked mathematics the most and thought that Greek was the best; 33 played cards, with whist the favorite game; 17 smoked; 24 swore "on more or less important occasions;" 10 drank; and 25 liked to dance. The class had spent an average of $624.56 a year at School; 16 had kept their expenses below $500, 9 below $350; while 8 spent between $1000 and $1200. One member managed to earn $800 during his whole course, the largest amount in a single year being $350. As far as college choices were concerned, 22 intended to go to Yale, 12 to Harvard, 4 to Amherst, 2 to Princeton, and 5 to other colleges. Nine planned on careers in the law, 5 in teaching, 12 in business, 1 in the ministry, 1 in music, and 1 as a rancher. These figures are for the 45 seniors in the Classical Department, but those for the 22 seniors of the English Department are very similar. In reporting on their habits, the English seniors said: "Our class is unanimous only in one habit---they are all lazy." Their average expenditure for the year was defiinitely higher than that of the Classical Department---$998 as compared with $624.56, presumably because there were fewer scholarship boys in the English Department.(56) Nor are the statistics for the Class of 1883 in any way abnormal. For the Class of 1890 41 parents were college graduates, with Yale leading the pack with 10. Forty-three parents were listed as businessmen of one kind or another---manufacturers, bankers, merchants, and the like. There were also 1 carpenter, 6 farmers, 11 ministers, 2 druggists, 12 lawyers, 8 doctors, 1 hotel keeper, and 1 pawnbroker. The college choices for the seniors of both departments were Yale (including Sheffield) 49, Harvard 18, Amherst 10, M.I.T. 7, Pennsylvania 4, Princeton 3, Williams 5, and 14 to other colleges. An unusually large number went to college in 1890 because 20 boys were admitted from their Middler or 11th grade year, a practice that was to become more and more common in the coming century.(57) A few generalizations can be drawn from these data. The Andover undergraduate in the Bancroft years was physically smaller than his counterpart today, a fact that has been determined for college students of the period as well. Generally he came from a conservative, Republican, middle-class background and looked forward to a career that would mirror that of his father. Although the largest number---in some cases, a majority---of the graduates chose Yale, there was an ever-increasing distribution among other colleges, and the statement that Andover was simply a Yale "feeder" was no longer valid. Yet there was heterogeneity in the Andover student body, particularly that provided by scholarship boys, and little evidence of social, as distinguished from economic, elitism. To a very real extent the aim of the founders to have the Academy open to "youth from every quarter" was being achieved.
A charming picture of undergraduate life at the end of the Bancroft years is given by Lee J. Perrin of the Class of 1902 in a little book he wrote entitled My Three Years at Andover under the pseudonym "Ewer Struly. "(58) Perrin obviously had a very successful career at Phillips Academy and enjoyed himself tremendously during his stay on the Hill. He recounts how his father brought him to the School, admonished him to be a "Christian gentleman" and particularly to avoid indecent language and slandering other people, and then left him to his own devices. Perrin lived in one of cottages, and on his first night was treated to "prepping---the hazing of new boys. He was invited to the room of one of the old boys, where he was suddenly seized and blindfolded. He was taken to the cellar and ordered to strip, then forced to jump into a tub of cold water, during which exercise he managed to splash most of his tormenters. To teach him a lesson he was required to run five miles in laps around the cellar, each lap being one two-thousandth of a mile. While he was running he was paddled by the old boys, who kept urging him to smile throughout the whole performance. Perrin felt humiliated by the treatment he had received, and he wept; but his spirits were greatly restored when an old boy took him aside and explained that he was "a bit too fresh" at present and that the hazing was for his own good. On reflection Perrin came to believe that the practice was a useful one and that he learned that night a lesson he remembered long after he had forgotten his Virgil and Homer.
Chapel the following morning was memorable. First Dr. Bancroft welcomed the School and told the students that while there might be distinctions between old and new boys among the undergraduates, there were none as far as the administration was concerned. The good Doctor's words were spoken from the heart, to the heart, Perrin thought. Once the formalities of Chapel were over, the football captain rose to give a fight talk about supporting the football team, which was followed by a long cheer for him. The Chapel was used frequently that fall for football rallies and the like. On the Friday before the Exeter game the entire School assembled there to cheer the team and various faculty speakers. The football manager urged that the meeting be such an uproarious affair that no one would be able to sleep until Exeter had been beaten again. Then Dr. Bancroft made some appropriate remarks, followed by more cheering, hat-tossing, and dancing on the benches. Matthew S. McCurdy of the Mathematics Department was next called on. He said he wished he could get his students as interested in mathematical problems as they were in the problem of beating Exeter. This produced a special cheer:
Mac! Mac! Bully for Mac!
Andover! Andover! Rah, rah, rah!
There followed remarks from Charlie Forbes of the Latin Department and several others, all of whom were cheered to a fare thee well. The next morning in Chapel there appeared a large dummy, dressed in a football suit, suspended from the rafters. Toward the end of the meeting an alarm clock in the dummy went off. Dr. Bancroft never turned a hair; "Gentlemen," he said, "the day is yours." And Perrin goes on to describe the special train to Exeter, the School marching through the town of Exeter singing a football song to the tune of "My Girl's a Corker", the great victory itself, and finally the victory celebration, with the team on a large barge, the undergraduates carrying red flares, and the town band leading the procession marching through town until every student was completely hoarse and exhausted.
Despite Dr. Bancroft's many attempts to get a proper dining hall, the aim was not realized until after his death, and as a result the boarding house continued as the standard institution where the boys got their meals. Perrin boarded all of his three years at Aunt Hattie Crocker's establishment, paying four dollars a week, which was about average. His descriptions of life at Aunt Hattie's, if nothing else, show that adolescent male table manners change very little over the years. In the first place, in order to realize the maximum income from her establishment, Aunt Hattie took more boys than her dining room could comfortably hold, with the result that the chairs at adjoining tables touched each other, making it almost impossible for the waiters to get through. Aunt Hattie followed the usual practice of serving excellent meals for the first week or so and then gradually reducing the quality as the term wore on. To meet this problem the boys began consuming vast quantities of shredded wheats---known as "bath mitts"---and on one occasion conducted a contest to see who could eat the most. When they told Aunt Hattie that raw eggs and breakfast foods were the best things she served, she simply cut off the shredded wheats except at breakfast. The consumption of pancakes---"pen-wipers"--was tremendous, even though they were described as having a tough and cold outer rim and a faintly warm heart somewhere inside. Furthermore, pancakes made excellent "scalers," and on special occasions like the morning of the Exeter game, the room would be full of them. Aunt Hattie also produced a kind of muffin, the top part of which was edible, the bottom part not. The boys used to take the bottom parts, squeeze them into small balls, and then when Aunt Hattie was near, drop them on the floor with an accompanying stamp of the foot to indicate how heavy they were. And there were the usual butter throwers who managed to cover the ceiling with pats of butter, as successive generations of Andover boys have done in various dining halls since that time. The boys always wanted seconds of almost everything, but when Aunt Hattie produced a special dish like apple pie, seconds were out. Despite the confusion and plain fare, Perrin accepted her establishment with good grace, and since he remained there for three years, he could not have found the board too bad.
Perrin liked girls and took full advantage of the few opportunities that were presented to visit with those at Abbot Academy---the Fem Sem. He tells of how certain daring boys would occasionally visit Abbot at night, throw a pebble against a girl's window, and hope for a short visit. Abbot girls and Phillips boys used also to meet occasionally on the old railroad track going toward Ballardvale. When Abbot had a field day, the boys would climb trees and watch them engage in three-legged, wheelbarrow, and sack races. One occasion which the boys were allowed to attend was an annual softball game between two Abbot teams. Alfred Stearns was always umpire for this contest. Some said he was chosen for his baseball prowess but Perrin thought it was because he had a degree from the Theological Seminary. The playing left a good deal to be desired, but the pleasure of watching the girls was intense.
The normal procedure for visiting an Abbot girl was to call on her from nine to nine-thirty on Friday evening. After permissions and various other red tape had been taken care of, the boy would present himself at Abbot, where his name was checked off in a book called "Love's Ledger." There was an alcove in the visiting area that was much more secluded than the rest and was, therefore, in great demand. In order to get a seat in the alcove one had to arrive about seven o'clock and stand in line. On one occasion Perrin obtained a seat in the alcove and then decided to go one better. He asked the girl to show him the library, which was off limits. The girl took him there and then abandoned him, with the result that he crashed around in the dark for some time before finding his way out. The next day he received a note from Abbot rescinding his permission to visit. Nor was his reputation with the Abbot authorities improved when he joined a group of Abbot girls on a bobsled and managed to steer them over an embankment into a snowdrift. Perrin's last escapade with Abbot reveals great ingenuity, if nothing else. He had purchased a second-hand Virgil in the flyleaf of which was inscribed "Minnie Burdett." As he leafed through the book, he found delightful witty comments. Assuming that Minnie was at Abbot, he wrote her a letter introducing himself and asking her to write. Since there had never been a Minnie Burdett at Abbot, the letter was referred to Dr Bancroft. Perrin was afraid he was in for real trouble, but he need not have worried. The Registrar told Perrin that Dr. Bancroft had laughed until he cried and said that the letter had prolonged his life by at least a year.
Since Perrin had no talent for athletics, he determined to try for a place on the board of the Phillipian. In the spring of his first year he heeled---tried out---for the board. He carried a notebook wherever he went and was forever interviewing people and ferreting out interesting bits of news. The success of the heeler was determined by the number of inches he got printed; by the end of the term Perrin had four hundred inches more than his nearest competitor and made the board easily. Given this drive, it is not surprising that he became editor-in-chief during his senior year. As is often the case, other members of the board left most of the work to Perrin so that he had a busy year of it. One of the main problems was obtaining enough copy to fill the paper, and he spent a lot of time urging on new heelers. On Wednesday and Saturdays, when the paper came out, he rose at six o'clock and went to the printing shop in the center of town, where he fed copy to "Mack," the genial Irish foreman. When material was short, he used to write communications to the paper signed "Freethinker" or "Fairplay," hoping that they would elicit a response that could be used in the next issue. On one occasion he dreamed up an obituary for a nonexistent Andover alumnus, Ebenezer Brockton Smith, P.A. Ex-'63. He was fearful lest he be found out by a member of the faculty who was reputed to know every Andover alumnus, living or dead, but apparently he never was. By ten o'clock in the morning he usually had the paper in shape, whereupon he would repair to "Chap's" grill, where Ovid Chapman, who often waited on table in his bare feet, would cook him some breakfast.
At the close of his little book Perrin makes a powerful statement on the quality of Phillips Academy under Dr. Bancroft and, incidentally, on one of the proudest hallmarks of the modern Andover:
To Dr. Bancroft's administration is mainly due the sturdy spirit of democracy for which Andover is famous. Under his guidance the school assumed its present proportions as the most distinctly American institution of its kind; a school where wealth, antecedents, and locality count for nothing; where a boy is judged for what he is and for what he does; where character and ability are the only passports to distinction. It is good to know that in this miniature republic the son of the eastern capitalist is, on the field and in recitation, shoulder to shoulder with the ranchman's son; that the petted bearer of a great name is on a footing of equality with the plucky orphan whose destiny is in his own hands; that distinctions of north and south, rich and poor, city and country, are here subordinate to the supreme test of intrinsic worth. In my senior classes I sat between a fellow whose income was practically unlimited and one who for more than five years had slaved in the city to lay by money for his education. And yet we three---two extremes and the mean---were the best of friends; that a disparity of purse was any barrier to our intercourse and sympathies as men, never entered our heads; and with any one of us the consciousness of that disparity made for nothing but admiration that the others could be such good fellows in spite of it. Altogether, I believe that in all the world there is no place where wealth and name count less, and personal worth more, than at Andover.(59)
Henry L. Stimson, who graduated from Phillips Academy in 1883, also remembered the democratic quality of the school.
But at thirteen there came a great change. My mental and physical horizons broadened before me. My father, dissatisfied with the conditions in New York, placed me in Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts. I was much younger than any other boy in the school but the new surroundings were like heaven to a boy who craved escape from city life. I have heard the discipline of Phillips Academy of those old days described by an alumnus as "perfect freedom, tempered by expulsion." Of the outdoor life of the students that was a fair description. There was football, baseball, skating, bobsledding, and walking over the hills and woodlands of northern Massachusetts within generous limits, quite untrammeled by authority.
But once we entered the classroom it was quite a different matter. Andover fitted a boy for college and it fitted him well. The courses taught were fewer than they are today, but they were taught with extreme thoroughness. And the numbers of each class being large, the mere experience of standing up before a good-sized audience and answering tough problems before a rapid-firing instructor was in itself a stiff discipline to the average boy. To me it opened a new world of effort and competition. It also opened to me a new world of democracy and of companionship with boys from all portions of the United States. At that time Phillips Academy contained about two hundred fifty students, many coming from rural New England, but the remainder from nearly every other state in the Union. A large percentage of them were working their own way in whole or in part.
School life was extremely simple and inexpensive. The cost of tuition was sixty dollars a year. The school possessed no dormitories except the Latin and English Commons, in which nearly a third of the students lived. These consisted of two rows of very cheaply built three-story wooden houses, each house containing rooms for six students. The rental for each student was three dollars a term. There was no sanitation or water except from a single outdoor pump from which each student carried his own requirements, and no heat except that which came from each student's stove. And as the two rows of Commons stood on the northwestern slope of Andover Hill facing the distant New Hampshire hills on the horizon, winter life there was neither soft nor enervating. Some of the remaining students roomed in the houses of instructors but most of them were in boarding houses approved by the faculty in the town of Andover.
The result for me was association with a very different group of young men from those I had met in New York; they were representatives of homes of many varieties scattered all over the United States---most of them simple homes---but in general the boys were drawn to Andover by the desire to get the teaching given by a school which was known to have represented for over a hundred years the ideals of character and education believed in by the founders of our country. I was too young to appreciate the full advantages of these new associations at first, but as the years of my course rolled by they were brought home to me, and I can never be sufficiently grateful to the school for the revolution it worked in my own character.(60)
Before Dr. Bancroft's time the undergraduates had shown little interest in what was going on in the world outside Andover Hill. There is, for example, no evidence that the students concerned themselves with national elections in the early years. Starting in the 1870's all this changed, and led by the Phillipian, the undergraduates began to show a lively interest in national affairs. In April 1880 a student poll was taken to determine preferences in the coming presidential election. It was clear that the boys were strongly Republican, for Blaine received 60 votes, Grant 59, and Edmunds 30, while Democrats like Tilden and Hancock got 5 and 1 respectively. The redoubtable Benjamin Franklin Butler managed to corral 2 votes.(61) That fall a school meeting was called for the purpose of organizing what was named "The Garfield and Arthur Battalion" with 150 members. This outfit even went so far as to produce uniforms consisting of red Turkish hats, white cutaway jackets trimmed in red, and white leggings. The members were to carry swinging torches while electioneering.(62) After Garfield's victory the Phillipian wrote an "I told you so" editorial, extending sympathy to the School's few Democrats.(63) Four years later, after Cleveland's victory, the Phillipian sourly suggested that at least the results of the election must have pleased the 30 to 40 Democrats in school.(64) There was interest as well in local politics. One of the hot issues was the liquor question. The towns had local option. In March 1885 the Phillipian reported that there was to be another year of prohibition in Andover, since the license men were beaten by fifteen votes.(65) In October 1888 the Democratic students perked up and put on a demonstration for Cleveland. They marched around the campus and the town, bearing a banner that read "Cleveland Cadets, No Free Whiskey"; but when the election itself came along, the Phillipian reported that there was very little excitement anywhere in town.(66) The faculty apparently wished to encourage interest in political affairs, for they voted a half holiday so that undergraduates could attend the town meeting of 1889. One of the things the students learned from attending the meeting was that all the faculty voted for prohibition.(67) in 1892 the students conducted a mock election, with the following results: Harrison 274; Cleveland 104; Bidwell, the prohibition candidate, 12. It was also reported that the football team was made up of 17 Republicans and 2 Democrats, while Abbot Academy had 110 Republicans and 33 Democrats.(68) As the Spanish American War approached, undergraduate interest was again intense. Forum, a society organized in 1892, debated the resolution that President McKinley should have demanded an indemnity from Spain for the Maine; and when war was declared, a mass meeting was held in the Academy Building to make preparations for raising a military company. "The whole front of the platform was draped with a large American flag, making an imposing spectacle," the Phillipian reported. Interestingly enough, at this meeting one undergraduate made a speech charging that the war was unjustifiable.(69) Finally, Forum passed a resolution in 1901 condemning Theodore Roosevelt's hunting activities in the West, on the ground that it was cruelty to animals and might poison the minds of school children who read it. Unfortunately, this bit of fun got in the Boston and New York newspapers and caused a contretemps.(70) Interest in political affairs is a clear indication that the School was becoming less parochial than it had been earlier in the century.
During the Bancroft years the undergraduates also began to question various aspects of the religious program. There had doubtless been earlier complaints, but they had tended to be muted; now they became more outspoken. One of the major undergraduate dissatisfactions was with the two long Sunday services conducted by professors from the Theological Seminary, and they were greatly heartened when a member of the Phillips Academy faculty said he thought the time would come when only one service would be required.(71) Though the boys did not know it, Principal Bancroft agreed with them, and hoped that the School could have its own pastor to work directly with the boys.(72) Shorter sermons helped. In 1881 the Phillipian reported that twenty-five-minute sermons were so popular "that many start for church at the first ringing of the bell."(73) Dr. Bancroft was continually distressed at the number of students who were lukewarm toward religion, but he was never able to modify the existing program enough to make it truly attractive to the students. One new student, "shocked at the depravity of the Academy boys," began circulating a temperence pledge. The success of this venture is unrecorded.(74) On the other hand, in morning chapel when Cecil Bancroft talked to the boys on the evils of tobacco, the Phillipian reported that he had been "interesting and convincing."(75) It all depended on the speaker, for at about the same time it was praising Dr. Bancroft, the Phillipian reported: "The sermons of Mr. Hincks seem to have a remarkably soporific effect upon his hearers, especially upon such are are fortunate enough to secure a corner seat." Mr. Hincks was a professor at the Theological Seminary.(76) Indeed some of the undergraduate resentment in the religious area was directed against the Seminary itself. In 1890 it was pointed out that the Seminary had 9 professors, 2 lecturers, and a librarian to deal with 48 students, while Phillips Academy had 12 teachers for 360 students. Three years later there were attacks on the Phillipian policy of printings news about the Seminary.(77) In 1894 Philo debated the topic: Resolved, that compulsory church attendance at Phillips Academy should be abolished.(78) Boys who were Congregationalists, Baptists, Episcopalians, or Roman Catholics were allowed by Dr. Bancroft to attend town churches for one of the Sunday services, and this doubtless ameliorated some of the opposition to the School program, but not until the twentieth century were any real changes made.
The latter part of the nineteenth century saw a proliferation of student extracurricular activities that ended by transforming undergraduate life markedly. At the start, at least, all of these activities were student initiated, since the administration offered no programs in this area; and for the most part the administration and faculty were content to allow the boys to run the enterprises with little official interference. The most notable developments were in the field of sports. In the period before the Civil War there was little athletic activity among the undergraduates. Swimming in the Shawsheen River or Pomp's Pond, sledding during the winter, and walking around the Andover countryside were the only opportunities for physical exercise open to Phillips boys. Occasionally there is mention of a game called "rounders" (a crude form of baseball) and a rudimentary form of football, but for the most part Uncle Sam Taylor believed that the boys should concentrate on their studies, their religious activities, and a little debating. There was no comprehension of the important part that a well developed program of physical education could play in the total development of the adolescent boy. After the Civil War, however, the undergraduates took over, and teams began to develop rapidly. In baseball both school and class teams were formed, and before long the pressure to play games with other institutions mounted. The teams played not only other schools but also Tufts and Harvard and later Yale, among the colleges. In 1878 came the first game with Exeter, which Andover lost 11 to 1, but the School redeemed itself in succeeding contests. The development of this program involved, as time went on, training tables, the purchase of athletic equipment, and the hiring of coaches. At this point the faculty assumed direction of the program, establishing rules for eligibility, financial responsibility, and the like. By the start of the twentieth century, with the construction of the new Borden Gymnasium, the School was in a position to develop a full-fledged athletic program of its own. What had been true of baseball was equally true of football. The same pattern was followed: undergraduate initiative, rapid development of the sport, scheduling of games with outside institutions, and eventually faculty control. The most remarkable aspect of the Andover athletic program was that the driving force behind it and its early administration were provided by the undergraduates themselves.(79)
The Bancroft period also witnessed the development of undergraduate musical activities. There had always been an interest in the Academy, from the days when Eliphalet Pearson sang bass and played the cello, and the early records of the Trustees contain frequent votes appropriating small sums for instruction in music. But there is no evidence that early musical activity extended beyond drill in hymn-singing in chapel and church. After the Civil War all this changed, once again the boys taking matters into their own hands. In the late 1870's a glee club was organized and gave its first public performance in early 1879.(80) Shortly afterward an orchestra was established, though the Phillipian was less than enthusiastic about it.
"'Music hath charms to sooth the savage beast' " [sic] the paper wrote, "but it is inclined occasionally to reverse the order and to make savage the tranquil mind of the average student when he hears a member of the Phillips orchestra practicing."(81) Nor was the paper more generous to a group of visiting musicians. "There was a very small audience at the concert given by the twelve beautiful (?) ladies of Warren's Military Band. . . The concert began at 8 o'clock and dragged along for two hours, and then came to a close, to the delight of the audience."(82) There was also interest in finding a new school song, the Phillipian offering a prize of $15.00 for the best one.(83) Despite some shaky starts, by the 1890's several undergraduate musical organizations were going strong. In 1895, for example, there was a glee club of sixteen, looking resplendent in their white ties and tails in the yearbook. A banjo club of eleven-in tuxedoes--played "banjearines," guitars, and mandolins, as well as banjoes, while a mandolin club of twelve, also tuxedo-clad, included guitars, a flute, and a violin.(84) These clubs must have become proficient, for they gave concerts outside the School. The number of students who participated was not large, especially because some musicians were in more than one organization, but the clubs none the less provided a new dimension to undergraduate life. Also in the field of the arts there was in 1895 a thriving camera club of 73 and, a small dramatic club of 11,(85) though there are no references to dramatic performances in the Phillipian.
A student organization that concerned itself with the religious life of the School was the Society of Inquiry, which had had a long history. It had been founded in 1833 as a Missionary Fraternity, by "a few pious members of Phillips Academy" "to enquire into the moral state of the world, and to effect a mission to the heathen in the persons of its members." The Society held monthly meetings focused on foreign missions, but in 1839 it was decided to broaden the scope of the organization and to change its name to the "Society of Inquiry at Phillips Academy." The emphasis now shifted to home missions, and the Society became active in the town of Andover. It undertook the distribution of tracts and missionary literature to all the families in the town, and in the 1850's volunteered to supply teachers for the Abbot Village Sunday School and the Scotland District Sunday School. The superintendents of these two schools were elected each year by the Society. It also decided to establish a library. Great care was taken to prevent unsuitable books from reaching the shelves. When someone presented it with a set of the Universalist Library, it was voted to burn it forthwith, and a committee was appointed to determine the propriety of books presented to the organization. In the 1850's the Society established a newspaper called the Observer and the character of the organization began to change. Instead of purely religious activities, emphasis was placed on literary productions, debates, and criticism. In 1882, for example, the preamble to the revised constitution read, "In order to gain for ourselves literary culture, and by appropriate exercises to prepare ourselves for life and its work." Aping the Philomathean Society, Inquiry began to stress debating and argued questions on divorce, the elective system, international coinage and woman's suffrage. In 1875 a delightful proposition was "Resolved, that intercollegiate boat racing is detrimental to good morals." The difficulty with the shift to debating and literary exercises was that it tended to make the Society of Inquiry indistinguishable from the Philomathean, and the School could not support two organizations so similar. In 1882, therefore, the Society reverted to its original purpose of being primarily religious. The debates ceased, literary exercises were abandoned, and prayer meetings were restored as the characteristic activity of the organization. One might think that in the more secular days of the late nineteenth century the popularity of Inquiry might have declined, but such was by no means the case. Membership went from 61 in 1883 to 123 in 1886, while in 1888 the average attendance at the Sunday evening meetings was 97. Visits were also exchanged with the Exeter Christian Fraternity. Principal Bancroft remarked on the success of the prayer meetings in the 1887 Report to the Trustees; he detected "a decided quickening of religious interest and many hopeful conversions." For the remainder of Dr. Bancroft's administration the Society of Inquiry, remaining true to its original purpose, provided for devout members of the undergraduate body an opportunity for religious activity beyond the regular church and chapel services.(86)
The Philomathean Society, oldest in the School, was the hardy perennial. Founded in 1825, it had had a long and distinguished career as a debating society, for much of which membership in the organization was a mark of distinction. During part of the Bancroft era Philo ceased to occupy a position of respect among the undergraduates, but it started off this period with éclat. In 1875, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, for example, it managed a celebration that was a dress rehearsal for the Centennial three years later. The exercises opened in the hall of the Academy with a series of speeches interspersed with musical selections by Brown's Brigade Band. The Honorable Samuel B. Noyes read a long history of the organization, and Charles A. Dickinson recited a poem entitled "Philo." After members of the audience had sung an ode especially written for the occasion, they dispersed to form a procession and march around the campus, winding up at a large dinner tent on the site of the old Stone Academy. The menu for the Centennial dinner has been lost, but it must have been similar to Philo's, which consisted of turkey, chicken, mutton, lamb, beef, potted pigeons, lobster salad, apple, cranberry, and Washington pie, four kinds of ice cream, walnuts, raisins, oranges, apples and tea and coffee. As to be expected in the Phillips Academy of that day, no alcoholic beverages were served. After dinner came the usual number of toasts and speeches, and when it was all over, Philo must have been very proud of its accomplishment.(87)
In the 1880's the Society began its decline. Instead of serious debating, it turned to various kinds of horseplay, especially mock trials. The program for the mock trial of 1880 is complete with judge, Sheriff, Counsel for both sides, and a list of witnesses. For the prosecution there are Hans Dott, an honest tradesman, Miss Fannie Flyrte, a fair but frivolous Fem Sem, and Allen Hinton, a dealer in ice cream. The defense countered with Melancthom Smirke, a worthy and gentle theologue, Miss Prudence Primmer, a Fem Sem of principle, and others. Although these mock trials were popular with the undergraduates, they lacked the seriousness of purpose that had characterized Philo in its earlier days, and they contributed to a falling off in membership as the 1880's wore on.(88) The Society was also under attack from the Phillipian during this period for poor attendance at meetings and what were termed "disgraceful scenes."(89) Early in 1892, as noted, Forum was organized. Far from signaling the end of Philo, it stimulated reform in the old organization, and by the end of the decade the two societies were holding regular joint debates. For many years Philo had published a school literary magazine called the Mirror, which in recent times had become a kind of yearbook. In 1892 it was decided that the Society should continue to publish a yearbook, which was soon to be called the Pot Pourri, while the Mirror became a strictly literary magazine. Although readers did not know it at the time, a very early poem of Robert Frost was published in the Mirror for June 1892. A friend of Frost's named Ernest Jewell was a senior at Andover and heeling for the Mirror. He needed all the contributions he could get and Frost obliged with a poem entitled The Traitor, which was submitted in Jewell's name.(90) The Philomathean Society, therefore, after going through bad times, was full of life by the end of Dr. Bancroft's administration and was to make many contributions to the School in the twentieth century.
The most important new institution established during the Bancroft period was the newspaper, the Phillipian, which first saw the light of day in the fall of 1878. There was a mock publication of the same name published in 1857, and from time to time various Phillipian boards have attempted to claim that date as the proper one for the paper's founding, but since no numbers were issued between 1857 and 1878, their claim has not been taken seriously. The paper that first appeared in 1878 was apparently published as a result of the tremendous activity that accompanied the Centennial and with the hope that the interest aroused in the School by that celebration might be maintained. As with the other student activities during this period, the Phillipian was composed and published by the undergraduates. There was no faculty censorship; the only control the Faculty exercised was to approve each incoming board. The paper soon proved itself a very lively publication. Though it can hardly be called crusading, it did not hesitate to criticize a variety of School policies, and the Faculty demonstrated toleration by allowing these criticisms to be made. The Phillipian came down hard on parts of the disciplinary system. It deplored the presence of student spies and complained that the Faculty kept classes late.(91) It thought there were too many rigid rules governing visits to the center of town and was outraged when a boy who broke a window was given eighty demerits and fined ten dollars.(92) It protested when the School refused to make Washington's Birthday a holiday, but agreed that the painting of mottoes on fences and walls had to stop.(93) It complained about the landladies and the high board and thought that School meetings were a farce.(94) Finally, it called attention to the absurdity of the new eligibility rule under which a boy, after declaiming in the Draper Prize Contest, had been declared ineligible.(95) The paper carried on a long-standing feud with the town of Andover on the subject of coasting. From time to time the town would ban all coasting; then the Phillipian would write steaming editorials; and usually the town would relent.(96) The paper was interested in girls in general and Abbot Academy in particular. It demanded more opportunity to see the Abbot girls and printed a mock diary supposedly written by Miss Flyrte, an Abbot student.(97) It complained that when an Abbot girl met a Phillips boy on the street, she would look at him "much as she would look upon some animal on exhibition at a circus."(98) The paper also extended its coverage to Bradford Academy: "Why are the Bradford Fem Sems like the Apostle Paul?" "Because they write epistles to the Phillipians. "(99) The publication was heartened when Principal Bancroft and his wife gave a party for both Phillips and Abbot seniors, but when it was announced one year that the Abbot Easter vacation would end the very day the Phillips vacation was to begin, the Phillipian charged conspiracy between the two administrations.(100) The paper took up other causes as well for instance, it charged that a gift to the Theological Seminary had been meant for Phillips Academy, and it circulated a petition to help the Utah Indians.(101) Apart from the causes that it embraced, it did an admirable job of reporting School activities. Each spring it duly noted the first appearance of Allen Hinton, a black who lived on a farm off South Main Street and who sold delicious Harlequin ice cream. On one occasion he managed to sell 58 quarts to Andover boys.(102) It reported that the undergraduates had decided on a hat and had chosen a red fez. The question of the virtue of cane rushes was also debated.(103) The paper suggested that the cost of replacing the windows broken in the Commons was greater than the value of the buildings themselves. It commented on how much the undergraduates were enjoying their evening walks to Pomp's Pond in June.(104) Generally it presented the School as it really was. Getting out the paper was hard work, as Lee Perrin noted.(105) But it was rewarding work, and the freedom the board was given, coupled with the responsibility for what was printed, made the Phillipian experience one of the most valuable that an Andover undergraduate could have.
In 1874 there appeared the first of what were to become extremely significant and controversial student organizations---the secret society (below, pages 503-529). The Andover secret societies were part of a movement among college undergraduates two generations earlier, started as a protest against the monotony of student life. The college Greek-letter fraternities had spread rapidly throughout the East, Midwest, and South in the period before the Civil War, developing elaborate rituals and driving many of the college literary and religious societies out of existence. The appeals of these institutions was their privacy and the opportunity to form friendships undisturbed by the undergraduate body as a whole. In this sense they were frankly elitist.(106) At Yale, in addition to Greek-letter fraternities for the underclassmen, there were for the seniors, before 1883, two prestigious societies, Skull and Bones and Scroll and Key.(107) It is generally agreed that the Andover societies were modeled on the Yale senior organizations rather than on Greek-letter fraternities. In the 1870's the ties between the two institutions were close, and it is easy to conceive of a Yale alumnus returning to Andover to suggest the formation of secondary school societies modeled on Yale's. The first Andover society was K.O.A., founded in 1874. It met in the basement of what later became Chap's eating house, worked up a secret ritual and initiation ceremonies, and engaged in late-evening horseplay of various kinds. Shortly afterward came A.U.V., also established secretly. By the end of the Bancroft era two more, P.A.E. and P.B.X., had been organized, as well several others that did not survive for long.(108) At first the School's attitude toward these organizations was hostile; reporting to the Trustees in 1877, Principal Bancroft wrote: "Secret societies so-called have caused us some anxiety but the Faculty have taken a positive stand forbidding them and it is hoped to quite crush them out next year." This was easier said than done, and in a few years Dr. Bancroft came to the conclusion that it was wiser to regulate the societies than to try to eliminate them. When P.A.E. was founded, the experiment was tried of having a Faculty guardian for the new organization, and Professor Edward Coy was selected. In 1883 the Faculty voted to substitute stricter regulation for the policy of suppression. In the future all societies were required to have Faculty guardians, no member of the School could join one without Faculty approval, and no new society could be formed without a Faculty charter.
Evening meetings, except on special circumstances, were limited to Saturday nights.(109) By the turn of the century there were four firmly established societies and several others destined to fail. After initially trying to suppress them, the School had adopted a set of regulations governing their conduct, and a measure of stability had been reached. The twentieth century would see the construction of handsome society houses, growth in power of the societies, and, eventually, a serious controversy over their role.
Cecil Bancroft, in his relations with the Andover undergraduate body during his term as Principal, displayed an extraordinary combination of tolerance, tact, and firmness. He understood that many of the student riots and roughhouses were the result of excess animal spirits rather than viciousness, and he had no feeling of amour propre about his position as chief disciplinarian for the School. "There are some things," he used to say, "which a teacher will do well never to see."(110) The difficulties in controlling the boys arose from the almost complete absence of Faculty supervision in the dormitories and the dependence upon landladies for disciplining of students who lived in boarding houses. The Faculty could pass rules about the boys being in at eight o'clock, but if there was no one to see that the rule was enforced, the rules were an empty gesture. The problem grew in difficulty as the School expanded in size. Whereas his predecessors, particularly Uncle Sam Taylor, had enforced discipline without reference to the record of the transgressor, Dr. Bancroft and his Faculty began to use a sliding scale in dealing with student misbehavior. A boy who had been thoughtless or stupid in the commission of some undergraduate crime might well be given a second chance, whereas another who had been malicious, vicious, or mean in the commission of the same crime might be expelled. Dr. Bancroft also meted out punishments quietly, with little or no publicity attending them; there was no more drumming culprits out of school before the whole student body, as was the case in the early days. Boys who had been expelled by Uncle Sam resented the cold and mechanical way in which the punishment had been meted out; a boy expelled by Cecil Bancroft wrote, "Banty fired me, but it woke me up, and was the best thing that ever happened to me."(111) Although it would be too much to say that Eliphalet Pearson's system of discipline based on fear had been abandoned, it was certainly modified; understanding, explanation of the reason for punishment, and more humane treatment came to be characteristic of the Phillips Academy disciplinary system.(112)
Principal Bancroft, more interested in developing the character of his boys than in adhering to a rigid system of rules, strove manfully to inculcate in his charges concepts of human decency and proper behavior. A clergyman himself, he was concerned with the spiritual welfare of the boys, and nothing gave him greater pleasure than to report to the Trustees that a substantial number of undergraduates had become converted. He was deathly against swearing and wrote a sermon entitled "The Guilt of Profanity." Insisting that the usages of good society forbade profanity, that it was the worst men who swear most, and that the worst places are the most filled with their blasphemy, he cited a number of Massachusetts statutes that forbade profanity, and reminded his readers that profane swearers were lawbreakers. The excuses for swearing were pitiful---"I don't mean anything by it," "I don't swear much," "I can't help it," and "I didn't think." Finally, he quoted the Biblical injunction "The Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain."(113) What effect this sermon had on the Andover undergraduates is, of course, impossible to determine, but it is clear that the good Doctor wrote from the heart. Another bête noire of Principal Bancroft's was smoking, and he worked constantly to combat the habit among his students. Yet he was intelligent enough to realize that an outright ban on smoking would be unenforceable, and that education in the evils of the habit had more chance of success. In 1882 he reported to the Trustees:
I have sent to the Trustees and every parent and guardian and to some forty distinguished physicians and school and college officers a circular letter and tract on the use of tobacco by boys. Two of the Trustees and 139 others have replied not only opposing the use of tobacco by boys, all but one who confess to using it regarding it as a damage to themselves, and the vast majority wishing us to forbid its use in school by a rule which they think would be both "reasonable and practicable," but the weighty letters from those best acquainted with the difficulties and the alternate evils are against the rule and in favor of constant argument and personal advice and persuasion.
When Dr. Bancroft cared about something, he really worked at it.
|The undergraduates have
some fun at the expense of the Faculty.
About 1894. Left to right: Allen Benner, George Pettee, William Graves (behind bar), George ("Pap") Eaton, Henry Boynton, Charles ("French y") Stone, Cecil Bancroft, and William Terrill.
One gains insight into the way Cecil Bancroft handled disciplinary problems by examining a speech he made to the undergraduate body after the "stacking" of senior rooms. One of the traditional events of the Senior Year came in the winter, when the whole class went on a long evening sleigh ride. Since all the seniors were out of their rooms, it was an ideal time for the lowerclassmen to engage in a favorite trick: piling furniture in the middle of the room, dismantling beds, and the like. In 1890, however, the stacking operation went far beyond previous practice and resulted in the destruction of property. Alfred Stearns, a senior that year, describes what happened in a letter to his sister:
We struck Andover at quarter before three o'clock, and I was soon in bed. Some of the other fellows were not so lucky however, for the middlers had been busy during our absence and every room in Commons was stacked to a certain extent. Some of them were all torn to pieces with pictures smashed, ink poured over books, and coal shoveled over the carpet, bed [clothes] scattered over the campus or hanging in trees, and in fact a general wreck. Stacking is an old institution in this school, but never before has it been carried to such an extent that property has been destroyed outright. The faculty are wild about it, and held two special meetings yesterday .... One fellow's room up in Latin Commons was so badly smashed up that he has given up all hope of trying to get it straightened up again and is going to room elsewhere. Among other things they tied a large Newfoundland dog saturated with some sort of horrible smelling acid to his bed post. When found the dog was nearly suffocated and the fellows had to hold their noses while they went in and untied him.(114)
Principal Bancroft reacted strongly to the outrage:
I can appreciate the not very dignified but not very reprehensible satisfaction that one gets from stopping his neighbor's alarm clock, putting salt in his sugar, and tying up the sleeves of his dressing gown. But when fun goes over into open disorder, putting men to great inconvenience, exposing [?] in some cases their health, interfering with their school work, damaging their carpets, curtains, bedding, clothing, upsetting for a time the only Andover home they have and almost driving them out of it, when things get to such a pass, then every man arrived at years of discretion and actuated by a sense of honor, every man who values the good name of the body in which he is a part, stands off and denounces the rowdyism, and lifts up his protest against it.
The Principal then examined the various reasons people gave for engaging in vandalism of this kind. The commonest reason was that it was fun; Dr. Bancroft had no patience with this excuse; he and the Faculty were not trying to stop innocent fun, but when it became brutality, it was time to call a halt. A second reason often given was that stacking was traditional---it was always done at the time of the winter sleigh ride. The Principal dismissed this argument summarily; in the first place the tradition was only two years old, but even if it were one hundred years old, it would not make such behavior noble or venerable. A third reason was that the seniors were off having a good time, so the underclassmen should be allowed to enjoy themselves too. Dr. Bancroft insisted that in a School a boy receives more privileges each year as he grows up and that special privileges for seniors were a normal and healthy practice. A fourth reason was that the seniors had stacked rooms the previous year and deserved to get the same treatment this year. This, according to the Principal, would lead to a kind of lynch law at Phillips Academy. A fifth reason sometimes given was that it was a challenge to break into a senior room that had been locked and barricaded. That kind of reasoning, thought Dr. Bancroft, was like saying that a burglar's interest in opening a safe was to show that he was smarter than the bank officer. Finally, the vicious behavior was justified by a mere desire to settle old scores, to get revenge on another student; and it was easier and safer to do this in the company of a mob than by oneself. Dr. Bancroft thought this was like thinking of the shotgun and the dagger as instruments of reform. Having disposed of every possible justification for the recent malicious behavior, the Principal closed:
But, gentlemen, this is not a question of stacking. It is a case of rowdyism, rampant and offensive. Under cover of stacking the worst exhibition of rowdyism we have had since 1873 has displayed itself. Boyishness and foolishness we have had, mischief we have had, occasional crimes we have had, sporadic cases of theft, and a murky stream of immorality all the time creeping its stealthy way under the proprieties and decencies of a school of good and pure-minded men and boys. The punishments we have in mind are not for stacking .... But rowdyism like that of last week is worthy of a worthy punishment. The good order and the good name of the school demand it.(115)
Unfortunately, there is no record of what punishments were meted out to the guilty parties. One group of culprits met and collected $14.85 to pay for at least some of the damage.(116) But since a large number of undergraduates were grilled by Dr. Bancroft and the Faculty, the presumption is strong that a number who were found guilty were punished. What is impressive is the Principal's concentration on the case. He and the Faculty spent a week discussing all aspects of it before any action was taken; furthermore, before any action he gave the undergraduates a thorough analysis of all aspects of it, so that they would know just where the administration stood. His procedure apparently worked. The Phillipian wrote an editorial against stacking, and there is no evidence that the problem reappeared during the rest of Cecil Bancroft's term.(117)
Like every other school principal, Cecil Bancroft had to deal not only with the undergraduates but also with their parents. To judge by the number of letters he wrote, he must have spent a prodigious amount of time on parental matters. And the requests, pleas, complaints, and attacks that he received were varied. A mother reported that her son had sat next to a boy who had died of scarlet fever and wanted him sent home if there was the slightest evidence of illness.(118) A father wrote that he was pleased with Andover, and all the more so because a son at Exeter was smoking and had developed "a terrible passion for Billiard playing."(119) An angry mother whose boy had been expelled accused the Principal of lacking "moral courage."(120) Another father complained that one of the Academy's teachers had been trying to catch his son in a lie.(121) A concerned parent wrote that the School was working his son so hard that he was developing nervous prostration and might well commit suicide (he solved the problem by withdrawing the boy)(122) Financial matters continually bothered parents; one asked Dr. Bancroft to talk to his son about his extravagant habits(123) while another sent the Principal $150.00 and asked him to dole the money out to his son.(124) An unhappy father insisted that his son could not have been involved in an attempt to blow up the Lawrence depot.(125) A particularly difficult problem arose when there were complaints about the Faculty, sometimes justified; one father asked that his son be changed from a teacher who was teaching him nothing to another whose class was learning a great deal.(126) Some parents wanted the Principal's help in planning a boy's future career, like the one who wanted his son to become an electrician.(127) A grandmother wrote that she wanted her grandson to go to Andover, but only if the School refused to admit a vicious acquaintance of his.(128) An anti-athletic parent wanted his son to withdraw from all baseball and football games and leave them to the "sporting fraternity."(129) Hazing was always difficult to deal with; one parent wrote that what was being done to his son would be considered criminal conduct if done outside the School.(130) A bitter parent wrote Dr. Bancroft, "I expected that Christ ruled on Andover Hill. I am being convinced otherwise,"(131) and a less religious parent asked if his son could cut church on Sundays to study; the boy's weak eyes, he added, made evening study difficult.(132) Secret societies came under attack; "I would root out K.O.A. and A.U.V. if I didn't have any graduating class for two years," said one man.(133) A sardonic communication read, "I cannot help being amused when I think that last year I decided against Exeter because of the much drinking there and am wrecked upon this Charybdis of play [gambling for money] in Andover."(134) Unbelievably, a concerned mother asked Dr. Bancroft to see that her son was wakened in time for breakfast.(135) On and on.
One might think that Dr. Bancroft's exacting duties as Principal precluded his participation in activities outside the School, but such was not the case. First of all, he had a keen interest in the Town of Andover. John N. Cole, one of the leading citizens, wrote at the time of his death that he was "the first citizen of the town" and knew almost everybody. Though his duties prevented him from holding regular offices in town government, he was Chairman of the Committee to celebrate the town's 250th anniversary in 1896. He was also a director of the Andover Bank and of the local insurance company. A fellow director of the Bank, impressed with his business sense, remarked, "Had Dr. Bancroft been a business man he would have become a millionaire." He also was asked by the State to assist in the administration of the Tewksbury almshouse.(136) Apart from his local interests, he was in great demand as a speaker. Mention has been made of the large number of addresses he delivered before various educational organizations on a wide variety of subjects. In June 1887 he journeyed to Yankton, Dakota---it was still a territory---to deliver the address at the first Commencement of Yankton College, of which an old friend was President.(137) He was constantly in demand to fill pulpits on Sundays. People were forever trying to enlist his help in worthy causes. Anti-tobacco groups found a champion in him and wanted copies of circulars that he had prepared.(138) Prohibitionists wanted him to help spread their gospel at the School.(139) An antivivisectionist lady sent him a batch of clippings, explained how she loved animals and hated those who abused them, and asked for his support in her crusade.(140) And the redoubtable Anthony Comstock, of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, wrote to warn of peddlers of dirty books who were infiltrating the schools.(141) When M.I.T., in financial difficulty, sought a grant from the Massachusetts legislature, Dr. Bancroft was asked to help.(142) I. K. Funk asked his advice on how to deal with unprincipled attacks made on his dictionary for including "indelicate" words.(143) The editor of Child's World asked him to write articles for that publication and also to submit a piece on Bible study at Andover.(144) And individuals continued to pester him with requests that had nothing to do with the School. One correspondent asked for a character reference for a man who wanted to rent a typewriter from him.(145) Another, who was responsible for selection of West Point students, asked Dr. Bancroft to be President of the Committee of Selection, set the exam, and make the final choice.(146) An anonymous group of local workers wrote protesting the hiring by Phillips Academy of immigrants from Lawrence when nativeborn workers were unemployed, and also the hiring of married women when single girls were unemployed; according to this communication, the Phillips Academy Superintendent said to applicants for work, "Get to Hell out of here and keep off this Hill. "(147) Governor Dummer Academy wanted to enlist Dr. Bancroft's help in getting better boys; they had been accepting students expelled from other schools and the quality of the student body was deteriorating.(148) When the Presidency of Yale became vacant in the 1890's, an enthusiastic supporter of Cecil Bancroft for the position wrote, "I wonder if Banty keeps up his old time energy. He is a wonderful man. If we could knock out the congregational Connecticut trustees and place a handful of live active men on the board under Dr. Bancroft what a rustler he would be and what strides Yale would make."(149) Finally, the Principal's help was enlisted to find a suitable military school for the adopted son of Jefferson Davis' widow.(150) When it is remembered that Bancroft took each one of these requests seriously, it is not surprising that, even with the help of George Pettee, he burned himself out in the performance of his duties.
In the late 1890's he began to fail. Part of the problem was a kidney complaint, but general exhaustion contributed a great deal. He received a crushing blow early in 1898 when his wife died. A quiet unassuming woman, she had nonetheless been a pillar of strength, and he never recovered from this loss. Later that year the Trustees sent him to Europe in hope that he would recover completely, but when he returned, he was still weak and listless. In 1901, as his condition deteriorated, the Trustees once again granted travel funds. At first he refused to accept, saying there was not enough money in the Treasury, but he was finally prevailed upon to go.(151) After his return to Andover in the late summer of 1901, it was clear that he could not last long, and on 4 October 1901 he died. His death caused widespread and genuine grief in all parts of the School community, and the town as well. At his funeral the entire undergraduate body assembled in a double line in front of the School buildings to pay their respects; he would have liked that. They then marched into the Chapel, where Dr. Bancroft's old friend President William J. Tucker of Dartmouth conducted the service. The brief committal service at the Seminary graveyard was conducted by another old friend, Professor John Phelps Taylor. Twelve Academy boys acted as bearers.(152) One of the bearers wrote, "Seldom have I seen grief so general and so sincere. For days not only the school, but the entire village was in mourning; tributes from friends and alumni poured in from all parts of the country in loving profusion." All wished to honor "the memory of a friend who had helped them by reproof and encouragement, and by example, to strive for manliness and nobility of character."(153) Dr. Bancroft had received his share of honors during his lifetime. He was President of the Dartmouth Alumni Association and later a Trustee of that Institution; he had been President of the Headmasters Association of the United States; and he had received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of the State of New York, an L.H.D. from Williams, and an L.L.D. from Yale.(154) He had transformed Phillips Academy from an eighteenth-century institution to a modern one and set a pattern that would be followed by his successors for many years. Impressive though his achievements were, it was the quality of the man that was his most enduring monument. A colleague spoke of his "power of sustained waiting."(155) This was not foot-dragging but a determination not to move until the time was ripe. Stories of his kindnesses to boys are legion, and when discipline had to be administered, infinite care was taken to explain the reasons for the punishment. In summing up Cecil Franklin Patch Bancroft's career as Principal of Phillips Academy, one cannot do better than quote from the Resolution that the Trustees passed at the time of his death:
After many years of distinguished service he rests from his labors. His administration of the interests of the Academy has been eminently successful. By large ability and discretion he so fulfilled the varied / duties of his office that he readily commanded the confidence of those associated with him, and the respect and grateful affection of the thousands of boys who have been under his care. He has kept the school in its high place before the colleges and the world. He will always and everywhere be named with honor.
Beyond all which was official, he has endeared himself to those who have stood with him by his fine qualities of heart, his unalterable courtesy, his constant courage and patience, his cheerfulness and hopefulness, and the full measure of his friendliness.
Every thought of him is pleasant. His work will abide and his memory be an encouragement to fidelity. He has gained the blessing which belongs to him who has lived in the love of God and the service of men.(156)