Frederick S. Allis, Jr.
Youth from Every Quarter



WHEN THE Trustees learned of Jack Fuess's intention to resign in 1948, they immediately set to work to find a successor for him, a task that Bishop Henry W. Hobson, president of the Board, described as the only really important thing that Trustees have to do. The search was very open. Alumni, Faculty, students, and friends of the School were all invited to send in suggestions, either specific or general. Out of the large body of material that the Trustees received, a substantial number of correspondents suggested that what Phillips Academy needed was a man with a completely fresh approach---not necessarily a graduate of the School, not necessarily a graduate of an Ivy League college, but one who could look at the School without any preconceptions and judge its procedures and practices without being the prisoner of tradition. Although it is hard to say how much the Trustees were influenced by these opinions, the choice they made fitted their criteria almost precisely. The man who was solely responsible for bringing the name of the new Headmaster before the Trustees was James Phinney Baxter, President of Williams. During the war Baxter had been asked by the United States Army to join a group of professional historians in writing a history of the role of the Army in the conflict, and before long he was in Washington at work on the project. He and his fellow historians found themselves under the direction of a regular Army light-colonel named John Mason Kemper, who was then only thirty years old.(1) At the start many of the professional historians, most of whom were older than Kemper, viewed working under him with various degrees of apprehension; they simply could not believe that he had enough maturity and experience to ride herd on such a group of prima donnas. With the passage of time, however, the young colonel proved that he was more than up to his responsibilities. He arranged interviews between his historians and high-ranking Army officers; he got his people clearance to talk to soldiers on the field of battle; and he proved extraordinarily skillful at anticipating problems and dealing with them before they became serious. By the end ofthe war John Kemper had no more enthusiastic group of admirers than the professional historians who had worked with him on the Army history, and his chief, a Major-General, "treasured John Kemper as one would a jewel." Among his supporters, Phinney Baxter was one of the strongest, and when the Andover Headmastership became vacant, he pushed hard to get him the position. Baxter thought that if Kemper could manage him, he certainly could manage Andover. At first Kemper was amused at the suggestion. He knew nothing about private schools for boys and he was committed to an Army career, as so many of his ancestors had been. But Baxter continued to work on him and gradually effected a change in opinion. The period following World War II, as after most wars, was not easy for the Army, and career prospects were not particularly favorable. Temporary wartime promotions were rescinded and officers had to start again where they were before the war. John Kemper also remembered that the happiest time in his Army career was when he was a Company Commander, having full charge of a group of men; perhaps running a School would be something like that. He said later that if he had known the Korean War was coming, he would never have left the Army; fortunately for Andover, that conflict was still two years away. Finally, John Kemper agreed to meet with the Trustees and present himself as a candidate for the headmastership. At his first meeting with the Trustee Committee, Bishop Henry Hobson asked him: "What do you think you could do for Andover if you were Headmaster, Mr. Kemper?" To which he replied, "Isn't the question, Bishop, what I could get others to do with me to help the school?" A variation on this story has Kemper replying, "I don't consider myself a great man, but I have been able to do one thing. I can build a team. You have over eighty men on your faculty, and I think I could get them to work together as a team with a common purpose, and Andover would be great---not because of me, but as a result of the efforts of all those on the team."(2) This answer and the modest integrity of the man impressed the Trustees tremendously. Baxter's own testimony and that of several other historians who had worked with Colonel Kemper in Washington strengthened his case, and in a short time he was offered the position. The Trustees knew that they would be criticized for putting a regular Army officer in charge of the School, and when the choice was announced, there was a substantial amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth. But it took John Kemper only a few years to prove to everyone that they had nothing to fear.

Anyone who knew anything about Colonel Kemper's background should not have been surprised that he had chosen a career as an officer in the Regular Army, for his family tree bristled with military men.(3) Indeed, aside from a doctor or two, they all seem to have been army men, and the number was increased even further because almost all his female ancestors married army men as well. The earliest figure was Captain John Mason, who fought in the Pequot War in Connecticut in the seventeenth century.

For some reason the family seems to have skipped the Revolution, but an ancestor who was a naval officer fought in the War of 1812, and when the Civil War came along, many members of the family distinguished themselves. Two of his great grandfathers were general officers in the Union Army, both of them West Point graduates---Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord and Brigadier General John Sanford Mason---while his Kernper grandfather served on General Halleck's staff. There were also Kempers in the Confederate army, though of a branch of the family only distantly related to John. One of them commanded a brigade in Pickett's division in the charge at Gettysburg and later became Governor of Virginia. John Kemper's paternal grandfather, Andrew Kemper, who was a doctor all his life, married a girl from Louisville, and his grandmother Mason was a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee. His own mother used to say that she could never have the two grandmothers in the house at the same time for they had not got the word that the Civil War was over. His grandmother Mason was perhaps the most colorful person in the whole family. As John remembers her early days out West:

Whenever the infantry were ordered out on any kind of expedition, the column was always followed by a horse-drawn ambulance, and my grandmother, whenever she could work it, refused to be left behind, so that she accompanied her husband on a good many of these long hikes .... There were Indian scouts attached and after the troops were putting out the breakfast fire, she noted that the Indians were taking leftover flapjacks and sticking them in their breech clouts, and this would be their lunch. She always told the story of speaking to one and saying, "Well, aren't they kind of cold and soggy at lunchtime?" and the Indian's reply was, "Well, we'll get them down, fill up, it's all the same."

The first baby, the one that died, was actually born in a tent, when they were out on campaign. And neither my grandmother nor my grandfather---it's amazing how little they knew about things---understood even how babies were born, and it was then that my grandmother made up her, mind, having lost the first one because she really didn't know what was happening, to get busy and find out more about it. So she badgered doctors from that point on, and as a matter of fact was substantially a midwife for almost all of us who were her grandchildren. I think she presided over the birth of everyone of us.

I guess it's fair to say that with a grandmother who lived that kind of life and with my mother and two aunts who kicked around all over in the Army that the women in the family were probably every bit as good soldiers as the men were.(4)

John Kemper's father, James Brown Kemper, was born and brought up in Cincinnati, where his father was a practicing physician. He went to Walnut Hills High School and to the University of Cincinnati, and hoped to win a Congressional appointment to West Point, but was beaten out by two other candidates who had higher high school records. Undaunted by this disappointment, he managed to obtain a direct commission in the Army and thus outranked the two who had beaten him for the Congressional appointments. Then began a lifetime Army career that included service in the Philippines in the early 1900's, in the Cuban pacification campaign in 1905, and in a number of posts in the United States, another tour of duty in the Philippines in the 1920's, and finally a position as recruiting officer in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he and his family remained until his retirement. John Kemper remembers his father as a man with a mechanical turn of mind. During his youth he had been a plumber's apprentice one summer, a carpenter's apprentice another, and an electrician's apprentice a third. In addition, he had learned a good deal of physiology from his doctor father and could, for example, name all the bones in the body. In the Army he was at one time post exchange officer and learned a good deal about wholesale and retail selling and buying. As a result, he was always getting good bargains. One Christmas he went from hardware store to hardware store buying broken or damaged electric train equipment for his son at next to nothing. Then he repaired it all so that John Kemper had the most elaborate electric train system in the area. As his son grew up, James Kemper saw to it that he learned many skills, took many trips, engaged actively in scouting, and generally was exposed to a wide variety of experiences. He could be stern with his son; when he gave him an order, he expected it to be obeyed. Above all, he wanted his boy to learn the code of the officer and gentleman. When he came back from the Phillipines in the early 1900's, he married Mercer Mason, who had just graduated from Abbot Academy, and the couple had two daughters as well as John. The marriage was extremely happy, and John Kemper grew up in a home where the qualities that were to distinguish him later were highly valued.

John Mason Kemper was born on 1 September 1912 at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, where his father was stationed at the time.(5) The place of his birth was to cause him some embarrassment later when he wanted to get a passport and could not find his birth certificate. When he wrote to the Fort to get another copy, he was told that they had no record of his birth, nor was there any at the Army base in Cheyenne. Finally, availing himself of a special State Department dispensation, he got his sister to testify to the fact that he had been born, and the difficulty was overcome. The Kemper family were stationed at various posts in this country until after World War I---his father, incidentally, was bitterly disappointed that he was never assigned overseas---and then the family settled in Manchester, New Hampshire, which was to be more or less their home until James Kemper retired in 1935. We first hear of John Kemper's distinguishing exploits when he graduated as eighth grade valedictorian from Miss Alta Willard's Straw School in Manchester in 1926. For the next few years the family was on the move, as James Kemper was stationed first in the Philippines and then in Washington. As a result the son attended four high schools in the course of obtaining a secondary education. The two most important were the Central High School in Manila, and the Western High School in Washington, where he graduated in 1930. Early in his life John Kemper had set his heart on going to West Point, and once he finished high school, he set out to win an appointment. The strength of this resolve was tested when a cousin offered to send him to Princeton and then to the Harvard Business School, with all expenses paid, but the boy never hesitated; he thanked his cousin for the offer but turned it down. Obtaining an appointment for an Army brat was difficult because few officers were stationed long enough in any one state or in any Congressional district to be eligible for Senatorial or Congressional appointments, which almost always went to the sons of permanent residents. There were, however, a small number of competitive places reserved for the sons of Army officers; in John Kemper's year there were seventeen. Determining to compete for one of these places, he enrolled at the Columbian Preparatory School in Washington, a cram school for aspiring candidates for the Point. The schedule was rigorous; John Kemper would get up at five and study till breakfast, have classes all morning and for two hours after lunch, take an hour's break for exercise, then study two hours before supper, and finally work until ten o'clock. The plan was to take the students through the whole syllabus---mostly English, history, and mathematics--by Christmas and then go over it all again after Christmas. In addition the boys took practice exams each week. Finally, in March, came the real exams. The boys were kept on tenterhooks until May, but when John Kemper finally got the word, he found he had placed sixth out of about one hundred and was assured of a Presidential appointment. Ironically, after all that work, he soon learned that he had been named second alternate for a Congressional appointment from Vermont---his father knew one of the Congressmen there. When both the principal and first alternate failed their exams, John Kemper received the Vermont appointment, relinquishing his Presidential appointment to another boy further down the list. As the new appointee remembers it, he had never been in the state of Vermont in his life.(6)

John Kemper's years at the Point were in many ways golden.(7) Though he was no student, he had great capacity for leadership, and he graduated as one of the most outstanding members of his class. When he first arrived as a plebe in the summer of 1931, he was assigned, like the rest of his class, to the "beast barracks," where he was subjected to a certain amount of horseplay, though he always insisted that it was not hazing because there was nothing cruel about it. Plebes had to go everywhere at double time, and that, together with plebe maneuvers in the country around West Point, kept him in top-notch physical shape. He learned about the Honor Code and how, if a sentry called out "all right?" and a cadet answered, "all right," it meant that he was stating on his honor that he was bound for a legitimate place on a legitimate mission. The cadet companies were organized according to height, with the "flankers" being the tallest, the "runts" the shortest. John Kemper was about in the middle. During most of his career at the Point he had two roommates---in cadet jargon he had "a house with two wives." During his first year he aspired to become an athlete and went out for soccer, swimming, and track. Though he never achieved varsity standing in any of these sports, he did make the JV, which had a great advantage for him as a plebe. Members of the JV teams were not "braced"---that is, made to sit at rigid attention---during meals. Again as a plebe he used to take long Sunday afternoon hikes in the surrounding country, partly because he liked them and partly to avoid the horseplay he might encounter if he stayed around the barracks. The plebes had no Christmas vacation, but he was cheered when his sister and other members of the family came to visit him during the holiday season. He also had some histrionic talent and did tap-dancing in the cadet Hundredth Night Show. When his sister entered Vassar, he had a better chance of seeing girls than did most of his classmates. She used to bring a group of girls over regularly, and they all would engage in informal "hops." Though the cadets were paid modest salaries, they never had much spending money. Thus if a cadet wished to take a girl to the hotel that was located within West Point limits, it was wise to invite one who could pick up the tab. Otherwise, they would have to go to a rather sleasy restaurant called "Boodler's," where the cadets could use chits. It was during his plebe year that John Kemper first started teaching Sunday School at the Point. He admitted that he had little interest in religious training, but Sunday School teachers were given a weekend pass a term, which was something else again. His first year he taught a class of six small boys. He said he controlled them by seating them in two rows of three and then sitting himself in the middle and keeping poised above their heads a hymn book, so that he could play on their heads as on a xylophone. The next year he was promoted to teach thirteen-year-old girls, who thought all cadets were heroes, and he had no further trouble. His teaching must have, been a success, none the less, for he was made Sunday School Superintendent during his last year. One of his weekend leaves he spent in New York with a very attractive Bostonian named Sylvia Pratt, a St. Catherine's graduate and the daughter of a distinguished Boston doctor, whom he had met on summer vacations. They danced to Guy Lombardo, lunched atop the Empire State Building, and generally had what John Kemper considered "a field day." It was his first heavy date, he thought. He complained about a very pedestrian course in European history that he had to take, but he worked at it and did well enough to have his name put in a file as a possible future history teacher at the Point. During his last year, as a firstclassman, important honors came his way. He was appointed Regimental Adjutant, the officer in charge of parades and drills and also the one responsible for reading orders during meals. Since the mess hall was anything but peaceful at mealtime, the Regimental Adjutant needed a stentorian voice and cast-iron lungs to make himself heard. He was at the same time elected Class President, perhaps an even more coveted honor, since he was elected to this position by his classmates. When he graduated on 12 June 1935 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, he was clearly one of the most distinguished members of his class.

If John Kemper had dreamed of leading troops into battle in the course of his up-coming Army career, that dream was to be shattered, for a good part of his time with the military was spent on the teaching, studying, and writing of history. He was first assigned to the Eleventh Infantry at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and two years later attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. A year after graduation, after a courtship that was punctuated by a few squalls, he married Sylvia Pratt, and in due course the couple had three little girls. In 1939 he was brought back to the Military Academy to teach history; to improve his knowledge of his subject, he studied Far Eastern History at the Harvard Summer School and earned an M.A. in History from Columbia in 1942. That same year he was assigned to Military Intelligence in Washington and the following year was asked to develop and supervise a combat history of the United States Army in World War II. It was in this position, as we have seen, that he caught the attention of President Baxter of Williams, with such momentous results for Phillips Academy. John Kemper did not wish to follow in his father's footsteps and spend the entire war stateside, so in 1945 he was assigned to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations to survey the use of manpower in that area. In 1943 he was awarded the Legion of Merit and in 1945 the Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his wartime services. After the war he returned to Washington, where he- was assigned to the Army Historical Division, where he was serving when the Trustees of Phillips Academy made their offer.(8) His career to date had been extraordinarily free of mistakes. The only one he remembered came when he talked back to an upperclassman at West Point; later he apologized. But above all he had a great gift for getting people to work with him in cooperative endeavor; he had proved that at West Point, he proved it again in dealing with the civilian historians during the war, and he was soon to prove it even more dramatically at Andover.


The entire Andover community eagerly awaited the arrival of John Kemper, his wife Sylvia, and their three daughters in the summer of 1948. There may have been a modicum of apprehension as well, for unlike previous headmasters, John Kemper was an unknown quantity. When Jack Fuess assumed office, he had been a member of the Andover community for twenty-five years and was widely known among the alumni. He had merely to move from Tucker House to Phelps House and he was in office. When the Kempers finally arrived, it soon became clear that the new Headmaster would be very different from his predecessor. The Trustees had provided Jack Fuess with a large black limousine as the school car, and Jack had hired a chauffeur to drive him about. The Faculty wondered what kind of school car the Kempers would have. One morning there appeared in the Kemper driveway a new two-door Ford. This decision proved a ten-strike for the new Headmaster. It announced much more clearly than words that he had no intention of trying to achieve status through his automobile. There had been no children in Phelps House for many years; now the sight of girls' bicycles leaning against the front steps bespoke a family in residence. Once installed, John Kemper initiated a policy that was to continue throughout his entire administration of inviting any member of the Faculty or staff who had something on his mind to come in and talk it over. And he made it clear that this offer was open to anyone---not just department heads and administrative officers. The new Headmaster was an extraordinarily good listener, and many a Faculty member found comfort and understanding from a talk with the new Headmaster. In all he did during these early months he sought to establish the fact that he would play no favorites. Jack Fuess's record in this area was by no means free from blemish, with serious effects on Faculty morale, and John Kemper was determined to give everyone equal treatment.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Mason Kemper at about the time
he was elected the Eleventh Headmaster of Phillips Academy.

Another point that he wished to have recognized early was that he was his own man and beholden to no one. Again his predecessor had often depended heavily on the advice and counsel of a few members of the Faculty and administration; John Kemper wanted to give everyone his day in court, but the final decision had to be his. And this applied to the Trustees as well as to the staff. He once said that if he had canvassed a question thoroughly, thought long and hard about it, and finally reached a decision, that decision was irrevocable and if the Trustees did not support him, he would resign and "pump gas." At an early Trustee meeting, for example, the question of wages for the nonacademic members of the staff came up. The new Headmaster believed them to be shockingly low and recommended raises. Some of the Trustees demurred, pointing to the sizable deficit the School had already incurred. John Kemper said that he simply could not head an institution where many of the employees were so badly underpaid, and he got his raise. James Gould, the Treasurer and an old hand in Andover matters, expected to take the new Headmaster under his wing and advise him on many matters. The new man embarked on a policy of ostentatiously ignoring Gould's advice until it became clear to all that the Treasurer held no privileged position within the administration. Kemper also inherited an unsavory mess in the Music Department, occasioned by the fact that Jack Fuess had led two men to believe that they would be the next head. The new Headmaster worked out a compromise arrangement for one year, to give him time to study the problem, but one of the contenders refused to accept the arrangement and resigned. Some of his friends brought pressure to bear on the Headmaster to find some way of keeping the man at Andover. Kemper refused to budge; but he bore the man no ill will,, as evidenced by the fact that he succeeded in bringing him back to Andover some years later. Finally, he went to the mat with J. Roswell Gallagher, the distinguished school physician, over a basic matter of administrative policy. Under the Fuess regime Gallagher had had a completely free hand when it came to student health. Jack Fuess never interfered, and if Dr. Gallagher wanted something, he got it. John Kemper had no pretensions of understanding student health problems, but he still insisted that final decisions in this area had to be his. To this Dr. Gallagher could not agree, and so they parted company. If the new Headmaster could best someone of Gallagher's stature---for the Trustees supported the Kemper position---it was clear that he was not a man to be trifled with. Thus after three years in office the new Headmaster had demonstrated that he could not be pushed around, that he was indeed his own man, and for the rest of his term no one challenged a decision of his, once he had made it clear that it was a matter of confidence.

None of this was easy, particularly when his policy of no favorites among the Faculty precluded his turning to them for reassurance. He found that there was a new employee in the Heating Plant and turned to him as someone he could talk to without jeopardizing his position. He used to wander around the campus at night, looking up at the lighted dormitories and wondering if the School were really functioning properly. Eventually he would wind up at the Heating Plant for a talk with his new friend, who was uncontaminated by Phillips Academy politics.

There were other new problems to meet. As part of a program to acquaint the undergraduates with the issues of the Presidential Election of 1948, the School invited representatives of the various candidates to speak in Assembly from time to time. To present the position of Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party, the Reverend Amos Murphy, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Lawrence, was invited to speak. Murphy was a private school and college graduate who never allowed the fact that his congregation was minuscule to deter him from dealing with issues head-on. He had recently campaigned for the Lawrence School Committee, riding his bicycle through the streets of Lawrence and haranguing the populace, only to be badly beaten at the polls. Murphy's appearance on the stage of George Washington Hall was electric; a huge bear of a man, with charisma to spare, he took a frankly pro-Russian position on the affairs of the day, echoing that of his leader, Henry Wallace. John Kemper was obviously upset by this, and underestimating the basic horse sense of the average undergraduate, he attempted a rebuttal of Murphy a few days later. Not only was his speech not very effective; he found that at least some of the undergraduates resented the fact that he thought he had to reply. He dearly learned his lesson from it, for when, two years later, in the midst of the Korean War, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Massachusetts, Daniel Boone Schirmer, was invited to speak, he took it in his stride. Schirmer accused the United States of starting the Korean War and made other far-fetched charges. The effect on the undergraduates, however, was anything but what the speaker had desired. Their reaction was rage, and, as someone said, had there been a recruiting sergeant outside George Washington Hall at the end of the program, he could have signed up most of the School. John Kemper's behavior during this episode was exemplary; he supported the invitation to Schirmer, he let nature take its course as far as dealing with what he said was concerned, and he defended the School's position to the few parents---he hated to admit that they were army officers---who protested the fact that a Communist had been invited to speak. Never again would he try to interfere with the free flow of ideas, as he did in the Murphy case.

In October of 1948 came the Inauguration of the new Headmaster. A ceremony such as this had not been considered necessary for earlier headmasters, but since John Kemper was not widely known in the academic world, over two thousand headmasters, college presidents, and the like were invited to install the new man properly. The auspices were favorable: the fall weather was gorgeous, the academic costumes, colorful, the mood, sanguine. The main address was given by President James R. Angell of Yale University, who had done yeoman's service at past Andover ceremonies as well; the new Headmaster, addressing himself primarily to the undergraduates, delivered a simple, sincere address; and Robert Q. Anderson, President of the Student Body, spoke for the undergraduates. When the festivities were over, it was clear that John Mason Kemper had been properly established as Andover's Eleventh Headmaster.(9)

John Kemper came to Andover convinced that his primary task was to build a strong and effective Faculty. In a report to the Trustees written after he had been at the School for five years, he spelled out a policy toward the Faculty that would result in his greatest achievement during his term as Headmaster. "A school can be only as good as its teachers," he wrote. "Andover's greatest asset is its tradition of great teaching. The tradition will survive and grow stronger as the spirit of the faculty is high, as living and working conditions are good, as an atmosphere of mutual respect and unity of purpose prevail."(10) On another occasion, speaking of Andover's policy of developing a strong Faculty, he wrote:

It is remarkable also in that it so clearly accepts the premise that a teacher is not a hired hand, but a highly trained professional whose experience and judgment are vital assets to society, and for whom an adequate salary and satisfactory working conditions must be provided. It places the teacher in his school on a par with the lawyer in his firm or the doctor in his hospital. It is a way of persuading the teacher that others respect him and his calling.(11)

To achieve these lofty aims, he devised a series of programs to build Faculty morale and thereby effectiveness. For his own dealing with the Faculty he had four basic rules: One, play no favorites; two, consult the man concerned before making a decision affecting him or his work; three, recognize merit and a good job any and all ways you can; and four, build up the dignity of the profession of teaching.(12) These four rules indicate an extraordinary sensitivity to teachers and their needs; it is small wonder that as he began to put them into practice, Faculty morale soared. He was fully aware of the difficulties in the life of an average Faculty member, working as he did as teacher, housemaster, coach, and activity director, and spoke of "the special stresses and strains" that such a position entailed. Fairness was the number one virtue in dealing with teachers. Thus it was vital that in such matters as housing, committee work, classroom load, and the like, every effort be made to ensure equitable treatment. A school like Andover could not prosper, the Headmaster insisted, unless the Faculty had a large share in its government, and he cited such areas as admissions, scholarships, discipline, the awarding of prizes, and the determination of curriculum as legitimate areas for Faculty action. In some cases Faculty decisions might technically be in the form of recommendations to the Headmaster and Trustees, yet these were rarely, if ever, reversed. Another important ingredient in good Faculty morale was keeping them informed of what was going on in the school. Nothing was more destructive of good morale among the Faculty than to have things sprung on them without adequate warning. In the past the Trustees had usually been distant figures, whom most of the Faculty did not know. John Kemper was convinced that if the two groups were to work together in harmony, they must become better acquainted, and to achieve that end he arranged a series of Trustee-Faculty dinners. In similar fashion he believed that schoolmasters had a lot to learn from other professionals, and arranged meetings between the Faculty and leading psychologists and psychiatrists from Boston. Although the gatherings never accomplished as much as he had hoped, they were often thought-provoking. One Boston doctor, for example, rocked the Faculty by suggesting that Phillips Academy did its best job educating the sons of relatively wealthy people and that programs for poor boys, whom the Academy did not know how to handle, should be junked. But all these exchanges had a common theme---trying to keep the Faculty informed about the School itself and about the world of adolescent education generally.

These general programs might give the Faculty a sense of running the School and being fully informed about its problems, but it was in the disposition of material benefits that the greatest boost to morale could be achieved---all the more so because in the previous administration the disposition of such benefits had been done in an unsystematic and at times bizarre way. For the first time in the history of the School a firm salary scale was established, with fixed starting salaries for both bachelors and married men and minimum increments for future years. Provision was also made for merit increases above and beyond the minimum. In his first five years John Kemper succeeded in raising both the average and the median salary by one thousand dollars, had narrowed the gap between the salaries of bachelors and married men, and brought the foundation salaries more in line with the rest of the scale. Another problem concerned tenure. In the past the length of time of appointments had often been undefined and quixotic. Now a system was adopted whereby a young teacher would start with three one-year appointments, then three-year appointments until he was forty, and then five-year appointments until retirement. This procedure made it possible for the Headmaster to let someone go but with plenty of warning. For example, a man might be told at the end of his second year that he must go but would then be given the third year to find another job and appear to be leaving Phillips Academy through his own choice. This was true of the sixteen men who left during John Kemper's first five years; their departure was without loss of face or self-respect. Realizing how difficult it was for the average teacher to provide a college education for his children, the Trustees, at the Headmaster's urging, started a program of college grants of six hundred dollars a year for Faculty children. Finally, although the program was by no means fully implemented, the new Headmaster had started on a program of sabbatical leaves for the Faculty, in the belief that extended absence from the School once every seven or ten years would provide an opportunity for travel, study, research, or new and different experience that must inevitably refresh the Andover teacher and sharpen his teaching.

It was relatively easy to be fair with salaries and perquisites that could be measured in dollars, but quite another to achieve equity in the assignment of Faculty houses. The previous administration's housing policy had been practically nonexistent; there was, as noted above, the occasion on which Jack Fuess had led three Faculty members to believe that each would have a certain house. John Kemper was practically starting from scratch. The first decision was to award houses on the basis of seniority and to establish a Faculty committee to determine such seniority. This was more difficult than might appear, particularly for members of the Faculty who had joined the staff at a relatively advanced age. What to do, for example, with a fifty-year-old teacher who had been on the Academy Faculty for ten years and had taught in a day school previous to that? How should those with long terms of dormitory service be related to those who had served the School just as faithfully but had lived in houses with no boys? The committee, struggling manfully, devised a procedure that was a tremendous improvement over the old hit-or-miss system. There were clashes, nevertheless. Early on, a family with one child and a family with four children and one year less of seniority both wanted the same roomy house. The committee stuck to its seniority rule and assigned the house to the one-child family, but a serious flap was created. Indeed, John Kemper soon became convinced that this was an area in which he could not win, and he dreaded housing spats more than anything else he had to deal with. For one thing, most Faculty problems involved the husband alone; with housing, the Faculty ladies entered the arena, and the new Headmaster hated to disappoint them. He finally embarked on a scheme that he hoped would tend to equalize housing. Obviously, there was wide variation in the houses themselves, but at least they could all have equal kitchens. And so he proceeded to modernize the kitchens in all the Faculty quarters. Another housing problem developed from the School's practice of many years to depend largely on bachelors for the manning of dormitories. When John Kemper took over as Headmaster, there were sixteen Faculty quarters that were suitable for bachelors only. This often meant that the Headmaster would be unable to hire a married man, because the housing was inadequate, even though he might be much more desirable than the best available bachelor. To meet this problem the Headmaster started a program of remodeling bachelor quarters to make them available for married members of the Faculty. For example, Paul Revere Hall, Bishop Hall, and the three cottages, all originally bachelor quarters, were converted. As the Headmaster put it, most of the men he wanted to hire had already been latched onto by some girl, and this would help him meet this problem. John Kemper. soon discovered that "hot-topping" was a real status symbol among the Faculty. To have one's driveway and front walk paved with asphalt was a sign that one had arrived. He also discovered that there was a great deal of bitterness over who got hot-topped. Accordingly, he, took control of hot-topping himself, to make sure that it was done with an even hand. The result of all these programs for the Faculty, administered with extraordinary fairness, was higher Faculty morale, and this paid off in superior work with the students. As the Headmaster summed it up:

My own faith is in the individual. A gifted youngster under the influence of a good man will develop into a good man, more likely than he will under an elaborate system of rules and regulations. A system is both impersonal and inflexible, whereas a man is not. My colleagues are experienced enough, wise enough, and numerous enough (one teacher to ten boys) to handle the number of boys we have. Moreover, they are and have been doing a remarkable job with energy and patience and spirit.(13)

When John Kemper became Headmaster, the Dean of the Faculty was Oswald Tower, an elder statesman who had for many years been a brilliant teacher of mathematics at the School. He was also one of the country's leading authorities on basketball and often served on committees to revise various aspects of the game. Ozzie reached retirement age after the new Headmaster's first year, and the question of who, would be his successor was a lively topic of discussion on the Hill. Characteristically, John Kemper decided to appoint no successor immediately, to give him more time to canvass the situation. And it was not until 1953 that he announced the appointment of Alan R. Blackmer as Dean of the Faculty. This appointment recognized the academic and educational leadership that Al Blackmer had already won for himself on the Phillips Academy Faculty and was to provide him with a base from which he could make further important contributions in the future. A graduate of Williams, where he had a distinguished academic record and had been, as well, one of the outstanding collegiate basketball players of his generation, Al Blackmer had done graduate work at the University of Chicago and came to Andover as an English teacher in 1925. After spending a year in France at no pay, he returned to Andover, where he would serve for the next forty-two years. During his early years on the Hill he proved to be an extraordinarily gifted English teacher with a contagious enthusiasm for his work that was immediately transmitted to his students. One alumnus writes:

I am sure that no history of Andover over the last generation can fail to give an absolutely major place to the impact of Al Blackmer on the school .... he was by all odds (and by at least one order of magnitude) the best teacher I have ever known and one of the people who I can genuinely feel impacted in a major way on my intellectual development and on my life .... his upper middle special English course was by all odds the most stimulating, exciting and mind-developing course I ever took in school or college .... If I had to give up my entire college education, I am not sure that I would have sacrificed as much intellectual development as if I had failed to have that course experience. When we had finished dissecting Othello, reading War and Peace, and sharing (the only appropriate word) the Ordeal of Richard Feverel, we had a feel for literature even if we never read another serious book .... But it was much more than an English course .... he forced us into propaganda analysis .... as a way of approaching learning with a healthy skepticism for what one reads and is told .... he gave us all, I think, a profound respect for intellectualism in the best sense of the word .... derived mainly from the exciting and valuable experience of associating with him as a man.

Henry Ehrlich, '30, writes:

First Alan Blackmer, who could be just as caustic and tough as Horace Poynter---but who cared, and genuinely wanted you to learn. His class was my first brush with Shakespeare---the beginning of my happiest literary association. Who but Blackmer would have chosen Richard II as an introduction to the world's greatest writer? The result was electrifying---I still never miss a performance if it is within 100 miles, and I can quote great gobs of the play. It was he who interested me in O'Neill---I read all that O'Neill had published to date during my last two years of Andover. And it was he who spurred-maybe dreamed up would be a better phrase---the revival of The Mirror .... Blackmer insisted on quality in The Mirror and while he may not have achieved as much as he might have liked in a literary sense, he certainly inspired a handsome publication .... In my senior year Mr. Blackmer contracted TB, and the treatment seems to have been bedrest .... Sick as he was, he always made us feel welcome at his house . . . . There was cider and cookies, a warm, always friendly Mrs. B. We used to stretch out on the rug in his living room and play the Tchaikowsky 4th, 5th and 6th over and over and over, on his new victrola, as we called a record player in those days, with its deep floor-shaking resonance. Those could have been my happiest hours at Andover.

Another evidence of Al's ability to appeal to undergraduates---at least the abler ones---was his Saturday night discussion group. Each year he would invite a dozen or so of his students to meet regularly at his house to settle the affairs of the universe. This, of course, meant giving up Saturday night movies for the year. Yet Al's boys remained faithful to this commitment while it was being conducted in the 1930's, and many of them remember with pleasure and excitement the lively give and take that went on in the Blackmer living room. As Al got more and more involved in administration, he was obliged to give up some of his teaching, and like many administrator-teachers he found it difficult to maintain the excitement of the earlier years. He was always, of course, a highly skilled practitioner of his craft, but his courses did not sing the way the early ones did. In his prime he was sans pareil on the Andover Faculty.

When Claude M. Fuess became Headmaster, he turned to Al Blackmer for help with a variety of projects. The Headmaster could no longer continue to edit the Phillips Bulletin, as he had done for many years, and he asked Al to be his successor. For the rest of the decade Al edited the magazine with flair and care and more than maintained the standard of editorial excellence that his predecessor had established. In 1935 he and some other friends on the Faculty founded the Andover Evening Study Program for Adults, as has been mentioned in an earlier chapter. Wilbur J. Bender, the first Director of the Andover Summer Session, enlisted in the Navy shortly after the close of the first session, and Al was drafted to serve as head of the Summer School for the next two years. During this same period he was acting as Head of the English Department, a position he held until succeeded by Emory Basford right after the war. In short, he was being bounced from one position to another without ever having time to get thoroughly established in any of them. By 1950 he was tired of the peripatic existence that had characterized his career in the 1940's.

Thus when John Kemper asked him to accept the permanent position of Dean of the Faculty in 1953, he agreed at once. He had had a variety of experiences to prepare him for the position. He was a brilliant teacher, a proven administrator, and a man capable of such imaginative projects as the Evening Study Program. Generally speaking John Kemper and Alan Blackmer worked effectively together as a complementary pair. The Headmaster had always insisted that he had no intention of trying to dominate academic matters, preferring to leave those to the Faculty and the Faculty's Dean. On the other hand, academic matters were Al Blackmer's specialty, and he was able to provide leadership in the very area where the Headmaster felt unsure of himself. Yet there was one area that caused friction between the two men. As Dean of the Faculty, Al Blackmer understandably thought that he should deal with the Faculty. John Kemper approved of this as long as it was limited to discussion of the curriculum and other School programs, but he insisted on reserving to himself all dealings with the Faculty that involved salary, tenure, personal problems, and the like. This was something very close to him that he refused to delegate. As a result, Al Blackmer found it difficult to deal with individual Faculty members when they knew that he had no power to affect their lives in any substantial way. One can argue forever as to which man was right in this difference of opinion. Yet the arrangement did not prevent either man from performing effectively in his sphere.(14)

Alan Rogers Blackmer,
Instructor in English, 1925-1953,
Dean of the Faculty, 1953-1968.

Every new headmaster wants to examine his school's curriculum, with the possibility of devising a new one that will have his brand on it, and John Kemper was no exception. In 1950, therefore, he appointed a Curriculum Committee consisting of the heads of all the major departments, under the chairmanship of Alan Blackmer, to consider the problem. It will be remembered that the last important curricular revision had been in 1933, when the Latin requirement was dropped and a four-year History sequence introduced. After almost twenty years of operation under this curriculum, there had developed an increasing groundswell of opposition among the Faculty. The major objection was to the curriculum's inflexibility. There were so many required courses that the individual student had little chance to pursue in depth a subject that interested him. The curriculum also contained an excessive number of courses, particularly minor courses, that tended to force a student to scatter his shots over so broad an area that it was difficult to get a truly solid exposure in any. Finally, there was concern that the curriculum was too demanding for some boys---particularly Upper Middlers---with the result that there were too many failures and disappointments among the undergraduates.(15) The 1933 curricular revision had been adopted with the almost unanimous support of the Faculty. No such luck this time. The Committee could agree that each boy at Andover should have four years of English, three of mathematics, and three of a foreign language, but from there on, there was strife. As is always the case in discussions of this kind, each department was anxious to protect its own turf, and the Committee split into factions, no one of which could command a majority. Some wanted to have four five-hour courses each year and do away with minors; others wanted all courses beyond the basic core to be electives; and so it went. Dr. Arthur B. Darling of the History Department was also a strong supporter of requiring two languages and thus often found himself lining up with the language people. As the year wore on, the Committee meetings often became acrimonious, as it became clearer and clearer that there could be no common ground on which a majority of the Committee could agree. Finally, instead of reporting to the Faculty a single recommendation, the Committee presented four plans and in effect told the Faculty to choose the one they liked best.(16) Plans I and II were similar. They each envisaged the basic core of four years of English, three of mathematics, and three of a foreign language, to which was added a year of science and a year of American history. Minors in Bible and in art and music would account for a thirteenth unit. The diploma requirement would be sixteen units, thus allowing for three electives. Plan II in effect simply increased the diploma requirement to eighteen units and made provision for more major courses being taken. Plan III, conceived by Dr. Darling, pretty much kept the existing curriculum intact but provided for a committee of class officers to ensure flexibility in a boy's program. The implication of this plan was that some diploma requirements might be waived in particular cases. Finally, Plan IV was the existing curriculum, with suggestions as to how to lighten the burden of assignments in existing courses. The four plans were to be presented in order to the Faculty at a meeting in the fall of 1950. After Plan II had been presented, however, the Headmaster, whether inadvertently or not, indicated obliquely that he favored that plan. This so enraged Dr. Darling that he refused to present his plan, claiming that the Headmaster had already decided the outcome. The Faculty, many of whom were looking for leadership in this jungle, then proceeded to vote in Plan II, and the curriculum had presumably been revised. It is quite possible that John Kemper, hoping to avoid a curricular donnybrook at the meeting, decided to make his own view known; in any event his position on the matter was decisive. Like most curricular revisions, this one was hardly earth-shaking. Only one year of history was required instead of four; only one foreign language was required; there was some reshuffling of minor courses. But for the most part the courses that had characterized an Andover education in the past remained intact. Ray Wyman Wilbur once said that it was harder to change a curriculum than to move a graveyard;(17) his observation was borne out to a large extent by the Andover experience of 1950-51.

Even though the Phillips Academy curricular revision may not have been breath-taking, a development of great importance to American education grew out of it. In 1950 the Headmaster asked a group of alumni to make up an Alumni Educational Policy Committee whose charge was to work with the Faculty Committee and other interested persons in developing a new curriculum. While this Committee addressed itself to their basic charge, their discussions ranged over a wide variety of educational matters much broader in scope than the specifics of the School's problems. Members of the Alumni Committee from the colleges, particularly Wilbur J. Bender, then Dean of Harvard, and Thomas C. Mendenhall, Professor of History at Yale, enlarged the discussions to include the whole relationship between school and college and the problems arising from that relationship. In the spring of 1951 a much larger group of Deans and headmasters met to consider what might be done about some of these larger problems, and out of this discussion came the proposal that three schools---Andover, Exeter, and Lawrenceville---and three colleges---Harvard, Princeton, and Yale---should sponsor a study of the relationship between the last two years of school and the first two of college. The Fund for the Advancement of Education, an adjunct of the Ford Foundation, made a generous grant to support the study, and a six-man committee, one faculty member from each of the institutions involved, was formed to carry out the work. The Chairman was Alan R. Blackmer of Andover. Writing to Dr. Clarence Faust of the Fund for the Advancement of Education, John Kemper presented the problem:

Perhaps because too little research and thought have been given to the matter in the past, it appears obvious that school and college programs, especially during the important years from the 11th through the 14th grade, have not been planned as coherent wholes. Boys from the best independent schools often report that their early courses in college are repetitious and dull. We are much concerned that some of our best boys seem to lose interest in their work during their first and second years in college. It looks as though the country might no longer be able to afford the waste involved in the transition from school to college, especially for gifted and well-trained boys.(18)

The Committee went to work with a will, though only the Chairman was relieved of other duties so as to devote full time to the project. They first conducted a study of the 341 boys who were graduates of one of the three schools and currently enrolled at one of the three colleges as members of the Class of 1951. This served to point up duplication of courses taken, frequency of advanced standing, and the like. For example, the survey revealed that of 209 graduates of the the three schools who took physics, chemistry, or biology in college, almost half were taking the same course they had taken in School. Even worse, most engineering students spent four years-two in School and two in college---getting credit for elementary physics and elementary chemistry. In short, they repeated both subjects, yet their grades in the repeated courses were not noticeably higher.(19)

Next the Committee engaged a group of experienced teachers, most of them at the secondary school level, to make surveys of exactly what was taught in a particular subject in both secondary school and college. Sample examinations were studied, reading lists examined, and correlation between school and college courses checked out. These surveys tended to indicate an almost complete lack of contact between school and college teachers of the same subject. The third method of getting information was to send a detailed questionnaire to fifty-eight graduates of Andover, Exeter, and Lawrenceville who were in the Class of 1952 at the Big Three. Since the students were asked to comment on their education, the results, of necessity, would have to be judged subjectively, but the questionnaires yielded a rich mine of material nonetheless. Here is what one of the questioned had to say:

My greatest dissatisfaction is that I wasted two years before getting to the business of getting a college education. My last year in school, though I did less work than before, was not a time in which I loafed. The same cannot be said of my first two years of college. I am to blame mainly for this, but the college bears some responsibility for letting itself be an anticlimax intellectually.(20)

Finally, the Committee held a series of panel discussions to which distinguished scholars in various fields were invited. The topics discussed were, among others, "Motivation," "Values," "Emotional and Social Development," and "Testing and Measurement," as well as the basic academic disciplines. From these various sources a substantial amount of relevant material was collected and digested, so that the Committee's final report was based on solid evidence.

The final report of this Committee was an impressive document that immediately had a wide influence on American schools and colleges. It began by stating certain convictions on which the report as a whole was based. First, the Committee believed in individual excellence and wished to foster programs that would lead to such excellence. They admitted frankly that in this report they were primarily concerned with the superior student. Programs and facilities for mass education in the United States had made rapid strides since World War II. It was now time to concentrate more on quality rather than quantity in educational matters. Providing imaginative programs for the superior student would affect all students, however; it was the Committee's belief "that standards can be pulled up from the top more easily than they can be pushed up from the bottom." And they cited the statement of one headmaster that the chief danger to American education was "contentment with mediocrity."(21) The Committee took a conservative position when they insisted that content was fully as important as method in present-day education. This point was to prove very important later in winning the support of conservative institutions for what became the Advanced Placement program. Finally, the Committee admitted that both mind and emotions were vital considerations in developing a successful educational system. This report would concern itself almost exclusively with matters of the mind, but the members were quick to admit that the physical, social, and emotional development of the student was equally important.

Space does not permit discussion of sections of the report dealing with the concept of a liberal education in general or with philosophical terms. Building on these general concepts, the Committee proposed several curricular programs covering the 11th grade through the 14th grade that were conceived as logical progressions over those four years and would avoid the sharp and often irrational break that was occurring between school and college. One of the major purposes of the program was to enable the student to progress steadily within a given field and not be obliged to submit to sterile repetition of material previously studied. With a series of basic programs established for these four years, the report proceeded to take up ten subject fields, examine the present correlation or lack of it between school and college courses, and make specific recommendations for improvement. For example, the report suggested that one of the worst areas of duplication was in introductory courses in American history, a subject taught in many schools at college level. The Committee believed strongly that colleges must give students from schools with strong American history courses advanced placement in college. One college man suggested that if this were done, the student would "wallow in difficulty," to which the Committee replied, "It is better for these students, we believe, to wallow in a few difficulties than to slumber in indifference."(22) And similar analyses were made for the other nine fields selected for study. At the close of the report the Committee proposed an experimental seven year program whereby a student would enter college either from the eleventh grade of school or as a college sophomore from the twelfth grade. They were not interested in acceleration for acceleration's sake, but they were convinced that for some students eight years was a wastefully long time. Finally, the report closed on a specific note with a recommendation that the College Board make studies to see if valid tests for advanced placement could be devised for college freshman courses and to see if enough students and college people were interested to make a pilot program worth while. A lot of hard work and hard thinking had gone into the report, and the result showed it.

It would be nice to be able to say that General Education in School and College led directly to the establishment of the Advanced Placement Program and that thus Phillips Academy, which had done so much to initiate this study, could be credited with being the most important influence in getting the Advanced Program established. Such, however, is not the case. At almost exactly the same time that the Andover study was started, what came to be called the Kenyon Plan was initiated by President Gordon Chalmers of that institution .(23) Early in 1951 a group of eleven, later twelve, colleges met to consider the same problems that were the concern of the Andover group. With the exception of M.I.T. they were all small liberal arts colleges. At an early meeting Dean Frank Kille of Carlton presented a paper, later published in the College Board Review, that bore many striking resemblances to the Andover report. The Kenyon group, like the Andover group, were concerned with the superior students---the "able and ambitious student" they called him. They too emphasized course content and control of that content by the student. Both study groups believed that formal credit should be granted by the colleges for freshman courses passed on the basis of an examination, such examinations to be prepared by committees of school and college teachers. However one might try to divide the credit for the establishment of the Advanced Placement Program, there is no question that the effect of two distinguished and independent study groups arriving at almost identical conclusions speeded the process. In 1952-53 seven pilot schools began to develop Advanced Placement courses under the supervision of the College Board. By September 1953 twenty-seven schools were offering AP courses in one or more of the following subjects---American history, biology, chemistry, English, European history, French, German, Latin, mathematics, physics, and Spanish. At the same time, the program was given a boost when the twelve Kenyon Plan colleges voted to give credit for examinations taken as a result of these courses. In the spring of 1954 the first AP exams were administered, having been drawn up by committees of school and college teachers. To establish a point of reference, a group of college freshmen were paid to take the same exams, and it was soon found that the secondary school students did substantially better than the freshmen, possibly because the latter did not care so much about the exercise. From then on, the College Board took over, directing the Educational Testing Service to administer the program, and the Advanced Placement Program as it exists today was fully operative. There is no question that the program had led many schools to develop advanced courses for able students---courses that probably would not have been developed without the stimulus of the program.

Those who feared that AP courses would put the secondary school teacher in a straightjacket, no longer free to teach as he would, have generally been confounded. Although requirements in some subject fields are more rigid than others, in most cases the AP syllabi allow a large measure of flexibility. There were also those who thought that once the new courses had been drawn up, interest in the program would wane, but this, too, seems not to have been the case. Enrollment figures have varied from year to year, but the program is still going strong. Figures on specific advanced placement in colleges are difficult to obtain. There appear to have been relatively few students who achieved full sophomore standing through AP, but many able students have been able to avoid the drudgery of repeated courses.(24) Phillips Academy can be proud of her part in the establishment of the Advanced Placement Program. It represented the first time in the history of the school when something initiated at Andover contributed to the establishment of an educational program of national importance.

The effect of the Advanced Placement Program on Phillips Academy and its curriculum varied a good deal according to the department concerned. The School had provided students for the first pilot programs of the AP, and once the College Board had taken over, a large number of Andover undergraduates took the tests each year, with generally superior results. In the case of history, English, and the classics, the students took the examination without special training. Dr. Arthur B. Darling, Head of the History Department, announced that he had been giving a college-level course right along and saw no need to change it to meet the requirements of the AP. His position was borne out by the superior records that his students and those of the other teachers of History made on the American history AP. Since the AP requirements in English were fairly flexible, Andover students were able to take the AP exam in English without special training, and the same was true of the classics. When it came to French, the AP requirements presented problems. Since most college freshman courses in French were devoted to the study of French literature, the examining committee naturally emphasized literature in the French AP exam. Dr. James H. Grew, Head of the Andover French Department, believed that the study of a language at the secondary school level should concentrate on getting command of the language itself and not on the literature of that language. Also, as the man responsible for introducing French courses taught entirely in French at Andover, he was disturbed by the use of English on the French AP exams. Eventually it was decided to offer a fifth year in French that would be devoted to literature, but to concentrate on the language itself for the first four years. In this case the AP requirements did, in effect, dictate part of the Andover curriculum, against the wishes of many of the department. The effect of the AP program on the sciences was to encourage science teachers to develop new and advanced courses to meet the AP requirements. Up until this time the various offerings in the sciences had been one-year elementary courses and minor courses for Seniors who wanted to keep in touch with the subject. Now in both chemistry and physics new advanced courses were offered to meet the AP requirements. Encouragement was also given to students taking the physics AP exam to take calculus at the same time. A variation on this was the science honors course, open to only a small number of very able students, which, in the course of two years, prepared the student for both the chemistry and the physics AP. It was assumed that these students would take calculus at the same time. Generally the AP program provided a strong stimulus to the teaching of advanced courses at Phillips Academy. Finally, the effect of the AP program on the Department of Mathematics was to make calculus the standard senior course, a full year beyond what had previously been fourth-year mathematics. This meant that some mathematical subjects like statistics and probability, solid geometry, and trigonometry had to be sacrificed to a certain extent, but most of the Department believe that the whole subject of mathematics is better integrated under the new course arrangement.

The Advanced Placement Program has not been an unmixed blessing. Although it has provided challenge for exceptional students, it has also led average students to attempt programs for which they were not qualified, often with disastrous results. Although the program has encouraged the development of advanced courses, it has also, in certain areas at least, tended to dictate what should be taught. On balance, however, the advantages for American secondary school students definitely outweigh the disadvantages.(25)


The revision of the Phillips Academy curriculum and the study that helped establish the Advanced Placement Program were both activities in the academic area. With the successful completion of these two projects, John Kemper was content to leave academic matters to the Faculty, at least for the time being. He became, however, more and more concerned with the development of adolescent boys, particularly how to make them what he called "decent" people. Mention has been made of his interest in bringing the Faculty and the medical profession together to exchange experiences on dealing with adolescents. He was always on the lookout for new programs in the nonacademic area that could improve the influence Phillips Academy had on its undergraduates. Thus he immediately became interested in the program known as Outward Bound. The development of that program in the United States was to a large extent an Andover affair. It started in 1950, when Trustee John P. Stevens, Jr., first heard of a German educator named Kurt Hahn, who had been working in England and on the Continent and who had developed innovative techniques for dealing with adolescents. Stevens asked his son-in-law, Joshua Miner, if he would like to spend a year or so at Gordonstoun, one of Hahn's schools in Northern Scotland, and Miner jumped at the chance. In the course of what came to be two years at Gordonstoun, Miner came to know an extraordinarily gifted educator.(26) At one track meet, for example, Miner noticed that the opposition was competing barefoot, and partly as a result of this his team was winning. Hahn appeared on the scene, discovered that the opposition could not afford track shoes, and immediately ordered the meet to be run over again with the Gordonstoun group barefoot as well as the opposition. Though Kurt Hahn did not slight the academic side of the program, his major interest was in producing good people. When the high jumpers on the track team became so proficient that they were swamping all opposition, Hahn told them they could not compete anymore. When the coach protested, Hahn said, "We want to develop people through jumping, not making jumpers out of people." Kurt Hahn had had an interesting background. Born and brought up in the Germany of the pre-World War I period, he had studied at Oxford, and after the war had worked in Germany to found Salem, the prototype of his later schools. But he could not accept the Nazis, and when Hitler came to power, he wrote the School's alumni saying that they must choose between Hitler and Salem. As might have been expected, he was jailed for this act of defiance, and it was only after various British friends put pressure on the German Foreign Office that he was allowed to emigrate to England. Again with the support of friends, he was able to found Gordonstoun, where one of his first pupils was Philip, later the Duke of Edinborough. One of the things Hahn stressed most at his school was service to the community, a group of programs he called "Samaritan services." A school Fire Service fought fires in the surrounding countryside as well as at the school itself; a Mountain Rescue Service was trained in rock climbing and evacuation techniques so as to save those caught in the mountains; and finally a Coast Weather Service maintained a twenty-four-hour watch over the coast and developed breeches buoys and other forms of rescue techniques for shipwrecked vessels. Hahn called these activities "experience therapy" and was convinced that they could make his charges emotionally healthy. With the coming of the war and the Battle of the Atlantic, British authorities were dismayed at the loss of seamen from torpedoed merchant vessels. Hahn and a Gordonstoun father named Lawrence Holt worked together to found what became the first Outward Bound School at Aberdovey, Wales, in 1941. Designed to train young Englishmen for survival at sea, the school became an instant success and before the war was over had provided many young men with techniques enabling them to stay alive. But the basic Hahnian concept remained: as Holt said, 'The training at Aberdovey must be less a training for the sea than through the sea, and so benefit all walks of life." After the war Hahn returned to Gordonstoun, where he demonstrated that he meant it when he said that he was "an old man in a hurry." He often had three breakfast meetings simultaneously, he was forever wandering around the school to see what was going on, and at the end of the day he would take drives in his car, an authentic London taxicab, which he liked because it had more room than other cars. His attitude toward discipline was unorthodox; when a boy got into trouble, the whole adult community in the school were placed on trial rather than the boy; Hahn was always convinced that someone should have seen the trouble coming and acted to prevent it. Once when he visited Andover, he told John Kemper that a committee should never dismiss a student; "A committee has no conscience. Use it to investigate and advise, but you must make the decision . . . . Some one must carry the decision on his conscience." Perhaps the most interesting part of the Gordonstoun programs was "The Break" ---a fifty-minute period in the morning devoted to athletics. The unique thing about this program was that each boy competed only against himself. Each day he tried to better his own record in one of five or six track events. The results were extraordinary. Many boys who started as physical misfits wound up making splendid records and at the same time banishing for themselves what Hahn called "the misery of unimportance." Hahn thought that team sports were good when they taught a lesson of "the good ally," teamwork, modesty in winning, and resolution in defeat. They harmed when they glorified individual performance or brute power. Before he died, Hahn embarked on some new ventures, particularly establishing four United World Colleges, which would enroll students from many lands in hope of breaking down national differences. It is easy to see that Hahn was a true educational innovator, and why John Stevens, John Kemper, and Joshua Miner should want to try to transplant at Andover some of the good things of the Hahn system.

John Kemper believed that some, at least, of the Hahn program might be introduced into Andover and serve to complement the strong academic program that was already established. Accordingly, in the summer of 1952, he invited Joshua Miner to introduce at Phillips Academy those parts of the Hahn program that seemed feasible. But he warned Miner that there could be no basic structural change in the Andover way of life to accommodate Hahn's theories. Miner accepted this difficult assignment and discovered, upon his arrival in Andover, something less than enthusiasm for the proposed changes. The School had a long tradition of doing things the way it was used to, and most of the Faculty were more than satisfied with things as they were. Few had ever heard of Hahn anyway. A vigorous athletic program was going well, and the Department of Physical Education believed that change was unnecessary. In addition, the leadership in the Department was undergoing change, and no one was willing to take the strong stand necessary if Miner's innovations were to be given a chance.

Faced with this roadblock, Miner decided to nibble away at the edges. He prevailed upon the Department of Physical Education to let him work with twenty of the most physically inefficient boys in school. Since it was difficult to fit this group into the regular athletic program, the Department was glad to get rid of them. Though it is difficult to measure achievement, there is no question that Miner's physical misfits prospered under his tutelage; they developed physically and, more important, they gained self-confidence. The following year it was arranged to have all the Williams Hall juniors take the program, while the Rockwell House juniors did not. At the end of the year a comparison was made between the two groups, with the Williams Hall boys coming out far ahead, not only in physical proficiency but in academic records as well. Other factors may have influenced the result, of course, but the comparison was too striking to be ignored. From then on, all the juniors and later new Lower Middlers as well took the Hahn-inspired course. Those in charge of the program introduced the Hahnian concept of competing against oneself in track events, and a program called "drown-proofing" was introduced, in the course of which the student learned to stay afloat with both his arms and legs tied. A later development was Search and Rescue, in the course of which boys were trained in rock climbing and rescuing people in the mountains. This program involved taking overnight trips to the White Mountains and other appropriate places. As part of their training, boys learned to rappel---to let themselves down a sheer cliff on a rope. Since there were no cliffs near Andover, the Bell Tower was commandeered, and it soon became a familiar sight to see Andover students descending from the top of that tower. A much more recent program based on Hahn's principles was developed as part of the orientation program for new students at the beginning of the School year. Many of these new students testified that they made friends more easily working together in this program than in any other activity they had previously engaged in. So the Outward Bound principles were engrafted on part of the Andover program. These programs did not revolutionize the School, but unquestionably many boys profited enormously, both physically and emotionally.

A student rappelling down Memorial Tower as part of the Outward Bound program introduced at Phillips Academy.

Josh Miner, John Kemper, and Jack Stevens played a leading part in the development of Outward Bound schools in the United States as well. The first was established in Colorado in 1962 and five others followed in such places as Minnesota and on the coast of Maine. At this time of writing, about seven thousand students take month-long courses at these schools each year, and four hundred Search and Rescue type programs have been established. Five thousand high school teachers have gone through one or another of the programs to enable them to work more effectively with their pupils. In short, Outward Bound has been an exciting innovation in American education, and the chances are that it might never have been established---at least as it is now-without the work of Phillips Academy people.(27)

Chapter Seventeen, continued

Table of Contents