Richard R. Gladish, Professor of Education
The Academy of the New Church
NEW CHURCH EDUCATION IN NORTH AMERICA
IN THE SPHERE OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE NEW JERUSALEM
1800 - 1968
General Church Religion Lessons
Bryn Athyn, Pa.
Foreword to Section II i
I. TRANSPLANTATION OF NEW CHURCH TO THE NEW WORLD 1
II. EARLY EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONVENTION 9
III. CONVENTION DAY SCHOOLS 40
IV. URBANA UNIVERSITY 60
V. THE NEW CHURCH THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL, RENAMED THE
SWEDENBORG SCHOOL OF RELIGION 107
VI. LATER DEVELOPMENTS IN CONVENTION 130
FOREWORD TO SECTION II
HISTORY OF NEW CHURCH EDUCATION
Of the three sections of the manuscript, this is the last to be mimeographed. The previous two have been mimeographed in this order: III. A History of the Academy of the New Church (1967); and I. An Introduction to the History of New Church Education and Education Under the General Conference of the New Jerusalem, 1785 - 1967, (May, 1968).
Although the author visited, as far as practicable, the sites of the schools treated of in this section and gained valuable information thus, perhaps the largest share of the data was found in the Library and Archives of the General Convention (Now at the Swedenborg School of Religion, Newton, Mass.) and the Library and Archives of the Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn, Pa. In addition to the acknowledgments noted in the Foreword to Section III, the author would here register his thanks and gratitude to numerous members of the American Convention for their kindly assistance, including Rev. and Mrs. Franklin Blackmer, the late Horace E. Blackmer, the late Rev. Louis A. Dole, and the late Edward F. Memmot. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Barnitz of Urbana also rendered much-appreciated assistance.
If all goes according to plan, and a printed volume is produced covering all three sections, corrections, and other modifications of the present work will be in order, and the author would be grateful for any information that would improve the manuscript as presented in its three-fold mimeographed form.
R. R. Gladish
Professor of Education, ANC
Bryn Athyn, Pa,
The Writings of Swedenborg:
AC Arcana Coelestia
AK Animal Kingdom
BE Brief Exposition of the Doctrines of the New Church
CL Conjugial Love
SD Spiritual Diary
DLW Divine Love and Wisdom
DP Divine Providence
NJHD The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine
HH Heaven and Hell
LJ The Last Judgment
TCR True Christian Religion
(In references to Swedenborgs writings, the numbers refer to paragraphs,)
General Works of Reference:
ANC Record The Academy of the New Church, 1876-1926, An Anniversary Record, by members of the Faculty
Annals Odhner, Carl Theophilus, Annals of the New Church, Vol. 1, 1688-1850
Doc. Tafel, Rudolph L., Documents concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg, 3 Vols.
RP Hindmarsh, Robert, Rise and Progress of the New Jerusalem Church
Con. Jour. Journals of the General Convention, 1870-1960
Jour. Gen. Journals of the General Church of Pennsylvania, 1883-1890.
Journals of the General Church of The Advent of the Lord, 1891-1896
Journals of the General Assemblies of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, 1897-1959
New Church Periodicals:
IR Intellectual Repository, London
Herald New-Church Herald, London (Conference Organ)
Messenger New Jerusalem Messenger, (now New Church Messenger)
New Church Messenger, Cincinnati, 1853-1854
The Messenger (Official Convention Organ)
NCL New Church Life, Bryn Athyn, 1882-present
N. J. Mag. New Jerusalem Magazine, 1827-1872; new series, 1875-1893
Words Words for the New Church
NEW CHURCH EDUCATION IN NORTH AMERICA
TRANSPLANTATION OF THE NEW CHURCH TO THE NEW WORLD
1. The Heavenly Doctrines Arrive from Europe
Although James Glen, educated Scotsman and plantation-owner of Demerara (British Guiana), was the first New Church man to give a public lecture on Swedenborgs doctrines in America (1784),1 the spread of the New Church to the New World was by no means a one-man affair. When Glen gave the first of his three lectures at Bells Book Store on Third Street, Philadelphia, on June 5, 1784, receivers and readers of the Heavenly Doctrines as the Writings were often called, were well-established both north and south of him. Probably the earliest receiver was Lord Thomas Fairfax, who came to Virginia in 1746 to look after an estate of nearly six million acres inherited from his maternal grandfather, Lord Culpepper. Fairfax owned a copy of Swedenborgs Principia of 1746, and obtaining from Europe copies of Swedenborgs theological works, he quietly distributed them among friends, acquaintances, and relatives in the region of his home, Greenway Court, near Winchester.2 Certainly he did not bring the Writings with him on his initial trip to America, since the first volume of the Arcana Coelestia, (the first theological work to be printed) was not published in tendon till 1749, but ships plied the Atlantic with some frequency even then to serve the needs of such wealthy colonists as Lord Fairfax.
1 New Churchman, January, 1841, Vol. 1, 70ff.
2 Silver, Ednah O., Sketches of the New Church in America, 289f.
Next earliest receiver of the doctrines of the Baron, as Swedenborg was called, was Hannah Holland, who arrived from the Netherlands in 1775, bringing with her many of Swedenborgs works in Latin. She settled at Woodstock, Vermont, and married a man named Smith. She must have been an educated woman, for she translated excerpts from the Writings and circulated the sheets around the village. She also had ten sons whom she raised in two large log cabins and to whom she taught the doctrines of the New Church.
1 Odhner, H. L., First Receiver in America?: NCL, October, 1947, Vol. 67, 473f.
While James Glen was not the first to introduce the Writings into America, his Philadelphia lectures proved unusually effective. Perhaps the main reason for this was that one of his hearers was Francis Bailey, printer to the State of Pennsylvania, editor and publisher of the Freemans Journal and a close friend and near neighbor of Benjamin Franklin, on whose will his name appears as a witness.2 Although some of Glens original audience walked out when he began to speak of Swedenborgs relations with the world of spirits, Baileys curiosity was aroused and ripened into a steady interest after he had acquired a number of Swedenborgs works in English. These books arrived at Bells Book, Store in a shipment addressed to Glen after the latters departure from Philadelphia, and were thereupon sold auction. Their distribution probably had much to do with the lasting effects of the Glen lectures.
2 Block, M. B., The New Church in the New World, 75.
Francis Bailey was an influential man, and he made his home in Philadelphia a center for discussing and promoting the Writings. Three years after Glens visit, Bailey compiled and published A Summary View of The Heavenly Doctrines (1787) and in 1789 he brought out the first American edition of the True Christian Religion with a subscription list of fifty, among whom were Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris.3 Just how many of the early readers and discussants of the Writings in Philadelphia had attended the Glen lectures (he delivered three in the course of eight days), and how many were introduced into the group by Bailey, it is difficult to state. Margaret Bailey, his daughter, in a letter some forty years later to Condy Raguet, wrote, I believe our late highly valued friend William Schlatter, and my father, have done more for the spread of the doctrines in this country than any other two individuals in it.l
3 Annals, 131, 146.
1 New Churchman, January, 1841, Vol. 1, 72f.
As Bailey became known to be a promoter of Swedenborgs teachings, immigrants and visitors from the Old World with the same interest made his home a stopping place. Margaret Bailey mentioned Thomas Lang, a Scotsman; Old Parson Schlatter (the Rev. Michael Schlatter), a Swiss Presbyterian sent out by the Dutch Synods to organize the German Reformed Churches of Pennsylvania2; Col. Julius Vahn Rohr, a Swede who had seen Swedenborg and known members of his family; a Mr. Chalmer of Charing, a Danish [sic] gentleman, who had also seen Swedenborg; Captain Byard, a French gentleman, who had fled to America with his family; as well as Ralph Mather and William Hill, who were among the arrivals from England.3
2 Block, M. B., op. cit., 76.
3 New Churchman, January, 1841, Vol. 1, 71f.
Another center of Mew Church thought and activity began to be formed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, shortly after Glens visit to Philadelphia. The central figure in the Lancaster New Church group was William Reichenbach, a native of Saxony, a classical scholar who came to the area October 24, 1786. Reichenbach, after taking up residence in Lancaster Borough, was appointed professor of mathematics and German literature in Franklin College. Just when Reichenbach first became acquainted with the Writings is not known, but he may have known of them before the visit of the German nobleman, Frederick Von Blow, who lived in Lancaster between 1796 and 1799. Both Reichenbach and Von Blow were students of the Writings, and both published works about the doctrines of Swedenborg. The Lancaster New Church circle was predominantly German in origin, and family names associated with this group in the early years have continued to crop up in later history of the Church and its education. Some of these are Carpenter (Anglicization of the German Zimmermann), Iungerich, Kramph, and Officer. Louis C. Iungerich (later Iungerich) was a Mennonite confectioner from Germany, who became a receiver of the Doctrines of the New Church in 1824.4
4 New Churchman, Vol. 2, 40-47.
In 1790, Judge John Young, of Philadelphia, one of those associated with Francis Bailey, and who attended the Glen lectures, removed to Greensburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the chief means of introducing the doctrines west of the Allegheny mountains. James Vickroy also aided in the work in the Johnstown-Pittsburgh area.1 Joseph J. Russell in 1791 reported a New Church society in operation in Halifax, with public worship, meetings, and New Church baptism.2
1 Annals, 151.
2 Ibid., 158.
After his lectures in Philadelphia, James Glen had gone to Boston the next week, where he succeeded in converting James Roby, a bookseller, and Major Joseph Hiller, first collector of revenues at Salem under the new federal constitution. Glen made two other short trips inland before returning to his plantation in Demerara.3
3 Duckworth, Dennis, James Glen of Demerara, New Church Herald, April 2, 1949, Vol. 30, 54f.
The Rev. James Wilmer, an American clerical convert to the doctrines, headed the first New Church society in the United States, and began to preach to a congregation of twenty-two persons in Baltimore early in 1792.4 Colonel Robert Carter, baptized into the New Church in l788, left his large plantation, freed his 400 slaves, and became a somewhat eccentric leader of the Church in Baltimore.5 In 1802, the Rev. John Hargrove, having left the Baptist ministry in Baltimore for the New Church, preached before the President and Congress, and again in 1806, to the Senate and Representatives of the Maryland State Assembly.6
4 RP, 152, 150.
5 Messenger, May 9, 1856, Vol. 2, 186.
6 RP, 180, 188.
By 1842, receivers of the New Church were listed in twenty-seven states and territories, and in Canada, the West Indies, and Texas.7 Pennsylvania had eighteen locations where New Church people were resident, New York twenty-two, and Massachusetts twenty-seven. By far the heaviest concentration in any state, however, was that of Ohio, where forty-six locations of New Church receivers were listed, including five congregations.1
7 New Jerusalem Magazine, July, 1842, Vol. 15, 470ff.
2Price, Robert, Johnny Appleseed, Man and Myth, 125, 141.
It is evident that the doctrines of Swedenborg began to penetrate the United States from many directions and from many national sources from 1784 on. One or two isolated receivers had come to these shores prior to 1784. Of the national groups represented in the ranks of the Swedenborgians, the English and the German were most numerous, but a number of influential Huguenots also took a prominent part, especially in the Philadelphia area. Among these were Philip Freneau, the poet, Daniel Lammot, Jonathan Condy, and Condy Raguet.3 The variety of national and religious origins and backgrounds, and the variety as to station in life, gave assurance that there would be something of cosmopolitanism in the New Church, and that the Church and its schools might therefore be disposed to consider influences from any source on merit.
3 Block, M. B., op. cit., 77.
2. Organization of the New Church in America
In the New World the New Church proved better able to spread geographically than numerically. Its doctrines throve better in the scholars quiet study than in the active, often dangerous environment of the new land. Amid the many sects and systems of the new country, the New Church indeed grew, but more slowly than most. As Price put it,
The New Church doctrines were too intellectual ... to thrive with merely surface tilling. They moved deeply, and therefore slowly, in the convictions of earnestly thoughtful people. It [the New Church] shunned emotional revivalism as mere sensationalism and depended. chiefly upon the understanding of educated minds to follow the slow, solid processes of extended syllogistic reasoning.4
4 Price, Robert, op. cit., 136f.
However, there came a time when the scattered receivers of the new land desired to band together in an organization.
On January first, 1817, a number of members of the New Church from different parts of the United States met in Philadelphia, and resolved unanimously to call a convention of the receivers of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church throughout the United States.l At the first convention, May 15-17, 1817, at the New Church Temple provided in Philadelphia by the bounty of William Schlatter, the Rev. John Hargrove of Baltimore was elected president, and Condy Raguet, of Philadelphia, secretary. A committee was selected to deal with the matter of the ordination ritual, and report back to the second Convention, scheduled for the following year in Ba1timore.2
1 New Jerusalem Church Repository, January, 1817, Vol. 1, 64.
2 Ibid., July, 1817, Vol. 1, 131.
The Convention also received greetings from the Conference in England, and heard reports from various circles and centers in America. Seventeen circles or societies reported a total of 360 members, individual church enrollments ranging from sixty to seventy adults in Philadelphia and Baltimore to only seven in Abingdon, Virginia.3
3 Ibid., 133ff.
At the Second Convention (1818), Hargrove ordained the Rev. Maskell Carll into the ministry. Carll was not only the respected minister of the Philadelphia Church, but also operated a school for young ladies in Philadelphia. He advertised his school in the New Church Repository, noting that he had had fifteen years experience in the work. The useful and ornamental branches which he taught began with the study of the Holy Scriptures, from whence a rational and consistent system of doctrine was to be derived and inculcated.
1 Ibid., July 1818, 464.
In the years following the first Convention, the work or organization went on. In 1830, members west of the Alleghenies, finding that it was too difficult to attend a central convention, asked permission to form themselves into a district organization which would report to the General Convention. The official name of the western branch was, First General Convention of the Receivers of the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem West of the Allegheny Mountains, but it was generally called the Western Convention. In 1835, the Massachusetts Association was formed, and the following year (1836), the Maine Association.2
2 Block, M. B., 173f.
A large factor in the missionary work of the New Church was the publication and distribution of volumes of the Writings and of many tracts based upon them. This had gone forward in the period up to 1836, with William Schlatter doing a major share. Being a merchant with extensive connections in the frontier country as well as overseas, he made it his practice to send out books along with his merchandise, often inserting literature in bales of cloth to customers over the country. In 1819 he stated that he had purchased and published about 7,000 books and sermons on the sublime doctrines of the New Jerusalem for free distribution.3 Johnny Appleseed had carried copies of the Writings furnished by Schlatter from cabin to frontier cabin along with his apple seeds and seedlings. Sometimes he had divided up the books into chapters or sections, and circulated them on successive visits.4
4 Ibid., 120.
Although further organization was shortly to follow with the formation of the Illinois Association in 1839,5 the Central Convention for the Philadelphia-area in 1841,6 and the Michigan and Northern Indiana Association in 1843,1 the New Church was on ably well-organized on the national level by the early eighteen-thirties.
5 Annals 436f.
6 Ibid., 463.
1 Ibid., 488.
EDUCATION UNDER THE AMERICAN GENERAL CONVENTION
EARLY EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONVENTION
1. The-Rationale of New Church Education in America
The operation of New Church education in America and England in the early Nineteenth Century differed greatly despite certain inherent similarities. The effort in this chapter will be to examine the conditions which led to the setting up of schools for New Church education in America.
In comparing the situation in the two lands, certain differences at once became apparent. Most obvious was the fact that the large English schools with their enrollments in the hundreds had no counterpart in America. The crowded schools of England had been to a large degree the by-products of the Industrial Revolution. In early Nineteenth Century America, the Industrial Revolution was a much-muted thing, as in a country largely agricultural, it would have to be. As late as 1840, only five per cent of the United States population lived in cities of over 30,000.1 Although charity and infant schools existed in American cities, they were fewer and soon merged into the nascent public schools.2
1 Beard, Charles A. and Mary R., A Basic History of the United States, 297.
2 Monroe, Paul, Founding of the Am. Pub. Schl. Syst. (microfilm) pp. 972, 982, 1011, 1292, 1310, 1554.
Schools of the Church in America were much smaller than many of those across the water, Moreover, they served a different purpose. In America they served primarily to educate the children of New Church members, and not to any large extent as missionary ventures. They were seen as a means of helping to retain the children of members in the Church. In England, with the exception of the Woodford School and Emanuel College in its early days, the New Church schools were not planned for the education of members, except incidentally. Another element present in the English New Church schools, but almost entirely absent in their American counterparts, was the feeling of class distinction.
We have noted some differences; it is also germane to our topic to note some similarities between the schools of the Church on both sides of the water. One fundamental similarity existed in the Writings themselves, which acted as a cornerstone for both English and American phases of the Churchs educational effort. Merely to read and follow the logic of the Writings is no mean intellectual exercise in itself. A full comprehension of the forty-five tomes and tracts which comprise the Swedenborg Theological Works calls for considerable knowledge of and facility in such fields as the physical sciences, philosophy, logic, and psychology, not to mention more than a nodding acquaintance with history and sociology. Therefore parent; who wished to imbue their children with their own belief would need to see that their offspring acquired the elements of a liberal education in order fully to understand their peculiar Revelation.
The Swedenborgian doctrine of Remains, as previously noted,l also stressed the importance of equipping children with certain experiences and attitudes in order to complete their spiritual growth and development. This produced upon the parents consciences, as a rule, an impetus to study their childrens mental and spiritual states in order to insure that nothing would be lacking for their spiritual welfare. Obviously, a much closer relationship between home and school was involved in America than in England.
The doctrine of Remains and its various interpretations, as indicated above, tended to lead the New Churchman into psyche-spiritual study and research. If he then took the Writings as his guide and authority, he would find himself in an area where any objective evidence would be exceedingly difficult to ascertain.
There are several reasons why this New Church that is called the Holy Jerusalem will first begin with a few, afterwards to be with more, and finally to reach fulness. First, its doctrine, which is the doctrine of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor, cannot be acknowledged and thus received except by those who are interiorly affected by truths, and those only can be interiorly affected by truths who have cultivated their intellectual faculty, and have not destroyed it in themselves by the loves of self and of the world.1
1 AE 732.
In other words, the spiritual vision necessary to comprehend New Church teachings had little to do with ordinary measurements of intelligence or intellectual power, but depended first, upon a self-subordinating intellectual discipline. The passage continues:
A second reason is that the doctrine of that Church cannot be acknowledged and thence received but by those who have not confirmed themselves by doctrine and at the same time by life in faith alone.2
Faith alone (Fides Sola) was Luthers expression, and in the Writings definition, constitutes one of the central falsities of Christendom. It is here asserted that anyone accepting faith as the essential thing of religion, slighting life or good works, would find it not merely difficult, but utterly impossible to accept the New Church. And since the Protestant world in general had operated from this premise, and to a .large degree, still does, this passage therefore declares that no one raised on the Protestant dogmas, who lives according to his belief, can come into the New Church. Nor is it possible to exclude Catholicism or other religions from the possibility, at least, of this same bar: anyone who operates from the principle that religion is properly separable from life would find the same difficulty in accepting the doctrines of the New Church. The number from the Apocalypse Explained continues:
A third reason is that the New Church on the earth grows according to its increase in the World of Spirits, for spirits in that world are with men, and they are from such as while they lived on earth were in the faith of their church, and none of these receives the doctrine but those who have been in the spiritual affection of truth; these only are conjoined to heaven where that doctrine is, and they conjoin heaven to man. The number of these in the Spiritual World now increases daily; therefore according to their increase does that Church that is called the New Jerusalem increase on earth. These also were the reasons why the Christian Church, after the Lord had left the world, increased so slowly in Europe, and did not attain to its fulness until an age had elapsed.1
What this passage told the New Churchman was that he was not to expect any rapid quantitative growth of his church, and that quality was the sine qua non for the Churchs growth. If he could make of himself and his children lovers of truth, understanders of the Heavenly Doctrines, then he would be doing the best he could do on earth to build the Church. For as the spiritual affection of truth was achieved, the church on earth would be extended and increased.
2. First Signs of Interest in Schools of the Church
Although the first school to be formally instituted by a society of the New Church in America dated from 1836, (in Providence, Rhode Island) efforts to establish schools of the church were recorded much earlier. We know of four private venture schools conducted by New Church schoolmasters previous to 1836.
Robert Carter (known as Councillor Carter in Virginia, where his ancestral acres lay, to distinguish him from his grandfather, King Carter) in letters to Robert Hindmarsh and John Hargrove between 1793 and 1803, set forth his interest in starting a school for the church. Carters first reference to a school occurred in his letter to Robert Hindmarsh of London of 1793 wherein he wrote: My desire is to open a school, in Ye town, professors thereof to be members of the New Jerusalem -- however, the Leaders of every denomination are opposed,2 Apparently the opposition prevailed, for there is no evidence that this school came into being.
2 Carter, Robert, Letter to Robert Hindmarsh, London, n. d. Probably written in second half of 1793, as letter refers to a previous order of April 16, 1793.
However, Carter might have taken some small comfort in the fact that the Rev. James Wilmer, a New Church man of his acquaintance in Baltimore, was operating a school, as the latters letter to Carter indicated:
Hond Sir, Knowing that every favorable circumstance relative to the New Church will give you pleasure, I embrace the first opportunity to acquaint you, that I have moved into a convenient mansion central to the Town and Point of Baltimore. Six days in the week this spacious Room [is pressed into service] as a school, and the seventh day as a Church. On Sunday last, through the good providence of God, the New Jerusalem [Church] was opened and I addressed my audience from the following words, Art thou in health, my brother? II Sam: 20, 9...1
1 Wilmer, James, Letter to Robert Carter, December 6, 1792.
Indications from another of Wilmers letters are that the school was very small -- almost a tutorial arrangement -- and that its pupils were from New Church families.2
2 Wilmer, James, Letter to Robert Carter, December 17, 1792.
Further reference by Carter to a school occurs in a letter fragment dated 1197, lacking name of addressee. Carter wrote:
If my life should be continued, it is probable that I may receive into my house a few young men who have been taught and show talents -- they to perform a certain exercise and to conform to certain rules -- I do nor incline to receive into my house and bestow attention to young Persons untutored whose [sic] Parents disavow a Life of Uses, or practical men and women -- Let this suffice. R. Carter.3
3 Carter, Robert, Letter-fragment, address unknown, June 5, 1797.
Evidence is lacking that this vague and tentative program of education ever became more concrete and specific. Whether a school was contemplated in the following letter by Carter, or whether he alluded therein only to missionary efforts is not quite clear. Writing to John Hargrove, he stated:
The few hints lately mentioned to you, concerning my former meditation to propagate the theological writings of Baron Eman. Swedenborg, in the County of West Morland in the Commonwealth of Virginia--A Plan at that time was in my power, but now not so--having dispossessed myself of the following property--namely--several plantations, well stocked with different animals, also sundry Slaves, Labourers, and Mechanicks, etc., etc.1
1 On August 1, 1791, Robert Carter had 455 slaves. He emancipated fifteen each year of those under 45 years, and likewise the young males at 21. Hinkley, E. O., summary of Carter Papers, Cambridge photostats, 29.
When in the possession of the Property mentioned above, I found Liberty to hazard an attempt to introduce the Writings--but at present I have neither Funds, nor strength of Body to cooperate in the measure proposed in yours of this day.2
2 Carter, Robert, Letter to John Hargrove, April 6, 1801.
About two years later, Hargrove made another appeal to Carter, this time specifically directed to the establishment of theological training for future ministers. According to Hargroves plan, the candidates for theological school would be placed in an academy to be educated in science and natural truths, this education to serve as a basis for a theological training which is not described. Probably such training would have had to be supplied by Hargrove or Wilmer on the tutorial plan. Hargrove wrote:
Deeply impressed with a concern for the future prosperity of the Doctrines of the New J. Church and convinced that human learning may as an Handmaid contribute much to promote this noble end: Ive been led to wish that some proper object or objects, Viz. a of decent connexions and promising genius--and whose lad or two inclination also was on the side of the Heavenly Doctrines we mutually subscribe to, was selected and placed at some respectable Academy in this city or elsewhere, to acquire those principles of Science and natural truths which may hereafter serve as a plane for spiritual truths and celestial wisdom. Could such an object be found out (and I think some person or persons favored by the D. Providence with the means to bestow such noble charity)-- It might ultimately prove of incalculable benefit to the cause of Ye Truth.3
3 Hargrove, John, Letter to Robert Carter, May 2, 1803.
In the absence of an answer to this communication, or any other evidence, it is plain that the plans of Hargrove and Carter did not develop. With one exception, there were no New Church schools, as such, in existence until 1836. The exception, and it is by no means a clear example of a New Church school, was the school conducted by David Powell, Sr., and his wife on their farm near Steubenville, Ohio, about 1810.4
4 Infra, 15f.
A further suggestion looking toward a school of the Church was made by John Chapman (Appleseed) in 1821.
1 Thuun, Daniel, Letter to Margaret Bailey, Philadelphia, May 15, 1821, quoted in Hatcher, Harlan, Price, Robert, et al, Johnny Appleseed, A Voice in the Wilderness: Centennial Tribute, 50.
2 Price, Robert, Johnny Appleseed, Man and Myth, 274.
3. Powell Farm School
While the first formal school of the New Church in America established under a society was that in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1836,3 there was a school connected with the New Church much earlier than that. This was the school built by David Powell, Senior, for his own family of twelve children in the dooryard of his farm near Steubenville, Ohio, some time before 1810. While not officially a New Church school, it had New Church pupils, and New Church teachers--Powell and his wife.
The story of this little school was related by one of its former pupils, the Rev. David Powell, Jr., in his Autobiography. Powell tells how religious intolerance was repaid by his father with what seems now a singular grace:
In one of the neighborhoods in which a school was generally kept, the leading supporters were Presbyterians and Seceders. Some of the most bigoted and influential said, that, if the Swedenborg children, as we were often called, were permitted to attend the school, they would not send their children. The result was that we remained at home. This circumstance, with other considerations, induced my father to build a small schoolhouse in one corner of his door-yard. [David, Junior, fifth of twelve children, was born January 9, 1805.]
In this small house, my father taught his children during the winter season, with the children of such of the neighbors as were not prevented by too strong prejudices from sending them. My father was a very competent teacher. Hence the superior character of this little school, with other good influences which my parents exerted, caused bigotry to give way, so that, in a short time, all in the neighborhood sought the privilege of sending to this school--even those who had previously objected to the attendance of Swedenborgian children, as we were generally called.1
1 Powell, David, Autobiography, 8.
This school lasted through several years, being in session only eight to ten weeks in the winter. The younger Powell finished his schooling at age 17.2
David Powell, Senior, was accepted as a minister of the Convention in its first annual meeting of 1817.3 Since young David Powell was a pupil in his fathers school for several winter seasons, the inference is that the school was in operation for a number of years from about 1810 to about 1822. The elder Powell died June 20, 1822.4 Taking it for what it was, the Powell Farm school seems to have been the first school in North America in which the teachers and the majority of the pupils were of the New Church. Except for the school operated in Sweden5 and one at Worsley, England6, it was the first school of the New Church in the world. However, it would be exaggerating to say that it was a New Church school in any planned way; it was actually a New Church school forced into existence by local religious intolerance. Its simple curriculum consisted of the common branches--little be young the Three Rs.7 In view of the strong convictions of Father Powell, it is safe to conclude that the pupils of this little school received a certain amount of instruction and influence in the direction of the New Church.
3 New Jerusalem Repository, July, 1818, I, 105.
4 N. J. Missionary, June 1823, I, 104.
6 Supra, I, 68.
7 Powell, David, Autobiography, 8.
4. Convention Plans for Education
As the American Convention grew in numbers, it began to move closer to an organized scheme of education within the Church. In the second year of its organization members paused to marvel at the number of converts and readers brought into being in the immense Western country largely through the distribution of books and other literature by William Schlatter.1 Yet the step from listening to New Church discourses and reading New Church literature to becoming members of the New Church was a large one, taken by relatively few. The Rev. David Powell, Senior, remarked on the slowness with which the Church grew, yet he found prejudice disappearing, and New Church ideas frequently adopted by old church preachers.2
1 New Jerusalem Repository, July, 1818, 459.
2 Journal of the Third General Convention, April 20, 1820, 64.
As the Convention grew in size, it also grew in a sense of a common purpose. By 1830 it was ready to inquire into joint efforts to educate the children of members in the Church. At this time Convention numbered some five hundred members in twenty-eight societies ministered to by sixteen ministers, and possessing seven temples. A committee seeking some improved system of Juvenile Education suggested an elementary school book in which the first rudiments of the science of Correspondences could be illustrated by appropriate emblems and scripture quotations,3 Maskell Carll gave a report to the Thirteenth Convention in 1831 as chairman of a committee to investigate infant schools in which these schools were represented as a necessary evil, or more accurately, a permission.4
3 Journal of General Convention, 1830, 4. One of the first inclusions of New Church people in planning a distinctive curriculum was the Science of Correspondences. Correspondences, defined as natural: truths in which, as in mirrors, spiritual truths are represented--AC 9300--in the Writings are represented as one key to understanding the relationship between the inner and outer worlds, and the mode of expression in the Old and New Testaments. AE 700; TCR 201. In 1838 Samson Reed produced Correspondences for Children of the New Church, published for the Convention Committee on Moral and Religious Instruction. N. J. Mag., Jan., 1839, 169-176.
4 Permission is a Swedenborgian term referring to something less than good or desirable, but permitted according to the laws of Providence for the sake of fallible mans essential freedom. DP 234, 296.
The Carll report stated,
... schools for infant instruction owe their origin to a disordered state of the Community.... We believe that a well-informed judicious mother, is the best instructress of her own offspring, the one designed and appointed in the order of Providence; and that, were society in a state of order, none other would be required.
However, the report allowed that since conditions ware otherwise, infant schools may be rendered instruments of great goad to the community and of preparing the way of the Lord.1 This was evidently a fact-finding survey, and no attempt was evident to launch any infant schools as a church activity.
1 Report on Infant Schools, Journal of Convention, 1831, II, 9.
5. Carlls Findings on Education
Although formal schooling was not yet in operation under the Church, education was proceeding on the home front. This was the news brought to Convention by the Rev. Maskell Carll after a tour of Pennsylvania and other Western reaches of the Church. When Carll held a private meeting at the home of the Widow Powell [Mrs. David Powell, Sr.] in Steubenville, Ohio, with New Church people of the area, he urged them:
...1st. To hold stated meetings at a convenient, central place. 2d. Appoint a Leader. 3d. Instruct their children; [Seven were baptized at the meeting] for that purpose they were advised to procure elementary books, both scientific and religious. 4th. To subscribe for the Magazine published at Boston2 which might be read as part of the exercises at the stated meetings. 5th. Open a correspondence with other societies. 6th. To Make gradual additions to the library.3
2 The New Jerusalem Magazine.
3Carll, Maskell, Report to the Missionary Committee of the New Jerusalem Western Missionary Society, N. J. Mag., October, 1831; I, 65.
In Dayton, Ohio, it was intimated to Carll that the Church members were ready to contemplate a New Church school. He remarked, They feel the want of a regular ministry, and ... a young man who would be willing to superintend a small school and at the same time officiate for them, would meet with encouragement.4
4 Ibid., 69.
The thriving group of fifty or more in the Dayton area expressed keen interest in education, and even speculated upon the possibility of launching an agricultural school upon a liberal plan in which, in addition to the sciences usually taught, agriculture and the mechanic arts might be introduced upon the most approved plans now in use. According to the plan reported by Carll, a large tract of farm land would be bought, and children of parents in limited circumstances might soon be placed in a situation to support themselves at the same time that they would be acquiring a knowledge of some useful art, and developing their powers by suitable exercise. And Carll added, Brethren of the west, look at this!l
1 Ibid., 70.
During his extensive tour of two months, Carll noted the importance of family worship, which in Cincinnati had attracted attention of neighbors, eventually leading to the formation of the society and its eminence as "the centre of the New Jerusalem Church in the Western States, and the focus of the missionary societies in that region.2 At Colerain, Ohio, Carll noted the excellent system of religious instruction pursued in the Ogden Ross family, the good effects of which were manifest in the intelligence and manners of the children.3
2 Ibid., 66.
3 Ibid., 68.
The necessity for private education was heightened by the lack of public education, or the abysmal condition of what passed for public education In some areas. At Stoystown, in Pennsylvanias Allegheny mountains, Carll noted:
Found the state of education here, like that in most other towns in the interior of Pennsylvania, at a very low ebb. As I was passing through the town, in company with Miss Graham, a man was pointed out to me, lying on a bench in a pitiable state of intoxication; this man was the village schoolmaster.
Carll immediately seized the occasion to stress the value of an infant school to the village, and at Miss Grahams request, drew up a simple plan for commencing such a school. He urged that young ladies in every village might devote their leisure to such work, which would be, sowing seed in time for a harvest to be gathered in Eternity.4
4 Ibid., 65.
6. Convention Statements on Education
Although the Brethren of the west did not as a church, take up Carlls suggestion for a manual arts school in Dayton, still, in 1832, Milo Williams, educator, scientist, and chairman of a Western Convention committee on education, brought in a report On the Proper Mode of Educating the Rising Generation.
Williams compared the infantile mind to a vessel with two compartments, one for the reception of those things which properly represent affections; and the other for such as represent science, or natural truths. The important thing in education was, Williams report declared, to fill the vessels properly; the affections were primary, and could not be cultivated too early. Next the simple facts of natural science should be taught in connection with the literal sense of the Word. Thus by storing the memory with the forms of external things, the rational powers, when developed, will have a plane upon which their energies can be properly exercised.
The committee report then declared that all education should aim at use, and practical uses at that, and taking a rather sizeable leap, concluded, Hence it would appear that scientific instruction to become truly efficient, must be united with Agricultural and Mechanical pursuits.
In this western world, a more practical type of establishment was welcomed. Parents here, unlike those of the Woodford School,l did not object to their childrens introduction to manual labor. In the year following this report (1833) Milo Williams joined with David Pruden, a New Churchman of Cincinnati, in establishing a private-venture manual-labor school in Dayton, which thrived until 1855.2 The manual-labor schools, stemming from Pestalozzi and Fellenberg, were popular in the United States between 1820 and 1840.3
1 Supra, I, 97ff.
2 Murdoch, Florence, Manuscript Recollections of Milo C. Williams, 1804-1880, Ohio State Archaelogical and Historical Quarterly, April-June, 1835, LIV, 118f.
3 Mulhern, James, A History of Education, 402f.
Upon Williamss urging such a school as a means of dissemination of the truths of the New church, the Convention instructed the Committee to bring in a working plan at the next Western Convention.1 The Second Western Convention of 1833 discharged the committee and appointed a committee of educators consisting of Milo Williams, Alexander Kinmont, who was headmaster of a Cincinnati academy, and David Pruden to report on the same subject to the next General Convention.2 At the Third Western Convention, in 1834, Williams reported that it was inexpedient to present a plan for a school on the principles set forth in the report made to the First Convention, inasmuch as it has been ascertained that the Church is at present unable to sustain one....3 The report was accepted, the committee discharged, and there the matter rested for a while.4
1 Proceedings, First Western Convention, 1832, 6.
2 Proceedings, Second Western Convention, 1833, 2.
3 Proceedings, Third Western Convention, 3834, 2.
Although dissuaded from establishing a school, Milo Williams moved a resolution to keep the Churchs interest in education alive:
Resolved, that this meeting view with deep interest the establishment of schools for the proper instruction of the young, in the fundamental principles of the New Jerusalem; and as a great auxiliary in this work, that it be recommended to the members and friends of the New Church to organize Sunday Schools, wherever it is practicable.5
5 N. J. Mag., Jan., 1933, VI, 200.
Though it was unable to establish schools, the Convention nevertheless was enabled to forward the dissemination of the doctrines in 1834 through a bequest left by Miss Elizabeth Jones. The Missionary and Tract Society of Convention used about $800 furnished by the Jones Bequest to supply the Writings of Swedenborg to such universities, colleges, and literary institutions as would be willing to receive them. This was the Conventions first bequest.6
6 Annals, 396.
However, the standing Committee on Education found itself unable to follow up this dissemination of the Writings with childrens literature, as had been expected of it.
1 Journal of Eighteenth Convention, July, 1836, 375.
2 Reed, Samson, Correspondences for Children, Otis Clapp, Boston, 1839.
7. Society Schools are Launched
The same committee reported an event and a development of great interest to the Church. In Providence [Rhode Island], a New Church School has been established with very favorable prospects. It now consists of about twenty children.3 Moreover, the Boston Society had held numerous meetings on the subject of education, and was believed about to establish a school.4
3 Journal of Eighteenth Convention, July, 1836, 377.
The committees report, signed by Samuel Worcester as chairman, then urged parents to support all efforts to establish schools of the church wherever possible. There were many towns and villages in which there were New Church families enough to support a school. It was the duty of parents of the Church, the report declared, to establish schools governed only by New Church Principles, Schools in which the Heavenly Doctrines will be acknowledged and taught, and applied as the guides and tests of all actions.5
5 Ibid., 379.
Among the reasons urged by Worcesters report were the poorness of the common schools, and the lack of obedience in the country generally.
There is, perhaps, no other country in the world, in which the Fourth Commandment is so little regarded se in the United States. Very little obedience is required in childhood; and as soon as manhood arrives, almost everyone supposes that this Commandment has ceased to apply to him, ... The Old Church has ceased to be honored as a Spiritual Mother; and when the Spiritual Mother is not honored, neither is the Divine Father honored....6
6 Ibid., 378.
By October, 1836, the Boston Society had succeeded in opening a school for small children of both sexes. It was taught by two ladies of the society, fifty pupils being enrolled. Boys were not allowed to enter after age seven, nor were they allowed to remain after age nine, on the principle that after this age it is not suitable for them to remain under the tuition of females. A higher school was planned as early as practicable.l Evidently the Providence school antedated that of Boston by a few months, both having been started in 1836.2
1 N. J. Mag., July, 1837, X, 382.
2 Ibid. July, 1838, XI, 392.
The third of the society schools seems to have been that of Abington, Massachusetts, which began in 1837.3 The fourth was evidently that of Bath, Maine, which reported to the 1838 Convention that it had now lately opened a school with over twenty pupils under one of the sisters of the congregation.4
3 Abington Minutes, Play 7, 1837.
4 N. J. Mag., July, 1838, Vol. XI, 387.
8. Interest Runs High
Interest in New Church Education ran high at this period in every part of the Church in America. In 1837, the Western Convention heard this report from their Committee on Education:
... they [the Committee] take it for granted that there is but one opinion as to the importance and advantage which would be derived from the establishment of a school distinctly upon New Church principles....
The report urged further that a committee of three be appointed to procure information, and if practicable, open a School at such time and place as they deem best.5
5 Report of the Committee on Education to the Western Convention, N. J. Mag., Sept., 1937, II, 35.
In 1838 Samuel Worcester, chairman of the Conventions Committee on Moral and Religious Instruction, urged immediate action, declaring that children of the New Church must be educated differently from children of the world. He noted that some societies had made great efforts in the interests of education, and called attention to a proposition of the Massachusetts Association to establish a high school.1
1 Report of the Standing Committee on Moral and Religious Instruction, ibid., July, 1835, XI, 377.
The Committee report, undoubtedly written by Worcester, insisted that every school of the Church should be taught by baptized members, and that every child admitted to the schools should likewise be baptized. He asserted that the Churchs proper duty toward its children could not be done in a school composed of heterogeneous members. His report stated:
None should be permitted to bring into the School what is foreign to its proper life; and if the children of strangers are admitted, the spirits which attend them, and the principles and habits which they acquire at home, cannot be excluded.2
2 Ibid., 378.
Still, Worcester did not think that the school could do all that was necessary by itself; the home was the primary source of moral and religious education, and therefore the relationship of the school and the home ought to be close and intimate. The report defined it thus:
The proper relation between the internal and the external world is like the relation between the internal and the external mind.
Worcester then took it upon himself to assert that
the home of every New Churchman should be very distinct from the world ... nothing should be admitted as a friend or associate which will interfere with bringing his internal principles fully and freely into word and deed. There should be no admixture of old things with new at home.3
Enthusiasm for education under the aegis of the Church found expression in 1839 in a Convention resolution which earnestly recommended
that every society of the New Church establish as soon as practicable, a Sabbath and a Week-Day School under its care and superintendence, in which the truths of the New Church should be distinctly taught, and in which the children shall be led to regard all other knowledges as subservient to those truths.
And Church members were reminded that
the insinuation of goods and truths into the minds of children and the leading them to a life in accordance with them, is one of the chief uses in which the angels of the heavens are employed, was the chief employment of the Most Ancient Church.1
1 Proceedings of Convention, July, 1839, 371.
Enthusiasm for the same cause was reflected in the West when the Rev. Richard de Charms deposited $60 in the Cincinnati Savings Bank to accumulate interest until an academy or school shall have been established in Cincinnati for the education of children avowedly and distinctively on the principles of the New Jerusalem Church and a committee appointed to look after the trust. While the actual amount of money was small, in terms of current prices and a ministers income, it was considerable. Later this fund grew to several thousand dollars.
9. The Hobart Report
Enthusiasm for education continued to ferment until in September, 1838, a committee headed by Benjamin Hobart of Abington, Massachusetts, reported a plan for establishing a high school, and, indeed, a complete educational system, to the Massachusetts Association.
This report called for, not only a high school, or high schools to be under the district associations, but also a college or university under the care and management of the Convention. That feeling was strong was evident from these words:
... Are they, [children of the Church] to be sent, after they had attended New Church Primary Schools, to finish their education in schools of the Old Church? The thought cannot be tolerated for a moment.
Not only would the children be pleased with the provision of such instruction, the report urged, but
... above all you will perform a duty which you owe to them, and which you are under the highest obligations to fulfill.2
2 Report of the Committee on a High School, N. J. Mag., Sept., 1838, XII, 33f.
The Hobart Committee report recommended a standing school committee of four members to superintend the school, form rules for its instruction and government, and to decide upon the qualifications of teachers, and books to be used. Another recommendation called for the establishment of a board of education consisting of the school committee and the trustees together.
1 Ibid., 34.
The enabling resolutions which concluded the Hobart Report were considered by a meeting of the Massachusetts Association held the next month (October 11, 1838) but they were laid on the table.2 At the twenty-first Convention held in July, 1839, the standing committee on Moral and Religious Instruction, headed by Samuel Worcester, reported that there was no agreement in Convention as to any general rules or principles upon which schools were to be founded. The business of establishing schools was to be left to the societies of the church, although the committee members themselves recommended something more. However, Convention at this time could not be brought to accept the responsibility of establishing general principles and procedures governing education on a Convention-wide scale.3
2 Ibid., Nov., 1838, XII, 85.
3 Report of the Standing Committee on Moral and Religious Instruction, N. J. Mag., July, 1839, XII, 385ff.
The ambitious Hobart Report marks the high water mark of the enthusiasm for New Church education which moved the Convention during the 1830s. Having been tabled, it was not brought up again for formal consideration. One reason for this was that Convention could not agree to make education its business as an organization, and another reason was that, lacking such agreement, its proposals were utterly beyond anything which could be carried out or even approached. According to the Rev. Lewis F. Hite, writing in 1920, the Hobart Report probably took its basic form from a report on a New Church high school originally shaped by the Rev. Warren Goddard. Goddards report developed the idea of three grades of schools beginning approximately at the ages of seven, fourteen, and twenty-one. The Goddard plan stated,
The first grade, the Primary School, was needed in every society but for the time being, would require the united aid of several societies. After the several societies were able to provide each a separate high school, they could all unite to support a school of the superior grade.4
4 Hite, Lewis F., The Hobart Report on New Church Education, New Church Review, Jan., 1920, XXVII, 61; Report of the Committee on a High School, Warren Goddard, Chairman, N. J. Mag., Mar, 1838, XI, 242f.
Commenting more than eighty years after the event, Hite suggested that had there been more expert educators connected with the Hobart committee, such a report would never have been put forward. Hites comment continues:
... looking at the situation from the point of view of expert school requirements, we may safely assume that the New-Church communities of the day lacked experience and school training, especially well-trained and highly educated teachers. In fact, New Church Schools have suffered grievously in this respect all through our history. Then, too, it was natural, perhaps inevitable, that there should be a good deal of half-heartedness and doubt on the part of many. The Church was weak in numbers and in resources as Well as in experience. The best men among its members were educated in the schools about them, and some of them presumably had considerable difficulty in getting a clear and satisfactory idea of just what was meant by New Church Education in the broad and comprehensive sense of the words. There was, no doubt, a lack of the complete unanimity needed ... another conflict of interest and sentiment was occasioned by the growth and extension of the public school system. It was easy and convenient to argue, especially in the face of New Church weakness and dissension, that it was not only the best educational policy, but a public duty, to patronize and support the public schools.1
1 Ibid., 65.
To these explanations Dr. C. E. Doering, Academy educator and historian, added lack of confidence in New Church education on the part of Thomas Worcester, president of Convention; Horace Manns drive for public education; the permeation ideas of B. F. Barrett;2 the current Convention aberration that Swedenborgs enlightenment had been dependent upon the degree of his regeneration, and as a corollary, that every minister could teach only according to his personal regeneration. This last teaching subtly focused attention on the man rather than upon the truth itself, undermining the concept of recognizing absolute truth in Divine Revelation.3
2 Barretts view was that the influence of the New Church was rapidly permeating the old church, indicating that it was time for the New Church to drop its defensive attitude and recognize that the new age had arrived.
3 Doering, C. E., The Movement for New Church Education in New England, Address to Faculty, March 5, 1940, 28-33. Published by Committee on Adult Education, General Church Pastoral Extension Service (Mimeograph), Bryn Athyn, Pa.
It is apparent that schools established under the American General Convention operated from a radically different premise from those established in England under the Conference.
10. Milo G. Williams, Educator
Earlier in this chapter we have seen the American Convention in the process of agitating and discussing education in the Church; we have seen the rise of enthusiasm for it, and we have beheld that spirit reach, and recede from, its high water mark in 1839 when Convention shelved a motion to make education one of its corporate functions. Now we propose to view the educational situation in the New Church between 1830 and 1850. through a review of the career of Milo G. Williams, New Church schoolmaster, scientists and religious leader of the Cincinnati region.
Williams was a founder or co-founder of two important New Church schools--The Cincinnati Day School of 1840, and Urbana--and associated with a third--the Theological School now located in Newton, Massachusetts. He expressed in his career a frontier thirst for learning as well as a New Church emphasis upon the life of the mind.
In Williamss own account of his life emerges not only a view of the educational milieu of that day and place, but also an engaging picture of every-day life.l
1 Williams wrote, in later life, his memoirs in three manuscript volumes, still unpublished, untitled, but referred to as his Recollections. A brief summary of the high-lights of these pages was published by his grandniece, Florence Murdoch, in an historical quarterly in 1945. Both the original manuscript and the Murdoch summary will be cited in the present account.
Milo Williams was born April 10, 1804, in Cincinnati, a place destined to become in another thirty years the cultural center of mid-western America, but then a town of only 960 inhabitants. As a child, Williams remembered the scattered houses, the mud roads in which carriages often stuck fast, and the skiffs and canoes for crossing the Ohio River. Horses and wagons were ferried across in flat boats, but cattle had to swim.l
L Murdoch, Florence, Summary of Manuscript Recollections of Milo G. Williams, 1804-1880, hereinafter Murdoch Summary, The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, April-June, 1945, Vol. 54, 113.
Williams attended a Cincinnati school kept by Cornelius Wing, a retired ship captain. At sixteen he taught his first school in a nearby township, at a salary of ten dollars a month. Since this was before the passage of a state law providing school support, the proceeds from the sale and rent of the school sections were divided pro rata among the schools.2 In Ohio, under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, each township of thirty-six square miles was required to set aside one section (one square mile) for the support of schools.3
2 Williams, Milo G., Recollections, 34f.
3 Beard, Charles A. and Mary R., A Basic History of the United States, 181.
Williamss first teaching engagement was shortened by an epidemic of whooping cough which cleared the benches in the log schoolhouse, but he obtained another post, Once his authority was defied by the biggest boy in the class, who towered above the youthful schoolmaster. Williams sent for the boys father, a member of the school board. The father promptly gave the recalcitrant a thrashing before the entire class. Williams had no more trouble with discipline in that school.4
4 Williams, Recollections, 36.
Williams was converted at age eighteen after going with a New Church friend to hear Adam Hurdus, the first New Church minister in Cincinnati, preach one Sunday morning. From this time on, study of the new doctrines and work for the church became increasingly important to him. Beginning as secretary of the local society, he became secretary and eventually president of the Western Convention. He sometimes served as a lay preacher also.
1 Murdoch, Summary, 119.
2 The Theosophical Society, organized in 1825, was begun by Williams and a Mr. Earle, who invited Frederick Eckstein, Lumen Watson, and Oliver Lowell to meet with them. Seven other members later were voted in: Coddington Chesebrough, Silas Smith--of the Sixty-foot Smiths --Calvin Washburn, Alexander Kinmont, John Hunt, William Conclin, and J. W. Silsbee. Papers on topics from the Arcana Coelestia were read, and sometimes an interesting alternative plan prevailed: The leader chose a passage at random from Genesis or Exodus; all the members wrote down the text and for thirty minutes, each wrote his thought about the topic; each read what he had written; the leader closed the discussion by reading from the Arcana Swedenborgs explanation of the scripture selection. Smith, Ophia D., Adam Hurdus and the Swedenborgians in Early Cincinnati, Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly, April-June, 1944, LII, 120.
11. Pestalozzi According to Williams
Williams studied the Pestaiozzian method, then popular and controversial, both as observer and, later, as practitioner. While still a youth, he visited Robert Owens colony at New Harmony, Indiana, and observed its schools, which were in charge of Joseph Neef, and old general of Napoleons. Neef had studied Pestalozzis system, and indeed had written a book on it.3 Young Williams judged Neef to be extreme in religion, social life, and. dress. The head of the New Harmony school appeared without shoes or hat, and one who did not know him would be likely to mistake him for a lunatic rather than a person with a highly cultivated intellect, and such a man was placed at the head of the Community School!l
3 Neef, Joseph, Sketch of Plan and Method of Education Founded on an Analysis of the Human Faculties and Natural Reason, Neef, Philadelphia, 1808.
1 Williams, Recollections, 65.
Williams visited the New Harmony classes with a professional eye, and concluded that Pestalozzis system, in its purity, was inadequate; he also noted that Owen soon made the same discovery, although there was much that was valuable in the new methods.2
Responding to the current demand for education, Williams, In 1822, at the age of 18, started a school of his own in Cincinnati with his two sisters and one other pupil as his initial enrollment. He kept ahead of the scholars by studying on the side. During this period he read Neefs book on Pestalozzi, and then got his friend, Frederick Eckstein, a sculptor, whose father had emigrated from the court of Frederick the Great, to translate Pestalotzi for him. Soon afterwards, he and Eckstein opened a school on the Pestaloztian system with about thirty-five pupils during the school year 1824-1825. Eckstein gave instruction in French, while Williams taught English grammar and arithmetic. Their apparatus was prepared in accordance with Pestalozzis directions. It included blackboards, and certain demonstrations on a large scale painted on muslin mounted on the walls. After a month the young teachers invited the citizens of Cincinnati to visit the school at any time.3
3 Ibid., 62.
Williams, at twenty years of age, practiced the Pestalozzian method in no slavish manner. He found the method easy and interesting, but also remarked its shortcomings. After putting the system to the test Williams concluded:
... school instruction, wholly without the use of books, cannot lead to the best results. Pestalozzi carried his system too far, in the entire exclusion of books; and in our country, until about 1820, our schools drifted into the opposite extreme, depending almost wholly upon books. A true system must adopt both systems in part, avoiding the extremes ... grammar can be taught better orally, than by the common method of memorizing definitions and rules.
Principles were to be established by induction, the pupils being conducted to conclusions in the form of rules of etymology and syntax.
1 Ibid., 64.
Williamss summation of the Pestalozzian method is sufficiently trenchant and sophisticated to quote almost in full:
It was not a difficult matter to keep up the interest by leading the pupils on from one thing to another in such a manner as to make it appear to them that the things learned were their own discoveries, and that they were their own teachers; the inductive method can be managed so as to make a question; and a reply the consequence of the previous question and reply.... To acquire knowledge through the living voice is so much easier than to dig it out of books that it is not surprising the pupil will so cheerfully lay aside the book to listen to all instruction. But books cannot be dispensed with entirely, for it is not possible to acquire all needed knowledge from the living voice. After a certain age books are required. What is obtained at school is but a small fraction of ones education; and if the pupil has not learned how, and for what, to use books, he is but illy prepared to fulfill his destiny.2
While Eckstein and Williams were conducting their Pestalorzian school, a distinguished local preacher attacked the method, but the method defeated Faith Alone, as Williams put it. The Pestalozzian system, according to the clergyman, originated in infidelity and undermined the truths of Revelation, because it led children to examine into and reason upon religious matters. The clergyman contended that there were doctrines which must be accepted upon faith alone, or else religion would lose its foundation, and the Bible become an idle tale. Being now a confirmed Swedenborgian, with the teaching Now it is permitted to enter intellectually into the mysteries of faith,3 in mind, Williams saw in the incident a confrontation between the old blind faith and the new scientific one. Victory lodged with the new ideas when, within the year, this same minister prepared and published a small book of Mental Arithmetic in which he adopted, as far as he understood them, the methods of Pestaloezi.l
3 TCR 508.
1 Williams, Recollections, 64f.
12. Williams on Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment was the standby of most teachers at this period, but Milo Williams tried to substitute understanding whenever he could. He told a story illustrating his viewpoint.
One of my scholars, a boy of twelve or thirteen years, had forfeited his knife by cutting his desk, As he was placing the knife in the depository of forfeited articles, I said, in a serio-comic manner, Well, Charlie, you will have to whistle for it before you get it again. On the following morning, Charlie came walking into the schoolroom whistling a familiar tune. I asked him what he meant by entering the roam in that manner, for I had forgotten the affair of the knife; he replied, Why, Sir, did you not tell me I could have the knife by whistling for it? The tables were turned on me and I had to acknowledge the joke; and after a hearty laugh, in which all joined, it was agreed that Charlie had won back his knife.2
2 Ibid., 71.
Relations between teacher and students should be friendly, repression avoided, and openness and candor encouraged. Harsh discipline would encourage deception, and was to be avoided, Williams believed.3
3 Ibid., 71.
Williams viewed the teachers authority as a loan from the parent, in whom it naturally resides. He declared that the end should be to repress all tendencies to evil and to develop the good. Love should be the principle ruling the parent and also the teacher. However, love must be guided by wisdom. The teacher, then should govern from love, according to wisdom; and he should regard his pupils as moral, and to some extent rational beings.4 Pupils should be taught to do right because it is right and avoid wrong because it is wrong. If these principles of moral government could be established, the school will govern itself. These tenets reflected the fundamental New Church teaching that evil is to be shunned as sin against God, not for any lesser reason.5
4 This is the terminology of the Writings. See DLW 363, 237.
5 HH 533; TCR 525.
However, Williams recognized that there are times when corporal punishment is the only recourse of the teacher. Still, such cases should be rare, and the punishment should always be administered with caution and regard for the character of the pupil. Williams noted:
The teacher should show that he is acting under a moral obligation; that he is influenced only by just laws; that he regards the good of the offender, and that he feels pain in being obliged to do what is his duty.1
1 Williams, Recollections, 40.
13. Williamss Intellectual Interests
Although Cincinnati was in appearance a raw frontier town, it hungered for learning, and the New Church people there yielded to none in pursuit of culture. In addition to Williams, Rev. Adam Hurdus had in his congregation two other school masters and three schoolmistresses, Frederick Eckstein, the sculptor, and Daniel Roe, a lawyer.2 Although all revered Hurdus, they apparently wanted more preaching than he was able to give them. The society was accustomed to hear, of a Sunday, Daniel Roe, a lawyer, preach in the morning; Adam Hurdus in the afternoon, and Alexander Kinmont, an academy headmaster, in the evening. Williams also preached occasionally. The society, which became three societies by 1838, had scant regard for leadership of the ministry, and once accepted a report from a committee which contended that ordination stemmed wholly from the consent of the male members of the congregation.3
2 Smith, Hurdus, 120.
3 Cincinnati Society Minutes, 1822.
Not content with school teaching alone, Milo Williams joined a society of natural history in Cincinnati, and did research in botany, conchology, and paleontology. Hamilton County, which encloses Cincinnati, he regarded as one of the richest fossil districts known to naturalists, and he explored it often with the district geologist for the United States Government. He kept meteorological records for the government for many years. He also took part in a society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, modeled after that of Lord Brougham in England, with sections in law, politics, economics, medicine, education, language, mathematics, natural science, and natural history.1
1 Williams, Recollections, 126.
From the record it is plain that the intellectual life of Cincinnati in the period before 1850 was far from stagnant. New Church people played an active part in that life. When, in December, 1824, Robert Owen stopped to lecture in Cincinnati on his way to New Harmony, he brought news and thought of the Transcendentalists at Brook Farm, as well as of the New Harmony experiments.2 In fact, a number of the New Church people of Cincinnati had been associated with the Yellow Springs (Owenite) Community near Cincinnati. Among them were Daniel Roe, Coddington Chesebrough, Luman Watson, and David Pruden. But the Yellow Springs experiment fell apart after a few months.3
2 Bestor, Arthur, Backwoods Utopias, 210.
3 Smith, Ophia D., The Beginnings of the New Jerusalem Church in Ohio, Ohio State, Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, July, 1952, LXI, 251f.
Milo Williams also had known Johnny Appleseed, when the latter had stopped at the Williams homestead on various journeys. In later life, Williams wrote a recollection of Appleseed, but the manuscript has been lost.4
4 Murdoch, Summary, 114f.
If Williams had any spare time, he utilized it in such occupations as writing for and helping to edit the Precursor, established in 1837. Contributing editors to this journal included, beside the Rev. Richard de Charms, Senior, the Rev. Maskell M. Carll, Rev. T. O. Prescott, and a Mr.
5 Smith, Hurdus, 131.
With his great interest in the science of pedagogy, Williams caused the Cincinnati Societys Sunday School to be reopened in 1832, and brought to it a variety of striking methods. At first the society members were suspicious of the departure, apparently fearing the prevailing evangelical Sunday School techniques, with their emphasis on persuasion.
1 Gladish, R. R., Milo Williamss Sunday School, NCL Sept. 1955, LXXV, 412ff.
In view of his educational background, it was reasonable, if not inevitable, that Williams should be named to a standing committee on education by the Western Convention of 1837, charged to procure information, digest a plan of operation, and if practicable, open a school....2
2 Williams, Recollections, 106.
It was at this same meeting that the Rev. Richard De Charms reported his deposit of $60 in a Cincinnati savings bank for New Church education. Many years later, Williams noted, that as of 1876, the fund had grown to $2576.34 and remains undisturbed at the hands of the Trustees appointed by the association.3
3 Ibid., 106.
14. A Spate of New Church Schools, 1836-1849
Evidence of a rapid growth and decline of interest in schools of and for the New Church between 1836 and 1849 exists in the record of ten small schools founded by New Church societies. These were the first real schools of the Church, and they came into being almost together, and faded very quickly, so that with the exception of the Yarmouth school, a decade would suffice to cover the initiament and the demise of all.
What were the forces which brought these ten schools into being? One force was the enthusiasm for New Church education engendered by Rev. Samuel Worcester based on the educational implications of the Writings themselves. This enthusiasm gained added scope from the fact that there were no schools available for the rank and file of the Church, who could ill afford private schools; and the common schools of the period were, in the words of Paul Monroe, Almost unbelievably bad.1
1 Monroe, Paul, Founding of the American Public School System, I, 249.
And then what was the counter-force which halted the New Church educational movement, stilled the complaints of the former foes of the common schools, such as Benjamin Hobart of Abington, and converted them to torchbearers in the march of the public school forces of the forties?
What had happened was that a reform movement had struck Americas common schools and in a dozen short years had bid fair to create out of a laisses faire chaos, a rational system, dedicated to the best ideals of the new democracy. But had not the previous condition of education in America been so 10w and neglected, the reform movement could not have attracted the favorable attention and aroused the fervor of the people as it did.
In the early national period of the United States, the gains registered by the town schools of New England had faded in the later district organization. In 1799, the school laws were codified and the district system, thus unified, remained without any substantial change till 1856. Much of the general control, felt increasingly to be a stifling restraint, was exerted by the ecclesiastical societies.2 Scarcely half of the children found places in either private or charity schools, and the beneficiaries of the charity schools, forced to admit their pauperism before their children could obtain free tuition out of state funds, hated and despised the system, while its administrators manipulated it, all too often, for their private advantage.3 Of the few charity schools organized on the Lancasterian plan in this country, one was established in Philadelphia, and the other at Lancaster.4
2 Ibid., 213.
3 Ibid., 218.
4 Ibid., 217.
The new democratic consciousness was also making itself felt among the people in the interests of education. At a meeting in Philadelphia in 1830 resolutions were passed, later printed in The Working Mans Advocate, to this effect:
Resolved, that the time has arrived when it becomes the paramount duty of every friend to the happiness and freedom of man to exert himself in every honest way to promote a system of education that shall equally embrace all the children of the state, of every rank and condition.
The legislature was to be memorialized to enact legislation establishing public schools, end committees of correspondence were chosen to agitate the matter.1
1 Ibid., 234.
Before much feeling for school reform could be engendered, knowledge was needed: knowledge of what was wrong with the present schools and specifically what an excellent system of schools was like. This knowledge was furnished by a dedicated and intelligent corps of educators, including William Channing Woodbridge, who in his periodical, The Annals of Education, (1830-1837) expatiated on the schools and methods of Fellenberg and Pestalozzi; and John Griscom, who in his book, A Year in Europe, (1819) described tellingly his visits to the leading schools of Europe. Victor Cousin, French Minister of Education, Professor Calvin Stowe, Alexander Bache, first president of Girard College, Henry Barnard, and Horace Mann, all visited European schools and school systems and, excepting Cousin, came home laden with ideas and suggestions for reform of American education. Cousins published report, however, was widely circulated in America. Finest of all the school systems of Europe in this period, most observers felt, was the Prussian, with, perhaps, the Scottish not far behind. The Dutch and. French also had their strong points and their advocates.2
2 Mann, Horace, Seventh Annual Report, quoted in Life and Works, 347-358.
In the late thirties and the forties, Horace Mann and Henry Barnard led, but did not create, a wave of reform for the common schools of America, especially in Massachusetts and the Northeast. The eloquent Mann made numberless personal addresses, circulated his Annual Reports, used the Common School Journal, teachers institutes, and public conventions, and for twelve years carried on frequent visits to the schools of Massachusetts.
1 Monroe, Founding, 245-251, passim.
The ten schools of the Church founded in this same period, therefore, came into being on the crest of a wave of enthusiasm for school reform which could not fail to influence the New Church members of societies who were also citizens of America in those turbulent times. This impetus, added to the natural enthusiasm for the New Church and the ideas of distinctive education brought back from England by Rev. Richard De Charms,2 was sufficient to cause the societies to back these schools.
2 Infra. III. Hist. ANC. 24
Then, after the educational reform wave came into being, creating such striking results as it did under the leadership of men like Mann, Barnard, and their co-workers, it must have seemed to many a New Churchman that failure to recognize and applaud the splendid results was nothing but niggardliness, very close to being unpatriotic. So we find a man like Benjamin Hobart presenting to the Massachusetts Association of the Convention in 1838 a report outlining a complete educational system to be established by the Church, and some six years later wondering whether his efforts and outlay for private education might not better have been spent on improving the public schools.3
3 Hobart, Benjamin, History of the Town of Abington, Massachusetts, from Its First Settlement, 42.
CONVENTION DAY SCHOOLS
The purpose of this chapter is to present in brief form the essential facts connected with each of the eighteen day schools which came into existence in the sphere of the American Convention from its beginning to the present day. A brief account of the summer camps employed for education in Convention, and a resum of Convention thought about education from 1850 to the present will occupy Chapter VI of this section.
In defining the sphere of Convention, the reference is to schools which may not have been founded with any overt permission or encouragement from the parent body, but whose founders were members of, or associated with, the Convention. The degree of connection was in some cases very slight, and so it would probably be necessary to define the present group of schools as all those which came into existence as New Church schools before 1876, This would include the school or schools operated by W. H. Benade in Philadelphia in the fifties. However, since this school was a forerunner of the Academy schools, it has been treated of in connection with the Academy school system in Part III of this work.
1. The Powell Farm School, 1808?-1822
The Powell school was begun by David Powell, Sr., in the door-yard of his farm at Steubenville, Ohio, about 1808, and continued until the elder Powells death in 1822. The school was begun for the purpose of educating the twelve children of the family, who had been denied attendance at the local common school from prejudice against the New Church. However, neighbor children were also enrolled. Teachers were Powell and his wife, and one of the pupils was David Powell, Jr., later also a minister of Convention.l
2. Providence, 1836-1839
The school opened by the Providence, Rhode Island, Society of the New Church, probably in the spring of 1836, was the first day school begun under the aegis of the New Church in America.l
1 N. J. Mag., July, 1836, IX, 377.
2 Scott, James, and Ames, Waldo, A Short Account of the Society of the New Jerusalem in Providence, Rhode Island, First Record Book of the First New Church Society, Providence, 1837.
All the pupils were children of members of the New Church Society, and all had been baptized. The 1837 report asserted that their education and instruction in the doctrines furnishes the principal care of the Society.3 The organization of this school probably reflects the educational enthusiasm of the Rev. Samuel Worcester, pastor at Bridgewater. During the entire life of the school, the Providence group operated as a branch of the Bridgewater Society, having no pastor of their own.4
4 Ibid., July 19, 1839.
The day school at Providence was discontinued in 1839, probably at the end of the spring term.5
5 N. J. Mag., July, 1839, XII, 401.
3. Boston, 1836-1844
The Boston Society opened the second day school to come into being under Convention in October, 1836. This school flourished for eight years, and then, plagued by lack of support, it passed out of existence as a society school in 1844, although two schools operated by members of the society continued for a time thereafter.
Persecution had something to do with the founding of the Boston school.1
1 Supra, p. 40.
2 Blackmer, Horace B., Interview, August, 1955, at Boston.
Financial problems were prominent in the closing of the Boston school. In the latter years of its short life, the school committee had an increasingly difficult time collecting tuition,3 while simultaneously another committee of the society was trying to collect $25,000 for the construction of a new temple.4 The New Jerusalem Magazine carried this terse obituary of the school:
3 Boston School Committee Minutes, 1841, 2.
4 Boston Society Minutes, November 29, 1842.
The week-day school has been given up as a school of the Society. But Mr. Hayward and Mrs. Hobart have each opened a private school for the instruction of New Church children.5
5 N. J. Mag., July, 1844, XVII, 421.
No information has come to light on these private schools or their duration.
4. Bath, Maine, 1838-1845
The Bath Society conducted a school for eight years. A report to the Twentieth General Convention of 1838 noted that a school had been opened with twenty pupils under one of the sisters in order to promote the protection of the young, the spiritual good of those older, and the general prosperity of the Church. The teacher had prepared herself by spending some time in the Boston New Church School.6
6 N. J. Mag., July, 1838, XII, 378.
In 1840 the primary school contained twenty-five pupils, and in 1843 the pupils numbered thirty. In 1845 the day school was suspended on account of the indisposition of our sister, Miss White, who has had the charge of it most of the past year.l
1 Ibid., July, 1845, XVIII, 416f.
5. Abington, 1839-1844
The New Church came into being in the little town of Abington, Massachusetts, when Rev. Holland Weeks began to preach New Church doctrines from his Congregational pulpit. His sermons were received with interest until one day an elderly lady rose up in the congregation to accuse the minister of preaching Swedenborg. Weeks did not deny the charge, and an ecclesiastical trial ensued which attracted much attention. Weeks was forced to remove from Abington in 1821, leaving behind in the minds of some men and women a memory of New Church teachings. These memories were awakened with the visit and preaching of the Rev. Samuel Worcester in 1832-1833, followed by the organization of a society in August, 1835.2
2 Abington Minutes, 1.
Inspired by Worcester and led by a school committee, the Abington Society voted to establish a school to be regarded as purely an institution of the Church and under the care of the pastor.... No child should be admitted ... who has not been baptized into the New Church.3 This school began in 1839, and in 1840 the society was conducting a school of about twenty pupils under the care of a female teacher.4 In 1840, also, Benjamin Hobart set up a second school in his own house for his own children. He stated that the church school being three miles away made this necessary.5 In 1844 the Abington Society ceased to operate a school, although a school was conducted there privately for two years longer, under Miss Nancy Mitchell, with twenty-five pupils between three and fourteen years of age.6
3 Ibid., 31f.
4 N. J. Mag., July 1840, XII, 429.
5 Jour. Mass. Assn., October, 1840, 115.
6 Ibid., September 5, 1844, 218.
Between 1838 when the school was voted, to 1844 when it was relinquished, a decided change in thinking occurred in the Abington Society.
1 Ibid., September 7, 1848, 294.
2 Block, Marguerite Beck, The New Church in the New World, 158f.
6. North Bridgewater (Brockton), Massachusetts, 1839
Although the North Bridgewater Society answered the appeal of the Convention for day schools with a statement favoring the measure, they did not seem to have had enough pupils to justify a school. However, a private school was begun in the summer of 1840 for small children of the New Church.3 Young people of the society and their outside friends were encouraged to form reading groups for study of the Writings, although no formal society school ever came into being.4
3 Jour. Mass. Assn., October, 1840, 116.
4 Ibid., July, 1843, 435.
7. New York City, l840
In 1840, the New Church society of New York conducted a day school for six months. It was discontinued for lack of patronage.5 Milo Williams apparently observed this school on his way to or from the Boston School, for he reported on its management. A school committee operating under the church society ran the school, and pupils, numbering about twenty, paid tuition. All pupils were from homes of church members. Williams gave these figures: tuition for children under five years, $4 per quarter; five to eight years, $6 per quarter; from eight to twelve, $8 per quarter; over twelve, $10 per quarter. The teacher, a woman, received a salary of $300 a year.6
5 N. J. Mag., July, 1840, XIII, 424.
6 Precursor, February, 1840, II, 109f.
8. Riverhead, New York, 1840-1844?
The Second New Church Society of Riverhead, Long Island, began a day school in 1840 which was conducted for two years or longer.
1 N. J. Mag., July, 1840, XII, 425; ibid., .July, 1842, XVI, 444.
2 Ibid., July, 1844, XVII, 424f.
9. Cincinnati, 1840-1843
A school committee was formed in the Cincinnati Society in 1839 and approached Milo Williams, then operating a private venture school in Springfield, Ohio. Williams consented to take charge of the New Church school, and went to Boston to confer with Thomas Worcester and observe the Boston Societys school. After a three-weeks stay in Boston during which he received considerable aid in relating New Church ideas to day-school teaching, Williams returned and commenced the Cincinnati school in the basement of the New Jerusalem Temple with three teachers and about forty pupils, January 6, 1840.
For two years the school operated to the satisfaction of all concerned, except that by the end of the second year it became evident that income was not sufficient to support it. Williams thought that tuition was too low, and too many pupils were accepted as beneficiaries. After a reorganization under the society gave only temporary relief, Williams took over the school as a private venture, accepting children of other faiths along with those of the Church. He operated the school successfully until in 1843 he was offered a professorship in Cincinnati College. He closed the school to take the college position.3
3 Williams, Milo G., Recollections, 112-121, passim.
10. Yarmouth, Massachusetts, 1838-1849
A day school connected with the Yarmouth Society of the New Church had an intermittent life over an eleven-year period on Cape Cod.
1 Yarmouth Fiftieth Anniversary (booklet), September 20, 1893, 122-127.
11. Gardiner, Maine, 1844-1845
Members of the Gardiner, Maine, Society of the New Church in 1844 caused to be erected a schoolhouse which they presented to the Society. Agnes Howard taught the school, which accepted outside children along with New Church children. Enrollment was restricted to twenty-five, New Church children being given preference, and many being turned away.2 By July of 1845 the society reported that the school had been closed for want of a teacher.3
2 N. J. Mag., July, 1844, XVII, 420.
3 Ibid., July, 1845, XVIII, 416.
12. Urbana University, 1853 - present
Urbana University, at Urbana, Ohio, was opened in 1853 and after several reorganizations and periods of suspended operation, continues today as Urbana Junior College. Although begun as a school of the Church, Urbana has been torn by internal controversy from the beginning between those who sought to reduce the New Church influence of the school and those who sought to emphasize it. The Urbana catalog of 1960-61 stated, As a non-sectarian college, it (Urbana) has continued to be associated with, but not controlled by, the Church.4 Of the 145 students enrolled in 1960, only a handful were from New Church families and doctrinal instruction has traditionally been optional or omitted.5 For further treatment of this school, see Chapter IV.
4 Urbana Junior College Catalog, 1960-1961, 3.
5 Urbana Daily Citizen, September 28, 1960.
13. Foster Hill, 1854-1870
Judge Luke Foster bequeathed twenty acres of land at Lockland, ten miles from Cincinnati, and not far from Glendale, for a New Church school. The First New Jerusalem Society of Cincinnati raised money to erect the two-story brick building which still stands today. The school was opened under Miss E. J. Trott and a kindergarten teacher from Boston in the spring of 1854. Charles B. Chace assumed the principalship of the re-named Foster Hill Family School for Boys in 1868, after leaving Waltham. The school ceased about 1870.1
1 Smith, Ophia D., New Jerusalem Church in Ohio, 44.
14. German Day School, St. Louis, 1859-1869?
A society of German New Churchmen in 1859 built a combination temple and parochial school at Fourteenth and Howard Streets, St. Louis, and therein operated a parochial day school for at least ten years. The school occupied the first floor and the Church the second. the building, the Tempel der New Jerusalem Kirche, cost between three and four thousand dollars, most of which was raised by the society members themselves.
The school opened following the buildings dedication, in September, 1859, with some forty scholars and one teacher, probably the Rev. Gustave Reiche, who came to St. Louis about this time to keep a school. Reiche sometimes preached for the Society. In 1869 the school was reported as thriving under Mr. Koch, the organist of the Kirche, with attendance ranging from 90 to 150 pupils.2
2 Smith, Ophia D., The New Jerusalem Church in Missouri, Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society, April, 1955, XI, 228-248; New Jerusalem Messenger, October 22, 1859; February 6, 1867.
15. The Waltham New Church School, 1860-1912
The Waltham New Church School was founded in 1860 at Waltham, about ten miles west of Boston, by a number of New Church families living in the area.
1 N. C. Inst. of Ed. Minutes, 9, 16.
2 Chapel Hill School Handbook, 1943-1944.
3 The Seventy-Fifth Year at Piety Corner.
The school began in 1860 under Edwin A. Gibbens, a Harvard graduate who had been teaching in the Boston Latin School, as principal and Rev. John Worcester as superintendent, with eighteen boys and girls in attendance. At the end of the fifth year, Charles B. Chace succeeded Gibbens, until 1867 when both Chace and John Worcester resigned.4 In 1876, Benjamin Worcester, one of the members of the board of managers appointed by the Institute, became principal and superintendent until about 1912. Today, with enrollment listed at 118 boarding and fifty-two day students (1960), Chapel Hill is a school for girls of grades seven to twelve, emphasizing individual guidance and creative activities. Wilfred W. Clark is headmaster.5
4 Worcester, Benjamin, The Early History of the Waltham New Church School, 7-11. Chace then went to the Foster Hill School as head till about 1870.
5Sargent, Porter, Handbook of Private Schools, 1960, 174, 1002.
Although the school advertises in The New Church Messenger,6 enrollment of New Church children is slight today, although in its beginnings, most of the pupils and their teachers were of the Church.
6 Messenger, July 1, 1962, CLXXXII, 199.
1 Rounds, Mrs. Marjorie L., Principal, Interview at Waltham, August 13, 1955.
16. The New Church Theological School, 1566 - present
The New Church Theological School began in June, 1866 at Waltham, and after three removes, is currently carried on at Newton, Massachusetts, in a mansion sufficiently large and well equipped to house all uses of the school, including student quarters. In the interests of catholicity, the New Church Theological School, renamed Swedenborg School of Religion in 1966, has worked but an inter-seminary plan (begun 1944-1946) which permits its students to take large areas of basic study at the nearby Andover Newton Theological Seminary, or other seminaries. Specific New Church studies are taught by the New Church staff of the Theological School.2 Chapter V, Section II, is devoted to a fuller consideration of this school.
2 The Inter-Seminary Plan in Use at the School, Bulletin accompanying catalog of 1948, 1.
17. The Bartels School, 1870-1874
The Rev. Adolph J. Bartels (c. 1834-1910) moved with his family in 1870 to a tract of wild land in Osage County, Kansas, establishing there a Swedenborgian colony and church, with a school designed to grow into a university. Alexander McQueen, Chicago scholar who gleaned the story from descendants of Bartels, relates it thus:
The place was called Olivet. Its nucleus was the Bartels log cabin. Its first guests were Indians, who came galloping when they heard the music of a melodeon at family worship, and then were invited in to have fresh biscuits that Ma Bartels had made. The cabin was soon shared with new-comers, packed in like sardines until houses could be built for them.
Then, as told by the preachers grandchildren, the movement grew, with store, post office, church and school.
1 Sharon Report, Chicago, April 1, 1957.
18. The Mary Allen School, 1891-1898
The Mary Allen School opened its doors to scholars in 1891, and, with some interruptions, continued to operate as a New Church school, library, cultural center, and orphans home in Glendale, Ohio, until 1899. During its some eight years, this school was beset with problems and difficulties which continually threatened its existence, and a law suit brought against it even posed a serious threat to the New Church in America.
Mary Allen, nee Harmon, was born in 1814 in Machias, Maine. She had an active mind, and became a school teacher, specializing in Latin. Upon making acquaintance with a New Church woman, and being religiously inclined, she became an enthusiastic convert to the New Church. She sent to London for a set of the Arcana Coelestia in Latin, and felt that she could hardly wait for the books to arrive. Upon receiving them, she said that she felt richer than if they had been solid gold. 2
2 Grant, H. H., Obituary, Messenger, Dec. 31, 1890, Vol. 59, 427.
She was twice married, her first husband living only ten months after their marriage. She removed to Cincinnati, where she met and married Charles Henry Allen, with whom she enjoyed forty years of happy wedded life until his death April 13, 1889. Her own death occurred the following year, and in her will, filed the same year, she left the bulk of an estate valued at $40,000 to $65,000 for a school in Glendale.3
3 Ibid.; Messenger, July 26, 1893, Vol. 65, 56f.
The building and support of the New Church in Glendale was largely the result of the Allens efforts, and as they had no children, their generosity was lavished upon the Church, which meant much to both of them.
1 Messenger, July 26, 1893, Vol. 65, 56f.
Details of the Allens plan for Glendale were well expressed in the funeral address of Mrs. Allen, as follows:
For years she and her husband had been evolving a plan for setting apart their large house and grounds as a New Church center [that their] large library and many works of art might be open to the public Sunday afternoons, that New Churchmen especially might meet there and read and talk and have instrumental music and singing, a doctrinal class, etc. ... Weekday classes might be held in suitable rooms in the house, especially for the study of art. A Kindergarten and other departments as useful and practicable [were planned].2
2 Grant, H. H., loc. cit.
According to the same source, $40,000 of the estate had been distributed among nephews and nieces before the setting aside of the remainder, about $65,000, for the school at Glendale. The Rev. Frank Sewall, Glendale pastor, and former head of Urbana, and now a minister in Washington, D. C., whose urbanity and culture were very similar to that of the Allens, was named as trustee for the estate and school, to be assisted by the Rev. H. H. Grant, Glendale minister.3
The school commenced February 9, 1891, in the residences of the Allens and Marston Allen, father of Charles Henry, described by Frank Sewall as two large, handsome, and well-adapted country houses with fine grounds on a site commanding an exceptionally beautiful view of the adjoining country.4 A kindergarten was operated by Miss Almatie Coffeen, formerly of Urbana, who was succeeded by Miss May Merriweather, assisted by Miss Annis Wittenburg [later Mrs. Richardson] then 2lyears old.
4 Sewall, Frank, The Allen School at Glendale, Ohio, Messenger, April 1, 1891, Vol. 60, 202.
In addition to the kindergarten, Grant had formed a class of young men and women in telegraphy and short-hand, having been a successful teacher of these branches elsewhere. Moreover, a sewing school was planned, as well as instruction in instrumental and vocal music, and in the German and French languages. In 1891, Grant was in charge of the schools, and Sewall was contemplating taking in students from a distance and boarding scholars.1
Mrs. Annis Richardson, in 1955, her recollection perhaps somewhat colored by membership in the Glendale Society which had acted to terminate the Allen school, did not consider the primary and kindergarten department of the school either well-run nor very useful. In the years from 1892 to 1895 when she taught first grade, Sewall had put in appearances at infrequent intervals, and seemed to give little direction to the school. She herself had no training, although Miss Merriweather had, and there was no effort, as she remembered, of trying to bring in any distinctively New Church concepts. Only about half of the children were from New Church homes.2
2 Richardson, Mrs. Annis, Interview, at Glendale, July 12, 1955.
Early in 1892, relatives of Charles Henry Allen brought suit in the Common Pleas Court of Hamilton County, in which Cincinnati is situated, to break the will and obtain the money left for the Mary Allen School. They charged that Mrs. Allen had been insane when her will was made, but far more important, they also charged that Swedenborg was insane, and that reading his works would also induce insanity. When, largely through judicial ineptitude in instructing the jury, the case was won for the Allen relatives, and the will set aside in the Common Pleas Court, Convention was roused, and a committee headed by John Goddard made an appeal far at least $5,000 to carry the battle to a higher court. Goddards notice in the New Church Messenger stated:
Far more is involved than money.... In order to win the jury by creating a prejudice in their minds, the counsel against the will declared that the insanity of Swedenborg was as well established a fact as Napoleons crossing the Alps, and also declared that a serious and repeated reading of his works would imperil the reason of anyone not unusually strong minded.
For it is an open and public attack on Swedenborg and New-church people, which will become justified in a measure by the law of the land, without manful and vigorous resistance.l
1 Goddard, John, Hobart, Wm., N., Mobres, J. B. C., Norris, L. D., The Mary Allen Will Case, Messenger, Nov. 16, 1892, Vol. 63, 313.
By the following summer, owing to the sterling and gratuitous services of E. W. Kittredge, Esq., a bench of three judges of the Circuit Court of Hamilton County had reversed the earlier decision and sent the Allen Will case back for a new trial in the Common Pleas Court. In their decision the judges had declared that for the counsel for the contestants of the will to quote Dr. Maudsley as to Swedenborgs insanity was prejudicial to the proponents of the will and intended to divert the attention of the jury from the questions they ought to have considered.... It was unfair and improper to urge upon the jury the opinion of one who was introduced to them as the highest authority in the world on mental alienation ... it was error, for which the judgment should be reversed.2
2 Messenger, July 26, 1893, Vol. 65, 56f.
In the process of reversing the decision, the judges of the Circuit Court noted a few more things. It had been argued by the contestants of the will that Mrs. Allen had been insane because she had believed that the spirit of her deceased husband was present with her. Now the judgment declared:
... that those whose interpretations of the Scriptures lead them to believe that the spirits of the departed are among the living, are not to be confounded with those who believe in actual communication between the living and the spirits of the dead.3
And the judgment referred to Mrs. Allen thus:
Much of the testimony ... portrayed the individualities of a woman of more than ordinary intellectual power, devoted to her church, deeply interested in its peculiar literature, caring less than most women do for the style of her apparel.l
By the following January, the Messenger was able to announce ... final settlement [is] at last reached, and a consent jury in the Court of Common Pleas has established Mrs. Allens will.2
2 Goddard, John, The Allen Will Case, Messenger, Jan. 17, 1895, Vol. 66, 140.
Just how long the Mary Allen School was closed is not clear, but it was reopened on a new plan in 1897, under the name, The Mary Allen Home School for Homeless Boys and Girls, with Sewall still acting as agent and trustee. The latter described the new arrangements thus:
The School will embrace the kindergarten and primary and also day classes in advanced studies, including for the older pupils the preparatory classics and modern languages. Its purpose is based on the recognition of the New-Church Doctrine of remains, according to which the most powerful influences for the reform and improvement of society are those which affect the development of children in their earliest years. The purpose of the home school will be especially therefore that of providing the gentle and wholesome influences of a beautiful home for little children who are homeless ...
There will be nothing about the home of the ordinary institutional home order with its barren walls, its mechanical routine and reformatory discipline. If will be rather a simple affectionate New-Church family in a beautiful and completely furnished home with library, pictures, and music, wholesome food, training in home duties and in useful studies, under devoted New-Church teachers and father and mother.3
3 Sewall, Frank, The Mary Allen Home School, Messenger, Aug. 25, 1897, Vol. 73, 151.
The father and mother for this idyllic menage were to be the Rev. Alexander Henry and his wife, who also had a small family of their own. Henry had, as a Presbyterian minister, served as a missionary to Brazil and India, and had been converted to the New Church some seven years before. Henry was to act as principal of the school.4
4 Sewall, Frank, A New Church Home for Homeless Little Boys and Girls, Messenger, Oct. 13, 1897, Vol. 73, 294.
A number of appeals for additional funds to help support the Allen Home School appeared in the Messenger during the following year, signed by Sewall or Henry. The last one read:
With the month of June ended the first school session of the Mary Allen Home School as at present organized; but the little boys and girls that have been with us will remain here, making this their home as long as they can be supported and until they are fitted for the active duties of life. Another school term will begin on Wednesday, September 7....1
1 Henry, Alexander, The Mary Allen Home School, Messenger, July 1898, Vol. 75, 51f.
The principal quoted letters of appreciation for the work of the school, and noted that $276.50 had been received in donations to support the work. Apparently the endowment was not sufficient to take care of all the students who were desirous of coming. In January, 1898, is noted the presence of eight little ones including Henrys own three, and in March, it was noted that five or more were waiting to enter. It was estimated that $150 a year was needed to send one child for a year to the Mary Allen Home School.2
2 Messenger, Jan. 5, 1898, Vol. 74, 13f; Feb. 9, 1898, 112; March 16, 1898, 173.
Among those who attended the Home School in this period were Francis M. Buell, later a teacher and principal of the Girls Seminary at Bryn Athyn, and her brother, Robert Harold Buell. Miss Buell, whose age was about thirteen when she attended the school, had pleasant recollections of the school, indicating that it came rather close to Sewalls rosy predictions. There were, she recollected, life-sized or larger white statues of Greek gods and goddesses on pedestals around the grounds and since they were surrounded by overgrown trees, there was talk in the town that the house was haunted, and some of the villagers showed reluctance to work at the estate. As Miss Buell recalled in 1957,
The cellar too had a haunting effect--it was large, several rooms almost black, very dark, almost empty except for white statues stored there. The life upstairs, however, was the reverse of gloomy. Sunny, cheerful, gay, with games, songs, music, books, beautiful historic furniture--visitors, all New Church, were impressive; almost all of them with many European travels to tell about, especially members of the Kloth and Kinmont families.1
1 Buell, F. M., Interview, Feb. 18, 1957, at Bryn Athyn.
Dr. Frank Sewall, Miss Buell remembered as a strikingly impressive man, much interested in New Church education, a writer, a brilliant musician, an old friend of the Allens.2 The Rev. Alexander Henry, she recalled, was also preacher in the Glendale Church, and he and his wife were young and active and well-educated persons. Miss Buell recalled readings from the Arcana Coelestia, and that a sister of Mr. Henry, Mrs. Alexander Harris, did much of the teaching.3
While the pupils and teachers of the Mary Allen Home School may have been satisfied with arrangements as of 1898, this was not true of the Glendale New Church society. Apparently feeling that the Allen estate would be more useful in promotion of their interests as a church society, they sought to treat with Dr. Sewall on the subject of diverting the funds to local uses. This proposition Sewall declined, and consequently the Glendale Parish formally resolved in the beginning of 1897:
That the Glendale Parish decline absolutely to cooperate with Mr. Sewall in any matter whatsoever connected with the Mary Allen Trust, and whatever action Mr. Sewall may see fit to take in the establishment of a school must be at his own option solely.4
4 Glendale Minutes, Jan. 10, 1897.
Apparently Sewall had approached the Glendale Society with a proposition involving their offering some kind of guarantee to a Mr. Higgins, who would preach part time for them and with his wife take over management of the Mary Allen School. The minutes were very firm about this proposition, declaring:
... Should Mr. Sewall see fit to send and maintain at his own expense Mr. and Mrs. Higgins, to endeavor to establish said school in the Glendale Parish, said Mr. Higgins shall be considered a minister whom the Glendale Parish shall be pleased to call upon to preach for them from time to time; the Parish may do so or not as they see fit.5
A little over a year later a new and final threat to the school occurred when, apparently because of lack of support by the Glendale Society, the Rev. Alexander Henry notified the parish council of his intention of leaving and resigned as pastor.l Whether the leaving referred to the work at the school as well as that of the pastorate is not clear, for Henry had announced the fall reopening of the school in a notice published three months later in the Messenger, with no reference to any change.2
1 Ibid., April 17, 1898.
2 Henry, Alexander, The Mary Allen Home School, Messenger, July 27, 1898, Vol. 75, 51f.
Now the Glendale Society stepped in, and through action in Probate Court, succeeded in having the school efforts under the Mary Allen will declared a failure, and according to the original terms of the will, the property thus awarded to them. The Glendale Society Minutes tell the story:
Motion put by Mr. Rhodes. Resolved, that it is the sense of this meeting that the establishment and maintenance of the Mary Allen School has been given a fair, full, and sufficient trial, and that a further continuance of the same has been demonstrated to be unwise and impracticable, that the action of the trustee in attempting to divert the property and income of the trust to the establishment for homeless children is unwarranted by and in defiance of the provisions of the will, and that the trustees of the Parish or a majority of them, be, and are hereby appointed a committee with full power to represent this Parish and they are hereby directed to take any and all steps necessary to compel the Rev. Prank Sewall, trustee, under the Mary Allen Will to transfer all of the property of every kind in his hands, as such trustee, to the trustees of this Parish, in accordance with the terms of said will. A. J. Kloth, Secretary.3
3 Glendale Society Minutes, Aug. 18, 1898.
The contest between the interests of the Society and the little school; is clearly shown in the minutes of the Glendale Society.
... A full and very interesting report by Mr. T. D. Rhodes was given, detailing the steps necessary to gain the Allen Estate to the Glendale Parish. A trial of eight years, more or less, of school was proved a total failure and so declared by Judge of Probate Court and by him the trustee, Rev. Frank Sewall, was removed and F. Lawson Moores appointed resident trustee. He in turn declaring all school efforts a failure, relinquished the property to the Glendale Pariah, in compliance with the conditions of the will.
To the wise judgment and prompt action of Mr. Rhodes alone and unaided, is entirely due the successful result of this third and last trial to obtain for the Glendale New Church its inheritance. The struggles of this little band of the faithful, for more than twenty years, to keep open the house of worship and some services, are known only to themselves. To Mr. Thomas D. Rhodes the thanks from grateful hearts are given.1
1 Glendale Society Minutes, March 24, 1899.
The triumph of the Society over the school apparently had taken place in the fall of 1898, for by March 24, 1899, the society was in full possession and quickly set about disposing of the property as follows:
... A plat of the Allen Estate had been prepared by Mr. Rhodes. By its use the various lots and houses are easily located, together with the shape and dimensions of each. It was the sense of the meeting that the vacant and unproductive properties be sold as proper time presented itself. All personal properties, furniture, carpets, china, etc., in the Allen mansion were ordered sold, Mrs. Wittenburg to make inventory of same, attend to all private sales and give full report of same at next meeting. Exceptions were made regarding a few articles. First in that list - the Swedenborg bust, the pianos, and the books. The latter, particularly the Swedenborg library, will be placed in the vestry of the Church, for use, under proper conditions, of those who desire.... The treasurer being requested to obtain bids for necessary alterations and repairs but to keep economy in expenditures strictly in view -
Several parties have looked at and taken refusal of the two houses - but nothing definite to report - ... Annis C. Wittenburg.2
2 Minutes of the Glendale Society, March 24, 1899.
Two months later bids were received for repairs to the property, which had apparently fallen into considerable disrepair, and for disposal of the contents. Among these treasures was an inlaid table said to have been owned by Martha Washington, as well as at least two pianos.
It was moved and carried that the marble bust of Swedenborg be presented by Glendale Parish to Cambridge Theological School as their gift and in memory of C. H. and Mary Allen. The secretary was requested to write the Rev. F. T. Wright the usual formalities of such a gift.3
3 Glendale Society Minutes, May 24, 1899.
By the seventeenth of October, 1899, the society had completed repairs on the Allen property at a cost of $2,924.25, and had rented the houses on the property out to good and prompt-paying tenants, also the pasture and stable.l
1 Glendale Society Minutes, Oct. 17, 1899.
So ended the Mary Allen School and the Mary Allen Home School, its failure reflecting the difficulty the dead experience in controlling through forethought and legal instruments, the actions of the living.
While all the causes of the failure of this school are not clear, some of them, however, are indicated. The society and the people of Glendale were not enthusiastic about the school under the auspices of the New Church. They failed to see its utility, and the ideal of a cultural center as envisioned by the Allens did not find root with them. Another factor was the supervision accorded by the Rev. Frank Sewall. He was no longer a resident of Glendale and apparently made only a few visits to the school. The financial condition of the Glendale Society and the terms of the will, taken together, acted to create a contest between the Mary Allen School and the Society over the Allen estate, which the Glendale Society eventually won.
Chartered as a university by the state of Ohio, the school at Urbana, founded in 1850, and actually opened in 1853, reached its highest student enrollment as a school of the Church three years later. Since the school year 1855-1856, Urbanas enrollment has had its ups and downs, but has generally dwindled until in 1957 it had seven part-time students. However, operating under a new program as a junior college, virtually secular, under President Ralph Gauvey, in September, 1960, it had enrolled 145 students, with a faculty of twenty-four instructors, eight full-time and sixteen part-time.1
1 Urbana Citizen, September 28,-1960; Hite, Lewis F., Urbana University: Its New Church Educational Ideals, Messenger, April 7, 1909, XCVII, 220.
To the Rev. James Parke Stuart goes the Credit for the beginning of Urbana University. In the 1840s, Stuart was a missionary for the Convention in Ohio. Like many New Churchmen, he felt the need for a school to carry on the work with the young people that missionary work had begun. In 1845, news of the establishment of a New Church College in London aroused interest in the Convention. Copies of the Intellectual Repository containing Batemans eloquent appeals for his college had a circulation as far west as Cincinnati, and in the Mirror of Truth, a bi-weekly published at Cincinnati in 1845, appeared a notice describing the New Church College briefly.2 The New Jerusalem Magazine of 1846 also contained an excerpt from the Intellectual Repository describing the securing of ground for the Emanuel College at Argyle Square, and the work of Bateman and others for the London College.3 Whether or not, as a recent writer suggests,4 Stuart promoted the idea of a New Church college as he went about the Ohio country on his missionary trips, there is little doubt that he was the prime mover in launching the college.
2 Mirror of Truth, July 5, 1845, I, 103.
3 New Jerusalem Magazine, June 1846, XIX, 339f.
4 Smith, Ophia D., The New Jerusalem Church in Ohio from 1848-1870, The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, January, 1953, 25.
1 Stuart, J. P., Diary, March 13, 1859.
Whether or not Stuart had discussed the college idea widely, the idea had not been fruitful until in the spring of 1849, when he talked to Col. John H. James, prominent Urbana lawyer and landowner, about a New Church college. At that time James offered to donate land for such a school in Urbana, and on March 26, 1849, he wrote Stuart in the latters capacity as recording secretary of the Ohio Association of the New Church offering ten acres of land in the vicinity of Urbana. James offer was made on two stipulations: first, that others would contribute $2000 to match his gift within a year, and, second, that school buildings be erected within three years. James declared his donation worth 81000, and expressed the wish that the buildings shall be substantial, plain, and of handsome proportions without ambitious display.2
2 Stuart, J.P., New Church Repository, 1850, III, 46.
In June, 1849, the Ohio Association, with the approval of the General Convention of the New Church, took Urbana University as its responsibility. On October 22, the site was chosen--a wooded tract of land southwest of town.3
3 Smith, Ophia D., N. J. Church in Ohio 26.
Developments proceeded rapidly. Col. James called a meeting on November 15th at his office. Attending, besides the Colonel, Stuart, and Milo Williams, were ten New Church men interested in the project, Messrs. David, Thomas, and Evan Gwynne pledged one-half of the remaining two thousand dollars. James was made chairman of the building committee. The next day, twelve trustees and an executive committee were appointed. Col. James wrote at once to W. Russell West--the accomplished architect of the state of Ohio, for the erection of the State House at Columbus--to draw plans for the college building.4 In the months following this first meeting, Col. James obtained passage in the Ohio Legislature of a charter for the college, on March 7, 1850.1
4 Ibid., 27.
1 The incorporators were the first Board of Trustees, Milo G. Williams of Dayton, John H. Williams of St. Clairsville, Rev. Benjamin F. Barrett, Ebenezer Hinman, William E. White of Cincinnati, the Rev. J. P. Stuart and David Gwynne of Urbana, Sabin Hough of Columbus, the Rev. Samuel Worcester of Norwalk, John Murdoch of Springfield, the Hon. Richard S. Canby of Bellefontaine, and the Rev. George Field of Detroit, Michigan. Weisenburger, Francis P., A Brief History of Urbana University, 5.
The first section of the Charter named the institution The Urbana University which is designed to encourage and promote the diffusion of knowledge in the branches of academic, scientific and exegetic instruction, and to combine therewith instruction in the productive arts and the practice of rural economy; which shall be under the management and direction of persons known and recognized as belonging to the New Church, or attached to the principles thereof.2 Although the name was settled in the charter as early as 1850, Colonel James entertained the thought of Emanuel College as late as 1853.3
2 The Charter of Urbana University as printed in the appendix to Journal of the General Convention for 1957, 241.
3 James, J. H., to J. P. Stuart, July 12, 1853.
It is to be noted in the above quotation from the charter that the founders had an idea of combining academic instruction with the productive arts and the practice of rural economy. This is a recurrence of the idea expressed by the Rev. Maskell Carll during his tour of the Ohio region in the eighteen-twenties.4
On March 23, 1850, the trustees named Milo Williams president of the Board with J. P. Stuart secretary. The other executive committee members were David Gwynne, Dr. William M. Murdoch, the Hon. Richard S. Canby, R. R. McNemar, and Thomas Gwynne.5
5 Williams, Milo G., Recollections, 229.
As the work on the college began with the making of bricks on the college groundsl and the completion of the architects plans by W. Russell West, a New Church society was organized in Urbana November 8, 1850, and incorporated March 20, 1851.2 Milo Williams, called from the operation of his school in Springfield and offered the presidency of the college, did not hesitate long to serve this new enterprise of the Church. Although he refused the presidency, modestly expressing the thought that a better man might later be found for that post, he did head the faculty till 1870. Chosen to lay the cornerstone, Williams regarded that action as one of the greatest experiences of his life.3
1 James, J. H., Diary, January 11, 1850.
2 The incorporators were Milo G. Williams, William M. Murdoch, David Gwynne, John H. James, Evan Gwynne, Mary L. Williams, Lewis Barnes, Abby Baily James, Amelia M. Murdoch, Ellen Baily, Lydia Bailey, and Charlotte S. Hoadley. Smith, Ophia D., loc. cit., 28.
3 Murdoch, Florence, Summary of the Manuscript Recollections of Milo G. Williams (1844-1880) in Ohio State Archaelogical and Historical Quarterly, April-June, 1945, LIV, 124, hereinafter Murdoch Summary.
Although the university was not ready, Milo Williams came to Urbana and began a preparatory school so that college classes might be formed by the time the university buildings were ready. In his first year, 1850-1851, he had eighty-three boys and girls in his school. He was assisted by Miss Charlotte Hoadley of Cincinnati, who took charge of the girls department. Extra instructors were secured for French, music, anatomy, physiology, and civil government.4
4 Ibid., 125.
Colonel James decided that a boarding house should be placed on the college grounds and had Architect West make plans for the building. In September, 1852, he was able to report to Stuart that most of the means were promised.5 The Rev. Alexander Cowan of Urbana expressed opposition to the college in the village newspaper several times during that summer and Col. James answered each article neatly and tactfully.6
5 James, J. H., to J. P. Stuart, September 27, 1852.
6 James, J. H., to J. P. Stuart, July 13, 1851.
The trustees set up three departments for the University during the summer of 1852.
1 First Catalog of Officers and Students of Urbana University, 1853-1854, hereinafter, First Catalog.
2 Ibid., 17.
Although the main college buildings were still not finished and no students were enrolled, a ceremony for the installation of Professors was held June 20, 1853, on the College grounds. Colonel James spoke first, stating the aims of the institution and explaining the building plans, and asserting the purpose of the institution was to build lives ... trained to useful ends, from a sense of duty to God, and from a love of their neighbor.3
3 Urbana University-Installation of Professors Messenger, I, July 16, 1853, 182. Judging from Col. James letter previously quoted, supra, p. 62, what he actually said instead of Urbana University was Emanuel College, but failing to get agreement from either Milo Williams or J. P. Stuart, he allowed them to change the wording in the printed version.
After reading from the Word, the ceremony continued with the Rev. J. P. Stuart inducting Williams and Jenks into their positions as professors. the course of his remarks, Stuart said:
You are ... the masters of distinct Departments, in the first College established directly under the auspices of the New Jerusalem, in the world.
This was a long-awaited day, the speaker continued, when an institution could be founded for instructing youth in the light of the New Dispensation. It was a new age that they were helping to begin, and the first of its principles was to look to the Lords Word for all truth and guidance. No mere Natural Theology was to enter these walls. The second principle was that all the old mysteries, including religion, were now to be explored in the light of rational thought. The third principle of the New Dispensation was that faith was to be put into life--all religion is of life, and the life of religion is to do good.l
1 Ibid., 183.
The speaker went on to say that the kind of education envisioned in the present institution would provide great benefits to parents who should take advantage of it, as this would be a form of education far superior to what was common in the world around them.
The hearts of many a fond parent had been made to bleed, in receiving back the educated, and ruined son. What a mournful dereliction then of duty must it be in the Professor or Tutor to strive only to enlarge and cultivate the head, - while the aspirations and emotions of the heart are left unthought of and uncared for.2
Stuart then pronounced a blessing upon the two professors, after which, Jenks, on behalf of Williams and himself, gave a long and learned dissertation on language. It was announced that the University was to be regarded as a fixed fact and would open for its registration of students in the coming September. A school for girls was to be opened in connection with it.3
3 Ibid., 189.
Urbana University opened on September 7, 1853. Milo Williams was named Dean and charged with the general government of the College, which was declared to be patriarchal.4 He was assisted by Charles W. H. Cathcart, tutor in mathematics. Miss Caroline Collier, from the Cincinnati public schools, headed the girls department. Willard Day taught in the preparatory school, which sought to prepare younger pupils for college classes. Colonel James was named as special lecturer without pay on constitutional and international law. Professor Jenks arrived after considerable delay to take over the language department. By the end of the year, almost a hundred students were enrolled.5
4 Williams, Milo G., Recollections, 230f.
5 First Catalog; Smith, Ophia D., N. J. Church in Ohio, 32.
From its beginning the University was co-educational. In this it was among the first institutions in the country to teach girls along with boys. or young ladies among young men.
1 Urbana First Catalog, 10, 12.
The tuition was to be thirty dollars a year or ten dollars per term. There were three terms per year. In the Preparatory School there were three levels of payment. The only extra charges in any department would be for music on the piano and for lessons therein. Board, including rooms, fuel, lights, and washing, is furnished in the families near the Institution at from two dollars to two-fifty dollars per week.2
2 Ibid., 13.
2. Quick Growth, Quick Decline, 1853-1856
The initial response of the Church at large to the new institution was rapid and encouraging. By the end of the first year, there were ninety-eight students enrolled in the Urbana University, fifty from Urbana itself, twenty-eight from other parts of Ohio, and twenty from other localities as far away as Canada, California, Maryland, and New York.3 In the second year the enrollment rose and at the end of the third year the attendance was 128, it highest mark until 1960. But the following year an ominous slump set in. The enrollment was 102, but fifty-nine of the students the previous year did not return.
3 Hite, Lewis F., Urbana University and Higher Education, Urbana U., 1903, p.22.
What was the reason for the falling off? Rev. Lewis F. Hite, Convention scholar, saw three reasons.
If we can see with some professional insight, the three fundamental relations involved, we have no difficulty in coming to a perfectly clear and certain conclusion. The relations are the size of the faculty to (1) the number of subjects taught, (2) the number of classes, and (3) the number of hours needed. We have only to observe in the first three Catalagues that a faculty from four to six teachers had imposed upon them the whole range of academic subjects from the primary grades to the senior class in college. This at once reveals an impossible situation. The utter hopelessness of the situation is emphasized when we note that the languages - English, French, German, Latin, and Hebrew - were taught the first two years by one man.
However, Hites pessimistic view should be set beside the opinion of John H. Williams, who called attention to the first graduation in 1857 as a high point. Then three young men and one young woman received degrees.2 In the next four years - through June, 1861, - twenty other degrees were awarded, for a total of twenty-four.3
2 Urbana Annual, 1901, 20.
3 Urbana U. Records, 1.
With the onslaught of the Civil War, classes were virtually suspended. What activity occurred at Urbana until Sewalls presidency was in the preparatory department. Degrees were not awarded again until 1876.4
4 Ibid., James, Alice Archer Sewall, Biographical Glimpses of Frank Sewall, unpublished ms., 37.
3. Student Life - Town and Campus
The faculty early made it clear that students of the new university were not to become greasy grinds. Social meetings were arranged every two weeks at the homes of faculty or board members for all friends of the institution.
1 Weisenburger, Francis P., A Brief History of Urbana University, 1850-1950, 12.
In 1855 and 1856 two literary societies came into being, the Philomathean and the Upsilon Theta Delta, with programs featuring debates and other literary pursuits, as well as entertainment. In 1856 the Philomathean held an annual picnic at Commencement time attended by young men and ladies from Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Springfield. A Negro family provided music with violins, banjos, and other instruments, while the young people dined and danced till late. However, the Philomathean Society was dissolved two years later for lack of members, and its library turned over to the College.2
2 Ibid., 13.
A gentle attempt by the faculty to obtain uniform dress occurred in 1856 when it was announced that for males over sixteen the approved garments would consist of a frock coat, single-breasted vest, and pantaloons of cadet gray, with a cap of similar material. However, students were permitted to wear the clothes they brought from home new clothes were to conform to the
Since the railroad ran along one side of the campus at Urbana, it became necessary for the Faculty in 1853 to adopt rules against placing obstructions on the tracks, trespassing on the railroad property, or flipping freight trains. Students were enjoined to stay away from the station unless having legitimate business there.4 Other regulations of 1856 required attendance at chapel and church services. In the same year the board of trustees recommended gymnastic exercises and horseback riding for the students on the spacious grounds as soon as arrangements could be made.
1 Smith, Ophia D. and Smith, Wm. E., A Buckeye Titan, 179.
Each student was required to sign a pledge to conform to the regulations of the College. These regulations forbade the contracting of debts, visiting drinking houses, using tobacco, playing cards, and profane language. The attempt was made also to control the money of the students through the Dean or other approved persons. Llewellyn P. Gwynne, who entered the school in the first year of its existence, addressed the faculty of Urbana University thus:
I hereby promise that I will not indulge in drinking ardent spirits while I am a pupil of the Urbana University.3
3 Gwynne, L. P., Letter, March 1S, 1854.
Under Dr. Frank Sewall (1870-1886) the Choral Society became active, and a Principia Club was formed in 1876. Sewall also helped in forming the Missionary Society, the Students Aid Society, the Minerva Society, the Morse Natural History Society, and the Amphion Quartette Club. He also encouraged the formation in 1880 of the Latine Society, which gave Latin plays.4
4 James, Frank Sewall, 38f.
Another glimpse of student life is afforded in recollections of Rev. Gilbert H. Smith, who attended Urbana in the school year 1903-1904.
Smith had a partial scholarship, and earned spending money by raking leaves on the campus or working in the Library. There were about six students in the boys dormitory on the campus, and about the same number of girls in their dormitory off campus.
It was a low-keyed social life, with little excitement. It consisted of walks, talks, playing tennis, or singing around the piano on Sunday afternoons or evenings. On Sunday most of the students formed a choir directed by Henry Wilson Barnitz, organist, and music teacher. Sometimes the students would entice Russell Eaten, the pastor, away from his desk for long walks. Two or three of the older students formed with Professor Ernest Green Dodge a Swedenborg Scientific Club and read and discussed philosophy.l
1 Smith, Gilbert H., to R. R. Gladish, July 7, 1955.
Organized sports have been carried on at Urbana from time to time according to enrollment and student interest. In 1900 when a tennis court was constructed on the campus, a tennis association was formed.2 Basketball and baseball teams represented the school in various years, and the basketball team played for several years as a member of the Indiana-Ohio Conference.3
2 Urbana Annual, 1901, 53.
3 Weisenburger, Brief History, 33.
Town and college cooperated in June, 1922, to produce an elaborate historical pageant written by Alice Archer Sewall James and staged on the campus. Under Mrs. Jamess direction, hundreds of citizens of Urbana took part in the production.4
4 Ibid., 35.
4. Struggle for Control
Stuart vs. James, 1853-1860
Urbana University grew rapidly during its first three years of operation. In 1853-1854, seventy-nine were registered in all departments; the next year, 101, and in 1855-1856, one hundred and twenty-eight - high point until 1960.5 But in the eyes of one observer, all was not sweet and sound in that growth.
5 Appendix: Table of Urbana Heads and Attendance.
I want you in Ohio. We must have you in some way connected with our University.... It may well be said that we have already the following things:
1. A fair beginning, Teachers and Students.
2. A tolerable good understanding in the eyes of God and all the people.
3. An excellent Geographical position.
4. A beautiful College Domain.
5. A fair beginning of buildings.
6. Great harmony and unanimity in the Board of Trustees; this after acting together for four or five years.
7. A good beginning of endowment.
8. A vigorous life now animates us, etc., but let me hear from you. 1
1 Stuart, J. P., to W. H. Benade, January 25, 1854.
Benade, in answering, took Urbana to task for its poor organization, its lack of a suitable working plan, its lack of foresight in failing to provide New Church text books. He urged that true New Church education called for distinctive education from kindergarten upwards. He praised Dr. Tafel, now assisting him in Philadelphia, as a scholar.2
2 Benade, W. H., to J. P. Stuart, February 7, 1854.
Six months later Benade wrote that he had about made up his mind to accept the offer at Urbana. But he wished it known that to him the Writings.
In September of the same year, Stuart presented a daring proposition: He, Stuart, would propose Benade for the Urbana presidency; Benade, once installed, would also act as general agent and promoter for the College for a five-year term. Stuart would then accept the professorship of philosophy, and Benade and he together would turn Urbana into the kind of strict constructionist institution they had always dreamed of. They would change its name to Emanuel College.1
1 Stuart, J. P., to W. H. Benade, September 15, 1854.
This proposition, if carried out, would have amounted to a coup to put the Urbana University into the hands of what later developed into the Academy element, with its ideals of distinctive education and social life, and strict construction of the Writings as authority for the Church. It is interesting to speculate about what the difference would have been ultimately, had Benade accepted the post and acted as suggested by Stuart, Two obvious courses are possible to outline. First, there would have been a head-on collision between the Stuart-Benade faction and Colonel James and the rest of the board. And, second, Benade and Stuart might have been able to bring the board to see their approach as a preferable one. The argument in favor of this principally is, that the board of trustees at this time seemed to have very little direction from any distinctive educational philosophy to guide them, and they also seemed to lack any mandate from the people whose children were sent to them, as to method and approach, particularly regarding the status of the Writings, whether authority or commentary.
A month later, October 28, 1854, Benade decided to reject the offer of employment at Urbana University for a number of reasons; He doubted his ability as a general agent; he questioned the Urbana method of organization, wherein the laity seemed to exercise control over the clergy.
1 Benade, W. H., to J. P. Stuart, October 28, 1854.
Moreover, Benade saw some prospects of being able to start an educational movement for the whole Church in Philadelphia. In addition, he did not wish to accept what he now understood to be a mere business position, in which he would be paid ten per cent for any funds he secured for Urbana.2
From the time of Benades refusal in October, 1854, to January, 1859, when J. P. Stuart resigned from his post at Urbana, a struggle went on between Stuart and the rest of the board and the College administration. Apparently, with the bold strokes suggested by Benade in his mind, Stuart could not rest contented under the boards control of policy. He felt that the religious education for which the University was basically founded was not being properly served and implemented. For one thing, the science and language departments were organized first, and the department of philosophy in which religion fitted was not organized until 1855, when Stuart was appointed Professor of Philosophy. He wrote thus to Chauncey Giles in 1858, although he did not sent the letter:
Without the New Church visibly in this College, - the Doctrines, the philosophy, the sciences in their New Church form, - I do not want the College. Much less do I want to be identified with it; and much less do I desire to sustain my present relations to it. I must forever be in the way of those bearing the movement in a direction so diverse from the way that I consider the only true way.3
3 Stuart, J. P., to Chauncey Giles, January 15, 1858.
Apparently the anti-clerical element, so prominent in some sections of the West and particularly in the Cincinnati region, was making itself felt on the Board, as Stuarts letter of January 18, 1858, [actually sent] to Chauncey Giles indicated:
In the College there has never been any full recognition of the Church, if indeed any recognition of it as a forming, ruling force in the classroom and in the faculty.
The letter went on to exhort Giles, who was ready to abandon the College,l to take over the presidency of the institution and to make the New Church influence strong in it.
1 Stuart, J. P., to Chauncey Giles, March 30, 1858.
Money will never come to us or students, nor Divine Blessing unless we are true to the noble principles of heaven that are in our hands.
Could you know how the young men here hunger and thirst for these high principles.... I thought, say they, that even our sciences would be enlivened by the life of the New Church, at Urbana, but such is not the case!2
2 Stuart, J. P., to Chauncey Giles, January 18, 1858.
Eight days later, Stuart wrote Hibbard, another strict constructionist, of his frustration, in terms very like Benades arraignment of Urbana. He concluded:
What I want is simply this: to have the Doctrine, Life, Philosophy and Science of the New Church taught hay by day, and the worship of the College conducted by a clergyman of the Church, not by a layman, but by a clergyman, and for the reason that it is contrary to order to have these things taught by any other than a clergyman.3
3 Stuart, J. P., to J. R. Hibbard, January 26, 1858.
To those on the other side in the dispute, Stuart was at fault for neglecting his classes. At this time he preached for the Urbana Society, and was in charge of missionary work for the central Ohio district. His diaries of this period show frequent trips. He also promoted Urbana University through talks and collections of funds and books.1
1 Stuart, J.P. Letter to Mary - his wife - from Detroit, n. d.
2 Weisenburger, Brief History, 11.
Milo Williams was one who did not quite grasp all the fuss that Stuart was raising in regard to religion and philosophy. Williamss notation in his diary gave the impression that Stuart was trying to communicate with those speaking a different language. Williams wrote:
Rev. Stuart resigns his professorship, the college not being able to pay but a small salary he therefore had given but a casual attention to his classes; the irregularity of the instruction was of so little value to the students that some of them asked to be excused from attending the classes. It devolved on me after Mr. Stuarts resignation to give all the instruction given to the Senior classes in the department of philosophy, and not infrequently I found it a heavy tax on my time to meet the requisition. Mr. Stuart also resigned at the close of the year 1857-1858, and the faculty was relieved of the uneasy element, and at the meeting of the Trustees in 1859, the faculty reported that no differences had occurred during the year, that there was perfect harmony in the actions of the faculty.3
3 Williams, Milo G., Recollections, 259.
Although in his recollections Williams gave the date of 1857-1858 for Stuarts retirement, the event actually occurred at the end of 1859,4 when Williams also retired for a time. The Rev. Chauncey Giles of the First New Church Society in Cincinnati had been chosen as president in the summer of 1858.
4 Stuart, J. P., to W. H. Benade.
With Giles rather faint-hearted5 and attempting to operate the institution from his Cincinnati pastorate chiefly by letter, and with Stuart and Williams at loggerheads, it was largely the determination of Colonel James which kept Urbana University from collapse in 1858-1859.6
5 Stuart, J. P, to Chauncey Giles, July 9, 1858.
6 Stuart, J. P., to Chauncey Giles, March 30, 1858.
1 James, J. H., to Dr. C. W. Spalding, August 2, 1858.
2 Messenger, December 15, 1860, VI, 106.
Exactly when Stuart formally resigned from Urbana is not clear, but his diary indicates that he did so early in 1859:
Urbana, March 13, 1859, Sabbath: Reflecting that it is now ten years since I came to Urbana and set on foot the Urbana University. I then determined to give ten years of my life to this cause.... We have begun wrong and our Urbana University is virtually at an end.3
3 Stuart, J. P., Diary, March 13, 1859.
And about a year later Stuart wrote a requiescat in his diary.
Set out for Urbana. Spent the night at Oak Hall. The College appears thrice dead and plucked up by the roots.4
4 Ibid., February 24, 1860.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, support of the college failed even more, and it was forced to close its doors for the time being. In the fall of 1862 the preparatory school section of the University reopened with a few students. The New Church society in Urbana was also dwindling. In 1864 the preparatory school was again suspended. In 1866 the University was reopened under the administration of Alonso Phelps till the latter had a falling out with the board and withdrew in 1868 to set up his own school in another section of Urbana. By the end of the school year Urbana was about to close again when Col. James persuaded the Rev. Frank Sewall, then preaching in Glendale, Ohio, to become the president of Urbana University in 1870.1
1 Weisenburger, Brief History, 17.
In obtaining Dr. Frank Sewall as president, the board acted in keeping with the suggestion of the Rev. J. R. Hibbard in a letter to J. H. James of April 5, 1860, urging an increase of ecclesiastical influence in the schools. Hibbards letter also gave a fairly balanced view of the argument between Stuart and the other members of the board.
Hibbard had been asked for his advice, and he commenced by stating as a principle that a well-organized and well-trained ministry was the primary element in the Church. The ministry as the primary teaching element in the Church must be honored and respected in its use. Any school of the Church must support this concept of the ministry.
As to Urbana, Hibbard conjectured that Colonel James was a good deal more of a New Churchman now than [he was] five years ago. Yet this was so of the College as a whole.
There has appeared to be an anti-ministry sphere about the leading influence of the college that has troubled me much. I have not been able to determine certainly whether it grew out of the personal feelings against Mr. Stuart, or whether the personal feeling grew out of that or partly out of that and partly out of a measurably just dislike to some of Mr. Stuarts doings, which were not judicious, to say the least.2
2 Hibbard, J. R., to J. H. James, April 5, 1860.
While asserting his esteem for Milo Williams, Hibbard felt that the latters influence had been anti-clerical, in keeping with his Cincinnati background, and hence the sphere non-clerical in the school. What the Urbana College needed was a minister with character and the power to lead, form, and guide young men. Some one in power in the school should have some idea what is implied by the phrase New Church College.... Stuart, said Hibbard, had some of the requisites, but not all. His ideas of order and his head work were worth more than all the rest of the faculty and board put together, but he lacks practical consistency and executive judgment and power.1
Hibbard found in the present school the clerical element if there is any in it--altogether subordinate to the lay element, and it is therefore like a boy standing on his head.
He illustrated by a personal anecdote.
In June, 1857, I attended the examination of the Latin class by your son-in-law, Prof. Niles. When exercising his class I was greatly astonished and chagrined and deeply grieved to hear him, in illustration of the lesson and in remarking to the young gentlemen, relate anecdotes in which the priest and the minister were the subject of ridicule--as the old priest said and as the minister who got into a scrape, etc., did.
Hibbard confessed that he had been unable to restrain himself, and had spoken right out as he felt. This had brought about strained relations with Niles, and with his wife, and, he feared, other relatives and friends of the Urbana staff.
As to the staff, Hibbard had heard that Williams and the other teachers did not get along much better than Williams and Stuart had. He urged again an active minister for the headship of the College. In his own vision of the future of New Church education, Hibbard saw every Society of the Church with its school, every Association with its college, and the General Convention with its University.2
5. Urbana under Sewall, 1870-1886
Dr. Sewall, scholarly and artistic, who had been educated in Europe, undertook the work of building up the University both financially and academically with considerable vigor and success. In his first year, the school year of 1870-1871, Sewall had thirty-five students in the primary department and thirteen in the preparatory department for a total of forty-eight, with no college students at all. In 1883-1884 he had built up the school to a total of eighty-one, of whom fourteen were college students and one was a theological student. Theological classes were added by Dr. Sewall in the year 1872-1873 and were dropped after Dr. Sewalls departure from the University in 1886.
Upon his arrival Dr. Sewall blocked out the course of study for the elementary school, the grammar school, the high school, and departments of the University. He added a fourth year to the grammar school course, and allowed a substitution of modern for ancient languages with such additional studies as Mathematics, Trigonometry, and Surveying; Astronomy; Geology and Mineralogy, Botany, Anatomy and Physiology, Swedenborgs Divine Love and Wisdom, Boys des Guays Religious System, Bookkeeping and Letter Writing, and the Science of Government. In addition to drawing and a course in German, Sewall also made Religion a required course with the following topics comprising the course: the Word, Bible history and geography, the Decalogue explained, correspondences, Reeds Growth of the Mind, and The Four Doctrines, True Christian Religion, and Heaven and Hell, all by Swedenborg.
The high school graduate, in order to enter college for a bachelors degree, had to pass examinations in: Latin grammar, Latin prose composition, algebra, English grammar, and ancient and modem geography.l
1 James, Alice Archer Sewall, Biographical Glimpses of Frank Sewall, unpublished MS., 37.
Collegiate degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science were again granted in 1576, reaching a high point in 1879 when there were five such degrees. In order to obtain the BA degree, the college student had to take courses in Latin, Greek, Mathematics, History of Greece and Rome and France, rhetoric, Shakespeare, chemistry, natural history, science, philosophy, logic, Anglo-Saxon, political economy, physics, Swedenborgs Science of Correspondences, and Divine Providence.
1 Ibid., 37.
In the School of Theology, which Dr. Sewall had organized by the school year 1872-1873, with three students, and which reached its high of seven students in 1876-1877, studies included The Sacred Languages; Latin, the language of revelation to Swedenborgians; Syriac, Biblical antiquities, geology and natural history, Biblical exegesis, the history of philosophy, and church history, together with a systematic course of theological reading with the president, also exercises in themes, homiletics, sermon writing, etc.2
2 Ibid., 42.
Dr. Sewall was a man of wide culture, a musician of considerable talent on piano and organ, and a composer as well. In addition he designed the Urbanas Society church with its distinctive high tower. Other phases of his influence in Urbana are cited in his daughters biography:
He gave impetus to the Choral Society, organized the Principia Club in the College in 1876; helped form the Missionary Society, the Students Aid Society, the Minerva Society, the Morse Natural History Society, and the Amphion Quartette Club. He encouraged the formation of the Latine Society, which gave plays in Latin in 1880. He sent to the National Centennial Exhibition in 1876 a portfolio showing original studies in metaphysics, mathematics, natural science, languages, drawing, and history from Urbana University, He built the library to about 5,000 volumes. He brought about the improvement of the colleges Cabinet (collection or laboratory) of minerals and fossils.3
3 Ibid., 38f.
Not all observers were so enthusiastic. Milo G. Williams wrote to J. P. Stuart after five years of Sewalls regime to report that the University was not doing so well as he could wish.
1 Williams, Milo G., Urbana, to J. P. Stuart, March 5, 1875.
Stuart visited Urbana at Commencement the same year and wrote Benade:
The Commencement revealed to me the deplorable fact that Mr. Sewalls whole scheme is a monastic, middle-age school say 500 years behind the times.
Stuart had told Ager in the presence of Sewall that he did not believe in the institution for these reasons: The place was wrong, the wrong men had charge of it, and the methods were wrong. Stuart found a spirit of bitterness between contending parties in the school. Sewall had abolished socials during Lent and reprimanded Professor Starke for questioning Lenten observances in the New Church.2 Block assessed the curriculum of this period as being wholly unbalanced and inadequate.3
2 Stuart, J. P., to W. H. Benade, July 2, 1875.
3 Block, Marguerite Beck, The New Church in the New World, 376.
Not only did President Sewall build up the equipment of the College in many ways, but eventually he also added dramatically to the endowment. He summarized his accomplishments for the buildings and plant and endowment at the time of his resignation in June, 1886, in a newspaper interview for the Urbana Daily Citizen:
When I came here, there was an endowment of but a few thousand dollars; now it reaches nearly sixty-thousand dollars. The old buildings have been improved, and new ones built. The Library has been increased from something over 2000 volumes to over 6000 volumes. Valuable additions have been made to the Cabinet, apparatus, laboratory, and Museum, so that our assets now reach about $100,000.4.
4 Weisenberger, Brief History, 22.
Professor John Candy, an ardent musician in charge of the Universitys musical program, had in the 1850s, caused to be built Lyceum Hall, a frame building in the town of Urbana. In the fall of 1878, under President Sewall, Lyceum Hall was used as a church building for the Urbana Society, and when the stone church designed by President Sewall, who was also pastor of the Urbana Society, was built, Lyceum Hall was moved to the back of the lot and converted into a two-story building, the first floor being used for the primary department, and the upper floor for the Girls School.1
1 Ibid., 20.
President Sewall evidently had high hopes for developing a distinctive Girls College separate from the mens, and for ten years he labored to develop a womans college department. Then, in his daughters words, in 1886,
the Trustees announced the girls would be returned to the classes at the University. Co-education was sweeping the land. Frank Sewall announced the fifty thousand dollar Endowment completed and resigned. It would detract from his sincerity to say there was not deep disappointment in the end.2
2 James, Frank Sewall, 49, 53.
During Sewalls sixteen years at the helm, despite his additions to the Endowment Fund, current expenses had exceeded receipts. In the period from 1874 to 1882 the deficit had amounted to more than nine thousand dollars. In the words of a later historian, To meet current expenses it seemed necessary to embark upon the suicidal policy of borrowing from the Endowment Fund.3 In 1882-1883, rather than reduce the endowment, the faculty took a five per cent salary cut. The following year they suffered a twenty per cent reduction, and in 1884 an additional thirty per cent. Moreover, Sewalls income, which was to have been supplied partially by the Urbana Society in consideration of his pastorship, fell off because the Society had reduced their contributions.4
3 Weisenburger, Brief History; 19.
In 1884 the able faculty gathered together by President Sewall, who listed himself as Professor of Intellectual and Moral Science, included Thomas Freeman Moses, A. M., M. D.,
1 Urbana University Catalog, 1884, 4.
5b. Fundamentalism vs. Secularization, 1926-1932
During the regime of President Franklin H. Blackmer (1926-1932) occurred a serious policy conflict in the board of trustees over the aims and status of the institution. The conflict was between those who held to the tradition that Urbana was a school existing primarily to serve the Church, and those who held that it was a school to serve the local community primarily, and the New Church incidentally. President Blackmer and the other ministers of the board held the traditional view, while the laymen of the board moved for secularization.
The traditional view was strongly supported by the Charter, which stated in Section 1 that Urbana University
... shall be under the management and direction of persons known and recognized as belonging to the New Church, or attached to the principles thereof.2
2 Charter of Urbana University, Article 1.
During the fund-raising campaign of 1921, Louis G. Hoeck, secretary of the Board of Trustees, had written an appeal for the Messenger in which he had asserted that of the more than one thousand students since the beginning, more than half had been of New Church parentage, and he went on to appeal to the Convention for support in the name of the Church. He wrote:
... It is true that a considerable number of them [former students] have not identified themselves with the interests of the Church in later years, and there are some who consider them lost to the Church.
1 Hoeck, Louis G., The History of Urbana, Messenger, March 9, 1921, 190
Appeals for funds in advertisements in the Messenger also stressed the interest of the Church in the school, as this one:
The Urbana New-Church School Endowment needs the financial and moral support of every New-Church Man and Woman.
And the appeal written by Rev. Julian K. Smyth, President of Convention, said:
It is not what Urbana is, nor yet what it has been, that makes me confident of its mission. I have faith in its originating purpose, its early vision; giving to every youth who comes to it for an education an opportunity to study science, or art, or history, or literature, or philosophy, or psychology, knowing them to be inwardly radiant with spiritual truth. No one can compute what the effect upon the life of the Church would be, if as New-Church people, we should highly resolve to make Urbana University what it should be and what it can be.2
2 Messenger, May 11, 1921, 380.
The forces of change mustered themselves behind a resolution offered to the board of trustees at a meeting June 28, 1926, by George C. Warren: Fenton H. Lawson, treasurer, moved its adoption. This resolution stated:
Resolved: That New Church Principles as used in Section I of the Charter of the Urbana University and the principles of operation of the school embrace, as they always have ... personnel and operation for the benefit of the community,-which is one of the cardinal principles of the New Church.
Urbana School is neither sectarian nor anti-sectarian. Its aims are a liberal education in the best light of history and of present-day science and at the same time, in the fullest light of New Church doctrines.
Resolved: That pursuant to the ideal of Urbana School, a close sympathy with and by the Urbana community is most important, and that the inclusion on the Board of Trustees of one or two highly representative townspeople who are in full sympathy with the principles above outlined, but not members of the New Church religious organization, is highly desirable and well within the limitations of Section I of the Charter, which provides that the School shall be under the management and direction of persons known and recognized as belonging to the New Church, or attached to the principles thereof.l
1 Urbana Trustees Minutes, June 28, 1926.
The vote was close, but the chair declared the motion carried.2 Although he had lost the battle for retaining the traditional aim of the school, Blackmer made it clear to the board that he had not abdicated. He advised the board that the Urbana teacher-contracts all contained a clause stating that the teachers would uphold the New Church and do all they could to keep the school and Church in high standing in the community.3
2 Ibid., September 28,
3 Ibid., June 13, 1928.
At a meeting of the executive committee February 20, 1930, the question arose of hiring as business manager W. J. Farmer, Principal of the Urbana High School. Blackmer raised the question of the powers of the executive committee to act for the whole board. Lawson said he understood that the committee had full powers under the Charter to act for the board between meetings, and moved a meeting of the full board to determine the powers of the executive committee. President Blackmer finally withdrew his objection, but indicated that he would bring up the matter of executive committee powers in June. He also wished to go on record as not being in favor of the employment of a business manager at that time, but agreed to cooperate with the committee and give the experiment a fair trial. He wished it to be understood that Farmers employment should be for one year only.4
4 Urbana Executive Minutes, February 20, 1930.
Two weeks later, the executive committee voted to hire W. J. Farmer as business manager of Urbana at a salary of $250 a month.5 At another meeting in the same month, called to consider Farmers position as business manager, the latter expressed objections to the terms outlined by Blackmer. Farmer asked certain executive powers: 1. in management of grounds and buildings; purchasing of supplies, directing the business of the institution; 2. respecting increasing the enrollment of the College, and direction of all student activities; 3. detailed monthly reports to the executive committee, and, 4. that President Blackmer and he should consult on all matters relating to the College.
5 Ibid., March 4, 1930.
1 Ibid., March 27, 1930.
In the meeting of the executive committee a few months later, President Blackmer introduced B. L. Stradfey, examiner for Ohio State University, who explained conditions under which Urbana could expect to secure recognition as an accredited college and outlined the recommended requirements and organization of a good junior college. Among the important points stressed by Stradley were,
1. If credits were not accepted at other colleges, the school would not attract students.
2. Two hundred students were desirable, and sixty a minimum; one-half of the student body should be in the sophomore year.
3. The general tone of the institution was important for success.
4. Well-balanced athletic activities without discrimination for or against athletes should be sought.
5. Standards should not be raised too abruptly so as to discourage students.
Stradley suggested a survey of Urbana, and the Board voted to have one made.
The survey authorized by the Board examined possibilities for the future as well as the current drawbacks of Urbana University. It was undertaken by Dr. A. J. Klein of Ohio State University and five graduate students, and the results were screened and refined by a consultant staff headed by Dr. W. W. Charters, Director of the Bureau of Educational Research, Ohio State University. Among the many recommendations of the Committee, the foremost was
1. that the University change its name to Urbana Junior College, and set out to build up its staff and its student body on a Junior College basis. Other major conclusions are summarized in the report as follows:
2. The College is in excellent financial condition to conduct a standard Junior College, but it is essential that the dissipation of Trustee Funds should cease and that the funds that have been dissipated be replaced.
3. A very thorough-going reorganization of the relationships between the Board and the administration, and of the administrative procedures within the institution, is essential.
4. The educational program should be designed to serve the clientele that the institution may expect to attract during the process of development as an accredited institution and must be one that can be maintained with the funds that the institution now has available.l
1 Charters, W. W., Report to Trustees of Urbana University, Authorized February 14, 1931, 46.
Implicit in the report was the idea, apparently fostered by the Urbana authorities from their view of their institutional experience, that no real support in the way of student enrollment was to be looked for from the membership of the New Church at large. Therefore the college would have to be built up chiefly from local student prospects and the institution would have to be made attractive to these prospects.
Back of this idea was the calculation that the estimated 7,000 members of the New Church in the United States, being intellectual and fairly well-to-do, would
...tend to send [their] children to the best class of four-year colleges rather than to a small junior college having relatively poor facilities for instruction and living.
Whatever the cause, the report pointed out During the past four years Urbana University has never had more than seven New Church students.2
2 Ibid., 5.
In discussing the second major conclusion namely, financial condition, the survey staff questioned the boards discharge of its legal and moral obligation in expending over $50,000 of trust funds for current operations over the preceding twelve years. This process the report characterized as mis-appropriated.3 Over the years it appeared that of a total endowment of $538,500, $77,000 had been lost thus. After his retirement from Urbanas presidency, Blackmer set the lost funds at $92,000.4
3 Ibid., 12.
4 Blackmer, Franklin H., Letter to Russell Eaten, n. d.; Blackmer, Franklin H., Interview (telephone) at Bryn Athyn, Pa., June 19, 1958.
The report further suggested that the curriculum offerings of Urbana University be confined to five departments and that the work in these departments be confined to elementary and intermediate courses.1
1 Ibid., 35.
The survey showed a total of 44 classes taught in the University, of which 23, or over 50%, contained five or fewer students. Some twenty catalog offerings had no students at all.2 The survey also recommended an overhaul of the library,3 and of the administration.4
2 Ibid., 33.
3 Ibid., 36.
4 Ibid., 39f.
The writers of the report were particularly concerned about the relationships of the Business Manager and the President, and they recommended that the business manager cease to operate as both athletic coach and field secretary, or student recruiting agent.5
5 Ibid., 40.
The Business Manager-Recruiting-Officer-Coach alluded to was, of course, W. J. Farmer, and the Charters Survey served to sustain President Blackmers position against the boards majority in several points. Another result of the report was to change the institutions name to Urbana Junior College.
At the same meeting in which Blackmer had introduced the topic of a survey by Ohio State University experts, a bombshell had been thrown into the session by discussion of a letter sent out by five members of the executive committee suggesting the resignation of President Blackmer. Each signer was asked his reasons for so doing, and Mr. Blackmer was requested to state his position and to reply to the criticisms of his actions and policy, which he did at considerable length.6
6 Urbana Executive Minutes, January 14, 1941.
Although the Charters report had sustained Blackmer as to financial affairs, and in regard to the career of W. J. Farmer, it had not sustained his underlying emphasis upon a school for the Church.
1 Blackmer, Franklin H., Interview, Bryn Athyn, (telephone) June 19, 1958.
The struggle of Blackmer against the majority of the board continued through the spring of 1932, but without avail, far at the trustees annual meeting of 1932, it was announced that the Rev. Russell Eaten was the president-elect, and that W. Ray Smittle of Ohio State University was retained as adviser to the president. Farmer was added to the faculty as coach, it being indicated that his recruiting days were over.2
2 Urbana Trustees Annual Meeting Minutes, 1932.
During Blackmers six years in the presidency, the endowment had been substantially increased. In 1928 $6,000 had been raised for the library, and in 1929, James G. Wentz, a graduate of Urbana in 1877, added $100,000 to endowment, and in 1931, T. Coleman Du Pont added another $100,000.3
3 Weisenburger, Brief History, 30.
In the year following, the enrollment also expanded, reaching in 1932-1933 a count of seventy-nine, fifty of them men. Ten of these were from New Church background.4
6. Financial Affairs
Urbanas financial affairs have never been easy. When Col. James gave the original ten acres for a site, the Gwynne brothers added to the gift some $2,000 to make possible the construction of a school building.5 During the first Academic year (1853-1854) income from tuition was $740, while expenses were $1175, leaving $435 to be secured some other way.
1 Supra, 71f.
In June of 1856 the Board of trustees appointed a committee on retrenchment which recommended an appeal to all members of the Church. If that should fail, the committee proposed that one of the professors of language be let go and tutors hired in his place to save money.2
2 Weisenburger, Brief History, 16.
In December, 1856, seven members of the board pledged $6,600 to meet accumulated indebtedness, and the general agent was offered a twenty per cent commission on the first $5,000 he could raise. So stringent were finances that when Miss Caroline Collier, principal of the girls department, asked for an increase in salary, the trustees could raise a fund of only $40 to present to her. The year 1857 proved a year of national financial distress, and Urbana salaries were reduced. The faculty was likewise reduced when Dr. Leonhardt Tafel resigned, writing that a reduction of a third of his salary made it impossible to sustain his family.3
3 Ibid., 17.
David Wilson of Cincinnati gave $10,000 to Urbana in 1852, specifying that the interest on $9,000 of it should be used to sustain a professorship to be known as the Wilson Professorship of Latin and Greek. However, Col. James did not sympathize with the deployment of this fund for a professors salary, and the designation of Wilson Professor was not maintained, the funds being employed at the boards discretion.4
In 1869 the university received a valuable farm through the will of Alvin Washburn, near Lynchburg, Ohio. The next year incoming President Sewall set to work to raise funds to keep the school afloat financially. While he raised comparatively large sums for the sustaining fund by stumping the haunts of New Church men throughout the eastern United States, fees were reduced through suspension of enrollment in the Primary and Girls departments.
1 Ibid., 19.
During Sewalls presidency Barclay Hall was built with $5,000 raised by the Rev. O. L. Barler, general agent for the university. Barclay Hall was read for occupancy in September, 1884.3 In 1881 Joseph A. Barker of Providence, Rhode Island, gave $5,000 to operating funds in addition to $10,000 he had given to the endowment fund. Nevertheless, from 1874 to 1352, current expenses exceeded income by over $9,000.4 From 1882 to 1884 the faculty salaries were reduced successively by percentages of 5, 20 and finally 30 per cent.5
3 Urbana Annual, 1901, 39f.
4 Weisenburger, Brief History, 22.
For several years following 1890 a recurring deficit brought the board to consider closing the university until a satisfactory balance could be accumulated from endowment income.6 In l905 the Murdoch family residence was purchased for use as a dormitory for girls, and named Browne Hall, after the Rev. Myron Browne of Cleveland, who had raised funds for the dormitory.7 In 1907 the will of Sarah Putnam Ropes made $5,000 available for a sustaining fund, In 1915 a special improvement fund was raised for the roofing and renovation of both Bailey and Barclay Halls.
6 Ibid., 24.
7 Ibid., 25.
Thomas Coleman Du Pont, who had attended school at Urbana from 1876 to 1879 along with his brother, in 1920 offered $100,000 to the university provided an equal amount were raised by others.
1 Ibid., 30.
In 1931, a survey supervised by W. W. Charters of Ohio State University asserted that a total of $538,500 had been committed in trust to the board of Urbana University, but that of this, only $461,500 remained. The survey writers raised the question where the difference of $77,000 had gone. The inference was that this sum represented the total of endowment funds expended in running expenses over the years. The survey declared that this money had been mis-appropriated.2
2 Charters, W. W., Report to Trustees of Urbana University, Authorized February 14, 1931, 46.
Finances also constituted a large element of disagreement between President Franklin Blackmer and other members of his board in 1931.3
3 Supra, 87.
7. Administration and Instruction
Able men and women devoted their efforts to teaching and managing the Urbana school, and many students came hopefully to its halls, over the years prior to the Gauvey regime. Something of the nature of the instruction and administration can be stated from the testimony of both ex-students and faculty members.
Gilbert H. Smith, later a General Church pastor, responded to a plea for more ministers made by Convention ministers in Convention at Philadelphia. He went to Urbana in 1903 to gain an education looking toward the New Church ministry. At Urbana University Smith had, almost to myself a very learned young linguist, one Ernest Green Dodge, a graduate of Oberlin College, newly converted to the New Church.
The library at Urbana, Smith wrote, contained quite a respectable collection, but it had almost no system of cataloguing. Smith was put to work as part of his scholarship grant returns, to the task of cataloguing. However, he made little progress in one year.
Religion was a subject no one was required to take, but, wrote Smith, most of us did. Smith, while a student, also gave drawing lessons at a kindergarten in the village conducted by Myrtle Townsend Barnitz, wife of the organist and choir master.1
1 Smith, Gilbert H., to R. R. Gladish, July 7, 1955.
Morley D. Rich, later a General Church pastor, attended Urbana for the last two years of high school from 1926 to 1928. In a letter written in 1953 he described the school at Urbana as being in ... a highly fluid condition. Students numbered about forty or fifty, of whom five or six were boarding students. Children of New Church parentage numbered two during his first year and three the second. There were five teachers and a principal or president. Rich asserted that none of the teachers was New Church in his first year; the Rev. Franklin Blackmer was appointed president in his second.
The courses, Rich stated, were ... liberal arts covering the first two years of college. It was at this time that the school dropped the last two years of high school. One or two business courses were also taught.
Religious instruction Rich described as faint indications of the New Church comprised in fifteen minutes worship every morning; reading of the Old and New Testaments, occasional talks by the principal (after Blackmers arrival) designed to permeate the Old Church minds with New Church truths gently, if not surreptitiously.
In all other respects, Rich asserted, the curriculum and organization of the secular subjects was no different from, and was better done by any one of the many small Ohio college.1 Rich left Urbana after two years and attended the Academy college and Theological school, at Bryn Athyn, later becoming a minister of the General Church.
Rich, Rev. Morley D., to R. R. Gladish, June 1, 1953.
Another view of Urbana is provided in a letter by a former teacher, Glenn B. Shetter, addressed to the University, and describing conditions. at the school in the early twenties.
A great portion of the deficit incurred ... at Urbana has been due to the improvements in the buildings and equipment which had been absolutely necessary in order to make conditions tolerable for both teachers and students. As a general example I might mention the condition of the classroom assigned to me upon my arrival here on September 15, 1923. It was absolutely unfit for classroom work. The Library was in horrible shape, a condition of chaos, filth, and general uselessness which had to be overcome before being able to make it of use. It is now in fair shape, but the need for present day reference books for daily use is still very great. While the total number of volumes is quite large and of great value, their present worth is small for use in the work which is now being done, hence the task of making the library fulfill present needs was expensive and difficult.
Shetter recommended abolishing the dining hall as uneconomical, establishing classes on three levels: preparatory, college, and normal school, with two years on each level. He urged expansion of the library, emphasis on public relations linked with a drive for New Church students, and the raising of faculty salaries to make for more stability among the faculty.2
2 Shftter, Glenn B., to the Board of Trustees of Urbana University, May 13, 1926.
Under the administrations of Edward F. Memmot1 and Ralph E. Gauvey,2 classes were larger, and teachers from Ohio State University and other collegiate institutions employed. From the point of view of efficiency of instruction in subject-matter the indications were that definite improvements were made. However, the influence of the New Church dwindled to the point of virtual disappearance.3
1 Infra, 95f.
2 Infra, 100f.
3 Barnitz, Robert, Telephone interview, Bryn Athyn, Pa., October 20, 1962.
8. Experimentation for Survival, 1941-1957
The Second World War was almost as hard on Urbana as had been the Civil War, which forced it to close its doors. At one time, Weisenburger reported, The number on the faculty was reduced to three and the student enrollment declined to the almost irreducible number of four.4
4 Weisenburger, Brief History, 32.
Edward F. Memmott, who had a degree from Oberlin College and had been head of the English department at Urbana for a number of years, was chosen president by the board in 1946. After four years of his presidency, enrollment had dropped to twenty-two students in the college year of 1950-1951. The income collected by the treasurer on endowment investment was $24,167.69, but the excess of expenses over income for the fiscal year was $14,233.79.
It was a losing game, and Memmott decided it was time to change his style of play. He reported to the trustees that the school was not getting its moneys worth in service performed for the endowment, income, and overdraft dollars spent, and that study was needed to determine direction for the future. Immediate steps were taken, through the reduction of staff and the closing of dormitories, to reduce expenditures, and the needed study was undertaken.5
5 Memmott, Edward F., Report of President to Board of Trustees, October 25, 1952.
Memmott conducted a survey of the Urbana community to determine what educational needs were not being met. He found that a good many needs did exist, although they were far different from those which Urbana Junior College had been attempting to serve.1
He informed the board of trustees of his plan, and went ahead with it, beginning with the fall term of the 1951-1952 school year.
Enrollment in the fall quarter rose to eighty-six, in a variety of short courses, mostly practical, with as few as five sessions. Teachers were available authorities in the subjects, including local laymen as well as teachers from Ohio State University, doing part-time work. Virtually all the courses were taught in the evening or late afternoons.2
The courses included typing, an art workshop for elementary school teachers, beef cattle feeding, hog feeding, increasing corn yields, a guidance workshop, fundamentals of electricity, home nursing, psychology of salesmanship, a conference for school board members, human relations, dairy farming, and shop mathematics. Other courses were added in later years, such as group behavior, world politics, and farm operation.3
3 Easter, Don, An Education that is not in the Books, Columbus (Ohio) Citizen, May 23, 1954.
As the school program had changed, so had the student body. It was now largely an adult education extension program, whose students averaged about thirty-five years of age. One man was sixty, while a number of the students in the art courses were of high school age.4
Memmott expressed satisfaction that he had obtained expert instruction, but he had to admit wryly that the founders of the school might well have turned over in their graves if they could have witnessed the school program after 100 years or if they had known that the president of a New Church school had contracted with a local Methodist minister to give lectures on the Bible.5
5 Memmott, Edward F., Interview, July 12, 1955.
With 128 enrolled for the winter quarter of 1951-1952, Memmott laid the new program before the trustees for approval, addressing them as follows:
Naturally New Churchmen and members of the Board may ask by what justification we can change our program. Dr. Lewis and Dr. Eikenberry, unpaid survey consultants, asked the same question. In answer they received three typed pages of quotations from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg concerning the Doctrine of Use and copies of the Charter of Urbana University....The Charter, Section I, speaks of Urbana University as designed to encourage and promote the diffusion of knowledge in the branches of academic, scientific, and exegetic instruction, and to combine therewith instruction in the productive arts and the practice of rural economy.... Dr. Lewis and Dr. Eikenberry accepted the quotations from the Writings and from the Charter as our justification for a new experiment.
Not all New Churchmen will be won over as easily.... The opposition ranges from outright hostility to mild scorn. We are shifting emphasis from saying we performed a use for the Church, which I doubt we have performed well in years, to considering trying to perform a use for a community. We are considering shifting from the old to the new, from the financially ruinous to the financially safe in trying inflation days.... And I believe the present project in learning and meeting the educational needs of a community, if you wish to try it, has a good chance of being a success.1
1 Report of President to Trustees, January 12, 1952.
The Board of Trustees hastened to approve Memmotts program, accepting his interpretation of the charter, as follows:
Resolved: That the Board of Trustees unanimously approves the change of policy from the exclusively traditional Arts College to a college that tries to serve the educational and spiritual needs of the community, and believes that this change of policy is in no way inconsistent with the aims of the founders as set forth in the provisions of the Charter, and with the teachings of the New Church, especially the Doctrine of Use.2
2 Urbana Trustees Minutes, January 12, 1952.
The wording of the resolution inferred an invidious distinction in favor of the new practical type of education offered by the college, implying that the arts college fails to serve the educational and spiritual needs of the community so well.
The first years operation under the new program proved financially successful, the income of $22,628 being $2,154 in excess of expenses.3
3 Memmott, Edward F., Report of President to Trustees, October 25, 1952.
1 Ibid., Oct. 17, 1953.
2 Ibid., May 29, 1954.
In his report of the same date, President Memmott referred to a memorandum addressed to Convention entitled Religious Education and Urbana by George Pausch, and went on to report that the highest enrollment during the past college year was 186 in the fall quarter, and that the average enrollment for the year had been 122. In-service training for elementary and secondary teachers had been conducted by six professors from the College of Education at Ohio State. He raised the question whether consultant in-service training should be extended in the following year. Classroom teachers had received aid in the fundamentals of speech therapy, and for the following fall, a college freshman program was being considered, and it was suggested that the ground floor of Oak Hall might be used for public school classes the following year. The same meeting voted to authorize the treasurer to transfer from principal to income as need an amount not to exceed $3,000.00 during the period June 1 to December 31, 1954.3
The Pausch Report was a memorandum presented by George Pausch, Vice President of the General Convention, to the General Convention meeting in 1952, on the subject of Urbana and its relation to the Convention and its educational efforts. Pausch, after reviewing the highlights of Urbanas history, and pointing out the stern necessities under which the current board had been operating, said,
It seems obvious that the management is making every effort against odds, to maintain the school as a going concern. It seems equally obvious that it is not now operating as a New Church School in the manner contemplated by its founders. By the same token, it is not now figuring as a vital element in the life of the Church.
It is not in any sense that these matters are brought forward as a matter of criticism. Rather it is to take stock, as it were, and to present the question whether the various substantial investments of time and money and care in Urbana can be restored as an integral part of the life of the New Church. The needs of the Church are such that it can ill afford to lose any part of its potentialities. To accomplish this will require the cooperation of all hands; yet this should not present too great difficulties, since all the parties interested in management of Urbana or Convention or its bodies are members of Convention. The present trustees of Urbana include three Convention ministers, and three members of its general Council; while the Chairman and Secretary of Urbana are also Chairman (Mr. Memmott) and member of the Board (Mr. Alden) of the Board of Managers of the Theological School.l
1 Pausch, George, Memorandum regarding Convention and Religious Education; and Urbana. c. 1952, 2f.
Pausch made it clear that he was primarily concerned that the General Convention must do a better job of education for its young people or face gradual wasting away. He asked how many of the rank and file in Convention were really conversant with the New Church doctrines. He suggested the combination of the Theological School at Cambridge, the Convention Department of Religious Education, and Urbana into one. Combining endowments would provide about $1,000,000 and income of $50,000 annually. This would make possible a fuller faculty than either could afford by itself. He made a point of education for youth in these words:
The Church needs urgently to ground its people, particularly its young people, in the Word and our teachings. The latter [sic] drift away, driven by attractions of larger Church bodies, the influence of friends, and the non-religious spirit widely prevalent in our institutions of learning. The experience of the General Church shows that they may be held by adequate instruction.2 (Italics added.)
9. Revival under Ralph E. Gauvey, 1958-1960
With Memmotts departure from the presidency to take another position, and later his untimely death in 1957, college affairs were, for a time, left at sixes and sevens. The board of trustees thereupon appointed Mrs. Franklin H. Blackmer (Mrs. Carolyn Blackmer) wife of the former president, head of a committee to investigate.
1. Close the college and liquidate assets.
2. Offer only adult and community junior college program with non-resident, part-time faculty.
3. Continue freshman-sophomore curriculum with program as in 2.
4. Re-establish full-time junior college program with resident faculty, opening dormitories for boarding students.
5. Change basic objective to that of conference center.1
1 Blackmer, Carolyn A., New Program for Urbana College. Messenger, August 30, 1958, 267f.
Additional alternatives submitted at the conference included making Urbana a branch of some larger, neighboring college, or combining with the New-Church Theological School; transformation of the college property to non-academic uses, such as headquarters for Convention.
When the simple solution of closing the college was protested by a number of persons, including some of the Urbana citizenry, and when Ralph E. Gauvey, then working toward a doctorate in education at Ohio State University, came up with an interesting and detailed plan of development, it was decided to keep the College alive and undertake a research program to plot a course for a new, experimental kind of education. This new education was to be based upon the foundation of Swedenborgs concept that love is the life of man. All humanistic studies, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology in its newest guises as group dynamics, even the scientific method, were to be tested and tried for their contribution to the new science of education.2
2 Ibid., 268f.
The board of trustees authorized reorganization of the administration with Ralph Gauvey as president, and Mrs. Blackmer as a staff member at a meeting of August 2, 1958.1
1 Ibid., front cover; 273.
2 Ibid., 275.
5 Urbana Daily Citizen, Oct. 13, 1959.
6 Ibid., Sept. 28, 1960
7 Gauvey, Ralph E., Implementing a Philosophy of Education, Messenger, August 30, 1958, CLXXVIII, 275.
It was considered too early in Convention as of 1961 to assess the new development at Urbana, but it was thought possible that the departure might be suggestive for a lasting contribution to New Church education. The board of trustees was beginning to evaluate anew the New Church aspects of the institution.8
8 Blackmer, Franklin H., to R. R. Gladish, May 15, 1961.
However, in view of the slightness of the connection between the Writings and the present program of instruction and development at Urbana Junior College, it was difficult to see much chance for significant development of New Church education there. That the college might thrive as a secular institution would not affect its lack of significance as an institution of the New Church.
The Urbana catalog of 1960-61 stated: As a non-sectarian college, it [Urbana] has continued to be associated with, but not controlled by, the Church.9 The nature of the association referred to, while nowhere defined, did not seem to be intensive. The catalog nowhere referred to any of Swedenborgs writings, nor lists any as collateral reading in course descriptions, although many other authors, such as Morison, Kafka, Darwin, and Gamow were named.
9 Urbana Junior College Catalog, 1960-1961, 3.
In a statement headed, Principles of the New Church as they Relate to the Aims and Purposes of Education, the nature of the connection of education at Urbana with the New Church became somewhat apparent:
The New Church, as referred to by Emanuel Swedenborg, ... was a vision of human society at its best.... it is composed of all those persons who diligently seek the highest good and purest truth in all things, finding these basic elements of life in a God who, in essence, is love and wisdom. Our plan of education is to provide a mental and spiritual climate in which the disciplines of the arts and sciences can be used to develop this form of rationality in students and faculty alike; a community of people discovering the redemptive forces within the liberal arts that can truly liberate their fullest powers.1
1 Ibid., 7f.
In the words of Carolyn A. Blackmer, member of the board of trustees, Dean of Studies, and French instructor,
... the lack of a formulated educational philosophy in the church has been reflected in the lack of singleness of purpose at Urbana ... without a purpose in accord with the doctrines of the church, Urbana could not very well contribute fully and directly to the needs of the church.2
2 Blackmer, Carolyn A., New Program for Urbana College, New Church Messenger, August 30, 1958, Vol. 178, 267.
10. Status of College in 1967
Dr. Ralph E. Gauvey resigned as president of Urbana College September 1, 1963,3 after five years in that position, and was succeeded by Dr. Clyde Hissong, a former state director of education for Ohio. Dr. Hissong, then a retired professor of education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, took the headship as an interim appointment until a permanent president could be found.4 Dr. Ronald D. Jones took office in time for the opening of the fall term one year later, September 28, 1964. At the time of his appointment, Dr. Jones was an instructor at Bowling Green State University. He received the doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1947.1
3 Messenger, Oct. 1963, CLXXXIII, 202.
1 Ibid., Oct. 1964, CLXXXIV, 144.
In 1966 President Jones reported student enrollment risen to 330 from 114 two years previously, and a faculty of twenty full-time and sixteen part-time members, with ninety percent of the teaching load in the hands of full-time personnel.2 In 1967 Jones announced the addition of fourteen new faculty members and the beginning of a third year of undergraduate work with forty students.3 An ambitious construction program was under way based upon increased tuition, self-liquidating loans, a United States government grant of $108,000, and a hoped-for New Church contribution of $250,000.4 Dr. Jones had previously announced the intention of adding approximately 100 students a year until the enrollment reached the thousand mark.5
2 Presidents Message, in Urbana College Reporter, Nov. 1966, n. p.
3 Ibid., Oct. 1967.
4 A Call to Commitment, fund-raising brochure of Urbana College, c. 1966, n. d.
5 U. C. Reporter, March 1967.
The Urbana College program as set forth in recent official publications, aims to provide general education in the liberal arts, foundational for pre-professional and other further education. An associate-in-arts degree is awarded at the end of the second year. All students must take art or music and engage in seminars on various topics. A statement of the students own philosophy in form of a personal thesis is the major requirement of a compulsory sophomore course in philosophy.6
6 Urbana College Bulletin, 1966-67, 20f.
Urbanas literature represents it as church-related, but not church affiliated; neither sectarian nor secular, seeking to add a spiritual element to education on a permissive basis, serving to confront youth with ideas, among which they may pick and choose without parental dictation or teacher domination.7 In addition to the required sophomore course in philosophy, Urbana offers three quarter-length courses in comparative religion, and two in Bible study. But the catalog before 1968 contained no mention of any work of Swedenborg, nor any study of his thought.
7 Jones, Ronald D., A Shared Concern, Messenger, March 1966, CLMXVI, 36.
An educator interested in the ideas presented in Swedenborgs theological writings might raise the question, Since Urbana helps its students to an understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and traditional Christianity by offering courses about them,1 would it not seem reasonable for it to offer a course or part of a course examining the ideas of Swedenborgs works? In 1968 the College and Convention took action to supply this lack.
1 U.J.C. Bulletin, 1966-67, p. 41.
Recent Urbana College literature stresses the importance of discovery by the student, and recoils at the suggestion of indoctrination. This position would be defensible if it could be assumed that students will naturally choose truth over falsity and good over evil. It would also be defensible if man lived in a universe in which the alternatives of good and evil, truth and falsity were not intrinsically important. But neither of these alternatives is realistic even in the light of common sense, much less in the searching light of Swedenborgs theological writings. These writings indeed represent themselves as a divinely-authorized statement of truth about man and his relation to his Maker and the universe, the veritable Second Coming of the Lord.2 An Urbana explanation of its philosophy states:
2 TCR 779f.
Education is, essentially, the ceremony of constant discovery. It is a venture into the unknown, with the determination to grow around the unknown and thus enlarge itself. The very opposite of this is the view that insists that ones own mind at a particular time is essentially right and full, and thus new ideas, attitudes, and Information must either fit ideas, attitudes, and information already existing in ones mind, or be considered false, dangerous, or irrelevant.3
3 Urbana Philosophy of Education, mimeographed, n. d. 5.
The thrust of this argument is to arouse repugnance at the idea of anyones influencing anothers mind. Yet what else have teachers or parents striven to do but influence young minds in the direction of truth and justice from the times of Socrates or Mark Hopkins to those of James B. Conant and J. Edgar Hoover? The General Church educational view also rejects indoctrination if by that term is meant the warping of the mind away from the truth or forcing the mind at any age into a belief or a creed that that mind itself rejects.
A fundamental difficulty with Urbana College until very recently has lain in the lack of definition of its relationship to the New Church. Its catalog statement carefully disclaimed any connection with Swedenborg beyond the inspiration of his wide range of knowledge.l However, an appeal for funds for a new library of approximately the same date is accompanied by a letter co-signed by Richard H. Tafel, president of Convention, as honorary chairman, which asks the prayers of the Convention people to whom it was sent, and states that the new library is
1 UJC Bulletin, 1966-67, 19.
a vital step toward enriching and expanding the Colleges contribution to students, Church, and community.
The master plan points to Urbana College as a center of intellectual strength for the New Church. It points to a College that will endure through the life times of countless generations.2
2 A Call to Commitment.
It would seem fair to conclude that if Urbana College is to be of significance to the New Church, or a center of its strength, it must find some connection with Swedenborgian belief more meaningful than a resolution to receive knowledge from a variety of sources. This need was recognized in action announced in the Spring of 1968.
At that time, the Convention and Urbana College announced an increase in the Swedenborgian influence at the college with establishment of a division of philosophy and religion under a New Church Biblical scholar.
1 Dorothea Harvey Joins Faculty: Church-School Developments at Urbana. Messenger, March, 1968, CLXXXVIII.
THE NEW CHURCH THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL AT CAMBRIDGE
The institution incorporated as The New-Church Theological School began in June, 1866, at Waltham, Massachusetts, about ten miles west of Boston, and, after three removes continues in 1967 in Newton Massachusetts, as The Swedenborg School of Religion. The school came into being in response to a plea by the Rev. Thomas Worcester, D. D.,1 president of the General Convention. In his annual message of 1865, Worcester addressed Convention on the need for a theological school. A committee brought in a report in June of the following year calling for immediate action, and in the remarkably short time of one month an eight-week session was begun on July 3,1866, with a service in the Waltham Chapel, classes being held in the new school building.2 The Theological School was incorporated in Massachusetts May 17, 1881. For twelve years it continued at Waltham, using the school building erected by the Waltham Corporation of the New Jerusalem Church, taken over in 1864 by the New-Church Institute of Education.
1 Degree granted by Harvard in 1856. Appletons Cyclopedia of Biog., D. Appleton & Co. N. Y., 1889, VI, 613.
2 1The New Church Theological School, N. J. Mag., November, 1866, XXXIX, 325.
In 1878 the Theological School was moved to the vestry of the Boston Church and the school year changed to six or seven months of autumn and winter. In 1881 the school secured a large room in the building of the Massachusetts New Church Union, Boston, and in 1889 the school purchased a property in Cambridge, formerly known as the Jared Sparks Estate, occupied until its removal to Newton in 1966.3
3 Convention Jour., 1965, 98; Ibid. 1966, 82f.
In that first short summer session of 1866 which launched the Theological School, Academy-to-be and Convention ministers taught side by side. In the following year the future Academy founders were dropped, and the Boston, or New England element, headed by Thomas Worcester,4 assumed control of the Theological School.
4 Worcester was president of Convention for 33 years, 1839 to 1873, 1850 excepted. Convention Jour., 1901, 245f.
1 Then re-named The Swedenborg School of Religion. Sw. Sch. of Rel. Bulletin 1967-69, 2.
2 Bulletin of the New Church Theological School and Catalogue, 1948, 32f., also Worcester, John, MS. History of the Theological School of General Convention, 3ff.
2. Theological Exigency
Previous to 1865 it had been customary in the Convention for those who wished to join the ministry of the New Church to find sufficient New Church people to sign a petition asking for the candidates ordination. On one such petition appears the name of John Chapman (Appleseed) asking for the ordination of Silas Ensign, then living in the Cincinnati area. (MS. in ANC Archives.) Another way was for the candidate to present his qualifications to an ordaining minister, and thus secure his ordination. He could also appeal to the president of Convention or make his request before the Convention at one of its annual sessions. If he were supported by sufficient members, he would be ordained, provided it was felt that he had sufficient ability and knowledge of the doctrines. Very often candidates would acquire their knowledge of the doctrines and guidance in orthodox beliefs through sitting under or studying under a practicing minister of the church. It was in this same way that lawyer; frequently acquired their training during the early period of American history.3
3 Information from Rev. W. L. Gladish, c. 1935.
We have noted previously4 the situation in and around Cincinnati where a great many irregularities occurred in connection with the selection of ministers. At the first Convention held in Philadelphia in 1817, mention was made of the necessity for societies in various parts of the church finding some means of lawfully recognizing ministers and giving them credentials which would make them acceptable throughout the church.5
4 Supra, 52.
5 New Jerusalem Church Repository, July, 1817, 130f.
The Rev. Thomas Worcester, in his presidential address to the General Convention held at Chicago in June, 1865, spoke of the need for theological training, and called attention to a slackening in applications for the ministry in previous years. He urged all to respond to the Divine call to send forth laborers into His harvest, either as ministerial candidates, as teachers of ministerial candidates, or as financial supporters.1
1 Worcester, Thomas, The Presidents Address, N. J. Mag,, July, 1865, XXXVIII, 34f.
The Convention made an immediate response. On the day the address was delivered, J. P. Stuart offered the following resolution which was adopted by the Convention:
Resolved: That so much of the Presidents Address as relates to the increase of the ministerial force of the New Church, be referred to the committee on ecclesiastical affairs; with the request that they will, at their earliest convenience, mature, and bring into the Convention a plan of action in the premises.2
2 Ibid., 6.
The committee on ecclesiastical affairs brought in their report on June 1, 1866, shaped by a subcommittee called a Select Committee consisting of Messrs. Stuart, Hibbard, and Giles.
The subcommittee report premised the great importance of the ministry in the progress of the Church. It suggested that an untrained, or improperly-trained ministry, or a numerically inadequate ministerial force was presently hampering the work of the Church.
In a vast country, whose population is upwards of thirty millions, we have only forty ministers and licentiates constantly officiating, giving us only one minister to every seven hundred and fifty thousand people; that is, one minister to every three-quarters of a million.
And even looking at our own church membership, it is true to a most lamentable extent that they are scattered abroad as sheep without a shepherd; and that the harvest is great, and the laborers are few. We may briefly refer to the following facts:
Massachusetts has sixteen societies and eleven ministers; Maine has five societies and two ministers; New York has eight societies and three ministers; Ohio has nine societies and four ministers; Michigan has three societies and one minister; Illinois has seven societies and seven ministers; Maryland has six societies and three ministers.
Total number of societies, sixty-five. Total number of ministers, thirty-four.l
1 Report of Committee on Ecclesiastical Affairs, Ibid., November, 1866, XXXIX, 320f.
The report added that in addition to the societies, there were many isolated receivers who needed missionaries greatly. Moreover there were thousands of people who had not heard much about the Church but who are in a great measure dislodged from the communion of the old, dissatisfied with the old doctrines, disgusted often with the cant and hypocrisy of their fellow church-members, and in a state that might be called the suspense of faith, waiting for some new development. To many such the proclamation of the new doctrines would be hailed with gladness, as life from the dead. The report continued:
We may therefore set it down as a plain matter that our present ministerial force is lamentably inadequate. We have not the men whom we can command and send into this field that is already whitening to the harvest.
It is submitted, that at the earliest day possible we ought to open a Divinity School, and gather into it as many of our young men of suitable qualifications as can be induced to look towards the ministry as the chosen business of their life. With such an institution, we may well hope for an increase in the number and efficiency of our ministers; without it we see no prospect of any speedy improvement.2
2 Ibid., 322.
Sympathetic consideration was given to this report, which was a matter of discussion during the remaining days of the session, and impetus was added by a memorial from six candidates for the ministry, dated June 4, 1866. This document asserted the eagerness of its signers to devote themselves to ministerial work and that there were at least another six in Convention eager to enter into theological studies.3
3 Ibid., 323.
A special committee headed by Thomas Worcester met in Boston soon after the end of Convention and resolved to start a theological course of study beginning July first.
1 Worcester, John, Ms. History, 5.
3. The First Years Work - 1866
The first years work at the Waltham school building was condensed into a little over seven weeks from July 3rd to August 25th. There were six students, and thirteen teachers or lecturers who gave a total of thirty-two lectures during the session. The students were Messrs. George F. Steams, an ordained minister; Alfred F. Gage, William H. Mayhew, Leonard G. Jordan, Theodore F. Wright, and William McGregor. All except Jordan, a Californian, were residents of Massachusetts.
Each days work was high-lighted with a lecture by one of the clerical professors on a topic of importance in the Church. Other lectures were given in the same day in the two general fields decided upon--the systematic study of the Heavenly Doctrines and the reading and translation of Swedenborgs Latin.2 The topics and the speakers for the thirty-two main lectures are given below.
2 The New Church Theological School, N. J. Mag., November, 1866, XXXIX, 325.
Rev. Thomas Worcester 1 Introductory
Rev. Joseph Pettee 3 On the Letter of the Word
Rev. Joseph Pettee 1 A Review of Bushnell
Rev. J. P. Stuart 5 On the Mind, Degrees, and Correspondences
Rev. W. B. Hayden 5 On the Effects of the Second Coming of the Lord
Rev. T. O. Paine 2 On the Language of the Old Testament
Rev. Abiel Silver 1 On the Ministerial Office
Rev. James Reed 2 On the Study of Church History
Rev. J. C. Ager 2 History of Doctrine; especially the Trinity
Rev. W. H. Benade 2 Remains of the Ancient Church
Making a total of 32 lectures in the session of eight weeks.l
1 Ibid., 325f. In the original, as here, the figures add up to 33.
In addition to the regular teachers and pupils, there were visitors, including curious ministers and students not yet ready to commence theological studies, as well as other observers, so that the whole attendance varied between twelve and thirty. The students expressed themselves highly gratified with the instruction, and interim courses of study were indicated for the students to pursue. At a meeting in September following the first session of the institute, the Board determined to conduct the school again the next summer beginning about June 19 and continuing for twelve weeks to nearly the middle of September.2
2 Ibid., 326.
At the September meeting the board appointed to direct the Theological School also laid out a curriculum embracing three years of theological studies in three departments, the first department devoted to the study of the Sacred Scripture in the original languages, the second department to the study of theology and the doctrines of the church, and the third department having to do with modes of communicating the doctrines such as reading, speaking, writing, with allied exercises.3
3 Ibid., 326ff.
The report also noted the beginning of a library with the acquisition of several valuable books and the donations of money for this purpose, and ended with an invitation to young men throughout the church to attend the institute without charge.4
4 Ibid., 329f.
4. Developments, 1867-1910
In 1867 the school opened in Waltham June 18 and continued in session till September 5. The faculty in charge were the Rev. Messrs. T. Worcester, Warren Goddard, T. B. Hayward, T. O. Paine, and Prof. Lewis B. Monroe, teacher of elocution. Students included Messrs. Gage, Mayhew, Jordan, Wright, Lewis P. Mercer, Fred W. Park, and Joseph Worcester. In addition to the students mentioned, temporary students were listed as John Goddard, John Holden, and Daniel Burnham. The committee in charge included Messrs. T. Worcester, J. P. Stuart, Giles, Hayden, and Benjamin Worcester.1
1 Worcester, Ms. History, 7.
The following year (1868) a fund of $2700 was raised for the support of the school and placed in the hands of a board consisting of Messrs. Thomas Hitchcock, Samuel Reed, Chauncey Giles, William Hooper, J. Young Scammon, David McCandless, and David L. Webster. Salaries were paid to the faculty for the first time. In 1869 the school session was lengthened, continuing from June 24 to November 30, and the faculty were Messrs. Thomas Worcester, T. B. Hayward, T. O. Paine, and Prof. L. B. Monroe, teacher of elocution. A newcomer on the board of managers was Milo G. Williams. Benjamin Worcester served as librarian. As to students, in 1870 appear the names of John S. Saul, Strathroy, Canada; Hjalmar H. Boyesen, Norway; Charles W. Saunders, Nova Scotia, (the latter two only part of the time) and also the name of William F. Pendleton of Georgia. Pendleton, a Confederate Civil War veteran as well as a physician, who attended two years, was later to become head of the Academy and General Church.2
2 Ibid., 13.
In 1870-1871 the Rev. John Worcester gave lectures on Correspondences, and in 1871 the Rev. S. F. Dike lectured on doctrines of the primitive Christian Church. Although in 1872 there were seven students, in 1874 no students applied and therefore no school was held. D. L. Webster was appointed manager of the school in place of the Rev. J. P. Stuart.3 In 1878 the Rev. Thomas Worcester died (on August 14) and the Theological School was moved to the vestry of the Boston Society church, where it was held between October 7 and April 3.
3 Ibid., 19.
1 Ibid., 29.
At the meeting of the General Convention in Portland, Maine, June 19, 1880, it was resolved to undertake incorporation of the Theological School and to draw up a plan for a permanent endowment thereof. The school was incorporated as The New-Church Theological School in 1881. A committee recommended raising $50,000 and that income from four endowment funds held by the Convention be appropriated to the use of the Theological School until otherwise ordered by the Convention. It was declared that the school owned fifteen acres of land in Chicago and had a claim for $12,000 worth of land.2 By 1882 endowments totaled $21,720, with another $3,000 of income.3
3 Ibid., 34.
In 1880, evening classes were adopted for the first time, and attended by two students. During the school year 1880-1881, the school moved to new quarters at 169 Tremont Street, Boston, its sessions occurring between October 11 and May 3.
As an adjunct to the Theological School, twenty-five Sunday school teachers of the Massachusetts Association attended classes from November 15 to April 24 in the same year.
On January 1, 1884, a new departure began with the opening of a correspondence school as a branch of the department of theology. There were six regular members at first, increased before April 1 to twenty-six. Of these, four were preachers in the Old Church, four were New Church ministers, nine were women, and nine were laymen. These last eighteen were either isolated, or representatives of small circles. Of the twenty-six, eleven became regular correspondents in the school and five others exchanged some letters. Besides these the theological notes and questions were regularly sent to ten ministers and five laymen.
1 Ibid., 41.
2 Ibid., 51, 47.
3 Report of Board of Managers of the New church Theological School, Jour. Convention, 1961, 105f.
In the same school year an unusual student, A. L. Kip, studied the Apocalypse and Divine Love and Wisdom in Latin, eight chapters of the Anabasis, and 100 lines Homer in Greek, Isaiah in Hebrew, Matthew in Syriac, and Daniel in Chaldaic. In 1888-1887 the broadmindedness of the school was in evidence when a Dr. A. T. Buswell attended the exercises in the theological department and would have been glad to receive pecuniary aid; but as he evidently would not be useful as a New-Church minister, he was not recommended.... He was in practice as a Christian Scientist.4 In the same year $10,000 was received as a legacy from the Lyman Clark estate for the benefit of the school, and the endowment reached $99,000 the following year.
4 Worcester, Ms. History, 47.
In 1888-1889 the directors purchased the estate of Dr. Jared Sparks, president of Harvard, for the use of the school. Rev. T. F. Wright: was appointed resident professor and caretaker of the new and almost palatial quarters. The title of Professor was given to each of the instructors and that of Professor Emeritus to Dr. T.O. Paine. It was voted to lengthen the school year to agree with the university year.5 The following year, 1890-1891, there were ten students in the school, the faculty remaining the same.
5 Ibid., 53.
In the following year, 1892-1893, one of the seven students was noted thus:
W. L. Gladish was capable, came for languages, with a prejudice against our study of Theology; but did fairly well.1
1 Ibid., 61.
Gladish had come from the Methodist Church for doctrinal reasons and could not sympathize with the Cambridge viewpoint of playing down differences between New Church and other doctrines. He joined the General Church in 1904 after ten years as a Convention minister.
The heads of the Theological School at Cambridge, after the death of Dr. Thomas Worcester, were the Rev. Samuel Dike, D. D., president, and Rev. John Worcester, principal. In 1881 the Rev. John Worcester was made president, continuing so until 1894, when he was succeeded by the Rev. James Reed, who served until 1908. In 1908 Rev. William L. Worcester was called from Philadelphia to serve as president of the School and continued to combine that position with ministering to the Cambridge Society until 1936.2 A list of the former students of the theological school as given in the bulletin published in 1948 is included as Appendix B, Chapter VI, pages 35-39 of the same Bulletin.
2 New Church Theological School, Bulletin and Catalogue, 1948, 33.
In 1901 the Sparks estate was enlarged and developed with the building of a stone chapel designed by Prof. Herbert Langford Warren of Harvard. In 1910 a substantial fireproof building was added for the safekeeping of valuable books and other treasures in possession of the school. The archives of the General Convention were also given space in this vault.3
3 Ibid., 33.
5. Liberalism and the Theological School
The liberalism of Convention may said to have begun with the Rev. B. F. Barrett, a former Unitarian minister, who came into the New Church in 1840. Barrett first attracted attention in the Church and out of it through a series of lectures on the New Church before thousands at the Lyceum of Natural History in New York City. He was shortly afterward ordained by Thomas Worcester, becoming pastor of the New York Society and one of the leading liberals in the Church.1
1 Annals, 449, 462, 464.
Barrett was anti-clerical, but more, he was anti-organizational. To him the New Church was a dispensation, a state of mankind, not properly an ecclesiasticism. He wrote in 1877:
But what are we to understand by a New Church? Not simply a new ecclesiastical organization, with new doctrines, a new ritual and a new ministry; but something vastly more comprehensive than this. We are to understand a New Age or Dispensation; that is, an Age characterized by new thoughts, swayed by new motives, burning with new desires, animated with new hopes, inspired with new ambitions, kindled with new freedom governed by new principles, baptized with a new spirit.... 2
2 Barrett, F., The New Church, Its Nature and Whereabouts, 196.
Evidence to support this view of a transfigured humanity was taken by Barrett and his co-believers, such as Edmund A. Bedman, and in England, Dr. Jonathan Bayley, to be all the inventions and social improvements of the Nineteenth Century.3 If the New Jerusalem was to be interpreted as an age of mankind, not to be any more prevented in its arrival than the dawn, then the church and its ministry lost something of significance. Barrett associated himself with the position of John Clowes, who had remained in the Church of England for fifty years, at the same time doing more than any other man to spread the doctrines of the New Church.4
3 Supra, Sec. I, 155; Infra, 132f.
4 Barrett, The New Church, 186f.
To Barrett the fact that an external body of the New Church had been organized was a permission--something not designed but allowed in Providence. Since societies were in existence, they should be utilized, at least the older and stronger New Church societies, but in this manner:
Let them dismiss all thought of anything like superiority to Christians--all thought of being pre-eminently the church of Lord--Let their ministers try to draw near to, and cultivate friendly and intimate relations with, all other ministers in their vicinity; and invite an exchange of pupils with all, and gladly accept it with such as are willing to exchange. Let their members cheerfully and actively cooperate with other Christians... and in their private intercourse, let them seek rather to exhibit and magnify the points of agreement than the points of difference between ourselves and others....1
1 Ibid., 206f.
While Barrett made converts to his position, he was not generally accepted in Convention, The Journal of 1866 mentioned his great pertinacity and vindictiveness in charging Convention with a petty and secular spirit.2 However, while Convention did not see eye to eye with Barrett, some 93 members did move in the same direction that he pointed, as witness the Memorial presented to Convention in 1880 by Otis Clapp of Boston, asking Convention to drop its distinctive procedures, such as re-baptism.3
2 Convention Jour., 1866, 16.
3 Ibid., 1880, 33f.
Thus in the nineteen twenties when Protestant denominations were disturbed by Fundamentalist-Modernist controversies,4 Convention also debated the differences between the two positions in terms of their own doctrines. In fact, the Convention organ, the New Church Messenger, declared itself and Convention generally to be on the side of the liberals or modernists. With a faintly disguised allusion to the General Church position as unacceptably Fundamentalist, the Messenger pictured Convention liberals in these terms:
4 Latourette, Kenneth Scott, A History of Christianity, 1421f.
But the Lords real disciples in His Second Coming are those who, cutting loose from the old anchorages, set their sails for the voyage into new realms of life and light.5
5 Messenger, February 20, 1924, CXXVI, 116f.
While the permeation ideas originally fostered by Barrett may be said to have been permeating the Convention from 1840 onward, their effect began to take hold on the New Church Theological School more noticeably in the twenties. Rebuffed then to an extent, they returned to the attack in the forties and fifties and were in charge by 1962.
Primary agent of liberalism or permeation concepts after Barrett was the Rev. William F. Wunsch, who became acquainted with the New Church while attending the University of Michigan in 1907.
1 Wunsch, W. F., to R. R. Gladish, July 8, 1958.
Unencumbered with more tradition than he could acquire in a single year at the Theological School, Wunsch set about his duties of instructing the young theologs in a decisive fashion. In 1921 his influence was increased by his being appointed Principal of the school, partly to relieve the Rev. W. F. Worcester, President both of the School and of Convention that year.2 In 1921 students of the New Church School were given the privilege of using books from the Harvard Divinity School and Andover Theological Seminary, and students were also permitted to attend courses in Practical Theology, in those institutions. Also a student of Andover-Newton Seminary attended one of the New Church courses in Theology.3 In 1929 it was noted that the School retained its membership in the Conference of Theological Seminaries, and that its principal was a delegate to a meeting of the New England Seminaries.4
2 Jour. Convention, 1922, 40f.
3 Ibid., 1921, 41f.
4 Ibid., 1929, 49.
Criticism of Wunschs overtures toward Old Church theological seminaries was only a small part of a rising murmur of animadversion coming from the fundamentalist or conservative party of Convention. The opposition came to a head in a movement to unseat Wunsch from his post at the Theological School which burst into the open at the 1930 Convention. A committee consisting of both pro-Wunsch and anti-Wunsch partisans published a booklet in May of 1930 stating both sides of the dispute, ... for the earnest consideration of the members of the General Convention.5 The Convention was to read the material pro and con and act as the jury.
5 A Series of Statements Relative to the Teaching at the Theological School Cover.
The booklet called, A Series of Statements Relative to the Character of the Teaching at the Theological School, was signed by twelve well-known members of Convention. Included was Conventions president, Paul Sperry, W. L, Worcester, president of the Theological School, and William F. Wunsch, the accused, himself.
The purpose of the pamphlet was to set before the Convention membership the essential difference in point of view between those who value the work which Professor Wunsch is doing and those who oppose it.1 Therefore the pamphlet was organized like a debate: there were pro and anti statements, followed by rebuttal from each side.
1 Sperry, Paul, et. al, A Series of Statements Relative to the Character of the Teaching at the Theological School, May 18, 1930, 2.
Among the pro statements were these:
Professor Wunsch is fitted for his task by exceptional natural ability, long and unusual training, and experience of fifteen years of service. His teaching and his writing combine scholarly thoroughness and appreciation of the need for research--both essential in the reaching and the leading of young men to the active ministry of the Church.
His interpretations of Swedenborg are pre-eminently constructive. His mind is stimulating, making students think for themselves rather than accept what they read blindly.... Mr. Wunsch has done the whole Church a great service through his efforts to distinguish what Swedenborgs teaching actually is, from certain traditional interpretations.2
2 Ibid., 2-3.
The antis spoke thus:
Mr. Wunsch has been on the faculty of the Theological School for twenty years, a period of noticeable decline....3
3 Ibid., 4.
Statements purporting to have been taken down by students or visitors in his lectures included these: Swedenborg lack religious motive. He lacked interest in humanity. His interest was in making out a good case for God. Old Church preachers do a better job than we do without the spiritual sense, and they get the same truth.... Swedenborgs introduction to Heaven and Hell is enough to queer the whole book.....4
4 Ibid., 9f.
After several lengthy statements, the Anti-Wunsch camp made this declaration:
In conclusion, and on the basis of the evidence set forth above, we reaffirm our contention that from the standpoint of the New-Church, Mr. Wunsch is lacking (a) in loyalty, (b) in scholarship, and (c) in personality, and that his influence at our Theological School should come to an end as soon as practicable.1
1 Ibid., 12.
While the pro-Wunsch forces had slightly the better of the popular contest at the 1930 Convention, with the young people making their weight felt through resolutions,2 the traditional or fundamentalist view prevailed sufficiently to bring about a compromise solution. The new Board of Managers kept Wunsch in the school, but removed him from the chair of theology, and discontinued the office of Principal, giving him Bible Introduction and Sacred Languages to teach instead.3 The trouble, however, was not over. Five years later, in a long report to the General Convention of 1935, the Board of Managers examined the situation at the Theological School in a very fundamental way, using questionnaires to gain information from the students and faculty. A portion of the visiting committees report stated that there was a condition at the school which is generally unhappy. Students were disturbed by the crowding of the curriculum, and the widely divergent views of the faculty. In apologizing for the inferior quality of their work, the students pointed to these conditions, which were acknowledged by faculty members.4
2 Block, Marguerite B., The New Church in the New World, 323.
3 Report of Theological School, Jour. Convention, 1930, 46.
4 Report of the Board of Managers of the New-Church Theological School, Ibid., 1935, 98.
The report stated the Committees conviction that the professors and students believe themselves to be working honestly and in the best interest of the New-Church ministry.5 Still, grave problems remained. The Board of Managers voted to reappoint all members of the faculty except the Rev. William F. Wunsch. Some reductions of salary were also recommended. The report of the Committee majority continued:
5 Ibid., 99.
We have felt obliged to terminate Mr. Wunschs twenty-five years of service at the School.
1 Ibid., 99.
A minority report signed by Richard B. Carter followed the majority report and took issue with most of the points raised in the majority report.2 After 1935 Wunsch became a minister for the Washington Society of the Convention.3
3 Wunsch, W. F., Letter to R. R. Gladish, July 8, 1958.
During the twenties, under Wunschs principalship, the New Church Theological School had begun to establish cooperative relationships with seminaries in the area, including Andover-Newton, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University School of Theology. This process continued in the thirties and into the forties when the Interseminary Plan was announced. Enthusiasm over the cooperative idea, later called the Inter-Seminary Plan, was expressed as early as 1938 by the Board of Managers. Their report stated:
It would be difficult to conceive a better basis for higher education than is afforded by our own Theological School in consociation with the facilities of Harvard University and other Educational Institutions in the Boston area....4
4 Theological School Report, Convention Jour. 1938, 99.
The Inter-Seminary Plan, developed by the Theological School Faculty under President Franklin H. Blackmer, who took office in 1936, was announced in the Managers Report of 1945. It seems to have come in part as an answer to complaints of the students in 1944 who told the Schools visiting committee that their curriculum was too demanding.5
5 Ibid., 1944, 86f.
1 Ibid., 1945, 123f.
Our students go to other institutions to take these subjects [general background courses such as Church History and Bible studies and sacred languages] ... under professors who have made social studies in these fields, and with students from various denominations who are typical of fellow-workers to be met in community parishes. About one-third of a students class time goes to this study, -- as was formerly the case when members of our faculty were relaying some of this material to our students. However, the essential feature of the Inter-Seminary scheme is that it is planned coordination between institutions, in which care is taken by our Faculty to integrate New Church studies with the facts our students learn elsewhere. Neighboring seminaries with large diversified student bodies have carried out a similar plan, but in formal affiliation, for years.
Advantages claimed for the plan were set forth in the same statement:
The purpose of the Inter-Seminary plan is to give our students a broader foundation in their preparation to be New Church ministers. It enables them to study under more different Instructors than the faculty (equivalent to four full-time men) we can support in our School. It gives the students variety of presentation, in heterogeneous class-groups, in subjects which we almost duplicate. It gives them contact first-hand with what other students are thinking about the subjects which Seminaries have in common, putting our students in the position of the generally accepted views of their own correlations with elementary New Church principles; they get the stimulus of contrasting points of views in limited ways, while they also have help from our Faculty in resolving conflicts that no modern student of religion can escape. Unless a student does a good deal in the way of making this synthesis for himself he is likely to rest too long in dogmatic generalities. Inter-Seminary studies, wisely directed, speed up the students grasp of the New Church.2
2 The Inter-Seminary Plan in Use at the School, Bulletin accompanying Catalog, 1948, 1.
According to its proponents, who had obtained approval from the Board of Managers, this arrangement would release the Theological School to carry on its unique work, namely, the study and interpretation of the Bible and of life in the light of Swedenborg. It can do this better if its resources of men and money are concentrated upon this particular task. Other reasons given for the new program were ... it would not be wholesome for our students to feel they were having large areas of basic study measured out to them by teachers who might seem partisan in another direction;l
1 Ibid., 2.
2 Ibid., 2.
Another reason given for the new scheme was that it would be preferable to having a chair of Swedenborg in some university, or ... a department of Swedenborg in some theological seminary,3 The contention was also made that an adequate faculty for a completely self-contained educational system would require at least fifteen persons.4
Although the Modernists may have been rebuked in the actions of the Board of Managers of the Theological School relative to Wunsch in 1930 and 1935, they certainly were not stopped, nor was the trend toward modernism or permeation reversed. The Inter-Seminary Plan was but the logical outcome of steps taken under Wunschs principalship, but it was put in motion by some of the men who had sat in judgment on Wunsch in 1930 and 1935.5
5 Ibid. The Theological School Report, 1930, 45f.; ibid., 1931, 66f., 1935, 94ff.
And if the effort of the fundamentalists of Convention was to keep Wunsch out of the Theological School, and specifically out of the post of teaching Theology to the ministers-to-be, this effort was not notably successful. For three years, 1947-1949 inclusive, Wunsch was chairman of the Board of Managers of the Theological School. In 1950, under the presidency of F. H. Blackmer, Wunsch returned to conduct the theological courses at the School two days a week, every other week, while the Rev. Edwin G. Capon, who entered the School as a student in 1945, and graduated both from Andover-Newton and the School in 1949, attended the theological courses, conferring with Wunsch, and himself pursuing studies to assume this work in the future.6
In 1951 Wunsch continued to instruct in theology, with Capon, a Teaching Fellow, assisting him in teaching theology and continuing graduate study at Andover-Newton Seminary in preparation for further teaching at the School.l In the following year, Wunsch withdrew, and the Board expressed appreciation of his teaching, and for his help in preparing Capon to teach theology at the School.2 In 1953, Capon duly assumed the professorship of theology at the New Church Theological School.3 And in 1958, upon his retirement from the pulpit at the Washington, D. C., Convention Church, Wunsch again took a place in the faculty of the New Church Theological School as a visiting lecturer and special lecturer,4 holding these posts for three years.5
6 Ibid., 1950, 101f.
1 Ibid., 1950, 100f.
2 Ibid., 1952, 98f.
3 Ibid., 1953, 104f.
4 Ibid., 1958, 102f.
5 Ibid., 1959, 101f.; Ibid., 1960, 102f.
6. Present Status
The management of the New Church Theological School at Cambridge, along with the leadership of the General Convention, in the 1950s strove to overcome an evident shortage of ministerial candidates. In the Bulletin for the Theological School of 1957-1958, Rev. David P. Johnson, then president of the General Convention, wrote:
... today churches await ministers, new areas are anxious to establish churches, and several congregations offer the opportunity to work in new locations as they move out from over-churched areas to new communities . Many men who would have made able ministers have decided they were unsuited, only to discover later they were mistaken. If now or in the past you have ever thought of the ministry, would you consult with your minister or correspond with the president of the New Church Theological School?6
6 Johnson, David P., Introduction, The New Church Theological School Bulletin, 1957-1958.
Areas of study in the Theological Schools included Theology taken with the Rev. Edwin G. Capon:
Here is presented in a systematic way the interpretation of the Christian Gospel found in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Students are encouraged to relate Swedenborgs theological to the Scriptures, to other theological systems, and to the problems presented both by philosophy and by everyday life. The end held in view is not only knowledge of what Swedenborg taught, but also appreciation of both its theoretical and practical significance.l
1 N. C. Theological School Bulletin, 1957-1958, unpaged.
This area of study deals with the relationship between Swedenborgs religious experience and his contribution to Biblical interpretation. Other courses in Pariah Organization and Administration are offered by the Rev. Edwin G. Capon, and Christian Ethics by the Rev. Everett K. Bray, as well as lessons in voice and a course in a study of Homiletics under Reverends King and Regamey.2
Possession of a college degree was required as prerequisite to enrollment in the Theological School, although special students who were not planning to become ministers might be accepted with fewer credits. The attitude was held that the Theological School itself offers only a portion of the training required for the theological student. This is illustrated in the statement headed, Opportunities--thus defined:
The School is located in the immediate vicinity of Harvard University and in a metropolitan area where are situated a number of fine schools....3
In 1965, after consideration of several sites, it was decided to sell all the Cambridge property except the Chapel to Harvard and set up a new and more permanent establishment at Newton, Massachusetts.
Along with removal of the theological school to Newton in 1966 occurred several other changes. The name of the school was altered to The Swedenborg School of Religion, and a program of field work was launched at a campus extension in Bellevue, Washington. At Bellevue three Convention ministers engaging in an experimental laboratory parish involving team ministry called Project Link were made part-time teachers of the theological school, and the Bellevue project became the Field Education Center of the Swedenborg School of Religion.1
1 Report of Swedenborg School of Religion, Board of Managers, in Convention Journal, 1966, 80f.
2 Swedenborg School of Religion Bulletin, 1967-69, 6f.
Location of the new theological school premises in its Newton mansion not only provided the school with adequate facilities for library, student housing, and classwork (predominantly tutorial), but also placed it just two miles from the Andover-Newton Theological School where most of the interseminary work is done. Andover-Newton is connected with Harvard University.3
3 Kelly, Robert L., Theological Education in America, Doran, N. Y., 1924, 27.
One reason for the removal to Newton was a large financial gain from the sale of the Cambridge property.4 This gain amounted to a clear $700,000 after four-fifths of the Cambridge property was sold to Harvard University for just under one million dollars.
4 Capon, Edwin G., President of Our Theological School Appraises Current Situation. Messenger, Sept. 1964, CLXXXIV, 129.
1 Ibid.; Capon, Edwin G., Report of the President of the Swedenborgian School of Religion, Convention Jour., 1966, 83.
2 See letters criticizing Conventions joining the National Council of Churches in Messenger, June, 1967, CLXXXCII, 85f.
7. Future Reference
The Convention Theological School today is liberal and ecumenical-minded.3 Its physical position in relation to the theological seminaries of Christendom reflects its own endeavor and philosophy: it seeks to move in the mainstream of Protestant thought and ministerial method. It hopes to influence the Protestant world by seeking and stressing common elements of belief and experience. It seeks to work through permeation rather than conversion. It sets small store upon Swedenborgs differences with orthodox belief, and stresses the similarities between his theological writings and Protestant thinking. It seeks to be accepted as a sectarian school within the Protestant fold. In this its aims are consistent with those of Convention, which in 1966 joined the National Council of Churches.4
3 Theological School Report, Jour. Convention, 1956, 99f.
4 Messenger, June 1967, CLXXXVII, 85f.
Such men as the late John King (died May 9, 1962) influential teacher in the New Church Theological School, adopted the liberal view, taking B. F. Barrett, mid-nineteenth-century Convention preacher, as their patron saint. In this view, tradition was suspect, and a minister must not devote his ministry to a parroting of Swedenborg, or think of the ministry as a mere dissemination of the Writings. Swedenborgs picture of the universal church constituted their distinctive inspiration.5
5 Martin, Ernest O., Horizon Unlimited, Messenger, July 1, 1962, CLXXXII, 193.
In such an intellectual setting, theological students were taught to use the Writings as a convenience, rather than authority, and to merge and subordinate differences with the Protestant world. Eventually, they hoped, Swedenborgs teachings would blend into the fabric of Christian thought, as one thread among many others in the rich pattern of human belief.l
This revived Barrett thinking resulted, toward the end of 1961, in the unanimous adoption by the Board of Managers of the theological school of a new program of study. Among the new approaches to the ministry and church programming considered were such innovations as ministerial teams to care for the church members of an area, later developed in the Bellevue experiment.2
2 Theological School Looks Ahead, Messenger, January 15, 1962, CLXXXII, 19f.
Recent literature issued by the Theological School of Convention emphasizes a new look approach to its function, as witness these statements in the unpaged Bulletin: 1961-1963:
Today, as the Lord comes into mens lives in new ways with a rekindling power which is reflected in scientific and social changes and in the widespread re-thinking of the Mission of the Church, the Swedenborgian perspective presents exciting new challenges for Christian service. The General Convention of the New Jerusalem, dedicated to this vision for the church, maintains the New Church Theological School to prepare a trained and consecrated ministry for this age of crisis.... The Swedenborgian Church, being a small organization, is in a position to be able to move with the creative, growing edge of Christian practice.3
3 New Church Theological School Bulletin: 1961-1963. The same statement, with the change of name from New Church Theological School to Swedenborg School of Religion and the omission of the final sentence, occurs in the Swedenborg School of Religion Bulletin 1967-69, 1.
LATER DEVELOPMENTS IN CONVENTION
1. Educational Efforts at Summer Camps
A summer-school for teaching New Church children about the Doctrines was established in 1900 by the Rev. E. J. E. Schreck, former Academy educator, at Almont, Michigan. In 1925 at Fryeburg, Maine, a second summer camp came into being. Other camps in California and in West Virginia have been organized since then. Several continue their existence each summer. In general, the effort at these camps under Convention is to provide the children and young people with an opportunity to learn more about New Church doctrines and beliefs, as well as to establish friendships in mutual social life in an out-of-doors setting. Adults often accompany their children to create a family outing atmosphere with religious education as the central theme.1
1 Summer Camps Reminisce, Messenger, June 25, 1955, CLXXV, 197.
A brief description of the program at Almont will suffice to give the nature of all the camps. Founded in 1900 by Schreck, who had left the Academy-General Church movement shortly before, the camp-school met first in a country church near which lived several New Church families. Schreck, on vacation, drew together the children into a two-weeks day school open to all. Those coming from a distance occupied tents, but in 1901 a two-story frame house was built as a dormitory. In 1901 fifty-six students were registered.
Class I consisted of children who were instructed in the Word, and the New Church doctrines, and listened to the reading of Carl Th. Odhners Life of Swedenborg. Class II, young people, learned also from the Word, and were instructed further in the chief doctrines of the Church, and the spiritual world. Class III, more advanced, dealt with questions arising from day to day. Hebrew class was very popular. Music was also enjoyed and practiced. A camp flag of red and white representing good and truth was raised.2
2 Almont New Church Summer School, Messenger, September 18, 1901, LXXXI, 162; NCL, November, 1901, XXI, 620-627.
At the Fryeburg, Maine, camp, the mornings were devoted to doctrinal lectures with question periods, separate talks being addressed to various levels. Afternoons and evenings were given over to canoeing, hiking, and other recreational activities. Several substantial camp buildings are in existence, and a number of families build or rent cottages on the premises.1
1 Visit to Fryeburg, Aug., 1955.
Miss Serena Dandridge had an informal camp attended by young people and adults for a number of years in Shepherds Town, West Virginia. In 1955, There were nine campers working, playing, and studying in two class sessions a day.2 Miss Dandridge has since passed away. At this camp and Fryeburg, young people of General Church families sometimes attended.
2 Messenger, April 30, 1955, CLXXV, 138f.
2. Convention Thought on Education Since 1850
With the disappearance of the ten schools of Convention in the 1836 to 1844 period,3 nine years ensued when no New Church school was in existence. And when the seven later schools did appear, it was as ventures of individuals or associations that took a special interest in education. The formation of a school in and by a Church society was now a thing of the past in Convention. However, some help was afforded to school founders by societies, as in the case of the First Society of Cincinnati and Foster Hill.4 But no longer were societies of Convention to plunge into school-keeping as they incontinently did in the period from 1836 to 1849.
4 Smith, Ophia D., The New Church in Ohio, 44.
An important reason for this stopping of local school activity by societies of Convention was, in addition to the improvement of the common schools,5 a verbal damper placed on the practice by no less a figure than the president of Convention, Thomas Worcester, D. D. In an address before Convention, in 1855, Worcester said that it was an important function of the Church to educate children in religious principles and morals, and that this function would continue to be handled by Conventions standing committee on Moral and Religious Instruction.
1 Worcester, Thomas, The Presidents Address, delivered June 27, 1855, Convention Journal, June, 1855, 13-20.
2 Ibid., 12f.
The report of the Committee on education, handed in at the same Convention by Edmund A. Beaman, former teacher of the Boston New Church School, therefore virtually died on the vine. Beaman, an ardent promoter of education in the Church, had contended that it was the Churchs duty to educate its children in the light of the New Church doctrines at the same time that they were being educated in knowledges and sciences for the uses of life. He declared that there should be no separation of church and science, and that all the subjects should be presented as part of the great whole of knowledge. Beaman felt that education was not so much a matter of absorption of knowledge, as a genial atmosphere in which they [the children] may grow. He had, he said, conducted a thorough research into the teachings of the Writings on the subject of education, and had become convinced that children should, in addition to doctrinal instruction, constantly grow in the light and warmth of a truly living church, where their real nature and wants may be supplied from true wisdom.4 Beaman asserted that education of the Churchs children was decidedly the duty of the Church, and that such education could not be given adequately in a Sunday school of one hour a week. Knowledge, which is a principal object of schools outside the Church, is a secondary matter in the New Church. Knowledge, he wrote, is useful chiefly as it, like nourishing food, helps to form the mind; and the child of the New Church needs a school separate from those of the world, that the means of its mental growth may be, as far as possible, of a New Church quality.
5 Ibid., 53f.
1 Ibid., 54f.
In the year following the submission of this report, which essentially expressed the same position on education as that of W. H. Benade, founder of the Academy, Beaman became a minister. During the remainder of his long career as a missionary for Convention, he apparently changed his early ideas on education of the young. In 1888 he published an article in which he dwelt on the concept that the New Jerusalem is essentially a new age of mankind, a new dispensation, the adulthood of the human race on this earth.... the New Jerusalem is infinitely more and other than the New Church as an externally organized body, he stated. Since the new coming of the Lord, who is making all things new had obviously arrived, as witnessed the steam-engine, the railroad, the sewing machine, the photograph and the other wonderful appliances of the age, the New Church as a ritually-organized body, he implied, would shrink into a much smaller stature.2
2 Beaman, E. A., The New Jerusalem, What It Is, and the Indications of Its Growth, Messenger, February 29, 1888, LIV, 140.
Apparently if the New Church as an organization was now seen as relatively unimportant, it followed that education for membership and doctrinal teaching would likewise shrink into relative unimportance. That a change in Beamans thinking along these lines occurred is indicated by a statement in his; obituary; that the thinking of Convention as a whole changed similarly in regard to education is attested by the same 1908 statement. The passage refers to Beamans being called to take charge of the Boston New Church School in 1836, and reads thus: ... New Church education then being regarded as important in the religious training of the children of the church....3
3 Edmund Addison Beaman, Messenger, July 15, 1908, XCV, 43f.; italics added.
Generally speaking, the Convention has been less interested in education of the young than it has been in such activities as evangelization and publication.
1 Saul, Helen E., A Challenge, Messenger, February 1, 1961, CLXXXI, 44f.
Resolved, That it is the sense of this Association that the great and imperative need of the New Church is to have her own University; an institution where every youth of the church may find advantages equal to other institutions on the plane of the natural sciences as now understood, and providing for the individual need of all, and permeated by the special teachings of the Church on the relation of all natural things to the spiritual.
Resolved, That such a force in the church will be a most effective means of stemming, the tide which is turning the youth of the church from its fold.2
2 Messenger, October 23, 1895, LXIX, 266.
In the following year the Convention appointed a committee of six ministers and six laymen to consider the subject of secular education in the light of the doctrines of the New Church and to report at a future meeting of the Convention.3
3 Jour. Convention, May, 1896, IX, 18.
The special committee on education, headed by the Rev. S. S. Seward, and having among its members the Rev. John Whitehead, Academy graduate, whose paper on the necessity for a distinctive New Church education had brought the matter to the attention of Convention., reported at the Convention of June, 1898. The report disclosed that the committee, and presumably the church were divided into two camps. The first camp saw secularism and materialism as so baneful an influence in outside schools and colleges that we can no longer safely entrust out children and youth to their care. This camp advocated wherever and whenever possible, the establishment of distinctively New-Church schools for the proper training of our sons and daughters.
The second camp regarded the superior advantages of our public schools and liberally endowed colleges and universities as so far in advance of any education privileges that we can supply, as, with the saving influence of the home and church to more than counter-balance any danger that they may involve. Some of those espousing the second view go so far as to discourage the establishment of distinctively New-Church schools on the ground that seclusion from contact with the natural ideas of the times would weaken rather than strengthen the character of our youth; while others maintain that for the moral and spiritual development of the young we must depend upon parents and the Church, not upon the school or college.
Although the committee could not bring in any definite endorsement of either view, it did state:
But your Committee is convinced there is much in the situation to justify the views of those who advocate a distinctive New-Church education.
Acting on the committees recommendation, the Convention voted to commend the two schools established under the auspices of the church at Waltham and Urbana to the support of the members of the church, and especially to those who, from their isolated position, may be in need of the educational privileges which they can supply for their children. Another resolution urged that these schools be considered as worthy objects of members gifts or endowments.1
1 Report of the Committee on New-Church Education, Jour. Convention June, 1898, IX, 131-139.
A letter signed by Gwynne and David Mack in the New Church Messenger for December 24, 1955, stated:
Fear of seeming different is not, we feel, the reason for our weakness; but it is only an evidence of it. The General Church, our sister organization, has no inclination toward appeasement and no dread of seeming fanatical, yet its membership and number of societies are even smaller than Conventions.... Our church should be a teaching church....1
1 Messenger, Dec. 24, 1955, CLXXV, 408.
Current opinion in Convention on education was reflected in response to an article printed in the New-Church Messenger, written by Helen E. Saul, secretary of the American New Church League, and a former student at Urbana. In this article, Miss Saul wrote in part:
... I have attended a number of New Churches in the past three years and have been extremely surprised to discover that not only do the majority of each of the congregations know very little of the uniqueness of the New Church ... but in many areas, little is being done to change this condition. ... Two young people I recently talked to told me that they had recently been confirmed into the New Church, but that they had not had any instruction in New Church teachings.... Recently when I expressed my concern about this to one of our Church leaders I was informed that I was unusual, that I must realize that many people in the Church are not very interested in the Teachings. In special regard to our young people, high school age people, I have been told by several New-Church leaders that our young people need, not the Teachings, but the techniques of leadership, that the Teachings are too complicated and impractical, that leadership training will provide them with interests in the Church and maybe in 10 or 15 years they will turn to the Teachings for help with their problems.
For me it was most astonishing and disheartening to hear these sentiments expressed....
And so, I challenge you:
Do you believe in the Lords New Church?
Are you willing to face human problems?
If so, are you willing to teach the doctrines of the New Church, uncompromisingly, to our young people, to our new members, in the belief that this will lead to a new better way of life?2
2 Saul, Helen E., A Challenge, Messenger, Feb. 1, 1961, CLXXXI, 44f.
Four months later, Miss Saul reported in the same publication,
The response to A Challenge has been overwhelming. ... I was somewhat fearful that my feeling about the condition of the Church was the result of personally unique experiences. The many letters I have received have dispelled any such fear. It appears that rather widespread concern regarding the educational functions of the Church exists and has existed for some time.1
1 Saul, Helen E., Response to A Challenge, Messenger, June 1, 1961, CLXXXI, 170.
Miss Saul then quoted from some of the letters she had received. One letter stated: ...you have said what I have been trying to say for the last sixty years. ... A second letter said,
You ask, Why does the organized Church exist? I think your ideal of spreading the doctrines is right, but it will not work until the world is ready for them, and the world is not yet ready. But the great use of the organized Church just now is to:
(1) help each of us to live the life of regeneration;
(2) keep alive the faith and the practice of the New Church in the world and pass it down to our children and young people--who is nearer and dearer and can profit from the Teachings better? But this is no casual job: it is a tremendously challenging one, and requires homes and schools working together...!2
Also roused to respond was the Conventions Council of Ministers, which commented on Miss Sauls A Challenge in the same issue of the Messenger thus:
During its meetings at Pales Park, the Council discussed this article with considerable interest and concern.... First, we believe that Miss Saul is expressing for some of the young people in the church a very deep concern.... Behind the various statements in the article in the question: Is our church really concerned for its mission....?
These officers [of the Young peoples League] are concerned that youth work in the church move forward in some clear direction. They are anxious that as we find our direction in youth work we do not neglect the heritage of our teachings....
We frankly support these feelings which some young people have that their needs for training and education are not always met adequately. Even though the Leadership Education Program is five years old, it is still in the pioneering stage....
Among the areas of concern which ministers and young people can share together are the following: The newly formed Youth Committee under the Board of Education; the development of community serving churches; the present outlook on Leadership Education, the study which is going on under the office of the Chairman of Church expansion; the rethinking of publication policy; etc.... We want very much to respond to the needs you feel....3
3 Council of Ministers Comments, Ibid. 170f.
Despite such an answer on the part of the Convention ministers, the force of the arrow released by Miss Saul would, perhaps, not be totally smothered. However, leadership in the direction of education in the Writings did not seem to find any clear and certain voice among the Convention clergy, as of 1961. Indications were that the two camps disclosed in the committee report of 1898 were still so deeply entrenched in Convention as to block any effective movement in the direction of distinctive New Church Education.