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encountered the usual reception given to all innovations. Vassar College and its students became the objects of many a weak and ill-conceived joke. The penny-a-liners eked out their feeble columns with jibes at “the women who wanted to be men,” and the name of Vassar was carried everywhere. It became a typical name, and the quarter-century that has passed since has not deprived, it of its character. Other colleges have risen, but Vassar is still the woman's college at which the darts of small wits are hurled. The “Vassar girl" still stands for the girl who goes to college. It is about the “Vassar girl” that the newspapers circulate all sorts of more or less apochryphal stories, telling the world how many pounds of beef they consume in an academic year, how many potatoes and fish-balls; how they “ bang their hair," how they walk and what they do in every line of activity. Grub Street has not forgotten that Vassar was the first woman's college.

When it began it was met by opposition on the part of many good people, with grave doubts from others, and with welcome by the select few. It went steadily on its way. It was followed by Wellesley, beautiful Wellesley, and by Smith College, and at last the Harvard “ Annex" and Bryn Mawr, entered upon their successful careers. At Vassar the pupils were sheltered in one huge building, and were taught by both men and women. At Wellesley the same sort of a grand dormitory was erected, and the teaching was given by women only. At Smith, men and women taught together, as at Vassar, but the students were separated into small families under different roofs. The Harvard

Annex" differed from all previous efforts in that it did not seek the gathering of a new faculty, nor the erection of a new library, but simply the repetition to women of the instruction already given to men in an institution that had been in successful operation for near two centuries and a balf. It carried out the “home” principle farther than either Vassar, or Smith, for it aimed to place its students by twos or threes in established families. Its teaching was done by men only, because it engaged no instructors who were not already employed by the University.

It is impossible in a paper like this to avoid reference to the fact that women were and are permitted to attend college with men, and that they are in considerable numbers found in such

institutions, but my purpose is rather, at present, to confine myself to establishments expressly founded for women.

Woman has certainly obtained the opportunity for the collegiate education. She has done herself credit in every college to which she has been admitted, and in all cases in which she has been allowed to compete on equal terms with man for intellectual honors. Nowhere has this been so emphatically true as in conservative England. The winds of last May wafted to our shores a paper in the Nineteenth Century on the mental inferiority of woman to man, in which it was shown that “the average brainweight of women is about five ounces less than that of men,” and by an elaborate and interesting argument woman's “marked inferiority of intellectual power” was proved in detail. We learned that women are more apt than men to break away from “ the restraints of reason;" they have a greater fondness for "emotional excitement of all kinds ;” in judgment their minds stand “considerably below” those of men ; in creative thought and in simple acquisition there is a marked difference; women are less deep and thorough than men; their physique is "not sufficiently robust to stand the strain of severe study;" and

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so on. 1

Scarcely had this argument for the general inferiority of women in “ acquisition, origination, and judgment” reached us when the telegraph flashed the news that Miss Ramsay, a student at Girton College, Cambridge, England, had distanced all the men of the University in the race for classical honors, and that Miss Hervey, of the same college, had won a like distinction in the department of mediæval and modern languages.

The London Times says: “ Miss Ramsay has done what no Senior Classic before ber has ever done. The great names of Kennedy, Lushington, Wordsworth, Maine, and more recently, of Butler and Jebb, have come first in the Classical Tripos. Miss Ramsay alone has been placed in a division to wbich no one but herself has been found deserving of admittance. ... No one has ventured to think that four years' work could be enough to make a Senior Classic. We hare proof now that it is ample. Most of Miss Ramsay's competitors will have taken fourteen years to do less than she has contrived to do in four years. Miss Ramsay's example suggests a possibility that men may have something to learn even in the management of a department of study which they have claimed as peculiarly their own." It ought to be added that Miss Ramsay kept herself in full health, did not "over-work,” and accomplished her examinations easily.

1 The author of this paper, Mr. George J. Romanes, writes with calmness and selfrestraint. He frankly confesses that he has, as a matter of fact, met “wonderfully few cases of serious break-down,” which “ only goes to show," he says, "of what good stuff our English girls are made." Since we observe the same phenomenon in our own country, we are at liberty to assert that it does not go to show of what good stuff our American girls are made, so much as to prove that the “physique of young women as a class ” is sufficiently robust to stand the strain of severe study, and actually to improve under it.

In the face of facts like these, and many more that might be adduced, we cannot doubt that nature has not placed before woman any constitutional barrier to the collegiate life, but that so far as physical reasons are concerned, she may enter upon it with no more fear than a man may. That an increasing number of women will do it, and that so far as they are destined to be instructors of youth it is best for the State that they shall, is in my mind not at all doubtful.

What is to be the effect? That is the crucial question. On the physical health of the educated women it will be beneficial. I have myself learned by observation that the work of the full college course is favorable to health. The regularity of life, the satisfaction of attainment, the pleasant companionship, the

, general broadening of the girl's nature tends in that direction. There is high medical authority for saying that for “nervous” young women even “the higher education is a conservative, rather than a destructive force.” On the lower schools its effect is, as I have said, very good. The grade of instruction in schools for girls has been raised materially since Vassar College began its career. Girls who go no farther than the preparatory school are greatly benefited. The influence is reflex, for the educated girls become in turn teachers, and they are better teachers than their predecessors. It was one of the aims of Vassar College at the beginning to train women to this profession. Wellesley has its normal and graduate department, and Smith, the Harvard “Annex” — and, in fact, all the colleges that teach women-are sending to our schools and colleges a constant stream of wellprepared teachers who will help the men to raise the grade of American scholarship higher than ever.

Many of the college-bred girls never teach. The same is true in equal proportion, at least, of college-bred men. These go out


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into the world and raise the average of general intelligence in the country. Many of them marry and become teachers of children in their own households. The standard is raised at bome, which is the fountain-head of so much that is good and influential.

It is doubtless true that women who marry after having been liberally educated make more satisfactory unions than they otherwise would have. Women were formerly trained to no outlook but matrimony and to cultivate such accomplishments only as would be most useful to that end. When, therefore, that end was reached, all was missed. There was no outlet of action by which the energies of her feelings might be discharged. The defective education, which was adapted to heighten woman's emotional sensibility, and to weaken her reasoning powers, tended to increase the predominance of the affective life; to lead her to base her judgment upon her feelings and intuitive perceptions rather than upon rational processes; and to cause her to direct her conduct by impulse, rather than govern it by will, which is desirable, in spite of the saying of Voltaire that “ all the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of woman."

Educated women marry as naturally, as those who are not educated ; but the fact that mental training has led them to subject their impulses to the test of their reason in study, gives them an advantage in the choice of husbands. Ill-considered marriages have been properly inveighed against by moralists for ages.

In the education of woman's mind we may discover a means of decreasing their number. The Rector of the University of Liége devoted his inaugural address in 1882 to the subject of the education of woman, and towards the close of it he remarked, 6. In Belgium and France most young persons in the higher classes sons of the rich or of those who expect to be rich -- are sunk in deplorable ignorance. They pursue no kind of higher studies, or, if they enter upon them, they are very soon discouraged. To what does this tend? It causes them almost always to be without any inspiration to the taste - without any habit of serious occupation. They live in an atmosphere in which intellectual labor is not honored, in which, far from considering it a glorious or even a worthy duty, it is placed below the satisfaction of the love of pleasure. As many profound moralists, priests and philosophers have remarked, this deplorable situation arises from the false education given to the women of the higher classes. As

a general rule they cannot comprehend what constitutes the true power and dignity of a man, and therefore they accept as husbands men as ignorant and as idle as themselves. As a natural consequence they cannot bring up their sons to be men; they can not give to their country well-instructed, energetic and devoted citizens.”

I have been told in cultivated intellectual circles that “ a young woman had better be in the kitchen or the laundry than in the laboratory or class room of a college.” “Women should be trained to be wives and mothers." The finger of scorn is pointed at the mentally cultivated mothers and daughters who are unable to cook and scrub - who cannot make a mince-pie or a plum pudding. We are told that young women have broken down in pursuance of advanced courses of study, and arguments like these are considered by some to be conclusive against collegiate instruction for the entire sex. Such persons forget with suspicious facility all the cases of women who leave the kitchen to indulge themselves in the love-sick sentimentality to which they have been trained who

think too much of their matrimonial chances to endanger them by scrubbing, or by giving ground for the suspicion that they cultivate any other faculty than the power to worship the moonlight and to long for a lover. They forget that men do not bear the confinement of the student's life even so well as women that the students who break down in men's colleges every year outnumber those who are harmed by over-study among the women - that, in fact, as I have said, women can bear the work of a

course at least as well as men. The very last entrance examination at an Eastern college was held during the sweltering days of the end of June. One of the men passing its ordeal actually fainted away, but not one of the women doing the same work at the same moment was overcome by the work or the warmth.

Those who tell women to find their sphere in the realms of the empty brain do not care to remember that it is no better to wither under the influence of ignorance or sentiment, to cultivate a fond

“ gush,” than to dry up the sensibilities like a book-worm, or grow frigid and stiff like a pedant. It is as bad to stunt human nature as to over-stimulate it, to stop its progress in one way or another. The great mass of men choose the golden mean. The great mass of women will not do otherwise. Common sense will govern their conduct.


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