« AnteriorContinuar »
the Association. Out here on the rim of the far West, where even such libraries and art collections as had been gathered have been swept away, we realize that we must depend upon the bounteous gifts of nature to supplement the feast of reason and flow of soul provided by the Program Committee. We welcome you then to the sessions in the Muir Woods, and on Mt. Tamalpais, to the Bay and the hills of Berkeley and Palo Alto, to the Lick Observatory, and to the beautiful gardens at Mills. These must supplement the sessions where the serious business of the Association will be transacted, and where we shall listen to some of the leaders in educational thought, men and women who occupy a vantage ground from which to peer into the future.
What that future holds for women is the most vital question that confronts the thinking world today. It has long ceased to be a "woman's question.” If this quarter-century is to witness the economic independence of women, as the last quarter-century witnessed their intellectual emancipation, we may well take counsel together, and ask ourselves what this may mean, whether it is true that such a change threatens the very basis of our present social structure.
In welcoming you to the West we can only assure you that East and West are at one in the hope that fuller knowledge may be born of these meetings, and that fuller knowledge may bring with it the power to shape the movement which is forcing women again to do their half of the work of the world, and forcing them to do it under modern conditions. May the California meeting start the new quarter-century with the promise of a growth as marvelous and a service as real as followed that historic meeting of our seventeen charter members in Boston twenty-six years ago.
EDWARD ROBESON TAYLOR
Mayor of San Francisco
Madame Chairman, Members of the National Association of Collegiate
Alumnae, and Friends:
It gives me great pleasure to be present on this occasion when we have present here so large an assemblage, made up in great part of the members of this great organization, which has done so much in time past, and which by its organized effort will undoubtedly do much more in time to come.
For beyond all doubt the woman has come to stay. The time has gone by when you can ridicule her. She has asserted herself and properly asserted herself; and now we have become inspired by her spirit, and are seriously taking her at her own valuation-and we are acting sensibly in doing so. The greatest social phenomenon that we have had for the last half century has been the uprising of woman. Fifty years ago the woman was queen of the home -as I hope she still is—but in a very different sense.
She was not known or manifest in any public effort, certainly not in any organized effort. But she has gone forward step by step, until now there is no path that she has not the courage to follow.
Woman now is recognized as having the right to develop herself in every possible way so that she shall become the very best human creature that she can become. That is not only her right, but her duty. It is the duty laid upon every human creature to develop himself in every possible way, on every side, so that he or she will become the best possible creature that that person can become; and it is to the advantage of society. Society demands it.
The death of all the old civilizations has been because the units of those societies did not advance pari passu. Those civilizations perished, and every civilization will perish unless the units advance in some degree pari passu; and that is why this development of woman is a matter of such tremendous importance.
I welcome you not only as an individual, but I welcome you as the executive head of this city. I hope that you will march forward as you have in the past, so that your virtues will result in great and general good; so that they may be not only woman's virtues, woman's successes, but shall set the example of a civilization where we do not have at the oneend a hovel and at the other a palace, at the one end a millionaire and at the other a beggar, at the one end ignorance and at the other culture and knowledge; but such a civilization as gives to all a substantial equality, and so fulfills in a true sense the great principles of the Declaration of Independence.
LAURA DRAKE GILL
It is a great pleasure to be allowed to express the gratitude of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae for the cordial welcome extended to them this evening by the officers of the
local branch and by the municipality. In this, our first meeting on the Pacific slope, we have brought no large numbers from the extreme east; but nearly four thousand members scattered over the country are speaking through us of a common interest in efficient education, and of a high hope for more intelligent and devoted service to the race than women have yet rendered.
My thoughts for this evening had turned to the professional efficiency and recognition of women. But it would be hard-hearted indeed to keep so many hundred people standing longer for such an exposition. Instead of following any pre-determined plan, therefore, I shall speak most briefly of two points which are very important to society and to women. The one concerns the American man's willingness, or unwillingness, to allow his daughter to use any powers which he has gladly provided her the educational opportunity to develop.
The American father is one of the most unique and lovable products of our civilization. He can deny his daughter nothing in opportunity of acquisition; but in his desire to spare her every unpleasantness or exertion, is he not depriving her too often of her only chance of self expression and the deep satisfaction of doing something of genuine value to society?
The law of life seems to be that there is no genuine happiness except in doing something well worth while; moreover, that happiness is a by-product of honest work, and never can be found when made a primary aim. I would, then, beg every man here to be careful to allow the fullest possible professional scope to an able girl — in a deep conviction that her happiness can come that way, and only that way—as does also come her value to the world in general. My second point is to bespeak a careful study of the use of a woman's second freedom. When the children are grown, the urgent home duties decreased until the arms and heart seem really empty—then comes a time of leisure when shopping and bridge may easily be elevated to the rank of professions unless something more worthy of a human life be substituted.
It may be that the long discussed need of a man for both a vocation and an avocation may be equally valid for women. In this case the home-making would be a woman's avocation in youth and in more advanced years, rising to a full vocation in the earlier years of married life. The parallel interest would need to be of such a character that it would lend true professional discipline in early life, and then be carried as a minor strain of thought and study during the exacting years of the young family, to be resumed again in later years when the children are grown and the home duties fewer. Of course this would indicate different professions, to a certain degree, for the majority of women from those for men; those which would not be contradictory to the social interests of women; those in which the family experience would be a definite asset; that is, the so-called sociological professions of philanthropy and education, in which a definite professional training is added to, and not subtracted from, by the experiences of the home. The fact that the number of women is not increasing markedly in the older professions of law, medicine, and theology seems to indicate that other service is better adapted to the exigencies of woman's racial position and to her taste than are they.
With these two suggestions of points at which women may wisely begin an improvement of their professional status, I again express the pleasure of the Association in being in your midst, and of gratitude for your truly western warmth of welcome.
RECENT ADJUSTMENTS OF THE COLLEGE COURSE
BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER
Thirty years ago it was possible and normal for a student whose school course had been uninterrupted to enter college in his seventeenth year. Since then two years have been gradually and almost insensibly added, so that for the average student of uninterrupted course the average baccalaureate age has become the twenty-third instead of the twenty-first year. One of the years is chargeable to the preparatory or high school course; the other is substantially due to accumulations in the grades.
The added high school year is due to enhanced entrance requirements, which responded to an ambition we developed in the seventies and eighties of the last century under a vague hope of creating universities of European standard by lifting the standard of our colleges from underneath. These added requirements came in the form of added subjects like natural science and English rather than in improvement of the existing subjects. We were just at that time beginning to lose our faith in the exclusive right of classics and mathematics to furnish the basis of a liberal culture, and while we were not quite ready to admit it on the face of the documents we utilized the new free space for new subjects differentiated out of the old humanities, such as English, history, modern languages, and for science added to mathematics. This had the effect of so enriching the high-school course as to change it from a preparatory course to a general culture course; at least, the centre of gravity for cultural study shifted from the college to the high school. The college lost its shibboleth, and stood dazed in the midst.
This result was aided by the more rigid formulation of the curriculum in the grades and the consequent advance of one year in the age of admission to the high school. Much of this formulation has been mere formalism, so far as the brightest pupils are concerned, but we cannot expect the grades to relinquish the year they have gained; we can only hope that most of the temporary padding of sawdust and excelsior with which the new space was filled will be