back to home
(UW icon)1900

First Years of Adams's Administration--1892-1895.

Inauguration of Dr. Adams--Legislative Appropriations, 1893--Camp Randall--Horticultural Hall--Progress on many lines--Summer School and University Education--School of Pharmacy--Improvements needed--Financial necessities--Legislation of 1895--State Historical Library Building.

President Adams assumed charge of the University at the beginning of the academic year of 1892-93. The teaching staff then consisted of fifty-one professors and assistant professors, twenty instructors, and twenty-one special lecturers--including the faculty of the College of Law.1 The students in all departments aggregated 1,287, as against 1,092 in the preceding year.2

Inauguration of Dr. Adams.

The formal inauguration of the new president took place upon the seventeenth of January, 1893, in Library Hall, which was filled to its utmost limit with an audience consisting of members of the faculty, alumni, students, members of the legislature, invited guests from other universities, and citizens generally. Upon the rostrum were Governor Peck, the justices of the State supreme court, several of the State officers, the board of regents, the faculty, and distinguished guests; among these latter were three members of the first class of twenty that were gathered in February, 1849, to begin preparatory study under Prof. John W. Sterling--C. T. Wakeley, F. A. Ogden, and J. M. Flower; one of the first graduates of the University ('54) was also there, in the person of Mr. Wakeley; also one of the first regents, Simeon Mills, who, as a State senator, had introduced the bill which was enacted into law and became the charter of the University; and Darwin Clark, the oldest living pioneer of Madison. The invocation was offered by Bishop Samuel Fallows, '62; President W. P. Bartlett, of the board of regents, made the introductory address; Prof. John C. Freeman spoke on behalf of the faculty, H. H. Jacobs ('93) for the students, and James L. High ('64) for the alumni; Governor Peck made the address on behalf of the State, President James E. Angell (University of Michigan) for the sister universities, and Regent John Johnston for the board; then followed the inaugural address of President Adams, entitled "The University and the State." The ceremony was the most important and dignified thus far held in connection with the University, and attracted wide attention in educational circles.3

Legislative Appropriations, 1893.

The legislature of 1893 was not behind its immediate predecessors in caring for the growing needs of the institution; although, as usual, the appropriations fell short of the actual necessities of the case. In a general budget act,4 it made the following grants: "For the extension and enlargement of the machine shop, for construction of adequate draughting and dynamo rooms, and for the necessary shafting, belting, engine and other necessary equipment thereto, for the extension of chemical laboratory, including provision for warming, ventilating and necessary equipment," the sum of $45,000; "for a building for the department of horticulture and a forcing-house and the necessary equipment thereof," $14,200; "for experimenting in tobacco culture," $500; for the purchase of Camp Randall as an athletic field, "for the exclusive use of the university," $25,000; and as a special tax for the years 1893 and 1894, "one sixth of which shall be used for the agricultural department," $40,000 a year.

Camp Randall.

Camp Randall (named for Alexander W. Randall, the State's first war governor), an undulating tract of forty-two acres, was the property of the State Agricultural Society, which held here many of its annual fairs. Upon the outbreak of the War of Secession, the society tendered the use of the grounds to the State, and they were first occupied by troops (the Second regiment) upon May 1, 1861. Most of the soldiers sent by Wisconsin to the front were encamped here at various periods. A desire to gratify the plea of the veterans of the war, to have this historic place forever maintained by the State as a park, was the impelling motive of the legislature in making the purchase for the benefit of the University, which just then much needed an athletic field. The University enclosed within the camp a large athletic ground, and erected a commodious grand stand. One of the most interesting reunions of old soldiers ever held in Wisconsin occurred here during the State semi-centennial celebration, June 7-9, 1898; the students' enclosure was well sprinkled with tents, the grand stand being converted into a dormitory, eating-house, and emergency hospital.

Horticultural Hall.

The Horticultural Hall, for which provision had been made in the new act, was but partially constructed from this appropriation. "It was thought wise," said the president, 5 "to plan the structure in such a way that it could be enlarged for the accommodation of the department of agricultural Physics." An additional legislative grant was voted in 1895, the building, with its commodious forcing-houses, being completed the following year.

In 1894, the Machine Shops were greatly enlarged, from the appropriation of 1893; but the sum voted by the legislature ($45,000 only, where $58,000 had been requested) was inadequate to effect any further improvement in the Chemical Laboratory than the introduction of a ventilating fan.

This same year the regents were confronted with the necessity of much enlarging the central heating plant, in the rear of Science Hall, in order to provide steam heat for the Armory and other new buildings, as well as to replace worn-out heating apparatus in University Hall. "The incurred expense has been one which the treasury of the University could ill afford to bear, but under all circumstances it seemed a necessity that could not be avoided."6

The report of the new president for the biennial term ending September 30, 1894, is a comprehensive document. Dr. Adams states that the recent elevation of the standards of admission has not resulted, with the exception of the School of Pharmacy,--which had dropped from 65 to 42,--in any considerable diminution of students. "It is gratifying to record," he says, "that during the past two years the number of graduate students has been increased, and the facilities for giving advanced instruction in the laboratories and libraries as well as in the classrooms, have been multiplied and extended. This I believe has been done without encroaching in any way upon the increasing efficiency of undergraduate work." The establishment, three years before, of the new School of Economics, Political Science, and History, "was a notable feature in the recent life of the University. * * * An unusually large number of students in the School have carried their studies beyond graduation, and as graduate students have done work very creditable to their instructors and to the University."

Progress on many lines.

Under authority of the State act of 1889, 7 providing for the publication of important investigations by members of the University, four series of University Bulletins were initiated in 1894, and six numbers have already been issued; "these have been received with great favor by technical and literary journals. The publication of this series of bulletins is creditable alike to the liberality of the State and the scholarship of the University." The department of Greek has been completely reorganized and greatly strengthened, by the engagement of Dr. Charles Forster Smith as head of the department, and Dr. Arthur G. Laird as assistant professor,--"with every promise of most eminent success." The College of Mechanics and Engineering, which needs a building of its own, has "shown a marked degree of prosperity," having "grown so rapidly as to require large additional equipment, as well as several additions to the instructional force. From the nature of the work, the material equipment of this college must always make large demands upon the treasury of the University." The College of Agriculture has won notable successes during the two years, particularly the new but overcrowded Dairy School. The graduates of the latter are "scattered all over the country," and their work has received "the heartiest commendation from good judges." The death in December, 1893, of Superintendent Morrison, of the farmers' institute department, was followed by the election to that important position, in the summer of 1894, of George McKerrow, an institute conductor of "large and successful experience," under whom this work "bids fair to be carried on with undiminished energy and success."

Summer School and University extension.

The Summer School for teachers had been omitted in 1893, owing to the attractions of the World's Fair at Chicago, but was resumed in 1894 with an attendance of 153. The president follows his predecessor in recommending that the school "be made still more definitely and formally a branch of the University," that its term "be extended to six weeks, and its work * * * recognized as that of a regular half term in the University; and its necessities * * * be provided for as a regularly established and organic part of the institution."

University extension continues in popularity, despite the financial stringency of the times, and the results of the forty-one courses given during the past year are believed to have been beneficial; the department needs, he says, a secretary to visit all parts of the State and meet those interested in obtaining the lectures.

School of Pharmacy.

The School of Pharmacy, despite the fact that three years ago the requirements for admission were increased, is, Dr. Adams reports, well attended and doing good work. "The course of instruction is well planned, and the quality of instruction is thorough"--but he believes that the policy of the University should be, gradually to raise the requirements for admission even above what they now are, in order that the school may attract to itself, not indeed those persons who are simply desirous of acquiring the requisite knowledge to enable them to keep a drug-store, but that which is necessary to make them thoroughly educated pharmacists."

Upon the completion of the new Law Building in the spring of 1893, "the College of Law was removed from its old quarters in the State Capitol to the new and commodious rooms furnished on the University grounds." The president states, in this connection:

The advantages of this change of location at once became apparent. The College, for the first time in its history, seemed to be fully incorporated as an integral part of the University. The building, although too large even for the present accommodations of the College, is in most respects admirably adapted to the purpose for which it was designed. In the course of the last year the Committee on the College of Law, after a very careful consideration of its necessities, reported in favor of a somewhat radical change in its organization. It was the opinion of the Committee that less dependence should be placed upon professors actively engaged in the practice of law, professors who could give their entire time to the School. Acting upon this recommendation of the Committee, the Board of Regents at their meeting in June last, appointed Charles Noble Gregory, Esq., to the position of Professor of Law and associate Dean. Professor Gregory entered upon his work with great zeal at the present collegiate year, and the earnestness and efficiency with which his work has been done thus far gives great promise of additional efficiency for the School. Provision was also made by the Board for extending the course of instruction to three years, and for increasing the fees of students. These new requirements will go into effect at the beginning of next year.

Improvements needed.

Dr. Adams calls attention anew to the condition of Ladies' Hall, which has for some years been inadequate as to size, inconvenient in arrangement, and without modern improvements. While the new Gymnasium had made ample provision for physical exercise by the young men, the women were without proper facilities in this regard. "For social reasons, it is not deemed advisable to admit young women for the purposes of physical exercise to the Armory and Gymnasium; but it is the opinion of the authorities of the University generally that much enlarged facilities for such training should be provided in connection with Ladies' Hall." University Hall, also, despite its renovation in the time of Dr. Bascom, is again in need of drastic treatment in this connection. "It is questionable whether any city or village in Wisconsin would tolerate for a single year a school building in the condition that is now presented by University Hall. The accommodations afforded by the building, moreover, were provided when the University had not more than a fifth part of the number of students that are now in constant attendance. Nor has the erection of subsequent buildings much relieved the pressure."

Financial necessities.

In closing his report, the president shows that while there has been a gratifying growth of the University in all directions, this growth "has been a source of constant embarrassment to the finances of the institution." The increase in the number of students is much more rapid than the increase in the valuation of the property of the State. Thus, since the tax-levy of an eighth of a mill was provided, the increase in the income derived therefrom has been but 70 per cent, while the increase in the attendance on the University has been 400 per cent. For the maintenance of each new building erected, there is necessitated an increased expenditure of several thousand dollars a year--"a charge upon the general fund, for which no special provision whatever has been made." It was for this reason that in 1893 "the Legislature gave to the University forty thousand dollars a year for two years for the necessary increase of its teaching force, and for the increasing necessities for fuel, light, laboratory supplies, and all those details of administration which necessarily multiply as the University increases in magnitude and efficiency. * * * It must never be forgotten that modern methods of education call for larger opportunities for investigation in various branches, and that such methods require abundant supplies in the laboratories, seminaries, and museums. * * * It is hoped that some provision will be made for meeting the consequent deficiency, in order that the University may be able to maintain its present standing, and provide for that growth which, judging from the past, is certain to continue."

Legislation of 1895.

This vigorous appeal of the president was met by the legislature of 1895, in an act8 which: 1. Continued annually thereafter, the State tax of a tenth of a mill which had been authorized for six years only, by the legislature of 1891, and which then was worth about $65,000 a year, but is to-day producing, under a decreased assessment valuation, only $60,000; this money was "to meet the current or administrative expenditure" and to be applied in the same manner as other University income. 2. Authorized an additional levy of a fifth of a mill, for two years, to be used "for increased administrative expenditures and expenditures for the department of engineering, advancing the work of the university extension in the state of Wisconsin, in addition to the horticultural building, enlargement of ladies' hall with gymnasium apartments, changes and repairs in university hall, and the construction of a farm barn and purchase of a herd of cattle for the agricultural department,"--the residue to be used for the general interests of the University; provided, that of this there shall be "set apart for the College of Agriculture, in addition to its present several incomes, twenty thousand dollars for the completion and equipment of the horticultural building, five thousand dollars for a dairy barn, two thousand dollars for the purchase of a herd of dairy cows, and ten thousand dollars annually for current expenses." Another important clause in this act (section 3) authorizes the regents to obtain loans from the State trust funds when needing money in advance of receipt of income.

Another act9 authorized and directed the dean of the College of Agriculture to prepare a handbook "describing the Agricultural resources of Wisconsin, with reference to giving practical, helpful information to the home-seeker." The public printer was to do the printing, and $2,000 was appropriated to meet the expenses of investigation and engravings. This manual of 200 pages was prepared with great care by Dean Henry and his corps of assistants. Attractive in form, manner of treatment, and illustrations as it was valuable in matter, attained great popularity, especially in Northern Wisconsin; and, being widely circulated, did much to stimulate home-seeking in the sparsely-settled portions of the State.10

Still another acceptable law11 of 1895 directed the State printing commissioners to provide appropriate half-tone cuts for illustrating University bulletins and reports, thus much enhancing their value and attractiveness.

State Historical Library Building.

The provision by the legislature of 189512 for the construction upon the lower campus of a new building for the State Historical Society was of far-reaching importance to the University. The society had been organized in 1849, but did not enter upon an active career until 1854. Its library soon commanded marked attention throughout the West as a mass of sources for the original study of American history, particularly that of the Middle West; in time, this collection of books and manuscripts grew so large as to win a national if not an international reputation, having broadened into a great store of material bearing not only upon American and English history and genealogy, but the kindred fields of economics, politics, and social science. The library has been of great advantage to the university from the earliest years of the latter, having always been mentioned in its reports and catalogues as one of the leading attractions to intending students. It has been particularly helpful in the remarkable development of the past dozen years; it is, indeed, no exaggeration to state that the conduct of the School of Economics, Political Science, and History upon its present high plane would be quite impracticable without what President Adams (in his report for 1898) regards as "the extraordinary facilities offered by the State Historical Library."

Housed at first in the basement of a church, the library was in time (1866) moved to the Capitol; but, although given much enlarged quarters there in 1854, soon outgrew even these. The annual report of the executive committee of the society, for 1887, first suggested the need, "in a not far-distant future * * * of a separate building, so fashioned as artistically to admit of almost indefinite expansion; and constructed on the best obtainable plans, as to beauty, utility, and approximate indestructibility." The committee returned to the charge in 1888. In the legislature of 1889, State Senator Levi E. Pond introduced a bill appropriating $300,000 (part of the war tax which was soon to be refunded to Wisconsin by the general government) for a Soldiers' Memorial Hall, to serve as a home for the society, but "the entrance hall to be decorated with inscriptions in memory" of Wisconsin's veterans in the War of Secession. The senate passed the bill by a large majority, but it was defeated in the assembly. The executive committee's report for the year does not, however, give up the struggle: "Whether this new and separate building is to take the form of a memorial hall, or not, it is of course for the legislature in its wisdom to decide. But for the building itself, there is a crying need." Still more vigorous are the annual appeals in 1890, 1891, and 1892.

It was late in 1891 that President Chamberlin first suggested to the society's executive committee the desirability of asking the legislature for a building in the neighborhood of the campus, which should house the libraries both of the society and the University; but at the time the society did not deem such a cooperation desirable, although it was demonstrated that 96 per cent of those who used the society's library were members of the University. A year later, after the coming of President Adams,--who entered into the project with much enthusiasm,--the proposition was discussed in greater detail, with the result that (January 10, 1893) the executive committee adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, That this Society unite with the State University and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters in asking the legislature at its coming session to erect a building upon or near the University grounds, for the proper accommodation of the libraries of the three institutions, as well as of the gallery and museum of the society; provided that the title of the site shall rest in the name of the Society as the trustee of the State.

A bill carrying an appropriation of $420,000 for this purpose was offered in the legislature of 1893, but after trembling in the balance for some weeks it was allowed to give way to the University's other and perhaps more pressing needs. In 1895, a new measure was, with great effort, successfully carried through--by its provisions, the University deeding to the State eight lots of land as a site, and the building being ordered erected for the use of the society as the trustee of the State, "and such other libraries and collections as may be placed in the custody of said Historical Society." This act carried a preliminary appropriation of $180,000, to which sum the succeeding legislature (1891) added, $240,000, and that of 1899 a still further grant of $200,000. 13 The building is still in process of construction in 1899, but will doubtless be completed in the summer of 1900.



1 Professors and assistant professors: John B. Parkinson, vice president; Stephen M. Babcock, agricultural chemistry, and chief chemist to Experiment Station; Charles R. Barnes, botany; Edward A. Birge, dean of the College of Letters and Science; Edwin E. Bryant, dean of the College of Law; Storm Bull, steam engineering; Jairus H. Carpenter, contracts, torts, and criminal law; John B. Cassoday, wills and constitutional law; John A. Craig, animal husbandry; George C. Comstock, director of Washburn Observatory; William W. Daniells, chemistry; John E. Davies, electricity and magnetism, and mathematical physics; Richard T. Ely, director of the School of Economics, Political Science, and History; Albert S. Flint, astronomy; David B. Frankenburger, rhetoric and oratory; John C. Freeman, English literature; Almah J. Frisby, preceptress of Ladies' Hall, and professor of hygiene; Emmett S. Goff, horticulture; Charles H. Haskins, institutional history; George L. Hendrickson, Latin; William A. Henry, dean of College of Agriculture; Homer W. Hillyer, organic chemistry; William H. Hobbs, mineralogy and metallurgy; Frank G. Hubbard, English literature; Dugald C. Jackson, electrical engineering; Joseph Jastrow, experimental and comparative psychology; Burr W. Jones, domestic relations, corporations, and evidence; Forrest R. Jones, machine design; Alexander Kerr, Greek language and literature; Charles I. King, mechanical practice; Franklin H. King, agricultural physics; Edward Kremers, pharmaceutical chemistry; Hugh J. McGrath, military science and tactics; William H. Morrison, superintendent of Agricultural Institutes; Julius E. Olson, Scandinavian languages and literature; Edward T. Owen, French language and literature; Fletcher A. Parker, music; John M. Parkinson, civil polity; William H. Rosenstengel, German language and literature; William A. Scott, political economy; Charles S. Slichter, applied mathematics; Ithamar C. Sloan, equity, real estate, and eminent domain; John W. Stearns, philosophy and pedagogy; Herbert C. Tolman, Sanskrit and Latin; Frederick E. Turneaure, bridge and hydraulic engineering; Frederick J. Turner, American history; Frank L. Van Cleef, Greek; Charles R. Van Hise, geology; Charles A. Van Velzer, mathematics; Nelson O. Whitney, railway engineering; William H. Williams, Hebrew and Hellenistic Greek.

Instructors : Clara E. S. Ballard, gymnastics; William B. Cairns, rhetoric; Lellen S. Cheney, pharmacognostical botany; John W. Decker, dairying; Lucy M. Gay, French; Amos A. Knowlton, rhetoric; Hiram B. Loomis, physics; Edward R. Maurer, engineering; William S. Miller, biology; Hans L. W. Otto, French; Harriet T. Remington, German; Arthur W. Richter, engineering; William G. Sired, music; Ernest B. Skinner, mathematics; Susan A. Sterling, German; Fred M. Tisdel, elocution; Leopold C. Urban, pharmaceutical chemistry; Elsbeth Veerhusen, German; F. W. A. Woll, chemist.

Special lecturers: Richard Birckholz, mechanical paradoxes; Edwin E. Bryant, contracts and corporations; William Carroll, underground electric wires; Orsamus Cole, law of insurance; Henry B. Favill, medical jurisprudence; Samuel D. Hastings, taxation; Robert W. Hunt, manufacture of Bessemer steel; James G. Jenkins, negligence; George H. Noyes, common carriers; Simon N. Patten, economic theory; Augustus J. Rogers, industrial electrolysis; Albert Shaw, municipal problems; Amos G. Warner, pauperism; Gilbert Wilkes, shop practice in the manufacture of dynamos; Frederick H. Wines, criminology; Eugene G. Updike, relation of employers and employed; Garry E. Culver, geology; David Kinley, economics; Lyman P. Powell, history; Paul S. Reinsch, history; Fred W. Spiers, economics.

2 Graduate students, 92; College of Letters and Science, 711; College of Mechanics and Engineering, 179; College of Agriculture, 175; College of Law, 166; School of Pharmacy, 65; twice mentioned, 9. Besides these, were 189 students in the summer school of 1892.

3 See Addresses at the Inauguration of Charles Kendall Adams, LL. D., to the Presidency of the University of Wisconsin (Madison: The University, 1893).

4 Laws of 1893, chap. 280.

5 President's Report, in Regents' Report for 1892-94, p. 47.

6 President's Report, in Regents' Report for 1892-94, p. 58.

7 Laws of 1889, chap. 174.

8 Laws of 1895, chap. 241.

9 Ibid., chap, 311.

10 Dean Henry was assisted by Professors King, Goff, Craig, and Woll, the entire party spending much time in Northern Wisconsin, studying its adaptation to horticulture and agriculture." In his biennial report for 1894-96, President Adams says: "Fifty thousand copies of this book have been printed by the State, and already a very considerable portion of the edition has been distributed. This work, it is believed, will be the means of bringing thousands of settlers to Wisconsin. One agent has recently located a hundred families in a single county. Another company has, within a few weeks past, sold nine tracts of land to as many buyers. Numerous illustrations of how settlers are coming in could be given." --Regents Report, 1896, p. 13.

11 Laws of 1895, chap. 339.

12 Ibid., chap. 298.

13 All of this sum is not available for the purpose. The money being voted in the form of relatively small annual tax levies, the building commissioners were obliged to anticipate the income by loans from the State trust funds; thus, about $60,000 will probably be paid back into the State treasury as interest. See the official Report of the Commissioners, submitted to the legislature February 1, 1899, for an ample explanation of why the building cost more than was originally contemplated--a sharp rise in prices of labor and materials, and the heavy interest account, being prominent reasons.