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Bohi, Mary Janette, 1927- / A history of Wisconsin State University Whitewater, 1868-1968

2. Concerning establishment: origins and location (1868: before and after),   pp. 19-34

Page 20

Whitewater University 1868-1968 
schools had been set up-Albany, Philadelphia, New Britain, Connecticut, 
and Ypsilanti, Michigan. At the time of Mann's death in 1859 there were 
normals in 9 states, and by 1870 the country was dotted with 75 institu-
tions, of which Whitewater claimed to be the 30th.4 When the question 
of building normals in Wisconsin came up, there was no debate on the 
virtue of the undertaking; the problems were mechanical, financial, and 
geographical, the latter being the most heated as towns scrambled to 
secure the location of such an honorable institution. 
The first attempt to plant the normal idea in Wisconsin was at the 
constitutional convention of 1846. Not only was that constitution rejected
by the people, but an amendment appropriating the income of the uni- 
versity lands to normal schools until a university could be established was
defeated 48 to 51.5 In the light of the future contention between the two
systems of higher learning, one may conclude that the defeat originated 
from a pro-university faction rather than from any anti-normal sentiment.
An amendment providing for county normals when the population reached 
20,000 was expunged from an attempted constitution in 1847, but the vic-
torious document of 1848 provided for the support and maintenance of 
common schools and allowed the residue for the support of academies 
and normals. Salisbury noted that part of the success of the normal school
article was due to Rev. Eleazer Root, a delegate from Waukesha who 
had been schooled in the idea by a student of David Page of the Albany 
normal." The most obvious way to effect the provision was to make normal
instruction a part of the university system, the advent of a lengthy and
revealing disputation on the nature of education-and women's rights 
to it. The man "left in New York" was found again in the "impenetrable
solitudes" of Wisconsin. 
A charter for the University of Wisconsin was drawn up in the sum- 
mer of 1848, and the following January its regents had agreed to the estab-
lishment of a normal professorship "to render instruction in the art
teaching" and declared themselves in favor of making the University
nursery of the educators of the popular mind."7 Mr. Root, who served
two years as superintendent of public instruction, pushed for a normal 
department patterned after Albany and enthusiastically reported in 1851:
"The utility of normal instruction is conceded; it is provided for in
constitution; . . . 2,300 schools ask for it, and more than 111,000 chil-
dren are in daily need of it. Action on this subject should be no longer
postponed."' It was five years, however, before Professor Daniel Read
delivered the first lectures on the art of teaching to 18 students. Mean-
while, each successive superintendent of public instruction urged the 
practical fulfillment of the 1849 ordinance, and in 1851 the University 

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