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Chamberlin's Administration--1887-1892.

Arrival of Dr. Chamberlin--The Hatch Act--Astronomical director--Summer School opened--President's house--Establishment of fellowships--President's report, 1888--New science buildings--Aid for mechanic arts--Ladies' Hall steam-heated--The president a regent--Reorganization, 1889--Supplementary Morrill Act--Regents' report, 1890--Presidents' report, 1890--Six years' tax levy--Hiram Smith Hall built--Law Building, Armory, and Boat House--University Extension adopted--School of Economics, Political Science, and History--Dr. Chamberlin resigns--His final report.

Arrival of Dr. Chamberlin.

President Chamberlin 1 entered upon the duties of his office at the beginning of the academic year 1887-88. There were then in the University 637 students,2 25 professors, 11 instructors and assistants, and a law faculty of seven.3 In the first twenty years of its existence, the University had been sadly hampered by lack of means; for, as we have seen, popular indifference and even distrust had generated and excused official mismanagement of its birthright fund. Throughout the succeeding fifteen or sixteen years, while cautiously assisted by the now repentant State, it had been slowly, quietly gathering strength and recognition; until, toward the close of President Bascom's term, it had acquired such a position in the respect and affection of the people that its expansion in resources and in student numbers was bound thenceforth to keep pace with the rapid growth of wealth and culture in the commonwealth. Dr. Chamberlin came upon the scene when these forces had already given the University considerable momentum, and with much energy and discretion he directed the forwarding of the good work.

The Hatch Act.

In the previous March, Congress had passed "An act to establish agricultural experiment stations in connection with the colleges established in the several States, under the provisions of an act approved July 2, 1862."4 This grant, popularly known as the Hatch Act carried with it an appropriation of $15,000 per annum to each station, which was to publish a bulletin at least once in three months, and annual reports, the same to be transmitted free through the mails. One-fifth of the first year's appropriation might be expended in buildings, and thereafter but five per cent. The Wisconsin legislature of 1887 promptly adopted a joint resolution designating the regents of the University to receive for this State the moneys and benefits accruing under the act; and at once the Agricultural Experiment Station took a long step forward, soon becoming one of the foremost in the Union.5 South Hall was extensively overhauled and refitted, and set apart for the offices, laboratories, and lecture-rooms of the station, in connection with the College of agriculture.6 Another helpful State act of 18877 was an appropriation, of $500 per year, to illustrate the publications of the station. In the following year (1888), a chair of agricultural physics was established, said to be the first of its kind in the world, and to it was elected Prof. F. H. King, the present incumbent.

Astronomical director.

The legislature of 1887 also voted $3,000 per year 8 to enable the regents to "employ and maintain a director of the Washburn Observatory." After the departure of Professor Holden, in 1885, the observatory had suffered a decline from lack of funds, and for a time was made an appendage of the chair of physics, observations being made by advanced students of the University, and by volunteers from the U. S. Naval observatory at Washington; but this timely State aid enabled it to employ (in August), as associate director, Prof. George C. Comstock, later made director, and once more to assume a prominent position among the observatories of the country.

Summer school opened.

In 1887, there was first established the teachers' institute lectureship, the incumbent being Prof. J. W. Stearns, who during the year gave a series of forty-two lectures in as many localities throughout the State. The same year, aided by an annual legislative grant of $1,000,9 there was opened for teachers, at the University, a "summer-school of science, literature; language and pedagogy," offering twenty courses in psychology, pedagogy, physiology, zoology, chemistry, botany, geography, literature, and physics. At the first session but forty teachers were present, there being three times this number the following year, as the advantages of the school became better known.

President's house.

It will be remembered that when, in 1866, Dane county purchased for the University the experimental farm,--to enable the institution to take advantage of the Morrill Agricultural College Act of 1862,--there was upon the new grounds a brick dwelling known as the "Read house."10 This was thereafter occupied by the president until March, 1880, when the regents purchased for that purpose the Nelson Dewey house, on State street. In July, 1887, an exchange was made for the Charles E. Bross house, corner of Langdon and Park streets, which is more advantageously situated; this will doubtless be permanently-continued as the presidential residence.

Establishment of fellowships.

On the twenty-second of January, 1888, Rev. Joseph H. Crooker, the Unitarian minister at Madison delivered a sermon of originality, on "What our University needs."11 His thesis was the need of research fellowships at the University. He urged that cultivated and public-spirited men of wealth in the State contribute toward a fund of $100,000, to produce, at the then prevailing rate of interest, an annual income of $6,000, from which to establish ten University graduate fellowships yielding $600 each. He said:

This group of students, engaged in extended researches and brought daily into contact with undergraduates, would add a new element to the University, a tonic atmosphere of superior culture which would be felt through every department. It is one of the common-places of educational thought that culture is absorbed rather than learned; that truest education comes from association with master minds rather than from the text books, valuable as they are in their place. The presence of these superior men consecrated to the service of truth, and the presentation of the higher standard of intellectual excellence, would open the eyes of many lower classmen to possibilities of which they had never dreamed, and would create in the breasts of some a devotion to higher ideals which never otherwise would be felt.

This address, widely published, awakened general interest and approval among University men. The fund of $100,000, however, was not forthcoming; but the regents themselves had lately awakened to the importance of advancing the cause of graduate study, and thought the time ripe to establish eight University fellowships, each yielding $400 per year. Mr. Crooker's plea was for non-teaching fellowships; but the regents deemed it advisable, in view of the fact that public money was being used, to oblige each fellow to do assigned work "equivalent to one hour of teaching daily, or the supervision of laboratory work for two hours daily." There was still another fellowship, of similar grade and requirements, founded at the same time for the period of two years, by Regent John Johnston, of Milwaukee, "in the appointment of candidates to which preference is given to residents of Milwaukee county, and to those exhibiting ability or promise in the department of mechanic arts." The number of University fellowships was later increased by the regents to ten, "of which two are specifically devoted to Latin and Greek."

President's report, 1888.

We learn from the report of President Chamberlin for 1888, that several other changes and new features were inaugurated within the year. The German seminary method was introduced into several departments; "several years will be requisite for any adequate development of the system, but good results are already being realized." The Hebrew course was developed, and Sanskrit, Spanish, and Italian were first taught. There were now two special courses for normal school graduates, to "meet a real educational want." At the request of the State Medical Society, "a course in science, with collateral branches, was arranged especially for those contemplating the study of medicine and surgery;" twenty-seven students entered in this course immediately after it was offered. A civic-historical course, antecedent to the study of law and journalism, was likewise offered. The chair of experimental and comparative psychology was established; while two or three of the foremost colleges of this country had inaugurated work in this "new and important line of research," the president states that "The College of France is however, I believe, the only other institution in which a chair of this specific title has been definitely established." For the first time, the College of Law was provided with a dean (Gen. Edwin E. Bryant) who devoted all of his time to this department--a change justified by the increase both in the number of law students, and the tuition fees paid by them. Especially marked, the president says, has been the greater prominence given to the graduate courses, and the departments of original investigation. We have already seen that the Agricultural Experiment Station and Washburn Observatory had each taken a forward stride in this inspiring year. Extra-collegiate education also received, through the fellowships and otherwise, still further impetus; and this important announcement is made:

By virtue of the increased facilities, the enlarged instructional force, and particularly the opportunities afforded by the fellowship system, the University feels itself prepared to offer the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This will be conferred upon successful candidates after three years of prescribed study, two of which must be pursued at the University. The degree will not, however, be conferred simply on the ground of the completion of prescribed study, but special high attainments are requisite, particularly the power of original thought and independent investigation.

New Science buildings.

It was in 1888, also, that the new Science Hall, the Chemical Building and the Machine Shops were opened--an event of marked importance in the history of the University. The President says:

The new science buildings have been completed and now afford accommodations unsurpassed in most respects, quite unequaled in some particulars. Science Hall is pronounced by competent judges the best building of its kind in this country. Large invoices of physical, engineering and other apparatus, very carefully selected from the most approved manufactories, have been received. Typical collections representative of mineralogy, petrography, geology, zoology, and botany have been purchased. While not commanding in their magnitude, they are superior in quality and in their systematic character and serviceability. Judicious selections of laboratory manuals and treatises essential for reference have been purchased for the laboratories.

Aid for mechanic arts.

The regents, in their report for the same year, urged upon the legislature a broader and more permanent establishment of the department of mechanic arts. "Good faith to the federal government as well as to the mechanical and manufacturing interests of the state, requires that this department should be reorganized with a view to larger results." The legislature of 1889 met this appeal generously. An act was passed 12 providing that one per cent of the funds derived by the State from license tax on transportation, telephone, and electrical companies should be set aside to provide "for needed additional facilities, for instruction in the department of mechanic arts of the state university, and for the establishment of courses of instruction in railway and electrical engineering therein." The receipts from this source, in the first year, amounted to $14,957.27; in 1897-98, to $12,787.

Ladies' Hall steam-heated.

Another act of 188913 appropriated $5,000 for the steam heating of Ladies' Hall, and $1,500 per annum for employing a competent preceptress for the same. "Said building," the act declared, "shall hereafter be known as Ladies' Hall, and shall be used hereafter for and by the female students attending said university, and not otherwise."

The president a regent.

At the same session the president was made 14 an ex officio member of the board of regents, "and a member of all its standing committees, but he shall have the right to vote only in case of a tie." In the early days of the University, the chancellor was ex officio president of the board; but the reorganization act of 1866, wherein the head of the faculty is styled president, deprived that officer of the right to sit with the regents; it was not restored until thirty-three years later--even then with the limitations named.15

Reorganization, 1889.

By the Revised statutes of 1878, 16 the organization of the University was thus outlined: "1. The college or department of arts. 2. The college or department of letters. 3. Such professional or other colleges or departments as now are, or may, from time to time, be added thereto or connected therewith." In order to give greater dignity to the colleges of law, agriculture, and mechanics and engineering, the list was revised in 1889,17 so as to read as it does to-day: "1. The college of letters and science. 2. The college of mechanics and engineering. 3. The college of agriculture. 4. The college of law. 5. Such other colleges, schools or departments as now are or may from time to time be added thereto or connected therewith." The scope of the several colleges is thus defined:

The college of letters and science shall embrace liberal courses of instruction in language, literature, philosophy and science, and may embrace such other branches as the regents of the university shall prescribe. The college of mechanics and engineering shall embrace practical and theoretical instruction in the various branches of mechanical and engineering science and art, and may embrace such additional branches as the regents may determine. The college of agriculture shall embrace instruction and experimentation in the science of agriculture and in those sciences which are tributary thereto, and may embrace such additional branches as the board of regents shall determine. The college of law shall consist of courses of instruction in the principles and practices of law, and may include such other branches as the regents may determine.

Supplementary Morrill Act.

The passage by Congress, in 1890, of the supplementary Morrill Act18 "for the more complete endowment and maintenance of colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," that had been established under the original Morrill Act of 1862, was a boon for the University's College of Agriculture. This law carried with it an additional appropriation of $15,000 per year, with an annual increase of $1,000 until it should reach $25,000. The money is directed "to be applied only to instruction in agriculture, the mechanic arts, the English language and the various branches of mathematical, physical, natural and economic science, with special reference to their applications in the industries of life, and to the facilities for such instruction."

This enabled the regents at once to establish an additional course in agriculture, between the long and short courses. The short course was extended so as to cover two winter terms, and greatly strengthened and improved. There was also introduced a dairy course, which soon became an attractive and valuable feature of the college. In the College of Mechanics and Engineering, courses in electric and railway engineering were offered, and in many ways the work of this department was developed.

Regents' report, 1890.

The biennial report of the regents, made September 30, 1890, alludes to the satisfactory degree of progress in the University. More than 800 young men and women are now receiving instruction in the several departments, the standard of admission is being raised each year, and the facilities for good work are constantly increasing. But the resources of the institution are being heavily taxed. In the early days, "when only languages, literature, mathematics, and natural history were taught in the University, the apparatus and appliances for giving instruction were comparatively inexpensive. * * * The demands made upon the University are very different now. The application of machinery to almost every human industry, has created a demand for young men educated in many branches of engineering; while new, or improved, methods of agriculture and live-stock growing require large expenditures to enable the University to meet the advancing demands of the state." The College of Agriculture, they report, "was one of the first in the United States to begin scientific and systematic work in the interest and for the advancement of Agriculture. It is not exaggeration to state that it is better known to-day, among the best agriculturalists and live-stock growers of Great Britain and Scotland, than any similar institution in America." The engineers graduated by the University are also "fast coming to the front in the management of railways and other great industries."

Presidents' report, 1890.

The president's report, bearing the same date, reviews the progress of the institution in greater detail. The graduate courses are meeting with gratifying success, the number of graduate students having risen from four in 1887-88, to twenty-one in the autumn of 1890. The seminar system is gradually being developed, although lacking room and means. The farmers' institutes "have been sustained, and continue to exercise a powerfully stimulating influence upon the development of higher agriculture and broader intelligence." In the College of Agriculture, remarkable results are being attained, chief among them "the development of a simple, cheap and reliable method of testing milk, by Dr. Babcock." North Hall "has been improved and the upper stories fitted up for the pharmacy department, which now has ample and commodious quarters," and the lower stories for the German and Scandinavian departments. Buildings have been repaired, and the general condition of University property improved. "Special investigations in biological, physical, pharmaceutical, historical and other lines have been conducted by the several professors, but the heavy burden of instruction imposed upon the general faculty leaves little time or strength for original inquiry."

Six years' tax-levy.

The only important legislative act of 1891, 19 affecting the University, was the appropriation of an annual levy of one-tenth of a mill on each dollar of the assessed valuation of the State, for the term of six years. This was in addition to the tax of 1883. The new levy (aggregating for the six years about $377,000) was "for the construction, equipment and maintenance of an armory and drill room for the military department of the university, a building for the college of law, a building for the practical instruction in dairying, and such modifications of existing buildings as the growth of the university may require." The residue was to "meet the permanent necessities arising from the growth of the university."20

Hiram Smith Hall built.

The dairy building was styled Hiram Smith Hall, in honor of regent Smith, one of the foremost dairymen of the State. It was pushed rapidly to completion, and opened in January, 1892, with a hundred students in attendance; the regents declared that "for complete adaptation to the definite purposes of dairy teaching, this building is considered without all equal in America or Europe." The same winter, John L. Mitchell, of Milwaukee, "with a generosity characteristic of the giver, donated twenty scholarships of $100 each, covering two years' instruction, to be placed each year to needy [agricultural] students."

Law Building, Armory, and Boat House.

The building for the College of Law was also commenced in 1891, but not completed before the spring of 1893. The Gymnasium and Armory, contracted for in 1892, was not opened for use until September, 1894. The University Boat House, in the rear of the Gymnasium, on University ground, was built in the summer and autumn of 1892, by the University Boat House Association, without expense to the University, at a cost of $4,000. The Rowing Tank, adjoining the Boat House, is for the winter practice of the crews, and was completed in February, 1897, by the University authorities.


University extension adopted.

In the autumn of 1891, the University inaugurated a system of University extension "of the English type," thus being one of the earliest of American universities to carry on this work. Ten courses of six lectures each were offered, and fifty courses were given during the first winter in various portions of the State. This department, conducted independently for several years, under charge of a secretary, was in 1891 made an adjunct of the School of Education.

School of Economics, Political Science, and History.

Another important addition to the departments of University work was also made within the academic year 1891-92, by the organization of the School of Economics, Political Science, and History, under the directorship of Dr. Richard T. Ely, of Johns Hopkins University, an economist of international distinction. The school which was formally opened on September 12, 1892--includes the civic-historical course, and those graduate courses in the fields named which lead to higher degrees. It has developed into one of the most important and widely-known activities of the University, attracting graduate students from all parts of this country and many foreign lands.

Dr. Chamberlin resigns.

At the close of the college year (June, 1892) President Chamberlin tendered his resignation, having been called to the deanship of the department of geology in the University of Chicago. "For six years under his administration," said the regents in announcing his departure, "the University had flourished and the administration thereof was conducted in a manner commendatory to President Chamberlin and highly appreciated and endorsed by the Board of Regents and the people of the state." Although eminently successful as an executive, and in that position winning the esteem and confidence of regents, faculty, and people, it was well known that Dr. Chamberlin had come to chafe somewhat under the duties and restraints of the presidency. When the call from Chicago came, with the promise of a return to his old field of scientific research, under the most favorable conditions, he followed his professional inclinations and accepted.

The board unanimously chose as his successor Dr. Charles Kendall Adams, 21 who had recently retired from the presidency of Cornell. The regents state in their report that Dr. Adams's "experience as a professor at Ann Arbor and President of Cornell University, and well known reputation as a scholar, historian and educator brings assurance, that the administration of the University will be conducted with that energy and ability, as has been done heretofore."

His final report.

The final report of President Chamberlin covered the two years ending with Commencement, 1892. He showed that the number of students had now grown to be 1,032, as against the 637 who had attended at the beginning of his administration six years before--an increase of about sixty-five per cent. "The total number of professors, lecturers, investigators, instructors and tutors (fellows) is 77," and the University "offers 251 subordinate courses of study, designated subcourses." The requirements for admission had been increased, to go into effect at the beginning of the academic year 1892-93, and no corresponding diminution in attendance was expected. There has been adopted, for introduction at the same time, the group system "for the purpose of permitting greater concentration, continuity, and thoroughness in the leading lines of study and at the same time of affording wider familiarity of the broad field of knowledge. * * * The general purpose of this system is to introduce university methods, in the modern sense of the term, more largely in the undergraduate college courses, and so prepare the way for the better development of graduate work." The president says that "Perhaps no end has been sought more earnestly during the present administration * * * than the development of the graduate department * * * upon a more extended and effective plan"--a notable feature of that plan being the establishment of the ably-officered Graduate School of Economics, Political Science, and History. The engineering courses have been recast and very greatly improved. The dairy school has been developed "upon a systematic and scientific basis greatly in advance of anything heretofore attained in this country, if indeed this latter limitation is necessary." The summer school is prospering, and "meets an important and permanent need." University extension has been "auspiciously inaugurated;" the president further speaks of the "unexpected success of the movement." In every college and department there has been notable progress.

Thus when Dr. Chamberlin left the University it was greatly strengthened and broadened at all points, as the result of his six years of devotion to its service, in which he had been aided by the cordial cooperation of the regents, his colleagues, and the legislature.


1 Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin was born in Shelbyville, Ill., in 1843; but in his third year his family removed to Wisconsin. He graduated from Beloit in 1866; was for two years principal of the Delavan high school; then spent a year in special study at Michigan University; and for four years was professor of natural sciences in the Whitewater normal school. Thence he went to Beloit, as professor of geology; it was while at Beloit that he was (1876) appointed State geologist. He won much professional distinction in that position, closing his term by editing the Geology of Wisconsin (1877-83), in four large volumes and an atlas. Upon the completion of this work, he became one of the principal members of the U. S. Geological Survey. Elected to the presidency of Wisconsin University in 1886, he assumed his duties in the autumn of 1887, resigning in 1892 to become dean of geology in the University of Chicago, which position he now holds.

2 In the four academic classes, 311; specials, 146; agriculture, 25; pharmacy, 38; law, 113; resident graduates, 4. This was a sudden growth of about 22 per cent, for the attendance the previous year was but 539.

3 Professors: John B. Parkinson(vice president), civil polity and political economy; William F. Allen, history; Alexander Kerr, Greek language and literature; John W. Stearns, science and art of teaching; John E. Davies, physics; Luigi Lomia, military science and tactics; William W. Daniells, chemistry; William H. Rosenstengel, German language and literature; Stephen M. Babcock, agricultural chemistry; John C. Freeman, English literature; Fletcher A. Parker, music; David B. Frankenburger, rhetoric and oratory; Edward T. Owen, French language and literature; Edward A. Birge, zoology; Allan D. Conover, civil engineering; Frederick B. Power, pharmacy and materia medica; Lucius Heritage, Latin; Charles A. Van Velzer, mathematics; Storm Bull, mechanical engineering; Charles R. Barnes, botany; George C. Comstock, astronomy; Charles R. Van Hise, metallurgy; William A. Henry, agriculture; Vickers T. Atkinson, veterinary science.

Assistant professors and instructors: William H. Williams, Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit; Julius E. Olson, Scandinavian languages and literature; Charles I. King, mechanic arts; Susan A. Sterling, German; Lucy M. Gay, French; Homer W. Hillyer, chemistry; Leander M. Hoskins, engineering; Frederick J. Turner, history and oratory; Grace Clark, French; Charles S. Slichter, mathematics; Wilbur S. Tupper, Latin, rhetoric and oratory.

Law faculty: I. C. Sloan, dean; J. H. Carpenter, contracts, torts, and criminal law; John B. Cassoday, wills and constitutional law; Burr W. Jones, domestic relations, personal property, and evidence; A. L. Sanborn, pleading and practice; Charles E. Estabrook, municipal corporations, juries, justice-court procedure, and sales; Clark Gapen, medical jurisprudence.

4 Act approved March 2, 1887, U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. xxiv., p p. 440-442.

"In the same spirit [that of the Ordinance of 1787] was what is known as the Hatch act of 1887. The agricultural interests of the country had become aware that at Rothamsted, in England, and in many places on the European continent, agricultural experiment stations had been established for the investigation of the laws and principles that govern the successful and profitable tillage of the soil. Our government was prompt to imitate their example, and more than forty agricultural stations have been founded and equipped as the beneficent result of this generous federal act."--Inaugural address of President Adams, Addresses at the Inauguration (Madison, 1893), p. 57.

5 The staff of the Experiment Station, in the school year of 1887-88, was as follows: William A. Henry, director; Stephen M. Babcock, chief chemist; Fred. G. Shortand F. W. A. Woll, assistant chemists; Leslie H. Adams, farm superintendent; Nellie M. Nott, clerk; William H. Morrison, superintendent of agricultural institutes.

6 This action ended the use of either of the old halls for dormitory purposes. At the meeting of the executive committee of the board of regents, held on the evening of September 1, 1884, this order was entered on the minutes: "On recommendation of President Bascom, students were allowed to rent rooms in the South Dormitory when North Dormitory is full, at the discretion of the President." Old Science Hall was burned on the evening of December 1 following. The next day (Dec. 2), the executive committee met and "It was agreed that plans should be made immediately for converting the North Dormitory into Laboratories and Lecture Rooms for the temporary use of scientific professors, and that the work should be pushed as rapidly as possible to completion." Since that time, North Hall has never been occupied as a dormitory for students. Our text above shows the passing, also, of South Hall from dormitory uses. Ladies' Hall has, since then, been the only dormitory upon the campus.

7 Laws of 1887, chap. 146.

8 Ibid., chap. 418.

9 Id., 1889, chap. 458.

10 See Chapter VI., ante.

11 See full text, in the State Journal (Madison), Jan. 24, 1888.

12 Laws of 1889, chap. 282.

13 Ibid., chap. 416.

14 Ibid., chap. 289.

15 A bill (No. 77 S.) was introduced in the senate of 1887 to effect this end; but although passing the upper house, it was killed in the assembly.

16 Section 385. This was practically copied from chap. 114, General Laws of 1866.

17 Laws of 1889, chap. 273.

18 Act approved August 30, 1890, U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. xxvi., pp. 417-419.

19 Laws of 1891, chap. 29.

20 In his biennial report rendered Sept. 30, 1894, President Adams stated that "The Dairy Building, Law Building, Armory, and Heating Plant, besides other repairs regarded as absolutely necessary, have cost about $325,596, or within about $52,000 of what is estimated to be the entire avails of the law of 1891."

21 Regents' Report, Sept. 30, 1892, p. 4.