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(UW icon)1900

Three Prosperous Years--1895-1898.

President's report, 1896--College of Agriculture--School of Economics, Political Science, and History--School of Music--Coeducation--Summer School--University Extension--Relations with secondary schools--Grounds and buildings--Legislation of 1897--The University in the Spanish-American War--In the State semi-centennial.

President's report, 1896.

The report of President Adams for the two fiscal years ending the thirtieth of September, 1896, is so full in all particulars that a synopsis of its contents is practically a history of the institution during that period. In ten years, he points out, the numerical growth of the University has been nearly four hundredfold--being 443 in 1886-87, and 1,598 in 1895-96; while the instructional force has grown from 41 in the former year to 113 in the latter, the principal increase being in assistant professors and instructors. Despite increased facilities in the remodeled University Hall, and the taking of overflow classes into the Law, Agricultural, and Science buildings, additional class-rooms are still sorely needed, and an enlargement of University Hall is suggested; a separate building for the College of Engineering is also highly desirable.

College of Agriculture.

The College of Agriculture is doing more efficient work than ever. The short course has been lengthened to two terms of fourteen weeks each, beginning the first of December. "The discoveries of Doctors Babcock and Russell, of an easy and cheap method of restoring consistency to pasteurized cream, is regarded as one of the most creditable pieces of scientific work accomplished by any experiment station, and has added much to the reputation of the discoverers." The officers of the college have sent out nearly 6,000 pages of letters within the past year, exclusive of the business of farmers' institutes. "A very large part of this correspondence has been directly with farmers, who are constantly addressing the station as a central bureau for information and counsel." Twenty acres of marsh land lying in the western part of the University domain have, within the year, been successfully reclaimed for crops, although some of it is actually below the lake level; and forty acres of adjoining marsh have been purchased. During the year 1895-96, more than 50,000 persons attended the farmers' institutes. New features in this department of activity are ten summer meetings in the northern part of the State, "where conditions do not admit of successful winter gatherings." Sixty thousand copies of the annual bulletin of the institutes, giving the best of the year's work, are now published.

School of Economics, Political Science, and History.

The School of Economics, Political Science, and History, established in 1892, "aims to do a work for civic life which may be compared with the work of West Point for military life." The students who have taken complete courses in this school have made enviable records, many of them occupying prominent positions in educational work in different parts of the country. Gifts aggregating several thousand dollars have been received, chiefly as scholarships, fellowships, and lectureships--"gifts coming chiefly from without the State." A Japanese fellowship and a Rockford College fellowship are late additions.

School of Music.

The School of Music was successfully inaugurated at the beginning of the academic year 1894-95, "with the explicit understanding, however, that no drafts upon the University treasury should be made by this organization"--the fees for individual instruction being sufficient to meet the cost. We have seen, in earlier chapters, that instructors in vocal and instrumental music were employed in connection with the old Female College, as early as 1867.1 It was not until 1880 that a chair of music was created at the University.

At Washburn Observatory, whose researches "have met with a most flattering reception in the scientific periodicals both at home and abroad," there have been received, during the two years, important accessions in instrumental equipment.


The president discusses at some length questions rising from the presence of women in the University. The comparative attendance of men and women in the College of Letters and Science is "not very different from what it was ten years ago * * * the increase of women in ten years has been 182 per cent, while the increase of men has been 122 per cent." He does not think that the problem of coeducation presents many difficulties. "The old query as to whether the health of young women would bear the strain of a University course has been swept away by the energetic hand of experience; so also has the doubt as to whether scholarship would not suffer from the presence of women in the classes. It is settled, not only here but elsewhere, that the general health of young women is better at the time of graduation than at the time of entrance, and that the average scholarship of young women is higher than that of young men." There is, however, a very natural tendency, as the result of coeducation, to excessive recreation; and herein "the University should at times exercise moderating and restraining influences,"--a not difficult task with regard to the inmates of Ladies' Hall; but, as three-fourths of the young women live in club-houses and private families, supervision is attended with some difficulties. The appointment of a "Dean of the Woman's Department" is suggested,-- a person "whose education, tact, discretion, and wisdom would * * * recommend themselves to universal favor."

Summer School.

The Summer School, established in 1889, is doing good work and is "entitled to general encouragement." In 1895 the term was, with favorable results, extended to six weeks. In 1895 and 1896, a Library Training School, established through the generosity of State Senator James H. Stout, of Menomonie, founder of the free traveling library system in Wisconsin, was a welcome and important adjunct to this work.

University extension.

University extension, now in its seventh year in Wisconsin, is improving in quality, while the quality of the work is steadily advancing. "It scarcely admits of a doubt that the lecturers in Wisconsin have furnished and are furnishing a great intellectual stimulus to thousands of persons; that they are the means of inducing young men and women to attend the University and other educational institutions; and that they are doing much to stimulate better methods of living and thinking. More than this, there is at present some prospect of their reaching laboring men, and bringing to them opportunities for improvement and enjoyment which have never before been possible." In connection with this department there has been inaugurated "a system of giving instruction by correspondence to individuals who are desirous of carrying on a systematic course of study under university guidance, but are prevented for one reason or another, from attending the University." Another feature of extension work is the fortnightly issuance of a bulletin for editors, which "contains items of news about the University, brief accounts of scientific or literary work done by members of the University, accounts of the action of the faculties and the Board of Regents, and any occurrences or facts relating to the University in which the public may be supposed to have interest. * * * It is believed that the bulletin has done not a little to counteract the altogether false impression sometimes prevailing that athletic and social events form a chief, or even prominent part of University life."

Relations with secondary schools.

During the winter of 1895-96, the presidents of State normal schools held a conference with representative members of the faculty of the College of Letters and Science, and reached "a cordial and unanimous agreement" relative to a readjustment of the relations between the University and these schools, in the matter of admittance to the University of graduates from the normal schools. It is believed that these harmonious relations "will contribute to the educational efficiency of our school system as a whole." The relations between the University and the accredited high schools of the State have also been bettered during the past year, and greater uniformity secured. "Of all the Wisconsin free high schools having a four years' course--129 in number--only 24 are at present not accredited."

Grounds and Buildings.

The grounds and buildings have been much improved within the two years. Upon Camp Randall, somewhat more than $6,000 has necessarily been expended. The improvements at University Hall have cost nearly $13,000, and are satisfactory. "Means of warming and ventilation have been greatly improved; the lecture rooms have been made more accessible; the system of drainage has been put in excellent condition; and the exterior appearance of the building greatly improved." For the accommodation of the department of agricultural physics, the Horticultural Building has been enlarged, as provided for by law. The extension and improvement of Ladies' Hall has, however, been the most important work of the two years, the contract for the same having been wholly executed during the summer vacation of 1896. The result is thus described:

The building as modified is provided with the means of lighting, both by electricity and gas. The rooms are all light and cheerful; the stairways and corridors are commodious; the gymnasium, extending through two stories, is sufficiently large to accommodate all the young women likely to be in attendance at the University for many years to come; the music rooms are placed where they will afford very little interruption to the work of students; the dining room, kitchen, and sewing room, are placed in the top story of the building; passenger and freight elevators have been provided; and the building, besides being warmed by steam and having the temperature regulated by the Johnson thermostats, has been ventilated by means of a Sturtevant fan.

Legislation of 1897.

At the session of 1897, the legislature passed an act2 continuing annually thereafter the State tax of a fifth of a mill, ordered by chapter 241 of the laws of 1895 to be levied for two years only. The money thus obtained was to be added to the University fund, and be expended by the regents, "for current or administration expenditures, and the construction, in the order of greatest need therefor, of such additional buildings and works and the enlargement and repair of buildings and works as in their judgment shall be absolutely required, and can be completed within the appropriation so made." The proviso was made, that one-fourth of the tax be devoted to the College of Agriculture, one-eighth to the College of Mechanics and Engineering, $2,000 to the Summer School, and $1,000 to the purchase of books for the University law library.

Another act3 directs the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University "to continue and extend its investigations of the sugar-beet root, in order to ascertain at as early a date as possible, those districts in the state which are peculiarly suited in soil and climate to the production of beet-roots of a high quality." For this purpose $500 is appropriated for one year. As a result of this grant, 4,000 pounds of sugar-beet seed were distributed that summer among the farmers of the State. In the autumn, 2,000 samples of beets produced therefrom were analyzed by a member of the Agricultural faculty, the results being published in a widely-circulated bulletin. The work was continued in 1898, but in September of that year the president reported to the regents: "Owing to the changes wrought by the recent war with Spain, the Director of the Experiment Station is of the opinion that the beet-sugar situation is entirely modified, and he doubts whether it will be advisable to continue our studies after closing up the work of the present season."4

The University in the Spanish-American War.

The outbreak of the Spanish-American War, in April, 1898, was the occasion of a remarkable manifestation of loyalty upon the part of the students at the University. A mass-meeting of the young men was held at the Gymnasium on the afternoon of Monday, the twenty-fifth. It had been proposed that a regiment should at once be raised, composed entirely of University men, and enthusiasm ran rampant upon the campus. President Adams appeared at this meeting, and said, in substance:

I heartily approve of the war. Up to the last moment I hoped that President McKinley would be able to accomplish what the nation demanded by peaceful means. But that proved to be impossible. Every consideration of humanity and national honor now requires that we fight it out to the end.

In case of an emergency, as for instance an invasion, "I should hesitate before advising any able-bodied man not to enlist." But he did not think such an emergency had arisen; he thought the war would be terminated without a vigorous struggle; but "It may be prolonged. In case such should turn out to be the fact, it will undoubtedly be the duty of some of you--possibly of many of you--to enter the service. * * * But it seems to me that the emergency is not yet upon us, such as to require you to take the field. You were sent here for purposes of education. Your business in military matters, as in others, while here is to fit yourselves by as thorough drill for such service as you shall be called upon to perform. Naturally at the close of the year you will go to your respective homes. You can there, with your knowledge of military tactics, be far more useful than you could by enlisting here at the present time. * * * At present, many more men are offering themselves than can be received. The streets and the shops and the stores abound in men whose conditions and family relations are such that they can go without inconvenience." * * * You cannot go without interrupting your education. * * * It is manifestly your duty, in my opinion, not to rush into the service, without the consent of your parents, and without the most careful deliberation on your own part. * * * I hope you will deliberate calmly and not allow yourselves by momentary enthusiasm to be drawn into taking a course from which there may be no retreat."

The wisdom of this conservative attitude became at once apparent; and at a second mass-meeting, held that evening, also in the Gymnasium, the proposition to raise a student regiment for immediate enlistment was allowed to drop. A practice regiment was at once formed, consisting of five companies of forty men each--the principal object being to study the tactics, and act upon Dr. Adams's suggestion of raising companies at their several homes at a later date, if required. The captains, lieutenants, and first sergeants were selected by the several companies, but all other officers of the University regiment retained their respective positions. Thereafter, until the issue of the war was clearly foreseen, this provisional regiment was daily drilled upon the campus.

Upon the afternoon of the twenty-seventh, thirty of the faculty, fellows, and graduate students met in the geological lecture room to organize an independent company, which was later to cooperate with the University regiment in open-order drill. Capt. Charles A. Curtis, U. S. A. (retired), was chosen as drill-master, and practiced his pupils each day upon the lower campus, in front of the new State Historical Library building.

Two days later (the twenty-ninth), Co. G. of the First Wisconsin Volunteers,-- Madison's home company, long known as the "Governor's Guard,"--left the city for Camp Harvey near Milwaukee. The University regiment formed part of the large procession which escorted the volunteers to the railway station at East Madison. Upon the departure of the train, the University column re-formed for the home march. At the G. A. R. post hall, on West Main street, they were addressed by Dean Bryant, of the Law School. At the Lower Campus, "a ring was formed, with the national colors in the center." The students then took up the line of march to the president's office in the Law Building. "Half-way up the hill," says the newspaper chronicler of the incident, "the venerable Dr. J. D. Butler was surrounded, and was asked to speak. He gave a most impressive account of his experience at the University at the time of the Civil War." From the steps of the Law Building, Dr. Adams "responded in few but earnest words, showing how the present occasion carried him back to the time of the Civil War." Others who spoke here were Dean Birge, associate (Law) Dean Gregory, Professor Scott, and Dr. Pyre--some in favor of the war, others taking a more conservative view. At University Hall, Professors Turner, Knowlton, and Slichter addressed the enthusiastic throng; at North Hall Professor Voss and Mr. Meisnest; at Science Hall, Professors Hobbs and Snow; and, at the Chemical Laboratory, Professor Daniells.

Several of the resident students of the University had for some time been members of the Governor's Guard. The enrollment of this company as a militia organization, however, was not quite enough to meet the requirements of the regular army; hence several recruits were added. Of these, some were students, anxious for more immediate participation in the war than seemed to be promised to the University regiment. Other students and alumni, in the course of the preparations, joined commands in Wisconsin and elsewhere. It has been estimated that forty students and ex-students of the University were members of Wisconsin regiments during the war; six enlisted in other States, and two were in the regular service. Of these, none were killed in battle, but two (John T. Kingston, '83, of the Second Wisconsin, and H. C. Coville, '01, of the Fourth) lost their lives from camp-disease.5


In the State semi-centennial.

During the seventh, eighth, and ninth of June following, there was officially celebrated at Madison the fiftieth anniversary of the swearing-in, at the capitol of the first State officers of Wisconsin. Camp Randall was used as the rallying-point and camping-place of the veterans of the War of Secession. The great auditorium in the Gymnasium--the only hall now large enough to hold the entire student body--was daily in use for popular assemblies, which were leading features of the programme. The University's most active participation in the exercise consisted of a procession of the faculty and students (nearly 1,700 strong), led by the student brass-band. This incident occurred upon the afternoon of Tuesday, the seventh of June, the line of march being from University Hall, down the Upper Campus, and via Park, Langdon, Francis, and State streets, and the Lower Campus to the Gymnasium, where a monster public meeting, of which the members of the University formed a considerable portion, was addressed by Governor Scofield and other distinguished citizens of this and neighboring States. The weather was perfect; the line of the admirably managed procession was thronged with several thousands of spectators from all parts of Wisconsin, on foot and in carriages. Never before had the University made a demonstration of like character, and the power and dignity of the institution were appreciated, perhaps for the first time, not only by the people of the State at large, but by the members of the University themselves.6

1 They were: 1867-70, Miss Frances Brown; 1871-73, Miss Ella F. Sage (instrumental) 1872-74, Miss Mary C. Woodworth (vocal) 1873-74, Miss Sue R. Earnest (instrumental); 1874-75, Miss Hattie E. Hunter (vocal); 1875-78, Milton R. French; 1877-78, C. P. Etten. Professor Parker came in 1878, serving as instructor until 1880, being then advanced to professor; upon its establishment, he was made director of the School of Music.

2 Laws of 1897, chap. 284.

3 Laws of 1897, chap. 230.

4 Regents' Report, 1897-98, p. 16.

5 The following list of U. W. volunteers and regulars is adapted from the Daily Cardinal, Dec. 22, 1898, pp. 1, 6.

First Wis. Regiment, U. S. V. (Inf.)
Second Wis. Regiment, U. S. V. (Inf.)
Third Wis. Regiment, U. S. V. (Inf.)
Fourth Wis. Regiment, U. S. V. (Inf.), of Milwaukee.
Enlisted in other States.
In regular service.
Former military instructors at U. W.

6 The official programme, in charge of President Adams and Regents William F. Vilas and Breese J. Stevens, was as follows:

"All students, excepting those in the regiment, will meet for the formation of the procession at the following places:

"Students of the College of Engineering, at Science Hall; those of the School of Pharmacy, at North Hall; those of the College of Letters and Science, including the School of Economics, Political Science and History, the School of Music and the School of Education, at University Hall; those of the College of Agriculture, at South Hall; those of the College of Law, at the Law Building.

"The procession will be formed on the north sidewalk of the upper campus, the head of the procession starting at University Hall; and representatives of each of the colleges and schools will fall in at the rear of the procession promptly as the procession passes. The regiment and the rest of the procession will march by twos.

"The Order of the procession will be as follows: The United States Flag, University Regimental Band; University Regiment, University Flag, Regents and Administrative Officers of the University, Members of the Staff of Instruction of all Colleges and Schools, including Fellows, College of Engineering, School of Pharmacy, College of Letters and Science, College of Agriculture, College of Law.

The route of the procession will be: Up the north walk, past the front of University Hall, down the south walk to Park street, north on Park street to Langdon, east on Langdon to Francis, south on Francis to State, west on State to the southwest corner of the lower campus, in front of the Historical Library Building, where the battalion will enter the lower campus for a brief parade and review."