Perley Leonard Horne
". . .the Academy has more than a history and an exceptionally attractive site; it has at the present time an excellent and efficient staff of teachers, whose work challenges comparison with the best work done in the best schools of our country."
So, in part, read the 1898 report of a Harvard University examining committee to the Board of Trustees of Dummer Academy. Master Perley Leonard Horne had controlled the destinies of Dummer Academy from the fall of 1896, shortly after the departure of the Reverend Rogers. Mr. Horne, an M.A. from Harvard, was an energetic and purposeful leader soundly grounded in education, with equally sound views toward the efficient administering of a school which, though venerable, had passed through difficult times. With four able assistants, he headed Dummer Academy at the outset of a century which has seen the school attain to a prestige unsurpassed in its history.
The indications are that Master Horne was before his time, for although he clearly envisioned, indeed wrote down, what the school might well become, he was unable to give it permanent headway in this direction. He saw how the foundation should be laid, but was unable to accomplish the laying of it. Nevertheless, the period from 1896 to 1904 stands at the beginning of the century as a brave prophecy of promise. It was this promise which the examining committee from Harvard University recognized and praised warmly in their report to the Trustees.
If in 1898 the program of the school was of high quality, where lay the Academy's weakness? This, too, appears in the report of the investigating committee. The Mansion House (circa 1715) was in lamentable condition, lacking in adequate sanitary facilities and proper heating. Indeed, the Master and his family crowded into Commons (circa 1836) with the boarders. At the moment there is no clear evidence as to how the Mansion House was used, except to accommodate a small public primary school for the town of Newbury. Library facilities and equipment for the science classes in Parsons Schoolhouse ( 1820) were inadequate,