Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
OUR EARLIER COLLEGES: THEIR POVERTY--THE NUMBER AND SALARIES OF THEIR FACULTIES

UNTIL very recent times our colleges started in the direst poverty. This was especially true of the earlier institutions, founded at a time when the colonies suffered greatly from lack of money and material wealth. It was not their riches, endowments and buildings that made the colleges, but the missionary spirit and self- denial of the few, miserably paid members of the faculties, who sacrificed all material comforts, all hope of worldly advancement, and oftentimes their lives and the welfare of their families, that they might thoroughly train their few pupils for a great life's work in regenerating a lost world. We may measure their earnestness by the depth of their sacrifices; and the poverty of the institutions by the small sums relatively that they obtained from the men after whom they were named. Harvard received from the estate of John Harvard less than £400, and some books; Yale from Governor Yale about £500; and Dartmouth, from Lord Dartmouth, fifty guineas. But all these amounts were in cash, and demonstrate the value then put upon actual money. In 1803 the College of Rhode Island voted that a donation of five thousand dollars, within one year, should entitle the donor to name the college. The sum was given by Mr. Nicholas Brown and the college was named after him.

Small donations to college namesakes.

Early collage poverty.

In her early poverty Harvard was but the prototype of most of her successors.

"Their history is a story of small beginnings made in poverty; of hard struggles to secure funds for either endowment or immediate expenditure; of a success usually moderate in such endeavors; of expenses frequently exceeding income; of economies at times foolish in method, at times wise, but usually necessary; of constant anxieties borne by officers --

Financial struggle of American colleges.

-50-

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