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Every one is a study. When has there appeared so much wisdom in a single pedagogical paper as in the circular prepared by him for the Bureau of Education, and published by it!
His life covered a most marked period in the progress of education, in which he was a most effective actor, and in which his name will ever be associated. He gathered the richest fruit for his chosen profession to the last. Teachers everywhere may well honor him and emulate his virtues.
LETTER OF JOHN S. CLARK.
I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Philbrick very well for the last twenty years of his life, and of one feature of his work I may, perhaps, be permitted to speak with exceptional knowledge. Among the prominent educators of the country he was the first to perceive the value of art education in general education, as well as the first to take active steps toward its promotion. I think it is generally conceded that the movement for the study of drawing in public schools, which, within the last fifteen. years, has extended over the whole country, had its beginning in Boston in 1870. How important a movement this has been, and what a development it has given to education in many directions, is well known to all observers of public schools for the last ten years. I do not think I do injustice to the many gentlemen who took a deep interest in starting the movement in Massachusetts, when I say that the leading spirit in the movement was Dr. Philbrick. He was at that time superintendent of
the public schools of Boston, and a member of the State Board of Education. My intimate acquaintance with him began about this time, and, above all others, he seemed to have clear ideas in regard to how the work should be begun in the schools, and how it should be developed. In my various consultations with him he surprised me, not only by the thoroughness of his observation in regard to what had been done abroad, but also by his clear comprehension of what was necessary to be done here before any success could be expected.
While his official reports at this time bear evidence of his earnest conviction in regard to the importance of drawing and art education generally, they give little indication of the very earnest personal efforts he was making in every direction to promote the undertaking, both in the city and in the state. To Dr. Philbrick more than to any other one person are we indebted for our Massachusetts Normal Art School. The necessity for such an institution became apparent to him at the outset of the movement, and his experience as an educator enabled. him to see, with perhaps greater clearness than others, its necessity in order to carry on the work throughout the state. It was through his instrumentality, mainly, that Mr. Walter Smith was induced to come to Boston in 1872, and in the early years of Mr. Smith's labors he had Dr. Philbrick's earnest support.
The art movement in education, which he did so much to inaugurate, engaged his deepest attention to the last. The closing years of his official life in Boston showed increased interest in the subject; and since his retirement
at Danvers he has evinced the liveliest interest in the spread of drawing throughout the country, and I have been in the habit of consulting him frequently in regard to various educational points that have arisen in my own work. I always found him full to repletion of wise counsel; and I never left him without feeling myself his debtor to an extent that could not be paid. His presence at the National Association at Saratoga was especially memorable by reason of his visit to the Art Exhibition. In the excellent work there exhibited from the schools of Worcester, St. Louis, Chicago, and Quincy, he took the greatest delight. He was able to see the development that had taken place within the last few years in the study of form and drawing, and, as he expressed himself, "It was the realization of what he could only hope for fifteen years ago." As I knew the deep interest he took in this particular line of educational work, I was greatly pleased that his partially dimmed eyes were gladdened by a sight so full of promise to the future of public education before they were closed forever.
There are so many who will pay fitting tribute to Dr. Philbrick's eminent public services that I have felt like speaking only on that feature in his work with which I was intimately acquainted. He was a leader and a pioneer in the art movement in education which is now going so successfully over the country; and in all stages of its progress his labor and his counsel have been invaluable.
Fully cognizant of his efforts in behalf of this feature in education, and his faith in its future development, it gives me great pleasure to add this tribute to his memory.
LETTER OF GILMAN H. TUCKER.
On New Year's Day, 1853, I went as a boy from my country home in New Hampshire to New Britain, Conn., to be under the immediate instruction and direction of Mr. John D. Philbrick, who, as assistant superintendent of common schools for the state of Connecticut, had assumed the charge of the State Normal and Training Schools located in that place. My uncle, who responded to my desire to "go away to school" by sending me there, had a very high estimate of the value of the teaching and influence of Mr. Philbrick, and, I remember, quoted some Plutarch saying, that it was regarded as the greatest good fortune that a youth was born at a time when he could have the teaching of Socrates. He rightly judged that nothing was so important to one in obtaining an education as to come under the influence of a gifted teacher and a great and good man.
From this time commenced a personal intimacy which, growing into a close friendship, lasted to the end of Mr. Philbrick's life. Later, after completing school and college, as a young man "beginning the world," I was for several years a member of his household in Boston, and since have always been a frequent and welcome visitor in his home. In these thirty-three years what have I not owed to him as teacher and friend!
As a teacher Mr. Philbrick placed before himself the highest ideal. No man could ever be more in love with, or more completely devoted to, his profession. He read and studied its greatest authors, and associated with its
best exponents. And his mind was so receptive and so practical that he assimilated all, so that the fruit of his knowledge always appeared in his daily work. His plans were always broad, and his system founded on sound principles. Teaching was to him a great thing,—a philosophy; not a mere theory or art, but both and more,— the love and pursuit of wisdom. Its aim was to develop intelligent, well rounded out, and evenly balanced men and women.
The governing principle of his own life was not merely seeking increase of knowledge, though none pursued that with more industry and success, but growth in wisdom. His whole career exemplified this, and he became the Franklin among educators. He was, in his ripe years, certainly the wisest man in his profession of public educator in this whole country, if not in the world.
As a teacher he was a very strong personality. His presence was always a sunshine and stimulus, his enthusiasm generous and unbounded, and dull indeed must be the mind not waked into activity and ambition by contact with his own. He had a real, personal interest in the individual students, studied and recognized their peculiarities, and instructed and influenced them accordingly. The breadth, and I may say height, of his teaching was a peculiarity. He was constantly broadening and elevating the minds of his pupils, and, without noise or demonstration, continually building up character. The purest and noblest aims were caught, not taught, by magnetic contact with his own clear and lofty character. The true teacher is so much greater than a book as a living organ