« PreviousContinue »
LETTER OF SAMUEL W. MASON.
I really wish I could say something worthy the name and fame of Dr. Philbrick, but, as others will write of his merits as a man and an educator, I will mention only one or two items among the many reminiscences I have of him.
After he had been appointed master of the Quincy School he visited the college from which he graduated, and some of the students were introduced to him. Such was his zeal and enthusiasm in the profession to which he was to devote his life that many of us were induced to choose teaching as a vocation. I thought if I could only be one of his corps of teachers, have him for a guide, I should be content to labor a lifetime under such a director.
When teaching in a distant state, I heard that there was a vacancy in the Quincy School; I immediately came to see Mr. Philbrick, but found I was too late, for another had obtained the place. But my journey to Bos. ton was not for naught, as I saw Mr. Philbrick in school, and noticed what a power he had over his teachers and boys, - what an interest he awakened in his intercourse with others, and how splendidly he “ kept school.” I returned to my country school a better teacher, determined, if possible, to teach in Boston, and learn how to teach by knowing and watching Mr. Philbrick. I was connected with the Boston schools when he was master, and I lost no opportunity to visit his school and learn of him. I never went to his school without feeling my own
deficiency and the infinite resources at his command to make an excellent school.
He was willing and anxious to help young teachers, and we looked up to him as a safe adviser, a wise counsellor, and a true friend,
During his first term of service as superintendent I was one of the Boston masters, and I know how we looked to him for direction and advice, never in vain. He took a deep interest in us and in our individual schools, and often commended us if we tried to develop a subject in which, at the time, he was specially interested. He had no hobbies to ride, but believed that education meant a development of the whole man, mentally, physically, and morally. He endeavored to stimulate one's noblest faculties to action, to incite him to form good habits, and to mould an excellent character, — to make him what he should be, a whole man; but sometimes he laid particular stress on a certain subject when he thought it had been neglected.
He always was popular with the Boston masters because he confided in us, trusted us, and thought we knew how to manage our individual schools. He let us do as we pleased if we pleased to do right, but he was not slow to point out our faults, and kindly helped us to correct them.
He did a noble work for our schools, and not alone for our schools, but for the cause of good learning. He was the teachers' friend, and did much to make the profession of teaching noble and honorable. His reputation as a true educator will increase wherever true culture is known and appreciated.
The name of Dr. Philbrick is a benediction to us who still labor and wait.
LETTER OF J. L. PICKARD, LL.D.
To the workers in the broad West the death of Dr. Philbrick came as a bereavement. For many years we have looked on and criticised his work, but with an everincreasing conviction that his plans were well laid and his methods comprehensive. No one knows better than those who have labored in fields similar to the one he so faithfully cultivated, how hard the task of organizing and administering city schools,-hard indeed, when old and deep-rooted prejudices must be overcome. Some of us at the West have felt the wisdom of his counsels, without realizing the benefit to us of being able to plant the good seed in virgin soil. We may, on this account, have been ready to attribute to him tardiness of movement. Looking back over the past, we see no retrogression, but steady progress.
What fitter tribute can we pay to the memory of our departed brother than this ? In labors abundant, not always appreciated as they deserved, Dr. Philbrick moved on serenely, conscious that he was right, and in this was his success.
LETTER OF ROBERT C. METCALF.
My earliest recollections of Boston schools are connected with the administration of Mr. Philbrick as superintendent. The number of schools in the city thirty years ago was so small when compared with the number at the present time that a visit from the superintendent
was by no means so rare an occurrence as now. member well those visits, and the words of encouragement that were to me so helpful. Many a time has the recollection of them prompted me to encourage others by seeing only what was worthy of commendation. Most of us know of vastly more faults than we are able to correct; and there is little need that they should be pointed out by superiors.
Mr. Philbrick was kind-hearted and sympathetic. An excellent teacher himself, he recognized and appreciated the good work of teachers under his supervision. A man of broad views, he labored steadily to systematize the work of the Boston schools. A close student in educational matters, he was thoroughly acquainted with the school systems of other cities and of other countries. He believed that good schools implied good teachers and wise supervision. To procure the former he was instrumental in establishing the city normal school, and he hoped to secure the latter by bringing the primary and grammar departments under one head, and placing one principal over both.
Under the superintendency of Mr. Philbrick the most cordial relations were established between the different schools of the city. The masters were no longer rivals,they were brethren, and have remained such to this day.
The schoolmasters of Boston owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Philbrick that even the love which they lavished upon him when alive, the heart-felt grief which followed him to the grave, and the tender recollections which cluster about his memory, can never repay.
LETTER OF MARY A. CURRIER.
It was my privilege to know Mr. Philbrick as a friend, a neighbor, a townsman, and an educator. From a child his name was familiar to me, but I did not know him personally till 1862, when I came to Boston for an extended visit. His large-heartedness and his great wisdom in all educational matters at once impressed me, and I was very soon led by his influence into the public schools of Boston. From that time till his death he has ever been ready with his counsel and encouragement, and as a teacher I owe him more than any other person excepting the late Lewis B. Monroe.
I will not here dwell, however, upon the many pleasant memories connected with his professional work, but will allude briefly to a phase of his life not so well known to most of his educational friends, — his loyalty to his
· native town, and his attachment to the old homestead. Amid all his successes he never lost his love for his boy. hood home, nor his interest in the humblest of his neighbors, and his devotion as a son and a brother was beautiful in the extreme, commanding the admiration of all who knew him in this relation. He used to say, in speaking of the Deerfield home, “ It is the prettiest spot in the world to me; you ought to go out in the field just beyond the house and see what a view there is !”
Through his influence each school district in the town was long ago supplied with an Unabridged Dictionary, and improved seats and desks were put into the high school. He saw the need of a public library, and in