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ton, March, 1882, at the session of our Superintendents' Convention. It was there, if I mistake not, that he read his admirable paper upon the work accomplished by our
city systems, a paper since issued in its elaborated form by the Department of Education. To those younger than himself, and needing the rare benefits of his matured judgment, he was most kindly and sympathetic. I can never efface the recollection of
last interview with him at the Ebbitt House in Washington, during the session of our convention. How little did I imagine that it was the last !
No man of our generation has surpassed Mr. Philbrick in serene wisdom, discerning judgment, singleness of aim, and continuity of effort. Many of the most excellent characteristics of our school system may be traced to his inspiration; his whole life was a protest against empiricism, mechanism, and all the disingenuous arts by which men of lesser mould have won transient fame.
LETTER OF A. P. STONE, LL.D.
My acquaintance with Mr. Philbrick extended over the whole of his professional life. From the first I was attracted to him as a bright, pleasant man, with winning ways, and an active participant in the early meetings of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association and other gatherings of school workers. On such occasions he was always helpful and inspiring, for he had an intense interest in teachers' meetings, and his professional enthusiasm, which was always of the highest type, gave a kind of glow to his thoughts and words that was peculiarly elevating and enjoyable. As a student of education he was profound in its history, philosophy, and methods. To the progress of the cause of education for the last forty years, and especially in the line of the common schools, he contributed his best thoughts and strength, and with great success.
One of the most noticeable characteristics of Mr. Phil. brick was his warm personal interest in his fellow-teachers. For them he always had a pleasant smile of wel. come, as well as a word of encouragement and of counsel, if asked for or needed. By his advice to school committees and superintendents, many teachers have found themselves called to improved situations, and oftentimes without ever knowing by whose counsel it was done.
In the death of Mr. Philbrick the cause of education loses one of its most devoted and efficient workers. As a personal friend I feel his loss most keenly.
LETTER OF E. C. CARRIGAN, ESQ.
“We will sell, or deny, or defer right or justice to no man,” was a principle of Magna Charta which the barons and the primate of England exacted from an ambitious king. Upon the key-stone of the free, universal education of the people stood John D. Philbrick, foremost among American educators, delaying and denying to none the most liberal tuition offered by a generous public. Whether a child of the city or country, native or foreign born, attending school morning or evening, Mr. Philbrick guarded with watchful, parental care the welfare of every ward of the Commonwealth, encouraging all to the highest possible advancement. To him there were known no boundaries in education, and in every department of the common school system, at all times, he insisted that in both day and evening schools “the best is the best everywhere." Urging this principle, he was practically the sole official promoter, if not the founder, of our present system of evening schools. With the yearly influx of foreign population, and the proneness of parents early to call their children from the schoolroom to the factory and family support, he claimed that a well-matured system of evening schools was but the natural and necessary complement of the day schools. Instead of committing to the guardianship of an indifferent tax-paying community, he wisely contended for their establishment under a general mandatory enactment, that they might be made a permanent part of the State school system. To this end he most freely gave his voice and his pen, and added his great influence.
I remember his happy expression and hearty counsel, when I presented for his criticism the bill then pending enactment by the legislature of 1883, and which to his great satisfaction was passed and approved in May of the same year. Though the act provided for the maintenance of evening schools in all cities and towns of ten thousand and more inhabitants, he still urged the permanent establishment of high schools in larger cities under the same law.
For evening art and industrial schools he held the same generous and intelligent views. He thought it important to imitate Great Britain and Continental Europe
in the establishment for artisans and others, evening courses, free to the public, irrespective of sex and occupation. His theory of evening school work was espe. cially practical and wise. He insisted upon close organization and classification, and, like Guizot, believed that “it is the master that makes the school”; that these schools were not designed as an asylum for the superannuated and rejected teachers of day schools, nor to be made the depository of cast-off supplies. On the contrary, he would provide the best accommodations and supplies, and give their management to competent day masters.
In his earliest conception of the design, scope, and management of evening schools, Mr. Philbrick proved himself a wise counsellor ; and in every department, whether advising or supervising, as was said of Wellington, he was something more than a commissary and clerk. He was the founder of principles and originator of methods for these schools, and a master every way competent to direct their use to practical and profitable ends. In criticising a wrong he was ready to suggest the remedy, and his great success in the direction of evening school service was but the legitimate and necessary result of honest, studious, and intelligent effort.
As a friend, a promoter and advocate of secondary instruction in evening schools, his reports offer the best evidence. Of the Boston Evening High School he said, as early as 1874, when it was in charge of Mr. W. Nichols, “I never visited a school in the city that afforded me more satisfaction than this, and in none is the public money expended to better advantage."
Mr. Philbrick's latest encouragement to the maintenance of the school of which he was the founder was probably expressed to a gathering of a few of his personal friends at the recent reunion of the Franklin School graduates, when, after expressing his great satisfaction at the establishment of the school in the High and Latin School building, he said, “Our high schools are the most demo- . cratic of all our schools, but the most democratic of high schools is the evening high school." In his work for this branch of education his heart was always as generous as his mind was great. A staunch supporter of the most liberal appropriations for higher instruction in both day and evening schools, his counsel and influence were sought in everything material to the welfare of the evening high school. Of the petitioners who urged the reestablishment of this school in the high school building, Mr. Philbrick was among the foremost to champion its support; and to the day of his death his services were remembered by the pupils, as expressed in the following resolutions :
Whereas, The Boston Evening High School was established and generously maintained under the direction of Supt. John D. Philbrick, whose death we regretfully learn :
Resolved, That, by the death of John D. Philbrick, this school has lost a most constant and faithful friend, whose labors for evening education were specially marked by zealous, untiring devotion in all its departments.
Resolved, That, while we, the pupils of the Evening High School, record our earnest appreciation of his services in our behalf, we would extend to his bereaved household and friends our heartfelt sympathy.
Resolved, That a committee of five attend the funeral, and present to the widow an engrossed copy of these resolutions.