« PreviousContinue »
unwritten memorial of them in remembrance." So we, my brethren, may never stand by the grave, or read the epitaph of him we all so mourn, but we shall often recall his many virtues and dwell with satisfaction and profit on the noble record of a life so active, so useful, and so honorable.
At the close of these addresses the following resolutions, offered by a committee appointed at the previous meeting of the Association, consisting of C. Goodwin Clark, W. E. Eaton, James F. Blackinton, Elbridge Smith, and Granville B. Putnam, were unanimously adopted, and the meeting adjourned :
The masters of the public schools of Boston hereby express their sense of personal bereavement at the great loss they and the cause of education have sustained in the death of John D. Philbrick, who for twenty years was superintendent of the public schools of this city.
He was great as an organizer and masterly in execution. To his devotion, wisdom, enthusiasm, and wise conservatism, the excellence of our schools to-day is, in large measure, due.
His forty-five reports to the school committee are valuable contributions to education. They are notable for sound judgment, wise suggestions, and statesman-like sagacity. They have given an educational reputation to Boston at home and in foreign countries.
We lament the loss of a noble man and a sincere friend, whose wise counsel was always at our command, whose kindly sympathy encouraged and strengthened us in trouble, whose enthusiasm was contagious, whose cheerfulness was perennial, whose patience was unwearied, and whose charity extended to all, even to those who could not understand his motives or appreciate his labors.
While we bow in submission to the will of an all-wise and loving Father, we confess our disappointment that his life was not prolonged to serve still further the cause which he loved, and for which freedom from public duties had furnished the opportunity, and his ripened wisdom had so eminently fitted him.
May his elevated character, his devotion to the cause of popular education, and his love for those who labor in it be to us an example and an inspiration.
THE SCHOOLMASTERS' CLUB.
The Schoolmasters' Club is a social and professional club, composed of teachers, superintendents, editors of educational journals, and other school men of New England, who dine together several times each year, and discuss educational questions. Dr. Philbrick was one of the original members of the New England Pedagogical Society, from which the Schoolmasters' Club sprang. He had always retained his membership in the club, indeed had been made an honorary member.
At a meeting of this club, held Feb. 20, 1887, addresses were made as follows, in support of resolutions read by Larkin Dunton :
ADDRESS OF JAMES F. BLACKINTON.
Among those who have taken a prominent part in educational affairs in our day, the name of John D. Philbrick stands in the foremost rank. During his career in this city, some of us, members of this Association, were witnesses of his course from the beginning, from his position as assistant teacher to his crowning work, the re-organization and successful management of the Boston schools. We saw his untiring industry, his persistent purpose, his calm patience under opposition and provocation, and when the triumph came, we saw how meekly and gracefully he bore his honors.
One of the strong points in Mr. Philbrick's character was the rare judgment he showed in steering between extreme educational conservatives on the one side, and violent radicals on the other. He had a profound distrust of all educational hobbies. Always ready to examine what was new and promised to be valuable, he pursued the even tenor of his way, refusing to be turned aside from his purpose by any patent devices or short cuts to educational success.
Another of his peculiar traits, as I knew him, was his desire to find out the best side of every teacher's character. Too many of us, I fear, who have the supervision of teachers, seem to regard criticism as the principal function of our office. We seem to think if we find the bad, the good will take care of itself. This was not Mr. Philbrick's method. He first carefully sought and commended all that was excellent in a teacher's work, and then, in the kindest manner, pointed out what needed correction. This was one thing that gave him so strong a hold on the love and respect of the teachers of Boston. As the years go by, I believe the work of Mr. Philbrick in all departments, as teacher, superintendent, and writer, will be more and more appreciated, and the conviction will be strengthened that this work will bear the test of near approach and strict examination.
But we are told that Mr. Philbrick was not a great man. No, as the term is generally understood, perhaps not. What is a great man? I once heard Mr. Everett say, a great man is one who sets his mark on the insti. tutions of his age, and leaves the world better for his having lived. John Dudley Philbrick set his mark on the educational institutions of Boston, and left them better than he found them.
It has been said within the last few weeks that Mr. Philbrick's death was untimely. So it was when we remember what was expected of him. When he left us here in Boston, we had a right to look for ten or fifteen years more of active educational work from him. But when we look at what he did, his death was not untimely. He accomplished more in that fifty years than others would have accomplished in a century. So far as the true purposes of living and doing for his fellowmen are concerned, the span of a patriarch's life was but a fraction compared with that threescore years and nearly ten, so nobly and so grandly filled. As we said a few months ago of one of our departed members, we look with just pride and satisfaction on the record of a full and rounded life, devoted, for half a century, to the noble cause that lay nearest his heart.
ADDRESS OF GRANVILLE B. PUTNAM.
Mr. President and Gentlemen :
As I have known our friend, Mr. Philbrick, longer, and, in some respects, more intimately than any other one present, I desire to say a few words upon this occasion. As you know, he was born in Deerfield, N. H., and this home of his childhood was ever dear to him. Until the time of his death he retained the old homestead in his possession, and it was his delight to revisit it. Every rock and tree was a familiar friend. To trim these trees seemed almost a passion, and he took great pride in their growth and symmetrical development under his pruning hand. He often spoke in admiration of the scenery, which was so rugged and picturesque, and predicted that the time would come when Deerfield would be a favorite place of summer resort.
His father was a man of strong character, whom he much resembled. As he lay upon his death-bed, a likeness of his father was placed in my hand, and as I looked from one to the other, I was struck with the marked resemblance.
He spent his time much as country boys do, attending school during short terms, making maple sugar, breaking steers, etc. He was a young man of courage and muscle, and I have often heard him tell the story of the reception he gave the sophomores who visited his room early in his freshman year. Instead of complying with their demands, he seized a chair and with a tiger-like strength and agility drove them not only from the room but down the stairs. He was soon summoned to the study of the President. He went with a good deal of trepidation, told his story, and waited for his sentence. The President slowly said, “Freshman Philbrick, you did just right, just right. You can go, sir."
My personal knowledge of Mr. Philbrick dates back to