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the close of his connection with the schools, a thorough, systematic, and progressive course of musical instruction was given to all the pupils, beginning with the youngest on their entrance into school, and ending with the last year of the high school course; and there was, also, a systematic course of instruction given to the pupils of the Boston Normal School to qualify the students to teach music when they should be called to take charge of classes as teachers.
Dr. Philbrick, as long ago as 1860, took strong ground in favor of the introduction of physical training, or gymnastics, into the public schools. After much opposition, the plan that he proposed in 1860 was adopted in 1864, and a special teacher of vocal and physical culture was appointed. Not so much has been accomplished in this department in Boston as is needed, on account of our lack of facilities. The difficulty of improvement in this branch of instruction is a good illustration of the conservative force of an established order of things. To make physical culture really effective, a gymnasium is necessary in connection with each school, and in Boston the schoolhouses are so situated that the acquisition of ground for suitable buildings would be very expensive; and so even those who are wise enough to see the need of such buildings hesitate to move in the matter.
The plan at present in operation in Boston of employ. ing a force of truant officers by the school committee was developed during Dr. Philbrick's administration. At first truant officers were appointed by the mayor and aldermen, and were not responsible to the school committee for the performance of their duty. They for a long time met the superintendent once a month as a matter of courtesy, but not as a duty. At last the authority to appoint these officers and fix their salaries was conferred upon the school committee by general statute, and then they met the superintendent once a week for consultation and direction. After this system had been developed and perfected by a series of experiments in Boston, its beneficial effects were so marked that it at. tracted the attention of other American cities, and finally produced much effect in England and other foreign countries. The action of the truant force in Boston was so moulded by the superintendent that the moral influence of the officers in promoting a better state of feeling toward the schools, among ignorant parents, and thus securing greater regularity of attendance, was, perhaps, quite as great as that of their direct, legally required work.
Outside the public schools Dr. Philbrick's influence was constantly felt for good. He was a member of the association that secured the charter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From the day of the chartering of this institution to the day of his own death he was a member of the corporation and of the committee on instruction. He was a constant attendant of the meetings, both of the corporation and of the committees to which he belonged, and, by his labors and counsel, did much to develop this important institution.
He was no inconsiderable factor in the forces that created the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was the first temporary secretary of this association, and did much to secure the necessary funds for its establishment. Many of those who listen to me to-day will remember his personal influence in this direction.
His last work for Boston, as well as for the rest of the country, was his great argument in favor of a permanent tenure of office for teachers. His lecture upon this subject before the American Institute of Instruction, and his masterly treatment of the same in his report to the Commissioner of Education upon city school systems, did much toward securing the passage of the act by the Legislature last winter, which confers upon school committees authority to dispense with the annual re-election of teachers, - a movement which, in the opinion of Dr. Philbrick, is second to no reform in education that has been inaugurated in this country.
But, were I called upon to single out from all the grand achievements of Dr. Philbrick in Boston, the one more potent than all the rest, the one stronger and more farreaching in its influence than all others, the one that has done most to make the Boston schools known and honored wherever public schools exist in the whole world, the one that is destined, unless destroyed by narrowness and jealousy, to exert the strongest influence in the improvement of our schools in the future, I should name, not schoolhouses, not school furnishings, not programmes, not methods, not special schools, not even the diffusion of a sound philosophical spirit, but rather the creation of a higher ideal of the schoolmaster's office, — an ideal that makes the office respected and honored by the people, and that makes the school itself the master's pride and glory, and the object of his entire consecration and devo. tion. This was the crowning glory of Dr. Philbrick's work in Boston.
One of the fundamental philosophical principles that was early developed in Dr. Philbrick's mind, and that became a guiding force in many of his reforms, was the truth that specialized functions require specialized agencies. As soon as it became evident to him that there was a special work to be done he at once began to cast about for the proper agency for its accomplishment. Hence we find growing up in Boston, under his wise guidance, and developing under his fostering care, evening elementary schools, evening high schools, evening drawing schools, schools for licensed minors, a deaf-mute school, in addition to the regular primary, grammar, and high schools. The same principle, also, held him as a firm advocate of the establishment of a separate Latin school for girls, instead of having the work of fitting girls for college done in the regular high school for girls where the chief business is giving a general education.
The application of this principle compelled him to take ground in favor of a separate and distinct normal school. He saw, with the insight of a sage, that the work of preparing young women to become teachers in primary and grammar schools was, in its finishing process, entirely distinct from the general work of developing scientific and literary power, and, therefore, as he believed, a special agency should be employed for performing this spe. cial work. I remember well a visit to the Boston Normal School by the superintendent of schools of New York, — Mr. Kiddle, - soon after the separation of the Normal School from the Girls' High. We were then just struggling into existence; but, after witnessing the work of the school for some time, he remarked, “ You have the right organization, - a special school for special work.”
And yet this is only a single instance of the profoundly philosophic mould of Dr. Philbrick's mind. He told me, within a few years of his death, that he had never written a sentence on education that he would wish to blot. It is remarkable to observe what unity and consistency run through all his writings. The reason of this is obvious to those who know the deep principles that ran through all his educational thinking and unified all his educa. tional work. Dr. Harris well expressed this fact when he said, “ His annual reports were luminous with insight into the relations of practical methods to the history of pedagogy. He was a city set upon a hill. He never wrote a paragraph without considering the relation of its doctrine to the theory and practice of the world.”
The ability to do this implies what we all concede, that he was profoundly versed in educational history. Some have attempted to separate a knowledge of educational philosophy from that of educational practice, and to attribute to him the latter, but to deny him the former ; but those who so estimate the man know him only in part. He was, indeed, deeply read in systems of school organization, but these systems lay in his mind as the development of corresponding philosophies.
He was strong as a practical school man, but the secret of his