Page images

the year 1839, I think, when he was a student in Dartmouth College. Having had a little experience in teaching, he resolved to secure a winter school in Massachusetts, and fixed upon $20 per month as his price. He started out on foot, traveling from town to town, seeking a situation in the town of Danvers, until he reached a schoolhouse painted white, with green blinds. This structure seemed to him palatial, and he decided that if he could secure a position there he would teach for $19

per month.

My father was Prudential Committeeman that year, and young Philbrick sought him out and presented his application. He was taken out upon a bridge leading from the shoe factory to the storehouse for a private consultation. The bridge was in plain view from a kitchen window, where were grouped the young ladies of the family, who indulged in remarks at the expense of his personal appearance.

Foremost among these was my aunt, who afterwards became his devoted wife. His was the first winter school which I attended.

In the spring of 1849 I came to Boston, and was again his pupil, having entered the first class in the Quincy School. This was soon after its establishment upon the single-headed plan. Mr. Philbrick was its first master, and fully believing in this plan of organization, he entered with all the energy of his nature upon the task of making it a success. He was rewarded by being permitted to see this plan, together with that of having a single room for each teacher and a single desk for each pupil, adopted in every portion of the land.

[ocr errors]

This was the first school to be furnished with a large assembly hall. In this he was accustomed to have public exercises. These were very fully attended, and aided in increasing the fame of the school. His discipline was firm, and upon frequent occasions he vigorously applied the rod, as I can testify from personal experience. I should, however, consider his government mild for those days.

Mr. Philbrick was a man of scholastic tastes, and a hard student. Mr. Wm. H. Leonard, for many years his next-door neighbor, once told me that when awake he could always tell the midnight hour by hearing him splitting his wood for the morning fire ; for this he always did when his evening work in the study was ended. Mr. Philbrick possessed a great store of educational facts, and had them at his command, so that he was, in my opinion, better equipped for writing the history of Education in America than any other man. This would have been for him a noble task, but if ever written it must be by another hand.

I must not occupy your time longer, but I would bear witness to his nobleness of character and usefulness to men, His manner was so simple and unassuming that some said he was not a great man; but if the standard which Brother Blackinton has suggested is the true one, - namely, that he is great who leaves his mark upon his age, surely John Dudley Philbrick was a great man.


The following resolutions were then unanimously adopted, and a copy ordered to be engrossed and sent to Mrs. Philbrick :

Resolved, That the Schoolmasters' Club of Boston desire to place on record the following statement of their appreciation of the life and services of their late beloved associate, Dr. John D. Philbrick:

He was a man of eminent ability. No one talent, indeed, over-shadowed all the rest; but his mind, well-rounded and evenly balanced, was one of remarkable force.

He had great power of application. From the beginning of his college course, almost to the day of his death, he was an incessant worker. For him no pains was too great, and no needed labor was too severe.

His life was given to the cause of education. His profession was chosen as early as his sophomore year in college, and seems to have been followed with his whole soul to the very end. In his view it was a high and holy calling, and worthy of the highest ambition of the noblest minds.

He studied education from the standpoint of history and philosophy. No man of the age in which he lived was better acquainted with the history of school systems, educational theories, and methods of teaching. His very conservatism resulted from his knowledge of limitations.

His integrity never faltered. Honesty, both intellectual and moral, was a native element in his character. Selfish aims and ambitions found no lodgment in his heart. He preferred failure to insincerity.

He was generous and sympathetic. No man was quicker to detect merit in others, or more ready to give credit where it was due. Thousands of teachers have been cheered by his kind words of sympathy and wise counsel. He was a friend to all who were honestly working for the good of public schools.

Patient toward those who differed from him in opinion, he was possessed of the true Christian spirit of forgiveness toward his enemies. His later life was a constant exhibition of his conviction that it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. It was impossible to provoke him to the doing of an impolite act or the saying of an impolite word.

His life has been a grand success. Wherever public schools exist his influence is felt, and will long continue to be felt, for good. His mind was clear and strong ; his character was round and full and sweet; and his life contributed in no small measure to the well being of the world in which he lived.

May we cherish his memory and emulate his example.


The following resolutions were offered at a meeting of the School Committee of Boston, February 9, 1886, by William C. Williamson, a member who had served on the old board of school committee, while Dr. Philbrick was superintendent. The resolutions were unanimously adopted by a rising vote:

Resolved, That the School Committee desire to place on record their deep and abiding sense of gratitude for the long and eminent service rendered in the cause of public education by John D. Philbrick, lately deceased. For twenty years he was superintendent of our schools. During that period his efforts were constant and untiring to enlarge their usefulness and powers, to raise their standard, and to keep them fully up to the requirements of advanced intelligence, and he left them in a better condition than when he entered upon his office, by reason of his labor, watchfulness, and forethought. He was in his profession an idealist, an enthusiast. scholar, and a ripe and good one, exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading"; but he was also a conservative, not too

; easily convinced of the soundness of new fashions in edu

• He was a ز

cation ; gifted with executive and practical skill, and with a personal influence which made him known throughout the schools. In his forty-five printed reports he has placed upon the files of this committee a lasting memorial of his learning, his good sense, and his sanguine hopes. These, with their wise suggestions drawn from his experience and observation of the progress of education at home and in foreign countries, will afford light upon many questions, and bear fruitful testimony to his ability and character for many years to come.


[ocr errors]

At a meeting of the Boston Masters' Association, held March 2, 1886, a committee, consisting of Robert Swan, of the Winthrop School, Moses Merrill, Ph.D., of the Latin School, Larkin Dunton, LL.D., of the Normal School, C. Goodwin Clark, of the Gaston School, and George R. Marble, of the Chapman School, was appointed to arrange for holding a public memorial service in Boston, sometime the following autumn, in honor of Dr. John D. Philbrick.

This committee decided to invite Gilman H. Tucker of New York, Larkin Dunton of Boston, and Dr. Wm. T. Harris of Concord, Mass., to address the friends of the honored dead, at a meeting to be held the fol. lowing autumn. All these gentlemen accepted the invitation,

The meeting was held, November 5, 1886, in the spacious hall of the Public Latin School building, on Warren avenue, Boston. The public schools of the city were dismissed on the occasion. Mr. Edwin P. Seaver, Superintendent of Schools, presided. The hall


« PreviousContinue »