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It was here too, and in the old and honored family of Putnams, that he formed an attachment which had great influence for good on his future; and on the 24th of August, 1843, while teaching in Roxbury, he married Miss Julia A. Putnam of Danvers. The union proved a most happy one, and thus for forty-three years he had the cherishing support of a true helpmeet, and the comfort and joy of an ideal home.
TEACHING IN ROXBURY AND BOSTON.
In any complete account of Mr. Philbrick's education and growth, there must be mentioned his first five years of teaching in Roxbury and Boston. Beginning as an assistant in a private school in Roxbury, upon leaving college in 1842, he successively filled various positions, always exchanging a good place for a better one, until, in 1847, he reached the Mastership of the Quincy School, that first united and complete grammar school, which marked so important an era in the school system of Boston.
It was not until this time, I think, that he had discov. ered his full abilities in the line of education, or had appreciated the importance and vastness of this subject, and its moral incentives for a high career.
His intellectual, moral, and social growth during his college course had been very great, but during this fiveyear period it was hardly less than marvelous. Coming as a young man from the country into the quick intel. lectual life of a cultivated city, and by his surroundings thrown into congenial and intelligent society, through his keenness and aptness he assimilated all that was best. Here he found a new education ; the college had enlarged itself into a city, and the city again into a world. In his apprenticeship in teaching he owed much to Thomas Sherwin, Master of the English High School in Boston, where he was for two years as assistant.
But the one man to whom he owed more than to all others, in this time, was Dr. George Putnam, then minister of the Unitarian Church in Roxbury. The preaching and teachings of this great man, whose friendship and confidence had been secured by the solid and attractive qualities of this young man, and his influence in close personal intercourse, left a deep and lasting impression upon Mr. Philbrick's character. The determined ambition with which he had started out to pursue and obtain the most obvious prizes of life was transformed into a lofty ambition to attempt only the most worthy objects, and to pursue a course which, first of all, should be of benefit to mankind.
Thus his love of teaching, his eminent success in it, the gradual opening out of its great possibilities, lighted up by this new ambition, led him to adopt the profession of Education as a life career.
With his schooling in the little country district, with his severe training upon the farm, continuing at intervals up to the age of twenty-four; with his academic life, struggled and fought for and obtained in fragments; with his college course, full of patient, industrious, and
successful study ; with his eight terms of teaching, stretching through nearly as many years; with his first five years of teaching in Roxbury and this city, so full of opportunity and culture, — we find him at length standing, a young man of twenty-nine, equipped for his life work, at the head of the first united grammar school in the city of Boston.
In the ripeness of his manhood he looked back upon this formative period of his youth through the fine, ideal glow of distance, its adversities, its struggles, its triumphs, as a thing wholly apart from himself; but every aspiring youth, — nay, the whole human family of children, — was to him the type of this striving boy, , reaching out for instruction and knowledge, while his was the duty to answer this call, by upbuilding and establishing the wisest methods of a broad education.