PERRY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
SOLDIERS' ORPHANS' SCHOOLS
|Number of institutions in which there are soldiers' orphans,||37|
|Number of orphans in schools and homes, May 31, 1872||3,527|
|Number of orders of admission issued from May 31, 1871 to October 1, 1872||880|
|Number of discharges from May 31, 1871 to October 1, 1872||847|
|Number of orphans in charge of the State, October 1, 1872||3,482|
|Number of orders of admission issued since system went into operation||7,218|
|Number of orphans admitted since system went into operation||6,429|
|Number of applicants now on file||None|
|Probable number of orphans that will be cared for under the system||7,000|
|Cost of the system for the past year||$475,245.47|
|Whole cost of the system since going into operation||$3,467,543.81|
|Probable amount of future appropriations that will be needed||1,500,000.00|
GENERAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT.
This statement shows the exact financial condition of the Department at the end of the school year.
The moneys placed at the disposal of the Department for the year ending May 31, 1872, were as follows:
. . .
In connection with the table given above, it may be well to present the course of study as now prescribed for the soldiers' orphan schools. The extent to which the several branches are to be taught in the different grades is left to the discretion of the teachers. Advancement will be measured more by thoroughness than by amount.
COURSE OF STUDY.
First Grade--Spelling, reading, writing and drawing on slates, oral exercises in numbers, object lessons.
Second Grade--Spelling ,reading, writing and drawing on slates, mental arithmetic, four fundamental rules of written arithmetic, object lessons.
Third Grade--Spelling, reading, writing, drawing mental and written arithmetic, geography, object lessons.
Fourth Grade--Same as for third grade.
Fifth Grade--Same as for fourth grade, with the addition of grammar.
Sixth Grade--Same as for fifth grade, with the addition of history of United States.
Seventh Grade--Spelling, reading, book-keeping, elementary algebra, geography, grammar, history of United States, physiology.
Eighth Grade--Reading, algebra, or geometry, grammar, Constitution of United States, natural philosophy or the elements of the natural sciences generally.
Vocal music, declamation ,composition and instruction in morals and manners are continued throughout the whole course.
The studies of the course are frequently reviewed as the pupils proceed. Bible classes and Sunday schools have been organized in all the school, but sectarian instruction is carefully avoided, except where the children are all of one denomination.
In the form of object lessons a large amount of general information is imparted and valuable instruction given in the elements of the different sciences that can be illustrated with objects.
During the year, I had engraved a very beautiful diploma, which is now granted to those orphans who leave the schools at the age of sixteen, and have, while in the care of the State, studied diligently and borne a good moral character. Each diploma is signed by the State Superintendent and by the principal and teachers of the school where granted. The effect of this proceeding is decidedly advantageous.
SOLDIERS' ORPHANS AT NORMAL SCHOOLS.
The following paragraph occurs in the report last year:
As will be seen by the list given on a subsequent page, quite a number of orphans, leaving the schools at sixteen, engage in teaching. A few, aided by kind-hearted friends, find their way to the State Normal Schools and it has occurred to me that, if the State would make a small appropriation to aid others, who may exhibit special aptitude for the business of teaching, it would be a wise expenditure of money. An appropriation of $2,000 per annum would probably send ten or twelve of the brightest and best graduates of the orphan schools to the State Normal schools, where they could be fitted for a career of the highest usefulness as teachers. If such a distinction could be conferred an an honor for scholarship and good conduct, it would have a most beneficial effect upon the schools. I heartily recommend such an appropriation.
This recommendation was adopted by the Legislature and the sum of two thousand dollars was appropriated for the purpose of carrying it into effect.
An agreement was entered into with the several State Normal schools by which they furnish to the class of orphans to be sent to them, boarding, washing, tuition, and the use of text-books, at the rate of $4 a week, and there are now thirteen of these young ladies and gentlemen, all of great promise, pursuing their studies at the Normal schools, under the wise provision made for them. More than as many more are waiting to be admitted, and I respectfully ask that the appropriation for the coming year be increased to five thousand dollars. I do not know any way in which more good can be done with the money.
It is regretted that the applicants for admission to the Normal schools have been so far almost wholly from one part of the State, but this will not be the case as soon as the matter becomes fully understood in other localities.
EMPLOYMENT AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL.
Great pains have been taken during the past year to ascertain the whereabouts and employments of the orphans who lave left school at the age of sixteen. The list inserted in another part of this report exhibits the result. It shows that the great body of them are doing well; and still, it is a serious thing oftentimes to return these children, especially the girls, at the age of sixteen to their homes and to such surroundings as unfortunately many of them have. All connected with the system have been enjoined to interest themselves in procuring suitable employment for the orphans after they leave school/ but it is a question whether, in addition, it would not be good policy to supplement our system by the establishment of one or more industrial schools ,where these orphans might be taught useful trades before sending them out into the world to earn a livelihood for themselves. A bill was before Congress at the last session, making provision for incorporating institutions of the kind, under the title of the "National Soldiers' & Sailors' Orphan Industrial Training Association, but it failed to become law. Perhaps, as our State has done, so much for her soldiers' orphan children, she might as well do all.
THE SCHOOLS THE PAST YEAR.
Buildings.--The orphan school buildings were, as a whole, very much improved during the past year. News and quite commodious buildings were erected at Titusville. A large addition was made to the buildings at Phillipsburg. Prof. Allen put an additional story on his building at Mansfield, and otherwise very materially improved it. Mount Joy, White Hall, Uniontown, Chester Springs, Mercer and Lincoln institutions made additions and repairs of a valuable character and at considerable expense. The other schools made such repairs as it thought they needed, and in a general way kept their buildings in good condition. Nearly all the homes in which orphans have been placed are, in all respects, model institutions of the kind. Some of them were founded and are supported by particular religious denominations, but others are the outgrowth of the common benevolent sentiment of the communities in which they are established. The names of some of the first ladies of the Commonwealth can be found among the members of their boards of managers.
Clothing.--Up to the past year all the clothing for the children in the advanced schools was purchased and furnished to them by the State Superintendent. Then, as now, each child was allowed twenty-five dollars a year for clothing. The Legislature of 1871, at the request of the present Superintendent, placed the matter of providing clothing for the children in the hands of the principals of the respective schools, declaring it, however, to be the "duty of the Superintendent to prescribe the kind of clothing to be worn by the children in said orphan schools, and to see that each receives an amount of the full value of twenty-five dollars."
The manner in which the first part of the duty enjoined upon the Superintendent was performed can be seen by reference to "official circular, No. 5" appended to this report. The requirements of this circular were in the main cheerfully conformed to by those to whom it was addressed.
The principals of the schools are required to expend one-sixth of all the money they receive from the State in clothing for the children. In order to show that this was done, they presented vouchers, now on file in the Department, for all money paid out for clothing; and also issue rolls containing the list of articles each child received and their cost price. This, with careful inspection, seems all that is necessary in order to secure accuracy in the accounts.
The following table shows the amount allowed the different schools for clothing and the amount actually expended, as it appears from the issue rolls. The aggregate amount expended is $15,221.70 in excess of the amount allowed. Some of the schools, conspicuously the Soldiers' Orphan institute and the Lincoln institution, have drawn largely upon their other resources to furnish their children with the full supply of clothing they thought good taste demanded they should have; and none of them have permitted their expenditures for clothing to fall more than a few dollars below what the State gave them to be thus expended.
|Soldiers' Orphan Institute||5,728.59||15,343.49|
The change made in the mode of providing the clothing is
eminently satisfactory, the inspectors, the principals and all who have visited
the schools bearing testimony to the improved condition of the children's
wardrobes. It is within the bounds of truth to say that as a whole the
children are fifty per cent better clothed than they were at the close of the
school year of 1871, and in some of the schools the children have double and
treble the amount of clothing they had at that time. And as the children
have now on hand a good supply of clothing, further improvement in this
direction may be expected.
Health.--The health of the orphans during the year has, on the whole, been remarkably good. In all the schools and homes except one there were only eleven deaths. Their protection from the small pox, in many cases prevailing to an alarming extent all around them, is remarkable and seems almost miraculous. Nothing surely could be stronger evidence of good management.
The exception above alluded to is the school for colored orphans at Bridgewater. Here there were eleven deaths; two in June, one in July, one in August, one in December, two in February, three in March and one in April. The diseases of which the children died were, according to the report of the attending physician, consumption, scrofula and pneumonia. The children are said to have been frail and sickly, as many of these colored children are. The sickness was not general among the children, nor confined to one season of the year. The location of the building is somewhat damp and the winter was a hard one. The unusual number of deaths attracted the attention of the Department early in the year, and it was subsequently brought to our attention by a communication from the State Board of Charities; but close and repeated inspection did not reveal any serious neglect on the part of the immediate managers of the institution, and we can now only express our sorrow with regard to the afflicting circumstances. Since April there have been no deaths, and the health of the institution is now remarkably good. Careful hygienic measures have been taken to keep it in that condition if possible.
Full information concerning the system of instruction pursued at our soldiers' orphan schools, industrial, intellectual and moral, will be found in the reports of the inspectors and the principals. It is not all, I would like to have it, not all it can be made, but it is sending out these orphans at the age of sixteen with acquirements that fit them for most kinds of business, and with moral principles that make them proof against the usual temptations that beset the young. This is high but deserved praise, as all who know them best will testify.
ORPHANAGE AND CRIME.
Our system of orphan schools has cost the State a large amount of money, but its economy will appear from the following facts showing the relation of orphanage and crime.
Col. W. J. Dougherty, at the late National Police Convention, held in the city of St. Louis, mae the following statement:
From an article in the American and Theological Review, I quote as follows: "It is state that of the 11,510 convicted criminals in New York, 7,232 or 62 per cent were orphans or half orphans. In Pennsylvania, 515 out of 962 prisoners, more than 50 per cent were virtually orphans; that is, 375 were literally so, and 140 were sent away from home in early life and thus deprived of all parental care, guidance and discipline. In Maryland, out of 537 convicts, 260 were orphans, nearly 50 per cent. The chaplain of the Kansas penitentiary, in his report of 1868, says: Of 125 convicts, 52 have both parents living, 30 have fathers only, 18 mothers only, 48 have neither parents living, and 22 know nothing of their parents. Such is the composition of prison population."
The recent report of the Eastern penitentiary of this State shows, that of the 7,092 prisoners received since its establishment in 1829, 5,088 of them had lost either one parent or both. And when it is taken into consideration that more than 50 per cent of these prisoners were under 25. . .
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE FOR SOLDIERS' ORPHANS IN OTHER STATES.
Col. Robert B. Beath, Surveyor General of this State, read a paper before the sixth annual encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held at Cleveland, Ohio, in May, 1872, in which I find some statistics concerning what has been done for soldiers' orphans in other States. From this paper I gather the following:
Ohio. The Grand Army of the Republic purchased ground, erected buildings and started a home for soldiers' orphans. Afterwards the State assumed charge, and in May, 1871, appropriated $163,000 for the erection of other buildings and the maintenance of the home. They had gathered in 270 children at the date of the last report, but expected soon to accommodate a much larger number.
Connecticut. This State appropriates $1.50 per week towards the support of each orphan, the appropriation ceasing at the age of 14. During the year ending March 30, 1871, $128,118.187 was distributed among 1,430 orphans. Two homes have received assistance outside of this appropriation.
New Jersey. The Soldiers' Children's home at Trenton has 209 children under care. The expenditures for the year ending December 1, 1871, were $41,623.66
Maryland. The State contributes $1,800 yearly to a private home.
Indiana. One home is maintained by the State, at an expense of about $30,000 per annum. $80,000 have been expended for buildings and improvements.
Iowa. A private association first established homes for soldiers' orphans, and afterwards transferred the property to the State. The total expenditures to November, 1871, were $570,596. For the last two years the expenditures were $183,490 for an average of 718 children.
Wisconsin. The last report of the Soldiers Orphan home in this State shows that 223 children were being cared for at an annual expenditure of $37,130.35. Six children are sent each year to the State Normal school.
Michigan. A building for orphan and indigent children was erected the past summer.
Minnesota. A home has been in operation in this State since March 30, 1871. Forty-four children have been admitted, and $15,000 appropriated for their support.
Maine. There are two homes in this State, supported partly by the State and partly by private contributions. One at Bath has 75 children and costs $10,000 per annum. The State in 1871 gave $4,104.72. The home at Bangor contains 20 children.
Nevada. The State Orphans' home receives all orphans.
Illinois. A home for soldiers' orphans is provided at Normal. The building is a very fine one. 572 children have been admitted since its organization. The average attendance is about 300, and the cost per capita $136.84.
New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Nebraska and California have made no special provision for the destitute orphans of soldiers; and it is presumed the same is true of the States not named. In most cases, however, it is likely the benevolent have in some measure done what the States have left undone.
In the holy work of caring for the little ones of the brave, departed defenders of our country, left in poverty and want, Pennsylvania must be accorded the foremost rank.
She began the work in 1864, before the war closed.
Her scheme was a comprehensive one. She planned that all soldiers' orphans left in destitute circumstances should be cared for. She did not wait for the poor mothers or friends of these children to come to her and ask for her care and protection as a charity. She went to them and offered these bounties, freely, as if in payment of a debt due the dead fathers.
Up to the first day of October, 1872, she has had under her care 6,429 orphans and has expended for their education, maintenance, and clothing over $3,500,000, and she expects to expend at least $1,500,000 more before the work she has undertaken will be completed. Well may she feel proud of the record she has made. The page that tells of it will be the brightest in all her history. Nothing nobler graces the annals of the world.
J. P. WICKERSHAM,
REPORTS OF THE INSPECTORS.
REPORT OF REV. C. CORNFORTH.
Hon. J. P. WICKERSHAM, LL.D.:
Superintendent Soldiers' Orpahns' Schools:
1. SIR:-- I herewith present my annual report of the soldiers' orphans' schools of Pennsylvania.
Feelings of gratitude prompt me first to acknowledge your uniform kindness, and to express anew my thanks for your many words of encouragement and confidence. I can also assure you that the thousands of orphaned children committed to your charge often gratefully speak of your sympathy, and of what you have done for their comfort and improvement. Of the many tokens of public appreciation it is hardly necessary for me to speak, for you must already be fully aware that the educational, industrial, moral and sanitary condition of the soldiers' orphans' schools and their financial management, receive universal approbation.
2. The interest taken by the public in the soldiers' orphans' schools is constantly increasing. This is evinced by the numerous and friendly notices of newspapers in the vicinity of the several schools, and by the great number of visits paid the orphans at their school homes. This growth in the public concern is gratifying to all engaged in the noble work, as well as encouraging to the children. The doors of our schools are barred against none. We have nothing to conceal, but rather invite publicity. All are urged to witness, not merely our holiday displays, but to see how our children, in the daily routine, study, work and play; how they behave; what and in what manner they eat; how they dress and where they sleep. An acquaintance with these things has made friends of those who previously had regarded the system with indifference or aversion.
3. Aid from all quarters is invited. Strictures made in the right spirit never fail to receive due consideration. It can hardly be expected that among the thirty-seven hundred children, constantly in care of the State, just grounds for complaint may not sometimes exist; and all friends of the soldiers' orphans are requested to assist in their supervision, by promptly reporting any case of injustice or neglect that may come to their knowledge. No one can be more desirous than myself to secure to the orphans adopted by the State the full share of benefits she designs to bestow.
4. The orphans are much better clad they they were one year ago. This is the testimony of every one, without exception, who has the means of knowing. The change made in the law, which took effect at the beginning of they year, requiring the several principals, instead of the State Superintendent, to purchase clothing, is thus proved to be a wise one. Notwithstanding the inexperience of some of the principals in making purchases, and their neglect, in too many instances, to procure goods in time to have them made into garments ready to be issued when needed, the result, on the whole is very gratifying. After the experience of the past year, no principal need fail to so far anticipate the wants of his school as not to be ready to supply, promptly, articles of clothing at the proper season. To come short now would be a mark of incompetency, which I do not expect to find. Another year's trial, it is confidently believed, will demonstrate still more conclusively that the responsibility of purchasing clothing should rest with the principals. The schools are not equally well clad. This difference arises not so frequently from the value of the materials purchased as from want of care. In some schools the daily inspection is systematic and thorough, and the least rent is at once mended, while in a few there is negligence and waste. Fatigue suits should be put on when the children to to their work, and exchanged when they return to the school room. Work aprons are of great service in preserving the girls' dresses when properly used. From observing or neglecting to observe a few seemingly small things comes the great inequality in clothing, so apparent to one visiting from school to school. Sometimes too much money is paid out for mending boots and shoes. The average cost of mending per child is one-half less ins some schools than in others. It is true economy to purchase a good article and to mend sparingly. The demand for a more liberal supply of handkerchiefs is very general. Unless this very necessary article is always at hand a child's habits cannot be tidy. Some principals let the desire to save clothing carry them too far. This is done when their schools are required to spend Sunday in their everyday suits. When children are deprived the privilege of going from the institution on the Sabbath, they should, by all means, have the luxury of a change of apparel.
5. The food provided is healthful and abundant. There is, however, a very perceptible difference in the taste displayed in supplying and furnishing the tables at the various schools. While the amount of food need not be greater or better than it is, there ought to be, in many schools, a greater variety. The furniture of the tables has been improved in nearly all the schools; a few, however, seem to show an unwillingness to get out of the ruts of former years. It is impossible to teach our children manner, unless our tables be suitably furnished both with dishes and food.
6. The year has been one of hard and successful study. It is claimed for soldiers' orphans' schools, that they are as well graded and classified; as well taught and disciplined, and as far advanced as the best graded schools in the State. In fact, should I accept the opinion of disinterested but competent judges, who speak from personal knowledge, I should claim for them not merely an equal, but a superior excellency. Much attention is given to reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic. These branches are regarded as of first importance, but children of average capacity, who are in school a term of years, make proficiency in geography, grammar, natural philosophy, descriptive astronomy, algebra, U.S. history, book-keeping, &c. The tendency in most of our schools, especially with the more advanced grades, is to devote too much time to arithmetic, to the neglect of other branches; the result is a one-sided education. In this respect, however, I am glad to be able to report progress. There should be a daily exercise in composition by every child capable of writing. A number of schools practice this already with encouraging results. How it may be done can perhaps be best determined by the ingenuity of the teacher. The methods should be varied to correspond with the ability of pupils. Younjg children may be required to reproduce, in their own language, a brief incident or story first related or read by the teacher. It is a very common practice to unite the exercises in composition with some recitation. A class is supplied with slates or paper, and required to write about the reading lesson, or to write a sentence containing a word assigned by the teacher, or about some familiar object. With more advanced pupils some teachers have succeeded remarkably well, by assigning to several members of a class separate topics in the geography, philosophy, physiology or history lesson, upon which to write. For the sake of making most of the time, the pupils who do not write are required, in the meantime, to recite orally. Besides these frequent exercises, this grade of pupils are occasionally required to write more at length and with greater care upon subjects family to them. Teachers should never take a child "beyond the limits of his own experience and mental development." And while they should not expect too much or be too critical, errors in spelling, in the use of capitals, in indicating the possessive case, &c., should be carefully pointed out. None, it would seem, can fail to see the advantages arising from pursuing the course above indicated. It secures constant practice in composition, and at the same time affords an excellent opportunity for teaching, spelling, writing and grammar. Indeed, a more practical knowledge of grammar can be obtained in this way, than by committing to memory all the rules and exceptions and definitions contained in a score of books. The labors of the teacher may be greatly relieved and the child assisted by using some elementary work or "First Book in Composition." United States history should receive more attention, in some of our schools, than is now given to it. There is a peculiar appropriateness in teaching soldiers' orphans the history of their country, in the defence of which their fathers died; besides, no other study furnishes so many opportunities for instilling sentiments of patriotism. While the children of our republic should not be encouraged to cherish a vain-glorious spirit or to regard other nations with contempt, it is important to cultivate and intensify their national feeling, and every system of education is faulty which does not do this. Love of country is a cardinal virtue without which no nation can long exist, and should receive that measure of attention in our soldiers' orphans' schools proportionate to its importance. I should be glad to see moral science introduced into our course of study. Wayland's Moral Philosophy, for beginners, some other primary work, could be used with good results. The Child's Book of Nature, by W. Hooker, M.D., is used in a number of our schools, and is studied with much pleasure and profit by the children in the middle grades. The design of this book is "to aid teachers in training children in the observation of nature." It treats, in a familiar way, of pants, animals, air, water, light, heat, &c., and should be introduced into every school. I must again call your attention to the neglect, with few exceptions, of vocal music. In all the schools there is quite enough of singing. Suitable hymns and songs are sung, and often well sung, in every institution. These exercises, in which children of all ages can join are worthy of commendation and should be continued. But children of proper age should receive special vocal training and be taught to read music. The difficulty seems to be in not being able to obtain teachers having the requisite qualifications. Much time and labor could be saved by using musical charts prepared especially for the use of the school room. In my last report I complained of the incompetency and inexperience of many teachers of the more primary grades. Though there has been commendable improvement in this respect, all occasion for complaint has not been removed. The most tact and the best teaching talent, if not the highest order of scholarship, is demanded in the lower rather than in the higher grades, if discrimination must be made. There is a disposition on the part of some to grade their schools higher than the scholarship of the children warrants. Nothing is gained and nobody is deceived by this forced process; but on the other hand great and irreparable injury is done the pupils. A child put in studies beyond his ability is bewildered and confused, and can make no progress. The work of grading a school is not a matter of caprice, as a few seem to think, but it is the ascertaining the actual standing of the several scholars, that each may be assigned to that class in which he can most successfully pursue his studies. No words of censure can be too severe for that teacher who, yielding to a spirit of dishonest emulation, would rob a child of his school opportunities by a false grading. School apparatus is very generally wanting. Every school, however, is well supplied with black board surface, and many of them with wall maps. The plan of giving prizes to one or two of the most meritorious in each grade or class should be discontinued. The bestowment of rewards which can reach but a limited number can only be detrimental to the general progress of the school. The competition always narrows down to two or three of the foremost in each class, and the bulk of the school, hopeless of winning the proffered prize, becomes listless. The true end of study and good behavior is lost sight of and the teacher endeavors in vain, by appeals to worthy motives, to arouse the ambition of those most in need of mental and moral stimulus. Some method should be adopted by which every pupil may be rewarded according to his merit (as in reality he is, if the true end of study and good conduct be taken into account). Perhaps no better plan can be devised than to report weekly, before the whole school, the relative standing of each pupil in the several classes. In this way every child becomes interested. The divine method of rewards is to give to "every man according to his works," and not to limit favor, as in the Grecian games, to the one who should be foremost in the race. The appropriation of two thousand dollars to support promising "sixteeners" at a Normal School is a wise one. The wisdom and fitness of such a provision are too apparent to require comment. The discipline of the schools, taken as a whole, is excellent. Observant horsemen hold that a colt should not be broken but trained, if the animal is to retain his spirits unimpaired. This is true of boys and girls, though it would seem that in some rare cases of obstinacy, nothing short of breaking suffices. Good discipline does not consist in reducing children to "animated machines," but chiefly and primarily in awakening thought and directing the mind. If this can be done, the complete mastery over the action of the pupil is not difficult.
7. The industrial departments of our schools are of vital importance. With erroneous views of manual labor and indolent habits, every attempt to rear children to be true and useful men and women would prove futile. Great care is therefore taken to teach the children how to work, and to impress upon their minds the necessity of forming habits of industry. They are also encouraged to engage in some useful employment immediately on arriving at sixteen. The principals are doing much, and perhaps should do more, towards securing good places for the children when they pass from their control. The history of the orphans after leaving school, as seen in the "fruits of the system," embraced in your report, shows conclusively that their industrial training has not been in vain. With exceedingly rare exceptions, they become industrious and useful members of society.
8. The degree of good health enjoyed by the orphans is, indeed, remarkable. Typhoid and scarlet fever raged in the vicinity of several of the schools but did not enter them. The small-pox prevailed during a large part of the year, nearly all over the State with more or less severity, and great anxiety was felt for the safety of the large number of children under your care. Most of the institutions anticipated your instructions, though timely given, and vaccinated their schools before your orders could reach them. In Philadelphia and vicinity communication with the outside world was cut off during the season of greatest danger. But notwithstanding the precautions taken, the escape of thirty-seven hundred children, with barely one exception, from the prevailing pest, seems little less than miraculous, and calls for expression of gratitude to Him who saves from the "pestilence that walketh in darkness."
9. The moral and religious training of the orphans is not overlooked. Each day begins and ends with brief religious exercises. The children attend church on Sundays, when there is one in the neighborhood of the school; and when denied this privilege divine services are often held in the school hall. Every institution has its Sunday school, in which the cardinal truths of Christianity are taught. In the employment of teachers and attendants regard is had to their moral character, that the children may be benefited by their association with them.
10. Many of the school libraries have been increased during the year. The selections are generally good and are often made from a wide range of literature. Suitable newspapers and monthlies are supplied more generally than ever before, many of which are donated by the publishers. Books and periodicals are provided for the use of the children, and not to be put in cases and kept safe and unsoiled for visitors to look at. Reading-room facilities and comforts have also, in many instances, improved. The number of volumes in the libraries and the number of periodicals taken by the several schools, are as follows:
|Soldiers' Orphan Institute||1,050||10|
It is but just to add that the number of volumes does not indicate the cost or the value of the libraries, there being great differences in the size of the books.
11. Thus it is seen that the progress still marks the course of the soldiers' orphans' schools of Pennsylvania. The degree of prosperity to which they have attained is not the fruit of any sudden and great effort; but rather the result of constant watchfulness and labor. Originated amid the fears, questionings and hesitancy of many good men, they have, during their eight years' existence, advanced step by step, over a new and untrodden path, and sometimes through opposition and darkness, till they have justly become the pride and boast of very true Pennsylvanian; and the liberal appropriations annually made by successive legislatures for their support are universally regarded as the wisest method of discharging a debt of gratitude due the children orphaned in the defence of republican liberty and christian civilization.
Inspector and Examiner.
REPORT OF MRS. E. E. HUTTER.
TO HON J. P. WICKERSHAM, General Superintendent of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Schools of the State of Pennsylvania:
DEAR SIR:-- I have the honor to submit to you, herewith my report as Lady Inspector and Examiner of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan schools of Pennsylvania, for the year 1872.
During several months of the year, I regret to be under the necessity of stating, my labors were somewhat interrupted by the dangerous illness of my husband, who, in the month of March last, was attacked with typhoid pneumonia of the most malignant type. For thirteen weeks he was confined to bed, most of the time vibrating between life and death; and, although more than six months have elapsed since he was taken sick, he is as yet only in the first stages of convalescence. Notwithstanding these months of painful anxiety, requiring so much of my presence at the bedside of my husband, I have been enabled, by the Divine help, without any neglect of duty to him, to discharge also my full duty to the schools. Fortunately, before my husband was taken sick, I had visited them all, and since his partial convalescence, have so improved the time as to render full compliance with the requirements of the law. In this connection I refer, with a grateful heart, to the words of cheer and comfort received from yourself, and from his Excellency, Governor Geary, and acknowledge, also, numerous acts of kindness from my friend and colleague, Rev. Mr. Cornforth. Not only, however, have I prosecuted the work of inspection, as specifically defined in the letter of my appointment, but I was enabled, also, to be personally present at a number of the
EXAMINATION OF THE SCHOOLS,
With which, in common with all who had the fortune to attend, I was highly gratified. And from what my eyes have again seen, and my ears have again heard, during these visits of inspection, and at these official examinations, I have no hesitancy in according to our soldiers' orphan schools the need of highest and most served commendation. From whatever standpoint viewed, they reflect a halo of light and glory on our noble old Commonwealth, and are proving an agency of incalculable good to the thousands of children who are the recipients of their untold benefits.
THE EDUCATIONAL STATUS
of the children is, in the highest degree, encouraging, and is not excelled in our seminaries of learning, that are far more pretentious in their claims to popular favor. Many of the children read, write, compose, and recite admirably well, and exhibit a proficiency in geography, grammar, mental and written arithmetic, vocal and instrumental music, and others of the more advanced branches of education, most gratifying to witness. The promptness and thoroughness of their replies, at the examinations, extorted expressions of admiration and surprise from the visitors who, before, had no conception of the noble work these schools were accomplishing. But "there remaineth much land to be possessed." "Excelsior" ought still to be our watchword. Advances can still be made, and it must be our aim, and that of the principals and teachers to impress on the schools the seal of the highest excellence.
FOOD AND TABLE ARRANGEMENTS.
I bear cheerful testimony to the fact, that the principals are sparing no effort to supply the children with a sufficiency of wholesome food, well cooked, and served up in a palatable manner. The tin table-ware, formerly in use, which so repugnant to the sight, and believed to be injurious to the health, is fast disappearing, and white-ware is being substituted. Permanent oil-cloth covering of the tables, is also giving way to table-cloths, which, when frequently washed, as they should be, are far preferable, both in respect to taste and health. And let it not be supposed that these are matters of indifference---trifles, not worthy of observation. Far from it. They impart to the table an inviting aspect, stimulate the appetite, (I verily believe promote also the digestion,) accord with "the eternal fitness of things," and especially with the injunction of St. Paul:-- "Let all things be done decently and in order." They beget, also, good habits on the part of the children, who will carry the lessons thus conveyed into the departments of life, in which hereafter they shall be called to move and act.
THE SANITARY CONDITION OF THE SCHOOLS
has been, in the main, of a gratifying character. Not one of them has been visited by any epidemical disease, and, notwithstanding the extreme heat of the past summer, the bills of mortality exhibit but little fatal sickness. The school has suffered most in the respect, is that of the colored children at BRIDGEWATER, where there has been considerable sickness, about half a dozen of the cases proving fatal. Learning of this condition of things at Bridgewater, I paid a special visit to it, and thoroughly inspected it with a view of correcting neglect or abuse, and removing latent sources of disease, should I find any to exist, which, however, to my great gratification, was not the case. The cases of sickness and death, as is shown by the report of the attending physician, resulted from causes purely providential and not from any carelessness or neglect on the part of those having charge of the school.
CLOTHING, AND THE MODE OF SUPPLY.
The change introduced under your administration, in the method of supplying the schools with clothing, is fully justifying our most sanguine expectations. Complaints of insufficiency of clothing and vexations delay in its delivery no longer exist, as the principals now have the matter in their own hands and the necessities of the children are constantly before them in a visible form. I never fail in my official intercourse with the principals, to inculcate the duty of supplying the children with such clothing as shall insure their comfort, and impart to them a respectable appearance. The allowance made by the State for clothing, I am aware, utterly precludes the danger that our soldiers' orphans will be spoiled by extravagance in dress. To whatever other temptations they may stand exposed, they are happily exempt from the danger of falling into this vanity. Comfort and comeliness in their attire, are, however, attainable even with the scanty allowance made by the State for clothing. The principals are honorable men, and every dollar allowed for this purpose is faithfully and judiciously applied. It is not enough, however, that the orphans be clad comfortably, but it is of equal importance that the clothing be furnished seasonably. The changes from the heat of summer to the cold of winter and vice versa, should be anticipated, as is done in every well ordered family.
MORAL STATUS OF THE SCHOOLS.
As "man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," lamentably imperfect would be the discharge of the high trust committed to us, did we restrict our work to food and raiment, or even to the mere mental development of the children. Dress and address have their value, of course. Alas! that by them, and them alone, we are so often judged. But there is a better judgment and a higher standard. These are based always on moral excellence, which has its residence deep-seated in the soul, the implantation of the Almighty. . . .
A STIMULUS TO LAUDABLE EFFORT
has proved your recommendation to the last Legislature, to appropriate a specific sum for fitting out a certain number of the most promising of the soldiers' orphans as teachers in the Normal schools, after they shall have attained the age of sixteen and passed out of the guardianship of the State. I have take pains to bring your excellent suggestion to the notice of the children, and many are redoubling their previous efforts to attain speedily to a liberal education. Among the "sixteeners" who have left, or are shortly to leave the schools, are some of the brightest lads and misses it has ever been my good fortune to meet. Under the favor of Heaven, and the continued sympathy of kind friends, they will prove among our most honored and useful men and women. When the State shall have performed its parts, let individuals of influence and means do their part--take the soldiers' orphans by the hand--help them forward in the race of life--and do them all the good in their power. The obligation to do so, indeed, can only then be considered cancelled, when there are no more soldiers' orphans to feed, clothe and educate.
I recommend either the total repeal or still further modification of the legislation which prohibits the admission of soldiers' orphans on the funds of the State, who are under six years of age. In many instances this prohibition operates as a severe hardship on the widowed mothers, as I have had frequent occasion to witness. For instance, where a soldier has been maimed and wounded in the war, and has thereby and from thence forward been disabled from procuring a livelihood for himself and family, the children have not been orphans and yet the circumstances of the wife and mother have been and are more pitiable than if the father had lost his life on the field of battle. The father lives, it is true, but has to be supported by the wife and the children besides. And then, when at last the father, having eked out some years of a miserable existence, dies, the mother is still debarred from seeking the bounty of the State, by the fact that her children are not yet six years of age. My heart often sunk within me to send such widows of our brave soldiers away, with the information that for their children the State has made no provision--which ought not so to be.
COMPENSATION OF THE WAR.
. . .
In conclusion I congratulate you, Professor Wickersham, on the success that has thus far crowned your administration of the soldiers' orphan schools. "Peace has its triumphs as well as war," and this is one of them. Hitherto the smiles of a benignant Providence has rested on your labors, and it admits of no doubt that still nobler results will reward your unwearied devotion to this patriotic and philanthropic work. I have faith in GOD and faith, also in the PEOPLE. He, the "giver of every good and perfect gift," cannot but regard these schools with special favor--and they, the People, demand nothing more for a continuance of their most substantial good will than the assurance that the money appropriated to their support is being wisely and faithfully expended.
ELIZABETH E. HUTTER,
Lady Inspector and Examiner of the Soldiers' Orphan Schools.
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