WILLIAM EDWARD PECK, the son of the Rev. William Lewis Peck and Hannah Maria Purdy, was born at 250 Laight Street, New York City, on the thirteenth of September, 1849. When he was about six years old his father moved to Mount Kisco, N. Y., where he opened a very large boys' school, the Mt. Kisco Educational Institute. The School failed financially at the breaking out of the Civil War, and in 1863 the Rev. Mr. Peck moved to Danbury, Connecticut. Here he became assistant in the Deer Hill Institute, and his son William's studies were continued there. Before the boy was seventeen years old the Headmaster of the School, the Rev. Dr. Townsend, was on one occasion very ill, and his assistant asked him for instructions. He was told to put young Peck in charge of his own classes. To the father's surprise the experiment was entirely successful, and the order and discipline of the class perfect. When the Rev. Mr. Peck moved to Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1866, the son assisted him in carrying on Trinity School, while the father prepared the boy for Trinity College. W. E. Peck entered Trinity in the junior year, 1869, and was graduated in 1871. He immediately went to St. Mark's as a tutor, and remained there as Head Tutor and Headmaster for twenty-three years.(73) He received the degree of Master of Arts from Trinity College, and was a Fellow of Trinity while at St. Mark's. He was twice married: to Jeanne Henshaw in 1877 at Boston; and to Harriet Jones on the fifteenth of August, 1883, at St. Mark's Church, Southborough, by whom he had three daughters, Esther Jones, Rachel de Koven, and Margaret.
On the fourteenth of June, 1894, Mr. Peck resigned the headmastership of St. Mark's, and founded Pomfret School, at Pomfret, Connecticut. But while at St. Mark's he had suffered from pneumonia; and when after the ceaseless work incident to the starting of his new school he was again attacked, his strength was gone, and he died on the eighth of February, 1897.(74)
At the time of his appointment as Acting Headmaster, Mr. Peck was Senior Tutor, and had had eleven years' experience with the School. His fitness for the task of conducting it made his election a matter of course, but it was a year before the fifth by-law of the Constitution was changed in order to allow one who was "not a presbyter" to assume the headmastership. With Mr. Peck as his lieutenants were Harrison Otis Apthorp,(75) Senior Tutor, Merle St. Croix Wright, Charles Austin Hobbs, and Morris Hicky Morgan, all of whom were excellent teachers and had had at least a year's experience at St. Mark's.
Mr. Peck's experience as Senior Tutor had brought him into close contact with Dr. Coolidge and with the administrative problems of the School, and his athletics and strikingly effective teaching(76) and discipline had won him to an extraordinary degree the respect and obedience of the boys. The force of the quiet personality, the moral strength and integrity of the character, felt rather than seen, pervaded the School, and the Tutor passed into the Headmaster as inevitably in their minds as he had done in those of the Trustees. The spiritual authority of holy orders, with which education at this time was much more closely associated than at present, was not necessary to Mr. Peck, and indeed we may justly ask ourselves whether its absence was not in his case and time a factor in the power with which his example carried. The brilliant athlete, the man of iron self-control, the master before whom disorder or disobedience seemed pointless, preached nothing and said little; but his own actions and life were plain, and in them could never be found any suggestion of intellectual dishonesty or sham. No one knew just what he thought, but all knew what he was and what he did; and the result was a power over his boys which has been likened by one of his lieutenants to that of Arnold of Rugby.
With Mrs. Peck's coming in the autumn of 1883, Mr. Peck was able to continue the more intimate and homelike traditions left by Dr. Coolidge and his family. The "receptions," or "parlor nights" as they were now called, had not been given up during the first year; but now they took on new interest, for Mrs. Peck was an artist and a good pianist, and knew how to entertain a packed roomful of bashful youth. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings the parlor was filled with chess-players or stamp-collectors, undisturbed by the piano to which the shy ones were raptly listening, while another group might be huddled over some interesting book with the elderly matron, Mrs. Clark. To a great extent the cares of the household, which were now so numerous as to occupy the whole attention of one person, had been taken over for the first time by a housekeeper; but it was Mrs. Peck who instantly banished the thick white china plates and cups from the dining-room, decreed blue and white ones with the School seal, and replaced the heavy tumblers with reasonable glasses,---much to the head-shaking of the old steward, Mr. Works,(77) who did not believe the new tableware could survive for a week.
At the Trustees' meeting on the second of November, 1882, it was announced that the Rev. John Rice had withdrawn from his duties at the School and returned to England; and while the Rev. Mr. Holbrook took his place the names of three clergymen were considered for the headmastership. No action resulted, and not long after Mr. Holbrook also withdrew the Rev. Waldo Burnett, son of the Founder, took charge of the parish. Meanwhile by action of the Trustees several improvements had been made; the books of the library labelled, catalogued and appraised, a bowling alley erected,(78) and the dining-room extended. At a meeting on the fourth of May, 1883, William Edward Peck was elected Headmaster; and at a special meeting on the fourteenth of June the question of erecting a new schoolroom was considered. This resulted, on Mr. Burnett's motion, in a vote to erect a new schoolroom to accommodate sixty pupils, and Mr. Burnett and Mr. Foster were appointed to carry out the vote.
The athletics began in the fall of 1882 with a baseball game. The Vindex did not appear, and we have no account of the opponents or the score. The game was played almost if not exactly on the site of the present diamond. Several yards back of the base-lines ran two rough stone walls which met at right angles behind the backstop and were lined with gnarled apple trees. Off beyond centre field, in a line nearly north and south, were two groups of five or six tall pine trees about ten or fifteen yards apart, between whose trunks board seats were later placed. "Down to the pines," was synonymous with a long hit from the plate, and beyond them meant a sure home run, for the ground sloped and gave added distance to the rolling ball. The School always watched the games from the east side. North of the field over the stone wall, where the School stands today, lay a rough, boulder-strewn orchard of apple trees, of which the trees now standing to the west of the School are probably survivors. It was here that huts of odd ends of boards and tar paper were often built, --- for the building of huts at a distance was soon forbidden, ---and fitted up gorgeously within with all and more than the proprietors could spare of their room furnishings. When the rage for cooking was at its height the ovens smoked along the School side of both stone-walls, some scientifically built with mysteriously-acquired parts of stoves and pipes. To the east of the school property, and unfortunately within the easiest possible reach, lay the extensive and excellent apple orchard of Zebedee Taylor, who on the occasions of his rare leisure would lie in wait for those tempted beyond their strength, and sometimes lead an unwary or a slow trespasser by the ear down across the field and around the vine-covered piazza into the Head's quiet study. The door would close; and after ten pregnant minutes of terror for the watcher outside on the piazza, open upon three calm faces, that of the Headmaster with wise blue eyes twinkling and lips twitching at the corner,---though why the fleeing watcher could never understand.
The winter passed with skating at the pond, coasting at the Second Red, theatricals, gymnasium work, sleighrides, and in the spring a picnic at White's Pond, and the usual delightful evening at Mr. Burnett's. One night the dormitories were routed up, and after clothing themselves in blankets and whatever garments came to hand were led out to the top of the hill back of the School to see the comet, which blazed like a scimitar in the eastern sky. Rowing died out as an organized sport, and baseball and football, now established as the regular spring and fall games, occupied the time of all but a few who clung to trapping. Already the participation in one or the other of these sports was beginning to be regarded as a matter of the school loyalty which was later to bring such creditable results. It was during this year that the Rev. Endicott Peabody visited the School for two or three days with the interest which two years later resulted in the founding of our chief athletic rival and friend, Groton.
The new schoolroom was ready when the boys returned in the fall of 1883, a handsome, airy room built on the northwest corner of the old room, which in general plan it resembled. It encroached somewhat on the old "Lower Field," and with its slanting roof offered nightly temptation to the wakeful in the dormitories; but it greatly increased the conveniences of daily routine. At the meeting of the Trustees on the second of November steps were taken to procure a native French teacher to supplement the school work with lessons in pronunciation. The classes, under A. E. A. Godefrin, who came from Boston once a week, were usually held under Mr. Peck's eye as he sat in charge of the morning schoolroom, and the order was consequently better than a foreigner often obtains in an American boarding-school. At the same meeting the passing of time is recalled to us by the suggestion of Mr. Fay that it was becoming important to elect younger members to the Board of Trustees. It was voted that the Thanksgiving recess, which had caused a break of three days in the school work, should this year be abolished, and that the Christmas and Easter vacations should be of two weeks each. The literary taste of the period is indicated by a vote to purchase another set of Waverley Novels. On the seventh of May the resignation from the Board of Trustees of the Rev. Dr. Huntington, who had removed to the diocese of New York, was accepted, and the Rev. Sumner U. Shearman of Jamaica Plain and Henry Nelson Bigelow, Esq., of Clinton, were unanimously elected.
The School numbered sixty, and the interest centred in football. The uniforms of the team were now a dark blue jersey with monogram in white, white breeches, dark blue stockings, and blue skull-cap---which last had to be gathered up after every scrimmage, though sometimes an impatient player would throw his to the sidelines in disgust. St. Mark's was beaten by a picked team from Harvard, by Roxbury Latin, and by Adams Academy. After the close of the football season the bowling-alley came into great demand; and sometimes in the winter evenings ladies would come and bowl with the older boys, while younger ones chosen for reliability in their studies would set up the pins and consider themselves privileged. In the gymnasium Mr. Mellen came from Cambridge and gave boxing and fencing lessons. Practice for the Christmas play, coasting, skating and many lectures and readings as usual filled the late fall and winter terms; the readings by Miss Jessie Couthoui and by Mr. Henry N. Hudson, the latter the Shakespearean scholar, who had given his edition of the plays to the library; and the lectures(79) by the Rev. J. G. Wood, one of the greatest of English naturalists, whose works were also in the library. Mr. Morgan spent much work on the library, which he divided into the classes of history, biography, fiction, science and art. The books were numbered, counted every month, and the dilapidated ones rebound. In the middle of the winter a boy was taken down with diphtheria, and the resulting scare which took away all but ten boys from the School, seriously interrupted the work and cancelled the winter sports. Mr. Lord and Mr. Chick came from Boston every week, the former to give elocution lessons and the latter dancing. Whenever the crust coasting was good on the fields, as happened often this year, the older boys and occasionally the whole school were allowed to coast by moonlight or torchlight. The stamp-collecting and top-spinning came at the turn of the seasons, and then the hop, with thirty girls from Boston. At the Easter Sunday service surplices were worn for the first time by the choir.(80) The Vindex, which at this time numbered some very capable writers among its editors and contributors, offered prizes for the best essay and the best poem. Through its "Brevities and Levities," as the column was now first called, it notes that the School was continually putting men on college teams and crews, and points out to the younger boys the important responsibility of getting themselves ready in athletics for upper school opportunities. Its account of cricket, which was introduced into the School this spring, is perhaps too casual: "Cricket crawled into the School a week or two ago, but the climate was too hot for it, and after a few gasps it turned over and died, poor thing! " Two clubs had been organized by the Rector of the parish, and their members adopted light and dark blue blazers, with white edge and trimming, and a white St. Mark's lion on the left breast pocket. The game was given a fair try-out, and appealed somewhat to those who did not play baseball; but as usual failed to engage the interest of the American boy, and lasted not very much longer than the Vindex states. It has never been played in the School at any other time. The baseball season was reasonably successful, St. Mark's winning the two most important games, those with Worcester Academy and Adams Academy. The latter took place at Quincy, and resulted in a score of eleven to ten. The returning nine was met by an enthusiastic crowd at the station, and drawn to the School in a flag-draped wagon escorted by torch-bearers.
One afternoon at about this date Mr. Works, the steward, was seen surrounded by ten or a dozen boys, moving slowly along the field to the northwest of the gymnasium, holding in his two hands a stick forked like the letter Y upside down. Water had been scarce, and the Trustees had given orders for another well. Suddenly the stick bent in his hands and pointed downward to the ground. Drawing back, Mr. Works crossed the spot several times, and on each occasion the stick acted in the same way. The place was marked, the well dug, and the spring gushed forth. This is apparently the only time the god Thor has been officially invoked at St. Mark's.
On the last evening of school the old custom of having a torchlight procession was revived. The uniforms were nightshirts with class numerals. Morgan led on horseback, then came the drum-corps, the orator, W. K. Post, and the tutors in a draped ox-cart in the rear. The finale was the burning of books, and the oration, which dealt largely with the foibles of the prominent.
Politics were of course absorbing in the autumn of 1884, Cleveland obtaining forty-one votes and Blame thirteen, with four undecided. Upon Cleveland's election a huge procession took place in Southborough, but the boys were not allowed to take part, and contented themselves with burning red lights. On the second of October a Harvest Thanksgiving Service was held at the Church, with the Rev. Phillips Brooks as preacher. This service, held in the evening, was introduced as a substitute for the usual Thanksgiving service, from which the boys would have been absent, and has continued since. The Church was beautifully decorated with autumn foliage and fruits, and the choir specially trained in the singing of Thanksgiving Hymns. The Vindex suggested that the occasion should be one of general village celebration, as in England, but recognized the difficulties of making it such. The football season was extraordinarily successful, all games being won, including that with Adams Academy, for which the School received a half-holiday. The scores amounted to seventy-one points for St. Mark's to ten for opponents, the latter consisting of two goals from the field. The play this year was "Aladdin," and was very successful; a rage for banjos took possession of the School; and a "brevity" notes that in bowling "Morgan's 224 beat Dalton's 213." On the morning of the nineteenth of January the peaceful schoolroom was startled by the cry of fire; and throwing aside books the boys rushed over to the rectory, where they formed a bucketline to the nearest well, and succeeded in saving the house from the brands from the blazing stable. The baseball season was very successful; but a difficulty with Adams Academy put a stop to the most interesting of the spring contests. The Adams nine were unwilling to play two games, wished to have the one on their grounds, and if St. Mark's played tutors, wanted to have an outsider to catch for them. To this St. Mark's could not agree. It may be noted here that St. Mark's later decided to play other schools without tutors on her team, but soon returned to the traditional practice, which experience had fully justified. The game with Worcester Academy at Worcester was won by the close score of twelve to eleven, and owing largely to John Holmes, of the Worcester team, was as usual a lively and friendly occasion. Prize day, the twenty-third of June, was observed as usual, the speakers being H. N. Hudson, G. H. Patterson, the former Headmaster, and Lawrence Barrett, the actor, and the day was finished at Mr. Burnett's house.(81)
The desirability and the possibility of a new building worthier of the School had long been under consideration by the Trustees and the Headmaster, and in the fall of 1885 Mr. Peck opened a subscription. Eight more acres of land had been bought, and twenty more were being bargained for. The intention was less to increase the numbers in the School than to provide proper facilities for all departments; but it was felt that with one hundred pupils the intimate relation between masters and boys, which had been at the root of the School's success and character, could be maintained unaltered. The flourishing condition of financial matters had always made the pressure of excess numbers seeking entrance easy to resist, and the secret of success had been clearly grasped by everyone connected with the School. Each boy came in some way under every master, and was observed by him from a special angle: studies, athletics, dormitory, dining-room, play; and the resultant estimate of where he stood in comparison with his fellows went far to reveal his individual needs or faults and the necessary treatment for them. Stipulating clearly that any change in policy was not to be thought of, the school authorities began slowly to imagine the splendid building which was to rise six years later; and before long the first drawing of the proposed building, to be built of stone, but substantially not unlike the actual one, hung on the walls of the old School.
On the fourth of May, 1886, the School lost Mr. Charles Hovey, who had since its founding been Clerk of the Board of Trustees; and resolutions testifying to the great value of his services and to the integrity of his character were spread upon their records. On the seventh of May the Rev. W. R. Huntington, D.D., of New York, and George P. Gardner, Esq., of Boston, were elected trustees, but the former was unable to serve. The latter is still a devoted friend of the School and a valued and beloved member of the Board, and has thus served longer than any other man in the School's history.
In the life of the School the football season started with energy, and again resulted in a clean slate, though the team played five games and averaged only 146 pounds in weight. One of the games was with the Harvard Freshmen, and resulted in a score of twelve to nine. A colony of huts had sprung up behind the backstop and served as welcome shelter after the games for those who had been watching the play. Stimulated by the efforts of the Vindex, a journalistic fever attacked the School, and in a short time there were four illustrated weeklies, the Student, the Star, the Chic and the Fancy, which were printed on hektographs in the recitation-rooms. These sheets, unhampered by censorship or by the self-consciousness so hard to avoid in a Vindex piece, sometimes show great cleverness and skill in caricature; but the best and most vigorous of them were the Lion and the Chapel Alley Daily Bulletin, which came into existence several years later, and were somewhat more restrained. Dancing began, this year under Signor Papanti; and the coasting, especially on Hickson's, was good and continuous until somebody in the town strewed sand its whole length just in time to prevent the two upper forms from enjoying a moonlight coast. Six cases of mumps occurred, but the winter occupations were undisturbed, and were increased by the appearance of nine cameras. A special tennis club, the Jam Club, was formed by the Rector of the parish; this had a court of its own and social meetings at the Rector's house. The baseball season was successful in the few games played, but missed the usual contest with Adams Academy. Groton was now in existence, but not yet completely organized in athletics, and therefore unable to accept St. Mark's' challenge to a game. An attempt was made to form an interscholastic baseball league between Andover, Exeter, Adams Academy, St. Paul's and St. Mark's, but Mr. Peck for obvious reasons refused to allow the School to join. A new departure was made, however, in the formation of an Interscholastic Athletic Association by Hopkinson's, Roxbury Latin and St. Mark's. A meeting of delegates from the three schools took place in Boston on the eleventh of May, at which the following events were arranged: running and standing high jumps, running and standing broad, pole vault, shot-put (16 lbs.), 100 yards dash, half and quarter mile runs, mile walk, throwing baseball, and tug-of-war (525 lbs.). The last was an event common in winter sports, but sensibly abandoned a few years later. There were four men on each team, who pulled from cleated boards fixed nearly end to end. The outermost man was called the anchor, and was supplied with an enormous specially constructed belt, through whose steel rings he gathered at the favorable moment the slack obtained by a concerted heave of the team. Boxing was suggested by Hopkinson's, who had a large boy proficient in the art, but was vetoed by St. Mark's and Roxbury on equally utilitarian grounds. Hopkinson's and Roxbury united against St. Mark's in regard to the hammer-throw, for which the city schools had no opportunity to practice. The sports resulted in a victory for Hopkinson's, who took six first prizes and two seconds to St. Mark's four first and eight seconds, and Roxbury Latin's two first and two seconds.(82)
On the sixteenth of January, 1886, the School lost a valued friend by the death of the Rev. Henry Norman Hudson, who had for many years lectured at intervals on Shakespeare. Mr. Hudson was born at Deerfield, N. H., in 1815, and was the father of one of the School's first pupils. He had dedicated his magnum opus, "Life, Art and Characters of Shakespeare," to his old friend Joseph Burnett, and at his death left to St. Mark's a third of his library. These books were given the name of the Hudson Library, and being of special rather than general interest were kept separate from the other books, though always accessible. White-haired, frail, of measured speech, and venerable in appearance, peering from time to time with kindly eyes over his glasses at his young audience, Mr. Hudson succeeded by skilful adaptation in awakening an extraordinary interest in his beloved subject which bore fruit later in many of his listeners.
During the winter a circular was issued by the Headmaster pointing out that the School, now full, could accept no more applicants, and asking formally for a subscription from its friends of seventy-five thousand dollars for a new building. He emphasized the fact that the object was not to increase the numbers much, but to provide ample accommodation; and that the family character of the School, which had recommended it so warmly during the past twenty years, was to be preserved.
On the twenty-second of November the desirability of constructing a coast for the School, where the objections to the use of a public highway would be absent, was represented by Mr. Peck and referred to the Standing Committee by the Trustees. The boys undertook to defray part of the cost, and not long afterwards a broad path from the top of the hill directly east of the school ran free of boulders down its north flank and along the neighboring slope. But the snow lying on the long, dead grass would never pack, and the distance to the nearest water was so great that after two or three successful afternoons the sport seemed not worth the trouble; and today doubtless the young geologist rubs his eyes as he lifts them to the artificial-looking path among the brambles on the hillside. At the same meeting thanks were voted to Joseph Burnett for the gift of a lot of land; and on the margin of the records is the pencilled note, "two acres for football."
On St. Mark's day of the same year it was voted "that the thanks of the Trustees be presented to Mr. August Belmont, Jr., of New York, for his suggestion of building a chapel for St. Mark's School as a memorial to his brother, Raymond Belmont, formerly a pupil of the School, when they shall erect new school buildings." The amount of the sum suggested by Mr. Belmont was ten thousand dollars; but in a subsequent letter he stated that if this sum should not be sufficient for what would satisfy the needs of the School, he should not limit himself to it. The donation was gratefully accepted; in October it was voted that the surplus funds in the hands of the Treasurer be added to the building fund; and plans were drawn by H. F. Bigelow, '84.
The football season of 1886 opened with peculiar interest because of the game with a new rival, Groton. The first three games on the schedule were successful, and when the team and its backers went to the neutral ground of Lancaster on the third of November the prospects were good. Blue and white, the colors of both schools, waved everywhere, and the crowd seemed a very large one. Groton won the toss, and chose the west goal. St. Mark's did not kick off, but rushed her opponents back to their goal, and inside of three minutes after the beginning of play, Fitzhugh of Groton touched for safety, and the score stood two to nothing for St. Mark's. But the Groton line was heavy, and in it were two masters, the Rev. William G. Thayer and the Rev. Endicott Peabody, the former very lively and the latter very large. Aided somewhat by fumbling on the St. Mark's side, Groton forced the line back and Mr. Thayer soon went over for a touchdown. This was followed two minutes later by another by Mr. Peabody, from which no goal resulted, and the score stood ten to two, where it remained for the rest of the evenly contested game.
The game was lost; but in the evening there was a torchlight procession in honor of the election to Congress of Mr. Edward Burnett, son of the Founder, old St. Mark's boy, and President of the Alumni Association. The boys joined delegations from Westborough and Fayville, and clad in white sweaters marched to the lawn in front of Mr. Burnett's piazza. Among the speeches was a witty one by James Russell Lowell, and after them as many of the crowd as could get in went to supper.
The winter was a dull one of varying temperature,(83) with little coasting or skating; but the choir had a sleighride to Natick, and the usual chess, stamp-collecting, and gymnasium work began, this year with the addition of shrill fifes and piccolos. As spring approached the question of playing tutors on the nines and elevens after this year was discussed and generally not favored, probably because the results of the football game with Groton seemed to show that a large advantage might accidentally lie with one team or the other. The rule was made by the Interscholastic Athletic Association, but Groton would not obey it, and the result was no games with our chief rival the following year, 1887-1888. The difficulty with Groton was met later by limiting the weight of masters playing on either team to pounds.(84)
The baseball season was not very successful, and ended with a defeat in the game with Groton, which was played at Worcester, by the score of three to two. In the first inning, for St. Mark's the first two men up hit safely, and later scored on an error. In the second, Groton made two runs on errors and bad judgment on St. Mark's' part, and in the sixth another, which proved to be enough to win. This year Groton announced the adoption of new colors, black, white and red. A. B. Higginson had offered prizes for new records, and two had been broken in the school sports; but at the Interscholastic meeting on the Union grounds in Boston, Roxbury Latin won, taking seven first prizes and one second, Hopkinson's taking four first and three seconds, and St. Mark's one first and seven seconds. The usual torchlight procession took place on the night before prize-day, but because of the coming college examinations the two upper forms did not march. Prize-day was notable for a new acknowledgment of the educational value of athletics. Mr. Peck gave testimonials to the captains of the nine and the eleven, and for the first time the Fearing Athletic Prize was given, and was won by S. V. R. Crosby, '87. The Hon. Daniel Butler Fearing was graduated from the School in 1878, had been a monitor and an athlete, and afterwards became one of the School's most beloved trustees. His purpose in establishing the prize was to reward the best general athlete in the School; but he considered that the winner's performances should be not merely victories won, but a wholesome and positive effect on the athletic life of the School. This prize instantly gained great popularity, and has in athletics stood for what the Founder's Medal stands for in scholarship; in fact it might at times in the past have been embarrassing to ascertain which of the two the average boy in the School would rather win.
During the year 1887-88 an important step for the general health of the School was taken by the Trustees in granting power to the Headmaster to determine by examination the proper course for each boy to follow in gymnasium work.(85) The gymnasium was also greatly improved in value through the gift of apparatus by Joseph Story Fay. In the late summer of the same year Mr. Fay felt compelled to resign, "because of advancing years"; and at a special meeting the Trustees recorded, with their regret at his resignation, that Mr. Fay had "largely contributed towards making St. Mark's what it is today," especially through his careful attention to financial management.
Among the new-comers to the School in the autumn of 1887 was Mr. W. B. Olmsted, whose brother, James F. Olmsted,(86) had been Senior Tutor, and a valuable instructor for four years. William Beach Olmsted was born in New York City on the twenty-sixth of February, 1864, and was the brother of Bishop Charles Sanford Olmsted. He was graduated from Trinity College in 1887, was given the honorary degree of Master of Arts by Yale College in 1908, and the degree of Doctor of Letters by Trinity in 1910. In 1888 he was made Senior Master at St. Mark's, and continued until 1897, when he was called to Pomfret School to take the headmastership left vacant by the death of William Edward Peck, the Founder. In 1891 he was married to Anne Nelson Starkweather, of Cooperstown, N. Y. He is still Headmaster of Pomfret School, whose debt to him is too well known to need comment. Optimistic and vigorous, accurate and skilful as a teacher, he left on St. Mark's the impression of a loyal and constructive character, and in all who knew him a lasting affection.
There was to be no chance for revenge on Groton in 1887, but football drew the usual interest, and a game with the School's old rival, Adams Academy, resulted in a victory of sixty-four to nothing, said to be the largest ever scored up to date by a St. Mark's team. Trapping still went on, and a large space beneath the gymnasium was cheerfully resigned to the successful hunters and carefully avoided by all others. The beautiful Harvest Home festival was again held in the parish church, with the Rev. F. Courtney, D.D., of Boston as preacher. The most important historical event of the winter was the first dinner of the Alumni Association, which took place at Young's Hotel on the evening of January the third. The Association had not been formed until June, 1886, but at the second meeting on June the seventeenth thirty-three men had appeared, and now fifty were present. The President, Edward Burnett, led the way to the dining-room, and after dinner, the menu of which was adorned with birds hovering around the parent nest, the President spoke of the proposed new building fund and Mr. Belmont's gift of the chapel. Mr. Morgan as toastmaster recalled school days by reference to Friday dinners, Dr. Robinson's doses of castor oil, and Leander W. Newton's Centre Store. The School was reported in good condition, and cheers were given for Mr. Peck. R. H. Post, then in the Harvard Freshman class, responded to the toast of St. Mark's at College; and when the President had to leave because of his congressional duties at Washington, J. S. Howe took the chair, and singing was in order.
Gymnasium work was organized into dumb-bell and bell-bar classes, and conducted by Mr. Raycroft, an excellent instructor. The high kick, in which a St. Marker(87) was years later to beat the world's record, was introduced into the sports as a permanent event. The coast on "Chestnut Hill" could not be made satisfactory and the boys finally erected a toboggan-slide from the bowling-alley into the lower field.(88) A grewsome event was the finding of the frozen body of F. M. Hartly by two boys on their way over to the coast. Mr. Hartly had occasionally come from Marlborough to give music lessons at the School, and had apparently fallen exhausted while climbing a stone wall by the Upper Field on a bitterly cold night. The Captain of the first nine wrote in the Vindex a plea for the organization of a second nine, and commanded the School not to use slow pitching in scrub games. St. Mark's was handicapped in the Interscholastic Sports by the loss through injury of three of her best men, and Roxbury Latin again won the meet, which took place in Southborough on the second of June. The School was now convinced that in a contest with schools of twice her own numbers St. Mark's had undertaken too much; and that contesting away from home two years out of three involved too much distraction from other activities. St. Mark's accordingly resigned from the Association, which continued and increased in size for many years. The baseball season was marked by a famous game with Worcester Academy at Worcester. For several years St. Mark's had been winning close and exciting games with the Academy, and when in the ninth inning the bases were full and none out, though the score was twelve to eight in favor of Worcester, the School felt that the usual good fortune was at hand. But then came a sharp rap --- the ball flew like lightning from base to base ---and three St. Mark's men were out. Revenge came not many days later by a score of fourteen to thirteen in favor of St. Mark's. The usual procession had been held on the last evening, but a gloom was thrown over the prize-day exercises by the illness of Joseph Burnett, whose absence brought into strong light the affection in which he was held by the School. S. E. Carpenter, who received the Fearing Athletic Prize, was also as captain of the nine presented with a testimonial by Mr. Peck, and the Head Monitor, J. H. Hunt, was similarly rewarded. Several speeches were made as usual, among them one by Lawrence Barrett, the actor, who at the time was living in Southborough.
On the twelfth of October the School was for the second time in her history saddened by the loss of one of her scholars, James Roosevelt Bayley Schermerhorn, who died of cerebro-spinal meningitis. He had entered St. Mark's only a few days before at the opening of the fall term, but having been four years at the Fay School was well known to the community, and thoroughly liked for his character and wholesome interest in out-of-door sports. Services were conducted in the school room, and tutors and boys walked in funeral procession to the station, where the body was taken to New York for burial. A tablet to his memory, erected by his schoolmates, was later placed in the School cloister.
In September, 1888, a committee of the alumni had been appointed to raise funds for the new building; and further participation in the School's interest is evidenced by a vote of the Trustees on the tenth of October, which requested the Alumni Association to nominate three graduates of not less than six years' standing of whom one might be elected to the Board. The three names submitted were Harry Burnett, '69, Morris H. Morgan, '77, and Daniel B. Fearing, '78, and on the seventh of May Dr. Morgan was elected. At the October meeting the Building Committee recommended that the work on the new buildings be pressed forward. A significant minute of the records of the Trustees is an apology from Mr. Peck for not having a full written report, his time having been largely occupied by the sickness of one of the boys.
The corner stone of the Belmont Chapel, which was also that of the whole new building, was laid with appropriate services by the Rev. George Sherman Converse, D.D., one of the oldest members of the Board of Trustees, on the seventh of August, 1889. Of the trustees, Messrs. Converse, Pynchon, Burnett, Foster, Gardner, Morgan and Bigelow were present, and as guests the Rev. Messrs. Burnett of Southborough, Vinton and Hague of Worcester, Fisher of Clinton, and Metcalf of Auburndale. Others present were the choir boys of All Saints' Church, Worcester; Mr. H. F. Bigelow, the architect; the contractors, Messrs. Hersey and Willcutt, with the artisans employed upon the building; and about two hundred friends of the School. The exercises opened with the singing of hymn 202, which was followed by the invocation and the opening sentences by the Rector of the Parish, and the singing of the one hundred and twenty-second psalm. The Rev. Dr. Converse then proceeded to the service of laying the corner stone, calling upon the Clerk to read the list of deposits therein made, which was as follows: a copy of the act of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws; extracts from the records, prayer-book and journal of the Diocesan Convention, 1888; Bishop Paddock's sixteenth annual address; catalogues of St. Mark's School for the years 1876, 1886, and 1888; names of the architect, consulting architect and contractors; copies of the Living Church, Churchman, Diocese, Church Chronicle, and Vindex; local papers of the day; preliminary sketches of the proposed new buildings; Church Almanack and Parish List, 1889; and the order of services for laying the corner stone. The Rev. Dr. Converse then laid the stone with proper ceremony, and the exercises were concluded with the collects, the singing of hymn 276, and the benediction. The deposits enumerated above were enclosed in a box, which was placed in the stone.
After the tennis tournament in the fall of 1888 (89) the football eleven went through a season of high ups and low downs, beating Roxbury Latin and Hopkinson's by large scores, but losing two games to Worcester Academy, and the Groton game by a score of fifty-two to nothing. The eleven was light, and had had bad fortune in men laid up; and the story of the Groton game is a monotonous one of touchdown after touchdown. The coaching of the team by graduates had been casual, and the only consolation for the heavy defeat was that the eleven had made the best of adverse conditions.(90)
In the course of a general editorial in the Vindex for December and January, 1888-89, are the words: ". . . we also wish to welcome Mr. Barber to St. Mark's." Mr. T. S. Simonds, who for four years had been a most efficient teacher of Latin and Greek at the School, left at the end of the fall term, and it was his place which the new tutor came to fill. William Wyatt Barber was born in Cambridge, Maryland, on the fifth of November, 1865, the son of the Rev. Theodore P. Barber, D.D., and Anna C. (Hooper) Barber. The Rev. Theodore P. Barber was graduated from Yale University in 1848, received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, and was Rector of Christ Church, Cambridge, Maryland, for forty-four years. William Wyatt Barber attended St. James' School, near Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, and was graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1888, from which he received also the honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1916. While at college he was made a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, was captain and half-back of the college football team for three years, and catcher on the college baseball nine for three years. On July the twenty-sixth, 1892, he was married to Florence Hurst Harmon, daughter of Mr. George Germain Harmon. An estimate of Mr. Barber's interests and influence is fortunately unnecessary for those who in the last thirty-seven years have learned to love and honor St. Mark's. Founded on loyalty and dedicated to manliness, his work and character have been for a longer period than that of any other teacher one of the great factors in the School's success; and St. Markers congratulate themselves that, with the experience of the wise man and the heart of the boy, he continues in unabated zeal and vigor the work which they alone can fully appreciate.
The coast on the hill had come to naught, and a new toboggan slide, fifteen feet high and 400 feet long, provided excellent sport, sometimes in the evening. The Jam Club now became active in its social capacity; dancing lessons were resumed; and two lectures were given by Mr. B. Bigsby, late Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, one of them an extremely interesting discussion of Rugby, Winchester and Thomas Arnold. In the spring the second nine was so well organized as to assume a distinctive uniform, which consisted of dark red stockings, white breeches, red belts, white shirts with the red S. M. monogram, and red and white caps. This spring a boat club had once more been organized on the pond, and had six boats, but its object was not formal rowing. The Brigham house opposite the School had been taken over through the liberality of Joseph Burnett, in order comfortably to handle the increased number of boys before the new building could be occupied. The baseball season was fairly successful, but St. Mark's was again defeated by Groton at Worcester with the close score of nine to eight. At the beginning of the last half of the ninth inning, with Groton one run in the lead, and two St. Markers out, Jenkins and Mr. Barber reached first on balls. Manning, R., who had already made three clean hits, struck the first ball pitched for what seemed good for two bases; but Chauncey, a Groton fielder, got under it by hard running, and St. Mark's was beaten again. There were ten errors on each side.
On the twenty-fifth of April, 1890, Dr. Morgan, whose valuable and long-continued interest in the matter of standards of scholarship was to be of so much benefit to the School, offered an annual prize to the boy in the graduating class who should show the greatest improvement in Greek during his final year; the prize to consist of some standard work on or in the Greek language or literature. This prize has been given ever since, having been endowed at Dr. Morgan's death under the name of the Morgan Greek Prize by his friend, Daniel B. Fearing. At the same meeting acknowledgment was made of several gifts, among them one by Mr. H. O. Apthorp of a photograph of St. Mark's, Venice, and a special gift for the Cloisters and Gateway in front of the School.
THE GRADUATE of the eighties finds on a visit to St. Mark's today not much radical change; only a great development. The village streets are no longer so quiet, but in his day the same white church spire rose over the trees, the red brick town hall stood guard, and our own stone church was there, though yet without its ivy-clad clock tower; the common, and the soldiers' monument, then less weather-beaten; and the same blazing autumn foliage, winter cold, and long spring afternoons of baseball and swimming. The new First-former went into the upper dormitory, which was precisely like the present dormitories only much smaller and lower-studded, and for many years heated by but one small register which hardly served to take off the edge of the cold. It was an orderly place on most winter nights; the vapor of one's breath rose like smoke in the gloom of the two tiny gas-jets, and the master sometimes appeared with an overcoat on. The bell stood high on the wall over the master's door, and at its single stroke---for there was no electricity---the talking stopped abruptly and the subdued bustle of bed-clothes and opening windows took its place, gradually dying down to an occasional guarded whisper. It is certain that the nature of the conversation was the same as now: personalities and nicknames of the most vivid description called from alcove to alcove, and perhaps a subdued chuckle from the master, who sat at his desk with the door open, writing, as some fondly believed, poetry, and hearing nothing: at least the lines on the paper were of uneven length, it was reported by some belated boy. A dictionary of nicknames for any given boarding-school would require a small volume, and would certainly fail to determine the sources of most. In general, however, they were of course caricatures: "Shark" was the boy whose mouth opened at meals slightly wider than the average; "Bloody" the one with determined jaw; "Hen" any Henry; "Whale" one who had been growing rapidly; "Tim," "Kitty," and "Woman" evident, but analysis-baffling. When, as was demonstrated years later, it was possible for a boy to be named "Cocoa" for life, to distinguish him from a schoolmate of the same name who once came down to breakfast with coffee-colored stockings on, the difficulties of the historian will be appreciated.
The rising-bell rang at half-past six in the morning, but the popular rising-time in the winter was five minutes of seven. There were steam-pipes in the washrooms; and if one was a naturalist the first task was to go to one's locker, get one's cap and the squirrel left in it over-night, and thaw the latter out on the radiator. Stiff, unconscious squirrels were repeatedly thawed thus into normal activity, apparently none the worse for their experience, and fed with stylographic pen fillers from a small bottle of milk. The lower forms reported at the school-room, scarfs tied on the jump, and were sent by individual names to the dining-room, where all stood with hands on chair-backs awaiting grace, but gaze intent on the nearest milk-pitcher and muscles covertly adjusted. Then the chairs came out with thunderous sound, and a moment later burst forth the rattle of those dozens of important conversations which astonished and confused a mere visitor, and made him or her lean forward politely to catch a neighbor's remark, and reply so loudly as to cause faces at near-by tables to turn.
After breakfast came "Prayers" in the schoolroom. Two important-looking boys seized the ends of the great kneeling-bench in front of the chancel, swung it with one motion and without noise into its place, swiftly folded back the doors before the little chancel, and took their seats. The room quieted down; the tutor rose from his seat at the desk, swept the room slowly with his eyes, and raised his hand to the bell-pull on the wall. When the last desk-cover was down and the last sound stilled the bell rang. The Headmaster entered, the tutor retired, the School rose, and prayers began. At their close all remained standing until the Headmaster had left the room, and then sat down quietly, without opening desks.
A few seconds later the Headmaster re-entered, mounted the platform in the midst of silence, and took from his pocket a small paper. Never did war-bulletin command deeper attention nor the face of its reader more anxious scrutiny; for if Zebedee Taylor's orchard had been looted or somebody had been out on the roof the night before, ---even if somebody's socks had been filled with potted ham, the record of it was surely there. But it might be --- for the Head's steady, impassive eye betrayed nothing,---that there was to be a half-holiday about something or other. The matter and its consequences were announced in an even voice; the first recitation called; and the day's work began.
Dinner came at one, and immediately after it the School scattered to lockers and the athletic fields if it was autumn or spring, and in winter to the bicycle-house, where sleds, toboggans, or double-runners were yanked out, and hauled off through the snow by a mittened, moccasined crowd to the distant Second Red Mill. But sometimes if the cold was nipping two or three boys would creep into the library, where the sun shone warmly through western windows and cast summer-like tracings on the walls, and bury themselves in Blackwood or the Little Classics until the Headmaster, riding-crop in hand, would come in with mock fury and drive them out, crying "goodness, go out and get the air! Scatter- do you want to grow up to be pasty-faced men? Put the books back and run --- quick!" Sometimes the coasting was near at hand, and permission was given to go out at night and plant torches all along both sides of the coast. There were sometimes choir sleigh-rides over the white country, when the west was red with the sunset and the moon already silvery, to Northborough or some other adjacent town, where a turkey dinner, a country pool-table and a huge roaring fire awaited the benumbed crowd. Then the silent fields would reëcho the songs, and the blank face of some farmer standing by his door and staring over his shoulder with wide open mouth would relax into an embarrassed grin as the impudent sleighfuls gave three times three cheers with a hearty "Silas" on the end. There was no motor custom for the inns in those days; the cooking was of old New England excellence; and on the jolting road home Mr. Morgan or Mr. Prince would sing "Seeing Nellie Home," or "The Bull-dog on the Bank," while the boys would come in comfortably and sentimentally on the chorus.
But most evenings were for the schoolroom and the fight with algebra and Greek under low-hung lamps, whose shades threw the upper half of the room into darkness. At half-past eight the welcome bell rang, the younger boys trooped off to their dormitory, and a monitor appeared, importantly carrying his green-shaded student-lamp already lighted, which he placed on the desk as the tutor rose with a smile of comradeship. Hands flew up all over the room; the monitor waved them down as well as he could, perhaps threatening sotto voce some whispering youngster in a front seat with a licking. On regular "parlor-nights" there was a homelike welcome from Mrs. Peck, and a few books, one of which was a huge Doré-illustrated edition of "The Ancient Mariner." There everybody was on his good manners, turning over the pages together; the older boy would condescend genially to the younger, and the younger lay aside for the time his studied indifference to the dignity of the older. The elderly matron would sometimes read aloud to a small group; and on occasion the Headmaster would come in and tell to an almost breathless circle the story of some historic ball-game with Adams Academy, ending theatrically"--- and the ball slipped through his hands and rolled twenty feet back; and Mr. Prince crossed the plate and won the game!" Sunday evenings the Headmaster would read in his study to a roomful sitting on chairs and floors and tables, "The Prince and the Pauper," "The Last Days of Pompeii," or some other book recommended by his ample experience.
Sunday was still a somewhat stern day. The boys went to church twice and to prayers twice. The music at the latter was supplied by a small house-organ, played by a master and worked by his feet; and every Sunday evening the hymn was "Sun of my Soul." The sermons at church were not especially adapted to the boys; the boys had to adapt themselves to the sermons. One was not allowed to use the school piano on Sunday unless one played hymns; a choice which resulted in sending the young musician off to the woods or to scrutinize the tombstones in the cemetery, for the gymnasium was of course out of all reverent question. Prize-day---that day when parents came, and so many of the boys wished they had something to show them, and vowed that they would have next year, --- prize-day has changed little. Then for the older boys came the good-bye; that, at least, has not changed with the years. College examinations had to be taken in Cambridge; no proctor came to the School.(91) A Yale man was a comparative rarity, and he was always brought to appreciate it by simple, perennial methods.
When the new building began to rise the School viewed it with mixed feelings. What did it mean: a new St. Mark's? A homesick affection for the old things so redolent of the past came to the observers, and with it an understanding, vouchsafed usually only to the graduate, that the School is a very real thing. All were going into the new place together: not a face would be missing, not the slightest habit or custom changed; and above all, the same leader. The new building was made for the School, and not the School for the building. And the new dress was very becoming and dignified.
"But you can't shin down those pipes, fellows," remarked one young pragmatist.
THE NEW building, though not yet entirely finished, was occupied by the School in the fall of 1890, but the consecration of the Chapel and the dedication were necessarily deferred until the next year. A special gift (92) for the Cloisters and Gateway in front of the School is testified to by the following inscription:
The width of the building was 250 feet, and the length 270. The Chapel was about half its present size, and the part of the space now occupied by the Aisle was cut off by a carved woodwork screen backed by curtains, and used as a robing-room. A driveway extended around the quadrangle, which is ninety by 144 feet in dimensions. There was no wing at the southeast corner of the building, and the present masters' study was the Headmaster's. The Secretary's office was about half its present length, the northern part having since been added in the space originally occupied by an entrance and steps leading into the quadrangle, which had proved to be of little service. The dining-room was thirty by sixty feet in extent, and finished in light wood and red brick walls, with a chimney-piece at the northern end. At the south end between the two doors stood the Headmaster's platform, and just below it the tables of the older boys. Off the north corridor from the dining-room opened the music room and five recitation-rooms, but no common-room and no entrance from the quadrangle, the space now occupied by the latter being that covered by room three. The schoolroom, finished like the dining room, was a parallelogram of the same dimensions, with the platform and desk between the two doors, and the boys' seats facing south. The hall outside ended at about the west line of the schoolroom and the corridor to the chapel, with two western windows; the present "slateroom" was an exit, which was connected by a path to the gymnasium when the latter was built, and near it stood the bell under its original tiny roof, supported by uprights. The room by the northwestern exit to the quadrangle was used by the monitors, and the present Sixth Form room by the tutors, until in the winter of 1894 the tutors abandoned their study as unserviceable; the monitors' room was then turned into a trophy room, and the Sixth Form took the other. The next room in the corridor was the library; and thus when the new library was built and the entrance to the common-room constructed it took the number three, to the confusion of succeeding generations of new boys, who look for number three in vain along the north corridor. The last room in the west corridor was the "boys' sitting-room"; but very little sitting was done so far from the haunts of authority, and after being called the Fourth Form Room for a while, it was taken as a choir room, and sometimes used for recitations. For a while the stained glass windows which had stood over the altars in the old school chancels and which now stand in the chapel Aisle, were placed between this room and the cloister; and it is from the sitting-room epoch that all flaws in them date.
On the second story the arrangement of the rooms was as at present, except that north corridor two ended in a window facing the west, and the alcoved masters' room next to it opened into the west corridor. There were no fireplaces in any of the masters' rooms. At the southeastern end of the building were the Headmaster's quarters and guest rooms, and on the story above them the hospital. On the third story the boys of all three dormitories used washrooms in the north corridor, an arrangement which practically ensured "admired disorder" until the lengthening of dormitory B and the dining-room years later permitted the use of a space formerly occupied by alcoves to be given up to new lavatories. The masters' alcoved rooms by dormitories A and B were reached by little entries at right angles to the dormitories, into which they also had doors; and from the sleeping alcoves next to them large transoms opened into the hail. The fourth floor of the building was unoccupied until the part now used for a dormitory was fitted up for the accommodation of visiting alumni, and called the Alumni Dormitory.
Outside the main building there was at first nothing, but soon Mr. Peck asked the Trustees to have the gymnasium moved to a more convenient place; and for several years it stood a few yards back of where the common-room is now. A house, the one now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Flood, was soon built for Mr. Olmsted, the Senior Master, who had previously occupied rooms in the original part of the old school; and later a second, the one now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Goodridge, was built for Mr. Barber, who had previously lived in a house on Main Street. At this time there were of course no swimming-pool and no hockey-rinks, nor was there any road at the foot of the hills to the east where the electric car line now runs; and the surrounding country had not been touched by the Metropolitan Water Board. In picturing the external aspect of the School it must be remembered that there were no shrubs of any kind about it, and that the driveway trees had but just been set out. Nature had not yet had time "to take the School to herself " as she has since done under such sympathetic guidance.
The building was designed by Henry Forbes Bigelow, '84, who had been a pupil at St. Mark's for four years, a Vindex editor, and a monitor. His familiarity with the daily routine enabled him to appreciate the needs and to anticipate the probable development of the School, as the late splendid improvements and additions testify. The School fitted comfortably into its new quarters, and the old life went on, but now with an ease and freedom which were to permit new growth and indicate new opportunities.
On the twenty-first of October, 1891, the Consecration of the Chapel and the Dedication of the New School Building took place.(93) At the former the Bishop of the Diocese, the Right Rev. Phillips Brooks, D.D., officiated, assisted by the Rev. Drs. Pynchon, Millett, Converse and Chambré, and the Rev, S. U. Shearman, Trustees, the Rev. W. Burnett, Rector of the Parish, and the Rev. C. H. Doupé, the only tutor in Holy Orders. The instrument of donation was read by the Founder of the School, Mr. Joseph Burnett, and the sentence of consecration by the Rev. Dr. Converse. The sermon was preached by the Rev. E. Winchester Donald, D.D., Rector of the Church of the Ascension, New York. The music was furnished by the Choir of St. Mark's Church, composed of members of the School, under the direction of Mr. W. R. Spaulding, one of the tutors, Organist and Choir Master. In addition to the masters and the boys there were present the Board of Trustees and the donor of the Chapel, with their families. The size of the building, designed to accommodate chiefly the School family, rendered it impossible that general invitations to the service should be issued. The following inscription stood cut in the stone both inside and outside of the building:
The text of the sermon was the fifty-second verse of the second chapter of St. Luke, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man," and Dr. Donald expounded and emphasized with great skill and force the necessity of Christianity in education, and the significance of the new Chapel as an integral part of the equipment of the School.
For the dedication of the building a large number of invitations had been sent out in the name of the Trustees, and after luncheon the tables were removed from the dining-room, and seats brought in. The Rev. Dr. Pynchon, President of the Trustees, then called to order, and a short religious service was held, which included prayers, collects, psalms eight and one hundred and nineteen, verses nine through twenty-four, and hymns 501 and 464. After this Dr. Pynchon welcomed the guests, and with great earnestness and appreciation spoke of the successful conclusion of the enterprise begun twenty-five years before. He traced the growth of the New England system of church schools, and pointed out definitely what St. Mark's owes to the success of Dr. H. A. Coit at St. Paul's. He explained that the number of pupils had been with great difficulty kept down to sixty for several years, that it then rose to seventy-five, and that the present number of one hundred permitted by the new quarters had been fixed upon by the Trustees for the final limit. He then traced the history of the School, and indicated the devotion of its Trustees through all times of stress and perplexity, the success in some special feature of each of its headmasters, and the liberality of its benefactors. Dr. Samuel Eliot then spoke on the pursuit of knowledge in its relation to character; and Bishop Phillips Brooks in a characteristically short and beautiful address brought to the boys the greeting and the blessing of the Christian Commonwealth. Mr. Daniel B. Fearing, as President of the Alumni, then spoke of the strong friendships and associations formed during school life, and of the value of the relation between boy and master. Mr. Fearing was followed by President Eliot of Harvard, who praised the men who had made St. Mark's, and dwelt on the need which such a school fills, closing with a word to the boys of the opportunity and the necessity here of laying defences against the exposures and temptations of the world. Mr. Henry M. .Lovering, representing the parents of the boys, then explained the impossibility for the modern business man of educating his son without the help in details of the expert or the specialist, and stated that because St. Mark's approached most nearly to the model home in promoting the mental, physical and moral development of our sons, she stood nearest of all to our hearts. In the name of the parents he represented, he bore witness to the generosity of the Founder, and to the superiority of the qualities of the Headmaster, and prayed that the boys might reflect credit upon him and honor upon their School. The exercises were concluded with the singing of hymn number 506 and the Benediction.
IN SEPTEMBER, 1890, the School entered its new quarters; and at a meeting of the Trustees the Rev. Mr. Converse presented the following minute, which was unanimously passed: "At this, their first meeting in the new Schoolhouse, at the close of St. Mark's' first quarter of a century, the Trustees desire to offer to the Founder of the School, Mr. Joseph Burnett, their warm congratulations that he has been permitted to see, in this magnificent building, with its one hundred and two pupils, and in the large body of Alumni of St. Mark's holding her in loving remembrance as the Alma Mater of their boyhood, so noble a harvest from the seed sown by him in faith and prayer twenty-five years ago. They record their sincere convictions that to him, not only as the Founder and chief benefactor of the School, but as during all these years her devoted and self-sacrificing friend and counsellor and guide, St. Mark's owes the distinguished position which she holds today, and for themselves and their successors in office, ---for the young men in active life who have here laid the foundation of their education, --- for their younger brethren who, occupying their places now, are so soon to follow them, and for the many who in the years to come are to reap the benefit of his generous gift, and his consecrated and faithful labor, the Trustees render to their honored friend heartfelt thanks for all that, under the blessing of Almighty God, he has been enabled to accomplish for Christian education."
The new conditions and the increased number of boys had thrown a greater amount of care than usual on the Trustees, who had appointed a committee to consider and act upon the subject of diet for the School, and another to arrange for the consecration and dedication ceremonies; and Mr. Burnett presented a lot of land to serve in connection with the sewerage. It was even voted that "the matter of rubber tips for the feet of the chairs in the dining-room be referred to the Standing Committee."
The Committee on raising the standard of scholarship, in which Dr. Morgan had been especially active, presented in print the following report in regard to admission requirements, and the Board voted to insert it in the catalogue: "An applicant for admission to the First Form should be twelve years of age, and able to read easy English prose and poetry, and to spell correctly. He should have a fair knowledge of arithmetic through common fractions, of the geography of the United States and of Europe, and of the elements of the history of the United States. He should also be able to write plainly. Special attention to these points is asked of those preparing boys for admission, and no boy will be admitted to the First Form unless he can satisfy these requirements. The course of study in the School will show that a boy entering this form at the age of twelve, and passing through the six forms in consecutive years, will be able to enter college to advanced standing at the age of eighteen. Boys who are not able to satisfy this requirement will be placed in the Lower First Form, and receive instruction there until fitted for promotion. Boys under twelve years may be received into this form to be fitted for the First if parents desire." The previous requirements were the ability to pass an examination in the reading of easy prose, spelling of words in common use, and in the first four rules of arithmetic. The Committee believed that this reasonable increase in requirement for a boy entering the School would leave the Sixth Form year greater freedom for the pursuit of higher studies than are required for mere entrance to college, and enable a boy better to comprehend the value of the opportunities soon to be opened to him. The Committee further recommended more attention to English literature and composition, and a broader instruction in German. In regard to the matter of physics and chemistry, the Committee announced that the time had come when a first-class school could no longer limit itself to classical education, and that St. Mark's should make ready as soon as possible to offer scientific training also. The Committee finally recommended that less time should be given to the support of the choir, and that the whole School should receive instruction in singing for at least half an hour a week throughout the year. Upon presentation of this report, the subject of physics and chemistry, with the fitting up of a laboratory, was referred to the same committee, Messrs. Peck and Morgan.
A vote was passed to prepare resolutions on the death of Bishop Benjamin Henry Paddock, which occurred on the ninth of May, and a page of appreciation of his services as President of the Board was placed in the records. At the same meeting Daniel Butler Fearing of Newport, was unanimously elected a trustee. The following votes were also passed: that the Easter vacation begin on Easter Monday, ending a week from the following Wednesday, the balance of four weeks to make up the Christmas vacation; that the Standing Committee be empowered to employ a clerk at the School, and to define his duties; and that Mr. August Belmont be empowered to enlarge the organ he is to put into the Chapel, and to enlarge the Chapel to accommodate it, it being understood that no expense for this alteration shall be charged to the School. During the summer the parish church had been enlarged by the beautiful stone tower, and an addition to the rear.
About forty new boys appeared this year for benevolent assimilation, and two new masters. The excellent football record of 1889, all games won except for the tie with Groton, was not repeated, two games being won and two lost, one of the latter to Groton by a score of twenty to six. The game was played at Lancaster. Groton's team work was the greatest factor in the victory, and St. Mark's' only score was made by a criss-cross play and a run past Groton's right end. After football came hockey, and later good crust coasting for the first time in five years; the Banjo and Glee Club reorganized; preparations began for the Easter hop; and the interest in theatricals was redoubled through the industry and skill of Mr. Sennett. A laboratory had been fitted out, and an experimental course in physics begun, in accordance with the authority granted by the Trustees. The fourth annual dinner of the Alumni Association took place at Delmonico's on the thirtieth of December, with twenty-six present, and the subjects of the new buildings and the proposed painting of the Founder's portrait were treated by Mr. Peck and Mr. Fearing. At the end of the Easter vacation the Lion of St. Mark looked down for the first time from above the gateway on the returning boys; and on the slab inside of the arch was the coat of arms. These boys and others will like to know that the word "March" in the shield, about which conjectures were rife for several years, has been corrected to "Marce." The vacation had been prolonged to three weeks because of two scarlet fever patients in the hospital and the fumigation necessary in consequence. The tennis courts near the building were laid out during this term. The baseball season was only fairly successful, and in the game with Groton St. Mark's was badly beaten by a score of twenty to two.
On the seventh of September, 1891, the Rev. Phillips Brooks was unanimously elected a trustee, and resolutions were passed on the death of the Hon. Josiah G. Abbott, a charter member of the Board, who had drawn up the papers at the time of the incorporation of the School. On the twenty-first of October the Consecration and Dedication exercises were held as already described, and the portrait of Joseph Burnett was unveiled. This painting was the result of subscriptions from the boys and the alumni. Gifts of a silver communion service and a brass lectern for the Chapel were made by the Belmont family; the clock above the quadrangle outside of the building was presented by Mr. Post, of New York; the weather-vane was given by Mr. Henry N. Bigelow, and two brass candlesticks for the Chapel by the Rev. Waldo Burnett. It is interesting to note that a discussion arose on the subject of these candlesticks, and that a motion to reconsider their acceptance was made. This failed to pass; but two or three years elapsed before candles were lighted in them.
A vote by the Trustees that it was inexpedient to hold Sunday afternoon services in the Chapel of the School indicates that the practice which has been followed for many years was at this time suggested. The Trustees were unwilling to give the title of Chaplain or Acting Chaplain to the present tutor in Holy Orders, but pointed out that as head of the school family the Headmaster was de facto the Chaplain, with the privilege and prerogative of conducting morning and evening prayers, and with the liberty of delegating the duty. Two matters of school discipline and conduct were brought up at this meeting, the former involving alleged disorder on the part of St. Mark's boys, and the latter in regard to the diet, about which a committee had some time before concerned itself. It was found that whatever the foundations of the reports were no action was necessary on either score. A letter was read by the Clerk from Mr. Peck dated December 30, 1891, in which he mentioned the possibility of resigning at the end of the school year; and Dr. Pynchon and Dr. Converse were appointed to confer with him in regard to the matter. As a result the Trustees stated that they had no desire to entertain the idea of the Headmaster's resignation, but wished to do everything in their power to make his position agreeable.
On the thirty-first of October plans drawn by H. F. Bigelow were presented for the new gymnasium, an addition to the school equipment for which Mr. Peck had long been working; and at the meeting in April it was voted that construction should begin as soon as the sum of ten thousand dollars was on hand. The death of Bishop Brooks on the twenty-third of January was duly acted upon at an informal meeting on January the thirty-first, and the resolutions published in several journals. Mr. Brooks' first official act as Bishop had been consecrating the St. Mark's School Chapel. The funeral in Boston was attended by Mr. Peck and Mr. Chase, and most of the Sixth Form.
At the meeting in the fall a communication from Harvard had been read in regard to a School Examination Board, whose purpose was to study the curriculum methods and requirements of school work, and to report with suggestions. During the year examiners visited all school classes, and in July it was voted to print their report, which was dated June 22, 1893. This commented upon the loss of time, energy and interest in work consequent upon the assignment of too many subjects to each tutor, and upon the impossibility under the conditions of securing and retaining properly equipped men to plan and conduct the work of the various departments. The report contained valuable suggestions, and these were recognized and gradually put into effect after a report on January the tenth, 1894, by Messrs. Morgan and Chambré, to whom the examiners' report had been given for consideration. The most notable of them was an increase of inducement for competent men to undertake teaching at St. Mark's for more than a brief period,(94) and a division of the School work into departments, each in charge of a tutor, henceforth to be called master, specially fitted for his subject. The Committee were of the opinion that the establishment of a chemical laboratory would not provide a boy with as good an educational training as the classical, and for this and other reasons the matter of a course in chemistry was dropped for the time.(95)
On the ninth of March Mr. Peck, the Headmaster, whose labor had been incessant and worries in connection with the new conditions almost endless, was attacked by a severe case of pneumonia, which developed into pleuro-pneumonia, and the charge of the School was transferred to Mr. Olmsted. The Vindex states that for some days Mr. Peck hovered between life and death. "At one time it was almost certain that St. Mark's would lose her greatest helper, and that all the boys of the School would lose as true a friend and as noble a man as they have ever known. With thankful hearts we can say that he has passed the crisis successfully, and is gaining strength daily. Even when out of danger the slightest noise was extremely disturbing to him, and on this account, with the fact that he was continually thinking of the boys and worrying himself planning for their welfare, the Trustees voted that the Easter vacation should be a week earlier than usual, so that Mr. Peck should have a perfect rest. As soon as he was able he went to Lakewood, N. J., with Mrs. Peck. Throughout his sickness the fellows, realizing what a terrible misfortune might come on the School, behaved in most exemplary fashion, and conducted themselves as true St. Markers always do."
W. H. L. Edwards, '89, and R. Floyd, '91, helped the eleven greatly in the fall by coaching, and the outlook looked promising; but the final result of the games was four won and four lost, one of the latter to Groton by a score of thirty-four to ten. The team played a creditable game, but was clearly outplayed by Groton, whose wonderfully well-developed team work gained her an early advantage which St. Mark's labored in vain to overcome. The uniform of the eleven was moleskin trousers, blue jerseys and white canvas jackets with blue monogram, and the sweaters with broad white collars and laced front with a white monogram, and it was suggested this year that this uniform should be made permanent. On Columbus Day Mr. Peabody led many boys on a bicycle ride to Concord, a distance of thirty-six miles, --- the bicycles now being of course of the modern type with sprocket and gear. On the thirty-first of January the now famous Fourth Form Debating Club was organized; and the first debate took place on the same evening: "Resolved, that a lawyer is justified in defending a man whom he knows to be guilty." The character of these debates has changed little through the years, and the exercise they give in the power of oral expression is clearly apparent in the improved quality of the extemporaneous speaking by the two upper forms. Once more a rage for journalism took possession of the School and in a short time two weeklies, one semi-weekly and one daily were issued, one of which appears to have been the well-known Chapel Alley Daily Bulletin. The usual winter sports were held; and the bowling-alley, which had now fallen into disuse, was made into a "cage" for practice in sliding bases and throwing. Graduates, particularly J. L. Worden, Jr., '91, who was pitching on the Harvard Varsity team, continued to show interest in the success of the team by coaching, and this year Groton was defeated by a score of ten to seven.(96)
At the first meeting of the Trustees in the fall of 1893 a small sum was granted for planting trees and shrubs about the grounds of the School, ---practically the first step in a matter whose influence is incalculable, and whose value and execution were to be so beautifully realized by Dr. Thayer and Mr. Harry Burnett. The laboratory also was started by a grant for the purchase of tools and books of reference, subject to the approval of Professor Hale of Harvard. At the same meeting Bishop Lawrence was elected a trustee; and changes were made in the constitution of the Board which gave the several articles greater perspicuity without altering their substance. In January action was taken on the report of the Harvard examiners by establishing seven departments in the School, and by confining the tutors' work to special subjects. The title Master was also substituted for that of Tutor. The new gymnasium was now in use, but the Trustees were awaiting further funds to complete its interior equipment, which were finally available the following year.
At a special meeting of the Board on June 14, 1894, the Clerk read a letter from Mr. Peck dated June third, offering his resignation as Headmaster, to take effect on the first of September. The resignation was accepted, and a committee of three was appointed to present suitable resolutions and to suggest a suitable testimonial to the retiring Head, in recognition of his valuable services during his twenty-three years' connection with St. Mark's School. At the same meeting it was voted that Bishop Lawrence, Archdeacon Chambré, and Messrs. Foster and Gardner be appointed to take under consideration and report the relations of the Parish of St. Mark's and St. Mark's School; and on the twenty-eighth of June they submitted the following:
"A church school implies unity of development of the spiritual, intellectual and physical life of the boys; and therefore the Headmaster, if a clergyman, is subject only to the Trustees, and should have the same free and untrammelled control of the religious instruction and guidance of the boys that he has in their intellectual and physical development. Therefore it is resolved that the Headmaster of St. Mark's School being a clergyman subject only to the approval of a majority of the Trustees has full control of the religious instruction and guidance of the boys; that the Trustees take the necessary canonical steps towards making the Chapel of St. Mark's School canonically independent, under the condition that the Chapel be not another parish, but simply an academic chapel; that recognizing the happy and mutual relations that have existed between St. Mark's School and St. Mark's Parish, the Trustees express the hope that the new Headmaster and the Rector of St. Mark's Parish may make arrangements agreeable to both for the Sunday morning worship of the boys in the Church, it being clearly understood, however, that the Headmaster has full authority in the matter as above stated." A copy of the above was sent to the Rector and to the wardens of St. Mark's Parish.
At a subsequent meeting the Board adopted the following resolutions: "In accepting at his own reiterated request the resignation of Mr. William E. Peck, A.M., the Headmaster, the Trustees desire to place on record their estimation of his valuable services during his long official connection with St. Mark's School. Having risen, during a term of twenty-three years, from the position of junior tutor to that of Headmaster, which office he has held for the last twelve years, he has seen the School grow steadily in strength, usefulness and favor, until today it stands second to no institution of learning of the same grade in this country. The Trustees recognize and gratefully acknowledge the devotion with which Mr. Peck has consecrated his learning, his judgment and all his efforts to the promotion of the honor and the welfare of St. Mark's; and they assure him of their continued interest in himself and his family, and their warmest wishes for his prosperity and success in the years to come." Accompanying these resolutions was a substantial gift termed a slight testimonial of the obligations they felt themselves under for his long, faithful and successful labors.
The distress and sorrow among boys and graduates of the School at Mr. Peck's resignation were such as to cause some discouragement and apprehension in the minds of those most deeply interested in her welfare; but fortunately the structure was strong enough. "Whatever thoughts we can express about Mr. Peck's leaving the School," said the Vindex, "have already come to everybody. The results of his work here are evident in the constantly increasing size and usefulness of the School since the care of it passed into his hands. The number has doubled; the buildings, old and imperfect, are now the finest in the country. That this success s due entirely to him no one questions. His career as Headmaster has been as successful as it possibly could be; but when we come to his personal influence on every boy who has ever been a member of the School, it is hard to speak. He has led us; and it is the recognition of those qualities of honor, uprightness, religion, strength and kindness which he labored to instil into us that now enables us to appreciate him. From his correction of grave faults in boys' lives to his fatherly care of the last sick boy, he has been the same kindly, energetic head. Without him and Mrs. Peck the School cannot be the same to us. Now that he leaves it there is not one of us who does not wish him the brightest success in the future, nor one who does not thank him for bringing so many of his fellow beings to their best development. Whoever succeeds to his place will find Mr. Peck's example the guide; yet his fidelity to the School has made him put it beyond reliance for its success on any one person. It will succeed, and its success has been born in him." A similar testimonial is furnished by the words of the Rev. Dr. T. R. Pynchon, of the Board of Trustees, in his address at the dedication of the new building in 1891. "To each and every one of the past headmasters is the School indebted for some special feature of success. Each one in turn developed some one of the various important elements that go to make up the complex life of a modern school; but it is to the present Headmaster that St. Mark's is most indebted for all that constitutes its usefulness, its success, its fame, and its glory. And it is what he has done that has rendered it possible for the Founder to realize his ideal, and to carry out his conception of a school for a hundred boys, domiciled in one of the most convenient and comfortably arranged buildings that can anywhere be found."
The prize-day of 1894 was heavily tinged with sadness; every speech contained a tribute to the work of the beloved Headmaster, and resolutions passed by the Alumni Association on his resignation were read by S. V. R. Crosby, '87, the President. Two months later the School was shocked by the death of its Founder, Joseph Burnett; and when the new school year began in the autumn it is not strange that both boys and graduates felt that St. Mark's was face to face with the gravest crisis in her history. "Nobody knows what we owe our Founder," says the Vindex, "and we may not know for years the extent of our loss. In every room and corridor of the building we realize his work."
The subject of a new Headmaster had at once occupied the Trustees, and at their meeting on the seventeenth of July, 1894, the Rev. W. G. Thayer had been unanimously elected. In a note sent out on the following day to the patrons of the School, Bishop Lawrence stated that Mr. Thayer had been a master at Groton School for six years, had by his work and character gained the respect of the Trustees and Masters of that school, and that both Mr. and Mrs. Thayer had won the affection and devotion of the boys.
An analysis of the material development of the School in all its departments and activities, strikingly as it reveals Mr. Peck's work and devotion as Headmaster, leaves untouched the roots of his achievement. The keen and intelligent sympathy, the courage, the eye which seemed to see everything, do not satisfactorily explain the control which he exercised over the hearts and consciences of the boys. He was not a man of the world, nor can it be said that he was unusually endowed with the social qualities which immediately attract. But it was to his boys as though he could do no wrong; as though the truth and honor and courage which make character were personified in him; and perhaps only those who remember him after he had spent the night at his little daughter's bedside until she died, standing white and haggard at his post in the morning, can realize where the secret lay, and that in leaving his work at St. Mark's he was building his own character into her walls.
Though it was inevitable that the momentum of the School should feel somewhat the effects of the shocks it had suffered, the power of its traditions was too great to yield to them, and the life went on in its accustomed channel. The football season of 1893 had from the boys' point of view been unsuccessful, because Groton won by a score of ten to six. Groton's first touchdown came almost immediately, and was the result of a well-executed trick play around left end; but the second score was won by a steady march down the field. The Dramatic Club, under Mr. Sennett,(97) again proved to be an important part of the social life; and the dance in February, under Mrs. Peck's charge, was the usual success, though this year those invited to attend were for the first time limited to the Fifth and Sixth Forms. The Missionary Society was organized in this year of 1894, and has ever since proved an efficient and valuable activity. The baseball season was very successful; but St. Mark's nevertheless lost to Groton at Worcester by the score of five to two through inability to hit Haughton's pitching. At the close of the year the usual celebration of the night before took place, and the "cart speech," which the Vindex describes as very amusing, was delivered by James W. Wadsworth, Jr., '94.