1878-1899: Education: Chronology

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1878-1899: Education: Chronology




  • The first reported Boys Club for elimination of tenement gangs is organized in New York.
  • An elementary school that provides manual as well as intellectual training is opened in New York.


  • Calvin Woodward establishes a branch of the Carlisle Indian School, a manual training school, in Saint Louis, Missouri.
  • The Boston Cooking School, a private cookery school for women, is opened.


  • The professional journal Education is founded as one of the earliest publications for disseminating the theories and methods of teaching.
  • The first regularly admitted women students to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are graduated.
  • The Saint Louis Manual Training School, the first public high school with industrial training facilities, opens.


  • The Blair Bill, the first legislation designed to establish federal aid for education, is introduced in Congress but fails to pass.
  • Booker T. Washington founds Tuskegee Institute, an agricultural and industrial training school for African Americans, in Alabama.


  • The Slater Fund, a northern private charitable organization, is established to send funds to the South for improving Negro education.
  • Congressional appropriations lead to the establishment of off-reservation Indian boarding schools in several states.
  • Yales annual report by President Noah Porter suggests that American universities must offer moral and intellectual training, with the professors standing in loco parentis (literally, in the place of parents) to assure that students learn.


  • North Carolinas legislature rules that counties can raise taxes locally and divide those funds as taxpayers see fit between two separate, racially divided school systems.
  • Col. Francis Parker assumes the presidency of Cook County (Chicago) Normal School.


  • The National Education Association officially recognizes a separate kindergarten category for its members.
  • The journal Popular Education is founded.
  • The Industrial Education Association is founded in New York City.


  • The Hatch Act establishes agricultural experimental stations in connection with land-grant colleges.
  • Charles William Eliot, the president of Harvard University, presents an argument to the Nineteenth Century Club on the value of the elective curriculum.
  • James McCosh, the president of Princeton University, refutes Eliots argument to the Nineteenth Century Club.
  • Mother Mary Regis Casserly opens a Catholic female tuition academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which serves as a normal school for nuns.
  • Ten women in the United States hold earned doctorates.
  • The public schools in Boston include cooking as a regular part of the curriculum.
  • Bryn Mawr, a Quaker womens college dedicated to providing females with an intellectual experience comparable to that of any exclusively male college, is founded; Harvard president Charles William Eliot predicts its failure.


  • A Mississippi law is passed that allows state funds to be diverted from Negro to white schools through differentials in teacher salaries.


  • Students in the San Francisco elementary schools are classified into separate grades for the first time.
  • Mother Katharine Mary Drexel establishes a boarding school for the Pueblo Indians in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory.
  • G. Stanley Hall, a psychologist and philosopher, founds the American Journal of Psychology.
  • American millionaire Jonas Gilman Clark establishes Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a new center for research in the United States. G. Stanley Hall becomes its first president.
  • Most public elementary schools include cooking and sewing as regular subjects in the curriculum for girls.


  • Charles de Garmo publishes the first American textbook based on Herbartian ideals, or the concept that teaching must be based on understanding the psychology of the learner.
  • Jane Addams opens Hall-House, a Chicago settlement house that serves as an educational laboratory for teaching adults and immigrants.
  • Julia Richmond is the first woman and the first Jew to be appointed a district superintendent of schools in New York City.
  • No southern state has a compulsory school attendance law.


  • The second Morrill Act establishes a continuing federal grant to each state for an agricultural college.
  • The number of public high schools reporting to the Bureau of Education is 2,771, with a total enrollment of 202,963.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court in Weiss v. District Board prohibits religious instruction in public schools.
  • The Mississippi Constitutional Convention gives local school boards almost complete control in apportioning state school moneys; this state ruling overrides the Peabody Funds principle of equal distribution of support to white and black schools.
  • Woodrow Wilson, who had earned a law degree and a doctorate in history, is named professor of jurisprudence and political economy at Princeton.
  • William James publishes The Principles of Psychology, a book that marks the beginning of a direct attack on prior educational psychology.
  • One of the earliest textbooks on the administration of schools, a 148-page volume called School Supervision, is published by a professor at the University of Iowa.
  • The Teachers College of New York formally affiliates with Columbia University.
  • The average school year in the United States is 135 days.
  • The annual expenditure for each child in average daily attendance in public schools in the United States is seventeen dollars.
  • Three-tenths of 1 percent (.003) of the total population of the United States is enrolled in high school.
  • Fifteen percent of the adult native white population and almost two-thirds of the black population are illiterate.


  • The journal Educational Review is founded.
  • Salaries of Negro teachers in all southern states show a sharp decline.
  • Stanford University, named after Leland Stanford Jr., opens in California.
  • An average of 68 percent of the total receipts for public schools in the United States is derived from local sources; the rest is from state funds.


  • The Committee of Ten of the National Education Association investigates high school and college curricula. The committee establishes nine courses of study for college preparatory secondary curriculum so that colleges can begin to standardize entrance requirements.
  • Charles Kendall Adams assumes the presidency of the University of Wisconsin. Under his leadership the university serves as a model for other state universities wishing to expand.
  • The University of Chicago, soon recognized as an innovative model in higher education, is established with a large grant from John D. Rockefeller.
  • Professor Frank McMurray of the Teachers College, Columbia University, makes the first of his many appearances before the National Education Association to defend the efficacy of Herbartian methods.
  • Yale and the University of Pennsylvania open some of their graduate departments to women.


  • At the American Historical Association conference in Chicago, Frederick Jackson Turner delivers an address titled The Significance of the Frontier in American History. Turners frontier thesis maintains that westward expansion has shaped the American character and helps explain national development.


  • Martha Carey Thomas is selected as president of Bryn Mawr College and begins dispelling doubts about womens intellectual capacities.
  • Several states pass legislation to require manual training in the high school .curriculum.
  • Nineteen states still do not have compulsory school attendance laws.


  • Booker T. Washington makes an address at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta supporting the vocational education of African Americans.
  • The first vacation school for urban children is established in Boston.
  • The establishment of the National Herbart Society for the Scientific Study of Education marks an important development in educational theoiy and psychology.
  • There are approximately 80,662 students enrolled in 398 private commercial and business colleges in the country.


  • The U. S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that states have the right to separate the races in public facilities, including schools.
  • An article in Educational Review claims that vacation camps for tenement lads may result more decisively in the formation of good character than all the school experiences of the rest of the year in town.
  • Only 220 of 432 institutions of higher education offer courses in the science of education.
  • John Dewey opens an experimental elementary school at the University of Chicago.


  • The Teachers College of Columbia University offers more courses (sixteen) in education as a special study than any other American college or university.
  • The number of pupils attending elementary schools is more than fifteen million.
  • The age of compulsory attendance in states with attendance laws ranges from eight to fourteen.
  • The percentage of girls in high schools in the country is 57.64.
  • Nearly one-third of students who attend colleges and universities are women.
  • A total of 1,583 women are enrolled in medical schools and 131 in law schools.
  • The average annual per capita expenditure for public education is $2.62 in the country at large; in southern states the average ranges from 50¢ to 90¢.


  • Chicago establishes a model system of vocational schools for the urban poor with a curriculum designed by John Dewey, which includes nature study, gymnastics, music, and games.
  • Only three states issue teaching credentials at the state level; elsewhere the credentials are issued locally.


  • The term home economics is coined at a summer conference in Lake Placid, New York, designed for educators to discuss ways of improving home life in modem society.
  • Publication of University of Chicago professor John Deweys School and Society marks the beginning of the Progressive education movement.
  • The College Entrance Examination Board is founded by the Middle States Education Association to assess students preparation for college work.
  • Large retail operations such as the Daniels & Fisher stores in Denver and John Wanamakers in Philadelphia begin operating mandatory on-the-job schools for employees under the age of eighteen.
  • William Jamess book Talks to Teachers is published and assures teachers that knowledge of psychology will aid them in the classroom.
  • The Chicago mayors commission on school management publishes a set of principles to be used by city school superintendents; it is used by teachers of administration for decades.

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1878-1899: Education: Chronology

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1878-1899: Education: Chronology