The late George Peabody left a sum of $3,500,000 for the promotion of popular education in the South. The most fruitful result of this generous gift is the Peabody Normal College, at Nashville, Tenn. As early as 1873 the trustees of the Peabody fund decided to establish a normal college in the South. Application was made to the Tennessee Legislature to charter such an institution, the trustees promising to contribute liberally to its support. In 1875 the bill was passed and in December of the same year the college opened with Dr. E. S. Stearns as President.
Dr. Stearns died in April. 1887, and was succeeded by Dr. William H. Payne of Michigan University. The college opened last month with an increase of 30 per cent over the attendance of any previous year in the college's history.
At the close of the war the historic university of Nashville for lack of funds was obliged to close, and the Peabody College now occupies the site of the old university. The college is patronized by every southern State and its graduates are the most prominent of the younger professors of the South. There are 114 scholarships which are distributed among the different States according to scholastic population. Each scholarship pays the incumbent $200 and lasts two years. Tuition and text books are free to students from all parts of the world, the only charge being $6 a year. The annual expenses of the college are about $47,000.
The college of William and Mary at Virginia, influenced by the invasion of the normal idea in the South, has now become a non-sectarian. The courses have been greatly changed and the college has a decidedly "normal" trend. Every student is obliged to teach two years in some public school in the State, and in return his tuition fees are paid as long as he remains at the college. The degree of Licentiate of Instruction is conferred after the completion of the first two years. The college numbers at present 115.