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The many Phil-Hellenes in the world of scholars will receive with delight the announcement that the proposed establishment at of an American school of classical studies at Athens has finally been brought to a successful issue.
All the important preliminary arrangements for its inauguration next fall have been made, and it only remains for certain minor details of preparation to be completed and for the director and students to sail for Greece, in order that the school may actually begin its proper work in the chosen field.
The American school at Athens is the direct offspring of the Archaeological Institute of America; the Archaeological Institute of America itself was in the first place a child of Harvard; therefore, the relations of the three are of the most intimate nature. The Archaeological Institute was organized in 1879 with Charles Eliot Norton as president, and with Prof. Goodwin and Alexander Agassiz on the board of directors. Since its organization its work has grown to be of national importance. The two most important results of its labors hitherto have been the well-known explorations carried on recently in Mexico by Mr. A. F. Bandelier, and the excavations now being carried on in Greece by Mr. J. T. Clarke. The third result of its energetic existence has now appeared in the birth of the American School at Athens.
On December 20th, 1881, circulars were issued by a committee of the institute setting forth a "project for the creation at Athens of an American School of Classical Literature, Art and Antiquities, upon the plan of the well-known French and German schools already established there," a project which had been under discussion in the institute for a considerable time. That committee then consisted of Prof. J. W. White (chairman), Prof. E. W. Gurney, Prof. Albert Harkness, Messrs. T. W. Ludlow, F. W. Palfrey; since that time the following names have been added to the committee : Fred'k J. d Peyster, Prof. Packard of New Haven, Dr. Drisler of Columbia, Prof. Sloane of Princeton, and Prof. Gildersleeve of Johns Hopkins. The first of these circulars proposed a plan for a permanent school at Athens as an "independent institution, subject to the control of a managing committee chosen by the Archaeological Institute," whenever an endowment of at least $100,000 could be secured, to provide for the salary of the director, the rent and care of a house, the purchase of books and the various expenses which might be incurred in carrying on the work of the school. This building should contain apartments for the director and his family, and suitable rooms for the meetings, collections, and library, and eventually, when the resources of the school should warrant it, there might be in the building rooms for the students. But in order that time might not be lost while the permanent fund was accumulating, the committee proposed to open the school at once, if possible, with a temporary and less elaborate organization, under the auspices of some of our leading colleges. The support of Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Brown, was secured for the plan, and immediate arrangements were made for its execution. This work has been steadily prosecuted since, until now the committee are prepared to make a public statement of the progress of the plan and the prospects of the school. The provisional scheme of the school is briefly this :
The school shall be in charge of a director, whose duty it shall be to superintend the work of the school and its members and to make an annual report thereon to the committee. There will be no prescribed course of study for members, excepting the presentation of four theses annually upon work done during the year. The course shall extend to three years. For the present, members are to be chosen and sent by the various cooperating colleges as they see fit. It is expected that there will be eight or ten pupils at the school next year, and among them possibly a graduate from Harvard. One student, at least, will probably go from New Haven and one from New York. These students, supported by fellowships from their respective colleges, will be under the direction of Professor Goodwin, whose salary as director will be paid by the college. In addition to this, each college furnishes a certain subscription towards defraying the other expenses of the school. About $20,000 have been pledged for the expenses of the first ten years. By this excellent arrangement the financial support of the school is assured for the ten years; but any further increase of the fund would greatly inure to the benefit of the scheme. It will not be the purpose of the school to engage in any excavations, although it will take an interest in and will study those being conducted by others. Its objects will be primarily those of a school, though of a higher school than has been supposed by some, notably by one doting father in Pennsylvania, who has written proposing immediately to place his son, now preparing for Harvard, in the school at Athens. The project has aroused much interest in the English press, who watch all proceedings with a jealous eye. The Academy has even flattered the school by a report that already pound20,000 are in its hands, which it proposes to spend outright for buildings and a library. If the school does not receive its full complement of members from the associated colleges, others, who are competent and who are willing to pay their own expenses, will be received.
Fourteen colleges in all have been invited to take part in the scheme. These are Harvard, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Amherst, College of the City of New York, Michigan, University of Virginia, Union, Trinity and Wesleyan. The answers which they have returned to the invitation of the committee have been in the main very favorable. Professor Goodwin was the unanimous choice of the committee as the fittest man for the position of first director of the school.
Finally, the one object of the school, as stated plainly and simply by Professor White, is this : "That during the next ten years, fifteen or twenty men may study, for two or three years each, classical subjects on classical ground." A meeting of the committee, in New York on April 5th, has been called by Professor White, to settle all plans finally before the director sails. Professors Norton and Goodwin will probably attend.
We predict for the school a most brilliant future, perhaps far more prosperous than is even hoped for by the gentlemen who have the matter in hand. In the very nature of its surroundings and purposes, the school offers a most attractive study-home for earnest scholars, while the learning of the men who will conduct it will in itself tend to invite the constantly increasing number of earnest lovers of the classics.
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