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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
The present year bids fair to be the most prosperous one in the history of the Harvard Annex. At no time since the institution opened has the work in all departments been so satisfactory. The students are earnest and enthusiastic, and in consequence the best results are obtained. The interest they display is a constant stimulation to the professors and instructors, and draws from them their best work.
The increase in the number of students this year is very gratifying. The number at present registered and actively at work is one hundred and thirty-eight. Some idea of the rapid growth of the institution may be obtained when it is known that the first year, 1879-80, began with twenty-seven students. It was not until 1884-85 that there was a marked increase in the attendance. That year there were fifty-five students; the next year there were seventy-three; and since that time the growth has been steady.
There is one thing that is very generally misunderstood about the Annex, and that is the nature of the instruction. The institution was founded to give women exactly the same advantages as are given to men by Harvard college. There are no teachers other than the professors and instructors of the college; the charter forbids that any others be employed.
The social life grows every year. The Fay house is made much more a center for the students than it used to be, and this tends to increase the spirit of fellowship. this spirit is further increased by the various clubs which exist among the students. The meetings of the Emmanuel society have been of especial interest this year. Recent ones have been addressed by Mrs. Professor Palmer and Mrs. George Chaplain, and at the next one Professor F. G. Peabody will speak. The meetings of the Idler club have also been very pleasant, and the new English club has proven a decided acquisition to the student life of the institution.
The library has recently received a gift of between two and three hundred volumes from Professor W. P. Atkin son, of Technology, who has made similar gifts several times before. The library has also been much enlarged by purchase, and now numbers over 3000 volumes. Among the new books are a great many French and German texts.
Professor Bocher has recently presented a portrait of Madame de Sevigne to the library; and a number of photographs have been given by Professor Davis.
The regular weekly afternoon teas began last week, and will continue through the year. These have always proven a very pleasant feature of life at the Annex.
It is probable that the Fay house will be enlarged before another year. The need of greater accommodations has been known for some time and it is hoped that friends of the society will contribute the necessary funds for the purpose. The addition will be of brick and three stories in height. It will give several more position rooms, and a large library and reading room.
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