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Minnesota, for instance, would have the club women look to it that ethical training obtains in the schools. They are referred to their own Miss Evans' address before the General Federation in 1896; to Dr. Lyman Abbott's address before the National Educational Association on "A Better Religious Training in in Public Schools;" to Felix Adler's pamphlets, and to publications of ethical societies in this country and England. The committee also suggests a few books on delicate scientific subjects, and here they will claim the gratitude of many perplexed mothers and teachers.
In Illinois the work is very diversified, and it would seem that legislation is the remedy that occurs to the women of that state, as they consider certain evils or deficiencies connected with their schools. Some of them, under the leadership of Mrs. Flower, are trying to secure an appropriation for a girls' dormitory and provisions for a domestic science department and girls' gymnasium in the state university. Others are helping to push a compulsory education bill, while others are waging war on the cigarette. Public and private kindergartens are being fos tered by the women; schoolrooms are gaining in attractiveness, in some cases through so homely a means as an old-fashioned scrubbing, and meanwhile the study of educational conditions is going on everywhere.
whose chairman is Mrs. J. H. Canfield. The first of these committees works through the Ohio state library, and Mrs. Bookwalter describes the process as follows: The general library law of Ohio has two good points. It takes the appointment of a librarian out of politics, and leases the management of the state library to a commission whose authority is absolute. The first rules and regulations sent out by this commission showed that a startling change was to be inaugurated at the state library. Up to that time the only persons who had access to the 60,000 volumes had been the official class. Now any citizen of Ohio could secure the use of the books upon the same terms as are in use in local public libraries. The library committee of the State Federation of Clubs hailed this new law with joy. A conference was at once arranged between this committee and the commissioners, with excellent results. It was agreed that libraries of from twenty to forty volumes should be sent to clubs wanting them, to be kept for an indefinite time, the commissioners reserving to themselves the right to call them back after the first month, a right which has never been exercised, and the club to pay transportation both ways. The clubs were asked to send their year books to the state library when they sent for application blanks. Books were selected bearing upon the topics studied in the club, and when the simple requirements of the commissioners were ceded to by the proper filling out of the blanks and sending them to the library, the books were forwarded to the club. Thus traveling libraries on a small scale were set spinning in Ohio. They were made up of the books already upon the shelves, as no special appropriation had yet been made for this purpose. The clubs were asked to send reports as to the use of the books, and these reports have been so satisfactory that for the current club year the commissioners allow the books to stay six months. Besides these reports many letters of grateful appreciation have been received by the commissioners, and both letters and reports will be preserved and will form the basis of an argument for a special appropriation for these libraries. Moreover, the traveling library affects the woman's THE Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs has club movement visibly, in that it has made the two somewhat unusual standing committees, country club a possibility. Hitherto the want. namely, the library extension committee, of of books has made it difficult to carry on a club which Mrs. Edward Bookwalter, of Springfield, in the country. A little fact will go further is chairman, and the club extension committee, than much theory, and the fact is, that as soon
The Nebraska committee is just getting out its letter of advice, but it urges the application of neither law nor gospel, unless a sympathetic inquiry "that you may help" comes under the latter term. This committee would have the mothers and other women of the state know whether the schools are doing their best, first, as a means and aid to the development of character in the individual, and second, as an immediate preparation for community life," and it would have the schools studied "a, as to the moving spirit, the teacher; b, as to the inspiring genius, the superintendent, and c, as to the governing force, the board." The letter pleads for encouragement and appreciation where it is deserved, and since Nebraska is an agricultural state, attention is directed to rural schools.
as the women in country neighborhoods found that they could secure books they began to form clubs. Groups of women would meet, organize, federate, and apply for books the same day.
upon a dignified business basis, and unanimous approval of the plan may be expected at Denver. Of course there are some large clubs, especially in the west, that will need to consider carefully an annual increase of twenty or
SEVERAL items of business which will be twenty-five dollars in Federation dues. These clubs are keeping their membership dues at a minimum for democratic reasons. And yet they have peculiar responsibilities toward neighboring clubs, club libraries, and the state terprises in their young, needy communities. federation, as well as toward scores of good en
considered at the biennial convention of the General Federation of Clubs, next June, were foreshadowed at the council meeting which occurred in Nashville last month. One of these relates to the amount and payment of dues.
an amendment to the constitution, dating from
erate. Their humiliation is deepened, too, by
All this was mentioned in the discussion at
Nashville, but the answer came promptly: "Will their annual dues out of loyalty to their nanot the women be willing to add five cents to tional family and in appreciation of its value
to them?" We think so.
AT the annual meeting of the Illinois Federation last month the president read a suggestion that "among our many sources of information on educational lines, it might be well to have some identical sources for all of us," and the Child Study Monthly and THE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY were recommended as such sources. We appreciate the compliment, and we return it by congratulating the Illinois Federation on the monthly which represents its interests. Club Life, published at Quincy, is edited by Mrs. I. A. Worrall, and Mrs. Mary C. Bourland, a charming lecturer on the kindergarten and kindred topics, and a promoter of the Round Table, a club for child study, has charge of its educational department.
ATTENTION is called to the advertisement in this magazine of the volume containing the papers and addresses of the last biennial meeting of the G. F. W. C. The index shows the names of some of the best known literary, philanthropic, and business women in the country, and the book is literally a package of good things. You can get the volume from the editor of this department, as well as from the secretary of the General Federation, and the price, which was absurdly low before, is now reduced to seventy-five cents.
The Trans-Mississippi Exposition HE teachers and children of this territory have before them an opportunity that may
come but once in a lifetime.
The educational value of such an exposition is appreciated by few. We hops through this magazine in the next few months to show in some measure the various educational opportunities to be afforded by the Trans-Mississippi Exposition. The teachers of these states are being asked to make an educational exhibit. They owe it to themselves and to their states to co-operate in making this exhibit the best that has been made in America. With this desire to urge them on, the school work itself will be better. The West will there be on exhibition to the world. Shall our educational exhibit be a credit to our states and to the educational spirit of our people? The next four months must be a time for work in our schools and not for boasting of our schools. The bulk of the exhibit will probably come from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, although several other states will send fine exhibits.
The Value of Educational Meetings O doubt there are several tests of values as experienced by different people. One gets out of a meeting about what he comes for. It depends much upon the spirit in which one comes to a meeting. Unfortunately people frequently attend a meeting with no fixed purpose or desire; and therefore get little benefit. In December almost all the western states and many eastern states hold general state associations. It is not a pleasant truth, but a truth nevertheless, that few state meetings have ever been known to have any tangible effect upon the educational affairs of the state. It is seldom that a "new movement" has its birth or an old movement a new impulse from these meetings. This old newspaper "plate line," "The meeting was the best in the history of the association and a great inspiration to the cause of education," needs to be "melted up" and a new one made necessary. Many of our western meetings would have more educational value if all were to become humble and yet ear
nest seekers after truth instead of being divided
up into "the leaders" and "the led." The meetings should also be educational meetings rather than teachers' meetings.
Is the Sunday School a Failure? IT is unfortunate for many worthy institutions that their adherents are so supersensitive to criticism as to methods employed therein that those who clearly see and honestly endeavor to remove weaknesses are met with wholesale rebuke and denunciation as enemies of the institution itself. The Sunday school has been freer from criticism than any other public institution in this country. It has also, on this account, been sacredly free from almost all the advances made in the work of the public school. The Sunday school as an institution is a half century behind the times. It is held so as tenaciouly as our ancient forbears held to the belief that the earth was flat and that the sun made its daily revolution.
The Sunday school should be measured by the degree in which it accomplishes results. The chief results supposed to be sought for are instruction in the Bible and conversion to active Christian membership. Usually neither result has any connection with the other. No person of good sense will contend that the average Sunday school is successful in giving instruction in the Bible-if measured as are the day schools. Not one Sunday school teacher, even, in a hundred would submit to an examination of the simplest character. Children may attend Sunday school with fair regularity for ten years and still be shamefully ignorant of the fundamental some fair investigations.
An examination of the membership of any church would show a humiliating record of those who owe their conversion to the Sunday school. Those who object to either of these statements might find it profitable to make some fair investigations.
What are the marks of progress in education in our public schools? 1. Trained supervision. 2. Trained teachers. 3. Proper books and appliances. 4. Proper environments. 5. Courses of study. 6. Recognition of pedagogical principles of mind development. The Sunday school
not only does not have any of these, but the majority of Sunday school officers, teachers, and adherents are opposed to the introduction of any of them. Superintendents are selected because they are popular, because they can sing, because they are fluent talkers, because they are supposed to know something of the Bible, or oftener, because they want the office and "post their friends." Teachers are selected because they are religious, or oftener, because no one else can be found "to take that class." Points 3, 5, and 6 may be spoken of under one head and constitute the greatest defect of the modern Sunday school. The introduction of the International Lesson system had but one good feature that of creating a feeling of the immensity of the Sunday school work. Its other advantages are similar to the advantage of the French system, whereby the national commissioner was enabled to look at his watch at eighteen minutes of ten o'clock on the first Monday of November, 1890, and say, "Now every intermediate teacher in France is asking 'What is the highest mountain in Europe?" All the other effects have
been deadening. Not one of the original committee that established the system would advocate any such system for the public schools.
The method of using the same lesson for the infant class and for the Bible class, the foolish, leading questions followed word for word by most teachers, the puerile and often vicious illustrations of the primary lessons, added to absence of training for supervision of teaching, and the consequent objectless hearing of lessons, make the Sunday school the most stupendous failure of educational or religious history. That it has been able to accomplish any good and lasting result is a splendid tribute to the religious character of the thousands of officers and teachers of these schools and an evidence of the overcoming power of the Great Teacher. It is not the part of wisdom for those who have great responsibilties to neglect any of the means approved by intelligence and common sense. The Sunday school is a wonderful institution, but it ought to-day to be measured by what it ought to have done, and not merely by what it has done.
Among New Books
we seldom get sight of the fierce yellow sunlight, or the blinding sheen. There are signs that the writer felt the impulse, but lacked the art, to paint her scenes. The opening paragraphs sufficiently illustrate. "Going! Going! Gone!"
NE of the notable books of the year is Mrs. Steel's its flowers and trees; even its sands are dazzling. But On the Face of the Waters. It is a story, almost, indeed, a history, of the Sepoy rebellion, and is told throughout with thrilling power. The fervor, besides, is not fictitious or in the least forced, for the writer was living in Delhi in those years, and barely escaped with her life just as the awful siege began. Every page in the book seems to have been written in the spirit of that peril.
Mrs. Steel remarks thus about the historical features, and the title, of her work: "I have not allowed fiction to interfere with fact in the slightest degree. The reader may rest assured that every incident bearing in the remotest degree on the Indian mutiny, or on the part which real men took in it, is scrupulously exact, even to the date, the hour, the scene, the very weather. Nor have I allowed the actual actors in the great trag edy to say a word regarding it which is not to be found in the accounts of eye-witnesses, or in their own writings.
"And now a word for my title. I have chosen it because when you ask an educated native of India why the Great Rebellion came to pass, he will in nine cases out of ten, reply, 'God knows! He sent a Breath into the World.' From this to a Spirit moving on the face of the Waters is not far."
There is but one artistic defect in the execution of this important work,-there is little visualizing. The sun shines bright in India; there is high coloring in
The Western phrase echoed over the Eastern scene without a trace of its calm assumption of finality. It was followed by a pause, during which, despite the crowd thronging the wide plain, the only recognizable sound was the vexed yawning purr of a tiger impatient for its prey. It shuddered through the sunshine, strangely out of keeping with the multitude of men gathered together in silent security; but on that March evening of the year 1856, when the long shadows of the surrounding trees had begun to invade the sunlit levels of grass by the river, at Lucknow, the lately deposed king of Oude's menagerie was being auctioned. It had followed all his other property to the hammer, and a perfect Noah's ark of wild beasts was waiting doubtfully for a change of masters.
Here is certainly great opportunity to bring all the senses, or the echo of their service, to the reader's help. The first stroke, the ear hint of "Going, going, gone," is grand, but should have been followed up with like kindling hints of sight and touch and smell. The author throughout the volume is tense with the memories of those years. On the whole, perhaps, this work, next after Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills, puts us into the heart of India most completely of all modern books. What could be better, in inspiration and firm touch, than such handling as this?
The chill wind which comes with dawn swayed the tall grass beyond the river, and ruffling the calm stretches below the Palace wall died away again as an oldish man stepped out of a reed hut, built on a sandbank beside the boat-bridge and looked eastward. He was a poojari, or master of ceremonial, at the bathingplace where, with the first streak of light, the Hindoos came to perform their religious ablutions. Thus
he looked out over those eastern plains for the dawn, day after day. He looks for it still; this account is from his lips. And this dawn there was a cloud of dust no bigger than a man's hand upon the Meerut road. Someone was coming to Delhi.
But someone was already on the bridge, for it cracked and swayed, sending little shivers of ripples down the calm stretches. The poojari turned and looked to see the cause; then turned eastward again. It was only a man on a camel with a strange gait, bumping noiselessly even on the resounding wood. That was all.
The city was still asleep; though here and there a widow was stealing out in her white shroud for that touch of the sacred river without which she would indeed be accursed. And in a little mosque hard by the road from the boat-bridge a muezzin was about to give the very first call to prayer with pious self-complacency. But someone was ahead of him in devotion, for, upon the still air, came a continuous rolling of chanted texts. The muezzin leaned over the parapet, disappointed, to see who had thus forestalled him at heaven's gate; stared, then muttered a hasty charm. Were there visions about? This was no mere mortal, this green-clad figure on a camel, chanting texts and waving a scimitar. A vision has been vouchsafed to him for his diligence; a vision that would not lose in the telling. So he stood up and gave the cry from full lungs:
"Prayer is more than sleep! than sleep! than sleep!" The echo from the rose-red fortifications took it up first; then one chanting voice after another, monotonously insistent.
"Prayer is more than sleep! than sleep! than sleep!" And the city awoke to another day of fasting. Woke hurriedly ere the sun rose, for it was Rumzan, and one-half of the inhabitants would have no drop of water till the sun set, to assuage the fierce May sun. The backwaters lay like a steel mirror reflecting the grey shadowy pile of the Palace, the poojari-waist
deep in them-was a solitary figure flinging water to the sacred airts, absorbed in a thorough purification from sin.
Then from the serrated line of the Ridge came a bugle followed by the roll of the time gun. All the world was waking now. Waking to give orders, to receive them; waking to mark itself apart with signs of salvation; waking to bow westward and pray for the discomfiture of the infidel; waking to stand on parade and salute the royal standard of a ruler, helldoomed, inevitably, according to both creeds.
A flock of purple pigeons, startled by the sound, rose like cloud flakes on the light grey sky above the glimmering dome of the big mosque, then flew westward toward the green fields and groves on the further side of the town. For the roll of the gun was followed by a reverberating roll, and groan, and creak, from the boat-bridge. The little cloud on the Meerut road had grown into five troopers dashing over the bridge at a gallop recklessly. The poojari, busy with his pigments, followed them with his eyes as they clattered straight for the city gate. They were waking in the Palace now, for a slender hand set a lattice wide. Perhaps from curiosity, perhaps simply to let in the cool air of dawn. It was a lattice in the women's apartments.
Verily Asia is the home of religions and of mystery. The weirdness, the fanaticism, the stagnation of Asiatic life and manners are in the very atmosphere of these pages. (Macmillan Company; $1.50.)
This department has received from D. C. Heath and Co. a parcel of edited texts, comprising The Ancient Mariner, Flight of a Tartar Tribe, and Enoch Arden, the last. including the earlier and the later Locksley Hall. These little books are neat, portable, well-edited, and what is of more importance in these times, cheap. The attention of teachers is called to this series of English classics. The same house sends a set of its copy-books according to The Natural System of Vertical Writing. In these days of better and quicker results in teaching, nothing is more remarkable than the improvement in penmanship reported everywhere after adoption of vertical writing. These little books reduce the instruction and the mechanical imitation almost to a minimum. The cost of these numbers is 75 cents per dozen.
The Yerkes telescope, a gift to Chicago University, was dedicated October 21.... The constitutional conservative party of Spain has decided to oppose the granting of autonomy to Cuba.... The Spanish minister of finance is quoted as saying that a fresh loan is necessary, as the funds will be exhausted in June, 1898.... The stone house at Tappan, N. Y., where Major John Andre was imprisoned, was blown down by the wind on November 1.... The Maryland republicans elected their state ticket by about 6,000 and will have a majority on joint ballot in the legislature....An attempt was made on November 5 to assassinate President Morez, of Brazil....A dispatch from Rome says that the pope will shortly give a decision on the Manitoba school subject.... Wm. R. Cremer, ex-member of parliament, has reached the United States, the bearer of an address to the United States senate in favor of an arbitration treaty with Great Britain....A fund has been raised in Sweden for a polar expedition in 1898....There are 33,000 Spanish soldiers in the hospitals in Cuba....The Russian minister to the United States has resigned.... Sir Wilfred Laurier, the premier of Canada, with associate Dominion officers, spent several days in Wash
ington in conference with members of our cabinet relating to reciprocal relations between the two countries....Lieut. Alfred B. Jackson, commandant of the university cadets, of the University of Nebraska, died November 19....The emperor of Germany has called a council to consider economical problems, especially problems in connection with commercial relations with the United States....A German cruiser bombarded and took possession of the fort at Chiso-Chao, China,this may bring about trouble in other countries, as China has called upon Russia to assist her.... Mr. Sovereign, ex-grand master of the Knights of Labor, has announced his candidacy for president of the United States....On November 19 London had a fire to the damage of $20,000,000. This is the greatest fire since 1866....The sultan has been making preparations for an increase in the navy, and Russia has notified him that before any such expenditures are made the indemnity to that country must be paid....The Austrian government demanded from Turkey reparation for insults heaped upon two Austrians in one of the Turkish cities. Turkey has paid the demanded indemnity and apologized to the Austrian government.