MT. CARROLL SEMINARY.
[Mt. Carroll, Carroll County. Founded 1853.
MRS. FRANCES A. WOOD SHIMER,
MISS CINDARELLA M. GREGORY,
The charter under which this school was organized was granted in 1852, but the attempt to organize a school during that year, was unsuccessful.
In May, 1853, two ladies, the present principals, graduates of the New York State Normal School, came to Mt. Carroll and opened a select school, beginning with eleven little girls.
The success which attended this enterprise induced the corporators of Mt. Carroll Seminary to invite the ladies to organize under their charter, to which they consented. A building was erected in 1854. The trustees assumed the management of the school, and these ladies took positions as teachers, under salary. After six months of poor success, the trustees asked the ladies to relieve them of the responsibility. This they did, purchasing the entire property at its cost, $4,500. From that time, now fourteen years, these ladies have had the entire control and management of the institution. Numerous improvements and additions, of ground and buildings, have been made, from time to time, as the wants of the school required.
No aid has been received from the public, except the donations of the paid stock on the purchase, amounting to about one thousand dollars, and the gift of five acres of ground worth five hundred dollars. And no agents have been employed to solicit funds or scholars. Until recently the school was opened to pupils of both sexes, and the results were entirely satisfactory, but now gentlemen are temporarily (for two years past) excluded, for want of room to accommodate all who wish to attend. In 1867, the Legislature granted a new charter, better adapted to the wants and character of the institution, than the old one. The number of lady students in attendance during the past year, has been over one hundred and fifty. The complete course of study requires five years.
A teacher's course is arranged for those having teaching as a profession in view. Tuition free is furnished to one student from each township in the county, who enters this course. Pecuniary aid afforded to the worthy who are needy. Daughters of clergymen and missionaries, living or deceased, have a discount of one third from all expenses, except for ornamental branches. Daughters of soldiers who have given their lives in the service of their country, will have tuition free in the entire English course. Manual labor furnished for students wishing to economize in their expenses.
The principals being thoroughly educated "Normals," have made the teachers' department a specialty; and many of the public schools are enjoying the services of those who have been trained by them.
During the year past there have been valnable accessions to the apparatus of the school. The cost of that provided for the illustration of the sciences of Physiology and Anatomy, was over thirteen hundred dollars.
In evidence of the administrative skill and ability with which the institution has been conducted, I add the following extract from a leading paper of the State:
"These seminary grounds (embracing twenty-five acres), which are truly an ornament to the city, have been made what they are by the ladies who are the founders, principals and proprietors of the institution. The entire work of building up an institution of learning, the high reputation of which is too widely known to need comment, has been upon their hands. All the improvements—repeated enlargements of the building to meet the constantly increasing wants of the school, enlarging the grounds, the horticultural improvements of the grounds—all have been projected, and plans drafted by and under the personal supervision of these ladies. "With the exception of an unsuccessful experiment of six months with a board of trustees, in the early history of the school, no man's aid has been had to financier the enterprise or project improvements."
For several years in the early history of the institution no regular course of study was adopted, hence the exhibit of graduates is small.
Latin and Greek, besides French and German, and the usual ornamental branches are taught in the school.
Years occupied in regular course of study 6
Number of pupils in the different departments 150
Number of pupils graduating during the year 6
Whole number of graduates since adopting course of study 15
Number of professors and instructors 12
Value of buildings, furniture and grounds $50,000
Number of volumes in libraries 2,000
Value of libraries $8,000
Value of apparatus 1,000
Charge per annum for tuition in regular course 28
Average of total annual expenses, per student, including board, etc 150
Date of annual commencement Second Thursday in June.