Light on the hill: A history of Tufts College, 1852-1952

Miller, Russell


During President Carmichael's administration, the College negotiated affiliations with five undergraduate professional schools which were placed under the ever-growing umbrella of what was first known as the Division of University Extension and later as the Division of Special Studies. Many critics of the Extension Division and of the so-called "affiliated schools" were convinced that expansion of vocational training at Tufts was not in harmony with the liberal arts tradition; that the existence of such organizations, with the Tufts name attached, threatened the maintenance of collegiate academic standards and spread the resources of the institution entirely too thin. Defenders of these schools, notably President Carmichael, emphasized the community services that could be rendered "without expenditure of money on the part of the College"; pointed to the favorable publicity that would heighten the College's prestige and spread its name and influence; and called attention to the increase in student enrollment (and fees) that would "be profitable in a small way to our faculty," many of whom were beginning to chafe under a salary scale that had remained unchanged year after year. Notice should be given of the fact that the expansion of the Extension Division's operations between 1939 and 1951 coincided with a period of uncertainty and crisis in naional and world affairs that could have adversely affected both enrollment and income.

Tufts took the first step in broadening its field of operations in professional education in 1939-40 by creating a Division of University Extension. It was intended, when first organized, to serve several categories of individuals for whom attendance at college as regular students was impossible. Among these were elementary and secondary school teachers unable to attend regular weekly classes. Hence the Extension Division was organized to supplement the work of the Department of Education by offering late afternoon, evening, and weekend courses. Another group to which the new division expected to appeal consisted of adults who desired academic work as part-time students but who had no intention of earning a degree. Tuition was set originally at $10 per semester hour, plus laboratory fees where appropriate, and secretarial employees, and wives and members of the faculty were permitted to


enroll in extension courses at one-half tuition. At first, all such courses carried two academic credits. A new degree, Bachelor of Science in Education, was authorized in 1940 for those enrolled in extension courses who wished to earn an academic degree. Completion of the customary fifteen high school units was required for admission, except that individual cases could be evaluated on their merits.[36] 

The faculty of the Extension Division was made up of the heads of the major departments in the school of arts and sciences, the deans of all of the divisions of the College, and any others appointed by the president and the Trustees.[37]  Beginning in the fall of 1940, graduate students were allowed to enroll in certain approved courses in the Division of University Extension and could receive graduate credit for such work provided they met the regular entrance requirements of the graduate school. The Extension Division thus gave graduate students additional opportunities to meet their degree requirements by enrolling in courses not offered in the regular liberal arts or graduate program. The coordination of the work of the Extension Division and the graduate school made it desirable to appoint one man to administer both. Professor Ruhl J. Bartlett, who had served for one year as dean of the graduate school, resumed his full-time duties as chairman of the Department of History in 1939, and Professor John P. Tilton, who had joined the Tufts faculty in 1927 in the Department of Education, was appointed in the dual capacity of director of graduate studies and director of university extension.

The new Division of University Extension prospered from the outset and almost immediately expanded its operations. Its director found himself also administering a wide miscellany of College activities for which there seemed to be no other administrative home.


Enrollment in the Extension Division was 123 its first year (1939-40), with students registered in nineteen courses. The enrollees ranged from teachers to housewives, and their previous academic preparation from a Bachelor's degree to no college work at all. The first Bachelor of Science in Education degree was awarded in June 1941. Registration in 1941-42 jumped to 177, with over half of the individuals teachers in service.

In 1940 the intellectual fare on the campus was enriched by the organization of a series of evening University Lectures for the alumni and the general public, delivered (without charge to the listener or financial return to the speaker) by members of the faculties of all of the divisions of the College. The administration of this extracurricular activity also became the responsibility of the director of university extension. The University Lecture series was suspended during the Second World War but resumed in 1948-49. It lasted as an outlet for local talent and source of academic enrichment for only a short time and was replaced in the 1950's by a lecture series using people of note from outside the institution. Another community service project instituted by President Carmichael which used existing faculty resources and was likewise under the jurisdiction of the Extension Division was an Institute for Educational Guidance. The first sessions were held in the summer of 1940 and included two series of discussions, one for parents and one for high school students. Educational, personal, and vocational problems of adolescents were the main topics, and the students were tested extensively regarding abilities, interests, and aptitudes. The idea was followed up at Dean Academy, where members of the Tufts staff cooperated with school personnel in conducting a guidance clinic for its entering students. In the following summer the Institute also sponsored an intensive two-week workshop in educational guidance for thirty-six persons interested in problems of youth. The guidance workshops were discontinued during the Second World War because of transportation difficulties, but this special course was typical of literally dozens of programs offered in subsequent Tufts summer schools. The Institute was used during the Second World War to provide the testing program for veterans as they returned to civilian life.

The Extension Division likewise became the administrative agency for the Tufts College Nursery School, organized in the fall


of 1940. Like the other projects under its aegis, this undertaking was established, as President Carmichael took pains to point out, "without cost to the College" by using the personnel and course offerings of the Departments of Education and Psychology. The nursery school was intended both as a service to the College community and as a laboratory for the observation of child behavior for Jackson students planning to enter the teaching profession. Eight children, most of them from faculty families, were enrolled in 1940-41. The school was discontinued after 1942 for the duration of the war, but with the hope that it could be reestablished as a demonstration school. The first postwar nursery school was actually organized on an informal basis in 1949 among the student and faculty inhabitants of Stearns Village.[38]  The school went out of existence after 1951, when the Nursery Training School of Boston was affiliated with the College and many of the Stearns Village children were trained under its supervision.

In the spring of 1942, just as the disruptive effects of the Second World War began to be felt by the College, the Trustee Executive Committee approved in principle the affiliation of the Bouve-Boston School of Physical Education with Tufts. The school, founded in 1913 as the Boston School of Physical Education, with Miss Marjorie Bouve as its co-director, was intended for young women who were secondary school graduates and who wished to make the teaching or supervision of physical education their professional career. It had been chartered in 1914, and in 1930 merged with another school which had opened five years before. Between 1931 and 1942, the school was affiliated with Simmons College in Boston. Those who completed a four-year program received a Bachelor of Science degree from Simmons. A physical therapy curriculum was added in the mid-1920's and in 1928 was approved by the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Medical Association.

The affiliation with Tufts, operative in the fall of 1942, enabled qualified Bouve-Boston students to receive a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, which in turn was made possible by course work in education and psychology necessary for certification for teaching purposes. The Tufts association gave Bouve-Boston


students an opportunity to receive instruction in the liberal arts. The Bouve-Boston School was placed administratively under the Division of University Extension, and those students able to qualify were, shortly after the affiliation began, enrolled as degree candidates during their third and fourth years if they were in the upper third of their classes. Upon completion of their Bouve-Boston training, the students also received a certificate. Hence, beginning in 1948, graduates of this affiliated school who received both the Tufts degree and the certificate from the school became alumnae of both institutions.

Until the fall of 1944 no Bouve-Boston students resided on or near the Tufts campus; they were forced to shuttle back and forth for their instruction between Medford and the Huntington Avenue headquarters of the school. The situation was even more complicated for those receiving training in physical therapy, for much of their clinical experience was obtained in Greater Boston hospitals. Transportation difficulties during wartime made the regimen even more demanding for the students. During the war the Bouve- Boston upperclassmen were scattered in Jackson College dormitory residences, and some were housed temporarily in Wilson House, which had been turned over to the use of women students by the Fletcher School. Soon after the war Bouve-Boston students were housed in dwellings near the campus. A multi-purpose classroom, office, and gymnasium building for the school was constructed on land donated by the College (but subject to return to it), and was occupied at midyear in 1950-51. In 1956 Ruth Page Sweet Hall was erected nearby as a dormitory. This structure was named for a person who had been associated with the school since 1929, had been its director since 1948, and until her death ten years later had attempted to raise the admission standards of the school and to integrate its student body, at least partially, into the total life of the Tufts campus.

As originally planned under the contract between the Bouve- Boston School and the College negotiated by President Carmichael in 1942, approximately one-half of the projected four-year degree curriculum was to be taught by the faculty of the Tufts Division of University Extension. At least twenty-eight credit-hours of the total of fifty were to be given in the first three years. The proportion of Tufts instruction to the total program was to increase so that those


students accepted for a degree program would take mostly Tufts courses by the time they were seniors. Tufts was guaranteed a certain amount annually for furnishing instruction and the use of facilities. Initially, eleven members of the extension faculty received additional compensation for teaching in the Bouve-Boston program. The College thus received an assured income, part of which went to certain members of the faculty. Observant individuals noted that the Bouve-Boston student body, as well as those of the other schools affiliated during the Second World War and Korean conflict, were either exclusively or preponderantly female; neither they nor the College, so far as the affiliated schools were involved, would be subjected to the hazards of the military draft.

Those responsible for the Bouve-Boston and Tufts affiliation faced difficult tasks which were shared in some degree by the other schools later associated with the College, namely, to raise the admission standards of an undergraduate professional school to a level comparable to those of a liberal arts college and to establish reasonably satisfactory relations between the student bodies of the school and the College. At the time the affiliation was arranged in 1942, the normal program for a Bouve-Boston student was three years. Very few could qualify for a Bachelor's degree.[39]  The joint administrative committee established by the 1942 agreement decided that, beginning with the entering class in September 1945, students would be accepted only for the four-year degree program so that eventually the three-year diploma program would be eliminated. This determination to raise entrance requirements was reflected in the 1948 graduating class, in which the majority earned a Tufts degree as well as a school diploma. Recruiting Bouve-Boston students with reasonably high College Board scores and other evidences of college preparedness was a continuing problem for the school's officials.

Relations between Tufts and Bouve-Boston, particularly in the early years of affiliation, were tenuous at best and strained at worst. The school retained its own corporate identity and separate Board of Trustees, its own records, and its own admissions officers and


administrative staff, even after the school was located entirely on the Tufts campus. The Bouve-Boston students taking such basic courses with Tufts faculty as English, history, psychology, and biology were segregated in their own sections until after 1956. Bouve- Boston seniors who wished to use their elective privileges to enroll in upperclass courses in Tufts were frequently frustrated by a high wall of prerequisites. The affiliated school students conducted their own student organizations and held their own diploma-granting ceremonies, although they also appeared at Tufts Commencements. Their entire academic orientation contrasted sharply with that of the students in Jackson College. The joint administrative committee had been charged in 1942 with the responsibility of determining all questions relating to "the participation of students enrolled in [the] Bouve-Boston School in athletic, social, musical or other non-academic functions at Tufts College or their eligibility to join teams, clubs, student governmental organizations or sororities otherwise composed of students of Tufts College or its affiliates." These, and a host of related problems, had to be somehow ironed out, and failures were more frequent than successes. Before the Bouve-Boston students were provided with their own dormitory accommodations after the war, they were subject to the same general regulations as the Jackson students as to dormitory life and the payment of activity and medical fees. The director of the University Extension division, in whose office dozens of related problems landed, expressed the opinion that the Bouve-Boston students should not be eligible for interscholastic sports (in which they were likely to excel by the very nature of their course of study and vocational choice). Whether Bouve-Boston students could become members of Jackson organizations, such as sororities, or participate in numerous social activities was left to the organizations themselves. Regardless of the attempts made by sincere and well-meaning individuals on each side, the Bouve-Boston students tended to remain a tightly-knit group. True social integration among Tufts, Jackson, and Bouve-Boston undergraduates was far from accomplished when President Carmichael left office in 1952.

Only three years after the Bouve-Boston School became associated with the College, another educational institution in the Greater Boston area joined the rapidly growing Tufts academic family. The School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts became


affiliated in the fall of 1945. The relationship between the College and the Museum School had begun during the academic year 1943-44, when Professor Russell T. Smith, head of the Huntington Avenue-based school in the Museum of Fine Arts, joined the Tufts faculty on a part-time basis after Professor Edwin H. Wright retired from the Department of Fine Arts. During the same year, arrangements had been made so that Tufts and Jackson students could take elective work in creative art at the school, and they were continued after the affiliation was consummated in 1945.[40]  In addition, students registered in the Museum School were permitted to take courses in Tufts leading toward the Bachelor of Science in Education degree. This made possible, for those desiring it, certification to teach art. Four such students began work at Tufts in the fall of 1945. The affiliation between Tufts and the Museum School was not as elaborate as that with the Bouve-Boston School, and fewer problems were encountered; nonetheless, occasional embarrassments over the meeting of Tufts academic requirements did occur, and in only a few instances did Museum School students become a real part of the Tufts community.

A third professional school in Boston was linked to Tufts in the same year that the arrangements with the Museum School were worked out. An affiliation, again administered through the Division of University Extension, with the Boston School of Occupational Therapy was approved in the spring of 1945 and went into operation that fall. This school, founded in 1918 at the request of the Surgeon General of the United States to meet rehabilitation needs of hospitalized service personnel during the first World War, had been incorporated in 1921 and was open to young women. Located at the time of affiliation on Harcourt Street in Boston, the school offered a so-called "diploma course" based on four semesters of professional technical training and approximately two semesters of clinical training which was received in one or more of a dozen or so hospitals and agencies in and near Boston. Affiliation with Tufts enabled those students who desired it to complete a "degree course" entitling them, after four years of academic and professional study and one year of clinical training, to receive both a diploma from the school and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from


Tufts. The nature of the affiliation was virtually identical with that worked out between Tufts and the Bouve-Boston School in 1942. Academic courses were offered by the extension faculty and professional course by the school's own faculty. The school started its affiliated existence with thirty-nine students, and plans were laid to increase the number of students yearly until 1949, when all five years of the curriculum would become part of the degree program. Again, their courses at Tufts were taught in segregated fashion, and the students lived in their own residences near the campus. Their contact and association with Tufts and Jackson students were minimal.

During and immediately after the war, the Division of University Extension added several other special projects to its responsibilities. In the summer of 1944 it co-sponsored, with Mr. and Mrs. Donald R. MacJannet, a six-weeks "Vacation School of French," the theme of which was training for rehabilitation work in war-torn France. Two years later the Extension Division became the administrative agency through which Tufts cooperated in the Lowell Institute Broadcasting Council. The Council was established in 1946 to make available to the general public by way of radio (and later, television) some of the talent to be found in the numerous institutions of higher learning in the Boston area; each contributed a sum of money to make the programs possible. Several members of the Tufts faculty participated in panel discussions and classroom demonstrations and delivered lectures in an educational experiment considered eminently successful as it continued into the 1960's. Meanwhile, the evening and weekend courses which had been the chief reason for the creation of the Division of University Extension almost disappeared. In the years after 1946 the enrollment remained much smaller than at any time in the prewar period.[41]  The time appeared to have come to reassess the role of the Extension Division, and its director, John P. Tilton, expressed the opinion that the prime emphasis should be placed on developing the programs of the affiliated schools. He feared that resumption of an ambitious program of extension courses for the general public might result in excessive demands on the faculty. Because the bulk of the work being offered by the Extension Division involved


full-time students in the affiliated schools, he also felt that it was time to change the name of the division. Otherwise, the general public might be misled into equating the work of the affiliated schools with the part-time, often haphazard, and generally uncoordinated courses conventionally associated with extension work. His suggestion was heeded, for in 1949 the Division of University Extension was renamed the Division of Special Studies. Work of an extension nature continued, but on a greatly reduced scale, for two more schools were affiliated after 1948.

President Carmichael was authorized by the Executive Committee of the Trustees in the fall of 1948 to contract with the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists to provide certain academic instruction, beginning in 1949-50. The Forsyth School had been organized in 1916, a year after the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children had opened, and graduated its first class in 1917.[42]  Until the affiliation with Tufts, the school, intended to give training to young women in oral prophylactic treatment and to encourage general dental health education, offered a one-year course. A trend toward increased educational requirements resulted in a decision to extend the course to two years and, beginning in September 1949, to become associated with an institution that could provide college-level undergraduate instruction in academic subjects. Affiliation with Tufts met the need. After taking the major part of such basic general subjects as English and psychology on the Tufts campus in Medford during their first year, Forsyth students received their professional courses and clinical training at the school's Boston headquarters. Those completing the two-year course received a certificate, then took the board examination in the state in which they wished to practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist. It was possible for some students to continue their studies and to complete the requirements of the Tufts Bachelor of Science in Education degree. The faculty for teaching the professional curricula were drawn for the most part from the Tufts Medical and Dental Schools, although Harvard faculty were also included, as well as personnel from the Forsyth School itself. The enrollment


seldom exceeded seventy-five, of whom no more than about half were taking courses at Tufts at any one time.

The last of the five schools affiliated with Tufts during the Carmichael administration was the Nursery Training School of Boston, which became associated in 1951. Renamed the Eliot-Pearson School in 1955 to honor the two individuals largely responsible for its creation and early activities, it was the outgrowth of a project undertaken by a committee of the Woman's Education Association, of which Mrs. Henry Greenleaf Pearson was chairman. The committee had sponsored a trip to England in 1921 by Miss Abigail Adams Eliot to observe nursery school education. Upon her return, Dr. Eliot dedicated herself to the task of founding a training center and observation school for teachers of pre-school children. The end product was the opening of the Ruggles Street Day Nursery School as a combined school and training center in 1922. Mrs. Pearson served for ten years as the chairman of the Board of Managers of the institution, which later was renamed the Nursery Training School. Dr. Eliot, long-time director of the school, retired from that position a year after the affiliation with Tufts took place but continued to serve as a faculty member, adviser, and director of the school's Office of Development.

The agreement between the Nursery Training School and Tufts was almost identical to that made with the Bouve-Boston School in 1942 and the Boston School of Occupational Therapy in 1945. It provided that students admitted to the school could take appropriate courses in the College. Reciprocal privileges were also allowed for Tufts and Jackson students. The oversight of the affiliated program was placed in the hands of a joint administrative committee, and the academic administration of the school became the responsibility of the Division of Special Studies. Students completing the requirements of both the school and the Division of Special Studies received both a certificate from the school and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Tufts. Like students in the other affiliated schools for women, those of the Nursery Training School who were degree candidates had a dual enrollment and upon graduation became alumnae of both institutions. When time came to make a choice of loyalties, the majority of graduates of the affiliated schools were likely to cast in their lot with


their own professional school rather than with Tufts. Much the same phenomenon occurred in the other professional schools related in some way to the College - notably the medical and dental schools, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


[36] The degree requirements (120 semester hours, of which 72 had to be of "C" grade or better) included twenty-four hours of education and psychology courses, twelve hours of English, twelve hours of social sciences, twelve hours of science or mathematics, and thirty hours of concentration in a subject-matter field. The remainder of the degree requirements comprised electives. The minimum residence requirement was thirty credits earned at the College, thus allowing transfer with advanced standing from other institutions.

[37] There were forty on the extension faculty in 1940-41, when by-laws were adopted.

[38] In spite of its ad hoc character, the school's existence was officially recognized by the Executive Committee of the Trustees.

[39] There were 164 Bouve-Boston students in the first year of operation with Tufts. Fourteen in the graduating class earned Bachelor of Science in Education degrees. In 1943-44, twelve completed the four-year program, with a total of 129 students enrolled.

[40] Nine courses were available to Tufts and Jackson students; up to fifteen credits could be counted toward the Tufts degree.

[41] During 1947-48 there were forty-eight students enrolled in the three courses offered that year.

[42] For a period in its early history the Forsyth Dental Infirmary maintained close ties with the Tufts Dental School. In 1955 the Infirmary became affiliated with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

  • Light on the Hill, the history of Tufts College, was published to coincide with the centennial of the institution in 1952. A second volume was published in 1986. This edition was created from the 1966 edition of Light on the Hill, Volume I.
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