Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Harvard University for the Academical Year 1829-1830
Cambridge: Hilliard and Brown, 1829.
First Edition. Wraps. Good. 4-1/2 x 7" sewn plain-paper (later) wrappers, pp. 24, wraps soiled, the whole pamphlet faintly creased vertically, but good and sound, with intriguing pencil notations throughout (see below). A straightforward listing of the adminstrators, faculty, and students (under- and post-grad) at Harvard in the fall of 1829, rendered interesting by the penciled notations on several of its pages. The flyleaf contains a name (indecipherable to our eyes) and a location, Round Hill, which was a short-lived (1823-1834) secondary school located in Northampton, Massachusetts founded by George Bancroft and Joseph Cogswell on the European model, particularly in the mode of the German 'gymnasia,' to compete with existing academies such as Philips Exeter and Andover. Further penciled notes indicate which of the students had matriculated from Round Hill, with a running tally (6 of 48 seniors, 12 of 70 juniors, 3 of 76 sophomores, 3 of 55 freshmen). What about this makes our ears prick up? Round Hill's demise was in no small part due to a conundrum its founders were unable to solve, to wit: the education they provided was so superior that their students were TOO well prepared for college, putting them directly in conflict with the admissions procedures at Harvard and Yale. While the Round Hill boys were already proficient in the Greek, Latin, and mathematics being taught freshmen and sophomores (and even juniors) at the ivies, those institutions refused to allow the younger students to skip ahead unless they paid out of pocket for all four years of college. The economics were against the school -- either a Round Hill boy ponied up and spent two years cooling his heels until he learned something new, or he went out into the world with the education but without the prestigious degree. The notations here suggest that someone, in real time, while Round Hill was still in existence, was keeping score, trying to make the argument. But in the end, parents wearied of the inherent conflict, and the preparatory schools which tailored their curricula to the university system won the day.