If there is any section of the country that needs, more than any other, the painstaking assistance of the scientific agriculturist and experimenter, it is the prairie and mountain region of the West, where a climate unlike that of the older part of the United States and the civilized countries of Europe, make the selection of new crop plants and the adoption of now methods of tilling and husbanding an imperative necessity. It is natural that this necessity should have presented itself with great force to the managers of an institution founded for the purpose of educating the youth of the State for the vocation of the farmer. Experimental work in a small way, especially in the important field of forest planting, was commenced as early as 1868, and was continued, as far as the limited means permitted, by Prof. E. Gale, who for many years was the president of the State Horticultural Society. In 1874 Prof. Shelton commenced a series of very valuable experiments in the cultivation of tame grasses, continuing his observations of varieties and species under different forms of treatment up to this date. Later on, experiments were made in sub-soiling, listing, feeding, etc., and the results were published in the Industrialist and in freely distributed annual reports. Prof. Popenoe, following his predecessors in the work of horticulture, made a series of experiments in arboriculture, grape-growing, and vegetable gardening. This work was carried on chiefly at the expense of the College, though during the last dozen years the Legislature grudgingly assisted with a few paltry appropriations. In 1888, however, the work gained a new phase by the assistance of the General Government.
The passage by Congress of the "Hatch Bill" in March, 1887, provided for the organization in each State of a station for experiments in lines promotive of agriculture. The Legislature at once designated this College as the proper place for the station, and measures were taken for such work. It was found, however, that no appropriation had been made for carrying out the provisions of the bill, and accordingly little could be done until February, 1888, at which time the appropriation was made. This placed $15,000 in the hands of the Board of Regents for use during the year ending June 30th, 1888, and an equal sum for the year following. The organization of the Experiment Station was at once completed, and the work was begun. The general executive management of the station was placed under the control of a council, consisting of the President, the Professors of Agriculture, Horticulture and Entomology, Chemistry, Botany, and Veterinary Science. The President was made ex officio chairman of the council, and Prof. E. M. Shelton director of the station. The organic act permitted the use of one-fifth of the appropriation the first year for building purposes. From this source the Experimental Laboratory, with about 2,400 square feet of propagating pits was constructed. The station is now well equipped with men and apparatus, and ranks among the most efficient in the country.
Upon the resignation of Prof. E. M. Shelton in January, 1890, the office of director was discontinued and the clerical duties heretofore connected with that office given to the assistant secretary of the Board of Regents. The experimenting force of the station consists at present of five professors and five assistants. Since its organization there have been issued sixteen quarterly bulletins and two annual reports, the former containing current matter of general interest to farmers, horticulturists and stockmen, while the latter include full data of all completed experiments, with brief rerferences to those still in progress. All bulletins and reports are distributed free to those who apply for them.
Of incidents of a "Political" character which had been frequent during the early history of the College, very little can be reported for the last ten years. The sessions of the State Legislature have had no influence upon its course of study or the quality of its work, and changes in the composition of the Board have hardly caused a ripple. Every new regent becomes impressed at once with the superior management of the whole institution. The only incident of any note is perhaps the enforced resignation of Professors M. L. Ward and J. E. Platt soon after the inauguration of a new Board of Regents appointed by Governor Glick in 1883. Prof. Ward had held the Chair of Mathematics for ten years, and Prof. Platt had taught in the College for nearly twenty years. The action of the regents was construed as partisan by students and graduates, and for several weeks the political press of the State was ablaze with editorials in denunciation or defense of the act. It is safe to estimate the quantity of "bull and bear" editorial with regard to this incident at two hundred newspaper columns.
Before 1880 the College had not had occasion to give the second degree in course and the conditions under which this academic honor could be obtained, or post-graduate work leading in this direction could be done, had not been formulated and publicly stated. In that year the faculty adopted a code of rules and published it in the catalogue. Of the two hundred and thirty-two students, seventy-three of whom were young women, who graduated up to 1888, thirty-eight have pursued postgraduate studies under the adopted scheme, and twenty-six have been given the second degree. After undergoing several slight changes, the regulations for postgraduate work and degrees have crystalized into the following:
Arrangements can be made for advanced study in the several departments at any time. Special opportunity for investigation and research is offered at all times to resident graduates in Agriculture and Agricultural Chemistry, Physics and Chemistry, Horticulture and Botany, Zoöogy and Entomology, Mathematics, Engineering, and Drafting. Every facility for advancement in the several arts taught at the College is given such students, though they are not required to pursue industrial training while in such courses.
The degree of Bachelor of Science is conferred upon students who complete the full course of four years and sustain all the examinations.
The degree of Master of Science is conferred in course upon graduates who comply with the following conditions:
1. Each candidate must furnish evidence satisfactory to the faculty of proficiency in at least one of each of the groups of arts and sciences here named:
|Architecture and Designing,||Entomology,|
2. Each candidate must present for consideration by the faculty a satisfactory thesis, involving original researches in line with one or the other of the courses pursued as above, and must deposit a perfect autograph copy in the college library.
3. Application to the faculty for sanction of the lines of study and research selected must be made as early as the first day of November, and the subject of the thesis must be settled upon as soon as the first day of January preceding the commencement at which the degree is expected.
4. Candidates must be from graduates of three or more years' standing, unless a post-graduate course of one year or more has been pursued at this College, in which case the second degree may be conferred two years after graduation.
Outlines of direction for study and research in various arts and sciences, with special adaptation to the wants and opportunities of individual applicants are furnished, at request, to all graduates; and professors in charge aid by correspondence in any researches undertaken.
The degree of Master of Science may be conferred upon the graduates of other colleges of like grade, and having similar objects with our own, on the following conditions:
1. The applicant for the Master's degree must be a graduate of at least three years' standing, and a resident of Kansas.
2. His post-graduate study must have been in line with that required of graduates of this College, as published in our catalogue.
3. He must make application for the degree on or before the first day of January preceding the granting of the same. The application must be accompanied with a statement of his course of study, the work upon which the claim for the degree is based, and the subject selected for his thesis.
4. By April 1st, an abstract of the thesis must be submitted to the faculty.
5. Before May 15th, the applicant shall present himself for examination. The examination shall be thorough and extensive, and shall be conducted by a special committee of the faculty.
This College now accomplishes the objects of its endowment in several ways.
First, it gives a substantial education to men and women. Such general information and discipline of mind and character as help to make intelligent and useful citizens are offered in all its departments, while the students are kept in sympathy with the callings of the people. Entomology and mechanics are made prominent means of education to quick observation and accurate judgment. Careful study of the minerals, plants and animals themselves illustrates and fixes the daily lessons. At the same time, lessons in agriculture horticulture, and household economy, show the application of science; and all are enforced by actual experiment.
Third, it trains in the elements of the arts themselves, and imparts such skill as to make the hands ready instruments of thoughtful brains. The drill of the shops, gardens, farm and household departments is made a part of a general education to usefulness, and insures a means of living to all who make good use of it. At the same time, it preserves habits of industry and manual exertion, and cultivates a taste for rural and domestic pursuits.
Fourth, it strives to increase our experimental knowledge of agriculture and horticulture. The provision for extensive and accurate researches made by establishing the Experiment Station as a distinct department of the College, offers assurance of more definite results than can be obtained by ordinary methods.
Fifth, it seeks to extend the influence of knowledge of practical affairs beyond the College itself. For this purpose it publishes the weekly Industrialist. Its officers also share in the debates and consultations of farmers and horticulturists throughout the State. Each winter a series of ten Farmers' Institutes is held in as many different counties of the State. In these the Faculty share with the people in lectures, essays and discussions upon topics of most interest to farmers.
The government of the College rests with a Board of Regents, composed of seven persons, of whom one, the president of the faculty, is ex-officio, and the remaining six are members by appointment by the Governor, with advice and consent of the Senate. The term of office is three years. The Board have "full and complete power to adopt and enforce all necessary rules and regulations required under the law. They make all appointments of officers, principals, teachers, and employes which may be required for the practical and economical management" of the institution.
The Faculty of Instruction is composed of eighteen professors and instructors, two of whom are women, aided by twenty-one assistants and foremen. Two of the professors and seven of the assistants are graduates of the institution.
The stone fence about the upper farm was built in 1869.
The first Y. M. C. A. organization at the College was organized in February, 1872.
The college bell was donated to the institution, in 1864, by Joseph Ingalls, of Swampscott, Massachusetts, on the solicitation of Hon. Isaac T. Goodnow.
The Kansas State Agricultural College is the third institution of higher learning established in the State. St. Marys College claims to be the first, and Baker University the second.
There is not much danger of pupils receiving too much knowledge of God, truth and man, but godliness is vastly different from sectarian proselytism. - JOHN A. ANDERSON,
The usual price for board in the Boarding Hall, during the first seven years, was $4 per week, with an additional charge of $5 per term for fuel and light. By putting two students together, the Hall was capable of accommodating sixty. In 1872, when Col. F. Campbell resigned the stewardship, and Capt. A. Todd was elected, the price for board was reduced to $3.50, and two years later to $2.50 per week.
The rules of conduct as published in the catalogue of 1866-67 contained fourteen different paragraphs. President Anderson boiled them down to one: behave or leave.
The Kansas State Agricultural College was one of the few educational institutions selected by the Interior Department to represent American education at the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1889.
Three of the specialists of the newly organized Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C., are graduates of the Kansas State Agricultural College, while another received special training here as a post-graduate.
The commencement address of 1875, by Noble L. Prentiss, "The World a School," has seen four different pamphlet and book editions. Some day when Kansas shall get ready to print its own school books "The World a School" will be given a place of honor in the High School Reader.
The first scientific organization at the Kansas State Agricultural College was "The Amateurs of Science." It was in existence in 1872, and met regularly once a week until the spring of 1873. Candidates for admission had to pass a written examination in three branches of natural science. Prof. B. F. Mudge was the president and Miss Lizzie T. Williams the secretary.
"Undue social attentions will not be allowed," is the way the early catalogues put it. It could have been a little plainer yet.
The first good microscope that came into the possession of the College was ordered from Germany in 1872 by Prof. H. T. Detmers, D. V. S. It had three oculars and four lenses magnifying eleven hundred diameters.
In the summer of 1867 there were sixteen acres of the college farm under the plow and twenty-four more being broken.
The first locomotive passed over the bridge of the Blue, at Manhattan, in the summer of 1866.
The first college catalogue, 1863-64, was printed by J. H. Pillsbury, of Manhattan, and edited by Prof. J. G. Schnebly.
Fifteen of the students of the Kansas State Agricultural College served in the United States army during the War of the Rebellion, and three of these died in the service.
The discovery of the inexhaustible salt beds of Kansas was anticipated by Prof. B. F. Mudge in several of his scientific articles, but the college catalogue of 1864-65 antedates the Professor's predictions.
Many elderly gentlemen sufficiently know, and more young gentlemen will duly discover, that systematic knowledge of how cooking ought to be done is luminously different from the ability to do it. - PRES. JOHN A. ANDERSON.
The catalogue of 1870-71 promised those who should complete in a satisfactory manner the course in agriculture, the degree of Bachelor of Agriculture, but for some reason or other the degree has never been conferred.
The stonework of the old Bluemont college building was done by John Soupine; that of the north and South wing of the main building, the laboratory, the horticultural ball, the, mechanics hall, the president's residence and the north wing of the barn was done by Jacob Winne; that of the central part of the main building by the Ulrich Bros.; that of the piggery, the horticultural laboratory and the horticultural barn by Chas. Spongberg, and that of the south wing of the barn by William Allingham - all five of Manhattan.
The first telephone exhibited in Kansas was the property of Prof. Wm. K. Kedzie. It was constructed by the mechanical department after his directions. In the summer of 1877, the Professor gave illustrated lectures on "the telephone and its construction and history" in a large number of Kansas towns. Supt. W. C. Stewart of the telegraph department accompanied him as manipulator and Prof. Walters furnished the cornet solos over the telegraph wires from the telegraphy class room in the mechanical building.
It is just as feasible to give practice in cooking, with pleasure and profit to the pupil, as it is to give laboratory practice in chemistry; and not more expensive. The work will chiefly differ from that of a kitchen, in the fact that, after a girl has learned to wash dishes or pare potatoes, she will not be kept everlastingly at either. -PRESIDENT ANDERSON.
In 1865 the value of the land endowment was estimated to be worth $400,000; but in 1867 it was put at $500,000, almost exactly the amount realized twenty years later.
In the summer of 1869 forty acres of the college farm were under cultivation. Forest trees for a wind-break and about four hundred fruit trees had been set out; also three hundred currant plants, one hundred gooseberries, five hundred grape vines, ten varieties of roses, and a great number of flowering shrubs and ornamental trees.
The recent arrangement by which the students were permitted to share in the editorial work of the Industrialist, calls to mind that in 1875-77 the students of the College had a paper of their own. The name was News, and its editor Irving Todd. Chivalry does not permit the criticism of a dead gladiator.
The Alumni Association of the College at their commencement meeting, June 23, 1874, presented ex-President Dr. Joseph Denison with a silver ice pitcher, salver, goblet and bowl, as a token of esteem by his former pupils. The presentation speeches were made by Chas. O. Whedon, '71, and S. W. Williston, '72.
A prominent feature of the commencement exercises of 1880, consisted in a public plowing match by the class in agriculture. The match took place on the ground southeast of the main college building.
The first farmer's institute, under the auspices of the Faculty of the Kansas State Agricultural College, was held in Manhattan, January 2d to 10th, 1872.
The first item of the faculty records, as preserved in the vaults of the College, is dated February 19, 1866, and contains the resolutions passed by the Faculty in regard to the death of Prof. N. O. Preston. The Professor died of apoplexy in his class room, just before organizing his class in mathematics.
Tom & Carolyn Ward