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Page 12 text:
HORACE MANN AND FIRST EXAMINATION
AT FIRST NORMAL SCHOOL
One of a group of murals painted by students of
Massachusetts School of Art in Horace Mann Auditorium, Bridgewater
Gift of Alumni
Page 11 text:
Turning back in history to the hfth century B. C. we come to that leaf upon which is
written the name of Socrates, one of the world's great educational leaders, who through all
the intervening ages continues to hold such a firm grasp upon our affections.
As his world was Athens, so is America the world of Horace Mann, the educator who has
been likened to "a voice crying in the wilderness, whom men did hear, whom men did heed,
and to whom men did respond."
That men espoused the cause of education under such a leader is not strange. His
life regarded in its most cursory aspects was commanding, since from his earliest years he
was impressed with the importance of moral wealth and love of knowledge, while those years
immediately following, when only hard work on his part earned textbooks, made him realize
the sweetness of that mighty, compelling force,-education. Pure integrity of purpose
enabled him to enter college only six months from the time he first saw a Latin grammar,
and to graduate first in his class. Demosthenes is not the only man to be held up anew to
each generation of youth as a guide in the path to success, because of the exercises and labors
by which he achieved excellence in his art.
To have known Horace Mann,-even to read of him,-is to experience in some degree
his personal magnetism. A liberal mind, a generous heart, and refinement of ideals made him
admired by his constituents and deeply loved by his friends. His tastes were marked by
simplicity, the benevolence of his nature ever appeared in benefactions to individuals and to
society. In fact, his ideals of the possibilities in human nature were so high that they caused
him to be constantly disappointed by the failure of his fellowmen to reach a standard which
seemed possible to him.
On accepting the office of Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837,
he Wrote in his diary: "Henceforth as long as I hold this office I devote myself to the sup-
remest Welfare of mankind on earth. My effort may do apparently but little, yet a mere
beginning in a good cause is never little. If we can get this vast wheel into any motion,
we shall have accomplished much."
With these words expressing his great humanitarian sympathies, there is permitted only
one last stroke of the brush to complete the picture which he himself has painted on the
canvas of education: the mission to influence by enlightening rather than to control by
authority is very near to the precepts of the Great Teacher.
MARY ELIZABETH HAYES
Page 13 text:
"A TRAINED TEACHER FOR EVERY CHILD"
It is fitting that the mural representing the first State Normal School in America should
have the central place in our auditorium among those paintings which show the progress
of education throughout the world. This one must be an inspiration to all who see it.
It was at Lexington, July 3, 1839, that the dream of Horace Mann was realized, Massa-
chusetts at last had a State Normal School! And the picture of this first Normal School was
painted by a student of the Massachusetts School of Art, one of the many products of this
Although it may not seem so, the subject of this painting is one which is only too familiar
-representing the entrance examination into the first state normal school, offering quite a
contrast, in numbers at least, to the entrance examinations today. In the background is
Horace Mann, whose broad vision and tireless labor made this establishment possible, and
near him is the Reverend Cyrus Pierce, the first principal and teacher of the school. The
three girls are, of course, the prospective pupils. The weather certainly gave no encourage-
ment-it was raining heavily, a dark, gloomy, dismal day. Small wonder that only three
persons were present.
But "he whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of doubting," and despite the
small beginning, the hopes and ideals of the Father of Massachusetts Normal Schools never
faltered. He is shown as a slim, grayhaired man with a mobile face alive with enthusiasm
on this most auspicious day. Massachusetts, he believed, was the only state in the Union
where Normal Schools could be established with any chance of success. How he had worked
and hoped and planned for this day can be realized to only a slight extent when we consider
his lectures, his educational reports, his writing and his Common School journal,--every-
thing he did and said to further the cause.
One of Mr. Mann's biggest problems was the selection of a principal for this school.
He went over all New England before he found someone he thought could manage with a
fair chance of success. He chose the Reverend Cyrus Pierce of Nantucket, an excellent
teacher who possessed the supreme power of winning the confidence of his pupils. His
responsibility was very great, greater even than he realized, for if the school were not re-
garded favorably by the public at the beginning, the whole Normal School movement would
be a failure. But this man who excelled in training both the mental and moral natures of
his pupils, and whose motto was "Live to the truth," did not fail, and the whole cause was
strengthened by his presence. By the time the first quarter was over, there were twelve
pupils, and, greatly encouraged, Mr. Pierce wrote in his journal that most of those who had
attended had made a good beginning.
This school at Lexington, however, was for women-students exclusively, it was moved
twice before being permanently located, first to VVest Newton, and finally to Framingham.
Thus with but three pupils and one teacher, less than a century ago was started the move-
ment which proved to have such a glorious future. From this small beginning have come
the teachers and leaders and educators who have spread and fostered the Normal School
cause throughout the broad vastness of the United States.
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