Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Peddler Yearbook (Worcester, MA)

 - Class of 1940

Page 15 of 184

 

Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Peddler Yearbook (Worcester, MA) online yearbook collection, 1940 Edition, Page 15 of 184
Page 15 of 184



Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Peddler Yearbook (Worcester, MA) online yearbook collection, 1940 Edition, Page 14
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Page 15 text:

Herbert F. Taylor JUST seventy-five years ago, May 9, 1865, this college gained official rec¬ ognition. It was on that day that John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts, signed the legislative bill to incorporate the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science. Several steps of much greater signifi¬ cance than this official act had been taken during the preceding four months. First, John Boynton had entrusted to his cousin, David Whitcomb, the sum of $100,000, which was practically all his wealth, for the rather indefinite purpose of founding a school. Mr. Boynton, a relatively un¬ known manufacturer and banker of Templeton, Mass¬ achusetts, had acquired his money in the making and marketing of tinware. In his early years he had been an itinerant peddler of tin products in rural New Eng¬ land. David Whitcomb, once Boynton’s partner, had be¬ come a Worcester hardware merchant. It was to a Worcester minister, the Rev¬ erend Dr. Seth Sweetser, that Mr. Whitcomb turned for advice about how the Boynton gift could be used to best advantage. Dr. Sweetser displayed an immediate and vig¬ orous interest, partly because another manufacturer, Ichabod Washburn, had discussed with him a similar plan several years earlier. He and Mr. Whitcomb called into a conference two other im¬ portant Worcester citizens, Emory Wash¬ burn, a former governor of Massachusetts, and George Frisbie Hoar, later to become a distinguished United States senator and statesman. These four developed the pat¬ tern for a technical school, which Dr. Sweetser wrote out as John Boynton s let¬ ter of gift. It was submitted to several educators and approved by Mr. Boynton. Dr. Sweetser skillfully and tactfully drew Ichabod Washburn into the project. His contribution was the building, equip¬ ment and endowment of a machine shop, in which boys would receive a practical knowledge of manufacturing. Another prominent and wealthy Worcester citizen, whose interest in the school was aroused, was Stephen Salisbury. He gave the hill¬ top property of about eleven acres, on which the Institute buildings were to be constructed, and contributed $22,000 Alumni Field Gate Ill] PEDDLER

Page 14 text:

John Boynton’s Dream THE HISTORY OF W.P.I. By HERBERT F. TAYLOR, ’12 1865 1940 I



Page 16 text:

Beginning Sanford Riley Hall toward the fund for the erection of Boyn¬ ton Hall. Other citizens of Worcester, including many workmen in local facto¬ ries, gave the balance of the fund for this first building, which cost about $75,000, including equipment and grading of the grounds. The Washburn Shops cost about $15,000, exclusive of equipment. The incorporators of the Institute were Seth Sweelser and George F. Hoar. They were also members of the first Board of Trustees, of which Stephen Salisbury was president, David Whitcomb, treasurer, and Phinehas Ball, clerk. Other important figures in the early administration were Ichabod Washburn, Emory Washburn, D. Waldo Lincoln, Charles H. Morgan, and Philip L. Moen. The man chosen to be first principal of the Institute was Charles Oliver Thompson, 32-year-old graduate of Dartmouth, a man of much scientific ability, wide vision and resourcefulness. Before taking up his duties he went to Europe to study tech¬ nical education. He gathered about him a small but able faculty, including George I. Alden, just graduated from Harvard, to be professor of Mechanical Engineering; Milton P. Higgins, also a graduate of Dart¬ mouth, to be superintendent of the Wash¬ burn Shops; George E. Gladwin as in¬ structor in drawing and Miss Harriet Goodrich as instructor in Mathematics. Soon thereafter, Miss Marietta S. Fletcher succeeded Miss Goodrich as feminine mem¬ ber of the staff, and taught languages for three years. John E. Sinclair, classmate of Dr. Thompson at Dartmouth, began a long career as professor of Mathematics in 1869. He married Miss Fletcher the following year. There were thirty-two boys who quali¬ fied for admission to the first class in the fall of 1868. They started work immedi¬ ately after the dedication of Boynton Hall, November 11. This was an elaborate, all¬ day ceremony, in which many distin¬ guished educators and executives took part. The first courses available to students were Mechanical and Civil Engineering, [ 12 ] 65 W . P . I

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