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The simple-minded student assents to this counsel, and says it is a great comfort to have everything in black and white, so that he can carry it all home. But no scrap-book of facts can give wisdom, any more than a tank of water can form a running spring. It is, perhaps, of as much consequence to teach a young person how to study history as to teach him history itself.
The above notes were written in the summer of 1879, and were published in October of that year, after the author's return to Baltimore. Subsequent experience at Smith College, in the spring terms of 1880 and 1881, when the lecturer's four years' partial connection with Smith College terminated, showed the necessity of a reference library for each class, the resources of the main collection in the reading-room having proved inadequate to the growing historical needs of the college. Instead of buying text-books, the members of each class, with the money which text-books would have cost, formed a library fund, from which a' book committee purchased such standard works (often with duplicate copies) as the lecturer recommended. The class libraries were kept in places generally accessible; for example, in the front halls of the cottage” dormitories. Each class had its own system of rules for library administration. Books that were in greatest demand could be kept out only one or two days. The amount of reading by special topics accomplished in this way in a single term was really most remarkable. Notebooks with abstracts of daily work were kept, and finally handed in as a part of the term's examination. Oral examinations upon reading, pursued in connection with the lectures, were maintained throughout the term, and, at the close, a written examination upon the lectures and other required topics, together with a certain range of optional subjects, fairly tested the results of this voluntary method of historical study. The amount of knowledge acquired in this
way would as much surpass the substance of any system of lectures or any mere text-book acquisitions as a class library of standard historians surpasses an individual teacher or any historical manual. This method of study is practicable in any high-school class of moderate size. If classes are generous, they will leave their libraries to successors, who can thus build up-a collection for historical reference within the school itself, which will thus become a seminary of living science.
A development of the above idea of special libraries may be seen in the foundation, at the Johns Hopkins University, in 1881–2, of a special library for the study of American Institutional History by college graduates. There was nothing really new about the idea except its application. German universities have their seminarium libraries distinct from the main university library, although often in the same building. In Baltimore, the special library was established in the lectureroom where the class meets. The design of the collection was to gather within easy reach the chief authorities used in class work and in such original investigations as were then in progress. The special aim, however, was to bring together the statutory law and colonial archives of the older States of the Union, together with the journals of Congress, American State papers, and the writings and lives of American statesmen. The statutes of England and parliamentary reports on subjects of particular interest were next secured. Then followed, in December, 1882, the acquisition of the Bluntschli Library of three thousand volumes, with many rare pamphlets and Bluntschli's manuscripts, including his notes taken under Niebuhr the historian, and under Savigny the jurist. This library of the lamented Dr. Bluntschli, professor of constitutional and international law in Heidelberg, was presented to the Johns Hopkins University by German citizens of Baltimore; and it represents, not only in its transfer to America, but in its very constitution, the internationality of modern science. Here is a library, which, under the care of a great master, developed from the narrow chronicles of a Swiss town and canton into a library of cosmopolitan character, embracing many nations in its scope. Into this inheritance the Seminary Library of American Institutional History has now entered. Although the special work of the Seminary will still be directed toward American themes, yet it will be from the vantage-ground of the Bluntschli Library, and with the. knowledge that this great collection was the outgrowth of communal studies similar to those now in progress in Balti
A word may be added in this connection touching the nature of graduate-work in history at the Johns Hopkins University. What was said in the early part of this article applied only to undergraduates, who develop into the very best class of graduate students now present at the University. The idea of a co-operative study of American local institutions, by graduate students representing different sections of country, evolved very naturally from the Baltimore environment. Germinant interest in the subject originated in a study of New England towns, in a spring sojourn for four years at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and in summer tours along the New England coast ; but the development of this interest was made possible by associations in Baltimore with men from the South and the West, who were able and willing to describe the institutions of their own States for purposes of comparison with the institutions of other States. Thus it has come about that the parishes, districts, and counties of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas are placed historically side by side with the townships of the West and the towns and parishes of New England; so that, by and by, all men will see how much these different sections have in common.
There is a great variety of subjects pertaining to American local life in its rural and municipal manifestations. Not only the history of local government, but the history of schools, churches, charities, manufactures, industries, prices, economics, municipal protection, municipal reforms, local taxation, repre
sentation, administration, poor laws, liquor laws, labor laws, and a thousand and one chapters of legal and social history are yet to be written in every State. Johns Hopkins students have selected only a few topics like towns, parishes, manors, certain state systems of free schools, a few phases of city government, a few French and Indian villages in the Northwest, certain territorial institutions, Canadian feudalism, the town institutions of New England (to a limited extent); but there is left historical territory enough for student immigration throughout the next hundred years. The beauty of science is that there are always new worlds to discover. And at the present moment there await the student pioneer vast tracts of American institutional and economic history almost as untouched as were once the forests of America, her coal measures and prairies, her mines of iron, silver, and gold. Individual and local effort will almost everywhere meet with quick recognition and grateful returns. But scientific and cosmopolitan relations with college and university centres, together with the generous co-operation of all explorers in the same field, will certainly yield the most satisfactory results both to the individual and to the community which he represents.
It is highly important that isolated students who desire to co-operate in this kind of work should avail themselves of the existing machinery of local libraries, the local press, local societies, and local clubs. If such things do not exist, the most needful should be created. No community is too small for a book club and for an association of some sort. Local studies should always be connected in some way with the life of the community, and should always be used to quicken that life to higher consciousness. A student, a teacher, who prepares a paper on local history or some social question, should read it before the village lyceum or some literary club or an association of teachers. If encouraged to believe his work of any general interest or permanent value, he should print it in the local paper or in a local magazine, perhaps an educational journal, without aspiring to the highest popular monthlies, which will certainly reject all purely local contributions by unknown contributors. It is far more practicable to publish by local aid in pamphlet form or in the proceedings of associations and learned societies, before which such papers may sometimes be read.
From a variety of considerations, the writer is persuaded that one of the best introductions to history that can be given in American high schools, and even in those of lower grade, is through a study of the community in which the school is placed. History, like charity, begins at home. The best American citizens are those who mind home affairs and local interests. “That man's the best cosmopolite who loves his native country best." The best students of universal history are those who know some one country or some one subject well. The family, the hamlet, the neighborhood, the community, the parish, the village, town, city, county, and state are historically the ways by which men have approached national and international life. It was a preliminary study of the geography of Frankfort-on-the-Main that led Carl Ritter to study the physical structure of Europe and Asia, and thus to establish the new science of comparative geography.
“Whoever has wandered through the valleys and woods, and over the hills and mountains of his own state, will be the one capable of following a Herodotus in his wanderings over the globe.” And we may say, as Ritter said of the science of geography, the first step in history is to know thoroughly the district where we live. In America, Guyot represented for many years this method of teaching geography. Huxley, in his Physiography, has introduced pupils to a study of Nature as a whole, by•calling attention to the physical features of the Thames valley and the wide range of natural phenomena that may be observed in any English parish. Humboldt long ago said in his Cosmos: Every little nook and shaded corner is but a reflection of the whole of Nature.” There is something