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Brockport / Archives / Brockport Collegiate Institute, 1841-1867

Brockport Collegiate Institute, 1841-1867

 

Picture of Mary Mortimer

The era of the Collegiate Institute was one of rapid change. Less than twenty years before the school opened, there had been no Brockport. The village came into being with the advent of the Erie Canal in the 1820s. Canal building stimulated settlement, agriculture and industry. A growing country needed more educational opportunities, and academies like the Collegiate Institute provided them.

Pioneers in women's education like Mary Mortimer pictured at left, taught at Brockport. Miss Mortimer was the first head of the "Female Department," and taught philosophy, starting here in December 1841. Mary Lusk, pictured below, taught music in the 1850s.

 

Picture of Mary Lusk

The options varied over the years, but generally speaking there were three choices: the "Collegiate Department," the "English Department," or the "Teachers Department." The Collegiate Department was a two year course of study that for men consisted entirely of "classical" studies. i.e. readings and composition in Greek and Latin. For women there was some Greek and Latin, but also some modern languages and sciences. The English Department was much more "modern" in focus,stressing science, philosophy and modern languages. The Teachers Department was conducted annually without tuition charge, as a four month course, after which students were pledged to teach, "for a reasonable time," in the public schools.

Male students made up the majority of the student body at the Collegiate Institute, and their curriculum was divided into "Classical" and "English" courses of study. The distinction appeared to be that English was terminal while Classical was meant as preparation for college.

Younger students studied Orthography, Pronunciation, Reading, Elocution, Geography, Natural History, and Grammar. The advanced students studied History, Botany, Astronomy, Geology and Mineralogy, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry, Trigonometry, Natural, Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Composition and Rhetoric, Physiology, Government and Political Economy, Logic and Evidences of Christianity, French, Latin and Greek. Practical courses like Surveying also appeared.

The only professional preparation appeared at the Teachers Department, where the content was centered on "the art of teaching and managing a school."

An example of the Collegiate Course of Study comes from 1864.

The Female Classical Course consisted of:

First Year

Fall Term

  • Caesar’s Commentaries, Book 1
  • Euclid, completed with Deductions
  • Chemistry

Winter Term

  • Cicero
  • Trigonometry
  • Plane and Spherical Zoology  

Spring Term

  • Virgil, Book 1
  • Astronomy
  • French or German

Second Year

Fall Term

  • Mental Philosophy
  • Geology
  • German or French

Winter Term

  • Mental Philosophy and Logic
  • Moral Philosophy
  • French or German

Spring Term

  •  Butler’s Analogy
  • French or German
  • Studies Reviewed

The Gentleman’s Classical Course was different in content, and the 1864 curriculum appears below.

First Year

Fall Term

  • Caesar’s Commentaries, Book 1
  • Greek Grammar and Lessons
  • Latin Prose Composition 

Winter Term

  • Greek Grammar and Lessons Completed
  • Latin Prose Composition

Spring Term

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Book 1
  • Cicero's Orations against Cataline
  • Anabasis, Book 1
  • Latin and Greek Prose Composition 

Second Year

Fall Term

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Book II and III
  • Anabasis, Book II and III
  • Latin and Greek Prose Composition

Winter Term

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Book IV, V, VI
  • Anabasis Completed
  • Latin and Greek Prose Composition
  • Ancient Geography and History

Spring Term

  • Sallust Homer’s Iliad, Book 1
  • Studies Reviewed

In 1864 both the male and female students completed the English Course. The curriculum appears below.

First Year

Fall Term

  •  Euclid, completed with Deductions
  • Higher Algebra
  • Chemistry

Winter Term

  •  Trigonometry
  • Plane and Spherical Rhetoric

Spring Term

  • Astronomy
  • French German  

Second Year

  Fall Term

  • Mental Philosophy
  • Geology
  • French or German

Winter Term

  • Mental Philosophy, completed
  • Moral Philosophy
  • French or German

Spring Term

  • Butler’s Analogy
  • French or German
  • Studies Reviewed

Last Updated 6/24/10

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