Excerpts from Georgie Robertson Christian College Catalogue, 1899

These excerpts are from The Annual Catalogue of the G. R. C. College and Business Institution. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1899.  No rhyme or reason in my selection here…just some things that caught my attention.  I am pleased to see this edition and many others are available online here.

Library.  Among the volumes of our Reference Library are the Britannica, Chambers’ and Johnson’s Encyclopedias, Gray’s Anatomy in colored plates, International Dictionary, twelve volumes of Encyclopediac Dictionaries, Gibbons’ Rome, Macaulay’s England, Universal Literature in twenty volumes, Histories; Works on Science, Language, Mathematics; Tunison’s latest Charts and Maps; a library of the leading Magazines, Journal, Educationals, and Dailies for the leisure moments of the students. p. 8
It must be remembered that a school year here means five terms of eight weeks each, with daily recitations in each subject of one hour each; no vacations, no holidays, no “blue Mondays,” as we have school on Saturdays.  This gives Mondays for literary and debating societies and preparation of lessons for following day.  We work every day in the week. p. 10
We never make a failure in our source in Mathematics, even with the dullest pupils.  p. 17
Physiology.–This branch is made attractive by instructive outlines, charts, skeletons, and actual dissection in the class. [18] Some student is appointed to engage from the butcher an organ to be dissected on the following day, such as the heart, lungs, eye, brain, etc.  Special attention given to alcohol and its effects.  pp. 17-18
Latin.–In one year our students read Jones’ Latin Lessons and Caesar.  Some “professors” deny this.  We [19] are ready to give living witnesses.  Four or five classes each term. pp. 18-19
A Question.  We are often asked: “For what institution do you prepare your students?”  Our answer: “We prepare our students for the Institution of Life.”  p. 19
Methods. Our methods in the class room have no superior.  The subject, rather than the book, is taught.  The subject matter is so thoroughly exhausted that our students are able to make better books than those in general use.  The outlines are alone worth the time and money of the student.  It is the “how” and “why” that make the successful student, not so much of the “what.” All methods in the schoolroom are strictly Normal.  They are the latest and best, the result of many years’ experience of the President in the leading institutions of the land.  Teacher, you cannot afford to miss the methods of this College.  Some unprincipled men have often stated that Normal teaching is not thorough.  The man (?) who makes such assertions is cowardly.  He could not be induced to meet a true Normal teacher for public investigation…Many teachers are opposed to Normalism from the fact that it exposes their false and shallow methods of teaching.  Many honest people oppose Normal schools simply because they know nothing about it.  p. 33
Coeducation.  This is a mixed School.  Both sexes are admitted, with equal rights and privileges in every respect.  It makes school government easy and pleasant.  Each sex serves as a check upon the other.  Young men become purer and more manly; young ladies, more confident, more self-reliant, more appreciative of their true dignity and worth.  That education is incomplete and dwarfed in the extreme which has been secured in a school separate and distinct from either sex.  There can be nothing more enobling and refining than the association of ladies and gentlemen under proper restrictions and in the care of responsible instructors.  In the schoolroom our students are taught to be sociable, kind, gentle, and courteous to all. No association of ladies and gentle-[34]men will be permitted out of the class room except in company with the Faculty.  Boys and girls are born together, play together, grow up together, and must live together; then why not be trained together?  Why make the period of education the only time from the cradle to the grave when isolation is necessary?  Coeducation is natural, and always succeeds when fairly tested.  p. 33-34
Government. Our students govern themselves.  All are treated as ladies and gentlemen until thy prove themselves otherwise.  They are from the best families in the land.  All rude and disorderly students are quietly sent home.  The kind, yet firm, discipline of the school never fails to win the most wayward.  The domineering, brute force is never resorted to. p. 34
Nonsectarian and undenominational.  Our students are from all denominations and those of no religious profession.  All students are left perfectly free to attend Sunday school and church where they please.  No effort is make in the schoolroom to change the faith of any one.  All are left free to think, choose, and act religiously as they wish.  Moral restraints are thrown around all, religious intolerance around none.  Our methods could not be Normal and sectarian at the same time.  We give our many hundred students as evidence to these statements.  p. 36
The Bible Department. is open to both gentlemen and ladies who wish to increase their usefulness and knowledge of the word of God.  Zealous young men soon become earnest, successful proclaimers of the gospel.  This course includes Homiletics, Exegesis, Church History, Grammar, Rhetoric, Latin, and Greek.  Young men prepare and preach at least one sermon a week.  The Bible, above all books, ought to be studied in our schools.  No book is to be compared to it in making man strong mentally, physically, and morally.  We owe all to it: civilization, liberty, and prosperity.  The Bible is the text-book.  The President has immediate charge of this department.  p. 37
Text-books.  Bring all the books that you may have; you will need them for reference.  Wait until you come to purchase others.  Arrangements will be made to supply you with such books as you may wish at the least cost possible.  You can exchange old books for new ones at small cost.  All kinds of good text-books are used.  Truth is sifted from error.  p. 37
Caution.  Owing to the rapid growth, popularity, and wonderful success of the School, a few jealous parties have taken opportunity to circulate various reports with reference to the Institution.  To them we have made no reply.  All derogatory statements have invariably come from some low, narrow, mean mind, too little for our attention; always from some one who has never been in our School and knows nothing of the Institution or its methods.  No matter what you may hear, we say: Come and see for yourselves.  If we do not do our part even better than we advertise, your traveling expenses to and from school will be paid by us.  Our students are our best recommendations and advertisement.  p. 39

Model Programme of Study, Georgie Robertson Christian College, 1899-1900

With the start of a new year and a new semester upon us, let’s take a look back at the ‘model programme’ laid out by Arvy Glenn Freed for pupils in the ‘Teacher’s Course’ at Georgie Robertson Christian College for the year 1899-1900.  G. R. C. College, in Henderson, Tennessee, billed itself as a “college for the masses”…the “largest normal college in the south.”* In 1899-1900 it sustained the following departments: Primary, Preparatory, Teachers’, Scientific, Classic, Psychology and Pedagogy, Engineering, Elocution and Oratory, Medical, Musical, Art, Commercial, Telegraphy, Shorthand, Law, Typewriting, Select, Post-graduate and Review.**

Through a carefully arranged curriculum administered in a regimented daily schedule (“daily recitations in each subject of one hour each; no vacation, no holidays, no “blue Mondays,” as we have school on Saturdays…we work every day in the week.”) students were taught not only to value time but to use all of it well.***

Here is the “Model Programme of Study and Recitation of a Student in Teachers’ Course”, p. 11.

5.00 Rising
5.00 – 5.30 Toilet
5.30 – 6.30 Study Arithmetic
6.30 – 7.00 Study Orthography
7.00 – 7.45 Breakfast
8.00 – 8.30 Chapel Exercise
8.30 – 9.00 Study Grammar
9.00 – 10.00 Recite Grammar
10.00 – 11.00 Study Arithmetic
11.00 – 12.00 Recite Arithmetic
12.00 – 1.00 Dinner
1.00 – 2.00 Drills in Penmanship
2.00 – 3.00 Recite History
3.00 – 4.00 Recite Geography
4.00 – 5.00 Study Grammar
5.00 – 6.00 Study History
6.00 – 7.00 Supper and Recitation
7.00 – 8.00 Study Geography
8.00 – 8.30 Reading Pedagogy
8.30 – 9.00 General Reading
9.00 Retire


Faculty for this course could have included A. G. Freed and/or N. B. Hardeman for arithmetic; L. B. Mather and/or A. G. Freed for orthography; A. G. Freed and/or C. B. Ijams for grammar; A. G. Freed for penmanship; N. B. Hardeman for history and geography; Freed may have supervised the course of reading in pedagogy.

All citations and quotations are from The Annual Catalogue of the G. R. C. College and Business Institution. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1899.  This catalogue is for the second session, 1899-1900, and notes that “G. R. C. College” [Georgie Robertson Christian College] succeeds “W. T. C. College” [West Tennessee Christian College]. In time this institution would be renamed Freed-Hardeman College.

*Catalogue, front cover.

**Catalogue, p. 5

***Catalogue, p. 10, with emphasis on all.