Transcribed from College Symposium of the Kansas State Agricultural College Topeka, Kansas: The Hall & O'Donald Litho Co. 1891.


In accordance with an act of the Legislature reconstructing the governments of the several State institutions, approved March 6th, 1873, Governor Osborne in the spring of that year appointed a new Board. Soon afterwards President Denison resigned, and the vacancy was filled by the election of Rev. John A. Anderson of Junction City. The result was a radical change in the policy of the institution. To this Board, counting among its members such men as Dr. Charles Reynolds, post chaplain at Fort Riley, and J. K. Hudson, the founder of the Kansas Farmer and the Capital, and to President Anderson, the State is indebted for the conception and inauguration of the educational policy which has placed the Kansas State Agricultural College near the head of the list of the land grant institutions of America.


John A. Anderson was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, June 26th, 1834; graduated at Miami University in 1853, the room-mate of President Benjamin Harrison; studied theology, and preached in Stockton, California, from 1857 till 1862. Early in that year he entered the army as chaplain of the Third California Infantry. In 1863, he entered the service of the United States Sanitary Commission, and his first duty was to act as relief agent of the Twelfth Army Corps. He was next transferred to its central office, in New York. When Grant began the movement through the Wilderness, Anderson was made Superintendent of transportation, and had under his command half a dozen steamers. Upon completion of this campaign, be served as Assistant Superintendent of the Canvass and Supply Department at Philadelphia, and edited a paper called the Sanitary Commission Bulletin. At the close of the war he was transferred to the Historical Bureau of the Commission at Washington, remaining there one year, collecting data and writing a portion of the history of the Commission. In 1866, he was appointed Statistician of the Citizens' Association of Pennsylvania, an organization for the purpose of relieving the suffering resulting from pauperism, vagrancy, and crime in the large cities. In February, 1868, he accepted a call from the Presbyterian church at Junction City, Kansas, and remained its pastor until the fall of 1873, when he became president of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, which position he held until his election to Congress in 1878. While president of the College he was appointed one of the jurors on machine tools for wood, metal, and stone at the Centennial Exhibition.

The subsequent history of John A. Anderson is equally characteristic of the man. He served as member of Congress from this district until the spring of 1891. During the fall campaign of 1890 the Farmers Alliance movement had withdrawn from the ranks of the Republican party much of the element which had elected and re-elected him triumphantly in six consecutive elections. Anderson was not re-nominated and refused to run "wild." The result was, that the Republican party, as well as its trustworthy leader in this district, lost a seat in Congress. Of the large number of Congressional bills which were introduced and advocated by Anderson may be mentioned the one reducing the postage of letters from three to two cents, and the one creating an agricultural department as a branch of the National executive government. In March, 1891, Anderson was appointed Consul General to Cairo, Egypt, and sailed for his new post on April 6th.

In a "Hand-book of the Kansas State Agricultural College," published in 1874, President Anderson fully discussed his reasons for the changes made in the old system, a few of which are epitomized here. -

1. It is impossible for most people to find time to study everything that it is important for some men to master.

2. The subjects discarded, in whole or in part, by each separate class of students should be those that it is supposed will be of least importance to them.

3. Of those retained, prominence should be given to each in proportion to the actual benefit expected to be derived from it.

4. The farmer and mechanic should be as completely educated as the lawyer and minister; but the information that is essential to the one class is often comparatively useless to the other; and it is therefore unjust to compel all classes to pursue the same course of study.

5. Ninety-seven per cent of the people of Kansas are in the various industrial vocations, and only three per cent. in the learned professions; yet prominence is given to the studies that are most useful to the professions instead of those that are most useful to the industrial pursuits. This state of things should be reversed, and the greatest prominence given to the subjects that are the most certain to fit the great majority for the work they should and will pursue.

6. Most young men and young women are unable to go "through" college. Therefore, each year's course of study should, as far as is practicable, be complete in itself.

7. The natural effect of exclusive head-work, as contradistinguished from hand-work, is to beget a dislike for the latter.

8. The only way to counteract this tendency is to educate the head and the hands at the same time, so that when a young man leaves college he will be prepared to earn his living in a vocation in which he has fitted himself to excel.


Adopting these views, the Board of Regents discontinued the school of literature and organized those of agriculture and the mechanic arts. Three new professorships were established; namely, botany and entomology, Professor J. S. Whitman; chemistry and physics, Professor W. K. Kedzie; mathematics, Professor M. L. Ward. In order to provide better accommodations for the students the departments of instruction were removed from the old farm to the new one, where the finished wing of the barn was fitted up for class rooms. Work shops in iron and wood, a printing office, a telegraph office, a kitchen laboratory, and a sewing room were equipped and provided with instructors, and fifty minutes of educational manual labor was added to the daily work of every student. Three years later the course of study was reduced to four years; i. e. the preparatory course was abolished, the teaching of Butler's analogy, Latin, German and French discontinued, and the requirements for admission lowered so as to connect the institution directly with the better grade of public schools.

In order to fully appreciate the efforts of President Anderson with regard to the reorganization of the work of instruction, it seems necessary to take a glance at the educational reform movement in other parts of the country. It is a fact not generally known, and one of which Kansas and the friends of this institution may well be proud, that the Kansas State Agricultural College was among the very first free schools of college grade in the United States where systematic daily manual work became an obligatory branch of instruction for all male students, and that it was the first institution of any kind in this country which reduced the minimum age of admission to such instruction to fourteen years. There had, of course, been numerous attempts to teach such work before, but it had either been made optional or else it was limited to certain departments. In the Worcester Free Institute, founded in 1865 and opened in November, 1868, the shop work was made obligatory only to the students in the course of mechanical engineering, all of whom were above sixteen years of age. In the Industrial University of Illinois, shop work was provided only for the students in the architectural department. In Washington University, at St. Louis, the Preparatory or Manual Training School, which, through the writings and enthusiastic work of its Dean, C. M. Woodward, has become the pattern for schools of the kind from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and far beyond, and is usually considered as the first institution that provided systematic instruction in wood and iron work to all of its pupils, the first experiments in this line were made in 1872. The work, however, was limited to the polytechnic departments, and the age of admission of the pupils to fifteen years, while the Manual Training School was not organized until June 6th, 1879. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the "father of American tool instruction," President J. D. Runkle, developed the analytical system of shop work, an improvement upon the Russian system of Della Vos, did not commence instruction in iron work until the spring of 1877. The only institution, in fact, which gave daily shop instruction to all its pupils, previous to the reconstruction of the Kansas State Agricultural College, was the Stevens Institute of Technology, of Hoboken, N. J., created by the munificence of the great philanthropist, S. A. Stevens. It will be seen from these historic statements of the growth of tool instruction that President Anderson was well forward among the educators of the country who foresaw the coming educational changes; that he was a leader rather than a follower.

As might be expected, these changes of educational policy created some friction. Several members of the old teaching force resigned, while others, taking part against the reorganization, were discharged. Even the newly called members were more or less strongly opposed to some of the methods adopted by Anderson, especially with regard to the reduction of the course of study from six to four years, and the abolishing of the instruction in Latin. The most intense feeling existed for a while. The students, encouraged by the attitude of the retiring professors, held indignation meetings, while the citizens of Manhattan, considering the fight largely their own, were split into irreconcilable factions - "for Latin" and "against Latin." Petitions were sent to the Board requesting a change of policy in order to save the institution from certain ruin. The aid of the Governor was evoked to remove President Anderson, who was described as an educational charlatan; but the management remained firm. Gradually the storm subsided. The new members of the faculty began to assert their influence; The attendance did not fall off as had been predicted, the Legislature was satisfied with the change; and the "new education," though hardly more than an experiment as yet, had scored another victory.


President Anderson was a prolific and vigorous writer. He defended his policy whenever and wherever he was attacked, and gave no quarter. His chief weapon during these struggles was the Weekly Industrialist, edited by the faculty, and printed by the printing department. The first number appeared on April 24,1875, and the paper has been issued ever since - an effective advertiser of the College and its work, and a ready medium for the dissemination of experimental knowledge, new pedagogical theories, and scientific truths. The Industrialist is now completing its sixteenth volume.


Among the new members of the faculty none entered upon the work of reorganization with more zeal and sympathy and assisted more effectively in bringing its practical work into favor with the farmers of the State, than Prof. E. M. Shelton, M. Sc., elected to the Chair of Agriculture in 1874.


Edward Mason Shelton was born in Huntingdonshire, England, August 7th, 1846, and in 1855, came with his parents to America, settling in New York. In 1860, the family moved to Michigan. He received his education at the Michigan Agricultural College, graduating in 1871, and took a course of special study under Dr. Manly Miles. At this time an agent of the Japanese government was in this country, seeking men for the advancement of the agricultural interests of Japan, and through him Mr. Shelton was appointed Superintendent of the Government Experiment Farm at Tokio. He was the first teacher of American agricultural methods and systematic farming in Japan, and although ill health demanded his return to America at the expiration of a year, he left a strong impression upon the farming interests of that country. He next joined the Greeley Colony of Colorado, but soon returned to his agricultural studies and investigations at the Michigan College, and from thence was in 1874 chosen Professor of Agriculture and Superintendent of the Farm at the Kansas State Agricultural College, in which position he remained until the first of January, 1890, when he accepted a call by the Governor of Queensland, Australia, to the honorable and responsible position of agricultural adviser to the government. His writings have been widely quoted, and his influence has been marked upon the trend of agricultural education. He was secretary of the State Shorthorn Breeders' Association and of the National Association for the advancement of Agricultural Science.

Of other teachers who were elected during the presidency of Anderson, and are entitled to credit for assistance in the work of reconstruction, should be named Professors William K. Kedzie, M. Sc., M. L. Ward, A. M., George H. Failyer, M. Sc., and John D. Walters, M. Sc. Biographical sketches of the two last named who have remained with the College, will be found in another part of this volume.

Prof. W. K. Kedzie was the eldest son of the veteran teacher of agricultural chemistry at the Michigan Agricultural College, Prof. R. C. Kedzie. He graduated at that institution in 1870, took a special course at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College, and became assistant to his father at Lansing, Mich., until his call to Manhattan in 1873. Coming to the Agricultural College of Kansas at the time of its reorganization, he lent valuable assistance in shaping the course of instruction and giving the branches of chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and meteorology the prominent position which they deserve in the curriculum of such an institution. While here he wrote a small text-book, "The Geology of Kansas." In 1878 be accepted a call to Oberlin College, Ohio, and died in 1880, in the prime of his life.

Prof. M. L. Ward was brought up on a farm without early opportunities in school, but graduated from Hamilton College, N. Y., and afterward was ordained to the ministry in the Baptist church. For some years he, with the assistance of Mrs. Ward, maintained a successful private school at Ottawa, Kansas, and from that was called, in 1873, to the chair of mathematics in this College. In this position, with many fluctuations of duties, he did faithful, energetic work for ten years, and often helped to hold together conflicting forces in the faculty by combining earnest regard for the practical side of the new plans with an abiding faith in mental discipline as the foundation of all true education. It was not strange that he was made acting president during President Anderson's campaign for Congressman, or that after leaving this College in 1883, he should be called to the Presidency of Ottawa University, where he still remains as a member of the faculty.

FROM 1873 TO 1878.

Of permanent improvements during Mr. Anderson's presidency, may be enumerated the building, in 1875, of Mechanics' Hall, and in the year following of Horticultural Hall and the Chemical Laboratory - the last after sketches by Prof. William K. Kedzie, who, at his own expense, had visited Central Europe and the East to study the arrangement and furnishing of chemical workshops. In 1877 the main part of the present barn was constructed after directions by Prof. E. M. Shelton. The corner stone of the north wing of the Main College Hall was laid in 1878, and this part of the building completed in February, 1879.

In the summer of 1878, President Anderson was urged by leading Republicans of the (then) First Congressional District to become the candidate of the party for United States Representative. He accepted the honor, feeling that the work at the College requiring his peculiar bent of character, and which, perhaps, but few could have performed, was done. The institution was safe from reaction with regard to its course of study, secure from absorption by the State University, and past the threatening spectre of financial ruin. It had no name as yet among the institutions of learning of the land; its attendance was small, its library insignificant, and its apparatus lacked much that was absolutely necessary; but it had found its distinct sphere of usefulness. The debt, which in 1873 had amounted to over $42,000, was reduced to $18,000 endowment and $6,000 current expense fund. The productive endowment had grown to about $240,000, and the annual income amounted to nearly $20,000. Yet his election to Congress in November, 1878, and consequent resignation in August, placed the Board in a perplexing situation. It seemed almost impossible to find a man whose previous work and training would furnish a guarantee for success. There were plenty of candidates, indeed it seemed as if every defunct county superintendent or worn out preacher in the State believed himself exactly the man to pilot the newly-rigged vessel

"Through squalls and storms,
O'er rocks and riffs."

But no agreement could be reached until the following September, when a member of the faculty suggested his former teacher, Prof. Geo. T. Fairchild, of Michigan Agricultural College, as a suitable man. Professor Fairchild was "called," came to Manhattan to make a personal examination of the condition of the College, and accepted the responsible position.

College Symposium - Index
Introduction, History, 1863 to 1873, 1873 through 1878, 1878 and 1879, through 1879, Experiments and Experiment Station, Philosophy, Chemistry, Horticultural, Botanical, Mathematics, Industrial Art, Telegraph, English, Home Economics, Sewing, Mechanical, Music, Printing, Law, Farm, Military, Physics, Veterinary, Faculty and Assistants, Faculty Biographies, Alumni, Classes, College Organizations, Ionian #1, Ionian #2, Ionian #3, Hamilton #1, Hamilton #2, Hamilton #3, Alpha Beta #1, Alpha Beta #2, Alpha Beta #3, Webster #1, Webster #2, Webster #3, Webster #4, Editors and Church Directory, Advertisements#1, Advertisements#2, Advertisements#3

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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