The Students, Work and Recreations 135
under faculty supervision day and night. He had probably completed
the course of study outlined in the catalogue of December, 1838,
mentioned above. This is given in full in the chapter on curriculum
According to the academic standards of the day the course of
studies was very respectable. It was strong in language study and
mathematics but weak in what today is known as the sciences. It was
a day when the study of the natural sciences was just beginning in our
colleges. The Board of Trustees from the very first were awake to the
importance of scientific instruction and sought to make provision for
it, but were at a loss what to do. In December, 1834, the Board
appointed a committee "to procure a Philosophical and Chemical
Apparatus for the Institute,"9 and such committees were frequently
appointed thereafter, but not much was accomplished. The Board did
not realize that a piece of scientific apparatus without a competent
instructor is hardly more than a toy. Twenty years before this time
President Caldwell of the State University had learned this and
brought to the State the first trained teachers of the sciences.10
The elementary character of the scientific instruction at Wake
Forest in these years may be inferred from such statements as the
following from Brook's Diary: "Investigating the different colors
refracted by means of a Prism, the rainbow, etc.; find the study of
Philosophy very interesting." "Much delighted this evening in the
study of Philosophy. Description of the eye very wonderful indeed."11
But few of the colleges of the country had anything better for several
decades to come. Taking the course as a whole it is probable that the
four young men who, at the Commencement in June, 1839, were
given the degree of Bachelor of Arts after five years of study in the
Institute and one-half year in the College were not much inferior in
mental training to the college graduate of today.
9 Proceedings, p. 16.
10 Battle, History of the University of North Carolina.
11 Diary, under dates of September 27, and October 1, 1837.