Manual Labor Days 77
have long since dropped the manual labor feature owe their birth. The
movement for the organization of such schools in this country began
before 1830. They were first established in New England; in
Connecticut in 1819, in Maine in 1821, in Massachusets in 1824. The
Oneida Manual Labor Institute at Whitesboro, New York, was in
existence from 1827 to 1834. Nearly all the Southern Baptist colleges,
such as Mercer and Howard, began as manual labor institutions. The
purpose of all of them was to unite training in agriculture and
mechanical pursuits with ordinary school studies.33 The Manual Labor
Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary Institutions was
organized in New York in 1831, for the purpose of "collecting and
diffusing information calculated to promote the establishment and
prosperity of manual labor schools in the United States." The first and
only report of the Society was published in 1831.34
It was doubtless the influence of this Society and its report that led
the Baptists of North Carolina to adopt the manual labor plan for
Wake Forest Institute. Dr.
Wait35
tells of the considerations in
deciding what kind of school the new Institute should be. The first
thought was only for the education of young preachers and this was
never lost sight of. Though many believed that the highest object
should be to give "a plain English education," it was soon recognized
that there was a demand for something more. The next question was
how to make the school selfsupporting. There was no hope of this if
the school was to be for preachers alone, for preachers were usually
poor, and in theological schools in that day as well as in this paid no
tutition. Accordingly it was decided to "remodel the original plan so
as to admit as students any young gentleman of good character,
whether professors of religion or not. This would afford a prospect of
being able to support the school, and no other plan was suggested that
would do this." It was in the Convention year 1831-32 that the manual
labor plan was agreed upon, that is,
―――――――
33
Monroe, Cyc. of Educ.
34
Ibid.
35
Wake Forest Student, II, 49 f.
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