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November 26–27, 1897

Vassar hosted the 11th annual convention of the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Middle States and Maryland, welcoming over 400 educators from the region. Cornell president Jacob Gould Schurman presided over the two-day meeting.

Some representatives of smaller, liberal arts institutions, encouraged by Melvil Dewey, secretary of the University of the State of New York, discussed at this meeting forming a college league devoted to promoting, in the words of one of the organizers, “conference and cooperation among the distinctly literary colleges” and to keeping “before the public the proper function and the claim to popular support of the so-called small college.” Failing to satisfactorily define a “small college,” this effort failed.

The more general issues before the conference were “Problems of Preparatory and College Education” and “the Place of Science in the Preparatory School.” Both principal speakers on the latter topic, Ralph S. Tarr, professor of geology at Cornell, and C. C. Wilson, principal of Lincoln High School in Jersey City, NJ, “took the position that the teaching of science had been greatly improved and its claim to a definite place in the curriculum was established, but that there was no general consensus of opinion as to its exact place.”

The New York Times

The Years