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Hemenway, of Boston, a graduate of Harvard in 1876, had given the sum of $115,000, surpassed in size, magnificence, and convenience any of the gymnasia then to be found in the country.
Since 1880 millions of dollars have been spent on new gymnasia, most of which have been modeled more or less closely upon the Hemenway Gymnasium. To Dr. D. A, Sargent, the director of the Hemenway Gymnasium since its opening, we owe the invention of the system of “developing gymnastics” which bears his name, and has been adopted very generally in the gymnasia of the colleges, the Young Men's Christian Associations, and the athletic clubs of the country. The Sargent gymnastic machines, numbering nearly sixty, employ the so-called “pulley weights,” in variously modified combinations, so as to call cartain groups of muscles into action in a special way. By the uso of these machines one can exercise the muscles of his back, loins, thigh, forearm, or hand as his own taste or the advice of his instructor may dictate. The director of every gymnasium conducted in conformity with the Sargent system habitually and repeatedly makes a careful physical examination of each person under his charge, on which he bases his prescription of such exercises as will tend to remedy defects and promote symmetrical muscular growth. In many respects the Sargent developing gymnastics resemble the system of “mechanical-medical gymnastics" devised by Doctor Zander, of Stockholm, in the early seventies. Like the Zander gymnastics (whose vogue is chiefly European), the Sargent gymnastics are dietetic rather than essentially educative in their aims, and most of the Sargent machines are not adapted to meet the requirements of class gymnastics; therefore mast well-equipped gymnasia nowadays are furnished with heavy apparatus of the very kind that Dio Lewis professed to have driven from the field. The idea of scientifically directing and controlling gymnastics and athletic training is admirable and practicable; but the effect of using the Sargent apparatus stops short of muscular development in its higher sense, since by means of “ pulley weights” it is possible cnly to enlarge and strengthen the muscles without teaching skill and discrimination to the nerve centers which animate the muscles. The innovations and improvements associated with Doctor Sargent's name and the growth of the custom of giving the direction of college gymnasia to medieally trained men have done much toward securing a quasi recognition of physical education and its representatives from the exponents and devotees of “liberal studies."
The completion of the Hemenway Gymnasium and the induction of Doctor Sargent as its director in 1879 gave a great iinpetus to the improvement of existing gymnasia and to the erection of new ones, while the rapid spread of the Sargent system of developing exercises led to a general reform in the organization and management of the department of physical education in very many colleges and fitting schools for both sexes and in those belonging to the Young Men's Christian Asso iations. The organization of athletic clubs, having elaborate and costly buildings and extensive playing fields, soon became the fishion. At present athletic fields are considered quite as essential as gymnasia in the collegiate and scholastic world. The growing demand for municipal playgrounds, bath houses, and gymnasia is a characteristic and hopeful sign of the times.
As a class the colleges are not likely to revert to their primitive and ill-advised custom of installing retired pugilists or broken-down athletes as directors of physical training. At the same time their advance has been but slow and halting beyond the methods of instruction adopted at Amherst a third of a century ago, and the Sargent idea of employing physical diagnosis and anthropometrical observations in connection with the use of developing appliances in the oversight and guidance of the physical training of students. Nevertheless gratifying progress has been made, more particularly in the last decade, in expanding and strengthening the teaching of gymnastics in the colleges.
In this connection honorable mention should be madle of Amherst, Bowdoin,. Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Haverford, Oberlin, Rutgers, and Yale. Certain colleges for women have adopted Swedish pedagogical gymnastics, notably the Woman's College, of Baltimore; Smith College, at Northampton, Mass.; Radcliffe: College, at Cambridge, Mass., and the Drexel Institute, at Philadelphia, but Swedish. gymnastics as such hive had but meager success in effecting an entrance into colleges for men. This is not surprising, as comparatively few men have availed. themselves of the courses off red by the normal schools, which profess to follow Swedish doctrines and tr. ditions. In normal and private schools for girls, however,, teachers of Swedish gymnastics are in fair demand. For the most part American gymnasia, excepting those belonging to the Turnerbund and those organized in conformity with Swedish principles, still fall short of conspicuous excellence as. schools of physical training. This may be partly owing to the fact that the value. of physical training as a pedagogical discipline has been overshadowed in the minds of school and college authorities by the obvious, but in many respects less important, hygienic effects of muscular exercise. At all events, the fact remains.. with some notable exceptions, that our colleges and secontary schools have exhib-. ited mors skill and energy in the acquisition of appliances than they have in developing the science and art of physical education. Apparently, those who . determine the policy in superior and secondary education have yet to learn that physical education has a history and is capable of being organized as a genuine. department of instruction.
The best interests of rational and effectual physical training have suffered much in this country and still suffer from the disproportionate influence exercised by athletic ideals upon scholastic and collegiate youth, from the undue prominence accorded athletic contests and contestants by an uncritical public and an injudicious press, and from the feeble and unintelligent policy of the responsible leaders in educational affairs.
Quite naturally, athleties constitute the most popular and obtrusive branch of physical training, and the athletic movement possesses greater power and volume than any of the allied movements which have been revived or originated since 1860. The American gymnasium is a semioriginal creation that has been devised by the American architect to meet the expressed or fancied needs of the Americanathlete. All things considered, the athletic clubs, whose rapid increase in numbers has been one of the most notable features of the recent history of physical training, constitute the consummate and peculiar product of the athletic movement. There is nothing quite like them outside of America. They have done much toward developing the insensate spirit of rivalry, bordering on professionalism, which has wrought such mischief in school and college athletics but comparatively little toward developing the educational side of physical training.
It is not my purpose to disparage athletic sports, which, when wisely regulated, afford invaluable means of mental, moral, and physical training for boys and young men, but the element of display and competition is so inseparable from. athletic aims and methods and proficiency in athletic specialties demands so much time and thought and requires such costly appliances as to preclude the general adoption of athletic sports as the principal means of securing the hygienic and educational ends of physical training for the mass of the school population, especially in urban distriets.
Gymnastics, if rationally ordered and properly taught during the early years of school life, afford the best preparation that an aspirant for athletic honors can have. Aside from the question of expense, there is no good reason for prolonging purely gymnastic drill to the exclusion of the higher forms of gymnastics and of outdoor sports after a pupil reaches the age of 15 years. When the managers of our high and preparatory schools shall have learned their business as regards .
bodily training, they will, I believe, institute courses of instruction in gymnastics analogous to their elementary courses in languages and mathematics, so that their pupils shall be prepared to choose their athletic and gymnastic electives in quite the same way that they now choose their elective studies when the opportunity offers. When the schools do their duty in the premises, the colleges can give up the kindergarten and grammar school styles of physical education, and it will then be easier for them to solve the athletic problem. That question can not be solved satisfactorily till it is taken out of the hands of growing boys and professional or semiprofessional trainers and coaches.
Neither the colleges nor the atıletic clubs of the country have earned the right to decide the question of what coustitutes a well-ordered and practicable system of physical education for elementary and secondary schools. The more or less successful introduction of school gymnastics since 1884 by the cities of Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Paul, Baltimore, San Francisco, Providence. Washington, New York, and Boston, through the action of their respective school boards, has been chiefly owing to the zeal and insistence of the advocates of the German anıl Swedish system: of gymnastics, who were prepared to speak with knowledge and to act with intelligence. In most of the cities mentioned German free and “light gymnasties” have been adopted in the lower grades, and a large number of the directors having charge of the work have been graduates of the seminary or normal school of the N. A. Turnerbund. Latterly, as new buildings have been constructed, a tendency to provide high schools and even grammar schools with specially fittel gymnasia has declared itself. In Boston, Worcester, Gloucester, Brookline, Cambridge, and a fair number of other cities in Massachusetts and New England Swedish gymnastics have been introduced, more or less completely, into the public schools. In Washington, New York, and Providence, and in other cities too numerous to mention, " mixed" or " eclectic systems” are in vozue. All this is indicative of progress of a sort, though school boards and superintendents have not yet reached a clear consensus of opinion as to the essential aims of school games and gymnastics and the best methods of securing their ends.
The promotion of school gymnasties has ever been one of the leading aims of the North American Turnerbund, whose seminar or normal school is the oldest in the country, but its efforts in that direction met with but slight success prior to 1884, at about which time the hund authorized the use of the English langnage in the training of its teachers. During the last generation the turnerbund has built up a flourishing system of gymnastic schools for the children of its members, and the experience thus gained-these schools should not be confounded with the turnvereine for men, by which they have been maintained-has at last been turned to some account by the school authorities of several cities where the voting strength of the German-Americans is great.
Unlike their Teutonic kindred, the Scandinavians of the country have made no general or effective propaganda for their national gymnasties. The rise of Swedish pedagogical gymnastics since 1889 has been due chiefly to private American initiative and support. While, as has been intimated in preceding pages, Swedish gymnastics have not attained wide popularity or general adoption, they have exerted a powerful and salutary, though often unacknowledged, influence upon the development of school gymnastics.
The gymnasium of the Woman's College of Baltimore, which was opened in 1888–89, was equipped with Swedish apparatus at the outset and has always been managed in accordance with Swedish principles. This was the first successful experiment in the adoption of Swedish methods on a large scale in the physical education of American youth. But Boston is rightly considered the most influential center in the country of the movement for promoting Swedish educational gyınnastics. This result, largely brought about in the year. 1888–1891, is primarily due to the wisdom, generosity, and public spirit of the late Mrs. Mary Hemenway, of Boston, and secondarily to the arloption of the Ling gymnastics for the public schools by the Boston school board in June, 1890. Swedish free movements form a part of the daily instruction by the class teachers throughout the primary and grammar grades, and instruction in Swedish apparatus gymnasties is given regularly by special teachers in most of the Boston high schools for girls. The physical training of the high school boys of Boston is relatively undeveloped, owing to the preference shown to military drill.
Swedish free movements, since they can be practiced in the aisles of an ordinary schoolroom and do not require apparatus of any lind, appeal rather stronrly to many school boards that are loath to adopt the relatively expensive policy of providing gymnasia and gymnastic appliances. Accordingly a considerable list of cities and towns might b, compiled in which Swedish school gymnastics have gained a footholde. g., Cambridge, Worcester, Brookline, and Gloucester, in Massachusetts. It is doubtful if any large city in Ainerica has adoptel Swedish school gymnastics in their entirety; that is to say, has actually provided adequate physiral facilities in the form of gymnasia and apparatus for the gymnastie training of all classes of its school population in accordance with Sweddish principles. It may also be said that in comparatively few o'ties and towns that have professedly a loptel German or eclectic gymnastics is complete and adequate provision of gymnasia and apparatus to be found. This condition of things bears emphatic witness to the fact that in most cities of the country the physical training has not emerged from the experimental stage. Recently, however, school boards have shown a tendency to provide new schoolhouses with gymnasia. This is a distinctly encouraging sign.
The establishment in 1888, by Mrs. Hemenway, of the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, which stands in the forefront among similar schools in the country, was an event of capital importance in the history of physical training in America, and takes rank alongside the gift of the Hemenway Gymnasium to Harvard University by her son, Mr. Augustus Hemenwiy. The course of study and training in this school has been widely influential in raising the standard of fitness for teaching school gymnastics. The nomber of private adventure schools devoted to the normal training of teachers of gymnastics has not largely increased since 1890, but the curriiulum of most of them has been considerably expanded and strengthened, as is also the case wi:h the public normal schools.
One of the most significant chararteristics of the present movement for promoting physical training is f und in the growth of the conviction, born of experience as well as of reflection, that teachers and directors of physical education need careful anıl thorough preparation for their work, a d the measure of success attained by some of the normal and training schools devoted to the special teaching of the principles and practice of gymnasties that have been started or re-formed since 1886) affords ground for hope that the professio al training of teachers of gymnastics will be more effectively organized in the future. In this connection special mention should be mad of the Turnl'hrer Semiar, maintaired by the North American Turnerhund in Milwaukee; the physical departme:t of tie Y. J. C. A. Training School at Springfield, Mass.; Doctor Sargent's Normal School, at Cambridge, Mass.; Doctor Arold's Normal Schol, at New Haven, Conn.; the Boston Normal School of Gymnastic , and the Posse Normal School in Boston. Summer schools and courses, some of which are maintained by colleges, also abound, but as a rule the colleges and universities have done lut little drectly toward raising the standard of professional training for teachers of gymnastics and athletics. Women preponderate among the pupils and graduates of the existing s hools for training teachers of gymnastics. How to redress the balance and render the field
attractive to a sufficient number of competent and well-educated men is a problem as difficult as it is important. Although the attempts of the responsible leaders in education have been less vigorous and successful than could te desired, it should be remembered that they have been confronted by an unusual number of puzzling and norel problems. Whilo educational authorities are still groping their way toward clearer views and better methods of organ ation and administration in respect to physical training, there can be no question that substatial and gratifying progress has been made in the department of school gymnastics since 1880. We may confidently expect even greater progress in the next twentyfive years.
On the whole, the advancement of physical education in America has been greater in the past twenty-five years than in any other period of its history. Obviously the most striking and rapid expansion has been in the department of athletics. Strenuous and contentious sports appeal directly and forcibly to the instinctive yearning of growing youth for publicity and applause. The recrudescence of barbarism which has manifested itself in manifold ways in this country in recent years, notably in the influence attained by the sensational press, has served to stimulate the spread of athletics and render them one of the most obtrusive and profitable forms of popular amusement. The growing addiction of all classes to outdoor exercise and recreation has also tended to enhance the interest of old and young in games and sports, and has proved an influential factor in a widespread movement to provide the children and youth of congested urban districts with playgrounds, gymnasia, and bath houses. The passionate asceticism exemplified by the élite of the athletic world when “in training” has unquestionably had a laudable effect upon the imagination of the mass of scholastic youth who can not aspire to athletic prominence, and contributed to the dissemination among them of more sensible views and practices as respects regimen and exercise. As a result, student morals and hygiene have improved.
For the most part the athletic movement owes its characteristic features to its devotees and the public. Faculties and boards of trust have done comparatively little—and much of that little ill-toward shaping and guiling the movement. Hence the best interests of rational and effectual physical training have suffered much in this country, and suffer still, from the disproportionate influence of athletic ideals and customs upon schoolboys and collegians. Latterly, criticism of the evils of rampant athleticism has increased in force and volume. In certain quarters governing boards and “athletic committees" have shown courage and wisdoin in their efforts to abate extravagance and professiozalism. Should their example prove contagious, it is probable that a new and devoutly to be desired era of well-regulated athletics will set in and that the educational value of clean sport will be much more gererally apprehended and effectively availed of than has hitherto been the case. When that day comes, gymnastics and athletics will reer force and aid each other as they should and a long step forward be taken in the development of physical training.
The movement for the advancement of school gymnasties has slowly and fitfully but surely gained in force and volume with every new wave of interest in popular education. The extraordinary interest in the welfare of the public schools which swept over the country in the early nineties (which led to the introduction of many needed reforms and floated a variety of educational novelties into prominence), seems to have passed its flood, leaving many promising schemes to survive or perish as best they may. Physical training has had to compete for favor and funds with the kindergarten, manual training, nature study, ard other less lauda bio objects. Owing to that competition and the conflicting views and divided counsels of the professed advocates and exponents of all sorts of systeins of school gymnastics, as well as to the inadequate supply of competent teachers,