Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years



Was Ichabod Washburn correct in his judgment that the Boynton-Sweetser plan "did not go beyond the province of a good theoretic school, one more academy to struggle for existence?" Probably, for a study of the letter of gift and instruction indicates that his misgivings had some foundation. The scope of the plan appears in the second paragraph of the letter. The aim of this school shall ever be the instruction of youth in those branches of education not usually taught in the public schools, which are essential, and best adapted to train the young for practical life; and especially, that such as are intending to be mechanics, or manufacturers, or farmers, may attain an understanding of the principles of science applicable to their pursuits, which will qualify them in the best manner for an intelligent and successful prosecution of their business; and that such as intend to devote themselves to any of the branches of mercantile business, shall in like manner be instructed in those parts of learning most serviceable to them; and that such as design to become teachers of common schools, or schools of the like character as our common schools, may be in the best manner fitted for their calling; and the various schemes of study and courses of instruction shall always be in accordance with this fundamental design, so as thereby to meet a want which our public schools have hitherto but inadequately supplied.

Compare this with the more concise statement of Stephen Van Rensselaer, in 1824.

I have established a school in the north end of Troy, for the purpose of instructing persons who may choose to apply themselves in the application


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999