Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years



THE golden opportunity for a technical education which this free institute provided was embraced by sons of mechanics, artisans, and farmers as its founders had anticipated. Yet they comprised but half the membership of the early classes. In the first class there were two sons of clergymen, one doctor's son, and five whose fathers were manufacturers of some affluence. One liberal member of the Institute building committee sent his son, and - bitter experience of many a college with sons of wealthy patrons - he failed. Other occupations of fathers, whose interest in the school was no less than that of their sons, were carriage-maker, organbuilder, and watchmaker, dealers in wood and lumber, dyer, railroad man, printer, and gardener. Representatives of old New England stock, these youths, who ranged in age from fifteen to twenty-three, were the raw materials upon which the new process was to be tried.

Only one lived outside the Massachusetts boundaries, and all but two were native to Worcester County. Fourteen of the thirty-two came from homes in the city, and several others lived in adjacent towns, from which they could reach the school by buggy or on one of the trains that accommodated workmen of Worcester shops. Those who chose to live in the city found opportunities to board with members of the


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