Public and Private Schools

Public Schools

The Twentieth Annual Report, of the Controllers of the Public Schools, is deeply interesting to the Citizens, and the community at large, exhibiting, as it does, the absolute success, of the System of Public Instruction, in the First District of Pennsylvania, and showing greater activity, increased accommodations, and a larger number of pupils, in all the Departments of this important establishment, than any previous Report has disclosed. It will be seen, by the following table, that the number of pupils, (including those in the primary schools) is Seventeen Thousand, instructed throughout the Year, at an annual expense of $4 75 per scholar, which average cost includes, books, stationary, fuel, &c. It should be remembered, that, small as this charge is, for the instruction of the pupils, a large portion of the annual expenditure, was appropriated to permanent Improvements, enlarging the edifices, rebuilding. &c. Indeed, of the whole sum, of One Hundred And Ninety One Thousand, Six Hundred And Thirty Dollars, And Twenty One Cents, expended in one year, Ninety Seven Thousand, One Hundred And Sixty Dollars, And Sixty Nine Cents, is to be charged to the New School Houses, and Thirteen Thousand, Seven Hundred And Three Dollars, And Fifty Six Cents, to Real Estate.

Since the last Report, the Board has succeeded in procuring, a spacious lot, in an eligible and central situation, for the purposes of the High School; the corner stone of this building, was laid out the 19th day of September, 1837, and it is expected, that it may be completed, and the School organized, during the coming summer. To this structure, the liberal grant of funds, by the State, during the session of 183637, has enabled the Controllers to add a most important and valuable improvement, in the construction of an Astronomical Observatory, and in a collection of Instruments, superior in character and finish, to most, (if not to any), now existing in our country. Some of these, have been ordered, and are now, in the course of preparation in Europe.

A simple enumeration of the Buildings erected, or improved, will exhibit sufficiently, the great gain in the Department, of preparation, for enlarged usefulness, and explain the chief cause, of our augmented expenditure.

It is confidently expected by the friends of General and Public Education, that the Public Schools will constantly gain favor with all classes of society, especially, since the establishment of a High School, in the charge of distinguished Preceptors, with ample means to instruct those Pupils, who have been advanced in the inferior public schools: And the time may come, when it will be esteemed an honor, to have been Educated in the Free Schools of Philadelphia.

Private Schools

In the charge of highly talented individuals, of both sexes, are established for instruction, in the Classics, Modern Languages Mathematics, Music, Drawing, Painting, Embroidery, Needle Work, and every other branch, embraced in a Polished Education: These Academies, and Boarding Schools are amply patronized by those, who know how to esteem the Qualities of their Teachers.

University Of Pennsylvania

The origin of this University, was from a Charity School, and an Academy, which were chartered and endowed, in 1753. In 1779, it was erected into a College; and in 1789, into a University. Subsequently, they were separated, the College was revived; but again, in 1791, they were reunited, and have continued so, ever since.

It embraces an Academical Department, in which, the usual College Course, of Four Years, is pursued, and a Medical Department, being the most ancient, and most respectable, in the country. The Students come from every part of the Union, and generally number upwards of 400.

There is connected with the University, a most extensive Museum; and the Philosophical and Chemical Apparatuses, are upon the richest scale, of any similar Institution, in the land. The Chemical Department is equal to any in the world.

Many Students have already gone out, to gather fame, amongst their fellowmen, who may perchance, read this description, and whose memories will be refreshed, by the scenes of their Alma Mater, with that Holy Enthusiasm, which ever clings to the Graduate, amid the varied vicissitudes of afterlife.6

The Buildings of this Institution, are erected, in what is called (by mechanics) ''the rough cast style." They are situated in Ninth Street, between Market and Chesnut Streets.

The Classical Department, and the various Schools, in connection with this Institution, are now, in a most successful condition, having in the Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Classes, each, from Forty to Fifty Scholars. The Public Exhibitions, of the Classes, have of late, attracted much attention, and given great satisfaction; and the annual Commencements of the Classical and Medical Departments, draw large concourses, of the fashionable and literary inhabitants of this City, to witness the progress of their favorite Institution.

John Ludlow, D. D. Provost.
Henry Reed, Professors
Henry Vethake, Professors
Rev. Dr. Wiley, Professors
A. J. Bache, Professors

In the Medical Department, the high character of the University, as the oldest and most distinguished School in this Country, is still maintained, and her Medical Halls are thronged, by Students, from every State and Territory of the Union; and also, by Students, from Foreign Countries.

The following are the distinguished Gentlemen, holding the several Professor's Chairs: Nathaniel Chapman, M. D. Professor, of the Theory and Practice of Medicine.

George B. Wood, M. D. Professor of Materia Medica.
Robert Hare, M. D. Professor of Chemistry.
Samuel Jackson, M. D. Professor of the Institutes of Medicine.
Hugh L. Hodge. M. D. Professor of Obstetrics, and of the Diseases of Women and Children.
William Gibson, M. D. Professor of Surgery.
William E. Horner, M. D. Professor of Anatomy, and Dean, of the Medical Faculty.
James B. Truett, Janitor.

At a Commencement of the Medical Depart ment on the 6th of April, 1839, One Hundred and Fifty Eight Gentlemen, received the Degree of Doctor of Medicine: And the number of Gentlemen, attending the Class of the last Session, exceeded Four Hundred. The Preparatory Schools, the Classical, and the Medical Departments have in attendance (collectively) Eight Hundred Students.

Jefferson Medical College

This growing Institution was established by the enterprising exertions of Doctor George M'Clellan, a distinguished Surgeon, of this City and a number of his Medical friends, about fifteen years since; it was at that time, a branch of the Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, in this State. The first Sessions were held in Prune Street Theatre, altered and adapted to the purpose; since that time, a capacious edifice has been erected, in Tenth Street, near George St. and this Building has been recently altered, and much improved, by the introduction of heated air and gas lights.

Two Lecture Rooms, for Anatomy, Surgery, Chemistry, &c. capable of containing about Three Hundred And Fifty Students, a Museum, with specimens in excellent order, a large Dissecting Room, and several smaller departments, used for a Dispensary, and other purposes.

The present Organization of the Jefferson Medical College, has placed the President, and Board of Trustees, entirely independent of the Classical Institution, at Cannonsburg.

The following distinguished Gentlemen, are the Officers and Professors, of Jefferson Medical College:

Ashbel Green, D. D. L. L. D. President.
Granville S. Pattison, M. Prof. of Anatomy.
John Revere, M. D. Prof, of the Practice of Medicine.
George M'Clellan, M. D. Professor of Surgery.
Jacob Green, M. D. Professor of Chemistry.
Samuel Calhoun, M. D. Prof, of Materia Medica
Robley Dunglison, M. D. Professor of Physiology and the Institutes of Medicine.
Samuel M'Clellan, M. D. Professor of Obstetrician and the Diseases of Women and Children.
William Watson, Janitor.

The Class at this Institution, for many years, has averaged, from 200 to 300 Students: And the number of Graduates, at the last Commencement, was about Ninety, embracing ii the list, gentlemen from various States and Territories, and from the adjoining Provinces of Great Britain.

Girard College

This Magnificent Institution is pleasantly situated, on a tract of Land, containing Forty Five Acres, in the northwestern environs of Philadelphia, about one mile, from the incorporated limits of the City.

The principal entrance to the establishment, will be, on the south line of the lot, immediately opposite the center building, entrance forms the termination of a broad avenue, leading the City; it consists of two octagonal, with gates and piers, which together occupy, a front One Hundred and Nine Feet.

The college buildings are situated, on lines parallel with the city streets, presenting their principal fronts, to the north, and the south; they consist, of a center edifice, which is devoted, exclusively, to the purposes of education and two "out buildings'' on each side, for the residence, and accommodations of the Professors, teachers, and scholars.

The center building, which forms the principal, and most imposing object, is composed in the Corinthian order of architecture: It is surrounded by thirty-four columns, supporting an entablature, after the manner of the Greek temples; the columns rest upon a basement, of eight feet high, composed of a continuous flight of marble steps, surrounding the whole building: Each column is six feet in diameter at the bottom of the shaft, and fifty-five feet high, including the capital and the base; the shafts are composed of Frusta, from three to six feet in height; the base is three feet high, and its greatest diameter, nine feet two inches; the height of the capital is eight feet ten inches; and its extreme width, eight feet four inches.

The whole height of the entablature, is sixteen feet; each end of the building is finished with a pediment, of eighteen feet elevation, making the entire height of the edifice, from the ground, to the apex of the roof, 97 feet.

The dimensions of the platform, upon which the columns rest, is 160 feet, by 216 feet 6 inches, leaving a passage round the Cella of the building, in the clear of the columns, of fifteen feet.

At each end of the cella, there is a door of entrance, sixteen feet wide, and thirty-two feet high, in the clear, ornamented with massive architraves, and surrounded by a sculptured cornice, supported by consoles: The stones, composing the cornices, are each, in one entire piece of marble, twenty-five feet in length; each of the doors open into a vestibule, 26 feet wide, by forty-eight feet long, the ceiling of which, is supported by eight marble columns, and eight antae, of the ___nic order: These vestibules are repeated, as lobbies, in the second story, and the ceiling is supported in the same manner, by Corinthian columns.

The stairways are situated, in the four corners of the building and receive the principal part of their light, from the roof.

On each floor, or story, there are rooms, of fifty feet square, in the clear; the ceilings of the two first stories, are groin-arched, and those of the third story are vaulted, in the form of a dome, and crowned, with a skylight, of twenty feet in diameter; all the skylights are so formed, as not to protrude above the roof.

The floors and stairways, throughout the building, are composed of marble, and no wood is used, except for doors and windows.

The whole building is to be warmed, by means of furnaces, built in the cellar; flues for ventilation, are constructed, in the interior walls, having their apertures at the apex of the arch, in each room.

The "out buildings" are each, fifty-two feet wide, and one hundred and twenty-five feet long, and three stories high; the the easternmost building, being (exclusively) devoted, to the use of the Professors, is divided into four separate and distinct houses, with all the conveniences of private dwellings; the remaining three buildings are intended, for the residence, and accumulation of the scholars, and their attendants.

It is known, that this magnificent structure, is Founded upon the munificent bequest of Stephen Girard, who gave, at his death, Two Millions Of Dollars and a further amount, (if necessary) to build it, and support its students, afterwards. It is to remain, forever, a College for Orphans; to impart to them, the imperishable blessing of Education, through all the ages, that are to come.

T. U. Walter, Esq. of this City, is the distinguished Architect, whose plan was adopted, by the City Councils, and under whose able superintendence, the whole goes forward, not only as the ever-enduring Monument of Girard, but to perpetuate, the Taste and Genlus, of its able and worthy Architect.

All extract from the last Report, of the Progress of the buildings of Girard College, up to January, 1839, states.

That all the rooms, contemplated in the main building, have been arched in; the Centers of the groind arches have been removed, and the stability of the masonry, has fully equaled the most ardent expectations of the scientific architect. It is contemplated, to surround the whole establishment of the Girard College, (over forty-five acres,) with a substantial wall, of masonry, fourteen feet high, which is to be surmounted with an iron railing, all of which, is estimated to cost, (when completed) from One To Two Hundred Thousand Dollars.

The situation of this College, is above the summit-level of the basins, at Fair Mount, and in order to supply it with water, from the Schuylkill, a forcing pump is to be attached, and a building, containing a reservoir, above the level of the College, is to be suitably located: This building is intended, to be used also, as a department, for washing, ironing, &c. &c.

The City Councils have recently, appropriated 300,000 Dollars, for the erection of this College, during the year 1839.

The appropriation, by Girard's Will, of Two Millions Of Dollars to this College, did not include, the immensely valuable property, formerly known, as Peel Hall, on which it is situated.

Nicholas Biddle, L. L. D. President, of the Board of Trustees.

Alexander D, Bache, President, of the College.

Medical Society

This Society was first formed, in 1771. Another was established, in 1700, which, after a short time, was united with the former, under the title of "The Philadelphia Medical Society." The members are either honorary, or Junior, and include, among their number, many native and foreign physicians, of distinction. During the winter season, when the City is visited by a large number of Medical students, this Society holds a Weekly Meeting, on every Wednesday Evening, for the purpose of initiating Junior, and other new members; and transacting the usual business; after which, a dissertation, on some subject, connected with the science of Medicine is read, by some one of the members of the Society, which, at the close of the lecture is subject to the discussion, of such of the members, as may choose to participate in the debate.

College Of Physicians

This Association was formed, in the year 1787, and in operation, in 1789, for the purpose of advancing the science of Medicine: Observing the effect of seasons, different climates, and particular locations, on the human body: Recording the improvements, especially in Medical Science, and the progress of the ARTS, and generally, opening, and enlarging, all the avenues to Knowledge. The College has occasionally, published extracts, from the records of their transactions.

Deaf and Dumb Asylum

This Benevolent Institution was incorporated, in 1821, and the building erected for the accommodation of its interesting inmates was completed in the autumn of 1825. It is located at the corner of Broad and Pine Streets, and the building presents a portico with four columns, and two pilasters, of the Doric order, on each side of which, is a wing, extending back, the whole being built of stone. The Institution has constantly continued to thrive, having received aid from this State, and provision having been made by New Jersey, and Maryland, for the accommodation of the indigent Deaf and Dumb of those States. Additional buildings have recently been erected, on the rear of the lot.

The Department of Education is conducted by a Principal teacher, aided by six instructors, two of whom are mutes. The boys are generally taught some mechanic trade, and the girls are employed in occupations, suitable to their sex, and condition. Pupils above ten years of age, are received at One Hundred and Thirty Dollars per year, including everything, except clothing.

According to the requirements of the Charter, the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, presented to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, their annual Report, on the first of January last, from which, it will be seen, that One Hundred and Seven Pupils were in the establishment, at that time, and Eight mutes employed, as permanent assistants, making the whole amount 115.

63 are supported, wholly, (or in part) by this State.
15 by Maryland.
12 by New Jersey.
2 by the Institution.
16 by their Friends.
27 have been admitted within the last year. And 14 have left the Institution.

The apartments in progress, have been completed, and an additional story placed on the school room, for the purpose of providing a secure place, for the Apparatus, Specimens, &c used in the Department of Instruction.


6. J. T. Bowen's Lithographic Press, No. 94, Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


History of Philadelphia

Source: A History of Philadelphia: With a Notice of Villages, in the Vicinity, Printed and published by Daniel Bowen, 1839

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