A COLLECTION OF SALUTATORY, VALEDICTORY AND OTHER ADDRESSES DELIVERED AT THE FIRST FIVE COMMENCEMENTS OF THE FEMALE STENOGRAPHIC AND TYPEWRITING CLASS OF THE GENERAL SOCIETY OF MECHANICS AND TRADESMEN OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
COMPILED BY W. L. MASON
NEW YORK ALBERT B. KING, 89 WILLIAM STREET 1892
TO MR. ISAAC PITMAN THE "FATHER OF PHONOGRAPHY" THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY THE COMPILER
It is always beautiful to see the young confront the uncertainties of the future, and look forward with faith to happiness and success. I am proud of young women who are willing to devote their evenings, when they must toil for a livelihood through the day, to a course of study which will secure to them the knowledge of a mechanical art. This knowledge becomes a treasure which no disaster of fire or flood can ever destroy, and a source of comfortable income through life. It makes dependent young women independent, and I congratulate every one who graduates from this excellent school of instruction with her well-earned diploma, which is more valuable to her than any legacy of gold or precious stones.
Martha J Lamb
New York City, April 16, 1892.
Address of Rev. C. S. Harrower, D. D.
To the Class of '87.
"Ladies of the graduating class,—Ladies and Gentlemen: It seems as if words were hardly in place to-night, because of the interesting programme which is before you. I suppose we have no conception of the exercises prepared for us this evening. I never knew of this Institution until Mr. Moore told me of it, and I am particularly glad to be here.
"I have often remarked that our New York life is like the life of one of our great rivers,—the Hudson. Did you ever live upon its banks and look away upon its stretch of water to the south or to the north; count its sails, and its tugs, and its fleets of canal boats and all its life,—for half an hour fascinated by the beautiful scene; and then go away to your work, or to your pleasure, for a few hours, and return and look upon that great stretch of river and see that other sails had taken the place of those first sails, and other vessels were coming into view, indicating the marvelous life of that mighty stream? I did that, year after year, and it seems to me that the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen is like the mighty river Hudson, doing its work day after day and year after year,—a work that seems to me to be so useful and inspiring.
"The gentlemen interested in this Society are to be congratulated. It seems to me that such an Institution as this is among the most beautiful, among the most stimulating of all institutions that mark our civilization."
Dr. Harrower then spoke of the serious consequences which often follow the carelessness of a lawyer, the blunder of a switchman, the neglect of a servant, or the indolence of a physician, and, in contrast, dwelt upon the beneficent results attained by close attention to duty, explaining also how great good arises from even very trifling acts. He also remarked how strange it is that some people have every chance of getting on in this world, while others are "mortgaged to begin with," and hampered and chained through life.
"But," said he, in conclusion, "it seems to me that this Society is engaged in a work that is characteristic of the civilization to which we belong, and is following after our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived not to serve Himself, but the world. I congratulate you, young ladies, that when you were put upon your trial it was found that you had been laboring in the race of life; and to-night you are to receive the signal token of the skill you have attained, and of the favor in which you stand in this school."
BY MISS S. J. SIRINE.
Class of '87.
In meeting you this evening, gentlemen of the Committee and friends, we, the members of the Classes in Shorthand and Typewriting, experience a double pleasure. First, is the satisfaction that we have accomplished the task which we undertook last October, and the consciousness that we are about to go forth carrying our diplomas as proof that the Winter has been well spent, and that we are master of a very fascinating and important art; and, secondly, we feel the delightful sensation of being highly complimented at the kindly interest taken in the Class displayed by those present this evening.
We sincerely hope that the exercises of the evening, and the gratitude of the teachers and class, feebly expressed through this channel, will be ample proof to you of our appreciation of the compliment conveyed by your presence, and trust that we shall continue to receive your good wishes for our success; that we shall go forth into the business world making good use of our profession, and worthy of the interest in our progress displayed by the Committee and friends of this Society, and of the care and attention bestowed on us by our teachers.
To my classmates, cordial congratulations that we can meet to-night, and, comparing notes, find that the report for the Winter is goodly evidence of time well spent; that, in spite of what at first appeared to be the insurmountable obstacle of the alphabet, we plodded bravely on to the primer, and from the slowly and carefully drawn outlines of familiar words, we entered at last into the spirit of our art, and with pencils tipped, as it were, with electricity, learned to catch the swiftly flowing words from the lips of the speaker, and to present them in a tangible form, ready for future reference. So also with typewriting. Though the unruly instrument at first persisted in spelling "cat" t-a-c, and always put an interrogation point where a period ought to be; still, with patient perseverance, cheered by the inspiring words of our teacher: "I used to do the same thing," and filled with envy at his display of skill, we took fresh hope, tried again, and, as we were told we should,—succeeded. The pleasure of the art of shorthand, more than any other, is not confined alone to the artist. You all know the important offices in business life which shorthand fills; of its importance to the press and all departments of the literary world, it is not necessary to speak. From the eloquent words of gifted speakers to the eagerly watched for words of the President's Message; from the business letter in the merchant's office to the words of the witness on the witness stand; our art fulfills its important mission of giving to others the pleasure and satisfaction which are experienced on hearing them.
This evening forty more are added to the list of American writers of the Isaac Pitman Phonography. It is to be hoped that none of us shall ever, in any way, be the means of bringing reproach on our art; but rather that we shall work to make many improvements, that we shall help to prove its value in the different departments of business into which it enters, and ere another fifty years shall cause the trumpet of Jubilee to sound throughout the land, this class of Isaac Pitman phonographers shall have been the means of bringing to ripe perfection the system of Phonography.
BY MISS N. C. STEPHENS.
Class of '87.
"The Spirit of the Time shall teach me speed," says Shakespeare.
How truly that applies to the present day, when one might say we are living, as it were, in an age of rapidity, and cannot fail to catch the infection, for the very air seems filled with it. Competition is met with on all sides, and, in many branches of toil, "the race is to the swift."
Contrast the world of a hundred years back with the world of to-day.
These people were satisfied to plod along in the good old way which their fathers had trod before them; content because they knew no better, and the times demanded no better.
But, think you, would the simple appliances used then, meet the demands of to-day?
No! decidedly, no! I hear you say. Why, may I ask? Simply because the necessity makes the demand, and the necessity is the ever-advancing spirit of to-day, which urges all to attain something that will not only benefit themselves, and be an incentive to others, but will enlighten and ennoble the coming generation as well.
But the world has made rapid progress and if we would keep pace with it, we must call to our aid every known means of saving time and labor.
And not the least among the many methods and inventions for this purpose is Phonography or shorthand, which is finding a place in almost every branch of business.
Man's thoughts fly faster than his fingers, and it is only by the "winged words" of Phonography that the hand is enabled to keep pace with the mind. Almost inseparably connected with shorthand, is the typewriter.
These two go hand in hand. What a boon they have proved to the busy merchant, the lawyer and the literary man!
To this end, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, recognizing the growing demands for the use of Phonography and typewriting, added to their already large benevolence a class for the study of these branches.
And it is to this Society we owe a debt of gratitude which words are inadequate to express.
Our hearts are full, and "out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaketh."
Especially to the School Committee would we convey our grateful thanks for the interest you have manifested in the Class; and for the kindness and consideration with which you have met all our wants, doing all in your power to facilitate our studies.
We trust that our success in the future may be such as will reflect credit on this Society.
To our teachers, Mr. Mason and Mr. Spaulding, you who have so well performed your part, we hardly know how to thank you for your patient and persistent efforts to fit us for the calling we have chosen. Taking up this work after the fatigue of the day, with body and brain already wearied, your task, as well as ours, has been a difficult one.
But you have ever been ready with words of encouragement to help us over the hard places. Faithful, conscientious, you have gained our respect and esteem, and we feel that in parting to-night we bid good-by not only to teachers, but to earnest, helpful friends. And yet, not a final good-by. For, are we not looking forward to many pleasant meetings of the "Phonographic Alumnae Association," when you have promised to meet with us, and by your presence aid and encourage us to continue our practice and by united efforts help one another?
For we believe the old maxim is true in this connection as in many others,—"In union is strength."
Fellow classmates: For seven months we have met and studied together; and now that the term is over it is with mingled feelings of joy and regret that we meet to-night for the last time in this place.
Joy that our task is done; that the time to which we have looked forward has come; for to many it has been a severe strain to continue to the end. We alone know the difficulties we have had to contend with; the pleasures given up and the sacrifices made to be present at the class.
But who shall say it has not fully repaid us? Is not this knowledge we have gained all the more precious because so dearly obtained?
Some have already begun to reap the reward, others are eagerly looking forward to the time when they shall be able to put this knowledge into actual practice.
With what bright anticipations we took up the study of Phonography last October!
But what a mountain loomed up before us in the shape of the alphabet. Then the strokes and curves, and circles, how we puzzled our brains over which was which, and how proud we were when we began to form words and to air our knowledge of these mystic signs; only to be met with such questions as these, "How many words can you write a minute?" or, "Do you think you could take down a sermon?" "Let me dictate this piece from the newspaper to you," all of which made us feel how limited was our knowledge and how much we had still to learn.
Then the examinations; how they hung over our heads like dark clouds threatening us at every turn!
But that is all past and gone, and time, with its never ebbing tide, has brought us to this parting hour.
What our future will be depends upon our own individual efforts. Let us remember: "What is worth doing is worth doing well."
In climbing the ladder of fame, let us gain a firm footing on the bottom round, then, if we fail to reach the top, we will, nevertheless, command the respect of our fellow beings.
Thoughts on Graduation
BY MISS S. J. SIRINE.
Class of '87.
At last all the lessons are ended, Our pencils and books laid away; And gathered to-night in the class-room There are many young hearts blithe and gay. There are loving congratulations From classmate, and teacher, and friend; A smile! Then a sigh at the parting, And the feeling that this is the end.
It is pleasant to know we are through, though, Yet saddening to know we must part; And 'mid the light jest and the laughter, Comes a sharp touch of pain in each heart. There's a hush in the happy assemblage, While a prayer is upraised to the Throne, And "We thank Thee, our Father," is uttered,— And the minister speaks not alone.
For the tokens of love and remembrance, And kind wishes expressed for our weal, We would thank our dear friends and our teachers, And voice the affection we feel. And we thank Thee for these many blessings; Yet most for the blessing that we Can, by striving, attain to perfection And Thy mercy and tenderness see.
Address of Rev. N. B. Thompson
To the Class of '88.
I assure you that it is with a great deal of personal pride, satisfaction and comfort, that I come before you to-night. These are my girls,—that is, I am the father of this class. Several months ago when this class was organized, a gentleman, not myself, was invited to come here and offer prayer, and give the young ladies a few common sense ideas, such as would benefit them in after life. My friend failing to come, I was called upon to fill his place, which I did to the best of my ability, and when I look over this programme and find that there are more than forty in this class who are to graduate to-night, I take it upon myself to say that they received some very sound advice, for they are about to graduate; that is, I have made forty-four converts, at least, in seven months.
I am very glad to have opened this class, although I have had nothing to do with the instruction of it, for in that event the graduating class would not be so large, but I do feel very great pride in being here.
Were I so disposed, and you very anxious to be tired with a long address, I could say a great many things touching the real purpose and idea of these young ladies and their instructors. There was a time in the history of the world when it was a very grave and serious question as to just what the position of woman was in society; what God meant by her creation, what was her place. There are some men who think the highest ambition of woman is the wash-tub; that when she finds her vocation there she has fulfilled her mission, and when God has prepared a place for her in the Kingdom of Heaven, He takes her home, and gives her a diploma. There are others who have an idea that the place for woman is a little higher up; that she is to bask in the sunshine of life—that she is a kind of butterfly. That is an erroneous idea. I think personally, and I am sure there are not men enough here to out-number the ladies, that the position of woman in this life, socially, politically, religiously, or in a mercantile sense, is right alongside of the best man the world can produce.
I remember, while pastor of a church in an Eastern city, the smartest man and preacher of that city was a woman. She was a man in every sense of the word, she had the power of a man and the charms of a beautiful woman; I was a little jealous of her, because her church was a little too close to mine and she drew a great many more. She was a beautiful, godly woman, and took out of me some of the false ideas and thoughts that I had, relative to the work of woman in the world. So I have lost all sense of jealousy, and I am perfectly willing to be deposed by the women, and there is no true man but will give the women just as good as he wants in his life.
I was thinking, when I took up this programme, there is a certain society of a secret order that has a motto like this: "By these signs we conquer." That is a very wide and universal order, but, if I mistake not, there are forty-four members of a society not as universally known, its extent is not as large as that order and society, who are to go out into the world and, "by these signs, conquer." The latter is just as potent as the former. I told you, young ladies, some months ago, about a system of shorthand and the first experience I had in that line. Some of you will remember it. You will remember I told you about a system of shorthand that I had to read before it got cold or I could not read it at all.
I want to congratulate you for this delightful evening; I want to congratulate you in view of the pleasant exercises you are to behold. I want to congratulate these instructors for the very good and efficient work they have done during these months. I congratulate you upon the marvelous work that has been done. You may not all be called upon to report my sermons; some can report 120 words, some more, some less. You are going out into the world, some of you immediately, to begin your life work. Do not feel, because you are a woman, that some aristocratic specimen of creation—man—looks down upon you. Just hold your neck as straight and your head as high as he, and I do not know but you would be par excellence above the man himself; you have an opportunity.
There is one thing I regret, however, in regard to your special calling, and it is this: I read advertisements in the papers where employers advertise for young lady typewriters and stenographers and it has pained me to see the low rate of wages, oftentimes. Let me put a bee in your ear. You are in possession of one of the greatest sciences I know; there is nothing above it in the realm of learning. Do not for one minute submit yourself, any one of you, to a service below your worth, for God has implanted in His Word this truth, "Every laborer is worthy of his hire."
I thank the gentleman who has invited me here. When I become older than I am now and fail in preaching, I assure you I shall come to this home of hospitality and kindness, and shall try to take up the art myself, thereby becoming as efficient as some of you are.
God be with you and in His own time take you home to His abode where you will not be troubled with taking down the ideas of men.
BY MISS L. E. TAYLOR.
Class of '88.
Gentlemen of the Committee, and friends, teachers and classmates: With what unbounded pleasure we greet you this evening; our task is accomplished, the goal is won. After the labors of the past seven months, assisted by the kindly interest of the Committee, and encouraged by the earnest and untiring efforts of our teachers, we have at last mastered that wonderful art, stenography, which will enable us to go forth from here, possessing an accomplishment the benefits of which are many. This art, the outgrowth of one great mind, that of Mr. Isaac Pitman, is of the utmost importance to the members of the press, of the legal profession, and the business man, as well as in all branches of literary work. Ordinarily, we hear words, but this science enables us to use them; thus they actually assume another form, as it were, and are deeply impressed on our minds and thus ineradicably memorized. My classmates, we meet to-night to prove that patient effort on the part of teacher and pupil has not been in vain; that our busy Winter has left us rich in knowledge of this noble art, and that, though oftentimes discouraged in our progress through the alphabet forward through the intricacies of dots and dashes, hooks and circles, and outlines dark and light, over these apparently insurmountable barriers we have reached the height on which our hopes and our ambitions had been centered during our daily pilgrimage toward it. So has it been with typewriting. At first we made many mistakes, such as making an interrogation mark where the period was necessary, thus questioning Mr. Jones' or Mr. Smith's right to his name instead of asserting the fact; or striking a letter instead of the space-board, and vice versa. The result left the astonished beholder in doubt whether the word produced were a representative of the Chinese or the Choctaw language. But now we have overcome these difficulties. Sustained by the kind encouragement of our teacher we have struggled bravely until we are enabled to write on the machine readily, and with rapidity, from dictation, and our vernacular can now be recognized as English, without any difficulty. We sincerely hope that the exercises of the evening may interest you and may show our appreciation of the instruction and innumerable benefits which have been conferred upon us by this Society. We are now prepared to take our place in the rank and file of the world's army of workers. The elevating and benevolent influence of stenography and typewriting in the life of women is becoming more and more recognized. What the sewing machine is to the needle, shorthand is to the pen, and, in the great future, the world shall see and acknowledge the vast importance of this economizer of time and labor.
Yes, another forty of us are ready to use these servants of hand and pen which the generosity of this Society has placed at our disposal, and we hope to do so worthily. May we, by our subsequent efforts and future progress, show that none of us will bring reproach on the noble art which we have adopted, or on the Institution to which we shall owe our future success and our chosen profession. Rather let us help to prove its value in the different branches to which we may be called.
BY MISS A. L. COX.
Class of '88.
I did not come prepared to make an address here to-night, But when I see you all, dear friends, 'tis such a pleasant sight, I can't refrain, but feel that I must say a word or two, And give a hearty welcome, yes, to every one of you. A little band, we gathered here upon this very spot; Just eight short months ago it is, since then we cast our lot Together for our Winter's work: resolved that we would try Our best to win; with hopes and purposes and aims set high, We went to work. The opening lecture seemed so clear and plain, That we could almost grasp the prize we were so sure to gain. First came the alphabet. But we in sad dismay found out That was an obstacle indeed that we could scarce surmount. At last we thought we had it; yes, were sure we knew it all. "You may each one recite it." Hark! it was our teacher's call. Just imagine how we did it? You will guess it nearly right. And then to say it backward! Were you e'er in such a plight? Then we studied till (I mean it) e'en the paper on the wall, Each door, and sash, and picture frame, and objects one and all, In strokes and angles fairly danced before our very eyes, And in our dreams they haunted us in every form and size.
Next in their turn the vowel sounds,—the symbols, dash and dot, With rules and regulations charging us "Forget-me-not." Wish you could have heard us sound them. It was amusing, too; Seemed like talking Chinese language,—ah, ā, ee; aw, o, oo. Then came the hooks with many crooks to puzzle and perplex; They were so very obstinate, and would be sure to vex; For while we thought we had them right, they were just turned about, And when we came to read them, we could scarcely make them out. The circles didn't seem so hard; for we could then detect There were still new things coming that we did the least expect; So prepared our minds to meet them and take them as they came; At last we'd conquered everyone and knew them all by name. But I suppose it is not right to tell tales out of school, Our teacher will be saying that it is against the rule; I have told you just a few of our trials by the way, But it was not all so dreadful, I am very glad to say. For we really loved our study; were fascinated, too, And of the pleasant memories there linger not a few. Well, examination over, then came the "tug of war" To apply the various principles that we had learned before. And oh! the work we made of it; we tried to run a race To see who could write the fastest, and then to keep our place.
But study and toil are over; at last the race is run, And we have gathered here to-night to say, "Our work is done." Members of this Society, our friends so kind and true, God bless you! 'Tis a grand and noble work you aim to do; Accept our heartfelt thanks, for it is all that we can give; The knowledge we have gathered here will ever, while we live Go with us, as with brighter skies our way in life to cope Than in our dreams and fancies we had ever dared to hope. And you, our teachers faithful, tried, we will not soon forget The many pleasant hours that together we have spent; How often by a kindly word you've helped to lead us on, When we were nigh discouraged, and totally cast down; And by your earnest zeal and aid we have, from day to day, Gone onward, and we thank you; it is all that we can say. And we classmates, while we truly, yes, earnestly, regret To leave the little room up yonder "where the angels met," Can now rejoice together, for it has not been in vain, That we've worked hard; yet we have won the prize we sought to gain.
BY MISS A. A. LEWIS.
Class of '88.
DEAR FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES:
It is a somewhat sad yet pleasant duty which devolves upon me this evening, that of saying farewell. For, to a class whose members have studied together for so long as we have and which is found to be so homogeneous as this class has been, a farewell is always sad. When, in October last, we entered upon our course of study, we could not look forward to this hour with any degree of composure, but, day by day, as time passed on we found ourselves longing for the end, yet dreading the parting. But, to-night, we derive considerable pleasure from the fact that we have prepared ourselves for something which will have a strong influence upon our future lives. This night may be called a real commencement for many of us who have just left school where we have learned the ordinary English branches, and are now learning to apply our former knowledge to earn our living in a way that will prove both pleasant and profitable.
In retrospect: How hard the first few lessons appeared! We hardly credited the declaration that a time would come when we should be able to recite the alphabet backward and forward and in every conceivable way, but we soon discovered that the subsequent lessons were so much more difficult than the first, that these seem now to us as very simple. As our knowledge increased, we discovered also that each lesson followed so logically upon the previous one, that it made it much easier to understand. There were hooks to the right of us, and hooks to the left of us, and with these and circles, medial and final, approximation and "con" dot, our dreams resembled a kaleidoscope rather than those of school girls. When traveling on the cars we would often see a person with a note book and pencil, and experience a fellow feeling, knowing that they had trod the same path as we were treading. Occasionally, in going home after a lesson, two of us comparing notes would find that we, in turn, were objects of interest to people in the train, and that they gazed with wonder and amusement upon the strange-looking characters with which our note books were filled. Then, when it came to our home study, although those whom we asked to dictate to us did so with great alacrity at first, they soon found reading the same thing over twenty or thirty times, to say the least, monotonous. Yet we must say that our friends often put aside their own preferences, knowing the daily practice was for our good. We will not dwell upon the loss of pleasures that we have forfeited in order to be present at the class and to spend the requisite number of hours at study. But now that we have reached the desired haven, we feel fully repaid for everything that we have given up, and only regret that we did not sacrifice more for our beloved study. We would not however have you think it has been all hard work, and that we have had no enjoyment. For, have we not had genial companions, sympathetic teachers and a most watchful Committee, who have tried to do everything in their power to make our school life both pleasant and comfortable? We cannot specify all the ways in which they have shown their interest and kindness to us, yet we would not fail to mention the fact that we were provided with a new class-room, which combined the advantages of seclusion, quiet, and all the necessary appliances for study, with excellent ventilation, and to this was added the feeling that it was our "very own."
This recital can but feebly show you why the feeling of pleasure is predominant in our hearts to-night. We cannot feel sad at parting with our classmates, for, though we shall not meet in this class-room again, as a class, we do expect to meet together as the alumnae of this Institution at our regular weekly gatherings for practice. It is rather with a feeling of exhilaration that we realize that we have at length conquered giants that loomed up before us when we began our study, and that these giants, like those called forth by the magician of old, have been made to do our bidding.
But now we come to the most painful part of our task, that of bidding this kind Committee farewell. And, in behalf of the class of '88, we thank you again for your watchful care over us during the past Winter. The only way in which we can attempt to repay you for what you have done for us is by trying to rise in our profession and do something which, when we say we are graduates of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, will cause you to feel proud of us, and in this way we can slightly show our gratitude to our benefactors. And to our teachers, who have been the means of our learning this wonderful art, we say farewell, hoping that they will remember us kindly as having tried our best to let the studies which they have lodged in our minds bring forth good fruit. Although you have, no doubt, at times felt discouraged with the apparent failure of your work, yet we trust that the results have proved satisfactory, and shown you that we have tried to do what you have desired us to do, and, in a measure, have succeeded. We trust also that these results will reflect credit upon you as our Instructors even more than upon us as the recipients of your teaching. We do realize that many members of our class will never meet with us again, and to you we say farewell, with the wish that in your diverse paths through life you may attain great success in your chosen profession and always remember that you are still members of the Class of '88.
Address of President Wm. C. Smith
In awarding the Diplomas to the Class of '88.
I came here this evening in a particularly happy frame of mind, for me, because I had been asked to award the diplomas to this class, and I am always happy when I think I am able to do something to make some one else happy; but my equanimity was quite disturbed, on arriving, to be shown a programme in which I was set down as having to make the closing address, and a little later I broke out into a perspiration on seeing written in shorthand on the blackboard, that "you should never speak unless you have something to say." Those words have been burning before my eyes ever since, and though I have not taken any lessons in shorthand, I am almost sure I could set that sentence down.
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen is made up of men who owe what they possess, not to chance, not to gifts of their forefathers, but to the fruit of honest toil. The Society which they have fostered for a hundred years owes its standing to the steady accumulations of these years, not to any sudden speculation or easily acquired prosperity, and it is with pleasure, therefore, that the Society devotes its time and means in helping others to help themselves. We believe in the aristocracy of labor, and we are glad that we are able to do anything whereby we can help any one to help himself.
I shall not make a lengthy address because it is late; it is warm; there are diplomas to be given out, and I believe that the young ladies are anxious to get down stairs where the attraction is greater than anything I can offer them. Yet there is one thought I would like to give out, if you will excuse me.
Yesterday I met a gentleman whom I have known for many years, and whom I never really knew until yesterday. He said to me, "Billy" (he knew me when I was a boy), "have you half an hour to spare?" First I said, "No;" but I thought better of it and said, "Yes." "I would like you to come round and look at my house." As he opened the door of that house it was to me a revelation; if there is anything else like it in this country or city, I do not know where it is. It seemed to me I was in fairyland. Here was a large house and yet so filled that it seemed small, from the top of the very attic down to the first story, with articles of vertu and bric-a-brac, with tapestry that had come from all parts of the globe, with ivories, carved in Japan as nowhere else, with mosaics from all sections of the world, with beautiful chairs, with embroidery that had graced the homes of monarchs in the old country, and on his back porch, and in his yard, were beautiful flowers hardly seen outside of the tropics.
I need not say to you how surprised I was; I had only known him as a mechanic, a member of this Society. I spent an hour and a half there I shall never forget; I asked the privilege of bringing my better half.
But the thought that I wanted to impress was this; in a beautiful case, surrounded with plate glass, was a full dinner set of the finest Sevres china. He explained to me that the set was ordered and made expressly for the second Napoleon when he was in the height of his glory. I said to him, "Where did you get this? I did not know a full set of that kind ever got away from royalty." He said it did once in a while and this was the only one in this country. He had been explaining to me things I never knew about, and he came back to his own self and said, "Billy, you know when the great Napoleon and his court were sipping their soup out of these dishes, I was wielding a paint brush at $1.50 a day and glad to get it." As I lay trying to go to sleep last night that single sentence came to me and it seemed there was a volume in it. It is an American idea that there is no success which is not attainable by almost any person if we only take those opportunities afforded us. I want to say one word to the ladies, and I believe I said something of the same kind to the boys. I often see it in the papers, I hear it in speeches at trade societies and all that sort of thing, that there is a great change in America; there is no longer any chance to rise; and that we are divided into classes, and that the rich are going to get richer and the poor going to stay where they are.
I hope every American will disabuse his mind of anything like that; there never was a time when opportunities were greater than now. We have got to believe in ourselves and watch the opportunities when they come to us; success cannot be obtained in a day. We may not have to build a railroad but we will build something else, perhaps greater.
Young ladies, it is my privilege on behalf of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, as its President, to present you with these diplomas. I do so with pleasure; first, because I feel that it is our right to give them to you; secondly, because I feel that it is your right to receive them, for you have earned them. They represent to me six months of careful, earnest, intelligent study; six months of devoting yourself to the habit of close application; six months of forming the habit of industry; habits which, I take it, make the road to success to any one who expects to succeed in the future. I congratulate you upon receiving them; they are certificates that carry with them pleasant memories, and I hope will prove in after years profitable ones. In behalf of the General Society, it is my pleasure to thank your teacher; I have witnessed personally his enthusiasm in his calling, and I am proud to say that I have been here night after night and have watched the enthusiasm of the class. I have seen them here sometimes long after the regular school hours, in fact, I had a mind to say, "You are over-taxing these young ladies." Then I thought it was a life and death struggle for only six months, and the victory was worth the struggle.
I have nothing more to say. I will remember the motto given early in the evening and wish you every success in life which you have obtained in this school.
BY MISS JESSIE FERRIS.
To the Class of '89.
On behalf of my classmates, Gentlemen of the Committee, and friends, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here this evening, and we sincerely hope that in the following short account of our progress during the eight past months, both in shorthand and typewriting classes, you may share, to some extent, our satisfaction.
I shall not attempt to portray our initial struggles with the dots and lines, but rather dwell on the time when, at the rate of a word in five minutes, we could, with the confidence of beginners, write the short but expressive sentences:
The cow eats grass! See the dog run!
From this time under the able guidance of our teachers, we steadily progressed, until our efforts have culminated in the success gratifying to ourselves, our teachers, and our many friends.
In typewriting our progress has been as encouraging as in Phonography. From slowly picking out the words: "William Jex quickly caught five dozen Republicans," a sentence which not only exhausted all the letters of the alphabet, but in our attempts to decipher which, after writing, exhausted our ingenuity as well, we passed to the time when legal documents and business letters could be run off with an ease which at the beginning seemed almost impossible.
Let us pause a moment to consider the advantages of these two arts: first and chiefly, they afford us the means of gaining a livelihood in a way more agreeable than many others; secondly, in the taking of notes of lectures upon various arts and sciences we become acquainted with these subjects to an extent which would otherwise require much special study.
How then can we be otherwise than grateful to those who have placed these advantages within our reach?
To you, Gentlemen of the School Committee and of the Special Committee, are our thanks especially due.
Through your kindness in fulfilling our many calls upon your generosity, you have contributed, in no mean degree, to that end toward which we have so earnestly striven.
You, my classmates, undoubtedly share in the pleasure felt by our teachers and the Committee in having passed so successfully through the work of the past eight months.
Let us reflect for how short a time we have pursued our studies. In what branch of study, pursued for the same length of time, could the results attained compare so favorably as in the study of shorthand?
After to-night, over thirty of us, in the different pursuits of a business life, will make practical use of the knowledge gained during the past Winter. Let us always strive to uphold the reputation already gained by the followers of Isaac Pitman.
It has often been said by superficial observers: "O, yes, any one can write shorthand, but how many stenographers can read what they have written?"
Perhaps there have been grounds for such allegations; but have these ever taken into consideration the multitudes of stenographers all over the world who do successfully read their notes?
Look at the voluminous reports of congressional, political and other speeches, appearing in the daily papers from time to time; to say nothing of the hundreds of folios of evidence daily reported in our courts and accurately transcribed.
Do not these sufficiently refute the assertion?
We feel sure the charge will never be brought against any of our class, to each of whom the writing out of her notes has been made as essential a point as taking down.
In closing, let me again, in the name of the Class of '89, extend a cordial welcome to you all, and let us trust, when we have passed from the immediate influence of these surroundings, and have entered upon the career for which the studies of the past Winter have been but preparatory, we shall continue to merit your kind approbation.
BY MISS ISABELLE KIERNAN.
Class of '89.
Good people all, both old and young, Assembled at this time, To aid in bringing to a close, The Class of eighty-nine;
We beg you will be lenient With our efforts here to-night, Ignore all faults, and note the good,— This would be but polite.
This class of ours united here, Ere long shall cease to be; A thought which strikes a tender chord That vibrates mournfully.
Though truly glad to know our work Has met success at last, Yet many a very pleasant hour In study has been passed.
And on these hours in concert spent, Shall memory fondly dwell, When we in divers paths have turned, But where, Oh, who can tell?
Again we'll see that school-room scene, Our teacher at the head, Again we'll ply our pencils hard, As fast the words are read.
Our teacher's patience oft we've tried, And oft have vexed him sore, While he strove us expert to make In stenographic lore.
Oh, thanks to you, our faithful friend, For kindness you have shown, And patience too, with which the seeds Of knowledge you have sown.
And in the work we undertake, We'll to the Mason bring The credit,—who within our minds Has built this wondrous thing.
Kind benefactors, we extend Our gratitude sincere; For all the opportunities, Enjoyed throughout the year.
May your good work, crowned with success, Its blessings still bestow, On many who, through your kind deeds, Shall useful women grow.
A harvest rich of grateful hearts, Most surely you shall find; Such as is due to those who strive To elevate mankind.
And now farewell to one and all, Teacher and classmates, too; Hoping that future days may bring, Much happiness to you.
A Class History
BY MISS EUGENIA E. LLOYD.
Class of '89.
Last Fall sixty girls, accompanied by a trusty guide, started on an exploring tour through the wilderness of stenography. We had been told by those who had visited this region, that the way was dark, the road thorny, and the pleasures but few; but nothing daunted, we set out, anxious to prove these assertions false.
Like all travelers about to enter upon strange and novel scenes, we started upon this journey with eager eyes, and minds full of expectancy. Following closely in the footsteps of our leader, we approached the enchanted forest. The entrance was guarded by great trees, which seemed to extend, as far as the eye could see, in one long avenue, and we were surprised to find, upon coming nearer, that the forest which at first appeared to be but a heterogeneous mass of stems, was set out and arranged in the most orderly and symmetrical manner, and we saw that we should be enabled to find our way about much more easily than we had at first feared. In accordance with our guide's directions, we began jotting down in our memory tablets the names of the different trees, and the peculiarities of each. Certain kinds occurred so often that we soon became familiar with them, and long before we turned into new pathways, we had mastered the names of them all. As we left the main avenue of first principles, we encountered more trees, but so arranged in brilliant foliage and curious blossoms that we almost failed to recognize them. We listened in wonder while our guide unfolded to us the beauty of each bud and leaf; how patiently he traced every vein of the leaf, and every petal of the flower, until our eyes, too, were opened to their beauty so that we could appreciate and discern the difference between them, notwithstanding that they possessed great similarity. This comparative sameness caused us no little trouble, however, at first, for ever and anon, owing to early lack of training in concentration of mind, we were prone to get them confused, and often mistake one for the other. Here again the memory tablets were brought into requisition, and it seemed as though they fairly expanded under the influence of our pencils, so eager were we to absorb all the knowledge possible. As the lover of nature, by constant association with the flowers, the trees, and the shrubs, learns in time the name of each, so we learned, by loving the study of our strange plants, to recognize them at sight.
But we were not left to wander at our own sweet wills. Having thoroughly familiarized ourselves with the details and orderly arrangement of this wonderful forest, and having stopped for awhile to review our progress, we were led into new paths where, though there were many obstructions and apparently insurmountable obstacles, we could at least see the beginning of the end of our journey.
Here, too, sign posts greeted us on many sides, but none were so alluring as that which bore the legend, "Slow and sure." This accorded perfectly with our ideas, and we would fain have rested awhile, and gazed on the comforting words, had not our guide pointed out to us the necessity for advance, and described the pleasures which were still to come, which, if we chose that as a perpetual motto, we should never enjoy.
As if to give emphasis to his words, a little dwarf, whose name was "Try," met us at this juncture; and by his bright example urged us on to greater tasks. But alas! there were so many weary hearts waiting for his cheery countenance that he was forced ere long to leave us. Scarce had he gone when his enemy, a misshapen gnome, called "I Forgot," sprang up in our path, and by many devices, sought to undo the good work of "Try." Finding this impossible, he, too, soon departed, but his injured lordship, not caring to retire utterly defeated, left his first cousin, "I Didn't Mean To," to pester and annoy us throughout our journey.
Ere long the sound of running water attracted our attention, and eagerly we hastened to bathe our faces in a refreshing stream "which ran down the side of a hill," only to draw back in terror as we saw a poor, meek lamb devoured by a ravenous wolf who had come to the brook-side to drink. Thereafter it seemed as if the wolves had special designs on the lambs at this season, for whenever our travels led us near the creek we were forced to be unwilling spectators to these tragic scenes.
Here and there along the bank we had noticed little pebbles which our Instructor told us were called, in the language of this country, "Grammalogues," and some of which, attracted by their uniqueness, we had gathered. We were obliged to label and memorize each one, until it seemed as though the tablet would not hold another word, and the memory pouch would break under the weight of, what seemed to us, heavy, worthless stones. But after being polished with the emery of practice, the pebbles grew lighter, and seemed to lose their dull color, and assume a sparkling brilliancy.
How often since have they appeared as bright jewels in our pathway, when, with pencil flying over the page, we have fully realized the fact, that however lenient Old Father Time may seem to be to others, he has no mercy for stenographers.
After becoming somewhat acquainted with our surroundings that we might be able fully to realize every snare and pitfall, we were taught to begin to walk alone. What weak, tottering, childish steps they were. How often our eyes would wander to the face of our guide, as if to implore his help. But he, knowing it was for our good, would simply encourage us instead of rendering the longed for assistance, and we were thus compelled to walk or fall.
But when the nervous feeling had somewhat worn off, and each step became more firm, with what expressions of delight we proclaimed the tidings that we could at least stand alone, and how pleased he seemed at our successes. And then with watchful care was pointed out to us the necessity of removing every obstacle from our path so that our progress should not be retarded. We carefully heeded the instruction, and as a fallen bough or a moss-covered trunk of some old "snag" barred our onward march, we brought all our strength to bear and remove it to a place of safety, so that our weary feet should not be caused to trip over it again. And truly we were weary, while the promised land seemed still afar off. How hard the road appeared can only be realized by those who have trodden it.
A great mountain, like Bunyan's Hill Difficulty, soon rose before us, and we were told that we must reach its summit, before the view toward which our eyes had been ever turning would burst upon our sight. Here we were joined by a crowd of people, some clamoring for land, which they claimed had been willed to them by those who had long since joined the great majority; others quibbling over deeds and warranty deeds, some of which particularly attracted our attention, on account of their great length and useless verbiage; and others with complaints and actions at law, until our eyes were opened, and we realized, as never before, that strife is more prevalent in the world than peace.
But hard work and that perseverance which we believe is the surest road to success have at length conquered all obstacles. And now, having left behind the clamor and the strife, we stand on the summit of the mountain that has so recently seemed as though it could not be climbed.
And here we rest awhile and look backward. The roads with their winding turns are no longer new, and eyes moisten as we think of the old but true saying:
"The path that has once been trod, Is never so hard to the feet; And the lessons we once have learned, Are never so hard to repeat."
We will not be called upon to walk in those paths again, but when we meet the familiar faces of our companions we will live over in memory the now seemingly short weeks of our journey.
But let us look also before us. We have penetrated the forest, we have gathered bright gems, we have climbed the mountain height, and now we stand ready to cast our boats adrift upon the ocean of life.
In what waters they shall glide we know not, but can only trust that in that great day of gatherings, all our craft may be moored in the harbor of peace! These thoughts bring to our minds the well known words of our beloved poet Longfellow:
Like unto ships far off at sea, Outward or homeward bound are we; Before, behind, and all around, Floats and swings the horizon's bound, Seems at its distant rim to rise And climb the crystal wall of the skies, And then again to turn and sink, As if we could slide from its outer brink. Ah, it is not the sea; It is not the sea that sinks and shelves, But ourselves that rock and rise With endless and unweary motion, Now touching the very skies, Now sinking into the depths of ocean; Ah! if our souls but poise and swing, Like the compass in its brazen ring, Ever level and ever true To the toil and the task that we have to do, We shall sail securely, and safely reach The fortunate isles, on whose shining beach The sights we see, the sounds we hear, Will be those of joy and not of fear.
BY MISS LINA E. KETTLEMAN.
Class of '89.
Bacon has said, "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man." Many prominent men of the present age assert on authority that shorthand makes a valuable man.
The world's advancement has never been so marked and rapid as within the past century; inventors have, it would seem, almost exhausted themselves in producing means for improvement; where think you, would the busy man find himself were it not for the opportunities open at every hand enabling him to keep in the whirl?
Inventors, and the value of their respective inventions, are fully appreciated by those who make use of them, but there has been no greater gift presented than the one by Mr. Isaac Pitman in 1837, in the shape of Phonography; he, after a few months of hard labor, reduced the phonetic characters to a simple form such as any intelligent and ordinarily educated person might, after a proper amount of application, use to great advantage. The public were not long in realizing the benefits to be derived, and each year has seen a steady growth in the number of shorthand readers and writers, and to-day finds thousands who are successfully using the little strokes, some following the original system, and others using the modifications; all, however, agreeing as to the true worth of shorthand as a time saver.
We who started last Autumn, with the determination to master Phonography and typewriting, knew in part the advantages to be gained after the top was reached, but we did not know by actual experience what breakers were ahead in the accomplishment of the work before us; for the timid ones this very ignorance proved a great blessing,—conquering one difficulty at a time, with the greater ones in the shadow, was not as disheartening as having the future in plain sight.
The multitude of crooks, circles and dry rules were taken in turn and left behind, and after reaching half way the journey, and pausing for a rest and renewal of courage, we began the pleasanter work of writing and reading connectedly. At the start were simple stories which seemed at the time almost silly, then came letters and law matter, and, as the words in the first lessons kept recurring, we began to appreciate "The Wolf and the Lamb" and various companions of a similar nature. Slowly but surely the work has been progressing. Time has fairly flown away and has brought us together to-night for the parting as a class.
There has been much bitter with the sweet and many clouds with the sunshine; social pleasures were necessarily given up and numerous sacrifices made, to say nothing of the keen disappointment brought home to each as she recognized, despite her greatest efforts, that the actual work was far behind what her aspirations had been at the outset. But through all we have been cheered and encouraged by our teachers, nor must I omit the occasional well timed lectures, depressing at the time of delivery, but sending each home with a fixed idea of doing better, and continuing to the end; added to these has been the entire novelty of the whole course, always something new. Like all proverbial Americans, born, it is said, with the interrogation point at tongue's end, the constant variety made the journey one immense Why?
We are joyous over the prospect of a cessation of hard study, but regret that the end of our intercourse has come, necessitating the severing of ties as teachers and those taught, and the farewell as class friends; but each will carry with her a remembrance of the Winter spent together with much profit and pleasure to all.
To our kind Instructor through all the intricacies of Phonography, we are deeply indebted. Within ourselves is the consciousness that had it not been for his patience and untiring efforts we would have given up in despair long ago; as also to our Instructress and friend who has helped us over the road to the success of typewriting are we equally indebted; to the never flagging energy of both we owe as much as to the individual effort.
Not the least, if mentioned last, is our gratitude to the School Committee. To you, gentlemen, we wish to convey our thanks this evening, both for your generosity, as representatives of the G. S. M. and T., in supplying funds for the maintenance of this glorious work, and for the kindly interest displayed during the past Winter. While regretting our inability to raise the standard higher, we will endeavor, in future, to reflect such credit upon this school as will prove our appreciation of past favors.
To you, my dear classmates, those in particular who have not as yet felt the pecuniary advantages to be derived from this new acquirement, take courage in the fact that six of our number are reaping the benefits even thus early. Wait patiently; do not let the work end with to-night, and become discouraged because of the same old humdrum duties. Remember that in filling the old post honorably, you are doing the work assigned by the Master who in His own season will send what is for your best good. Add to your store of knowledge from day to day, and be able to say with the poet:
Each morning sees some task begun, Each evening sees its close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
To the Class of '90.
BY MISS HARRIET MIDDLEMAS.
What shall we do with our girls? One of our well known daily papers came to the conclusion some time ago that our girls must be disposed of in some way, and feeling that it lacked the ability to solve the problem alone and unaided, sent a request abroad for help in settling this momentous question.
If we were in China, they would say "drown them." Horace Greeley might have suggested sending them West to keep house for his "young men." Many, in answer to the before-mentioned paper's appeal, advocated making business women of them; while others said: "Teach them to be good housekeepers."
Now, as all our girls cannot be housekeepers, neither can they be business women, is it not the best plan where there are two girls in a family, to teach one how to minister to the wants of the household, and let the other help to provide the means, wherewith to supply the necessities of life? We are not all Vanderbilts or Astors.
But whether it be "Yea" or "Nay," woman is making her way in the world. She has been heard of as making rapid progress in law; and it was only a short while ago we read of a young lady being admitted to practice in Pennsylvania. We have doctors without number; one of our Western towns boasts of a woman for Mayor, and they have aspired to the Presidency. Much has been said of woman's sphere, but she knows her own place in life, and if given a little help in the various directions necessary to reach the place, she will win, and has won for herself respect and admiration for her courage and independence.
But this is not a Woman's Rights Meeting, nor a sewing circle, in which the minister has been invited to tea, and where we are making the poor luckless man suffer for his sex in general, but the Graduation Exercises of a band of girls who have worked hard for success, and gained it.
A society of men organized many years ago, instead of sitting with folded hands lamenting their inability to dispose of "our girls," went to work and established a class; placed at its head one of the best of teachers, and called it the Stenographic and Typewriting Class of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen. "Now," they said, "we have opened a way, let us see what the girls can do for and with themselves."
In the Fall of 1886 the first class was formed, and since then more than 100 girls owe their present advantages to this noble institution.
The Class of '90 graduating from here to-night met for the first lesson on October 1st of last year.
Of our troubles and disappointments, it is not for me to tell, but we have bravely toiled on, and have at last reached the end we have so eagerly and anxiously looked forward to, and the feeling that we have learned something which will help us in more ways than we at present fully realize, repays us for our perseverance.
To-night we graduate from this school into one compared to which the trials and disappointments of this course will seem trifles. We go forth to battle with the world, and if we do not keep up with it, it will mercilessly leave us far behind. But the Class of '90 is not going to be laggard. Indeed we hope that when we graduate from that higher and more exacting school, it will be with the same satisfactory results with which we leave here, and, like Longfellow's "Great Men," we may leave
"Footprints on the sands of time."
There are several benevolent institutions in this city where Stenography and Typewriting are taught during the day, without expense to the student. But the girls that need this instruction most are the working girls, who have only the evenings to themselves, and cannot afford to take the time to study that which they know would be beneficial to them. But the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen have recognized their wants, and every girl in this class has acknowledged that when in the future she has reached that zenith to which every one aspires, "Prosperity in her chosen calling," she cannot forget that it was through this Society she was enabled to reach that height.
And now, dear Friends and Patrons of this school, I, in the name of my classmates, bid a cordial "welcome" to you all, confident that you who have sympathized with us during the past eight months will rejoice with us in our success.
BY MISS KATIE MASSMAN.
Class of '90.
My friends, we all have gathered here, To celebrate this night,— Th' occasion of a victory gained O'er a long and glorious fight.
Unlike the battlefields of men, Where blood flows o'er the plain, And eyes must meet the fearful sight Of conquered victims slain,
Our battlefield the school-room was, Where we have fought and won; A conflict noble in its aim, Nine months ago begun.
Oh! how we hoped and how we feared, As day by day slipped past, And we kept pressing towards the mark We hoped to reach at last.
Whilst oft discouragement, the imp, Would whisper in our breast, "'Tis folly to continue on; Go, leave it for the rest."
But "onward, onward," was our cry, Though all around looked dim,— No cowards we who fear the storm, 'Twas either "sink or swim."
And our commander at the head, With truly master skill, Did spur us on, and teach us how Each duty to fulfill.
Through the maze of outlines, straight and curved, Step by step, he led the way, Till hooks and circles, large and small, At length seemed plain as day.
To his true service much we owe, And each of us, to-night, In a vote of earnest, sincere thanks, Do heartily unite.
We meet to part, on this last night, Yet shall we fondly ever Turn to the happy hours spent In Mechanics' Hall together.
And always shall our hearts respond, Ever grateful shall we be, For the kindness of the gentlemen Of the G. S. M. and T.
Through them our lives shall brighter grow, Through them we shall aspire To better, nobler aims in life, Leading higher, ever higher.
And may we from their kindness learn A royal truth and grand,— If we can others happier make, To lend a helping hand.
And in the journey through this life, With heart, head and hand combined May we ever strive to do our best To elevate mankind.
A History of the Class of '90
BY MISS SABINE C. SCHINDHELM.
One evening, early in the Fall of '89, voices were heard in the school-room as though many persons were talking at once. Suddenly the bell rang and the talking ceased. "What does this mean?" you would have asked, and then, your curiosity getting the better of you, you would have peeped in. Such a sight! At the front of the room were four or five rows of young girls, books and pencils in hand, and on the platform stood a gentleman who was evidently their teacher. What were they going to do? Why, take their first lesson in stenography, and you can see from the number of bright and happy faces here to-night, what that first and each succeeding lesson has done for them. Like little children just beginning to spell they began with the alphabet, and step by step, gaining strength and courage, learning everything thoroughly, till at the end of three months, they had laid a foundation upon which whatever followed could securely rest; and, when the mid-winter examination came on (which had all along seemed like a great wall that was insurmountable), they were able to scale it without much difficulty.
But you must not think this goal was reached without many mistakes which were sometimes very disheartening, and sometimes very funny; as you will think when I tell you for the letter H a tick is sometimes used; and one girl slanting this tick the wrong way wrote, "Pale, thou poly king"; and another, who misplaced a vowel, wrote, "I like my live eel boy." However, these errors only tended to make them more careful, and when they started the speeding course, it served them a good purpose.
At the beginning of this course, they were addressed as "My dear reader," and told to observe what they were told; then followed some maxims to be laid to heart, and a little dwarf was introduced whose name was "Try." This little fellow had a way of making every one try to do her best, and those who were unable to do very much at first he encouraged by giving them a helping hand. After a while he left us and in his place stood a very impudent fellow known by those with whom he had had dealings as "I Forgot," or "I Didn't Think;" but as soon as we learned his mission, which you probably have guessed, or perhaps know from experience, we discharged him and to secure ourselves from his return, sent the "Careful Dog" after him. Tom's uncle then gave his opinion on Phonography, but although it had over four hundred words in it, it did not amount to much as some of the girls got it down in less than three minutes.
Soon afterward John Smith received a letter from his brother Timothy Jenkins (this name was given the latter by mistake by one of the girls), about some place in New York State where they could spend a very nice vacation. This place had advantages in the way of fishing and boating, lawn tennis and all the rest; but one of our number, who evidently thought more of good solid comfort, wrote that there were "good furniture and bedding."
While thinking still of this delightful resort with all its acquisitions, the strong arm of the law suddenly came down upon us and holding out a document to our wondering gaze demanded the name of same. Then was heard a confusion of voices, every one guessing the wrong thing, until one, who thought of course she knew, cried out "Oh, it's a divorce case!" It was no such thing, however; it was a simple complaint, in which the husband and wife were plaintiffs. We went through the entire pleadings of this case and when finished, took up another and another until now we are not lawyers, but some are able to be stenographers for lawyers, and others amanuenses.
BY MISS A. NATALIE KIRSCH.
Class of '90.
In the life of every person there are two important events, birth and death; the former marking their advent into a state of action, and the latter their exit from it. The one is universally a time of joy, the other a time of sorrow. This is true to such an extent that the time of birth is popularly designated and commemorated as a day of feasting, the other as a day of mourning. Solomon, however, does not agree with us in this; he reverses this order and says, "Better is the day of one's death than the day of one's birth;" and "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for the living will lay it to his heart." Whichever view we take of the matter this day will be one long remembered by all, for it is both the day of birth and the day of death.
So with the birth of everything we attempt; its beginning is attended with a sort of pleasurable excitement and diligence in the pursuit of the study we have entered upon, which lasts until the novelty begins to wear off. Then comes the time when we find ourselves falling into a rut from which, if we do not try hard to keep up our standard, it will be difficult to extricate ourselves; but, if we summon all our energy and strive to overcome all impediments and will work hard and adopt perseverance as our motto, we shall not fail of success in the end.
Our small army enlisted last October determined to fight against all the obstacles which might present themselves in our journey toward success; and after passing through the hardest and most tedious part of our work,—the mastering of the principles,—we found ourselves confronted by an examination, which loomed up before us like a lofty and rugged mountain, which we knew we must ascend if we would get that broad outlook which we must obtain for the work of the remainder of the term.
Having safely passed that, after a week's recreation, we again assembled freshly armed to conquer the difficulties of the speeding course. This proved to be the pleasanter part of our work, and, after having spent five months with our teacher in this way, and having passed the final examination, you see here to-night all who have been victorious in the battle.
We came before our leader total strangers to him and to each other, and many happy days have we spent since first we saw his face, and every day has deepened our regard for him for having been so patient with us. When we have been on the brink of despair, he has consoled us with the assurance that better times were coming, and that, if we did not give up but would push ahead and persevere, we would surely succeed.
The "unwearied sun" has performed his daily circuit, sometimes visible, and sometimes hidden by the vapor laden clouds, but right onward, whether seen or unseen, has he gone, and time, that never lingers, has rolled on rapidly and in its flight has brought us to this hour, ere we were aware, and lo! it has already begun to snap the threads which have held us together for the last eight months. Our lives have been speeding with the moments into the never-to-be-forgotten past; but the tie which binds our hearts in Christian love and fellowship death itself cannot sever.
The seeds of stenography, which were cast into our minds at the beginning of our lessons, made their appearance as young and tender shoots when we arrived at the speeding course, and have not only begun to blossom, but also to bear fruit, inasmuch as eight of our number are already holding positions as stenographers and typewriters, and we hope they will soon arrive at full maturity when we have all become experienced shorthand writers. These little plants need the tenderest care and most watchful guidance, for, if neglected ere they are larger grown, and the weeds of careless habits are not rooted out, they will be a source of great trouble and annoyance in the acquiring of speed. How important then that they should be wisely directed!
We have now arrived at the completion of our course here in the capacity of learners; but only to enter an enlarged sphere of action and there employ what we have here been enabled to acquire. Not only have we been learning stenography but have been benefited in a number of other ways; each lesson in its turn had some moral to convey and some new thought to suggest, which, while teaching us some new form of work, and suggesting new ideas, all tended to elevate our minds.
To you, dear members of the G. S. M. & T., are we indebted for enabling us to acquire an honest, well-paying profession, which is aiding so many young women to improve their condition in life, and give substantial assistance to those dependent upon them. To our Instructor are we especially grateful for his thoughtfulness and zeal in imparting instruction, and the affectionate solicitude which he has shown for our welfare; nor would we forget the care bestowed upon us by the Assistant Instructors, who have in many ways supplemented the instruction which we have received from the Superintendent.
To you, dear classmates, I give my parting word of farewell. Often have we met together to study our beloved shorthand, often have the difficulties seemed great enough to overwhelm us; often have our sympathies been aroused by the need of help in one way or another, and now, for the last time, we again assemble at this familiar spot. There can but arise in our breast thoughts of sadness as we take leave of each other, for never again can we meet as the Class of '90, but while we regret that this is our last evening together, we must bear in mind, that
"A fleeting hour, a month, a year, Is all that God permits us here, That we may learn to prize more high That heavenly home beyond the sky."
BY OLIVER BARRATT, ESQ.
To the Class of '91.
Ladies and gentlemen, I come to welcome you in the name of the young ladies of the graduating class. The entertainment this evening, owing to your presence here which is a source of encouragement to them, will show you what they have learned and what they have been doing during the past Winter and Spring, and what we have been doing to help them in the good cause and vocation which they have chosen. Thomas Carlyle once asked this question: "What can a woman do?" Well, I think if Thomas Carlyle was alive to-day and could go through the offices of the merchants and business men and architects and lawyers of this city, he would be willing to confess that at least one profession had been taken possession of by woman. If he could go through the lower part of this city into any of our offices he would look with wonder to see a young lady employed as a typewriter and stenographer, as they almost universally are. In political economy the weakest go to the wall. Well, it is said that they do, but in this case I think they have gone to the front. To illustrate that I will tell you a little experience of my own. Some two or three years ago I went into a gentleman's office on some business, and made a statement to him. He said, "Stop! I want that taken down." He called a young man sitting at the desk and said, "Take this statement down." The stenographer was about six feet tall, built strong proportionately, and he sat down to take my statement. One of the first things that struck me was that it was a pretty light business for a man of his size. The next time I went into that office, the stenographer was again called to take my statement, but it was a young lady this time, instead of that great hulking man. I spoke to my friend about it and he said, "I have a young lady now and I find she does a great deal better than a man. Her work is more perfect; more satisfactory." In this case the weakest had gone to the wall! The stronger intellect had forced the weaker to the wall.
Now, young ladies, I congratulate you on the success you have attained in the school in your work, and would like to say a few words to you with regard to your future career. When you go into the employment of some merchant, banker or lawyer, recollect one thing, that you are his confidential clerk,—taken into his confidence,—and what you hear there and write there must not be carried out of his door. When you go out, leave it behind you, and you will always be successful. And now, I congratulate you again upon your success here, and hope for a bright future for you and hope you will be successful in the vocation which you have chosen.
BY MISS EMMA E. REIMHERR.
Class of '91.
It affords me much pleasure to greet you this evening, and, on behalf of my classmates, to extend to all a sincere and hearty welcome.
No presence is more inspiring than that manifested in the attendance of friends at such exercises as these. Truly it is a deep source of gratification to us, for, as we gaze into the many kindly faces before us, we are conscious that it is unqualified evidence of the loyal interest taken in our work, and a full appreciation of our past efforts.
We welcome you, gentlemen, representatives of the Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, for, not only desirous of granting us every opportunity to acquire a knowledge of stenography, without expense, you go still further and lend us your presence, which dignifies and adds grace to this happy occasion. We, in return, express our cordial obligations for your favors and philanthropy.
We welcome Mr. Mason, our faithful teacher, and give him heartfelt thanks for his kindness to us as pupils, and the earnest attention he has shown in conducting the school work. We can truthfully say that the success of the class in their studies is due solely to the skill of his instruction.
When we entered upon the inception of our task about eight months ago, contemplation of such a tedious study as stenography had made us somewhat apprehensive of successful consequences, and when, subsequently, we beheld so many curious marks, hooks, loops, spirals and disjointed straights, then, indeed, did alarm seize upon and almost terrorize us. How could we accomplish such an arduous undertaking? We pondered the subject long and well, and, as in all such matters, a solution was arrived at. You will doubtless not be surprised when I say it was application—yes, application, with hard, earnest study as a relative concomitant, which solved the problem. This was the beginning, an auspicious one, you must admit, because, having unraveled the chief skein of difficulty, it seemed to imbue us with increased confidence, and study we did, with intense fervor and earnestness. Thus it continued. Not a careless and desultory endeavor, but one of energetic determination and indefatigable zeal. "Festina Lente," as the old Romans were wont to say,—"Make haste slowly,"—was our motto, as little by little we gained in acquisition. The curious little dots and dashes which at first seemed so strange and mysterious, soon lost their mystery and ere long a simple acquaintance with them had ripened into a desirable familiarity. The same success attended our efforts at the typewriter. The irregular and heavy sounds which first greeted the ear of the learner, have lost their harshness, and in their turn, as nimble fingers lightly touch the enameled keys, the regularity of the merry ticks, broken only by the gentle ring of the silvery bell, as the cross-bar passes from side to side, partakes almost of melody.
Such has been the past, and to-night the conferring of many diplomas will convince you that our labor has not been in vain. Stenography as a study is not really difficult. The cardinal requisite is practice. Leave the rest to time and the result will not be disappointing. Since those who have studied here this Winter expect to use the knowledge acquired as a means of subsistence, it is a comforting reflection that we can thus earn a livelihood in such a satisfactory and congenial manner, especially when bearing in mind that the majority of young women, who toil in this great metropolis, are constrained to pass long and dreary hours at work which is far less lucrative and much more debilitating and unhealthy. Again, the study of stenography requires constant and critical attention, thereby strengthening the mind and doing away with idle day-dreaming. Mental perception is rendered more acute, as rapid yet steady thinking is continually demanded.
So, after all, now that the labors of the term are over, we may indeed feel satisfied and happy, assured that you are willing to endorse the satisfaction we feel at this happy outcome.
And now, thanking you for the considerate attention you have accorded these words of salutation, we trust that our programme will greatly please you; that at its conclusion you will be happy to offer heartiest congratulations to the Class of '91.
Address of Rev Chas. S. Harrower, D. D.
To the Class of '91.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies of the Class of '91 and Friends: I almost feel as if I were one of the graduates of this institution, I have been here a number of years now. But one thing that puzzles me is how I should go to work to report these speeches, and, really, a moment or two ago I thought the young ladies were engaged in taking down the music. And I should not be surprised if they after a little while would be able to take music down stenographically and write it out on the typewriter and perhaps, by some modification of their skill, evolve it into tune again. I know that they can talk musically, because we just heard some beautiful music talked by one of them and I know that she is a representative of the class.
So I think that after all the only claim I have to representing this institution is the fact that I have been honored by being associated with the officers, and the teachers, and the graduates of this school a number of seasons in succession, and age is my only claim to honor, for I cannot write stenographically, although I can make some crooked marks, but I do not believe that anybody else could read them after they get cold, because I know I cannot myself. I can some of them, but I mean I cannot read them all. I feel particularly honored to-night upon being given a place upon the platform. I believe this is the very first occasion when the Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen have pushed out from their own ancient hall into the world to give a larger welcome to their constantly growing and most admirable and enviable constituents. I was wondering to-night how many of the young men and of the young women before me here had enjoyed the facilities of this institution in the times past. I am sure they would have to take a hall that would hold six or seven hundred people, who would fill it full just as this place is filled full, and to-night this is just as full as our old hall over home has been during the past five or six years. We should fill anything because if our friends know they can come and get away alive, they will come, but if they think they are going to sweat nearly to death, and be crushed to death, possibly there will a great many of them stay away.
I want to congratulate these young ladies. There is one matter that was referred to in the salutatory this evening,—there is one aspect of your work and of your success to-night that strikes me. Happy is the institution that puts a class of fifty young ladies year after year into the position which those young ladies occupy who have finished their course, and to-night are to receive their diplomas. Oh, I do not wonder, after what I know about life in New York City, and life among women and girls, that your doors are crowded every fall and that you have two, and three, and four times the applicants for the facilities and opportunities of the school that you can possibly accommodate. I do not wonder at it. Why I know a woman 36 years of age with four children whom she is trying to support, and who works eleven hours a day for six days of the week, and barely makes an average of sixty cents a day, and on Saturday night gets six times six or thirty-six,—$3.60 for her week's toil, and she has been at it till eleven at night, starting soon after six in the morning. Just think of a story like that. Oh, girls, I will call you girls; young ladies, if you had rather be called young ladies, I pray you never forget the sisters and the mothers who are toiling like this. They were just as bright girls, and just as brave girls when they were girls as you are now, and yet life has crowded them down, and I do not know how we are to lift them up, but, by a tremendous concentration of all of our consciences and all our powers, which shall make a public sentiment, that shall look into the sweaters' hells as much as it looks into the factories, and into the stores, and establishments of men who do not mean to be cruel or more cruel than you are, and I should be, but who, in the tussle and competition of life, are led to take part in a system which is sweating and destroying life which is as brave and worthy as any of theirs. I wish to create a public opinion which shall make these exigencies of toil impossible in our modern life. You and I must do something not only to lift ourselves up, but to help some one else to climb the ladder to better conditions than otherwise they will be led to, and I congratulate you that you have climbed the ladder and have climbed to a better height than that. This institution just helps you all where your future is secure. Do I say too much? Oh! no, daughters and sisters, mind, this institution has helped you to the place where your future is secure. Nothing can take the place of toil. Nothing can take the place of work. The Emperor Severus, when he lay dying at the foot of the Grampian Hills in the old town of York, a stranger who had taken him from the field turned to the men about him, and making a little address emphasized his last words over and over again, saying, "Laboramus, laboramus, laboramus!" We must work, we must work, we must work, he said, and what was true of the Emperor of Rome cannot be untrue of us; is just as true of all. There is nothing done without work, work, work. But you will work. You mean to work. You came here because you were determined to work. You have been working over hours and overtime. You have been overworked some of you, just to get the facilities which this institution and this blessed year of grace can give to you, and you will do it. I know you will be true. It is not for me to repeat what Mr. Barratt said. I know that he told the truth when he said that one of the essential things is fidelity to the confidences which come into your position, through the relation you sustain to your superiors, your employers and your principals.