Hampton Academy and its Board of Trustees

Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972

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By Arthur J. Moody, Class of '53


"The Catalogues"

Among the early records of Hampton Academy are small, 8- to 12-page booklets, each of which is entitled "A Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Hampton Academy." Apparently these were published annually only if funds were available. Perhaps 20 or more were issued from the mid-1820s to just before the private Academy joined with a free high school in 1885. Predating the pamphlet "Catalogues," were large, single-sheet "Catalogues." Framed examples of these for 1822 and 1825 hang in the Tuck Museum. In April 1822, there were 74 students (56 males and 18 females) at the Academy. The total remained the same in November 1825 when 54 males and 20 females were enrolled under a Preceptor and a Preceptress.

The pamphlets tell us much. About a dozen or so different editions are on display at Tuck Museum together with similar catalogs from other private academies in the area (e.g., Pembroke Academy. 1835-30; Rockingham Academy, Hampton Falls, 1840-47 and 1847-48). Each Hampton Academy "Catalogue" tells us who was enrolled the previous year, who their instructors were, who the Trustees were and, in the later ones, what the instruction was.

The "Catalogue" for the term ending August 15, 1827, printed by S. Morrill (Hampton), lists a home town, and lodgings in Hampton, were given for each student, only 19 of the 74 enrolled were from Hampton. "Courses of Study" were open to all "who sustain a good moral character, possess studious habits, and who have been taught to read and spell with correctness." The Department of Languages included studies in Latin, Greek, "arithmetick," Geography and Elocution. The English Department pursued studies in English and subjects pertaining thereto, "arithmetick," Geography, Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Natural History, Botany, Moral Philosophy, History, "rhetorick," "logic," Plane Trigonometry, Algebra, Astronomy, Surveying and Navigation. The curriculum of each Department was set for three years of study although no individual "will he compelled to attend to the whole course" of the English Department. Additionally, "Young Ladies receive instructions in Painting, Drawing and Working Lace" and "All students attend a regular course of Biblical instruction, adapted to their different ages and capacities."

The "Catalogue" for the year ending August 1828 contained the reference to a Bible course along with this reference to the students: "special efforts are made to awaken in them a sense of the importance of their situation, as moral and accountable beings." A total of 123 attended in 1827-28 - 80 males and 43 females. The 1828-29 issue listed 118 (69 males and 49 females). Classical studies such as Cicero's Select Orations and Caesar's Commentaries were offered by the Department of Languages. In 1830-31, there were 102 students attending, split 59 and 43 with the ladies continuing to gain on their gentlemen counterparts. Three-week vacations were listed as occurring in mid-August, late November and mid-April (all between terms). In the 1831-32 "Catalogue," a Principal, an Assistant, a Preceptress and an Instructor in Penmanship were listed as the faculty along with 131 students (70 males, 61 females). A three-term academic year was still in evidence.

The 1832-33 pamphlet contained approximately the same courses of study as were listed in the 1826-27 issue. Eighty-one males and 57 females made up the student body of 138.

The next series of "Catalogues" in the Tuck Museum Academy Collection (at least one of which originally belonged to Amos Tuck) begins with the 1845-46 edition. Before describing that series, it might be enlightening to present some population figures and other statistics for the Hampton of 1840. The figures are found on a large map of Hampton (by B.W. Thayer's Lithography, Boston, 1841) which hangs in Dr. W.P. Bryer's waiting room at 20 High Street (in 1972), Hampton. Hampton in 1840 consisted of "somewhat more than 8,000 acres" with 32 miles of road (there are over 70 miles of roads in the Hampton of 1972). There were three churches, one Academy, five taverns, six stores, four grist mills and two sawmills. The numbers of the various genre of livestock and the amounts of different products resulting from Hampton's fields, waterways, and mills are not important for our purposes. But the number of humans is. There were 1320 people in the town in 1840 - 681 males and 639 females. These broke down as 309 under the age of 10; 246 between 10 and 20; 408 between 20 and 40; 224 between 40 and 60; 71 between 60 and 70; and 62 over 70 years old.

According to the "Catalogue" for 1845-46, 93 of the 158 students enrolled were from Hampton. In 1846-47, it was 76 of 139. Compared with the figures for 1826-27 (about 25 percent were from Hampton), it becomes evident that the Academy was filling a definite need of the voting population of Hampton for secondary education and was becoming, more and more, Hampton's high school. Of those 158 students attending during 1845-46, l07 were listed in the "Male Department" with 51 in the "Female Department." Residences were given but lodgings were not. Attendance for each of the four terms reveals that 53 were present for the Winter Term, 78 for the Spring term, 38 for the Summer term and 61 for the Fall term -- an aggregate total of 230 made up by the 158 different enrollees. This indicates that a great many attended for less than the full four terms. Only 15 of the 107 boys studied Latin or Creek with 6 taking both. None of the girls studied Greek that year but several took up French and/or Latin with one young lady listed as studying Latin, French and Italian. Eleven Trustees were given as the officers. Five were reverends two were lawyers, one was a doctor, one was a colonel and two were simply "Mr." There were five instructors: a Principal, Three assistants and a Principal of the Female Department.

The "Catalogue" for 1845-46 is enlarged in content over its predecessors to present a brief history of the school, a list of textbooks to be used and details of student expenses. "The "Catalogue" thus became an advertisement or prospectus for new pupils and public support (funds) as well as a record of all attendees. The history section contains, among other details, the following: "The Institution is situated within a few rods of the depot of the Boston and Portland Railroad.... While the trustees and teachers of the school will spare no pains to elevate its standing and make it even more worthy of the public support, we trust the friends of education will be amply repaid for the aid and encouragement they have, or may extend to it.... The Academy is furnished with a good Chemical and Philosophical apparatus, and family lectures will frequently be given illustrated by experiments. The course of study will be liberal and thorough, designed to qualify the student for admission into any of our colleges, or for the practical business of life."

Each of the four 11-week terms ended with a two-week vacation. Expenses were: Board from $1.25 to 1.50 per week; tuition at $4 per term (painting and drawing; extra). "Rooms furnished for those wishing to board themselves. Books furnished by the Teacher, at wholesale price; a limited number let to those wishing it." The Principal would, on occasion, present a printed "Reward of Merit" (good for a 10 cents or 20 cents credit toward tuition) to deserving pupils for "diligence in his studies" or "for good behavior and diligence." Examples of these certificates for 1829 and 1856 have been presented to Tuck Museum.

The 1841-47 edition of the pamphlet "Catalogue" was similar to the preceding year's with 109 boys and 30 girls (all but 8 of the girls from Hampton) making up the 139 enrollment. Attendance for the Summer Term was, again, much lower than for any of the other three. A "Lecturer on Anatomy and physiology" was added {*} to the staff and the Principal of the Female Department became the Preceptress. Expenses remained the same.

{*In 1971-72, Anatomy and Physiology were added to the Winnacunnet High School curricula.}

The 1849-50 "Catalogue" lists 102 boys and 50 girls with a four-term aggregate attendance of 238. There were five instructors: a Principal, two assistants, a Preceptress and an Assistant Preceptress. Also included were the names of the officers of the Olive Branch G.C.L. Society, a student faculty literary and public speaking club (see Dow's, p.494.) The expenses show it 25 cent increase to $1.50 - 1.75 per week. Otherwise the information in the booklet is the same as for previous years. Latin, Creek, French and Italian were still offered.

In the 1852-53 edition, board expense is listed as a flat $1.75 per week. Gentlemen numbered 103, ladies 52. The total attending the four terms was 249 which is remarkable considering the fact that the Academy had burned in August 1851 and was not rebuilt until a year later.

The existing "Catalogues" tell us much about the Academy (and who attended it) during "The Golden Years" which came to a close with the fire of 1851. They might be considered the precursor to the printed graduation programs of the Academy's high-school period.

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