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Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University
University Archives & Manuscripts - Exhibits
Minnie Howell: 1896-1897 (Her First Year)
Campus, 1895
Campus 1895

In 1896, Minerva M. Howell entered KSAC, which looked very much as it does in the above image. Minnie walked nearly 2 miles to campus from her home on Yuma Street, where she was the oldest of nine children.

President George T. Fairchild, 1879-1897

George T. Fairchild "An overall evaluation of the Fairchild years is complicated because of the political turmoil which brough on his resignation. Following the turmoil some tended to eulogize him while a few continued to criticize him. In this writer's eye, Fairchild's greatest achievement was the molding of a more moderate tone at the College. It was an accomplishment that may have gone unnoticed by many faculty, students and citizens of Kansas--something that happened quietly and did not leave any marks. Under Fairchild, the College had not contued the Anderson pattern of turning out mainly plowboys, blacksmiths, cooks, and seamstresses. Although little basic organizational change occurred, a bit more liberalism was added to the atmosphere, even if only through Fairchild's speeches and his articles in the Industrialist. Some course offerings and course requirements were altered, providing an opportunity for a somewhat broader education. Fairchild personally was closer to the academic climate, teaching classes in political economy and logic whereas Anderson had taught none. Fairchild also stressed the importance of academic discipline. As one who knew him, but who had also admired Anderson, wrote, "He [Fairchild] was a good logician and a man of constant growth. He was systematic--a man of order and correct habits--a master of all details of his work." Yet he was flexible and open to suggestion, able to accept criticism with grace and dignity. His reputation as an educator stretched beyond Kansas and neighboring states, a fact demonstrated by his election in 1896 to the presidency of the National Association of American Agricultural Colleges. It is no exaggeration to say that Fairchild left Kansas State a better educational community than he found it."
From James Carey's Kansas State University: The Quest for Identity, pg.64.

Events from 1896-1897

Terms of Admission

Applicants for admission at the beginning of the College must be at least 14 years of age, and able to pass a satisfactory examination in reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, geography, English grammar, and United States history. Specimen questions will be furnished on application. Those applying later in the year must show sufficient advancement to enter the classes already in progress. Every effort should be made to begin with the first day of a term, in order to advance with the classes from the first.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, pg. 64.

General Duties and Privileges

General good conduct, such as becomes men and women anywhere, is expected of all. Every student is encouraged in the formation of sound character, by both precept and example, and expected, 'upon honor,' to maintain a good repute. Failure to do so is met with prompt dismissal. No other rules of personal conduct are announced.

Classes are in session every week-day except Mondays, and no student may be absent without excuse.

Students enrolled in any term cannot honorably leave the College before the close of the term, unless excused beforehand by the Faculty. A full and permanent record of attendance and scholarship shows to each student his standing in the College.

Chapel exercises occupy 15 minutes before the meeting of classes each morning, and unnecessary absence from them is noted. On Sunday no services are held in the chapel, but students are advised to attend the different churches of the city.

Every Friday, at 1:40 P.M., the whole body of students gathers for a public lecture or the rhetorical exercises of the third- and fourth-year classes.

Systematic training in gymnastic and calisthenic exercises is provided for both young men and young women, under teachers appointed by the College.

There are four prosperous literary societies, which meet weekly, in rooms set aside for their use. The 'Alpha Beta,' are open to both sexes, and the 'Ionian,' for young women, meet Friday afternoon. The 'Webster' and the 'Hamilton' admit to membership young men only, and meet on Saturday evening.

The Young Men's and the Young Women's Christian Associations hold weekly meetings. They appoint reception committees to meet new students at the trains, to assist them in finding suitable boarding places, and to aid them in various ways. The two associations publish, for free distribution, a handbook containing a map of the town, information concerning the College, and other matters of interest to students.

Once in each term the College Hall is opened for a social gathering of Faculty and students, in which music, literary exercises and friendly greeting find place.

Public lectures by prominent men of the state are provided from time to time, as opportunity offers. All are free.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.65-66.

Members of the Ionian Literary Society perform, Fall 1896

Minnie Howell joined the Ionian Literary Society. Literary societies helped members develop skills in forensic art, literature and music. Members were required to write papers, make speeches and perform musically (either singing, dancing, or playing an instrument).

Course of Study, 1896-1897
Reflecting information from Minnie Howell's transcript

Hours/Week   Walter's Freehand Drawing text book, page 3
Fall Term
14 weeks
English Analysis
Geometrical Drawing  
Free-hand Drawing
Music Inst.
Military Drill
Winter Term
12 weeks
5 Walter's Freehand Drawing text book, page 7
English Composition
Ed. Physics
Commercial Law
Vocal Music
Military Drill
Spring Term
11 weeks
English Structure
Military Drill
[When no work outside of class is required, italics are used.]

Industrial Training

Closely adjusted to the course of study is industrial training in several of the arts, to which each student is required to devote at least one hour a day. Among the lines of training, each student may select, with the approval of the Faculty, except in terms when special industries are required. Young men may have farming, gardening, and fruit-growing, woodwork and ironwork, or printing. Young women may take cooking, sewing, printing, floriculture, or music. The training in these departments is designed to be systematic and complete in each, so that a student following a single line diligently through the four-years course gains the essentials of a trade and a reasonable degree of skill. Those who wish only a general training in the arts can take shorter courses in several of them.

During the fourth year, young men taking the Farmers' Course will have their industrial in the farm, garden, and orchards. Young women take their industrial for one term of the first year in sewing, and for the winter and spring terms of the second year in the kitchen laboratory and dairy.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.37.


Botany Laboratory Hitchcock's Botany guide, woody plants Hitchcock's Botany guide, spring flora The class-room work is supplemented by daily field work, which in the main runs parallel with the text-book used. The aim in the field work is to teach the student how to observe, and how to draw conclusions from his observations. The following are a few of the subjects studied: Germination of corn, bean or other common seed; opening of buds; falling of leaves; various fruits and their adaptations for dissemination; pollination and adaptations for cross-fertilization. These notes and observations, together with the necessary drawings, are submitted from time to time for examination and criticism. In addition to this, each student prepares a herbarium of not less than 50 species of native plants. These are named by the aid of Gray's Manual of Botany, sixth edition, or by a key to the genera of Manhattan plants, prepared by the professor of botany. The students are required to provide themselves with pocket lenses, under the direction of the professor in charge.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.45.

Bookkeeping and Commercial Law

Beginning with a simple cash account, bookkeeping is developed through all the essential principles. Considerable time is given to those forms best adapted to farm and business life. Each student provides a full set of blanks and keeps a regular set of books, in which accuracy of calculation and posting and neatness of execution are just as essential as correct understanding of the principles. In connection with the work in bookkeeping, a practical course of 12 lectures in commercial law is given, including contracts, farm rights, negotiable paper, sales, real estate, partnership, bailment, common carriers, and business forms.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.54.

Drawing and Descriptive Geometry

Art classroom, 1896 Free-hand Drawing and Sketching. The course in free-hand drawing comprises 42 lessons in surface designing and 24 lessons in sketching from the object. The student begins with forms involving the straight line and the arc. He is led to note the effects of geometrical arrangement, repetition, alternation, symmetry, proportion, harmony, and contrast. Later, the conventional ornament is taken up, and more subtle curvatures and complex forms are introduced. Toward the close of the term, natural forms and historic ornament in the flat are studied. The models used are geometrical solids and objects of utility and beauty, whose forms bear close relationship to geometrical types. The students are led to recognize the facts, relations and principles involved in the apparent form of the object, to note the distribution of light, shade, shadow, and the reflection on the same, and deduce the general principles which the observation and comparison of these appearances are found to establish.

Graphics. "The course in graphics comprises six weeks of geometrical drawing; six of orthographic projection, including plane intersections; 22 weeks of descriptive geometry, including the study of plane and space curves, axonometric projection, double-curved surfaces, warped surfaces, and the principles of shades and shadows; and 16 lessons in linear perspective. The geometrical drawing consists of the construction of perpendiculars, parallels, angles, and polygons, the circle and its secant lines, the ovoid, the oval and the spiral, various geometrical designs and elementary architectural forms, the use of drawing-board and T square, and the conventional representation of building materials."

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.54.


Sewing Class One term of sewing is required before the completion of the first year of study. During this term the work is carefully laid out by the superintendent, in a series of lessons, graded to the capabilities of each student. To more advanced students all ordinary forms of sewing with needle or machine are taught, and any student may furnish material, and work for her own advantage under direction of the superintendent. Cutting and fitting by a straight-line system are taught, and the systems are furnished at wholesale rates. Fancy needlework and knitting may be taken at certain stages of the course.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.59.


Vocal Music.-- Instruction is furnished free of charge, under the direction of the Faculty. Classes meet on Wednesdays for advanced pupils and for beginners on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 1:30 P.M. This study is taken up at the choice of the student, but regular attendance is required as at the other classes. The advanced class shares in the music of public exercises during commencement week.

Instrumental Music.-- Instruction upon the piano, organ, mandolin, guitar, and the more important orchestral and band instruments is given free to students in the regular courses, under the following restrictions:

It may be taken as an industrial by ladies only, after the required industrials of the first year, and after passing an examination equivalent to one term in vocal music, in which case one hour's daily practice at the College is required.

It may be assigned as an extra at any time, when a student does well in the general course of study.

Class organization shall be wholly under control of the professor in charge. Students in the music department shall be subject to the call of the professor for music connected with College exercises.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.60.

Military Training

Short lived drill class for women students in 1888 Students of the first year have one lesson each week of the winter term in drill regulations. A course of lectures is given twice a week during the winter term of the second year. These are designed to show how an army is organized, equipped, and supplied; to explain some of the minor operations of war; to show the organization of the militia under the militia law of this state. Instruction is afforded to such as desire it in other military subjects.

From the General Catalog, 1896-1897, p.61.