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Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University
University Archives & Manuscripts - Exhibits
Minnie Howell: 1897-1898

President Thomas E. Will, 1897-1899

Thomas E. Will "Will's presidency does not lend itself to a neat, brief evaluation, nor does this writer have any inclination to try. But it is clear that in spite of the political chaos and the critics' cries that Kansas State was falling to pieces, the fundamental educational program advanced under Will; various changes and plans of his were continued by future presidents to the benefit of all concerned. We have already noted the reorganization of the basic curriculum. Enrollment increased during and immediately following the Populist administration. A dairy curriculum and building were inaugurated; the Agricultural Experiment Station's work was strengthened; and basic research was furthered during the years from 1897 to 1899. Will's tenure was too short for there to be a meaningful analysis of the man's administrative abilities. Professor Willard (later the University historian) reflected an anti-Will view on many occasions, while a colleague, Professor Correll (who was also University historian), viewed the Will years with considerable sympathy. Professor Walters, another participant in the events, was very circumspect in his brief written comments on Will."

From James Carey's Kansas State University: The Quest for Identity, pg.85.

Events from 1897-1898

An Analogy

In a certain southern farm home, as there are in all farm homes, there were a flock of geese - one old white goose was gone for a longtime - the family supposed her dead, strayed or stolen.

The farmer had a son and a daughter, this son had a sweetheart - she sent him letters - the sister wanted to read them - the brother did not want her to read them. He hid them under the barn floor - now there were blowing vipers in that region.

One day a letter came, the son stole down to the barn, reached for his box of treasures - there was a hiss and then a sharp quick blow struck his hand - he ran to the house - they sent for the doctor - the neighbors came, each had a sure cure - the son was turning pale - he was surely dying.

The doctor came - he said there were no signs of poisoning - every woman that had applied her remedy 'knowed it was a sure cure.' Then they all went to the barn - they raised the board - heard the hissing sound - and there under the barn floor was the old white goose on a nest of eggs and a box of letters.

(Believed to be Minnie M. Howell)

From Ionian Oracle

Gathering Flowers

One day sad and gloomy I wandered along feeling as tho the world was against me. I felt as tho there was not a friend in it for me.

With these thots I wandered thru the cold crowded streets of the city on to the suburbs, heeding nothing of my surroundings not knowing why or where I went. I kept on till I came to a bridge over a clear rippling brook. I stopped and looked down for a long while until my brain was clear. Then I heard the voices of children. I turned and went in their direction. I stopped where they could not see me.

They spoke of the birds, butterflies, and flowers, they were so happy gathering the beautiful flowers of the early spring. When all nature seemed to farm cheerfulness, the sun was warm, the birds sang, the fields were green, and all was bright.

When they were gone and I was again left to my self, my thots were not as they were when I left my home. I saw myself in the springtime of life, groping in the cold, crowded, darkened paths, trying to avoid the crime, shame and misery of a narrow life, instead of wandering out into the clear, free, warm atmosphere of good company, good literature and rest.

Instead of gathering the flowers of life I was searching for the dry, dead sticks.

I went back to my home determined to follow the lessons learned from those bright, happy children.

(Believed to be Minnie M. Howell)

From Ionian Oracle

Course of Study, 1897-1898
Reflecting information from Minnie Howell's transcript

Fall Term
14 weeks
Chapel Lecture
Winter Term
12 weeks
Gen. History
Org. Chem. Geometry
Anal. Chemistry & Lab.  
Chapel Lecture
Spring Term
11 weeks
U.S. History
Org. Chem
  [When no work outside of class required, italics are used.]

Courses in Pure Chemistry

Remsen's Introduction to Organic Chemistry text book 1. General Introduction. This course consists of about fifty lectures and experimental demonstrations, supplemented by both oral and written recitations. After a few weeks the periodic system of the elements is made the basis of chemical classification. Special attention is given to the non-metals and the general foundations of chemical science.

5. Introduction to Organic Chemistry. This course is given regularly three times weekly . Especial emphasis is given to the fatty compounds and the study of general reactions.

Courses in Analytical and Applied Chemistry

11. Analytical Chemistry. This course is designed not only to impart the principles and practices of qualitative chemical analysis, but to give opportunity for extending the student's knowledge of inorganic chemistry. It requires two hours per week.

Chemistry Class in Holtz Hall 12. Laboratory Work in Analytical Chemistry. This course must be taken with course 11, and occupies eight hours per week. The exercises are so arranged as to pass from the simple to the more difficult, and at the same time to facilitate comparative study of the various basic and acid radicals. Opportunity is afforded for advanced work to such students as desire it.

From the General Catalog, 1897-1898, p.50.

History and Political Science

United States History. An elementary training in United States history is required for entrance. In the spring term of the second year the constitution and political history of the nation is studied.

General History. The objects of the course are to fix in the mind the main facts of history; study their meanings, relations, laws, and lessons; train the memory, reason, imagination, and sympathies; help the student to understand references in current literature; comprehend the origin and development of existing states, peoples, and institutions; and by the light of the past learn something of the future--what it may be and what it should be--the when, the why, the ought, and the how. The work consists of lectures, text-book study, reference reading, analyses, discussions, solution of problems, and original research and generalization.

From the General Catalog, 1897-1898, p.57.

Household Economics,
Including Hygiene and Sewing

The above heading stands for far more than the old one of "Household Economy," both natural science and sociology in their increasing application to the business of every-day life compelling a term that shall include both. To perpetuate the home; to reduce poverty, pauperism, and crime; to give comfortable and happy family life to all faithful workers, and so strengthen the state's quota of true citizens, well taught and well nourished--this is the sum of household economics; and both natural science and sociology are showing the necessities involved. The essentials of such a course fall under the following heads:

  1. How to choose healthful locations, and plan convenient, suitably furnished houses.
  2. How to ventilate, warm and light in the best manner both public and private buildings.
  3. How to provide not only attractive, appetizing food, but that suited to the age and occupation of the eater.
  4. How to judge clothing materials and all fabrics for household use, and prepare them in the best manner.
  5. How to guard the water-supply, preserving it from taint or infection, and providing a supply suitable for drinking and washing.
  6. How to care for milk in the best manner, keeping it free from germs.
  7. How to insure rapid and sanitary drainage, and the prompt removal of garbage.

Hygiene is thus seen to be an essential part of the teaching, and some knowledge of chemistry is required by every student entering the course.

Campbell's Household Economics textbook Household Economics: Cooking. Simple lessons with experiments on chemistry of foods: (a) water foods, (b) milk, (c) albumen, (d) fats, (e) sugar, (f) starch, rice, etc., (g) cellulose. Simple dishes are given under each heading, each member of the class doing individual work. Tables of the form used in industrial teaching at Pratt and other industrial training schools have been provided and fitted up for individual work, each student being required to work out a rule singly. Fruit canning, preserving, pickling, etc., is part of the work of this term for more advanced students. Bacteriology in its simplest forms is taught, together with the uses and values of the various cleaning agents, sapolio, pearline, borax, ammonia, etc. At each lesson two housekeepers are appointed, who have general oversight of the room.

From the General Catalog, 1897-1898, p.61.
For Helen Campbell's opinion of life in Manhattan, KS, and the importance of hygiene: Congregationalist, 1899


Horticulture students working in the greenhouse. All horticultural subjects are treated chiefly by lectures, supplemented by references to standard works. Essays are prepared by students on the various topics considered throughout the course. The laboratory and industrial work pursued during the entire course combine theory with practice.

The botany previously required, together with industrials taken by young men in orchards, nursery, and greenhouses, fit the student for the study of the general principles underlying a systematic study of plant growth, propagation, environment, and improvement; involving a study of seeding, cutting, budding, grafting, layering, etc.; the management and location of nurseries; and the training, selection, packing and shipping of stock; their special treatment being illustrated by field study.

From the General Catalog, 1897-1898, p.58.


Mary Winston It is the aim of the department of mathematics to give a thorough training in a small number of subjects, and to develop in the student the ability to attack new problems, rather than to burden his mind with a large number of facts or special methods. It is also characteristic of the methods of the department that an attempt is made to give to the mathematical subjects a touch of human interest, by directing the attention of the student to the historical development of these subjects. For example, the course in plane geometry is opened by a lecture on the history of geometry.

Geometry. Required in all courses. The first term covers the first three books of plane geometry. Numerous exercises are assigned for original demonstration and construction by the student. About one-third of the second term is given to the completion of plane geometry, the remainder to solid geometry.

From the General Catalog, 1897-1898, p.63.
Additional information on Mary Winston.