The arrival of the railroad in Mormon territory in 1869 initiated ripples of change in Mormon culture far beyond the relative ease with which newcomers – both convert Saints and crusading Gentiles – could reach Zion.
One of those unforeseen ripples gradually transformed education among the Saints: The railroad changed the economy, bringing previously unavailable manufacturing equipment and finished goods to Utah and greatly increasing the need for more highly skilled workers who needed more education than the sporadic, poorly equipped district (public) schools could provide.
The railroads also brought Protestant missionaries who quickly realized that the Achilles heel to Mormonism wasn’t with the adults, but with the children: reach vulnerable children with a subversive message, teach them to doubt or at least stand aloof from the convictions of their parents, make them feel ashamed of their differences, and the next generation might turn from the God of their fathers to the Protestant God. Those missionaries opened schools in Utah offering better training than could be found in most public schools, with the goal of converting the children by means of the Four R’s: readin’, writin’, ’rithmetic, and religion.
Mormon parents were perhaps more alarmed by the attractiveness of the Protestant schools than by the requirements of a modernizing world. Their experimental solution to the one, though, also helped them tackle the other.
After 1890, Wilford Woodruff called on every stake in the church to follow the pattern Brigham Young had set in 1875 with the founding of Provo’s Brigham Young Academy by founding stake academies. About 40 such schools were eventually set up, of varying quality and duration. The motivating idea was that in these essentially private schools children would be shielded from apostate religion, the Latter-day Saint gospel could be taught alongside literacy, and the gaps in children’s rural education could be filled by what we now consider to be at the level of high schools (there were none-to-few public high schools in Utah until well after the turn of the 20th century).
The perceived need for these stake academies gradually faded until by 1912, most had disbanded, their students going back into secular – not Protestant – public schools, with their religious training being supplemented by the after-school Religion Class, and by the church auxiliaries and junior seminaries. A few of the old Mormon academies survived much longer – some became normal schools (i.e., specialized in the production of public school teachers); some were given by the Church to the State, becoming junior colleges and eventually full colleges (like Weber State, in Ogden); one remains in operation under Church sponsorship as a university (Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, started life as a stake academy); and one – that of Juarez, Mexico – still functions as a church-owned private high school.
Representative of the ambitions of the Stake Academy system are the programs and lifestyle outlined in the 1902-03 catalog of Fielding Academy at Paris, Idaho.
If you only glance at the catalog as a whole, be sure to read the section near the end on the “Missionary Course” – I can’t say that Fielding was the only or even the first, but its Missionary Course made of Fielding Academy an early day Missionary Training Center.
An Educational Institution of the
Church of Jesus Christ of
High School, Normal, Missionary and
business Courses of Study.
September 22. Entrance Examinations, Registration of Students.
September 23. Instruction begins.
November 17. Winter course begins.
November 27-28. Thanksgiving Recess.
December 19 to January 5. Christmas Vacation.
January 30. First Semester closes.
February 2. Instruction begins.
April 3. Winter Course closes.
_____. Arbor Day.
May 28. Decoration Day.
June 3. Class Day Exercises.
June 4. Commencement.
June 5. Field Day.
Board of Education.
Wm. Budge, President.
J.U. Stucki, Secretary.
J.r. Shepherd, Treasurer.
James H. Hart.
Wm. L. Rich.
J.A. Sutton, Jr.
Prof. R.T. Haag.
General Church Board of Education.
Joseph F. Smith, Chairman.
Anthon H. Lund,
George H. Brimhall,
Joseph M. Tanner,
John R. Winder,
Arthur Winter, Secretary
Richard T. Haag,
Theology, Normal work and German.
Walter H. Durrant,
Secretary and Librarian.
English and Algebra.
Daniel T. Thomander,
Blanche Cooper, B.S.,
Geometry and Botany.
A. Teresa Porter,
Physiography and Physiology.
Stenography and Typewriting
Joseph R. Shepherd,
Adelina H. Spencer,
Piano and Organ.
Dr. J.M. Tanner, Gen. Supt. of Church Schools.
President William Budge,
Joseph R. Shepherd,
Brigham H. Roberts,
Susa Young Gates,
Prof. John A. Widtsoe,
Prof. John T. Miller.
THE FIELDING ACADEMY.
In the fall of 1887 the authorities of the Bear Lake Stake of Zion, recognizing the importance of higher education combined with religious training, decided to establish a Church school after the pattern of the mother institution at Provo.
During the period 1887-1901 this school, which was known as the “Bear Lake Stake Academy,” passed through various vicissitudes. It had no permanent home, its financial resources were inadequate, and many changes occurred in its faculty, all of which were unfavorable to its growth and development. At first the school was conducted in the large hall of the County Court House, afterward an upper story in one of the business houses was secured, still later the Second Ward Meeting House was used, and finally an old furniture building on Main Street was fitted out for its temporary accommodation. Not until the last season did it emerge from these humble circumstances to occupy the commodious quarters of its present home.
Prof. Gottfried L.G. Hessell acted as the first principal during the winter of ’87 and ’88. He taught, however, only one year, when he died and was succeeded by Stake Counselor, George Osmond, (now President of the Star Valley Stake) who likewise taught only one winter. Both of these brethren were assisted by Elder Oliver C. Dunford, who took a prominent part in the establishment of the school. Following Principal Osmond, John H. Miles, Jacob Spori, Emil Maeser, W.W. billings, Albert Matheson and W.H. Griffin consecutively held the principalship, Professor Miles, who served for four years, being the longest in office.
The school year of 1901-’02 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the institution. The new Academy building, the corner stone of which was laid in June, 1896, had advanced sufficiently in its course of construction so that school could be held in the rooms of the first floor. Professor Richard T. Haag, recently returned from a mission to Germany, and formerly a member of the Latter-day Saints’ College and of the Weber Stake Academy faculties, was engaged as principal, and commenced on October 14th. During the progress of the school it was decided to extend its district beyond the borders of the Bear Lake Stake, and a change of name therefore became necessary. Accordingly, on March 26th, with the approval of the General Board of Education, the name “Fielding Academy” was chosen in honor of President Joseph Fielding Smith. Impressive Commencement Exercises, held in the Stake Tabernacle on April 15th, when twenty-eight students were graduated from the grammar department, brought this successful year to a close.
With the present school year the Academy enters upon a well defined mission. The uniformity of the courses of instruction now established in all the high schools of the Latter-day Saints, lends a clearness of expression and an impetus of strength to this important work of education as never before. Having an earnest desire to be in complete harmony with our sister institutions of the grand Church School system, we feel that we, as a part of this system, are starting out with them upon a glorious, ever progressive march of success.
What work is undertaken by this institution shall be done as thoroughly as is possible under present conditions. It shall be our pride to furnish material from our class rooms, well prepared to enter still higher courses of learning. Our aim is to fit the young people attending here for practical life, and to promote their complete development, morally, intellectually and physically. Above all we shall strive to realize for the Fielding Academy the fulfillment of the words expressed by our worthy General superintendent: “The schools of the Church are growing dearer and dearer, and nearer and nearer, to the Saints everywhere; and out of them, there are daily marching the standard bearers of God’s revelation of truth to man.”
Paris is ten miles distant from the railroad, but has excellent stage and mail service, and is connected by telephone with all the principal cities and towns.
The healthfulness of climate; the absence of those contaminating influences that curse and defile many of the youth in the large cities; the grand old mountains that afford such unusual facilities for the naturalist to study nature in her mighty fastnesses, – all these advantages make this a most desirable location for such an institution of learning.
The location of the Academy is an ideal one. Situated on an eminence immediately adjacent to the thriving city of Paris, and overlooking the broad valley and the beautiful lake beyond, it presents a picturesque and inspiring view from every side.
As a healthful, safe and quiet home for students, Paris, the county seat of Bear Lake County, is unexcelled. The good order and the progressive spirit which characterize this city are widely known. Saloons, gambling-houses and other similar adjuncts of modern civilization that flourish in nearly all cities of its size, have no abiding place here.
Building and Grounds.
It is a source of gratification to know that after being so many years without a home the institution is at last blessed with such beautiful and commodious quarters.
The Academy building, on the lower floor of which school was conducted last season, will be entirely completed and furnished by the beginning of school in September. The main building is fifty-two feet front by sixty-four feet deep, surmounted by a tower seventy-five feet high. The first floor of this building will be used for a gymnasium. On the second story are located the President’s office, the Library, teachers’ room, ladies’ toilet and the grand entrance, with stairway leading to the lecture hall or general assembly room. This hall, which is twenty feet high, occupies all of the third story and will seat three hundred students.
The south wing only, has been constructed and is sixty-three feet front by forty-three feet wide, three stories in height. In each story are three class rooms thirty-two by twenty feet with a corridor eight feet wide, running through the west side of the building. The rooms are well lighted and ventilated and will be heated with hot air, by the most approved system.
The Academy grounds comprise six acres, there being sufficient room for a suitable campus, out-door sport, games and military drill.
The Academy admits into its courses students of both sexes provided that they are prepared by previous work to pursue the studies prescribed.
Applicants who cannot present credentials from accredited schools, will be required to take entrance examination.
If it is found that a student is deficient in not more than two studies, he may be received in his class conditionally until the deficiency is made up.
Special arrangements will be made in the case of students who are above district school age but have not completed the district school work corresponding to the sixth grade.
To enter the Business Course or the High School and Normal course a student must have completed work equivalent to the eighth grade unless he can give evidence of sufficient development to be able to pursue advantageously the studies of this course.
Students who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be required to pursue the studies in theology, but should they desire to be excused from these studies, formal application must be made to the Faculty.
Every student on entrance is placed on his word of honor. Strict gentlemanly and ladylike conduct and earnest devotion to duty is expected in every case.
The following regulations are suggested in the spirit of deepest interest and kindliest feeling toward the students, who are subject to these rules both in and out of school.
1. – The use of tobacco and strong drink, also profane or obscene language, is strictly prohibited.
2. – Students are urged against the attendance of any parties not under the control of the Academy. The faculty will not be responsible for the progress of students who disregard this admonition.
3. – It is required of all students to be punctual and regular in attendance. Absence for three consecutive days from school or from a class, without excuse, will be reported to parents or guardians.
4. – No student can honorably discontinue attendance, without first reporting to the Principal and obtaining final specifications of standing.
5. – Examinations are held monthly and reports of deportment and class standing will be sent to parents or guardians for signature.
6. – Students violating any rules of the Academy relating to personal conduct, lay themselves liable to suspension or expulsion from school.
Since the students are subject to the rules and regulations of the Academy both in and out of school, provision is made in all Church schools to see that the rules affecting students when outside of school are carried out in the spirit thereof. This work, as also the mission of introducing the spirit of the teaching of the Academy into every student’s home, devolves upon what is known as the Domestic Organization.
At each of the boarding houses, one of the students is appointed senior, whose duty it is to see that everything pertaining to the students of that boarding house is in order and to report any disorder to the presiding officer of the organization. To effect this, Paris is divided into four districts, corresponding to the municipal wards.
Special teachers, appointed from among students, make bi-weekly visits for the purpose of aiding the seniors in their work. Semi-monthly meetings are held in which reports of these visits are received and instructions are given relative to domestic duties. In this connection the Academy aims to impress upon the students the importance of a practical application of religious principles, to influence them to form regular habits, to keep proper hours, and to avoid loafing, improper associates, and even the appearance of evil.
Entrance Fees and Expenses.
In all courses, except the Missionary and Winter courses, an entrance fee of $12.50 is charged.
Students attending the Winter Course are charged $10.00 upon entrance.
In the Commercial Course a charge of $25.00 is made in addition to the entrance fee.
For special business studies, charges are made as follows:
Typewriting, $10.00 per Semester.
Phonography, $10.00 per Semester.
Typewriting and Phonography, $15.00 per Semester.
Book-keeping, $12.00 per Semester.
Band and Orchestral Music for others than regular students $2.00 for the school year.
Piano and Organ:
Weekly lessons for full term (40 weeks), $10.00.
Weekly lessons for half term (20 weeks), $5.00.
From the Preparatory Course, $1.00
High School Certificates, $1.50
Special Certificates, $2.00
From Commercial Course, $3.00
Board and Rooms.
The cost of living in Paris is much lower than in large cities. Good rooms and board in private houses can be obtained at from $2.00 to $3.50 per week. By renting rooms and boarding themselves, students are able to reduce their expenses to $1.50 to $2.00 per week for room and board. Rooms can be rented at from $1.00 to $2.00 per month.
A list of places suitable for students to stay at while attending school may be had by applying to J.U. Stucki, secretary of the Board, or Prof. Richard T. Haag, Principal.
Students will be expected to consult the Principal before locating in any other place than those recommended by the Board.
Societies and Class Organizations.
To aid students in acquiring a practical knowledge of parliamentary procedure, speech-making and debating, also to acquaint them with social, scientific and political questions of today, various societies are organized, the most important of which is the “Students’ Society,” which has bi-weekly sessions in the Academy Assembly Hall. Each class also has an organization, in which meetings are held at regular intervals.
In these societies profitable recreation from the daily routine of class recitation is afforded the students, who take a leading part in these organizations and are responsible for the conduct of the meetings.
The best available talent of the Church and of the State will be engaged, and the special lecturers, whose names appear on page 6 of this circular, will address the students.
Special societies or classes will be organized to awaken an interest in manual and domestic training, preparatory to the introduction of courses along these lines in the Academy. Members of these societies will take up suitable subjects not only for theoretical study, oral and written discussion, but practical results will be sought for from the first. It will be the purpose of these societies to exalt and dignify handiwork, and the efforts of the students in this direction will receive due recognition in all the departments of the school. From the boys some specimen in elementary woodwork and carpentry or in mechanical and architectural drawing, from the girls some article in sewing, dressmaking or needle work will be expected.
During the past school year the Library was increased by purchase and donation to more than double its former size, and it is the design further to enlarge it by adding each year the most recent books treating on the various subjects taught in the institution. In addition to the large number of valuable books and pamphlets dealing with theology, ethics, history, pedagogy, biography, economics, literature, art and the sciences, all the important local papers and periodicals, besides many current magazines from various parts of the United States, come regularly to the school where they are arranged on the reading stands within convenient access of the students.
The Library contains the best unabridged dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other standard works of reference, all of which, under prescribed regulations, are at the disposal of the students during each school day. In the classifying and indexing of the Library the Dewey Decimal System is employed.
A considerable number of valuable contributions have recently been made to the Academy Museum, and steps are being taken further to equip this important adjunct to scientific study-work. The mineralogical, botanical, anatomical and alcoholic specimens are used in connection with regular class work, to illustrate the various subjects taken up in physiography, botany, physiology, zoology, etc.
Additional contributions are earnestly solicited, and are, when received, carefully preserved and duly accredited to the respective donors.
Book of Mormon, 3, 3 [first semester, second semester]
Algebra, 5, 5
Physiography, 3, 3
Grammar and Classics, 5, 5
Vocal Music, Elocution, Manual Training, Elect two, 4, 4
Life of Christ, 3 – Apostolic Age, 3
Geometry, 3, 3
Rhetoric, 5, 5
Zoology, 5, botany, 5
Physiology, 2, 2
Drawing, 2, 2
Old Testament, 3, 3
Physics, 4, 4
English (Literature), 3, Literature, 3
Psychology, 3, 3
Theory of Teaching, 2, 2
U.S. History, 3, 3
Civil government, 2,2
Church History and Doctrine, 3, 3
Advanced Rhetoric, 2, 2
Chemistry, 5, Geology, 5
European History, 2, 2
Training, 4, 4
Pedagogy, 4, 4
Note. – The figures refer to the number of recitation hours a week.
First Year Studies.
Book of Mormon. The leading events of Book of Mormon history, with a careful discussion of all doctrinal points treated in the sacred record. frequent reference is made to standard works of American antiquities.
Four hours a week throughout the year.
Algebra. Fundamental processes; factoring; fractions; involution and evolution; theory of exponents; simple and quadratic equations; ratio and proportion. Five hours a week through both semesters.
Wells’ “Essentials of Algebra” is used as a text-book.
Physiography. A study of the earth as a globe; the ocean; the air; weather conditions; the common minerals; erosion; stratification; volcanic phenomena; etc. this course is in fact an introduction to geology and mineralogy. Text: Davis’ “Physical Geography.”
Three hours a week, during both semesters.
Grammar and Classics. A study in classics with ample composition work based on the readings. Advanced grammar will be studied co-ordinately. Text books: “Masterpieces of American Literature,” and Reed and Kellogg’s “Advanced Lessons in English.” Five hours a week, throughout the year.
Vocal Music. Technical instruction in the rudiments of music is supplemented by practice in sight reading and abundant drill in choral work. Text: “The Academy Song Book.” Two recitations a week, through the year.
Elocution. Reading from the best American and English classics. The purpose is the acquisition of a working vocabulary, a knowledge of authors and their works, and correct oral expression. Written summaries and reproductions are required, and memorized passages are recited before the class.
Two hours a week, both semesters.
Manual Training. No regular course is offered this year, but credits will be given for manual and domestic work done under the auspices of the society organizations as indicated on page 13. Sickel’s “Exercises in Woodworking” is used for reference.
Second Year Studies.
Life of Christ. In connection with the life and ministry of Christ, the geography and topography of the Holy Land, and the historic condition of the world are carefully studied. memorizing and reciting of numerous passages of scripture is required.
Four recitations a week, first semester.
Apostolic Age. A detailed study of The Acts, epistles, and revelations of the Apostles, and the development of Christianity under their ministry.
Four recitations a week, second semester.
Plane Geometry. Rectilinear figures; the circle; polygons; etc. A regular course in demonstration and construction is given. Text: Wells’ “Essentials of Geometry.” Three recitations a week during both semesters.
Rhetoric. This course gives the student instruction in the principles of rhetorical theory and furnishes abundant application of those principles in the writing of papers and essays. Text: Genung’s “Outlines of Rhetoric.”
Five hours a week throughout the year.
Zoology. Special attention is given to the structure, development, function, habits and life-history of the animal. Laboratory work, consisting of the dissection of various representative animal forms is carried on in connection with class recitation. Kingsley’s “Comparative Zoology” is the text book.
Five hours a week, first semester.
Botany. A detailed study of plant anatomy, organs, functions, and nutrition, with an introduction to classification. Twenty-five mounted and named plants will be required. Five hours a week, second semester.
Bergen’s “Foundations of Botany” is the text.
Physiology. An academic course in physiology and hygiene, with practical illustration by means of laboratory specimens, charts, manikins, and the use of the microscope. Colton’s “Experimental and Descriptive Physiology”: is the text book. Two hours a week, both semesters.
Drawing. A brief course in ornamental, perspective, and blackboard drawing, with an introduction to designing and sketching from nature. Thompson’s Drawing Books Nos. 7 and 8 are used.
Two recitations a week, first and second semesters.
German. The Academy offers a regular High School course in German, as well as a special conversation course to which Preparatory students may be admitted. There is a growing and progressive German population in this region. Twenty-five per cent of the entire number of students attending school last year were of German parentage. The general desire manifested by these students and their parents for instruction in their mother tongue called for a special arrangement in class work to accommodate students from the preparatory department. A strong effort will be made this year to meet more fully the wants of this special course.
The first year of the High School course in this study enables the student to acquire a vocabulary and to become acquainted with the elements of German grammar. Practice in reading and conversation is given, and students are advised to avail themselves of the benefits of the special course in conversation mentioned above. Keller’s “First Year in German” is used as the text. Four hours a week throughout the year.
The second year is a continuation of the first year’s work, Keller’s “Second Year in German” and Bernhardt’s “Composition” being used as texts. A number of German classics are also read, and the student is introduced to the spirit and literature of the Germans. The national characteristics of the German-speaking peoples, past and present, receive thorough study through a special society organization meeting regularly for this purpose.
Four hours a week during the year.
Third and Fourth Years.
Upon a sufficient number of applications, special classes in Theory of Teaching and in Pedagogy will be organized to accommodate those desiring to teach school before having completed the Normal course. Otherwise no classes will be conducted this year in the studies outlined for the third and fourth years of the Normal and High School Course.
Corresponding to Seventh Grade of Public Schools.
First and Second Semesters.
Theology, 3, Reading (U.S. History), 2
Arithmetic, 5, Geography (Civil Government), 3
English Grammar and Composition, 5, Orthography, 2, Penmanship, Drawing, Music, 5
Same as first year, but corresponding to the Eighth Grade of Public School.
The Preparatory course is designed especially for young men and ladies who are beyond the district school age but who have not completed district school work corresponding to the seventh and eighth grades. The studies, while chiefly those prescribed regularly in the grades above named, are supplemented by theological instruction and are carefully adapted to the capacity and mature judgment of the students who will pursue this course. The text books are in the main the same as those adopted by the State of Idaho for the district schools. The Academy thus aims to assist students in avoiding unnecessary expense.
On completing the Preparatory course students will be admitted to High School or Normal work.
Arithmetic – commercial
Grammar – commercial Correspodnence.
Every advantage will be offered in this department to those who wish to prepare themselves for actual business life. The specific mission of this course is that of qualifying young people for profitable employment. It fits them for duties which confront them daily, offering an education in the science of accounts and in other branches essential in this line of work. Every subject is highly important, and the course, as a whole embraces only such studies as are of greatest value to every young person whatever his position in life may be.
The entire course will be made as practical as possible, the students doing actual business with one another and using the shortest and most improved methods, transacting all kinds of business with the bank, wholesale house, commission house, and becoming acquainted with the various grades of office work, etc. It is now generally recognized that theory alone is not sufficient but must be supplemented with practical business drill. The keynote to success is “learn to do by doing.”
The following extract is from a letter of the First Council of Seventy, dated Salt Lake City, July 9, 1902: “It is the sense of the First Council of Seventy that if the Stake Presidency consent, that a missionary course be established in the Fielding Academy at Paris, and that the teaching of the German language be made one of the subjects of study in that course.”
The young men who pursue this course will be called by letter from the First Presidency and should present the letter so received to the Principal of the Academy on entering. They will then be expected to remain at the institution until released formally by the action of the First Presidency.
Following is the course of study prescribed: –
History of the Church. The establishment of the Church by the personal ministry of Christ and the apostles; the “falling away,” or apostasy; the restoration of the gospel and re-establishment of the Church in the present dispensation.
Four hours a week.
The Principles of the Gospel. Faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, universal and individual salvation, resurrection, pre-existence, dispersion and gathering of Israel, and other doctrinal subjects will receive attention in this course. The standard Church works as well as the writings of our leading authors are used for texts and references.
Scripture Reading. Although the primary object of this study is to make the student efficient in reading aloud, yet special attention is given to the memorizing and recitation of passages of scripture supporting the subjects of the above outlined studies, and the familiarizing of the student with the order of the books in the Bible. As soon as practicable this reading and memorizing 9also singing) will be done in German.
Staging. Same as in Normal Course. (See page 16).
English. Missionary students who have not done necessary work in English will enter the language class best adapted to their respective wants.
German. Same as in first year High School and conversation classes. (See page 18).
Every student will recognize the importance of attending school throughout the full school year. This is of even greater consideration in the Normal and High School than in the business and Preparatory courses. The fact is appreciated, however, that many earnest young men find it impossible, even after putting forth their best efforts, to enter school until all the fall work on the farm is completed.
For the special accommodation of these the courses of study will be so arranged that so far as possible new subjects will be taken up at the commencement of this the winter course. Where this arrangement is impracticable new classes will be organized in any of the courses if the number of applicants justifies.
For time of beginning and close of winter course, see calendar, page 3.
* * *
[List of students for 1901-1902 not transcribed; I’ll check this list for any reader who wants to know if some particular person attended Fielding Academy that year.]