The Gould Academy Journal 1886 - 2011
Posted: July 15, 2015
before and after 1886 Bethel wrestled with the question of high school
education for its scholars. Despite Gould’s Academy
being a locally owned
Gould’s Academy had helped many young
However, year after year the town’s voters could not arrive at an agreeable formula for providing free public high school education for their children at either Gould’s Academy or at a separate town high school. Many voters doubted that high school was essential to their children’s education.
To demonstrate the “for and against” numbers involved, look at the
special town meeting of
The photograph (left) was printed in a special addition of the Bethel News in January 1904. Built in 1881 it was constantly modified right up to 1933 when the current Hanscom Hall replaced it as the main academic building. At the end its entrance looked much like Hanscom Hall.
1886 was the 50th anniversary year of the
65, one of
Mr. Goodwin R. Wiley, 40, was Secretary of the Gould’s Academy trustees – skilled druggist and pharmacist – prominent Mason – held the second highest office in the Grand Lodge – noted for his excellent clerical work.
Mr. William E. Skillings, 40, chaired the trustee’s Executive Committee. He was president and principal owner of the Bethel Steam Mill Company.
In 1886, Gould Academy’s school building was five years old, having been built in 1881. The 1881 school building succeeded the orginal Bethel Academy school house built in 1836.
It was located on Church Street in Bethel approximately where the current Hanscom Hall is in 2007.
The only public room in this building was the library / reading room. At least monthly local newspapers ran a sentence or two inviting Bethel people to visit the reading room where daily papers and monthly journals were part of the public’s reading materials.
Gould Academy did not have a public assembly hall in 1886. Graduating exercises, student performances and oral examinations / declamations were usually held at Ideal Hall. Two other halls available for the academy’s use were Rialto Hall on Main Street and Pattee’s Hall on Spring Street.
Ceylon Rowe, 48,
Gilman P. Bean, 61 long time
merchant and storekeeper; Addison E.
William E. Skillings, 40, President of Bethel Steam Mill Co.; Alfred W. Valentine, 45, Bethel’s school committee;
The Gould Academy Journal - 1886
January 8, 1886, The Oxford County Advertiser published a Gould’s Academy advertisement with the following information: The spring term of Gould’s Academy will begin Tuesday, March 2, and continue for 13 weeks. “Classical and Academic courses of study are established and advantages are offered to those unable to follow one of the regular courses. Special courses will be formed during the coming term to favor those who have been teaching during the winter. For any other information address the Principal, A.F. Sweetser Bethel Maine. “
Bethel Annual Town Meeting “Article 17 – to see if the town will vote to raise a sum of $500 in connection with the Academy fund for the support of a high school to be free for all scholars residing in town.”
3-19-1886 . Gould Academy is running full blast with about one hundred scholars, many from distant towns. H.F. West, Esq., of Upton sends two daughters.
Gould’s Academy opened Tuesday, the 9th, with one hundred scholars; A.F. Sweetser, Principal and Miss Cobb of Bates College and Miss Susie B. Twitchell Assistants. The Trustees of the Academy Fund decided that they cannot unite with the town in a free high school without forfeiting their fund.
5-14-1886 (Advertiser) Thirty-four local district teachers met at Gould’s Academy April 24th to be examined by the Superintending School Committee of Bethel. Those receiving the rank of 90 per cent and upwards were ten, viz: C.E. Valentine, Henry Hastings, Edith A. Philbrook, Mary R. Eames, Ida Hazelton, Han B. Jewett, Ella B. Eames, May Harmon, Mary Chapman, Etta Howe.
July 30, 1886 (Advertiser): “Gould’s Academy, Bethel, begins its fall term August 24th under the management of W.R. Howard of Belfast. A graduate of Maine State College, assisted by Susie B. Twitchell, a daughter of S.B. Twitchell of Bethel and H.T. Johnson, a graduate of Princeton College. We esteem this corps of teachers a very strong working power, and the Executive Committee of the Trustees, of whom William E. Skillings, esq., is chairman, is very fortunate in their selection of so efficient a staff of instructors.
Mr Howard is highly recommended as a progressive scholar, especially efficient in mathematics and the sciences. Miss Twitchell we all know to be an exceptional worthy preceptress of successful experience, and Mr. Johnson has studied two years in a university in Germany and lived two years in France and is well up in the languages. Miss Hall needs no recommendation from us as a teacher of painting and music having spent several winters at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and a lady we all know.
10-15-1886:The young ladies at Gould Academy gave a sociable last Friday evening at Rialto Hall, which was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion. Games were played, refreshments served, and when the time for going home came, all voted that the girls knew how to manage an affair of the kind as well if not better than the young gentlemen.
Bethel can boast of one of the best institutions of learning in the State, Gould’s Academy, from which have gone forth into our vast country, men of brains and intelligence and have taken their stand on the very pinnacle of fame and made their mark in the world.
Professor Howard, A.M., and his staff of assistants and teachers, led off by Mr. Johnson, a teacher of languages, a gentlemen who graduated from one of the best institutions of learning in all Germany, and other proficient helpers. The present number of students is 82 and we are expecting a large increase for the winter term.
An Academy boarding house is being talked up and is very much needed and we hope another year to introduce the students of neighboring towns to a boarding house of minimum prices and good appointments
Spring term will
Tuition: $7.00 English and $6.00 Languages.
Good board can be obtained at reasonable rates with private families in the
village. For further information inquire of W. R. Howard -
August 28, the fall term of Gould Academy commences Sept. 4th, Tuesday, in charge of A. C. Dresser, A.B., principal, with an able corps of assistants ( Prof. Linscott and Miss Wingate). Mrs. Abiel Chandler opens her house to school boards at $2.50 a week.
December 4, the fall term of
12/17/1889: : Several students from West Bethel are going to Gould Academy
this winter – more intend to enroll in the spring and have made boarding
arrangements. Pref. Hall is fast gaining an excellent reputation as an
impartial worker in his calling.
An above average
amount of news about Gould Academy circulated in 1890; much of it seems tied
to the energies, outreach and widened scope of interest of the new academy
principal, Arthur D. Hall who had been hired in August, 1889. On the other
hand, the Town of
The hand of Professor Hall’s influence could be seen in four academy activities: (1) expansion of the school’s library to include promoting its availability to the townspeople; (2) the organization of a Gould Academy Athletic Association, (3) encouragement of local teachers to apply for Normal Courses to help improve the quality of education for local public school teachers; and (4) personally traveling outside of Bethel Hill village to visit students and their families.
In January, Gould gave public notice of its recently expanded library, also open to visitors, that included two daily Boston newspapers, two county newspapers, Harper’s Weekly as well as educational, scientific and literary journals. These publications would be available in the newly arranged reading room.
invited teachers to normal lectures at the Academy with lecture subjects
being Aids and Methods in Teaching, History,
In what seemed like a proposal to assume the academy into the town school system, the 1890 annual town meeting warrant included this article for voter consideration:
Art 26th. To see if the town will vote to accept the building and other property now in the hands of the Trustees of Gould Academy, if said Trustees shall vote to surrender the said property to the town; and to establish and maintain said Academy as a free high school under the provisions of sections 30, 37, 38, and 39 of the Schools Laws of Maine, and to appropriate such sum of money as may be necessary to support and maintain said Academy as a free high school.
This article failed to pass. Moreover, the Trustees were concerned that money received from the state would be forfeited if the academy in effect became a public high school.
In April 1890, the academy announced formation of the
On May 22nd
at Ideal Hall the
In June, the trustees announced that they had engaged Prof. Hall for another year.
advertised its fall term for 1890 as follows: Autumn Term Commences,
The newly formed athletic association provided these two news items:
The Gould Academy
Athletic Association has just received $18 worth of tennis good from
Gould Academy Athletic Association gave an exhibition at Ideal Hall on November 14th. The program consisted of a variety of gymnastic events including the parallel bars and the high kick. The high kick was won by Archie Grover with a kick that reached 7 feet and 10 inches. Young ladies presented a dumb bell drill - all of this from the careful coaching of Prof Hall.
January 20: The
village schools have closed and due to the shortness of the winter term a
private school has opened for those who wish to attend at the academy and
taught by Miss Inez Stewart. January
27: The second of the series of
lectures being given at
3: The winter term of
24: A business college course of exercises is introduced into
Gould Academy Athletic Association has just finished grading and fixing a nice lawn for croquet. The popular
Bethel Water Company has voted to give water to the two public schools in
town and to
[Special to the
Gould Academy Alumni Association. For some time it has been thought by the students of Gould Academy, that it would be an excellent plan to form an alumni association, in order that at least once a year, a reunion might be held of those scholars and classmates, who have gone out from the Academy from year to year.
But heretofore, no steps have been taken to carry out this plan, until at the close of the last term, when through the efforts of Prof. Hall, the two classes of ‘90 and ‘91 met at the Elms House and formed such an association , electing the following officers: President, B.L. Bryant; vice President, Maude Kimball; secretary, Alice Pride; treasurer, Arthur Wiley. But we find that no accurate account has been kept for the last twenty years, of the various classes. Partly because of the frequent changes of teachers, and partly because there has been no organization upon whom this duty would fall.
For this reason we would ask, that all those who can give us information regard to any of the se classes, of who they were composed, and as far as possible their business and address at the present time, not only would confer a great favor upon the present officers, but would help to carry out a work, which we hope will be of some use to the institution., and productive of many pleasant gatherings in the future.
Let each one, for the moment, lay aside their many busy cares, and , in your thoughts wander back to the many pleasant and profitable hours spend at the Old Academy, and consider , whether or not, it would be pleasant to meet again, the same boys and the same girls, only of “older growth,” with whom you enjoyed so many happy days. This is what we are striving to do, and we trust that we shall not be disappointed, but shall receive the cordial aid of all the former students. Kindly address all communications to the president at Bethel.
October 13: The second annual field day of the Interscholastic
Athletic League was held at the (
Arrangements have been made with the Weather Bureau so that the academy receives the daily weather report and chart and is to have the telegraphic reports and display weather signals as soon a the new flagstaff is erected.
At the special
town meeting last Thursday the town
voted 147 to 107 to rescind the vote whereby at the annual meeting $800 was
appropriated to pay tuition of town scholars at
Columbus Day Celebration in
This catalog is the property of the Bethel Historical Society. It was printed by the Lewiston Journal Printers
The 1892-1893 Gould Academy Catalog contains a wealth of information about the academy of these years. It showed that the school’s organization was divided into academics and administration. The trustees were actively involved in the academy’s administration not just an advisory board.
The Board of Trustees was composed of 13 members. The board was organized into a panel of officers, an executive committee, examining committee and a superintendent of academy and grounds.
Officers were Gideon A. Hastings, President
Gilman P. Bean, Vice President
Goodwin R. Wiley, Secretary
Samuel B. Twitchell, Treasurer
The Executive Committee was chaired by Addison E. Herrick, an attorney with four other trustees as members: R.A. Frye, Enoch Foster, J.U. Purington and Charles Mason.
The Examining Committee consisted of Enoch Foster, Addison Herrick and R.A. Frye.
Goodwin Wiley, the Secretary of the Board was also Superintend of the Academy and Grounds. Correspondence from academy applicants came to Mr. Wiley, although as a practical matter Wiley and the principal worked closely on the enrollment process and in assistance with student boarding.
Other members of the Board of Trustees: A.L. Burbank, Ceylon Rowe, John M. Philbrook and Albert W. Grover.
Corps of Instructors
James D. Merriman, A.B., Principal, Ancient Languages, Science, Book-Keeping
Clara D. Merriman, Mathematics, German
Mary Chapman, English
Prof. W.S. Wight, Vocal Music
W.S. Chandler, Assistant in Laboratory
Miss M. C. Chapman, Librarian
Courses of Study
Literary and scientific, commercial and classical courses made up the academy’s program of study.
English compositions and declamations were required of students in all departments. The academy had a complete business college outfit comprising merchandise cards, currency and office equipment for wholesale, commission and freight offices, post office, bank and commercial exchange.
In the 1893 catalog, a total of 103 students were named as enrolled for the three terms which made up the school year; the senior level listed six students. Not all 103 students attended all three terms however.
The catalog’s description of the school building called it new and commodious. It was situated on the Grand Trunk rail line and pure water was supplied by the Bethel Water Company.
Page 8 of the 1893 catalog covered the Library and Reading Room. The Gould library was frequently publicized in the county newspapers as being open to the public. Other paragraphs covered boarding, expenses and general regulations.
Athletics were not covered in this catalog.
Principals 1886 – 1893
As evident from the list below, principals changed often at Gould
during this eight year period. Mr. A.D. Hall achieved the longest tenure of
all principals during this period. One can speculate that he might have
remained longer had the town not voted down an article to pay Gould tuition
A.F. Sweetser – winter, spring terms 1886.
W.R. Howard – Fall and winter, 1886; spring, fall and winter 1887; spring 1888.
A.C. Dresser – Fall, 1888; spring, 1889.
A.D. Hall – Fall and winter, 1889; spring, fall and winter, 1890; spring, fall and winter, 1891; spring of 1892.
James D. Merriman – Fall and winter, 1892; spring, 1893.
First edition of The Academy Herald was prepared to cover the 1896 -1897 winter term.
(It seems apparent that the academy administration was unaware of any previous such publication.)
This first Herald contained 14 printed pages plus
front and back and inside covers. It carried 23 advertisements of
Cora H. Farwell
Ethel M Richardson
Alice C Perkins
George H. French
Fred W Flood, A.B.
Alice E. Purington
Henry L. Small
The first edition of the Herald contained these articles: Editorial, “Old Gould’s” (recollections), An Open Letter from F.O. Small, previous principal, “My Favorite Poet – Sir Walter Scott”, “Quotations Applied”, “The Home of the Sibyl”, Dryden’s Virgil, “Wanted” Someone to pronounce Latin for Latin beginners, … continued, “Personals:” “In Memoriam”, “A Pleasant Occasion” , “The Philomel Society”, “The Prize Examination”, “Sea Breezes” by Cornelia B. French. (Cornelia French was the recent graduate remembered In Memoriam; she died shortly after graduation.) Printed below is the Personals column:
Norman Gehring is in
Alice Chamberlin is
Albert C. Eames, G. A. '94,
is now in
Fred Merrill, G. A. '96, is
George Merrow, '96, is teaching school at Bryants Pond.
Archer Grover is attending the Maine State College at Orono.
Miss Cora Walton Hastings
is employed in the
Miss Jennie M. Wood is principal of the Grammar
Favorite saying of the girls: — "Miss Purington, please play us a waltz."
Miss Joan Stearns, '96,
lately of Shaw's
F. O. Small, a former
popular teacher of Gould's Academy, is now Principal
of Washington Academy,
Since the laughing girl,
Lizzie Moulton, graduated in '95, she has been
teaching, but is now at the home of her parents in
A Bethel Chair Company advertisement in the Business Directory of the first Herald:-
1895 - 1896
Catalogue of the Officers and Students
1895 – 1896
Printed at the News Office,
Board of Trustees
G. A. HASTINGS, G. E. WILEY,
R. A. FRYE,
ENOCH FOSTER, CHARLES MASON,
S. B. TWITCHELL, JOHN M. PHILBROOK,
A. L. BURBANK, J. U. PURINGTON,
A. E. HERRICK ALBERT W. GROVER,
G. P. BEAN.
Officers for 1895 - 1896
G. A. HASTINGS, President.
CHARLES MASON, Vice-President.
G. R. WILEY, Secretary.
S. B. TWITCHELL, Treasurer.
A. E. HERRICK, Chairman
R. A. FRYE, ENOCH FOSTER,
J. U. PURINGTON, CHARLES MASON.
JUDGE ENOCH FOSTER, A. E. HERRICK,
A. W. GROVER.
G. R. WILEY. Superintendent of Academy and Grounds.
Fred Ossian Small, A.B., Principal
Ancient Languages, Chemistry, Commercial Department
Cora Walton Hastings, A.B.
French, German, Mathematics, Physics
Alice Emma Purington
English, Literature, History, Astronomy
Winifred Hall, Librarian
Barton A Smith, Janitor
Each catalogue included a brief history of the academy. Authors of these brief histories were not usually identified; however, each account seemed to cover a financial or academic aspect of the academy’s background that was sometimes not found in larger histories.
No town in the state can boast of having a
of college graduates among its residents or of having sent proportionately so large a number of young men and women to the colleges and seminaries of
The first settlers brought with them the habits of their Puritan ancestors, and early took measures to have their children enjoy the advantages of education. A school was established as early as 1788 and a school-house was soon built.
In 1835 the citizens
formed an organization as trustees of the
The institution was without funds and depended upon public patronage for support. But in 1842, Rev. Daniel Gould of Rumford, made a bequest, since known as the "Gould Fund," on condition that the name be changed to "Gould's Academy in Bethel," which was done. A grant/ of a half-township of land was made in 1850; this was sold and the proceeds were termed the ''State Fund." In 1855, Dr. John Grover made a donation, the interest of which was to be expended only for chemical and physical apparatus.
The present academy building was built in 1881, is well lighted, pleasant, and fully adapted to the purpose for which it was erected.
Among other gifts to the Academy should be mentioned those of the citizens of Bethel, who, at different times during the early days, subscribed such sums as they could for the needs of the institution; and especially in 1882, when $1,123.00 was raised in this way for the purpose of furnishing the new building. Through the kindness of the Bethel Water Company, the building is supplied with pure water.
In 1891, by a resolve of the Legislature, the Academy realized several thousand dollars.
Under the direction of Goodwin R. Wiley, Samuel B. Twitchell and John M. Philbrook, Committee on Repairs, the Academy has been thoroughly repaired and renovated during the past year. Steel ceilings are now used throughout the building; slate blackboards have been placed in all the recitation rooms; a new floor has been laid in the gymnasium and the walls sheathed with hard pine; the boys’ coat-room and the small recitation room have been enlarged; the furniture has been re-finished; and with a bright new coat of paint inside and out, the Academy has, in all respects the appearance of a new building.
The 1897 Academy is the first appearance of Principal Frank E. Hanscom
Carroll E. Valentine, a recent Gould Academy graduate and grandson of
Alfred W. Valentine, wrote a letter to
Gould Academy Principal, Prof. Frank E. Hanscom describing is impressions
of college life at
“College work is no trifling matter and one needs to know in advance what real study means and to have sufficient stability of character to stick to it. I believe, from experience, that Gould’s Academy will give him this knowledge and training, amid the best surroundings and under the best possible influence.”
Gould’s Academy made the following announcement which was printed in the Oxford County Citizen, July 1, 1920. The article explained the academy’s choice of Miss Carrie Wight to head their teacher training course
For nearly ten years this course has played an important part in supplying trained teachers for the ungraded schools of Bethel and surrounding towns. The great shortage of teachers makes this course of more importance than ever before, and it is the purpose of the school and the desire of the State school officials to make this course second to none if its kind. To that end no pains have been spared to secure the best instruction available.
The election of Miss Carrie M. Wight to take charge of this department should mark a new era in the history of the course. Miss Wight was graduated from Gould’s Academy in 1902 as valedictorian of her class. She then taught for five or six years in ungraded and grammar schools, thus laying the best possible foundation for a Normal course. Entering Gorham Normal School she was graduated with high honors in the class of 1911, and was immediately elected Critic Teacher of the 5th and 6th grades in the training department of the Machias State Normal School. After filling this position for two years she was made Supt. of the Training School, a position she has continued to hold until she resigned to accept the position at Gould’s.
Miss Wight has taken summer courses at Hyannis Normal School and Harvard College, and has done extensive observation work in some of the best schools of the country, such as the Horace Mann School, New York, and the grade school in Brookline and Newton, Mass. Few, if any, teachers in the State are better qualified to direct a Teacher Training course than Miss Wight, and pupils taking this course may be assured of receiving, with the limits of the course, as good instruction as can be secured in any of our State Normal Schools.
Pupils, who have completed two years in a standard high school or academy, can complete the Normal course in two years. Graduates of such schools by close application, may complete the strictly (unreadable word) work in one year. A catalogue of the school will be sent on application to the Principal.
Click here to go to the 1921 announcement about the William Bingham Gym.
In 1948 the building was faculty housing for the Andersons (Coach Anderson) and the Bowhays (George Bowhay).
The Alumni Office
In earlier times (1940’s and 1950’s) this was the home of Ellery Park and his daughter Muriel Park Mason and her husband Harry Mason.
Ordway Hall – 1998
This building holds the main dining hall and kitchen for students; the second floor has a conference room and meeting room for trustees; it was dedicated in 1998 and named for Alan Ordway of Bridgton who was Chairman of the Trustees for many years.
The Bethel Journals
Donald G. Bennett
PO Box 763
Bethel, Maine 04217