ERIC Number: ED393099
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
"Replacing Nice Thin, Bryn Mawr Miss Crandall with Fat, Harvard Dr. Savage": M. Carey Thomas and the "Essay Work" at Bryn Mawr College, 1902-1917.
George, D'Ann Pletcher
It is a commonly held assumption that Harvard-trained rhetoricians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were concerned mainly with superficial mechanical correction, and, further, that they dissociated student writing from any meaningful context and contributed to the division between composition and literature. Howard James Savage was one such Harvard-trained rhetorician brought into Bryn Mawr College to replace the well-respected head of the essay department, Dr. Regina Crandall. Some investigative work shows that one of the main reasons M. Carey Thomas made the personnel change was that she was convinced the essay department could be run in a more cost efficient manner. What Savage established at Bryn Mawr was a new set of requirements for writing instructors: they had to work harder than other teachers, make less money, and consider themselves separate and, therefore, subordinate to the literature faculty and have no hope of advancement beyond the rank of Essay Reader. He also narrowed the writing teacher's range of concerns by institutionalizing a set of symbols to be used when grading and by discouraging extensive comments on papers as "uneconomical." He believed that the most desirable qualities in a composition instructor were physical strength and endurance, "horse sense," patience and tolerance. Such unflattering attributes justified keeping salaries low and the potential for advancement non-existent. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bryn Mawr College PA
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting on Rhetoric and Composition (14th, University Park, PA, July 12-15, 1995).