In 1845, we find that in a letter giving an account of his labors he tried to forecast the future.
He indulged in a little fancy and said, ‘Some educational antiquary, in his pardonable weakness, may show my lectures fifty years hence as they sometimes show old cannon.’1
And tonight the thought of sixty years ago becomes a fact.
While perhaps the title of ‘educational antiquary’ hardly applies to your essayist, it will be assumed and the results of the delving recounted.
Fortunately a valuable clew to the situation was found, and through the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Sarah Warner Brooks
important, original material, a scrap-book, of Brooks
' was found.
Without this book, so carefully prepared, this paper must have been based on evidence at second hand and of doubtful authenticity.
As it is, we are able to hear Charles Brooks
' own words, and to examine cotemporary evidence in support of his statements.
When the educational revival had been in progress for twenty-five years, and teachers and educators had appreciated the magnificence of the undertaking, it seemed to them to be well to hold a meeting at which the historical features might be treated.
It was to this meeting that Charles Brooks
The record of the meeting is most valuable, for here we find at first hand the stories of those concerned, and the particular work of each is described.
The invitation Brooks
received was from the committee, that he attend ‘The Quarter Centennial Normal School Celebration at Framingham
, July 1, 1864.’
The secretary, George N. Bigelow
, added a few lines to the printed form which are suggestive.
It seems best that we should hear from your own lips something of the work that you did in the establishing of Normal Schools. . . . I am sorry that I was so ignorant of your great labors in this work of Normal Schools.
But then, when you were so gloriously engaged, I was just entering my teens, and what should a mere boy be expected to know of what you have so long kept in silence for the sake of your children?