Admission to it was denied children under seven years of age. The presence of girls had been allowed in it since 1776, but, till 1790, only for two hours each day after the dismissal of the boys.
At the latter date the town voted them the privilege of attending the ‘master-school’ during three summer months.
The ‘master-school,’ so called, seems to have been kept through the year, while the primary schools, which were probably established after 1807, did not become annuals till 1837.
It was in the fourth decade of this century that, according to Usher
's History of Medford
, ‘a wave of unusual interest in educational matters was passing over many of the States and attained its greatest height in Massachusetts
In 1830 the American Institute of Instruction was organized, which, though national in name and object, was largely composed of Massachusetts
men. It aimed at reform and progress, and proved itself most efficient in accomplishing its exalted purpose.
A royal impulse was imparted to the educational machinery of our State, which from that time began to work with wonderful activity.
Favoring laws were enacted; a State Board of Education was established; normal schools sprang into existence, and the public schools of the State
soon began to assume the form and features they wear at the present day.’
Upon the crest of that ‘wave’ were such men as Rev. Charles Brooks
, a native of Medford
, and at that time a pastor in Hingham
; Hon. Horace Mann
, the first secretary of the Massachusetts
Board of Education; and Rev. Francis Wayland, D. D.
, president of Brown University.
The light emanating from such luminaries was as inextinguishable as the solar rays.
In some localities, as welcome as the sun in haying time, it struck into and dissipated darkness that was almost solid.
In others the curtains were closely drawn against it and remained so for many years.