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Jeremiah Day & “The Yale Faculty Report of 1828”. Sarah Bernstein. Jeremiah Day. Connecticut native, born August, 1773 Graduated from Yale College class of 1795 Appointed as a tutor at Williams College before taking a tutoring position at Yale in 1798

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Jeremiah day the yale faculty report of 1828

Jeremiah Day &“The Yale Faculty Report of 1828”

Sarah Bernstein

Jeremiah day
Jeremiah Day

  • Connecticut native, born August, 1773

  • Graduated from Yale College class of 1795

  • Appointed as a tutor at Williams College before taking a tutoring position at Yale in 1798

  • 3 years later, elected to professorship of math and natural philosophy at Yale

  • 1817 – succeeded Dr. Dwight as president of Yale  1846 (retired because of poor health)

  • Many published works include: “Algebra,” “Plane Trigonometry” (1816), Navigation and Surveying” (1817)

Jeremiah Day

More on jeremiah day
More on Jeremiah Day

  • On his induction as President:

    • “Mr. Day having given to the President and Fellowssatisfactory evidence of his religious beliefand qualifications and assented to the Formula prescribed by this Board, the Corporation proceeded to induct him into office on the 23rd day of July at three o’clock in the afternoon.”  needed to prove religious belief and accept curriculum to become President

  • Timothy Dwight V described him:

    • "he was a wise disciplinarian, a judicious governor, a thorough and accurate scholar, a valuable teacher, and a man of intelligent and penetrative mind.”

  • Excerpt from Day’s obituary:

    • “For almost thirty years, under his direction, Yale prospered and grew strong in students, resources and reputation. His learning was great and his discipline so kindly and partial that the students always regarded him with filial affection.”  he was regarded as a remarkable and influential President

  • When Day became President, highest enrollment was ~300 students. While Day was President, this number grew to near 600 before Day retired. (1701-1976 Yale Book of Numbers)

Changes in higher education in the 19 th century
Changes in Higher Education in the 19th century

Higher education was a controversial topic in the 19th century.

Issues of controversy included :

Church vs. State control

Value of college vs. university

Classical curriculum vs. the principle of election

The third issue became the focus of Jeremiah Day’s influential work “The Yale Faculty report of 1828” which was written in defense of the classical curriculum. (Yale was seen as the central stronghold of the conservative view.)

This interest in change was brought on by the Industrial Revolution and increase of agriculture in the 1800s. Advocates of change wanted colleges to better prepare men for life: banking, farming, industry, etc. (i.e. VOCATIONAL education  learn one trade)

Yale report fought for the classical curriculum to create the “truly educated man”

The breakdown
The Breakdown:

Part 1:

Education = parental control; so that students would behave well without supervision from home

Mental discipline to make it through tough times

Exercise man’s mental facilities  don’t just think about WHY, but HOW?

Proper character; make a man a gentleman

Part 2:

Defense specifically of classical languages (Greek & Latin)

Mainly concerned with the process of education, not just the end result

The report had 2 sections

Jeremiah day the yale faculty report of 1828

Day, as President, would have known the bottom line in college management: survival & welfare of the institution

Kingsley taught Latin and Greek

Authors’ Personal Influence on the Document

Liberal education was used as a moral process to develop men into well rounded citizens  author’s own background

 Day (center) co-wrote the Yale Report with Benjamin Silliman, Sr. (Chemistry) and James L. Kingsley (Latin & Greek)

A look inside
A look inside: college management:

  • The full document can be accessed here as a PDF:

  • Or typed out here:

    • Part 1

    • Part 2


  • “Every thing throws light upon every thing”

  • “It is a hazardous experiment, to act upon the plan of gaining numbers first, and character afterwards”

  • “the study of the classics is useful, not only as it lays the foundations of a correct taste, and furnishes the student with those elementary ideas which are found in the literature of modern times, and which he no where so well acquires as in their original sources,—but also as the study itself forms the most effectual discipline of the mental faculties”

  • “Our object is not to teach that which is peculiar to any one of the professions; but to lay the foundation which is common to them all.”

  • “The two great points to be gained in intellectual culture, are the discipline and the furniture of the mind; expanding its powers, and storing it with knowledge…A commanding object… should be, to call into daily and vigorous exercise the faculties of the student. Those branches of study should be prescribed, and those modes of instruction adopted”

Significance of this defense of liberal arts education
Significance of this defense of liberal arts education college management:

Contemporary Significance

Modern/Lasting Significance

  • Upon publication, report was instantly up for criticism  became a public target for American college critics

    • The report ultimately was not widely available

  • Revived conflict/debate over liberal arts education and appropriate courses of study

  • There was a resultant attempt to discredit study focused on discipline/mental training

  • New fields and disciplines were integrated into the curriculum anyway

  • “… the most influential document in American higher education in the first half of the nineteenth century”

    • Richard Hofstadter & Wilson Smith

  • Pre 1960s view:

    • Time of stifling conservatism

    • Experimented too little

  • Revisionist view:

    • Surprisingly innovative

    • Trying too much

Have times changed

Yale remains a liberal arts college with many disciplines to round out education with specific distribution requirements

Have times changed?

The faculty of Yale in 1828 were “well persuaded, that our students are not so deficient in intellectual powers as they sometimes profess to be…

“Faculties will resist new initiatives that are so large or so visible that failure could diminish the prestige of the institution or impair it’s ability to attract able students and talented professors.”

-Derek Bok, Higher Learning (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1988)

Assessment of the writing of the report
Assessment of the writing of the report round out education with specific distribution requirements

Elements that would have added to the argument:

Statistics on the number of classes versus electives allowed in a course load

Opinions of Yale students at the time

Tone/language of the piece:





Works cited
Works Cited round out education with specific distribution requirements