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Institute for Colored Youth By-Laws and Rules

Institute for Colored Youth By-Laws and Rules


Institute for Colored Youth


of the

Board of Managers,



For the

Government of the Schools.

 And for the

Regulation of the Library and Reading Room.



Ringwalt & Brown, Books and Job Printers,

111 and 113 S. Fourth Street



By-Laws of the Board of Managers.

Article 1. Stated meetings of the Board shall be held on the second Third day of each month, from the Ninth to the Sixth inclusive, at 3 o’clock, P.M. Special meetings may be called at the written request of three members. Five members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The order of business at the stated meetings shall be: 1st Reading the minutes of the last meeting. 2d. Transaction of business brought forward by those minutes. 3d. Report of Visiting Committee for the month. 4th Reports of Teachers and Librarian. 5th. New business.

Article 2. At the first meeting of the Board after the annual meeting of the corporation, a committee shall be appointed to nominate a Secretary, and the following standing committees, viz: Library Committee, Real Estate Committee, and Committee on Discipline and Instruction, who shall serve the Board during the year, or until their successors are appointed.

Article 3. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep a fair record of the transactions of the Managers, and to have charge of their books and papers, exempt those properly in the custody of the Treasurer. He shall approve such bills and authorize such payments by the Treasurer as may be directed by the Board; notify committees of their appointment, and call special meetings of the Managers, at the written request of three of their number. In case of his absence from a meeting, a secretary pro tempore may be appointed to set for him.

Article 4. The Library Committee shall consist of three Managers, who shall have the supervision of the Library and Reading Room, purchase new books, and attend to all other matters relating exclusively to the department under their control.

Article 5. The Real Estate Committee shall consist of three Managers, who shall have the oversight of the real estate belonging to the Institute: and shall have authority to have such repairs effected to the property as they may think necessary.

Article 6. The Committee on Discipline and Instruction shall consist of three Managers, who shall be the authorized advisers of the Principals; they shall decide in all cases of difficulty brought before them by those officers or by the meeting of Teachers; and they may decide finally in all cases where penalties of higher grade than temporary suspension are proposed to be inflicted, without referring the matter to the decision of the Board, unless they consider such reference desirable.

Article7. The Managers shall arrange themselves into Visiting Committees in such manner that each manager shall serve on said committee two months in the year; and each committee shall consist of at least one of the members of the committee immediately preceding it. It shall be the duty of the Visiting Committee to attend at the Institute on every sixth day of the week, during the time they are under appointment, to admit scholars, inspect the general conduct of the pupils, and as far as practicable, their individual progress. They shall keep minutes their visits, in a book for the purpose, noting the names of the committee in attendance, together with any remarks that may be thought useful or interesting. These minutes shall be produced and read at each stated meeting of the Board.


Division of the School Year.

The School Year shall be divided into two terms; the first term shall commence with the first Second day in the Ninth month, and end on the Seventh day preceding the first Second day in the School month.

The second term shall commence with the first Second day in the Second month, and end on the first Sixth day of the Seventh month.

A Public Examination shall take place in the first week of the Fifth month of each year, in the presence of the Managers or their Committee, and such other persons as may be invited to attend by them or by the teachers.


1. The Principal of the Institute shall take the general oversight of all the departments; he shall, at suitable times, review all the classes and make such suggestions as he may think needful, in the male departments, to the teachers; and in the female, to the Principal thereof.

2. The Principal of the Institute is charged with the immediate management of the male departments, as is the female Principal of those for girls, subject in the latter case to the revision of the Principal of the Institute, as above provided for.

3. Either Principal may suspend a student for serious fault, requiring prompt action; but in the case of a girl, if circumstances permit, there should be a previous conference between them; and if not, the case should be reported to the Principal of the Institute as early as practicable, and he must concur in the disposition of it, or the case be referred to the Committee on Discipline and Instruction.

4. No student is to appeal from the decision of the Female Principal in her case to the Principal of the Institute; but there should be frequent and free conferences between those officers; and any difficulty arising in the Female Department should be fully considered by them both; and when from difference of judgment on important matters, or from other causes, satisfactory conclusions cannot be reached, the Committee on Discipline and Instruction is to be consulted.

5. Meetings of the Teachers shall be held statedly at such times as they may fix, and specially, at the call of either Principal. They shall be composed of the Principals and Teachers, including assistants, and the Principal of the Institute shall be the Secretary. All questions relating to the several departments of the Institute, or of general interest, and bearing upon the efficient and harmonious management of the classes, may be considered by the meeting. Full opportunities shall be given to all the teachers for the free discussion of the subject under consideration. This having been done, the debate shall cease, and the Secretary shall record and read aloud the decision. Should any teacher, except an assistant, object to the record and propose a change, if approved by the Secretary, it shall be made; but if not, the reason for such disapproval shall be stated, without debate, and the record stand. If, however, the teachers continue to be dissatisfied and propose a reference to the Committee on Discipline and Instruction, the Secretary shall state in writing in the meeting, the facts of the case without argument, and this statement shall be laid before the Committee, who shall decide upon it finally; or should they deem it advisable, bring it before the Board for its decision. Should the teachers, however, not agree in the statement of the case, they shall meet in conference with the Committee on Discipline and Instruction, who, after a full hearing of the case, shall decide upon it or refer it to the Board. The teachers and the committee shall keep regular minutes of their conclusions, to be laid periodically before the Board.

6. In case any of the teachers desire to be absent during one or more sessions of the school; they shall apply to the Board for permission; but if there be not time for such application to be received by the Board, they shall obtain permission from the Visiting Committee for the time being.

7. Monthly reports, showing the conditions of all the departments of the Institute, shall be prepared by the teachers and presented to the Board at its stated meetings. These reports shall contain an account of the number of scholars on the roll, the number admitted and discharged during the month, the average daily attendance, and such other matter as may be thought pertinent.


There shall be two Preparatory Schools, one for boys and one for girls. In these, children not sufficiently advanced by their previous instruction in Primary Schools, or elsewhere, to enter the High School, shall pass through a preparatory course, in order to qualify them for admission.

2. No boy shall be admitted into the Preparatory School under eleven years of age; nor shall any one be admitted into either Preparatory School without engagement to enter the High School department and remain there for at least one year, unless unavoidably prevented. To enter this department, applicants must be able to read, write and spell, with tolerable proficiency; they must understand Arithmetic, as far as through simple Division, and have some knowledge of Geography, especially of the United States.

3. A reasonable average standard of recitations and correct department shall be agreed upon by the Principals; and any pupil falling below this standard for three months in succession, shall be reported, with his or her average to the Board, and may, at its discretion be removed from the School.

4. The studies of the Preparatory Schools shall be arranged with special reference to the promotion of early habits of accuracy, and a thorough knowledge of the simple elements of an English education.

5. No student shall be permitted to enter the High School until he or she shall be well acquainted with the branches taught in the Preparatory, and, in the judgment of the respective Principals, have shown capacity adequate to the successful study of the higher branches. The examination of boys for admission into the High Schools, shall be conducted by the Principal of the Institute; that of girls by the Principal of that department.

6. The students of the High School shall be arranged into four classes, to be called Introductory, Junior, Middle, and Senior.

7. The studies of the respective classes shall be as follows, subject to such change as shall be directed by the Board, on the recommendation of the Committee on Discipline and Instruction.


                English Grammar, (Brown’s Institutes;) Arithmetic, (Greenleaf’s Common School,) History, taught orally with the aid of Lyman’s Chart and drawing maps on the black board; Geography, (Warren or Lippincott, with constant use of black board;) Sacred History, Composition.


English. – Critical Reading of Milton; History, ancient and medieval, taught orally and with the use of chart and map drawing; Geography, continued as before; Composition.

Mathematics. – Arithmetic, (Greenleaf’s National,) reviewed; Algebra, (Alsop’s First Lesson,) through Quadratics. ­­

Classics. – Latin Lessions and Reader, (Weld’s;) Latin Grammar, (Andrews and Stoddar’s;) Classical Georgraphy; Map Drawing.


English. – Natural Philosophy, (Olmstead;) Anatomy and Physiology, (Cutter;) Lectures on Science, with experiments and illustrations; Composition.

Mathematics. – Higher Alegbra, (Alsop;) Geometry, (Legeadre;) Book-Keeping, (Crittendon.)

Chemistry. – Silliman with practice in Laboratory.

Classics. – Caesar, (Andrews,) or Sallust, (Andrews;) Aeneid of Virgil, (Bowen;) Latin Grammar, (Andrews and Stoddard’s;) Greek Grammar, (Sophocles.)

Senior Class.

English. – Moral Science, (Wayland;) Dymond on War; Mental Science, (Winslow or Haven;) Etymology, (Thomas;) Composition; Lectures on Science, continued.

Chemistry. – Continued with daily work in Laboratory.

Mathematics. – Geometry reviewed and finished; Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, (Davies.)

Classics. – Virgil, (Aeneid or Georgies;) Odes of Horace; Cicero’s Orations, (Austin or Schmidt;) Greek Testament, (Greenfield;) Greek Reader, (Jacob).

                Introduction in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic and Elocution shall be given throughout the four years course.

Graduates wishing to extend or to review their studies, and especially those who desire to fit themselves for teachers, shall have facilities for doing so.

8. No student shall be admitted to a higher class until he or she shall successfully undergo an examination on the studies of the previous year by the Principal of the Boys’ or Girls’ Department.

9. At the close of the Junior year, a written examination of the Introductory and Junior years shall be successfully passed before the student can enter the Middle Class.

10. When pupils have completed the course satisfactorily, the Diploma of the Institute shall be granted them, the written examination for which shall include the studies of the Middle and Senior years.

Additional Qualifications for Admission.

                In addition to the acquirements before recited, applicants for admission to the Institute must be of good moral character and orderly habits; and as the preparation of young persons to act as teachers and instructors of youth was an object of primary importance in the establishment of this Institution, and one which the Managers have much at heart, such applicants as purpose to become teachers of schools or instructors in useful arts, shall always have the preference over others who have no such interest; and of the latter description, such as expect to go through the entire course shall be preferred.

Religious Instruction.

                The Schools shall be opened in the morning by the serious reading of a portion of the Holy Scriptures, followed by a short pause before the commencement of the ordinary duties.

                NOTE. – It is much desired by the Board of Managers, that the teachers may endeavor always to bear in mind that the moral and religious training of the children placed under their care, is of more importance to their future welfare, than their literary and scientific instruction, and that they may seek for a qualification to impress upon the minds of the pupils, throughout the course of instruction, as suitable opportunities may occur, a due sense of their obligations and accountability to their Maker; and in teaching them the truths of Natural Science, to turn their attention to the Great Author and Director of all; and they believe that the occasional revival, in a simple manner and with true religious concern, of the great and fundamental doctrines and injunctions of the Gospel, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, viz., The Divinity of Christ, the Fallen State of Man, the Offering on the Cross, the teachings of the Holy Spirit, love to God, the denial of self, the forgiveness of injuries, and the Golden Rule of doing unto others as we would that they should do unto us, might, in some instances, be attended with a blessing, both to the teachers and the children, or, like the bread cast upon the waters, be found in future time.


                Pupils must be careful to observe cleanliness and neatness in person and clothing.

                Pupils are expected to conduct themselves decorously, to be upright and strictly honest in all their acts, and to endeavor to do unto others as they would that others should do unto them.

                All pupils admitted shall be considered as on probation for the first term of their connexion with the Institute. If during the time of their probation, they shall fail to exhibit a satisfactory degree of diligence in study and disposition to good order, or if upon any other ground it be deemed by the teachers not advisable that they should become members of the Institute, the case shall be submitted to the Committee on Discipline and Instruction, and if they concur, their connexion with the Institute shall cease.

                Pupils unnecessarily absent more than four days in any one month, shall be liable to the forfeiture of their places.

                No pupils are to indulge in loud talking in the buildings, or in a boisterous, rude, or turbulent deportment on the premises of the Institute at any time, but to endeavor to conduct, during recess, and in the streets, in such manner as to promote their own respectability and the good character of the Institution.  

                Every pupil found to use profane or improper language, and who shall persevere therein after reproof, shall be suspended.

                All pupils who shall refuse to obey their teachers, or to perform their duty, and every one who, despite repeated admonition, shall persist in disobedience, shall be expelled.

                For impertinent or disrespectful language or conduct toward their teachers, pupils shall be suspended and not readmitted until they shall acknowledge their error and their repentance, in as open a manner as that in which the offence was committed.


                At the public examination in each year, the following prizes shall be awarded by a committee of two Managers, appointed for the purpose by the Board, viz: A prize of $15 to the boy, and one of $15 to the girl who shall have shown the greatest proficiency in classical studies; a prize of $15 to the boy and one of $15 to the girl who shall have shown the greatest proficiency in mathematics; and a prize of $15 to the boy and one of $15 to the girl who shall have shown the greatest proficiency in the English branches of study, provided, that in each case the degree of proficiency reaches the required standard; and provided further, that no pupil shall be entitled to a prize who shall not have been reasonably regular and punctual in his attendance at the hour fixed for the opening of the schools, diligent in his studies, and of good conduct during the year.

                Should any pupil who by proficiency, would be entitled to a prize, fail on account of misconduct or lack of diligence and punctuality, then the pupil of the same sex who shall stand next in proficiency, and be unexceptionable in other respects, shall receive the prize.

                If there should be two or more pupils equal in proficiency and merit, then the prize shall be awarded to the one who intends to become a teacher; if such there be, and if there should be more than one such, or if neither of them should intend to become a teacher, then the senior of them shall take the prize.

                Two prizes of $10 each shall be awarded to two pupils of the High School, one of each sex to be selected by seniority from those, if such there be, who shall have distinguished themselves by diligence in study, regularity and punctuality of attendance, and a deportment so exemplary in all respects as not to have incurred censure during the year.

                The prizes are, however, to be so awarded that no pupil shall receive more than one in a single year. Honorary prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the Managers.


For the

Government of the Library


Reading Room

1. The Library and Reading Room shall be opened three times each week, viz: On fifth days (Thursdays,) from 3 o’clock, P.M. to 6 o’clock, P.M., for females, and on second days (Mondays,) and sixth days, (Fridays,) from 6 o’clock, P.M. to 9 o’clock, P.M., for males.

2. It shall be the duty of the Librarian to have all the books belonging to the Library regularly registered and numbered in a book provided for the purpose, which number and the words “LIBRARY OF THE INSTITUTE FOR COLORED YOUTH” shall be conspicuously placed in each book. He shall also keep a record of all books loaned, designating the number of the books, the name of the borrowers, and the date of the loan.

3. Books of an immoral tendency, plays, novels, and romances shall be excluded, and care shall be taken to furnish such only as are likely to give useful information and improve the minds of the readers.

4. Persons desiring admittance to the Library and Reading Room shall apply to the Librarian, and if approved by him, shall receive a ticket, not transferable, which must be shown to the Librarian when called for. Before participating, however, in the use of books, they must leave with the Librarian a paper, signed by some responsible person, guaranteeing the return in good order of all books loaned, or the payment of any fines and penalties incurred on account of loss or damage to such books.

5. No one using the Library shall be entitled to have more than one volume out at a time, nor to keep it more than two weeks, without a renewal of the loan, and in case books shall be kept longer than this time, a fine shall be imposed of three cents per week for each volume. Those who abuse the books lent, or neglect to pay their fines when due, shall be deprived of the use of the Library.

6. No conversation will be allowed, except with the Librarian, and that in a whisper.

7. No person will be allowed to use tobacco, spit on the floor, place his feet on the chairs, tables or against the book-cases or windows, damage or injure the furniture, or conduct himself in any way inconsistent with decorum.

8. Any person holding a ticket, may introduce persons not resident in the city to the Reading Room, by becoming responsible for their deportment.

9. Persons using the Library are requested not to turn down the leaves of the books, nor write in or otherwise deface them. Any one who shall in any way mutilate the books or periodicals, shall forfeit and pay to the Librarian a fine double their cost, and on refusal to comply with this regulation, shall be excluded from the privileges of the Room.

10. Persons leaving the Room, must return to the Librarian the books and periodicals they have used, or be subject to the penalties prescribed in Rule 9, in case the same should be defaced or lost.

11. The Librarian shall prepare a monthly statement, showing the number of volumes loaned during the month, the number out over the prescribed time, the number lost, the amount received for fines, the number of new guarantees received, and such other information or remarks relating to the Library as he may think appropriate. This statement shall be laid before the Board at its regular meetings.


Background Information

Published in 1865, this document outlined the by-laws which governed the Institute's Board of Managers as well as identified the rules and standards followed by the students of the Institute.

Image: "The Institute for Colored Youth By-Laws of the Board of Managers and Rules for the Government of the Schools and for the Regulation of the Library and Reading Room," Leon Gardiner Collection [0008B], Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Link: http://digitallibrary.hsp.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/12397