1761.3

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School Trustees Prohibit Playing Ball and Other Diversions, Ignoring Advice of Ben Franklin

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Famous
City/State/Country: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Age of Players Youth
Notables Benjamin Franklin

"A sound mind in a sound body is a maxim to which our collegiate forbears of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would probably have subscribed, but about which they did little. Benjamin Franklin, for example, urged that in order to keep the scholars of his proposed academy "in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming, etc." (Source: Benjamin Franklin, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania, " in Woody(ed.), Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin,  pp. 156-57.)

 

"But physical education as a consciously organized activity in the college program was almost completely lacking before the late nineteenth century. Viewed in many instances as a contributor to indecorous behaviorwarning.pngString representation "</span>&nbsp;pp … corous behavior" is too long., and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, in 1761, tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source:  College Academy and Charitable School, Minutes of Trustees, I, March 10, 1761, pp. 131 ff).

Text

"A sound mind in a sound body is a maxim to which our collegiate forbears of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would probably have subscribed, but about which they did little. Benjamin Franklin, for example, urged that in order to keep the scholars of his proposed academy "in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming, etc." (Source: Benjamin Franklin, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania, " in Woody (ed.), Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin pp. 156-57.)

 

"But physical education as a consciously organized activity in the college program was almost completely lacking before the late nineteenth century. Viewed in many instances as a contributor to indecorous behavior, and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, in 1761, tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source:  College Academy and Charitable School, Minutes of Trustees, I, March 10, 1761, pp. 131 ff).

Sources

Saul Sack, History of Higher Education in Pennsylvania Volume: 2. (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg PA, 1963) , p.632.

Comment

John Thorn adds (email of 9/25/16):

 

"Possibly of interest: Franklin had dissociated himself from the Academy of Philadelphia (the "college" in question) in 1756:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600519.html

http://www.archives.upenn.edu/primdocs/upl/upl125.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Academy_and_College_of_Philadelphia

jt"

 

 

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Submitted by John Thorn
Submission Note Email of 9/25/16



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