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Susan Tollman Mills--As I Knew Her



Founder and President of Mills College for Women

A shrine of young By Frona Eunice Wait Colburn At first, Seminary Park, nestling in the

womanhood, and as old as

education in California! Such is the associa

tion of ideas conveyed by the single word-Mills. The present institution is still the only College for women west of the Rocky Mountains. It is a center from which radiates a world-wide influence, and has a unique place in the history of Western learning.


In 1852 gold-mad California came into the Union. Benicia, named for the wife of General Vallejo, the last Mexican governor, was the capital. Was it to be San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate, or would San Pablo Bay and Carquinez Straits shelter the metropolis of the Pacific? Whichever won, the newly-rich felt that their daughters should have a school of their own. one believed in the higher education of women, but this innovation was to be in the last word in advanced thought, and be modeled after the New England system of exclusive girls' schools. The result was a boarding and day school designated a Female Seminary, and so it remained until a group of students protested and the name was changed to Young Ladies' Seminary. Under the able leadership of Miss Mary Atkins the school flourished.

In 1845, at Mount Holyoke, built under the shadow of Mt. Tom, Susan Lincoln Tolman, the future Mrs. Mills, graduated. Her preceptress was the stout-hearted

wooded dell six miles back of Oakland, was an untilled farm with a few fine old oaks, a shabby farm house, and some cows. Then Dr. Mills transformed it into the pretty secluded spot where Mills College spreads its new buildings over the grassy lawn, and amid the abundant plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers. Now the land holdings comprise one hundred and sixtytwo acres, with rolling hills, lakes, and running streams, beautified by nature and the arts of man.

The street car terminus is just outside the campus and the quaint station says "Mills College. Private

Grounds. Picnic Parties and Loiterers Prohibited." A closely woven wire fence, high and protected top and bottom with jagged wire ends, guards the foot-path inside, which leads to the campus. "Private Property. Keep Out" in big letters and conspicuously posted, tells the story of seclusion which is emphasized by the tangled growth screening the view completely.

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When I first met and interviewed Mrs. Mills, she was the typical Mid - Victorian, Yankee missionary, prim, precise, formal, but gentle in manner, wellbred, and with a keen sense of humor. In her forty-four years of leadership at Mills, no set of girls got the better of her. She seemed to have eyes in the back of her head! Did a group have a midnight fudge party, Mrs. Mills knew all about it. She also knew everything else that went on.


Mary Lyon, pioneer in higher education for women, and one of the famous teachers of her time. Susan Tolman had the zeal of the missionary and the technical training of a teacher when she met and married Rev. Cyrus T. Mills, recently graduated from Williams College and prepared for the missionary school to which he was assigned in far off Ceylon. Here both got their first training as teachers, but the climatic conditions soon undermined Mr. Mills' health, and the young couple came to Hawaii for some time, where they conducted a boys' school.

They signalized their arrival in California by purchasing the Young Ladies' Seminary from Miss Mary Atkins in 1865. Under the new management students came from far and near, and it was soon necessary to find a new location.

"Part of the Past to all the Present cleaves As the rose odor lingers in the fading leaves."

Susan Tolman Mills was one of the keenest, shrewdest women I have ever known. Her great success was due primarily to a profound understanding of girls, a deep sympathy, innate kindliness and love of justice. She could be sharp in reprimand, but reproof was always followed by some little act of kindness-an affectionate pat or a token of good will which took the sting out of the discipline required. Mrs. Mills never harbored ill will nor carried over a grievance. Each day settled its own difficulties. While not a handsome woman, Mrs. Mills was dainty and refined and had that indescribable something called charm. Her unfailing enthusiasm was also infectious.

The object of the founders of Mills College was to create a home for girl students-a Christian home-free of creeds and isms, but sound in principles, and solid

in the fundamentals of character building. To accomplish this end, Mrs. Mills never found it necessary to go outside of the campus. Instead of carrying her message to the world she brought the world to her feet. Up to the time of her death, the history of Mills College was a striking proof of the dictum that the world will beat a pathway to the door of one who has a needed message. Quiet, refinement, seclusion, elegance these were the things associated with life at Mills Seminary.

Mrs. Mills and Mrs. Stanford were friends, each a world power in education but with widely differing means of accomplishment. The Stanford millions made it easier for the builder of the great University, but there is greater merit in the efforts of Mrs. Mills because she was obliged to earn the money which endowed Mills College. Mrs. Stanford financed munificently, Mrs. Mills sparingly. Out of her scanty store Mrs. Mills educated one hundred girls at her own expense. Mrs. Stanford did better, but both gave their life work to the youth of all time.

As soon as Mills College was successfully located, its founders placed it on a permanent basis by deeding the entire property to a Board of Trustees, to be held in trust by them and their successors for the specific purpose of educating young women. No longer a private enterprise, the institution was incorporated, and in 1877 became one of California's best educational assets. In accepting the gift, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees said:

"With buildings and land thus conveyed should be properly included that which money cannot

thoroughly. Individuality was strengthened, and character unfolded along conventional lines. Under Mrs. Mills, the girls had a distinct code of conduct among themselves. It was an unwritten rule that no one should laugh at a beginner. One girl fresh from a mountain ranch was reciting her first lesson in the History Class. Trembling from head to foot, and white as death, she declared of a certain English King that he "died four years of age, and in the eighteenth year of his reign." Not even a smile greeted this statement; it would have been against the code.

"Quiet fifteen" was an interval of time before breakfast, and again at night before retiring. It would have been humanly impossible to keep a hundred or more girls out of mischief, when each was supposed to be reading her Bible. None knew this better than Mrs. Mills-Her wits and ingenuity were usually a match for the pranks played, even when the code enforced absolute silence among the associates of a girl under suspicion.

When I was a girl at Mills
One roof covered all the ills
As well as the good
Of the girlish brood,
When I was a girl at Mills.




Now its standard has risen so fast
It is wholly a College at last-
Nothing less than A. B.

And a Master's Degree-
The Seminary time has passed.


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May the College now prosper at Mills
And grow with the need that it fills,
Until girls far and wide
Shall utter with pride
"When I was a girl at Mills."

-Fanny H. Rouse,
Seminary Class, 1873.

represent, namely, years of unceasing toil and care, and a well established reputation."

Seminary girls write essays. College girls discuss a thesis. Seminary girls can read intelligently. There are only a few College girls who can read well enough to be heard, and still fewer who can spell. Friday afternoons at Mills used to be devoted to reading essays. The whole school, with any guests present, were the audience. The seniors read their own compositions; these had been examined by the teachers and all misspelled words written on the blackboard back of the rostrum with the name of the student under it. She was required to stand up and spell the word as written, then her class was called upon to spell the word correctly. On the occasion I witnessed, the word was prejudice, spelled 'predgudise.' The poor girl making the mistake looked as if she should faint when Mrs. Mills, with an encouraging smile and a little pat on the shoulder, said, "Never mind, my dear, there will be no prejudice against you for this."

Each essay was folded just so, with number, subject, name, and date in proper sequence. The Seminary was a little world in itself where a few things were learned

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A friend of mine brought dire consequence upon herself by giving a tin-pan concert during the evening "Quiet Fifteen." High ceilings, narrow halls, and painted floors made for easy detection despite the fact that she thrust the dish-pan through the window into the shelter of the banksia rose arbor across the front of Mills Hall, and slipped the cooking spoon into the top of her spring-locked trunk. The noise made by the pan and spoon was enough to wake the dead. It brought Mrs. Mills and all of the resident teachers to the floor. Not

a girl rooming in that hallway had heard a thing! The - culprit was only about half awake when questioned. Mrs. Mills and the teachers reluctantly filed back downstairs to re-appear when darkness encouraged the return of the pan and spoon to the kitchen. Luck was against the adventurer. The girl pushed the pan too far and it went bumpity-bump with the tell-tale spoon noisily proclaiming complicity. With the lights all on, the offender ran into the arms of Mrs. Mills. Then there was the sending for Mamma (whom I accompanied), a long session with Mrs. Mills, and the imposition of penalties.

"It was a disgusting performance," declared Mrs. Mills, "and a low common thing to do on a Sunday night." She said it with a twinkle in her eye, as she abruptly turned her back on the offender. That particular girl felt worse about being deprived of her birthday cake, a much prized honor among resident students, than she did over loss of credits, and other deprivations.

It was no easy task to guide and govern restless young spirits from towns, mining camps, lonely ranches, and foreign lands, each with complex disposition and

diverse home training. The essence and flavor of that training is felt in the length and breadth of our own land, in the adjacent islands, and Pacific Coast countries. To be a Mills girl confers distinction.

In 1879, the Mills Alumnae Association was organized for the promotion and welfare of the institution, the preservation of facts relative to graduates, and to facilitate social intercourse among them. During Mrs. Mills' life, fully 10,000 girls came under her influence. Today, there are twelve Mills Clubs in as many states, and graduates all over the world. All avenues open to women have representatives from Mills, and many succeeded in art, music, science, and teaching, but the great majority are in homes of refinement and culture, often with wealth and distinction added. Nothing was more touching than Mrs. Mills' affection for the children of her pupils. With these she was ever tender and considerate. There was always a touch of pride in her mention of them.

To be properly fitted to fill a Christian home was the highest ideal at Mills Seminary, but there was not wanting a high sense of patriotic obligation. Mrs. Mills was an ardent Daughter of the American Revolution, and nothing in either her precepts or example made for a tainted Americanism. Her patriotism was not of the pallid international sort.

In 1884 Dr. Cyrus T. Mills died, and the whole burden

of carrying out the life plans of the two rested upon the shoulders of surviving Mrs. Mills. She did not falter, and in 1885 a College Charter was granted by the state. Then began a hard uphill struggle to make the College a success. The last Seminary class-1906-graduated in 1911, leaving the College with practically no further income. It looked for awhile as if the entire movement for a full-fledged higher education for women must fall. While the question was still debated, Mrs. Stanford decreed that only five hundred women should be admitted to Stanford University-a condition still upheld by the Board of Regents.

The passing of the Seminary at Mills brought a new element into class. The College girls are older. Their studies begin where those of their predecessors left off. They do not tamely submit to the same restrictions, and find it hard to accept chaperonage. Even Commencement Day shifted from May to October. The reaction on the Alumnus was very marked. The strain to keep the College going tested the loyalty of all concerned.

After forty-four years of continued service Mrs. Mills resigned as President, on May 18, 1909. She was succeeded by Dr. Luella Clay Carson, a former Seminary graduate, who had gained prominence as a teacher in the University of Oregon. Dr. Carson was the ideal collegebred woman. She was handsome, polished, worldly wise (Continued on page 46)

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A Little Prayer to Joss

Ah Foon Metes Out Oriental Justice

HE fog flowed through Chinatown in a gray, sodden stream. It cas

By Robert Hewes

caded silently down cellar steps and seeped under doors. It was drab and dull, save where some dim light stained it to a muddy pool and at the corner of Ross Alley and Sacramento Street where it swirled about the coloured lantern that glimmered above the door of a pawnshop and dripped a streaked blue, then a moment later slipped past the place and melted off into the mistblown night mysterious as it had come.

Ah Foon shivered slightly as he stepped from the doorway of the little house midway in the murky alley and with his hands folded up the wide sleeves of his black silken jacket moved down the shadowy way with a gentle slip, slip of his matted sandals. To Foon, born in the beneficent climate of the Flowery Kingdom and growing up on the warm waters of the poppy-strewn Hoang-ho, the searching cold of this gray western city had ever been a trial, and tonight there was a chill in his heart as well.

Ah Foon was bent on an errand this evening, a thing which while slight enough in itself, must have far reaching effect. It was not without due deliberation that he had reached this decision. With the serene and painstaking patience of a good student of the august sage Confucius, he had considered, weighed and planned. Foon did nothing hurriedly. He had followed the same method when he bought Ming Li-that most gracious of wind-blown lilies, whose laugh was like the sparkle of purest white rose wine when poured into a jade cup. He had considered that he was a bachelor, that he was lonely and that he had a steady income which justified venture. Therefore it was that when one Hip Moy, a merchant of Chinatown, with the savings of some years transported his family from China to San Francisco, among which family was numbered one delicately beautiful daughter named Ming Li, rumor of the maiden's utter sweetness aroused considerable interest in the mind of the contemplative Foon. So he straightway called on Moy, bearing a gift of spiced tobacco and offering profuse apologies for having in the past neglected such a deep friendship as theirs. Old Moy had blinked blandly, had called Ming Li to serve fragile porcelain cups of Oo Long tea with jasmine petals floating in it, and had spoken of the rice crop in China and of the latest tong trouble. That night when Foon went home he walked in a dream, his brain clouded in a phantasmagoria of beautiful visions and the dank stinks of Chinatown he inhaled as sweet breaths from poppy fields and pine woods.

So it was that a month later the business of Moy had been increased to the extent of a thousand dollars of new capital and Ming Li wore the very honorable and strangely new title of Mrs. Ah Foon.

Foon was inexpressibly happy in his new state. He

came home as regularly as was compatable with a gentleman who had certain social obligations to fulfil and who maintained an interest in the illicit games of pie gow and fan-tan, and always he carried to Ming Li some little present-an ivory fan, a peacock feather brush or a pair of delicately embroidered sandals; on nights when he had been particularly fortunate at gaming he would bring her, perhaps, a bit of sea green jade or a smoldering fire opal. And always there were heaps of many-coloured silks to be made into more gorgeous garments than one little Chinese girl could ever hope to wear. Sometimes when Ming Li protested at her husband's extravagance he laughed and told her she was all he had ever saved money for.

One time Ah Foon made the discovery that Ming Li liked poetry, and thereafter he very often carried home some red and gold volume of Li Po or other singer of truth and beauty, and he read many verses of evenings by the saffron light of soft-lit lanterns while Ming Li curled up in a heap of cushions and listened eagerly while she nibbled at some bit of melon candy. Several lines from Ch'en Tzu-Ang called The Last Revel always brought a warm glitter to her eager young eyes open to all that was new and wonderful in this western world after her secluded life in China.

When in tall trees the dying moonbeams quiver;
When floods of fire efface the Silver River,

Then comes the hour when I must seek
Lo-Yang beyond the farthest peak.
Sometimes she would ask Foon to repeat the lines
and he would glance at her a little curiously.

So Foon had been very happy until he had made a distressing discovery. For after all, he was old and fat, and Ming Li the bought bride had learned that there is such a thing as love. So it was that the gossip came to Foon, as gossip will, and it sent a chill to his heart. Still he did nothing hastily.

Deliberately he investigated, and he found that Ming Li on her nightly visits to the joss house, ostensibly to burn little coloured bits of prayer papers and recite lines to Buddha, was meeting her lover, one Chang Lee, a young student. Having ascertained thus much, Foon next considered whether Ming Li loved the other, and the new light she could not hide in her eyes told him that she did. Now it was that, the problem stated, he considered the solution, and carefully he weighed the facts and decided. Therefore it was that tonight, a few minutes before the time he knew to be the hour for the trysting, he slipped up the narrow stairs of the joss house.

A fat old priest dozed heavily in a corner but Foon did not so much as notice him. Kneeling before Joss, he (Continued on page 46)


Haig Patigian

California's Noted Sculptor

HERE is a definite creative quality

in the California air. Breathed in,

it makes of those who might be otherwise quite ordinary mortals painters, poets, novelists, dancers, sculptors. There is the urge to create, to give expression to that beauty which not only pertains to but is California.

building of the Metropolitan Life InsurBy Harry Noyes Pratt ance Company, standing on Stockton Street looking out upon San Francisco Bay. The pediment is an unusually fine example of sculpture architecturally applied; a group subordinated to the architectural whole, yet sufficiently strong to hold place of its own. Modeled in high relief, the shallow pediment is a striking piece of symbolism. The central figure, typical of Life Insurance, holds the up-borne Sun as the emblem of Beneficence, while her wide-spreading wings signify Protection. At her right is an aged man, typifying Wisdom, who offers a policy to a younger man. The latter, with the babe held in the arms of the half-reclining nude female figure at the extreme right symbolizes the Family. At the left of the central figure is a group

The list of these California-produced exponents of the Seven Arts is a long one, and a list which is having constant and increasing growth. There are notable names on the list, men and women of not only national fame but many who have attained international renown; and it is among the latter that Haig Patigian, San Francisco sculptor, must be placed.

Of Armenian parentage, Patigian is by residence, in training, in love for his environment and its expression, preeminently a Californian. Almost entirely self-educated in his art, he has that thorough grounding in its basic principles which enables him to give free and strong expression to his motif-a freedom and beauty of expression which is in itself of California-and this motif has to a large degree found its incentive here.

To a great extent, also, Patigian's work has been executed for California. He is unusual circumstance-a prophet not without honor in his own country. His first exhibited work, a monument to McKinley, stands at Arcata. A recent bronze of General Pershing looks out from the trees of Golden

symbolic of the family protected by Insurance; the contented mother looking gratefully toward Insurance, the laughing children, and at the extreme left - the half-reclining figure of Man with his Horn of Plenty. The pediment is balanced both in line and symbolism, a successful working out of a difficult problem.

Patigian has showed at the Paris Salon and at the Pennsylvania Academy, and holds membership in the National Sculpture Society and in the American Federation of Art. As significant of his international standing is his selection by Rineton Parks of London as one in the brief list of American sculptors given mention in his authoritative work, "Sculpture of Today." Among the many notable achievements of Patigian are the heroic figures of General Funston, City Hall, San Francisco, Tympanum group and figures, arts, sciences, etc., Memorial Museum, San Francisco, Alden J. Blethen Memorial, Seattle, Washington, William Greer Harrison, Olympic Club, San Francisco, Rowell Monument, Fresno, California.



Gate Park, and in the Memorial Museum not far away the gallery of sculpture holds a fine marble bust of John M. Keith. The Bohemian Club, of which he has twice been president, owns several important pieces; and he is represented in many of the private collections throughout the state.

At the Panama-Pacific exposition Patigian's colossal sculptures were a splendid feature of the architectural details. The columns of the Palace of Machinery, strongly modeled figures symbolic of the industrial arts. in relation to civilization, were his. He had here those great figures symbolizing Imagination, Invention, Steam, Electricity and Power; and in the Fine Arts exhibit several figures and busts. As showing his standing in the world of art, Patigian was here a member of the International Jury of Award.

His most important work of recent date is the wide triangular pediment for the doorway of the beautiful

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