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McFadden Alexander Newell records

 Record Group
Identifier: 001-001-002

Scope and Contents

These records which date from 1889 to 1977 are composed of Newell’s publications, tributes, biographies, and correspondence.

Dates

  • 1889-1977, undated

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access. This collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

Towson University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections; however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with SCUA to determine if we can provide permission for use.

Biographical Note

McFadden Alexander Newell, who was professionally known as M. A. Newell and personally as Alexander, was born in Belfast, Ireland, on September 7, 1824. He was the son of John Newell, a distinguished educator in Ireland and Agnes Johnson, the daughter of a farmer of reasonable wealth. She died shortly after Alexander’s birth. According to Elizabeth Newell Crombie, her father, a cousin named John Newell was born in August, 1824 and his mother, Agnes (Smith) Newell nursed and cared for both John and Alexander. The two cousins werecared for as brothers by Agnes Newell until Alexander’s father remarried.M. A. Newell was educated in the private school of his father. So thorough was his training that by the age of fifteen he taught Latin and Greek. He further studied at the private school of Thomas Blain, a tutor in the Earl of Dufferin’s house. (The Earl of Dufferin later became the governor of Canada.) In 1840, at the age of sixteen, M. Alexander won a prize in Belfast for Logic and Rhetoric. He attended the Queen's College in Belfast and Trinity College in Dublin, from which he graduated in 1846. Whilein college, he tutored others to earn his tuition. On October 8, 1846, M. A. Newell, teacher, age 22 of 18 Cornwallis Street, Liverpool and Susannah Rippard, spinster, age 17 of 51 Russell Street, Liverpool were married at the Scotch Church by the Reverend John Tod Brown. Susannah was born on November 9, 1828 in Liverpool. She was the daughter of George Rippard, a merchant, who with his brother engaged in a shipping business between New York City and Liverpool.From 1846-1848 Newell taught at the Mechanics Institute in Liverpool and may have also taught at other schools in London. In 1848, Newell and his wife traveled to Baltimore to visit relatives and decided to stay. He became a tutor to the family of Judge George William Brown. Newell became an instructor of natural sciences from 1850-1853, at Baltimore City College (known then as Central High School) and in 1853 went to teach at Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. After he left that position, he returned to Baltimore and established a large business school, The Commercial and Collegiate Institute, on Franklin Street with his brother-in-law, James Rippard. Later, Newell was the principal of Baltimore Public School No. 1 for one year. Newell then went to Pittsburgh to teach with his cousins,John, James P. and Hugh Newell in the Newell Institute.Having established a reputation in Baltimore in the field of education, Newell was called to Baltimore in 1865 to establish a state normal school (now Towson University). He served as the principal of the Maryland State Normal School from 1866-1890. During this time he also served as State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1868-1890). While serving in these two capacities, M. Alexander Newell also helped found the Maryland State Journaland edited it for a number of years. Along with William R. Greery, Newell published a number of textbooks entitled "The Maryland Series," and Newell also edited a series of six reader known as "The Newell Readers." In addition to all these activities, Newell was the president of the National Education Association from 1876-77.In September 1865 Newell was elected by the State Board of Education as Principal for the Maryland State Normal School which was established with the Maryland Constitution of 1864 but had not yet found a physical home. He took up these duties in November of 1865. He then spent time visiting other normal schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and devising the curriculum for MSNS under the direction of Libertus Van Bokkelen, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Maryland. When Van Bokkelen was ousted from his position by the new Maryland state constitution of 1867, Newell took on the duties of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for all public schools in Maryland. However, the course of study pursued by MSNS students would now be directed by a newly formed Board of Trustees which replaced the State Board of Education. In 1871, Newell was elected President of that governing body which at that point was called the Board of State School Commissioners and Trustees of the State Normal School, ex officio. It became the State Board of Education again the next year, and Newell remained President until 1874, when he was elected Secretary. He held this position during the rest of his time at MSNS.As Principal, Newell’s duties were broad: teaching, hiring faculty and staff, procuring lab equipment and library materials, and approving local boarding houses for students. Newell believed inpractical training, rather than rote learning as had been the norm, and he placed great emphasis on the use of the demonstration or model school for students to practice teaching methods.Newell’s work was hindered by the lack of a permanent space for theschool, and the constant growth in enrollment once the school was formed. With the acquisition of the building at Carrollton and Lafayette Avenues in 1876, that particular problem was temporarily relieved.Susannah Newell died in 1883 and two years later,Newell married Charlotte Davies Murrell. The second Mrs. Newell herself proved active in education, being elected secretary for the Maryland State Teachers’ Reading Circle, a program designed to offer those who were not graduates of the Normal School a way to earn teaching certificates, but she resigned this position when her husband was replaced as MSNS Principal.In 1890, the State Board of Education voted to elect Elijah Barrett Prettyman as Principal for the Maryland State Normal School. Newell askedto continue on as Principal for the Model School, a position his daughter Belle Newell held at the time. His request was denied and both Newell and his daughter left the school.Newell was very well respected in the educational fields and was offered theposition of U.S. Commissioner of Education by President Grover Cleveland. Newell, however, refused, citing as his reason that he did not wish to move to Washington away from his friends for four years. His close personal friends were President Gilman and Professor Gildersleeve of Johns Hopkins University. James Russell Lowell and Elizabeth Peabody were visitors to his home. Along with many other honors, Princeton University conferred an honorary Ph.D. upon M. Alexander Newell. After Dr. Newell resigned his position as president of the Maryland State Normal School in July, 1890, he became the principal of Male Grammar School #1, but later resigned this position to become the principal of the high school at Havre De Grace in Harford County, Maryland. M. A. Newell died on August 14, 1894 at his home in Havre de Grace, after being confined there for six weeks with liver and kidney troubles. Always seeking new challenges, Newell had accepted the position of principal of the Baltimore Colored Normal School and was to have begun his duties in September, 1894. When MSNS moved to the Towson campus in 1915, the first residence hall constructed was named Newell Hall in his honor.A far-sighted educator, M.A. Newell created a teacher training institution with high standards. As Superintendent of Public Instruction, he shaped the development of Maryland’s public school system. His strong sense of the importance of well-trained, well-educated and qualified teachers was a novel concept for its time. Newell developed a model or demonstration school where the students could observe teachers and in turn, practice teaching. He designed and continually improved the curriculum, including courses on the arts, home science and physical education. A strong believer in formal teacher training, he established institutes across the state for in-service training for teachers already in the schools. His legacy is an institution that produces the majority of Maryland’s teachers and has a strong impact on the quality of education provided to the school children on Maryland. Over the years, the Maryland State Normal School had evolved into Towson University, a nationally recognized comprehensive university.

Extent

.15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Overview

McFadden Alexander Newell served as the first Principal of the Maryland State Normal School from 1866 to 1890. These records which date from 1889 to 1977 are composed of Newell’s publications, tributes, biographies, and correspondence.

Bibliography

Cain, Mary Clough. The Historical Development of State Normal Schools for White Teachers in Maryland. New York: Bureau of Publications Teachers’ College Columbia University, 1941. Ohles, John F. ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Educators. Vol. 1. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978. State Teachers College at Towson. Seventy Five Years of Teacher Education. Towson, Maryland: The Alumni Assoc., 1941. "FACTS FROM THE SCHOOL REPORT." The Sun (1837-1985), January 13, 1868, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

"THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE STATE." The Sun (1837-1985), January 25, 1870, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun. "AFFAIRS AT THE STATE CAPITAL: Investigating the Maryland Public School System--Comptroller Woolford's Accounts." The Sun (1837-1985), February 4, 1878, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

"CHANGE AT THE NORMAL SCHOOL: A Rumor that Mr Prettyman Will Succced Prof. Newell as Principal." The Sun (1837-1985), March 27, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

"An Interesting High License Point." The Sun (1837-1985), May 29, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

"THE TEACHERS' OFFICERS: But They Didn't Elect Them Without Getting a Little Excited MR, JOHN E. M'CAHAN IS PRESIDENT An Objection to Giving the High Honor to Superintendents All the Time--The Association Adjourns at Bay Ridge After More Papers Are Read." The Sun (1837-1985), July 11, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • Cain, Mary Clough. The Historical Development of State Normal Schools for White Teachers in Maryland. New York: Bureau of Publications Teachers’ College Columbia University, 1941.
  • Ohles, John F. ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Educators. Vol. 1. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978.
  • State Teachers College at Towson. Seventy Five Years of Teacher Education. Towson, Maryland: The Alumni Assoc., 1941.
  • "FACTS FROM THE SCHOOL REPORT." The Sun (1837-1985), January 13, 1868, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • "THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE STATE." The Sun (1837-1985), January 25, 1870, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun. "AFFAIRS AT THE STATE CAPITAL: Investigating the Maryland Public School System--Comptroller Woolford's Accounts." The Sun (1837-1985), February 4, 1878, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • "CHANGE AT THE NORMAL SCHOOL: A Rumor that Mr Prettyman Will Succced Prof. Newell as Principal." The Sun (1837-1985), March 27, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • "An Interesting High License Point." The Sun (1837-1985), May 29, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).
  • "THE TEACHERS' OFFICERS: But They Didn't Elect Them Without Getting a Little Excited MR, JOHN E. M'CAHAN IS PRESIDENT An Objection to Giving the High Honor to Superintendents All the Time--The Association Adjourns at Bay Ridge After More Papers Are Read." The Sun (1837-1985), July 11, 1890, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed July 14, 2010).

Processing Information

Conservation or preservation treatments--rehoused in document box with multiple subseries items, re-foldered, publications rehoused in envelopes or protected with polyester envelopes or acid-free paper for more stability and less handling.Media clippings removed and transferred to vertical file.
Title
Guide to the McFadden Alexander Newell records
Status
Completed
Author
Created by Felicity Knox. Revised and transferred to ArchivesSpace by John Esh.
Date
2010, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States