[Philadelphia: Penn Monthly, 1878]. Offprint. First separate edition. Octavo. Sewn pamphlet; printed blue paper wrappers; 12pp; errata slip bound in after final leaf of text. Rear wrapper neatly detached; old tide-line to upper margin of front wrapper; text tight and unmarked - a Good, complete and sound copy. Signed in type and end of text by Charles F. Dunbar.
Article reprinted from the April, 1878 issue of Otis Kendall's Penn Monthly, in which Stillé's original article had appeared two months earlier. Dunbar, an eminent Harvard economist, answers the criticisms of Stillé, then provost of the University of Pennsylvania, who had taken issue with the profferment of the Harvard Preliminary Examination for Women in the city of Philadelphia. Stillé's argument appears to have been based as much on parochialism as criticism of the exam's content; he was at this time working to raise the profile of Penn among elite American universities, and resented the incursion of Harvard onto Penn's home turf. But Stillé evinces more than a little snobbery, to say nothing of chauvinism, in his assertion that "...no hot-house treatment which forces a precocious and unnatural development, can ever produce that fruit which is the support and comfort of human life" – an assertion which Dr. Dunbar answers somewhat caustically: "These truths are well-worn and not denied, but if they serve in connection any other purpose than that of a modest rhetorical embellishment, it is because the relate to some fancied system, quite different from that under discussion."
Despite widespread criticisms similar to the ones ably answered by Dunbar in the present essay, The Harvard Examinations for Women – quite stringent, covering a wide range of subjects and requiring their subjects to answer in at least two languages other than English – eventually became a national standard for the accreditation of young women who were unable, whether for reasons of gender or circumstance, to attend four-year universities. Stillé, meanwhile, became one of the University of Pennsylvania's historical icons; "...the extraordinary progress begun in his administration initiated the great expansion that was to continue under his immediate successors..." [DAB]. The pamphlet appears uncommon - though widely catalogued in WorldCat, nearly all holdings examined appear to be digital copies of the original held at Harvard's Schlesinger Library.