New York Free Academy: Prize Speaking

Event Information

Irving Hall

Harvey Bradley Dodworth

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
3 January 2013

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

14 Jul 1865, Evening

Program Details

The New York Free Academy became The City College the following year, 1866.

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Bellini
Participants:  Dodworth Band
aka Athalia
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
aka I would that my Love; Ich wollte meine Liebe; Oh, that my love
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Text Author: Heine
Composer(s): Bousquet
Composer(s): Donizetti
aka Rataplan de la gloria
Composer(s): Verdi
aka Railroad galop; Rail road galop
Composer(s): Gung'l


Review: New York Herald, 15 July 1865, 4.

New York Free Academy – Prize Speaking.

     This institution, modestly styled academy, possesses all the characteristics of a university; the students go through a college course of study which is superintended by a numerous corps of efficient professors, and receive degrees at its termination.  We understand it is intended during the next session of Congress to apply for a charter, and substitute the word university for academy.  The qualifying adjective ‘free’ imparts a great interest to it.  No charge is made to any of its students, all of whom must have previously gone through a course of instruction in our public schools.

     The exercises of last evening at Irving Hall were of a highly interesting nature, comprising oratory, poetry and music of a superior order of merit.  The chair was occupied by Horace Webster, LL.D., principal of the academy, with whom on the platform were Peter Cooper, John J. Owen, V.P., and a number of members of the faculty.

     Dodworth’s band inaugurated the programme of the evening by the performance of a selection from Bellini’s Il Pirata.  After prayer the Riggs Prize Essay of the senior class was read clearly and distinctly by William H. Lane.  The subject of the essay was ‘The Study of Language a Most Efficacious Discipline for Thorough Mental Development,’ and was well handled by its author, who treated it in a most exhaustive manner.  The prize essay of the junior class was read by Charles L. Hall.  The theme was ‘Characteristics of the Originality to be arrived at in American Literature.’  The language of this essay was very fine, and many of the ideas embodied in it original.  The reading was almost faultless.  Declamation followed by Messrs. Whitehead, Hallock, Hart, Brinkerhoff, Knapp and Penfield.  The subjects were well chosen, and full justice was done them in their delivery.  Recitations by Messrs. Lane, Hanks and Carr were applauded loudly by the audience, which was large and fashionable.  After the benediction the audience separated, evidently well pleased with the example given them of what the New York Academy was capable of accomplishing.

     The annual Commencement takes place next Wednesday, when we may look for further proof of the talent and erudition which exist in the Academy.”

Review: New-York Daily Tribune, 15 July 1865, 5.

New-York Free Academy – Prize Speaking at Irving Hall.

     Irving Hall was last evening filled with a very large and fashionable audience, the principal portion of which were ladies.

     The exercises were commenced by Dodworth’s Band playing Il Pirata, from Bellini, which was followed by prayer from the Rev. Cyrus D. Foss of the St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church of this city.  The programme was as follows:

     Music, Il Pirata, Bellini; prayer; Music, Athalie, Mendelssohn; reading of Riggs prize compositions by their authors; Riggs prize composition, Senior Class; The Study of Language – a most Efficacious Discipline for thorough Mental Development, William Henry Lane; Riggs prize composition, Junior Class; Characteristics of the Originality to be aimed at in American Literature, Charles L. Hall; Music, I would that my Love, Mendelssohn; Declamations; America Unconquerable, William Pitt, Joseph H. Whitehead; The Old Flag at Summer, Henry Ward Beecher, James C. Hallock, jr.; Music, Linnet Polka, Bosquet; Against Flogging in the Navy, R. F. Stockton, Wm. Harvey Hart; Eulogy on Adams and Jefferson, Edward Everett, Chas. H. Brinkerhoff; Music, Il Poliuto, Duet; The American Experiment of Self-Government, Edward Everett, John Augustus Knapp; Speech at the Union meeting, New-York, April 20, 1861, Senator Baker, John B. Penfield; Music, Rataplan Della Gloria [sic]; Poetical Recitations: The Madman, Anonymous, Wm. Henry Lane; The Moor’s Revenge, Mickiewiez, Arthur M. Hanks; The Dying Alchemist, N. P. Willis, Henry S. Carr; Music, Railroad Galop, Gungl; Benediction; Music, College Songs.  Harvey B. Dodworth, Chef d’Orchestre.

     The Hon. Horace Webster, Principal of the Academy, presided.

     The Faculty, together with several invited guests, were seated on the platform.

     The declamation on ‘America Unconquerable,’ was received with great applause, as was also the declamation against Flogging in the Navy.

     The delivery of the several pieces was very good, considering their length, although the pronunciation of a few words was rather defective.”