Several necessary committees were organized and George Ingram’s gospel of Helpfulness found another practical expression. The Educational Bureau was not a gratuity in any of its departments, as small fees were charged in all the evening classes, which were crowded with old and young. For twenty consecutive Saturday evenings in the winter season, a four-fold intellectual treat was furnished at $1.00 for tickets for the entire course.
By 7:30 o’clock in the evening the Central Hall was packed to the walls, no reserved seats were sold, and the rule was observed “First come, first served,” which brought promptly the audience. Season ticket-holders had the exclusive right to the hall till 7:25 o’clock, when a limited number of single admission tickets were sold. A large force of polite ushers assisted in seating the people, and in keeping order. At 7:30 all the entrance doors were closed, so that late comers never disturbed the audience.
The musical prelude, or orchestra concert of thirty minutes closed at 7:30 with a grand chorus by the audience standing; following this, precisely at 7:30 was the half-hour lecture-prelude on some scientific or practical subject. Among the topics treated were “Wrongs of Workingmen, and How to Right Them,” “The Terminal Glacier,” “Sewerage and Ventilation,” “The Pyramids,” “Wonders of the House we Live in,” “Architecture Illustrated,” etc.
From 8:00 to 8:15 followed the popular Singing School, in which five thousand persons heartily joined, aided by an enthusiastic precentor, and orchestra, in singing national hymns and other music. During the singing school everybody stood, and with windows lowered, fresh air and music swept through the hall and the hearts of the audience.
From 8:15 to 9:30 was given the principal attraction of the evening, a popular lecture, dramatic reading, debate on some burning question, or a professional concert. The entertainments always closed promptly at 9:30, as many electric cars were in waiting. During the season, free lectures on “The Art of Cooking,” “How to Dress,” “The Care of Children,” “Housekeeping in General,” “The Culture of Flowers,” etc., etc., were given at 3 P.M. in the great hall to the wives and friends of all the ticket holders.
The circulation of useful literature was another important feature of the Educational Bureau work. At each entertainment five thousand little books of forty pages each, a wagon-load, were given to the owners of course tickets, as they entered the hall. These pamphlets included “A Short History of France,” or “History of the United States,” “Story of the Steam Engine,” “A Brief History of Science,” an “Essay on Early Man,” “Great Artists,” “Secrets of Success,” etc. Each little book contained the evening’s programme, the words and music of at least two national hymns, and “Owl Talks,” a single page of crisp thoughts, to whet one’s wits. At the close of each season