Abbildungen der Seite


It is three hundred years this winter since John Harvard was born in the charming half-timbered house at Stratford-on-Avon from which he set forth to the new colony of Massachusetts. Twenty-nine years later he gave over to certain of the leading colonists his library of four hundred books, together with a sum of one thousand pounds, the nucleus of Harvard College in the little village of Cambridge across the river from Boston. The almost mythical character of Harvard himself has become a symbol of the high seriousness, the idealism, the insatiable desire for freedom and truth which distinguished the founders of the Commonwealth, and which are enshrined in the arms of the great University of to-day-a simple shield bearing the word "Veritas" with the motto "Christo et Ecclesiae.”

For two hundred and fifty years in round numbers, Harvard College was 'the centre of New England life, the centre to which, as a matter of course, the people of quality in most of the original colonies of the North sent their sons to gain common ideals of brotherhood and citizenship. Cotton Mather, President John Adams, President John Quincy Adams, Edward Everett, George Bancroft, James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Sumner, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Phillips Brooks, John Lothrop Motleyare some of the great names which represent the Harvard College of two centuries and a half.

To any one familiar with American life those names strike a common note, the note of New England, the note of a provinciality not less distinct because it is philosophic and in a sense widely cultured. It may be said that so long as America had one perfectly definite national point of view, it was the pro

vincial point of view of New England. The growth of imperialism in America, the rapid development of new states and new cities, often composed largely of ill-educated foreigners, has made it almost impossible as yet to define the common point of view of America. The intuence of New England is dying out; the fine, intense provincialism no longer moves American politics and society, and something wider and more cosmopolitan, something still indistinct in its outlines, is gradually taking possession of all the states.

Harvard College ceased to be provincial when provincialism ceased to be the controlling element in American society. By carefully adapting its curriculum to the economic needs of the time, and by enrolling among its professors men of widely different sections of the country, the possession, along with these tributes to progress, of the very soul of American tradition has easily kept for it the leading place among American universities. President Roosevelt, for example, who represents the extreme qualities of ultramodern America, is a Harvard man.

This adaptation, which can be roughly defined as the evolution of a university out of a college, in accordance with the evolution of Americanism out of New Englandism, is the work of the present head of Harvard, President Charles W. Eliot. With much of the simplicity and quality of the earlier New England, President Eliot combines the practical efficiency and the somewhat harsh materialism of the Roosevelt type. His policy has been to cut away the ties of sentiment with old New England, to link Harvard with as many phases of American life and as many sections of the country as possible, and in general to sacrifice culture to efficiency. He has been an


uncompromising realist ever since the with the cosmopolitan, broadening day, now all but forty years ago, when quality of the university, Princeton beas a young man and an assistant pro- ing the only great American universfessor of chemistry, he was chosen ity which may be said to bave President of the University, an unpre- made any considerable progress tocedented honor for a professor not of wards this ideal. The work the humanities, but of science.

President Eliot, so admirable from It is interesting to compare a few the standpoint of practical efficiency, figures, in order to indicate the change tends to withdraw the influence of in size which this evolution represents. Harvard over the personal relations of In 1881 the whole body of teachers the students, to withdraw any guidance was 182; in 1906, 643. In 1881 the stu- whatever except a purely intellectual dents numbered 1,364; in 1906, 3,945. guidance. The result is that we see at The Summer School, in which in 1881 Harvard-distinct from the profesforty-four students were enrolled, in sional schools, most of whose students 1906 numbered 1,076. During the last are mature men, who require for the five years the figures have fluctuated, most part none but purely intellectual so that the growth seems to have training in some special departmentreached a very normal temporary stop- the anomaly of a college of younger ping-place, rather fortunate, consider- men numbering above two thousand, ing the inadequate funds and build- all under the control of a single sysings for accommodating such numbers. tem of official machinery and endeavorMany reasons are given for this pause ing to retain the unity of a college of in growth; among them the increas- three or four hundred. Furthermore, ingly high standard of admission and the "elective" system now in vogue. the refusal of Harvard until last year by which a student is required for his to accept uniform entrance examina- degree only to pass a certain number tions with other universities, the ac- of courses, among which he is allowed tivity of the Greek-letter fraterni. to choose entirely at his own discreties elsewhere in making freshmen tion, has forced undergraduate social promptly welcome, the extreme indif- life to split up into purely arbitrary ference and ill-success of Harvard in groups based entirely on personal most atbletic matters, and the some- tastes. Thus there is nothing which what exclusive club-system. The at

forces the attention of a literary stutractiveness of the small college is in- dent upon an athletic student, or of creased in the eyes of many boys by any two men from temperamentally opthe certificate method of gaining ad- posed sections of the country upon each mission commonly in vogue, but never

other. As it is safe to say that in no accepted by Harvard, which obviates country in the world are there states the dreadful ordeal of entrance examin- and sections more temperamentally ations. Although in sense all opposed than in America, this serves to the arguments in favor of the small intensify sectional distastes as well as college, as a Harvard man once said, personal tendencies toward one or anare for the purpose of making it larger, other form of activity often already too there are arguments in favor of the harshly opposed. The effect is an insmall college whose only drawback is dividualism more marked at Harvard that they have that effect, for in Amer- than at any other American university ica there is no institution which, like in all those tendencies which do not Oxford, unites the intimate, corpo- depend, as in athletics and social ecorate, personal quality of the college nomics, upon co-operation. Nowhere,


for instance, are literary students so in subjects which are easily grasped exclusively literary, for the Harvard superficially the criterion is really man is left to himself, and is given higher than in subjects more difficult every opportunity, and even every en- to grasp; and where all men can succouragement, to develop a personality ceed to a certain extent it is all the harshly individual. Sympathy and more difficult to gain distinction. Visco-operation, national spirit or so-called itors to Harvard are often struck by "college spirit,” are too often self-con- the study-schedule of the typical athscious, and every peculiarity of tem- lete, who is supposed to be a kind of perament, birth, clan, or native sec- dullard in mental matters, but whose tion, bad as well as good, is intensi- work for the year sometimes consists fied. Excellent in some ways, Un

of the esoteric combination of Slavic fortunate in other ways, as this state Literature, Anthropology, the History of affairs may be, it is influenced for of Renaissance Sculpture, and Social the worse, speaking economically, by Ethics. This is the unhappiest illusthe fact that Boston society, the most tration of the elective system, for it oligarchical in America, has the con- simply means that these four studies trolling vote in Harvard undergraduate are the easiest available for a man society, and students who are not, to who wishes to do the minimum amount some extent, known and approved in of study. It produces subsequently Boston have some initial difficulty in among Harvard graduates a very large making themselves known and ap- class of men whose education consists proved in Cambridge. This is true, almost wholly of a pseudo-culture, a of course, only in regard to the dis- touch-and-go familiarity with the surtinctly social club life, for literary face of history, letters, philosophy and clubs and artistic and athletic organi- art, which is charming at dinner or zations are very rarely influenced by tea, but quite ineffectual during the anything but the intrinsic worth of long solitary hours when a man builds students in the special activities that up his character in accordance with they represent.

the ideals which education ought to The intercourse between students bring. Harvard lays upon each of and professors is again an arbitrary her sons the entire responsibility of one, based on personal sympathies un. his own character; she expects a cerrelated to courses and studies. A stu- tain maturity, a certain decided tendent has freedom of choice among all dency and intellectual aptitude in all the professors, usually choosing those those who register as freshmen; and who harmonize with his own point of only those who have this tendency, view, and too often those who serve and who are strong enough to bear to intensify his own narrowness and this responsibility, ought to be allowed to encourage in him the line of least to enter. And where such maturity resistance. This line of least exists, this responsibility is just as insistance is the greatest defect of the spiring as it is disastrous where the elective system, for among a very wide maturity does not exist. range of subjects for study some are This indicates the immense imporinevitably easier than others, and some tance of choosing the right university again are easy for certain students for the particular student. Harvard is who have just enough natural aptitude full of men whose one great mistake in them to obviate the need of working

has been the choice of Harvard, who and not enough to fit them for effective are not yet ripe for the responsibility specialization Certainly it is true that of an individual point of view. Such


men find themselves carried hither and has personally appointed the annual thither by mere sensations, intoxicated lecturers from the University of Berby a thousand conflicting impressions, lin, including men as eminent as Prounable to focus upon one cumulative fessors Ostwald and Kühnemann. idea. Side by side one sees the di- Harvard has seconded these cordial lettante who gathers a little good from relations by conferring an honorary deeverything and the eccentric who ex- gree upon Prince Henry, by emphasizaggerates his native awkwardness and ing the study of German among undernarrowness of mind and manner. But graduates, and by sending her most one sees also the fine, broad, tolerant distinguished professors to Germany. and determined man who was able Each university gives its own profesfrom the first to guide himself, and sor leave of absence on full pay, and whose choice of studies and compan- pays the visiting professor £240 for ions has led him unerringly into an in- travelling and living expenses during dividualism conscious of mastership his three months of residence. The in some particular respect, and yet courses of French lectures maintained sympathetic with all other kinds of for several years in Cambridge by the mastership. Such a man is not hin- Cercle Français, on the foundation of dered by required work which can be Mr. James H. Hyde, have lately been of no special cumulative value to him- supplemented by the appointment of self, for he is able himself to choose Harvard professors to lecture at the enough work which is sufficiently dis- University of Paris and at other agreeable to strengthen his will, and French universities, a post which has which has for him an intellectual as been successively filled by Professors well as a moral value.

Barrett Wendell, Santayana, Coolidge, To this ultimate position of a univer- and George P. Baker. Mr. Hyde also sity, so dangerous to the unfit, so help maintains in the Graduate School a ful to the fit, the work of President resident fellowship held by a nominee Eliot has tended through innumerable of the French Government, and has coramifications, political as well as so- operated in the establishment at the cial and cultural. The policy of inter- University of Paris of a similar fellowchange of professors and co-operation ship to be held by an American stuwith other American universities char- dent nominated by the Harvard Corpoacteristic of recent years at Harvard ration. has taken on a political aspect in ac- The Summer School of the University cordance with the recent international has long been characterized by an inpolicy of the American government. ternational note, and, what is even For a number of years there has been more important to Americans at a moan informal interchange of professors ment when the finer democracy of old with Oxford and Cambridge repre- New England is being eclipsed by sented at Harvard by such men as Mr. many less idealistic forms of democBryce and Professor Murray; and this racy, by an interstate note which idea has been extended to a formal in- serves to bring the older American ternational entente with Germany and traditions intimately before the attenFrance. The German Emperor has tion of the newer regions of the Midalways shown the greatest interest in dle West and the Pacific Coast. From Harvard, has given the nucleus of the a couple of courses in chemistry and now flourishing Germanic Museum, botany and field-work in geology taken has sent through Prince Henry of by a handful of students, the Summer Prussia messages of his good-will, and School has developed into a well-organized institution, offering courses in the ing 353, were received in Cambridge classics, archæology, public speaking, and given systematic instruction in English, modern languages, history, English. Two years later a company psychology, economics, philosophy, ed- of Chinese students came from various ucation, theory of design, landscape parts of the Chinese Empire at the exarchitecture, architecture, music, math- pense of their Government, and were ematics, astronomy, surveying, shop- tutored during the summer in preparawork, physics, chemistry, botany, ge- tion for entrance upon regular college ology and physical education-com- work at Harvard or elsewhere in the prising seventy-five courses in the autumn. summer of 1906. To this school there The intensive growth of the Univercame every summer for six weeks in sity has been even more marked than Cambridge between seven and eight the extensive, if the effects have been hundred students from all over the less certainly good. The relations becountry, some of them students of tween the faculty and students of HarHarvard College, who are permitted vard College, just as in the Graduate to count many of the courses as work Schools of Law, Medicine and Theol. done for their degree, but the greater ogy, have been Germanized and deperpart teachers in other colleges and in sonalized into a pure intellectualism. secondary schools. The summer stu- There is no rule laid down by the facdents are not only given free use of the ulty except that students shall keep resources of the University, but are their university appointments, or, in also provided with special evening lec- other words, “cut" only a limited numtures and readings, and with weekly ber of lectures, and pass their examinaexcursions to places of interest in the tions. The authorities seek no other neighborhood. Lodgings and public din- hold over undergraduates except in the ing-balls are thrown open at minimum arbitrary moral supervision of the rates to visitors from every section of proctors, who, under the direction of the country, who take back with them the regent, prevent loud noise and musome distinct idea of the most scien- sic after certain hours, and keep untic methods of modern teaching as well desirable visitors out of the college doras refreshing and vivid memories of mitories. The direct requirement laid the birthplace of the nation and the upon the students is that they shall home of American letters. The inter- creditably pass seventeen courses of national bearing of the Summer School study, each consisting of three lecturehas been quite as distinct, especially hours a week, and that at all times with regard to the Spanish Islands of they shall maintain a standing at least the West Indies. In 1900, 1,273 Cuban proportionate between this result and teachers of both sexes, most of whom the length of time they have been at could speak little or no English when the University. Although four years they came, were brought to Boston in is the usual time given to the degree, Government transports and provided it has become possible of late years to by subscription with board, lodging finish in three and a half or three and university instruction in language, years, students being allowed to take literature, history and the science of six courses a year. This lays the education, and with excursions to sup- stress rather on the intellectual than plement the lectures in geology and the social side of college life, and tends American history, before they were to break up the feeling for one's class safely sent back to Cuba. In 1904 a or class-mates, and once more tends party of Porto Rican teachers, number- to make companionship arbitrary.

« ZurückWeiter »