10. The Emergent Univesity, I

Alma Mater/Spring 2014
February 24, 2014
Lecture # 10

10. The University Emergent, I:  Underwriters & Prime Movers

The earlier men’s colleges do not disappear after the Civil War;
most survive; some prosper as colleges – Williams/Amherst/Bowdoin/Swarthmore
focus on undergraduates; non-professional liberal arts curriculum
retain links to denominations into 20th-c;
cut back on Greek/Latin; offer more electives;  appoint PhDs….
present themselves as preferred alternative to universities….
”educating the whole man” – remained “men only” until early 1970s….

Some move somewhat toward the newer model of the university
some professional schools/but essentially colleges well into 20th c.

Late 19th-century Yale – a unique mix of the old and the new
Professional schools (divinity/law/medicine/applied science) and PhDs (1861)
but the Old Side Presbyterian Yale College at the institution’s center
President Noah Porter  (1871-86) – minister/man of letters
Held to the old more than embraced the new


Two of the older colleges make substantial conversions into universities;
[Penn slower to do so; more professional-schools oriented than graduate school]
Harvard – medical school (1782); law school (1817);  Lawrence Scientific s (1847)
Quincy reforms in late 1830s – electives; faculty as specialists with advanced
training; Boston and NYC money to underwrite change
President  Charles William Eliot (1869-1909) – a layman, a chemist, a promoter
of the elective system and faculty specialization/faculty research…..
First PhD in 1873

Columbia – Gibbs controversy in 1854 the conservatives’ last stand for a college resisting outside pressures on it to those identifying with changes in higher education
Had had a a medical school (1767-1813); law lectures in 1790s; law school in 1857;
experiment with graduate instruction (1857-60); S/Mines in 1864
President Frederick A. P. Barnard (1864-1889) – fully committed to making Columbia a university; largely immune to any nostalgic rhapsodizing about college life;  thought undergraduate instruction could come from elsewhere, with Columbia providing the post-college training
FAPB out ahead of his trustees; lost their support by pushing too hard to advance advanced training, to spend some of the college’s accumulating wealth on the curriculum; to securing the admission of women (and ex-slaves) to Columbia
PhDs begin being awarded in 1875
Transition stalled somewhat in 1880s when Barnard-Trustees stand-off, but accelerated upon his retirement/death in 1888. à presidency of Seth Low
History  of this period  not mostly about older institutions that made the transition from college to university but of new institutions different at their founding in mission/purpose and intended clienteles from the traditional colleges

1. Technology-centered institutions – Engineering schools
West Point/Rensselaer PT/Lawrence SS/Sheffield SS – Dartmouth/Brown
MIT – 1861 charter/opened in Boston 1865
S/Mines of Columbia College – 8th or 9th engineering program, but first mines school
iron/coal/gold/silver/copper/petroleum …..mineralology/metallurgy/refining
Provide a skilled work force for telegraphy/railroads/construction industries
bridges/electrical systems/illumination/ waterways/automobiles….

2. State institutions focused on advanced agricultural techniques;
instruction in botany, zoology, agricultural chemistry:

University of Missouri


University of Iowa


University of Wisconsin


University of Minnesota


New York State Agricultural College


University of Kansas


Penn State


Michigan State



Some interest in having federal government become a participant/take a role
a national university??   George Washington in DC /JQ Adams/Justin Morrill, Vermont
Federal role not provided for in US Constitution; standing colleges objected

Morrill proposal – Congress make grants of federal land to states for use to advance education in agriculture, military strategy and mechanics – 30,000 acres to be sold by states and $$ put into land-grant colleges

Legislation passed in 1862 with South out of Union
States directed the grants to already established state instns or used them to establish such colleges; New York legislature gave its grant to the newly chartered but not yet opened Cornell University; Yale got some of Connecticut’s money

Massachusetts Agricultural College


University of Kentucky


New Hampshire Agricultural College


University of Illinois


University of California


University of Maine


University of Nebraska


Purdue University


Ohio State University


University of Arkansas


University of Oregon


Connecticut Agricultural College


Land-grant colleges (A & Ms) not precluded from offering courses in humanities; but some states divided that kind of instruction and that of agricultural/technology/military ;

Indiana University (1820) and Purdue (1869)
University of Michigan and Michigan State University
UNC, Chapel Hill,  and NC State at Raleigh
University of Georgia and Georgia Tech

Subsequent federal legislation
(Hatch Act (1887) – agricultural research stations/centers – federal support of research
2nd Morrill Act  (1890) – federal $$ to southern states if provide evidence that they not discriminating against black citizens (“separate but equal” assumptions)

Black colleges – pre Civil War: Cheyney (Pa.); Wilberforce (Ohio)
Immediate post-Civil war – with northern financial support

Black colleges founded  responsive to 2nd Morrill Act
Women’s Higher Education
1837 – Oberlin/Mt. Holyoke/Georgia Female Academy

1861 – Vassar College – Matthew Vassar/Poughkeepsie
First of the “Seven Sisters” – not the only women’s colleges founded in the era
Wells/Chatham/Goucher/College of Notre Dame….

Co-ed institutions – Cornell/BU/most state universities….

1875 – Wellesley
1879 – Radcliffe [Harvard “Annex”]
1885 – Bryn Mawr
1887 – Mt. Holyoke (from Seminary to College)
1889 – Barnard
Catholic Institutions – 200 plus?
1780s – 1850s – too many colleges for too few interested Protestant white guys headed to
professional occupations (a few Jews at Yale/Harvard/Columbia; a few blacks at Williams,
Bowdoin;  a couple black women at Oberlin….)

1880s – more different kinds of educational institutions available to more kinds of young people;
occupationally directed farmers and mechanics/whites and blacks;

Law schools – proprietary/profit-making
medical schools
business schools – Wharton (1881); Tuck (1900); Harvard Business (1908); Columbia (1916)


University-Founding in the Gilded Age à The Research-University Model

The four most Important late 19th-century private university foundings:
Importance of single donor;  publicly recognizable presidents;  substantial focus on science but comprehensive across arts and sciences; little denominational character (Chicago; Baptist); regionally dispersed

Cornell (1868)  — Ezra Cornell — $400,000  Andrew Dickson White (1865-1885)
Johns Hopkins (1876) – Johns Hopkins — $3,000,000 – Daniel Coit Gilman 91874-1903)
Stanford (1891) – Leland Stanford — $40,000,000 – David Starr Jordan (1891-1914)
University of Chicago (1892) – John D. Rockefeller  — $35,000,000 —  Wm. Rainey Harper (192-1906)

Others – Vanderbilt  (1873) — Cornelius Vanderbilt — $1,000,000
Tulane University (1884) – Paul Tulane — $1,000,000
Clark  University (1887) – Jonas G. Clark — $2,000,000

1900 – American Association of Universities – 12/14 leading granters of PhDs to 1900
[2014 – 60 universities]

Johns Hopkins
University of California
University of Chicago
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
University of Wisconsin
Yale University    [Catholic University//Clark University since left ]

New privates (Cornell/JHU/Stanford/Chicago)
Old privates (Harvard; Yale; Columbia; Penn; Princeton)
State universities (Cal/Michigan/Wisconsin)
Last updated: February 21, 2014


Leave a Reply