A History of Cornell

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Cornell University Press, Oct 31, 1962 - Education - 651 pages
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Cornell University is fortunate to have as its historian a man of Morris Bishop's talents and devotion. As an accurate record and a work of art possessing form and personality, his book at once conveys the unique character of the early university—reflected in its vigorous founder, its first scholarly president, a brilliant and eccentric faculty, the hardy student body, and, sometimes unfortunately, its early architecture—and establishes Cornell's wider significance as a case history in the development of higher education. Cornell began in rebellion against the obscurantism of college education a century ago. Its record, claims the author, makes a social and cultural history of modern America. This story will undoubtedly entrance Cornellians; it will also charm a wider public.

Dr. Allan Nevins, historian, wrote: "I anticipated that this book would meet the sternest tests of scholarship, insight, and literary finish. I find that it not only does this, but that it has other high merits. It shows grasp of ideas and forces. It is graphic in its presentation of character and idiosyncrasy. It lights up its story by a delightful play of humor, felicitously expressed. Its emphasis on fundamentals, without pomposity or platitude, is refreshing. Perhaps most important of all, it achieves one goal that in the history of a living university is both extremely difficult and extremely valuable: it recreates the changing atmosphere of time and place. It is written, very plainly, by a man who has known and loved Cornell and Ithaca for a long time, who has steeped himself in the traditions and spirit of the institution, and who possesses the enthusiasm and skill to convey his understanding of these intangibles to the reader."

The distinct personalities of Ezra Cornell and first president Andrew Dickson White dominate the early chapters. For a vignette of the founder, see Bishop's description of "his" first buildings (Cascadilla, Morrill, McGraw, White, Sibley): "At best," he writes, "they embody the character of Ezra Cornell, grim, gray, sturdy, and economical." To the English historian, James Anthony Froude, Mr. Cornell was "the most surprising and venerable object I have seen in America." The first faculty, chosen by President White, reflected his character: "his idealism, his faith in social emancipation by education, his dislike of dogmatism, confinement, and inherited orthodoxy"; while the "romantic upstate gothic" architecture of such buildings as the President's house (now Andrew D. White Center for the Humanities), Sage Chapel, and Franklin Hall may be said to "portray the taste and Soul of Andrew Dickson White."

Other memorable characters are Louis Fuertes, the beloved naturalist; his student, Hugh Troy, who once borrowed Fuertes' rhinoceros-foot wastebasket for illicit if hilarious purposes; the more noteworthy and the more eccentric among the faculty of succeeding presidential eras; and of course Napoleon, the campus dog, whose talent for hailing streetcars brought him home safely—and alone—from the Penn game. The humor in A History of Cornell is at times kindly, at times caustic, and always illuminating.

  

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Love it. An exciting read about a great university with many interesting anecdotes.

Contents

Prelude
1
Ezra Cornell
8
Andrew D White
29
The Conception of a University
50
The Making of a University
69
A Perambulation of the Campus
91
The Men
99
The Boys
121
Cornell Medical College
384
The Other Colleges
390
Prewar Cornellians
402
The First War
425
Interregnum I 19201921
443
President FarrandThe Campus
450
Organization and Administration
461
Education
468

The Girls
143
Instruction and Education
153
Triumphs and Trials
180
The Doubtful Years 18761881
197
The Great Will Case
224
Reconstruction 18811885
233
President Adams 18851892
254
The Business of Education
269
The Teachers and the Taught
286
President Schurman and the State of New York
303
Cornell Medical College
317
The Educational Machine
322
Cornellians and Their Home
332
Cornells Soul and Body
351
The Rise of Agriculture
364
Campus Life
485
Athletics
502
The Medical CollegeRetirement of President Farrand
512
Prewar
522
War
538
Postwar Administration
554
Postwar Education and Research
565
The Postwar Student
584
Interregnum II 19491951
592
Cornell under President Malott
605
Postlude
613
President White in His Library
617
Index
629
Copyright

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About the author (1962)

Morris Bishop (1893–1973) was Kappa Alpha Professor of Romance Literature and University Historian at Cornell University.

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