American Academe in the Early Twentieth Century

  • Christopher J. Lucas


Reflecting back upon American higher education as he had experienced it in the early years of the 1900s, Henry Seidel Canby (Alma Mater, 1936) recalled it as a period of relative calm and tranquility underlain by a certain ambiguity of purpose. “Particularly in the first decade of the new century,” he reported, “they were trying in our college to combine various incompatibles. … A young instructor on the faculty in, say 1905, could look upon this unheard of combination of sporting resort, beer garden, political convention, laboratory, and factory for research with a mind as confused as a Spanish omelet.”1 But Canby’s sense of incompatibility seems not to have been widely shared, judging from the tone of the many writings on higher learning that appeared in scholarly and popular journals of the day. As compared with the deep divisions of opinion and sharply contrasting views vented in books and journals in the 1870s and 1880s, the overall climate was more nearly one of consensus and accommodation.2


Teacher Preparation Academic Freedom Black Student High Learning Normal School 


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© Christopher J. Lucas 2006

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  • Christopher J. Lucas

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