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ANNALS OF ACADEMIC CULTURE LouiseL. Stevenson. Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends:TheNew Haven Scholars and the Transformation of Higher Learning in America, 1830-1890. Baltimore: The JohnsHopkins University Press, 1986. xi + 221 pp. RogerL. Geiger. To A~van~e.Knowledge: The Growth of American Research Umverslfles, 1900-1940. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1986. x + 325 pp. David0. Levine. The American College and the Culture ofAspiration,1915-1940. Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1986. 281 pp. PeterM. Rutkoff and William B. Scott. New School: A H1storv of the New School for Social Research. New York: TheFree Press, 1986. xiv+ 314pp. EllenW. Schrecker. No Ivory To1ver:McCarthyism and theUmversities.New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. viii + 437 pp. Steven Weiland Oneof the anomalies of American scholarship, with its concentration in colleges anduniversities, has been the relative neglect of higher education itself as an historicalsubject. While ranging widely over almost every feature of American culturallife, scholars have been reluctant to look critically at the making of their own professional circumstances. It is only in the past two decades that the development of American higher education has become established as a central themein intellectual history, now compelling scholars in allied fields to recognize itssignificance. With the publication of Laurence Veysey's The Emergence of the American University(1965), the history of higher education can be said to have also emerged as a problem in historiography, the selection of themes and theories, materialsand methods. Daniel Boorstin, in a review that has itself been widely cited, complained that despite its path-breaking virtues, and ,its length and citations,Veysey's book did not tell enough of the story or told too much about the wrong things. He calied it "an emphatically internal history" that did not completely account for what was distinctive about the American university becauseits relations with the surrounding communities of American experience wereleft unexplored. 1 Despite Boors tin's complaint, however, most influential work on higher education has continued to address aspects of its history that rely essentially on "internal" matters, professors and university presidents being the chief 210 Steven Weiland sources of ideas about what the university meant to do and actually did. Indeed, in the 1970s, the origins and growth of intellectual and administrative professionalism became the dominant theme. New studies tended to emphasize one or another aspect of Veysey' s account but not to disturb its essential outline nor to add substantially to materials for an ''external'' history of the kind advocated by Boors tin. 2 Recent work is showing signs of interest in contextualizing the subject even while it seeks to reopen some central questions, including the convention of locating the modernization of higher education in the 1880s and 1890s with the tranformation of many of the older universities and the establishment of major new ones like Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Chicago. Louise L. Stevenson's Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends represents this latter goal, identifymg the "community of discourse" at Yale in mid-nineteenth-century New Haven asa sign that neglected sources of the American academic vocation predate the emergence of the modern university. The careers, for example, of the geologist James Dwight Dana (1813-95), the philologist William Dwight Whitney (1827-94), and the legal and political scholar Theodore Dwight Woolsey (1801-89), are evidence in Stevenson's view that "a unique synthesis existed that fused religious faith with scholarly vocation, teaching and writing with social action, individual with social improvement, elite education for the few with a democratic society for all" (138) .. Precisely because the case for the professionalization of American academic life has focused on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Stevenson highlights the modern attributes of the work of the New Haven scholars against the backdrop of its historical determinants, at least as they were defined by her subjects. It was "a specialized activity within an evangelical whole, a scholarly statement of more popular conceptions of freedom and progress, and an elitist alternative to unruly antinomian tendencies of evangelicalism " (147). At the same time, of course, the New Haven scholars largely resisted the secularizing tendencies that came to be represented in the curricular transformation of American colleges and universities. In her account of this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 209-222
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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