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398 Spring 1990 Volume 13, No. 3 questions, and supplied much of the original correspon­ dence with publishers, editors, and scholars, c. 1958-62, when he was writing his book. Rudolph’s Am erican College and University: A H istory: An Appraisal a Generation After Publication David S. Webster A lm o st thirty years ago, Frederick Rudolph published The American College and University: A History. It is an important and widely celebrated book which remained in print, either in hard cover, paperback, or both, from 1962 until 1985. It sold about fiftyfive thousand copies; very few scholarly works sell nearly so well. The book has been widely and almost always favorably reviewed. Among the many publications which praised it were major his­ torical journals like the American Historical Review (Barker 1963) and the Mississippi Valley Historical Review (Jackson 1963); educa­ tional journals like the Teachers College Record (Harrison and Shoben 1962),and the young HistoryofEducation Quarterly (Madsen 1963); what were then often called "highbrow" magazines for the cultivated general reader such as Harper's (Pickrel 1962) and the SaturdayReview (Walton 1962); and dozens of newspapers, includ­ ing the New York Times (Horn 1962), the Hartford Courant (Weaver 1962) and the Providence Sunday Journal (McLoughlin 1962). Among the numerous reviewers who praised it were such wellknown scholars as Bernard Bailyn (1962), now a University pro­ fessor at Harvard; David Tyack (1967), now professor of education and history at Stanford; and Theodore Sizer (1963), now professor and chairman of the Department of Education at Brown. Not only was American College and University praised shortly after it was published, but it has had an exceptionally long scholarly life. Between 1980 and August 1988—which is eighteen to twenty-six years after it was published—it was cited seventy-nine times in the SocialSciences Citation Index. That was almost twice as many as the forty-three citations given during the same period to the only other general history of American higher education published during the last thirty-five years (Brubacher and Rudy 1958), even though by 1980 that book had been published in revised and expanded editions in both 1968 and 1976. Webster and Thetin/ Rudolph Rediscovered 399 S cholarly V irtues As one would expect of a book so long in print, so widely praised in a variety of publications, and so frequently cited, American College and University has many virtues. For one, it collects an enormous number of disparate sources—many of them long forgotten, difficult to obtain, of mainly local interest, and of indifferent quality—and weaves them into a history of American colleges and universities that is useful, even today, to both the scholar and the general reader. It is based on hundreds of sources, including more than 150 histories of individual insti­ tutions. For another, although Rudolph wrote in his preface that he had "not attempted a definitive history" of American higher educa­ tion and was conscious "of the need for compression, even of omission" (p. vii), he produced, all things considered, an excep­ tionally comprehensive book. In almost five hundred pages of text it traces some three hundred years of the history of American colleges and universities from the 1636 founding of Harvard well into the twentieth century. Although Rudolph pays particularly close attention to the role of students in shaping the history of American colleges and universities, he also discusses the development of university governance and the role of the faculty. While he focuses more on campus life than on institutions' relations with the wider society, he considers the effect that major events like the Revolutionary War and the Civil War had on colleges and universities. Nor does he ignore the role that such organizations as the College Entrance Examination Board and leading philanthropic organizations played in the history of higher education. Perhaps the book's most important break with previous histo­ ries of American higher education is the great importance it attributes to students and student life in the history of American colleges and universities. As one observer has commented: "Rudolph's most significant methodological departure is his attempt to capture the 'total environment' of the college as expe­ rienced by the student, giving the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1090-7009
Print ISSN
0162-5748
Pages
pp. 398-411
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-01
Open Access
No
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