Chapter 11: Hill and the Interregnum
The resignation of President Anderson confronted the trustees with a peculiar challenge, to which certain of the more foresighted members had been giving thought for years. As frequently happens, a variety of candidates for the presidency, diverse in achievement, in qualifications, and promise came under consideration; faculty counsel on this highly important subject seems not to have been solicited. Little of the trustee discussions concerning the new chief executive was set down on paper, so that the historian is severely handicapped in reconstructing with precision what actually happened. Anderson himself played a big part, possibly a decisive role, in picking his successor.
Several graduates of the U. of R. came under review for the post. Elias H. Johnson, 1862, professor of theology at the Crozer Theological Seminary, was talked of and may actually have been offered the presidency, but he did not regard himself as the proper choice. There is some evidence that Galusha Anderson, 1854, sometime president of the original University of Chicago, had the support of M. B. Anderson and of some of the trustees, but shortly before the vacancy occurred at Rochester he had accepted the presidency of Denison University.
M. B. Anderson and Trustee Chairman Edward Bright asked Frederick T. Gates, 1877, whether he would permit his name to be considered. Flattered though he was, Gates discouraged the overture, without wholly rejecting it, but wished time for reflection; in the end, he decided that he lacked the necessary qualifications; the strongest deterrent, however, was his conviction that Anderson's shoes were far too big for him to fill. Gates' exact reasoning was: "Anyone with half an eye could see that the man who should next succeed Doctor Anderson... would be almost certain to fail. With students, alumni, faculty, trustees, the public, the contrast between the successor and the retiring president could not fail to render the successor's presidency weak, insignificant, and nugatory." In Gates' judgment, the "disappointing" record of the man who actually entered the presidency, David Jayne Hill, verified his prognostication. If Gates had become the chief executive, it is not fanciful to imagine that he would have managed to direct a portion of the educational benevolence of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., to the U. of R., as he helped so greatly to do for the second University of Chicago. Three other Rochester graduates, it may be noted in passing, had much to do with winning Rockefeller support for the Chicago institution: Thomas W. Goodspeed, 1863, above all, Henry L. Morehouse, 1858, and James M. Taylor, 1868. 1
On June 18, 1888, the trustees after "a full and frank discussion and the presentation of several other names" unanimously elected as executive head David Jayne Hill, president of the Baptist Bucknell University (formerly Lewisburg) in upstate Pennsylvania; along with the presidential home, he was offered a salary not to exceed $4000. The choice had the heartiest backing of Anderson, who knew Hill fairly well; he had been in Rochester in 1884 on a committee to award undergraduate prizes, and Anderson told him the following year that he would like him to become the next U. of R. president. Anderson was duly impressed by a book on psychology written by Hill, though not in agreement on all the points, and by a strong letter praising Hill as an academic administrator from Elias H. Johnson. If Hill accepted the U. of R. bid, one friendly commentator observed, he would come with "no inherited prejudices, no traditions of ... conflicts to trouble him..." and he would "appeal to a wide constituency;" his wife, moreover, would be a distinct asset in the Rochester community. Johnson begged Mrs. Hill to influence her husband to respond affirmatively to the Rochester invitation; both of them, he wrote, would enjoy life at the college and in the city. 2
For Hill, the call from Rochester resembled the proverbial bolt from the blue, for there had been no previous correspondence or consultation with the University authorities. Though urged to accept by John B. Trevor and other influential trustees and by acquaintances in the collegiate world, Hill hesitated to do so (earlier he had turned down a tentative bid to assume the presidency of Vassar College), and the trustees of Bucknell University, who felt he was indispensable, exerted themselves to the maximum to hold him in Lewisburg.
The child of a New Jersey Baptist manse, Hill had made an outstanding record as a student and undergraduate leader at the small University of Lewisburg. Immediately upon graduation he was appointed to the teaching staff there, and in 1879 at the tender age of twenty-nine he was chosen president of the institution and professor of moral theology. He had spent some time studying in Europe and had been ordained as a Baptist minister.
Under the leadership of this dynamic, articulate, and charming young man, the Pennsylvania institution took a new lease on life. The latest historian of Bucknell characterizes the Hill administration as "a new era," a period of "reorganization and revival." Hill induced wealthy Baptists in the Philadelphia area to build up the financial resources and instructional facilities of the college markedly; the largest benefactor, William Bucknell, was paid the signal honor of having the institution renamed for him (1886).
On the educational side, Hill led the way in reforming the administration, raising the levels of academic performance, and broadening the curriculum; like Anderson he had strong misgivings about the elective system of courses, but he acquiesced in its partial application. In spite of stubborn resistance from alumni, Hill brought about the admission of women to the Lewisburg college on terms of equality with men. If his effective campaign against hazing and other species of hooliganism irritated undergraduates, they welcomed the reinstatement of Greek letter fraternities which he sponsored and his vigorous encouragement of recreational athletics. At 1888 the Bucknell student body numbered seventy-four.
As an author Hill had composed books on rhetoric, psychology, and anthropology, on American literary personalities, and on anticapitalism. In the spheres of politics and economics his thinking was decidedly traditionalist, though he preserved a receptive mind on innovations that poured forth in science. His second wife, Juliet Lewis Packer, belonged to a well-to-do lumber family in central Pennsylvania. 3
At the time of his election to the Rochester presidency, Hill was thirty-eight, the same age as Anderson when he settled in the Flower City. Of medium height and slight in frame, Hill wore a black mustache and streaks of grey tinged his black hair. He had lively ambitions to win fame by author-ship and he had a secret yearning for a political career, a goal that might better be attained in the flourishing Genesee community than in the rather isolated upstate Pennsylvania town of Lewisburg. As one among several inducements to remain at Bucknell, the trustees offered him a leave of absence with salary for a year in order to study in Germany, but the Rochester policymakers matched that offer.
On July 9, 1888, Hill formally accepted the U. of R. office; he alluded to the attractiveness of Rochester as a community, the firm foundations on which the college rested, and the able professors and trustee body. To the relative stripling, the patriarchal Anderson in great good spirits wrote, "I shall consider your success, my own , your failure, my failure...I am anxious that you shall make no mistakes--not that I wish to dictate a policy but my only wish is that you may have clearly in mind all the knowledge of the men and things which will enable you to adopt for yourself such a course of conduct as shall be wisest and best." "Dr. Hill will make her [the University's] cheeks proudly flush and her eyes sparkle...," prophesied the Baptist Examiner of New York.
Evidently, Hill wanted a new home built for the president and the existing residence sold. Mrs. Hill was authorized in fact to prepare a "rough description" of the kind of house she would like to occupy. A Rochester hospital offered to buy the presidential property, but residents of Prince Street protested against the erection of a medical center, and certain trustees believed that if the land were retained it would appreciate in value. In any case, it was finally decided to keep most of the land and to renovate the interior of the residence. Heating the house raised no problems; one bitterly cold night the Hills invited a large company to their home to hear a lecture by President Andrew D. White of Cornell. The furnace poured forth such a volume of warmth that several guests fainted, but the speaker (and his host) behaved as though nothing untoward had happened. 4
The absence of the president-elect in Europe prompted an irreverent undergraduate to refer to him as "a green Hill far away." Actually, he put his year abroad to good use, becoming acquainted with leading academic centers, purchasing a quantity of books, and mulling over plans for the future of the U. of R. To a trustee he wrote, "When I return I hope to make to you and the Corporation some very definite suggestions....Why can we not have the coming Baptist University at Rochester?" That interesting query is only one of several hints that Hill had visions of developing a great national institution at Rochester, more or less on the model of the German university, such as would shortly emerge in Chicago.
As has been noted, the illness of Mrs. Hill obliged her husband to remain in Europe beyond the Commencement season of 1889, and Anderson fulfilled the duties of chief executive officer. On June 19, Hill was inaugurated in absentia, his address for the occasion being read by Professor Morey in the chapel before the largest gathering of alumni and friends in the history of the college. Entitled "The American College in its Relation to Liberal Education," the inaugural speech ranged widely, and not without altitude, over the whole panorama of higher education, in Europe and at home. By way of prelude, Hill described Rochester as "an ideal university town," spoke in glowing terms of Anderson, the Christian heritage of the college, and the attainments and quality of the alumni and the undergraduates. In every respect he regarded the institution as in "excellent condition" and blessed with "rich possibilities of growth and progress." He insinuated into the address commentaries on European universities, which he had been observing at first-hand, and he decried excessive specialization in studies at American colleges.
The new President rejoiced that the U. of R., though chartered as a university, "has honestly been... what its resources have justified--a 'college'." By reason of "legitimate internal growth," the institution might one day advance to authentic university status, he remarked.
The flavor of Hill's thinking on the nature and content of collegiate liberal education may best be appreciated by selected excerpts from the address. "All education consists in the formation of certain... predispositions for particular kinds of action." "The law of all education is the progressive translation of imperfect and incomplete conscious acts into the fixed determinations of a mechanical automatism." "Liberal education does not aim to form the specialist, but to prepare one to be a specialist by making him, in a large sense, an educated man." The essential elements of liberal training included "certain attainments of knowledge and certain qualifications for conduct."
In his own distinctive prose, Hill defined his philosophy concerning the several disciplines indispensable for a liberally educated man. "Ability to read ordinary Latin at sight is absolutely essential. All the Greek he can learn is likely to prove valuable." He should acquire a reading knowledge of modern languages "and a fair speaking knowledge of at least one." As for mathematics, "No education can be called 'liberal' which has not enabled the recipient of it to perceive the mathematical necessity that runs through all natural relations, and to make those calculations which are needed in the exact sciences." "Some knowledge of substantive science" constituted yet another ingredient of liberal education, and science had so vastly proliferated as to demand "a great revolution in pedagogical methods"--to wit, far more laboratory experience under the direction of specialist professors. Philosophy, to shape "the intellectual and moral character of students," should retain its traditional and exalted place in the college curriculum. And attention must be devoted to "eliciting those sentiments of the heart which bind the learner to his species and his Creator, fit him for the family and society, the Church and the State... "
Should young men be equipped for a variety of professions and vocations? Certainly. "The scholar is needed not only in literature, in science, and in the learned professions, but even more imperatively in politics." Yet the training they obtained should "not be narrow in scope and vocationally channeled [sic]. The best preparation for the specialist is a broad, general culture which lifts him at once from the circumscribed condition of an intellectual mechanic to the dignity of a philosopher." The doctrine that a college should prepare men "to earn a living by some practical art," Hill repudiated as heretical, comparable in fact to the theory that "the leading attribute of a successful president of a college [is] dexterity as a commercial traveler rather than scholarly attainments."
Even so, Hill's "program of expectations" could not be implemented without cash, which he had faith would be forthcoming from "our great financial princes... and others of more modest means...." Peering into the future, he envisaged the U. of R. as a "center of light and beneficence... shining even more brightly than to-day."
It is a reasonable assumption that Professor Morey upon finishing the reading sat down with the feeling that he had discharged academic volleys befitting a veteran of the Civil War. The alumni present united in three cheers and a "tiger" for Hill and incorporated assurances of cooperation in a telegram dispatched to him. The venerable Anderson warmly endorsed the principles Hill had set forth and summoned the graduates to stand loyally behind the new chief; trustee and faculty leaders spoke in kindred accents. 5
That the new president was a man out of the ordinary, resourceful and determined, can not be questioned. He harbored ideas for the growth of the University, uniting vision with idealism, that could not in fact be performed. Nonetheless, with him as pilot a program of change came over many fronts of college life.
By September of 1889 Hill was back in America and eager to get on with his exacting assignment. Straightway, he considered making "a great effort" to procure half a million dollars for the U. of R., and he thought it highly desirable that a fund drive should be launched before the promoters of the new state University of Chicago invaded New York state in a quest for money. From Anderson came a long letter of advice on fund-raising, on scholarships to aid indigent students, and on planning for a collection of scientific schools in pharmacy, engineering, and agricultural chemistry--all with facilities for advanced graduate instruction. 6
Undergraduates greeted Hill rapturously at the opening of the fall term, and in his response the President derided "practical education," cited the percentage of men in high federal offices who had earned college diplomas, and referred appreciatively to the faculty and equipment of the University and to the stimulating city in which it was located. "It has been our pleasing duty," declared the Interpres, "to be the first to listen to the new President's clear logic, and to catch the gushings of his genial humor." Within two months after Hill assumed office, an undergraduate observed that the President had "a firm hold on all the affairs of the University." As shown, however, in an edict restricting underclassmen "rushes" to the college grounds, Hill had an iron hand in a velvet glove. Praise was bestowed on him for his sympathetic stance concerning athletics and his effectiveness as a teacher in a class on psychology.
Rochester society and business circles cordially welcomed the Hills, and the alumni of the city saluted him warmly at a large banquet downtown. In his remarks, the President suggested that the college had perhaps passed through its patriarchal stage. Changing times demanded changes in the college; he detected, however, nothing that required drastic reformation. On the other hand, "a great many things" ought to be added--specifically, an enlarged teaching staff and more equipment. He reiterated a refrain familiar to the ears of his auditors, a "college must die if it does not grow." 7
Institutions of higher education derive their resources and their texture, to a substantial degree, from the community in which they are planted and share in the fortunes of that community. The Rochester in which the Hills took up residence was no longer the frontier town in which the University had first opened its doors. Yet the Unitarian pastor William C. Gannett, who also arrived in the city in 1889, felt constrained to write, "Rochester is really a lovely city--I'd almost written a lovely old city. It suggests an American counterpart to a provincial capital in the old countries--a sunny, green, overgrown village."
At that point, Culver Road, Elmwood Avenue, Mt. Read Boulevard, and the Ridge Road formed the boundaries of the municipality and within its limits lived slightly more than 130,000 people--the twenty-second American city in population. It was a far more cosmopolitan community than in 1850, for something like seven out of ten of the inhabitants were either born in Europe or descendants of European parents. Approximately, a third of the population claimed a German background, and a quarter Irish; already signs indicated that the immigrant tide to the United States had begun to shift to southern and eastern Europe, but the Italian colony, for instance, in the Flower City was still quite small, fewer than a thousand. Nationality societies made up of immigrants endeavored to preserve the heritage and habits of the homelands and at the same time to promote the process of assimilation to the American way of life. Organizations of native-born citizens likewise aided in the work of Americanization. It is estimated that the Negro population of Rochester as of 1890 stood at 3,000.
Tall poles along city streets, heavily weighted with wires, testified that the age of electricity had dawned. Increasingly, electric power furnished artificial illumination and was applied to street transportation; in 1890 the first electric line went into operation and within four years horse-drawn cars had passed into limbo. Nine railways, of which the New York Central was the largest, met the requirements of the city for distant transportation; slow-moving Erie Canal boats carried a declining volume of freight. On city streets, goods were hauled in wagons, carts, or sleds pulled by horses; the well-to-do traveled in carriages or gaily decorated sleighs, and, when snow fell in sufficient quantity, East Avenue was converted into a veritable race course.
The expanding Rochester economy, which accented quality in production, nourished an atmosphere of cheerful optimism. If the making of clothing ranked at the top of the industries in the number of workers employed, shoe factories were twice as numerous; milling, once the glory, of the Flour City, had fallen off sharply, but nurseries in the Flower City were prosperous. Plants turned out food products and beer, spectacles and optical instruments, farm implements machine tools and office equipment, carriages, and patent medicines. Citizens were known to point with pride to the Kimball tobacco works, crowned by a massive representation of Mercury. Although only thirty-five, George Eastman had already advanced into the upper echelon of Rochester's business leaders. His reorganized camera and film company adopted the name of Eastman Kodak in 1892; in the previous year manufacturing operations had started on a sixteen acre tract called Kodak Park. A Chamber of Commerce, dating from 1887, was by way of becoming an important factor in various phases of community life.
In municipal politics, Rochester was strongly Republican, though now and then, notably when the predominant party was riven by factionalism, the Democrats took over the management of city affairs. Costs of operating the municipal government stood at almost $3,000,000 a year. The water supply was regarded as first-class, protection in case of fire and police services adequate, but streets were not paved satisfactorily and facilities for sewage disposal were definitely bad.
Public schooling left much to be desired. Many schoolhouses were outmoded, teachers were poorly paid, and administration suffered from political interference. Parochial schools were making a major contribution to the education of children. Mechanics Institute (later the Rochester Institute of Technology), Wagner Lutheran College, together with the University and the Theological Seminary, offered advanced educational opportunities. Many young men of Rochester and far fewer women went each year to eastern institutions for their collegiate education. The recently reorganized Academy of Science devoted itself effectively to the advancement and diffusion of scientific knowledge. As yet, Rochester had no city library, but the Reynolds, Central, Powers Law, Theological Seminary, and University libraries together contained about 80,000 volumes.
News was dispensed by five daily papers in the English language and by one in German, and predominantly the press diffused Republican interpretations of current affairs in their editorial columns. Artistic activity centered in the Powers Art Gallery in the heart of the city, claimed to have the finest privately-owned collection of paintings in America. For the presentation of music and drama, there were the new Lyceum Theater and Cook's Opera House, with visiting artists as performers; these cultural resources were amplified by choral societies, especially popular among Germans, and amateur theatrical clubs. Costume balls were a social passion. Rochester possessed an impressive variety of male and female societies concerned with literary, educational, and charitable interests or purely fraternal and social in purpose.
Thanks in large part to the unflagging zeal and foresight of University Trustee Edward Mott Moore, Rochester boasted three excellent major parks: Genesee Valley, much the largest, Highland, and Seneca. Sports engaged a big share of the leisure hours of the male citizenry; bicycling had just reached the peak of its popularity, skating on ice or on roller skates, boating, horseracing, and polo all had their devotees. Croquet probably attracted more players than tennis, while golf was still a pastime of the well-to-do alone. Rochester fielded a team in the International Baseball League, and professional football had commenced to appeal to the sports-minded. Several gymnasiums operated in the city, and several immigrant groups maintained sporting clubs of their own along with musical societies.
Within the city limits about one hundred churches ministered to the highly diversified population. One out of six churches was Roman Catholic, far the largest Christian communion; Protestants worshipped in nearly seventy churches and Jews had four temples or synagogues. For the most part Protestant pastors clung firmly to traditionalist emphases in theology, and denominational rivalries, if less acute than at the mid-century, were nonetheless still keen. The Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A., blending religious with educational and other secular activities, and temperance, Sabbatarian, and mutual aid societies were in a flourishing condition.
For the Hills and other newcomers to Rochester the most impressive structures in the community were the Powers and Wilder Buildings occupying sites on which the original Genesee village had been laid out. Other notable conversation pieces were the Warner Observatory and Ward's Natural Science Establishment on the eastern side of the city and the Kimball greenhouses containing the choicest display of orchids and lilies in the United States. Newly constructed bridges over the Genesee at Platt Street and Elmwood Avenue were the most splendid in the city.
Competition between the east and west sides of the river, which soon grew in intensity, manifested itself in one form in the homes of the inhabitants. Residences of the well-off were largely concentrated in the western half, in the Third Ward particularly, with other fine dwellings and spacious grounds on West and Lake Avenues. But a generation and more before 1890 the highway of the most affluent business and professional families--East Avenue--had started to rival the other side of the Genesee.
It was estimated that Rochester possessed in all about 24,000 houses, most of them occupied by one family and provided with trees and gardens. Almost half the homes were owned by the families that lived in them, perhaps a higher proportion than in any other American city, a situation that prompted a contemporary writer to allude to Rochester as "the City of Homes." Dwellings in desirable localities could be acquired for from $1,400 to $5,000, and home ownership was encouraged by over four-score building and loan associations. Artisans buying homes made weekly payments out of their wages, which might be as little as eight dollars or as much as fifteen. Women and children, who formed an important segment of the labor force, supplemented the income of many a household. Families that rented houses paid something like twenty dollars a month; a suit of clothes cost four dollars and a decent meal could be had for about fifteen cents. 8
For the sake of perspective, it is appropriate to introduce a few glimpses of the national and world panorama when David Jayne Hill settled down in Rochester. A "do-nothing" President, Benjamin Harrison, resided in the White House with Republicans in the Congress actually steering the ship of state. Important measures placed on the federal statute books were the Sherman Antitrust Act, vaguely intended to prevent "conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce," and the McKinley Tariff Act, which substantially raised duties on imports and made the protectionist issue a central feature of American politics. In rapid succession North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming entered the Union as states. An enterprising New York newspaperman astounded his contemporaries by tripping around the globe in a mere seventy-two days!
Looking outward at about the time the Hills came to Rochester, Brazil became a republic and Paris attracted hosts to a great international exhibition, featured by the soaring Eiffel Tower. The Second International of Socialists was founded, and in France the Boulangist ferment, which at its zenith threatened to sweep away the Third Republic, petered out ignominiously. Beyond the Rhine, ambitious William II dropped the pilot of the German Empire, Prince Otto von Bismarck. The Hapsburg Monarchy was morally shaken by the death of Crown Prince Rudolf, almost certainly by his own hand. In a significant real estate transaction, Great Britain, in exchange for territorial concessions in Africa, ceded the strategic isle of Heligoland to Germany; and the celebrated British empire-builder, Cecil Rhodes, started his South African Company. And, as additional veneer on its "westernization" facade, Japan received a constitutional form of government.
The world of scholarship was wonderfully enriched at this point by Henry C. Lea's History of the Inquisition, the completion of the History of Dogma by Adolf Harnack, the first volume of The Golden Bough by James G. Frazer, and a new and enlarged version of a once prized work in criminology, which was translated into English as Criminal Man (a later generation of criminologists ridiculed the book as sheer nonsense and rubbish) by Cesare Lombroso. Captain Alfred T. Mahan acquired instant international fame as a naval philosopher by The Influence of Seapower upon History, 1660-1783. A dramatic pacifist tract for the times, Lay Down Your Arms by Bertha von Suttner, made its appearance and Henry M. Stanley brought out In Darkest Africa. Fabian Essays came from the fertile mind of George B. Shaw, just after the American, Edward Bellamy, attracted world-wide attention with Looking Backward, setting forth a pattern of cooperative living.
To the library of imaginative literature Count Leo Tolstoy added The Kreuzer Sonata, while Björnstjerne Bjornson published a long didactic novel, In God's Way, and Henrik Ibsen finished Hedda Gabler. A noteworthy creation in painting of the time was Vincent Van Gogh's "Landscape with Cypress Tree." In musical composition there were "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni, the première of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony Number One," Richard Strauss' treatment of "Don Juan," and "The Sleeping Beauty" by Pyotr I. Tchaikowsky. The Pasteur Institute of Paris began its famous career, and the German scientist Emil Behring reported revolutionary discoveries in antitoxins.
The success of Hill in securing funds for Bucknell had probably been an important consideration for the trustees in picking him for the Rochester office. While in Germany in 1888-89, the President-elect undertook a detailed examination of the financing of its universities, discovering that they were far wealthier than their counterparts in the United States. Affluent American captains of industry and commerce, he reasoned, should lend support to those existing institutions of higher learning which were "conspicuous candidates for greater usefulness;" undoubtedly, the U. of R. belonged in that category. Instead of trying to shore up weak colleges or creating new ones, Baptists should concentrate their philanthropy on the best of the institutions founded by their faith , Hill pleaded, and should make the 1890's "the era of masterly building in the history of our denomination." 9
A financial campaign started soon after Hill took charge proved a disappointment, and hardly less discouraging was the news that Trustee John B. Trevor, who died in 1890 leaving an estate in excess of $8,000,000, had made no provision in his will for the U. of R., as Hill had been led to believe would be done; his family, however, turned over to the University a packet of securities worth $50,000, found in the Trevor papers and marked "for the U. of R." It was used to establish the Trevor Professorship of Latin (1892), changed to Professorship of Classics in 1941. More important, a rich New York leather merchant, Daniel B. Fayerweather, who died in 1890, included the University, along with a score of other institutions of higher education and two hospitals, in his will. No restrictions were imposed on the use to which the gift of $100, 000 might be put. Just why he selected Rochester as a legatee is conjectural, but in all probability on the recommendation of Roswell D. Hitchcock, president of Union Theological Seminary, who advised "Old Dan" on the disposition of his fortune. Fayerweather's widow contested the will, but after prolonged litigation about $224,000 were eventually added to the University resources, the last payment being made in 1917. As a token of appreciation for the splendid bequest, the trustees established the Fayerweather chair of Mathematics (1906), From the estate of President Anderson $42,000 passed to the U. of R. treasury, and alumni and friends provided additional equipment for Reynolds Laboratory, a grandstand for spectators at athletic events, a horse-drawn lawnmower, and funds to purchase books. In 1899 George Eastman made his first gift to the University--a camera for use by the geology department.
To the alumni, Hill appealed in 1891 for money so that the University could accomplish what it ought. "There is not a penny... to bring a great lecturer," he remarked. "We have not a place where we can get 500 together." He alluded to the "strong sentiment" in favor of admitting women, though he personally believed it was not "a very pressing question." Rochesterians and their neighbors, Hill said, should rally to the support of the University and transform it into the great institution it was intended to be. Reinforcing the President, Trustee Edward Mott Moore, summoned men of means in Rochester, the home of about half the students, to contribute to the University which ought to be the pride and glory of the community. No Baptist himself, the beloved physician countered the oft-heard observation that men of that denomination should finance the U. of R. by emphasizing that it was not at all a distinctively Baptist college.
Annual deficits accumulated, exceeding $20,000 by 1895. Hill reported that during his administration gifts in the amount of over $350,000--not reckoning anything from the Fayerweather bequest--had been received, yet $100,000 of new money were desperately needed to yield income to balance the budget. Hill's fond expectation that under trustee leadership "millions would pour into the treasury" had in fact floundered, and presumptions of help from "loving sons" had gone awry.
Financial frustrations played their part in Hill's decision in 1896 to resign, and for the ensuing four years University finance was in an unsteady condition. A study covering the period from the founding of the University to the end of 1898 revealed that 757 contributions had been made to the general fund. Of them, 483 gifts came from others than Rochesterians, living on farms and towns in the Upstate area, and only 159 from the city itself. Better than half of the endowment fund as of 1898 had been given by donors in New York City and environs; friends of the University in Albany, Troy, Buffalo, and Elmira had likewise given financial assistance as did those in nineteen cities outside New York state, among them two in Europe--London and Antwerp. 10
Grateful undergraduates dedicated the Interpres of 1895 to the trustees "whose untiring efforts have contributed so much to the prosperity" of the University; several of the more active men on the Board were commemorated with biographical sketches and portraits. In the middle of the Hill administration, Dr. Edward Mott Moore of Rochester replaced the Rev. Edward Bright as president, and he filled the office into 1902. The key personality on the corporation, however, was Charles M. Williams, 1871, who placed the welfare of Alma Mater high on his scale of values. For several years Williams discharged the duties of treasurer, then served as University attorney, and for thirty-one years as secretary--a worthy successor of William N. Sage. Fees that Williams received for handling the legal business of the college, including lengthy litigation in connection with the Lewis H. Morgan bequest, he generously turned into undergraduate scholarships and prizes; and he bequeathed most of his collection of legal books to the U. of R., hoping it would form the nucleus of a law school library. His devotion to the institution, his expenditure of time, energy, and money on its behalf, has few parallels in the history of the University. At his death in 1922 President Rush Rhees warmly extolled "the loyal service" of Williams, "unusual in its extent and value."
By action of the trustees, thirteen of the twenty-four members constituted a quorum, competent to transact business. Attendance at annual meetings seldom exceeded the quorum level and in 1891 fell below that, yet no one protested that university affairs could not legally be dealt with. Some trustees seem never to have appeared at meetings, as was the case with William H. P. Faunce of New York City, pastor of the church in which John D. Rockefeller worshipped; it has been surmised that Faunce (later president of Brown University) was elected to the Board in the hope that he would influence his wealthy parishioner to contribute to the U. of R. Invited to join the Board, Hiram W. Sibley of Rochester, son of Hiram, the donor of Sibley Hall, declined on the score that he was deeply interested in another institution (Cornell).
In 1892 the trustees voted that two-thirds of their body must belong to regular Baptist churches. This proportion, the resolution explained, harmonized with the spirit of the founders of the University and the character of its history. At the end of the century, three vacancies existed in the trustee body, one due to the death in 1899 of Elon Huntington, an original member. At that point, of the twenty-one trustees eleven were graduates of the U. of R. and an equal number resided in Rochester; four lived in New York City, and the rest elsewhere. By vocation ten definitely and probably two more belonged to the business community, law and the church each had three representatives, medicine two, and David Jayne Hill was then Assistant Secretary of State in Washington. 11
Prompted and guided by Hill, the faculty in 1890-1891 drastically over-hauled the college curriculum. Hitherto, in the language of Professor Morey, efforts to steer between "the Scylla of conservatism and the Charybdis of reform" meant in practice that instruction had become "practically restricted to a single prescribed course." The abolition of compulsory chapel attendance was debated and decided in the negative. Instead of class meetings on Saturday morning, afternoon classes were introduced, allowing more time for laboratory work, and obliging some students to be on the campus from eight in the morning until half-past four with a noontime break in the schedule. By reason of structural reform in courses of study, certain subjects that had previously been required were changed to electives, the scope of honors work was broadened, and the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) was introduced.
To encourage greater intellectual initiative on the part of the undergraduates and the better to prepare them for professional schools, much more freedom in the selection of subjects was permitted. Under the new dispensation, the elective principle started to operate in the third term of the Sophomore year and about one third of the studies of upperclassmen became a matter of choice. The governing principles of the curricular revision, Hill explained, were a natural sequence of courses to foster a more progressive mental development, more thorough pre-professional training, and the educational values derivable from a personal selection of subjects by the student. "The colleges nowadays," the President asserted, "are exhibiting a tendency to reach forth and grasp reality and make it a basis for their work."
In final form, four programs of study were offered, each of which emphasized a special branch of what Hill was pleased to call liberal education. For a B.A. degree, the accent remained on the classics; for the B.S. or scientific degree, which had been available for many years though appealing to only a few undergraduates, two modern languages were required, but no Greek or Latin; for the Ph.B., candidates would study either Latin or Greek and one modern language. Young men who did not care to seek a degree--eclectics--would continue to be admitted to the college. Honors study or seminars were increased for the more capable and ambitious learners who wished to engage in independent investigation--essentially the same approach, that is to say, as the laboratory method of teaching the natural sciences. Upperclassmen who had a legal career in mind were urged to elect history and Roman, constitutional, and international law; pre-medics should choose two years of chemistry and biology; men preparing for the ministry were advised to pursue advanced studies in philosophy and Greek, while embryonic journalists would do well to place literature, history, and law on their schedules. It was recommended that prospective teachers in their last two years should pick subjects they would like to teach; for their particular benefit instruction in pedagogics, covering the history of education, the principles of teaching, and school administration, would be offered in the last term of the Senior year. 12
Linked up with revision in the courses of study, biology (1890) and geology (1896) were set apart as separate departments and physics and astronomy was divorced from mathematics. Laboratory instruction in the various sciences was substantially enlarged; on the top floor of Anderson Hall, a biological laboratory of sorts was improvised, and alongside of it a laboratory of bacteriology for pre-medical students, which Rochester physicians were welcome to use and a laboratory for botany followed along shortly. Laboratory work in physics, including optics and photography, was also carried on in Anderson, partly in the basement; for geology a rudimentary laboratory was set up in Sibley Hall. Professor Lattimore felt handicapped and embarrassed because nearby academic institutions were better off in laboratory facilities for chemistry than was Rochester. ''Few things are so really unwelcome as visits from the teachers of chemistry in other colleges or even normal schools who ask to be shown the apparatus of the University,'' he wrote. Happily, before long the essential equipment he desired was installed in the Reynolds building.
Necessarily, the subjects that were taught multiplied. A. new department of religion was created (1892), offering instruction in the Bible, and subsequently called the Department of Biblical Literature. Hill personally presented a course in physiological psychology and gave honors work on "Theories of Memory"--empirical psychology, thus introduced at Rochester, persisted. Offerings in the English language and literature were enlarged. The trustee executive committee considered a proposal for a course in music and even to establish a conservatory of music, but decided "to do nothing at present.''
Whereas twenty-four subjects were listed in the catalogue when Hill became president, there were forty-seven when he retired; specific courses jumped from forty-six to ninety-five. Proudly, in his last report to the trustees, Hill announced that the University offered all but two courses which President Eliot of Harvard reported as those most largely chosen by undergraduates in his institution. What cannot be determined, however, is whether all the courses enumerated in the official catalogue were presented with any degree of regularity, if indeed given in any exact sense at all. Professor Morey was responsible, as an illustration, for nine regular courses in history, twenty history courses for honors and the master's degree, along with two regular courses in economics and ten honors and graduate courses in that subject. Many of the courses, he disclosed, were given "in the form of advice and personal guidance... to develop reliance and scholarly freedom." The college of the present, Morey thought, differed from the older U. of R. in that learners were now treated "as scholars not merely as pupils."
As intimated above, work for the master's degree in Arts and in Science--sharply distinguished from honorary conferral of this degree--was inaugurated in certain departments of the college, notably, biology and history. The fundamental requirements were a year of specialized study, a public examination, and a thesis. Except for matriculation, examination, and diploma fees, amounting in all to thirty dollars, graduate instruction cost the student nothing at first, but in 1898 a tuition charge of seventy-five dollars was established. Two students of science applied to undertake study for the Ph. D. degree: they were informed that they might use the facilities of the University and could count on assistance from the professors, but "the University at present cannot conduct courses for or confer the Ph.D." 13
Organization of university extension study in Rochester and outlying towns further exhibited the spirit of enterprise during the Hill years. Toward the end of 1891, six clubs in Rochester that were concerned with adult education canvassed the desirability of an extension program, and teachers in the city schools manifested a lively interest. A public meeting to consider adult education attracted an audience of 700. Hill, who favored extension work on principle and as an agency to bind gown more closely to town, presided and Professors Gilmore and Morey were seated on the platform. An enthusiastic pioneer in university extension, Melvil Dewey, secretary of the Board of Regents of New York, delivered the principal address, outlining what was being done in England and remarking that the extension movement was sweeping the United States. Rabbi Max Landsberg of Temple B'rith Kodesh called for funds to finance extension studies in Rochester and for expressions of opinion on the courses desired; over seventy men and women indicated they would enroll.
Plans matured swiftly and Gilmore started extramural instruction in 1892 with a series of ten lectures on literature, which drew as many as 800 auditors. Few of them sought college "credit," however, for at the close of the course only twenty-three presented themselves for examination. Seventy learners enrolled with Fairchild in a lecture series in geology, supplemented by field trips.
It was announced that the aim of the University Extension Department was to bring mature and systematic learning within the reach of all men and women without interfering with their daily employment. While full-bodied college training could not be given, participants would assuredly acquire a broader outlook in literature, art, and science. A flyer advertising extramural lectures in 1894 appeared under the caption, "Equal Opportunity for All." Classes would meet for ten evenings, students would be supplied with printed syllabi and would be allowed to discuss lecture content freely; if they chose, they might write papers and take examinations. Course tickets, which were transferable, cost one dollar and half or six tickets for seven fifty. For a single lecture, the charge was a quarter.
To meet an eager demand, no fewer than thirty courses were offered, and it was claimed that a larger percentage of the Rochester population attended classes than in any other city in New York state. A watcher of the times commented that the diverse educational opportunities made Rochester one of the most attractive communities in the country for residence and intellectual culture. As the century drew to its close, Saturday classes in the winter for school teachers replaced the evening sessions, with instruction in literature, languages, and the natural sciences. But by 1902 enthusiasm for extramural study had slackened and extension lectures abruptly stopped. In the meantime, University officers talked of establishing a summer school, an idea to which the teaching staff was sympathetic; but the first summer sessions were not held in fact until 1900, and then on a purely experimental basis. 14
Broadening of the curriculum necessitated reinforcement of the teaching force--men who would uphold the prized U. of R. tradition that a great teacher was the most valuable factor in an undergraduate experience. To organize a department of biology, Charles W. Dodge was appointed in 1890. Trained at the University of Michigan, he came to Rochester on the explicit understanding that no restrictions would be imposed upon teaching the theory of organic evolution. Spoken of as the pioneer experimentalist man of science at the University, Dodge brought with him the only microscope in the institution and introduced dissection of animals in his teaching. Together with his laboratories, he wished to acquire and equip a cottage on Hemlock Lake as a biological station for advanced students. Active in the public health movement, Dodge succeeded in producing an antitoxin serum which overcame (1893) an epidemic of diphtheria in Rochester, and he was then named city bacteriologist, A quiet, dignified, served man, Dodge obliged students to toe the mark in lecture room and laboratory. "Precision should be his middle name," observed the Interpres ; "for this reason Manikin [his nickname] has all the bluffers 'buffaloed.' " On his death in 1934, Dodge was described as "...an outstanding example of that many-sided culture which is the best fruit of liberal education."
One of Dodge's first students, William D. Merrell, 1891, after earning a Ph.D. at Chicago, returned to his college home and laid out a laboratory (1899) for the teaching of botany. Noted as a wit and a singer ("barber shop" and other), Merrell was also known as a teacher who expected his charges to work conscientiously; like Dodge, his record of service at the U. of R. extended across nearly forty years. A third appointee in science, Henry E. Lawrence, 1889, pursued graduate studies in physics at Cornell, and after he joined the U. of R. faculty in 1894 he placed major emphasis on laboratory exercises, as distinguished from learning out of a textbook. "With the smaller classes arising out of the elective system, it became possible to come into closer touch with the students," a colleague wrote.
The physics laboratory in Anderson Hall, needless to say, was primitive and its equipment limited. Nevertheless, Lawrence carried out some remarkably successful experiments with the newly discovered Roentgen rays, and with them he managed (1896) to find a bullet embedded in the hand of a man and tried to locate a half dollar in boy's stomach. He and his fellow scientists initiated advanced students at Rochester into the spirit and methods of research. Lawrence united with Dodge in pressing for a separate building for scientific studies, and together they visited university centers in the Middle West to secure ideas on the layout and equipment for a structure of the kind they had in mind. Arthur L. Baker, mathematician who replaced Olds, held a professorship for ten years; a severe task-master, he provoked a tumultuous student rebellion, which petered out when all concerned apologized. 15
Of Kendrick P. Shedd, 1889, who studied in Berlin for a year and then became an instructor in German at the U. of R., his chairman, Albert H. Mixer, wrote, "His service has been in all respects most efficient, faithful and satisfactory." More than some of the other new teachers, Shedd took a lively interest in undergraduate affairs and won the sobriquet of "the Sunshine Man." An engaging speaker, Shedd was much in demand by city audiences; as is recounted later, "Sheddy," who became a Socialist, was the storm-center of a sharp controversy in 1911-1912 and his university career ended abruptly. The class of 1889 gave a third man to the faculty, Ryland M. Kendrick, son of Asahel C., who inherited his father's fondness for the classics along with his nickname of "Kai Gar;" both are remembered by a residence hall in Hill Court on the River Campus. At one time and another the younger Kendrick took graduate work at Yale and Berlin, and in his teaching, notably in a course called "Greek Master Thoughts," he stressed the rich contributions that the Greeks of antiquity had made to civilized living. Like Shedd, he caused (1910) an uproar in the city when a student reported to a Rochester newspaper certain of his remarks uttered in the classroom. In Kendrick's view, materialism suffocated beauty in the Flower City, and he poked fun at the architecture of the City Hall and charged that the principal function of the Chamber of Commerce was to bring "tin-can factories" to Rochester. Loud protests ensued; to calm troubled waters, President Rhees sternly rebuked the undergraduate responsible for the press story.
Bearing a bright, new Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University (he and Merrell, it appears, were the first U. of R. teachers who held earned Ph.D.s), Charles Hoeing came to Rochester in 1898 as an instructor in Latin. Part of his graduate training had been obtained at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. As professor of Latin, second dean of the college for men, and first dean of graduate studies, Hoeing endeared himself to generations of Rochester men. Not only was he an administrator of outstanding quality, but, as a colleague put it, he was "a true scholar with an insatiable intellectual curiosity, but withal a humanist" and in no sense a pedant--"a gracious scholar-gentleman."
Known affectionately as "Whang," Hoeing stood six feet four inches tall, which prompted a colleague, writing from India, to say that he had been "riding on an elephant three 'Hoeing's' high." His towering stature together with his Kentucky origin inspired an undergraduate parody, sung to the tune of "Tannenbaum.''
Kentucky dear, Kentucky dear
Thou hast been long a-growing;
Kentucky dear, Kentucky dear,
Thou art much Latin sowing.
We never can attain thy height
Although we strive with all our might.
O Charlie dear, O Charlie dear,
Thou dost keep students 'Hoeing.'
Appropriately, the University authorities in 1956 assigned the name and administrator, of this lovable savant to a dormitory on the River Campus. A tablet in Hoeing Hall, bearing a likeness of the distinguished dean, carried an inscription composed by Professor John R. Slater.
All he learned and all he taught
Had beneath this mask of thought
Humor. Wisdom. Patience. Grace.
Monk and scholar in this Face ,
Quiet Spirit on the Wall
Benediction for this Hall. 16
Time had not diminished one whit the reputation of Rochester professors for setting stiff examinations. For example, students who sat under Hill in psychology were confronted with a paper containing ninety questions, including such challenges as "What is the sphere of psychology?" "Name and describe the normal and abnormal forms of self-consciousness," "Give the four rules for avoiding illusion," and "Describe the dangers of Imagination." An examination in Rhetoric expected answers to a mere forty-five items, such as, "Explain the two different purposes that Oratory may contemplate, and give a four-fold classification under the last head," and "Give, in tabular form, a general view of the Relations and Divisions of Rhetoric."
After a course in geology, undergraduates had to ''construct a diagram showing the succession of rock formations between Rochester and Pennsylvania. What Age and Period do the rocks of Rochester represent?" An examiner in English wished to know the four stages through which languages passed with reference to inflection, and called for an essay on "The Benefits of International Expositions." A test paper for honors work on the English Bible asked, "What may be regarded as the three great arguments for the truth of Christianity?" and "Why do we regard the New Testament Scriptures as credible historical documents?" Professor Morey posed half a dozen extremely comprehensive propositions on medieval history, one of which summoned the students to "Illustrate the progress of the rural classes in the Middle Ages by showing the condition of the Roman colonus, the transition to the medieval serf, and the change from serfdom to free proprietorship."
Increasing administrative tasks and the growth of college transactions in general imposed a time-consuming burden on the professor who acted as secretary of the faculty. In response to a faculty petition, the trustees in 1893 instituted the office of registrar, which united with the duties of secretary the handling of applications for admission, keeping student records, and collecting tuition fees for a time, a responsibility later turned over to another teacher. The registrar was expected to keep regular office hours in Anderson Hall and to perform his varied responsibilities without additional compensation or clerical assistance. Much against his will, Fairchild, who had been secretary of the faculty, was appointed to this distasteful position, which he occupied until 1899 when Herbert S. Weet, who had just graduated, succeeded him, becoming the first full-time office worker in the history of the U. of R. At the time college records and letters were written in longhand; the office boasted a typewriter, to be sure, and a typist was occasionally employed to run off letters of special importance.
It is interesting to know how some of the professors in the 1890's spent their summer holidays. Hill went off to Cohasset, Massachusetts, and Mixer to his cottage at Asbury Park, New Jersey. Forbes and Baker chose the Thousand Islands (hostile undergraduates wished the latter would spend a week on each island). Gilmore lectured at Chautauqua and Dodge engaged in investigations at the biological laboratory in Wood's Hole, Massachusetts. 17
The most recent and fullest biography of David Jayne Hill entitles one chapter on his Rochester career, "The Shackles of Sectarianism." Devout Baptist though he was, the President resolved to remove any stigma of narrow denominationalism from the college, to dissolve the widespread image that the University was in fact a Baptist institution, fundamentally a nursery, a preparatory school for the Rochester Theological Seminary. Professor Morey crystallized the situation. "As long as the people of Rochester believe... that the University is merely a denominational school," he wrote, "and not a really liberal institution in touch with the interests of the whole community we will be hampered by... unsympathetic influences." To his way of thinking education ceased to be liberal whenever it sought any other goals than the highest intellectual discipline and the dissemination of truth. Yet in the opinion of the Rev. Robert S. MacArthur, 1867, a trustee, Rochester was "far less denominational than Columbia, Princeton, Yale, or Amherst."
In pursuing his objectives Hill provoked the hostility of influential personalities in the Rochester Theological Seminary and in other Baptist circles. Critical opponents insisted that the U. of R. should stress traditionalist interpretations of Christianity and that too much attention was being allotted to instruction in science. It was felt, too, that the college should be more strictly Baptist in its general orientation; and at one point the president of the Seminary, Augustus H. Strong, even argued that he ought to be consulted on the management of the University and on the courses offered.
Certain of Hill's writings that had bearing on religion were castigated as theological "modernism" and malicious rumors circulated that the President, being himself a secularist, intended to convert the University into a purely secular institution. Unconventional views of certain professors nourished the accusation that the college was in fact a "hotbed of heresy."
From one point of view the controversy that flared up represented a prolongation of the historic rivalry between the University and the Seminary; from another angle it was a local manifestation of the contemporary quarrel between theological conservatism and the principle that Christian thought must somehow be reconciled with the implications of scientific discoveries and the revelations of comparative religion.
When Professor Joseph W. A. Stewart of the Theological Seminary criticized in the press Hill's baccalaureate sermon of 1891, the President rejoined that his position was in fact orthodox and that he had no intention of causing a sensation by his sermon. Passions soon cooled down, and Stewart was actually granted a doctorate in divinity two years later. To appease the Baptist sentiments the trustees in 1892 adopted the rule, already noted, that two-thirds of their body must be regular Baptists, but at the same time, they elected to the Board four Rochesterians belonging to other denominations. Then, rather defiantly, Hill arranged to hold the 1893 baccalaureate service in the Central Presbyterian Church, and the fat was in the fire again.
Assured strong trustee backing, Hill flatly asserted in January, 1895, that the University had not been designed solely to foster Baptist interests and that its original purpose was "distinctly away from the traditional idea of a strictly denominational college." By way of retort the Genesee Baptist Ministerial Association adopted by majority vote a set of resolutions rebuking the President, asserting that the University should hold firmly to the denomination that gave it life, and that "the influence of every classroom should be unequivocally Christian in the sense Baptists put on the term." Signers of the document included the president and two professors of the Theological School, the pastor of the church which Hill himself habitually attended, as well as the Reverend Clarence A. Barbour, one day to be president of Brown University, and sixteen other Baptist ministers in the Genesee area.
Highly incensed, Hill branded the resolutions of the Ministerial Association as "insulting, slanderous, and malicious. ''...He thought his enemies wished to alienate students and potential benefactors and to exploit the University for purely sectarian ends. The Campus construed the resolutions as giving the impression that Hill was a dangerous character wilfully bent upon purloining a Baptist property, and the Interpres for the year pictured the President, "The Nightmare of the Ministerial Association," calmly holding Anderson and Sibley Halls in his strong arms.
Hill resisted compromise with his ecclesiastical critics, but the trustees in 1895 brought onto the Board two Rochesterians who were already trustees of the Theological Seminary along with two others who were not Baptists. At the same time, the trustees heartily endorsed the management of the University by its "wise and faithful president," and termed the Ministerial Association protestation as "unjustified and unjustifiable." "We do not recognize the right of ministers of any denomination to demand that this institution shall be... converted into an instrumentality for sectarian propagandism, directly or indirectly," a trustee statement declared. For all practical purposes, the President had effectively rendered the U. of R. independent of denominationalism, yet he felt that the angry dispute had damaged the college and intensified the difficulty of winning general public support. The sectarian controversy, in short, soured Hill's spirit and figured in his decision to resign. 18
Apart from his administrative duties, Hill held the Burbank Professorship of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy and at various times offered instruction in psychology, anthropology, ethics, and the fine arts. Chicago and Brown Universities extended invitations to him to take chairs in their faculties, and he received more than a mere "feeler" to assume the Chancellorship of the University of Nebraska, but his heart, he said, was in the Rochester enterprise. Very much interested in authorship, as during his Bucknell years, Hill published class lectures in a textbook on ethics and a more ambitious work called Genetic Philosophy (1893), in which he endeavored to reconcile inherited theological ideas with the findings of science and to kindle reader concern for a more socially minded version of Christianity. Although accorded a warm welcome by Rochester intellectuals, the book had only a very small sale. At the Johns Hopkins University he delivered lectures on "Religion in the Light of Science;" therein he reasoned that progress in scholarship and science had proved in reality a boon to the Christian faith, inasmuch as it had thrown down ''ancient superstitions'' and corrected false assumptions.
As has been intimated, Hill set as one of his objectives the strengthening of the ties between the University and Rochester, the quickening of the ties between the college and the community. He missed no opportunity to ingratiate himself with influential elements in the city. An urbane, engaging, and witty speaker, he was in great demand for public appearances. In a typical address to the Chamber of Commerce, he pointed up the value of the University to the city in terms of the money that was spent and as a distinctive cultural asset, and he hinted at the possibility of establishing a college for women and a great school of technology. Hill by no means neglected to cultivate the good-will of church groups, at one time presenting a series of lectures on ''Science and Art in Teaching.'' Gregarious and affable, he made it a point to entertain celebrities visiting Rochester in his home, and he was admired by fellow members of the Pundit Club and by the community leadership generally. 19
It was Hill's custom to solicit a vote of confidence from the trustees by handing up his resignation at each annual meeting, and in 1895 he indicated that he really intended to quit as chief executive. The state of University finances, the sectarian controversy, which grievously embittered Mrs. Hill, and her dislike of the stern Rochester winters, all entered into the President's decision. Besides, as the result of a suggestion made by Professor Morey, he wished to have leisure to write a history of European diplomacy and he yearned for a career in government service; a sizeable inheritance assured the Hills of financial security.
When the resignation of the President became public knowledge, faculty, students, leading townsmen, and the trustees, with a solitary exception, begged Hill to reconsider. To induce him to remain, the trustees and Rochester friends of the University laid plans to raise money to enlarge the productive resources of the institution and to erect an auditorium and a gymnasium. A resolution of the Chamber of Commerce declared that if Hill left Rochester the community would suffer an "irreparable loss," for he was "one of the foremost men of our times... a broad-minded man of ideas... one of the attractive adjuncts of Rochester." His heart warmed by expressions of confidence and esteem, Hill agreed to rethink his decision, but in the end he announced that it was irrevocable. On June 16, 1896, the trustees glumly accepted a situation that they were powerless to change. The Interpres saluted the departing Prexy:
His life was so gentle
And the elements so mixed in him,
That nature might stand up and say to all
The world, "This was a man."
Surveying his tenure of the presidency, Hill told the trustees that the standing of the college in the community had advanced to an unexampled peak. "My aims and hopes for the institution," he went on reminiscently, "have been too high, and are, therefore, mostly unrealized...." Yet he added, "here are solid and broad foundations for the future to build upon, and a splendid success waits for nothing--but the builders." With characteristic felicity he thanked the corporation for the cooperative spirit it had displayed. Years later when it was reported that had been asked to preside over another university, Hill declared that he would not give an invitation "a moment's consideration. It would put me once more into a situation which it took me two or three years to get out of and which, with the Lord's help, I shall never get into again." When he withdrew from the presidency, Hill was elected a trustee, a position he filled until becoming emeritus in 1928. He retained voting rights in Rochester, listing the executive residence as his permanent address, and he returned to the city frequently, to speak in the chapel, or to address the Phi Beta Kappa Society, or deliver a lecture. A bust of the second President, a replica of one by the celebrated sculptor, Augustus St. Gaudens, given (1910) by Mrs. Hill, stands (1968) on the north staircase of the Rhees Library. 20
Looking backward, Hill could contemplate with considerable satisfaction the accomplishments at the college under his leadership. Faculty involvement in academic policymaking contrasted markedly with the patriarchal paternalism of the Anderson era. Curricular reforms had brought the institution more clearly into line with progressive national thinking on higher education. Without authorizing excessive specialization, the extension of the elective principle allowed wider latitude to the individual undergraduate. Unprecedented emphasis was placed on laboratory work in scientific studies; extramural adult education was fostered and advanced study for the master's distinction was encouraged. More than that, Hill had won through on the stormy issue of denominational interference in the college and had taught Rochesterians once more to think of the college as a community enterprise and asset. By so doing, hindrances to future growth, if they had not been wholly cleared away, were substantially diminished.
In the perspective of time, President Rush Rhees lauded Hill for starting a revival of broad community interest in the University comparable to the enthusiasm manifested in the formative stage of the institution. ''President Hill,'' declared the third U. of R chief executive, ''set about early... to recover local interest and pride. He persuaded important leaders in Rochester's business life to accept membership in the Board of Trustees, and he devoted himself assiduously to cultivating community interest... with increasingly encouraging results..." 21
It has been picturesquely--and not inaccurately--proposed that Hill was more interested in a career in public affairs ''than in trying to bail a small Baptist boat with a leaky dipper." A staunchly orthodox Republican, Hill stood forth as a strong advocate of tariff protection (for which a professor sharply reproached him); on a visit to Rochester a leading light of the high-tariff movement, Congressman William McKinley of Ohio, remarked that if the United States had more college administrators like Hill, ''we would have fewer free-traders and more Americans.'' Although Hill would unquestionably have welcomed a nomination to Congress from the Rochester district in 1896, it was denied him; he plunged energetically, however, into the election campaign that seated McKinley in the White House.
By way of reward, McKinley launched Hill on a new career in statecraft and diplomacy by appointing (1898) him as Assistant Secretary of State. Subsequently he represented the United States in Switzerland and the Netherlands, and as ambassador to Imperial Germany from 1908 to 1911. Along the way he prepared a monumental, well-planned and well-wrought, though unfinished History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe (3 volumes, 1905-1914). His ambition to represent New York in the Senate of the United States was frustrated. In his post-ambassadorial years Hill wrote and spoke extensively on political and diplomatic themes, gaining national attention as an expositor of the American Constitution and as an unflagging opponent of the League of Nations. Hill Court at the River Campus residential center off River Boulevard commemorates the services of the second president. 22
As the next president, the trustees chose Benjamin Ide Wheeler, the preferred candidate of Hill, Professor of Greek and Comparative Philology at Cornell. The son of a Baptist pastor, Brown University alumnus, holder of a Ph.D. from Heidelberg, a brilliant teacher who was intensely interested in student welfare, Wheeler was in many respects a capital selection. (At a convention of his Alpha Delta Phi fraternity in Rochester , he warmed the spirits of his audience with "I have come down to you, Brothers, from the craggy peaks of Ithaca to a city famed among gods and men for the purity of its theology and its beer.") Without turning down the invitation in an absolute sense, Wheeler hedged, feeling that he was morally bound to Cornell and that he lacked proper qualifications for the presidency; he had lively misgivings, too, about the future of the college. Strenuous trustee efforts to persuade him to accept the offer proved of no avail; shortly thereafter he accepted the executive chair at the University of California, which he occupied for twenty years, the last of them stormy. It seems evident that Shailer Mathews also was offered the U. of R. presidency, but he preferred to stay on at the University of Chicago as dean of the Divinity School.
Rochester was only one of several well-known institutions looking for a president in the late 1890's, without high hopes of obtaining the kind of man they wanted. Demand outstripped supply. Commenting on this sorry state of affairs, a prominent educational spokesman explained that the health of an academic institution demanded an executive "with leisure and capacity to study, to think, to plan, to initiate...." It was nonsense, he thought, to suppose that a successful business man could preside satisfactorily over a college. As he sized up the qualifications, the office of president required a man of broad outlook "sympathetic, cultivated, well-poised," and not least courageous, "courage to see and courage to do..." On the other hand, former President Hill told (1897) Rochester alumni that the chief administrative officer of the college would become less and less important as time passed. "Any man of average intelligence and ability," he injudiciously remarked, "can fill this presidential chair and fill it magnificently."
The trustee committee entrusted with filling the Rochester vacancy was "severely handicapped by the unwritten but imperative law" that an adherent of the Baptist communion must be chosen. There was no dearth of candidates talked of--among them three Baptist clergymen: Alumnus and Trustee MacArthur, William H. P. Faunce of New York City, and Clarence A. Barbour of Rochester, critic of Hill in the sectarian quarrel. Admirers of Professors Morey and Burton urged their qualifications upon the trustees; Burton's brusqueness of manner, however, counted heavily against him. After a lengthy and arduous search the corporation finally elected Professor [Benjamin] Rush Rhees, who accepted the post on July 24, 1899, his conditions for coming having been favorably approved by the trustee body. On October 11, 1900, Rhees was formally inaugurated. 23
While the presidential chair stood vacant during the four-year interregnum, Professor Lattimore first handled administrative responsibilities, giving way after two years to Burton because of poor health. That stop-gap arrangement, parenthetically, sweetened the college budget a little, for the additional compensation paid the two professors amounted to less than one quarter of a president's salary. An undergraduate journalist believed that the lack of a president was "felt to a surprisingly small degree." Actually, the institution, or at any rate its financial resources and its student body, was virtually at a standstill until the new executive head took charge. 24
By way of welcome to President Hill, steps had been taken in 1889 to brighten up the college grounds. An iron fence with gate entrances was built, the campus was reseeded, cement walks were laid down, the playing field was graded, and presently a grandstand was built. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a flagpole and a new flag. Early in the Hill administration, Anderson Hall underwent a little renovation: bath facilities in the athletic room; oak arm chairs for the faculty in the chapel from which the pulpit was removed; an electric bell to summon and dismiss classes was installed; and before long the venerable pile, along with Reynolds Laboratory, was lighted by electricity. Installation of science laboratories on the second and third floors of Anderson wrought considerable changes in room arrangements.
As custodian of Anderson Hall, John H. Craigie replaced (1892) the popular veteran, Elijah Withall. For his services Craigie was rewarded with $600 a year, living quarters in the basement of the building--and his name in the college catalogue. Craigie remained on the job for over thirty years working for "God with a broom," as Professor John R. Slater expressed the matter in a little literary gem, "A Gentleman in Overalls." "Summer and winter at dusk he placed his red lanterns on the (campus) circle to warn off reckless drivers," commented Slater when Craigie retired. "In shabby old Anderson Hall he fought a losing battle with smoke and dust.... It takes all kinds of people to make a college, and a faithful janitor is not the least of these...His work... is done.... Honest sailor, with your old pipe in your mouth, I salute you, outward bound."
With Professor Fairchild supervising, as noted before, the famous Ward scientific cabinet, which had been somewhat enlarged by additional specimens, was reclassified. On June 13, 1890, the museum, one of the most complete in America, was reopened in the presence of Ward and a large gathering of townspeople; since rain kept some citizens away, a second reception was held the next day. For the researches of the Rochester astronomer, Lewis Swift, a patent medicine magnate, Hulbert H. Warner, had erected (1883) an observatory at an estimated cost of $100,000 on East Avenue, two blocks away from the campus. Considerations of expense prompted the U. of R. trustees to turn aside proposals to remove this unusual scientific center to the University park. 25
Throughout the 1890's a faculty committee administered the Library, Professor Baker having the title of librarian. Revisions in the curriculum made it essential to keep the reading rooms open longer than previously; hours were first raised to five and a half a day and then from nine to five and undergraduates tended to congregate in Sibley when they had no class appointments. Student spokesmen predicted that if more comfortable chairs were provided and if resources in fiction, poetry, and science were enlarged, library attendance would double. A suggestion that a lunchroom should be blocked out in Sibley for the benefit of students having afternoon classes found no favor in official quarters.
Scarcity of funds held book purchases down; in 1893 the pathetic sum of only $124.93 was available for new acquisitions. On the other hand, donors made substantial gifts of books and in 1900 the valuable library of the Rochester Academy of Science was entrusted to the University. The collection as a whole grew from approximately 25,000 volumes in 1890 to over 37,000 a decade later, when 116 periodicals were being taken regularly.
Under a ruling of 1899 undergraduates were forbidden to enter the library stacks, but professors might take books to their rooms for study by themselves or by their students. A project to reclassify the holdings on the Dewey decimal system was started, only to be abandoned before the job was half completed. It was a fine day for Sibley Hall when electric lights were installed and a typewriter was acquired (1898). 26
Strong believer in physical culture that he was, President Hill bent himself to the task of realizing long-standing demands for a gymnasium. As so often in the past, pleas for an athletic facility peppered the columns of the Campus. In 1890 an alumni team began a fund-raising effort for a gymnasium, but the response was disappointing. At one point it was suggested that an auditorium and facilities for extracurricular organizations should be combined with a sports building. Hill, who pledged $1,000 himself, in his final report to the trustees said that a gymnasium was an imperative necessity and proposed that its construction would be "a natural and proper way for alumni to show their loyalty."
In 1897 an alumni committee appealed to graduates to subscribe a minimum of $25,000 and inspected gymnasiums at New England colleges to pick up ideas. The Interpres of 1898, "hopefully dedicated to the Alumni Gymnasium Committee," carried an architect's rendering of the proposed structure and reiterated that the U. of R. was the "only important college in the east without appliances for the needed physical culture of students." "With the student body, the millennium is the erection of a 'gym,' " it was remarked. Subscriptions came in very slowly, but in 1899 enough money was in sight to move ahead with construction plans, and it was decided to place the building on the southeast corner of the college park adjacent to the playing fields.
Designed by a Rochester architect, J. Foster Warner, the gymnasium was built of gray brick, trimmed with light colored stone; three arches and an entrance porch formed the facade. As shown on diagrams printed in the 1900 Interpres, on the first floor there were a reception or trophy room, offices of the athletic director, and the main hall, ninety-four feet long, fifty-three feet wide, and twenty-five feet high; appliances for exercise conformed to those available in any well-equipped gymnasium of the time. On the second floor an elliptical running track with twenty-four laps to the mile could accommodate, when needed, spectators watching activities in the main hall below; toilet and dressing rooms, quarters for the Campus and student organizations, and a capacious well-lighted reading room were provided. Baths, a small tank for a quick plunge, a bicycle room, a bowling alley, a handball cage, lockers, a boiler room and bins to store coal occupied the basement. Building and equipment cost rather more than $28,000 of which contributions from some 300 alumni exceeded $16,000.
Professor Kendrick P. Shedd framed his sentiments on "The Gym," set to the air of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home:"
We thank Alumni for the gym--
The gym, jam, gym;
We thank Alumni for the gym--
The gym, jam, gym;
We thank Alumni for the gym--
Our hearts are full up to the brim,
And that is why we sing this hymn
Of the gym, jam, gym;
And that is why we sing this hymn
Of the gym, jam, gym.
Formally opened in 1900, the Alumni Gymnasium stood for only a little more than thirty years, or just about as long as the agitation for it had been underway. Reversing the posture of President Anderson, Hill urged that dormitories should be provided, but instead a set of fraternity chapter houses, noted in the next chapter, was constructed. 27
Footnotes to Chapter 11
- Elias H. Johnson to D. J. Hill, June 4, 1888. Hill Papers. F. L. Anderson, op. cit., p. 26. Gates, op. cit., pp. 205-209. Thomas W. Goodspeed, A History of the University of Chicago (Chicago, 1916), esp. pp. 1-7, 11, 35-44. Allan Nevins, Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller (2 vols., New York, 1953), II, 191-234.
- David Jayne Hill, Confessions of a Grandfather, Chaps. XXVI, XXVII, Manuscript copy. Rhees Library Archives. M. B. Anderson to D. J. Hill, March 6, 1888. Hill Papers. D. J. Hill to M. B. Anderson, March 24, 1888. Anderson Papers, Box V. Trustee Records, II, 204, 207-208. R U&A, June 20, 1888. The Examiner, June 28, 1888. E. H. Johnson to Juliet Hill, June 23, 1888. Hill Papers.
- Aubrey L. Parkman, David Jayne Hill, (1961),Chap. I-IV, a doctoral dissertation in typescript, Rhees Library Archives. A full-scale biography of Hill by Parkman is now (1968) in preparation. Oliphant, op. cit., pp. 137-163, 174-187.
- 4D. J. Hill to M. B. Anderson, June 20, June 29, July 9, 1888. Anderson Papers, Box V. M. B. Anderson to D. J. Hill, June 22, July 11, 1888. Hill Papers. D. J. Hill to Edward Bright, July 9, 1888 (two items), Rhees Library Archives. Campus, XV, April 22, 1889. Executive Committee Minutes, III, Feb. 23, March 6, July 6, 1889. RHSP, XX (1942), 83.
- D. J. Hill to W. N. Sage, Jan. 16, 1889. Sage Papers. D. J. Hill, The American College in Relation to Liberal Education (Rochester, 1889). Campus, XV, June 24, 1889.
- D. J. Hill to M. B. Anderson, Oct. 4, 1889. Anderson Papers, Box V. M. B. Anderson to D. J. Hill, Oct. 7, 1889. Hill Papers. At about the same time that Hill and others were thinking in terms of vast expansion, the ambitious new Chancellor of Syracuse University, James R Day, was telling his constituency, "...I see in my mind's eye a great University on the Hill. Instead of three colleges, I see a dozen colleges. Instead of several buildings, I see a score of buildings. Instead of a student body of 800, I see a student body of 8,000, and this University as the center of the educational system of the State of New York.'' W. Freeman Galpin, Syracuse University (2 vols., Syracuse, 1952, 1960), II, preface, xi.
- R U&A., Sept. 12, 1889. Campus, XVI Nov. 5, 1889, Jan. 31, 1890. Interpres, XXXIII (1890). Rochester Post Express, December 17, 1889.
- Blake McKelvey, Rochester: The Quest for Quality (Cambridge, Mass., 1956), esp. Chap. I. Ibid., "Rochester's Ethnic Transformations," Rochester History, XXV (1963), No. 3. Ibid., "The Lure of the City: Rochester in the 1890's," Ibid., XXVIII (1966), no. 4. Dexter Perkins, "Rochester Fifty Years Ago," Ibid., III (1941), no. 3. RHSP, XVII (1955), 1. John Dennis, Jr., "Rochester: the City of Homes," The Chautauquan, XIII (1893), 40-43.
- David J. Hill, "The Cost of Universities," Forum, VIII (1889), 297-304. Ibid., "The Economics of Higher Education,'' Baptist Quarterly Review, XIV (1892), 38-44.
- R U&A, December 9, 1890, March 24, 1891, December 18, 1894, June 18, 1895. Rosen-berger, Rochester, pp. 238-240. DAB, VI (1931), 306 (Fayerweather). Two fat volumes on the litigation in the Fayerweather Case repose in the Rhees Library Archives. Seth S. Terry to Rush Rhees, June 18, 1906. (Fayerweather bequest). Rhees Papers. Rhees to Elon H. Hooker, 1891, September 3, 1925. Ibid. Seth S. Terry, 1883, who represented the U. of R., returned his legal fee of $2,500 to the University to establish a library fund for books on political economy. Executive Committee Minutes, V, February 9, 1906. Trustee Records, II, 249. President's Report, 1895. Hill Papers. Sarah L. Kuichling "Historical Notes" (about 1899), Pattison Scrapbook. Rhees Library Archives.
- Campus, XLVII, May 19, 1922. Trustee Records, II, 1886-1899, passim. Rush Rhees to Roscoe C. E. Brown, 1889, December 24, 1910. Rhees Papers. Susie M. Williams, 1916, to A. J. May, May 25, 1966. Rhees Library Archives, 1889.
- Faculty Minutes, Dec. 18, 1889, May 7, 1890. Campus, XVII, M ay 1, 1891, Annual Catalogue, 1891-92.
- President's Report, 1889. Anderson Papers, Box XIII. "Histories of the Departments ...1850-1900," esp. pp. 33 ff., 63-64, 75 ff. Annual Catalogue, 1895-96, 1898-99. Faculty Minutes, June 12, 1896.
- On the rising national interest in university extension, see, Forum, XI (1891), 510 ff., and Review of Reviews, III (1891), 593-609. R U&A, December 21, 1891, January 6, 1892, August 19, 1893, June 20, 1894, December 16, 1899. The Jewish Tidings, February 5, 26, March 18, 1892. Faculty Minutes, January 5, February 1, 8, 1892. Annual Catalogue, 1894-1895, 1897-1898. McKelvey, op. cit., pp. 20-21, 235. Memorabilia, 1894-1895, Rhees Library Archives. Christian Inquirer, February 15, 1894. President's Report, Acting President H. F. Burton, 1900.
- Robert B. Pattison, 1899, "Student Body as Faculty," RAR, VI (1928), no. 3, 79-82. Ibid., "Hats off to Professor Dodge," Campus, LVIII, January 6, 1933. Ibid., LIX, April 20, 1934. Interpres, LVII (1915), 17 ff. URLB, VII (1952), 32-40. R T-U, April 17, 1934. R U&A, October 5, 15, 20, 1891, February 24, 28, 1896.
- Interpres, XXXIV (1892), 68-69. Ibid., XL (1898), 116-117; Ibid., XLI (1899), 48. URLB, IV (1944). Rhees Library Archives. By action of the trustees in 1897 the salary of Dodge was fixed at $2,250, of Lawrence at $1,600, of Shedd and Kendrick (on the instructor level) at $1,200. Trustee Records, II, 426.
- Anon., "Scrapbook of Old Exam Papers,'' RAR, XVII (1940), no. 3, 15 ff. Trustee Records, June 20, Oct. 29, 1893. R U&A, June 18, 1892. Herbert S. Weet, 1899, "Looking Backward," RAR, XII (1950), no. 1, 15-17.
- Parkman, op. cit., pp. 119-162. David Jayne Hill, op. cit., Chapters XXXIV-XXXVII. W. C. Morey to C. M. Williams, August 13, 1892. Rhees Library Archives. R U&A, June 15, 1891, Aug. 18, 1893, June 18, 1895. J. W. A. Stewart to D. J. Hill, Aug. 19, 1891. Hill Papers. Henry C. Vedder, 1873, to D. J. Hill, Jan. 24, Feb. 2, 1894. Ibid. Examiner, March 21, 1895. Executive Committee Minutes, III, 339-340. Interpres, XXXVII (1895), 192. President's Report, 1895. Hill Papers. Trustee Records, II, 377. R U&A, June 19, 1895.
- William R. Harper to D. J. Hill, May 17, 1892, and Hill to Harper, May 20, 1892. Hill Papers. E. B. Andrews to D. J. Hill, Apr. 10. 1895. Ibid. Henry D. Estabrook to D. J. Hill, May 10, 1895. Ibid. Parkman, op. cit., pp. 144-49. URLB, V (1945), pp. 57-60. The Jewish Tidings, Oct. 9, 1891.
- Parkman, op. cit., pp. 163-174. Trustee Records, II, 385-386, 401-402. R U&A, December 9, 18, 1895, February 29, March 11, 1896. President's Report, 1896. Hill Papers. Interpres, XXXVIII (1896), 69. D. J. Hill to E. H. Johnson, January 27, 1900. Ibid. Campus, XXXV, October 4, 1909.
- Parkman, op. cit., p. 593. Campus, XIX, June 21, 1893. Rush Rhees, ''David Jayne Hill's Service to Rochester,'' RAR, X (1932), no. 4, 95-96. Campus, LVII, March 4, 1932.
- Parkman, op. cit., pp. 188-198 and passim.
- D. J. Hill to B.I. Wheeler, September 27, 1895. Hill Papers. B.I. Wheeler to D. J. Hill, October 25, 1895, July 6, 1896. Ibid. Samuel M. Havens, 1899, to Edward G. Miner, February 21, 1938. Valentine Papers. Anon. (probably Nicholas Murray Butler), "Have We No More College Presidents?", Educational Review, XVI (1898), 405-407. The only written denominational restriction upon the office of the presidency lay in the terms of a $20,000 gift in 1855 by G. W. Burbank and Lewis Roberts, "to be devoted to the permanent endowment of the Presidency... and the Professorship which now is or may be connected... a member of the Baptist denomination in good standing in some regular Baptist church shall always be the officer so appointed." This was not considered a deterrent by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching when in 1906 Rochester was accepted as a participant in the Carnegie retiring fund, open only to non-denominational institutions, and with the election of President Valentine in 1935 the restriction became inoperative. Trustee Records, I, July 10, 1855; See also, Rosenberger, Rochester, pp. 281-283.
- Campus, XXIII, January 13, 1898.
- R U&A., Aug. 18, 1889, June 14, 1890. Campus, XVI, Nov, 15, 1889. John R. Slater, Essays and Addresses (3 volumes in typescript), III, 752-753. Rhees Library Archives.
- Faculty Minutes, February 16, 1891, February 13, 1895. Campus, 1890-1899, passim.
- Executive Committee Minutes, III, April 8, 1899, 253. Trustee Records, III, June 20, 1899. Ibid., Report of Committee on Gymnasium, 1901. R U&A, June 15, 1891, January 5, 1897. Interpres, XL (1898), 4-6, 10. Ibid., XLII (1900), 60 ff. Some Songs We Sing at Rochester (1904), p. 37.