Chapter 5: Portrait of a President
The weary search for an executive head of the young Rochester college ended on July 1, 1853, when thirty-eight year old Martin Brewer Anderson agreed to take the office. For thirty-five years he filled the presidential chair and most of that time he taught classes as well; he remained as acting chief executive for over a year after his successor had been chosen, doing the honors at Commencement in 1889 and making his final speaking appearance on the campus in December, just two months before his death at a Florida retreat. Unlike many another elderly man, Anderson never had to face the prospect of a dismal future of empty existence, of simply going through the routine motions of day-to-day living.
Of the first president, Frederick T. Gates, 1877, who in maturity as philanthropic counselor to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., knew intimately the executive personnel of American higher education, wrote in the eventide of his life, "He was the very life and soul of it [the U. of R.] Every teacher and every student was thrilled with the contagious enthusiasm and omnipresent life of this remarkable man.... He won the name of Prince of College presidents. Sometimes he was called 'the American "Arnold of Rugby"', but he was a far broader and greater man than Arnold. Among college presidents whom I have known since, none has approached him in power to mould the character and conduct of young men, and none has used his power with more unselfish zeal."
In the evolution of the U. of R. of the nineteenth century, Anderson incontestably was the Olympian figure. So overpowering was his personality, so pervasive was his influence, so prolonged his tenure of office that it is understandable why the college was humorously dubbed "Dr. Anderson's School." 1
Responsibility for finding a president had been assigned to a trustee committee on which Wilder and Sage were active with Robert Kelly serving as chairman; meeting after meeting was held to discuss candidates and men on the University teaching staff were drawn into the consultations. Disturbed by the slowness with which the presidency was being filled, pessimistic Rochesterians lamented that the infant adventure in higher education was running down because the governing authorities after making "a great splash, had only got a small affair, half-manned, no head.... Nothing but, a decided and able head will bring the affair up in the minds of its friends, and the sooner the better." It was contended, too, that the absence of an official chief executive encouraged an undesirable spirit of independence among the undergraduates which would not be easily curbed after an appointment was made. The urgency of filling the executive office turned more urgent in 1852 when Professor Maginnis died, leaving vacant the key professorship in moral philosophy, and when Kendrick, chairman of the faculty, in ill-health, went off to Europe. Certain trustees wanted a dean or rector selected from the faculty, with an outside person in charge of administration. 2
As trustee-faculty deliberations on the presidency proceeded, ideas on the attributes a president should possess came to be somewhat more sharply defined. Kelly stressed the points that the principal executive officer personified a college in the public image and was looked upon as the parent of undergraduates whom he should counsel with kindness and the authority of a father. One trustee felt that the individual chosen should not be a cloistered scholar, but "an outdoor managering man to look after the wealthy men of the state and get them interested in the University, to keep up the confidence of all the sects in Rochester, to entertain liberally for the University...." Diplomatic tact and personal force, not teaching talent, were the qualities most insistently needed. The Board decided that whoever was chosen as leader should be appointed on the same terms as professors and should be invested with fewer powers than usually attached to a college presidency. 3
Candidate after candidate came under consideration. Professor Conant, who was vigorously supported by Professor Raymond, was passed over by the trustees as unsuited for administrative duties. Kendrick, who felt his temperament and habits disqualified him, asked that his name be dropped. Governor Marcy (who, with visions of the White House dancing in his head, almost certainly would not have accepted the presidency of the University) was stricken from the list on the score that Baptists would disapprove of a man not affiliated formally with their church, and so was Chancellor Harris, when it became known he would not accept. Objections were raised against the Rev. Pharcellus Church, then a Baptist pastor in Boston, owing to doubts on the soundness of his theological opinions, and Barnas Sears, approached again, could not be lured away from his position.
As a temporary solution it was suggested that Wilder might combine the presidency with the trustee chairmanship, and be paid a token salary to cover, the expense of entertaining, while Harris would retain the dignity of Chancellor and preside at graduation exercises. Instead, a decision was taken to name Wilder as University president, but, though deeply touched by the manifestation of confidence and appreciation, he declined on the grounds that he had too many business involvements and family cares to concentrate exclusively on University affairs. 4
Early in 1853, trustee sentiment, though not the faculty universally, switched to Martin B. Anderson, who had come into prominence as co-editor of a widely circulated Baptist periodical, The New York Recorder. Kelly had lively reservations about Anderson, since he was not as well known and less distinguished than some of the U. of R. professors (Kendrick was now his personal preference), yet he hazarded a guess that Anderson possessed talent as an administrator, "facility in intercourse with the world, liberal views of education, energy," and ability to get along with trustees and faculty. Wilder was lukewarm about Anderson, feeling that he lacked sufficient standing as a man of letters, but he united with his colleagues who, on April 6, 1853, unanimously voted to offer the executive office to the editor at a salary of $1,800 a year. His duties would not be financial, but solely "internal and academic," including instruction in "Intellectual Philosophy" one hour a day.
At the same time, Wilder was appointed general financial manager and instructed to double the investment portfolio and secure funds to erect college buildings. "With Wilder as Captain and Anderson as Chief Engineer, " the University would go ahead, someone observed. The formal trustee bid to Anderson defined his role as presiding official at public functions of the University and executive officer in matters of discipline and internal administration. He was promised anew that he would be relieved of responsibility for the financial affairs of the institution. 5
Well content with his journalistic chair, uncertain of the financial stability of the U. of R., and feeling inferior to "nearly all the ... ripe scholars and men of character" on the faculty, Anderson hesitated to accept the invitation. He wished particularly to know the "inner feeling" of the professors on his nomination; if he accepted the position, it would be on "a sort of probation. 6
Yet on the urging of friends (the persuasive tongue of Robert Kelly especially) and under a clear sense of duty, Anderson decided to take the presidency. "Considerations of a personal nature alone," he wrote, "would have lead me at once to decline the proposal... but other motives which it seemed wrong for me to disregard" influenced him to change his mind. He pledged "fidelity and diligence in promoting the interests of the University" whose success must be "the gift of God." Even so, he was "low spirited and fearful" as to whether his decision was in fact the part of wisdom; on assuming the University responsibility, he informed his father that "I can only trust in the Almighty.... A. strange career has been mine so far but I trust God has guided it." If he failed as helmsman at Rochester, he could find a pastorate in "some little country church or some secretaryship and live out the days of my appointed time in quiet and contented obscurity." Rochester newspapers promptly and enthusiastically heralded the coming of Anderson. His promotion of the candidacy of Conant thwarted, Raymond, nonetheless, hailed the elected leader as "a strong and able man, and certainly conservative enough, even for a college president, which is saying a good deal...!" 7
In keeping with established custom Anderson set out his philosophy on higher education -- and a good deal more in an inaugural address read in Corinthian Hall on the clear, cool Tuesday of July 11, 1854. 8 Introducing the president-elect, Trustee Wilder directed attention to the simplicity of the ceremony, for the University was "managed by people of simple tastes and habits. " He lauded the personal qualities of Anderson and reiterated emphatically that the U. of R. would not be an instrument of "sectarian propagandism but a high-toned ... institution for high Christian education." Gratitude was showered upon Rochester benevolence "for the unswerving and generous support" it had shown the young seat of learning; community and University, each was worthy of the other, Wilder thought.
Anderson entitled his presidential message, "The Ends and Means of a Liberal Education." It was a wide-ranging excursion in the things of the mind and the spirit, requiring over two hours for delivery, replete with erudite references to famous intellectuals of western civilization, dead and living, and imperfectly organized. The address must be judged, of course, in the light of the period in which it was presented, of the decade and more and the environment, and parts of it, read a century and more later, must be dismissed as old-fashioned banalities. Recurrent themes were the linkage between the Christian tradition and impulses and higher education, and the united action of "Christians of different names" in bringing the University of Rochester into existence.
The President manifested frank distaste for "the new education," espoused by Wayland of Brown, for example, but advocated courses in comparative philology (one of his intellectual pets) and in the elements of physical science, since "science has revolutionized the commerce, the manufactures, and the agriculture of the civilized world" -- that in 1854! Warmly extolling the literature of Greece and Rome, he insisted that "the profoundest lessons for the statesman, diplomatist, and financier have been drawn from the records of the [classical] past..." And he coupled strong disapproval of student dormitories with a powerful plea for state financial assistance to colleges.
In a stirring paean of praise to Rochester, he saluted the Genesee community as "the center of an agricultural district which, for fertility and high cultivation combined, can hardly be paralleled on the face of the earth. We are in the midst of an intelligent, moral, and rapidly increasing rural [!] city. To all these localities and to the world we hope to be a blessing." He rejoiced that in a short time the University had "attained a solidity and vigor almost without parallel in the history of education...."
If sections of the Anderson inaugural now seem dated, antiquated, or ephemeral, other portions reflected the wisdom of the ages in the sphere of education and enshrined plain horse-sense, which is stable-mindedness. He developed at some length a doctrine later known as "holism," that is, the training of youths for rounded careers during a half century or so of mature life, as distinguished from narrowly confined vocationalism, or "the mercantile point of view" in Anderson's phrase. Decrying the prevalent American materialism, he pleaded, "Let us shape our educational systems to make men."
In the inaugural, as time and again throughout his long educational activity, Anderson spoke emphatically of the value of a historical approach in, any area of learning or to any current problem. As he put it, "the present has its bases in the past.... He who despises or remains ignorant of the latter, cannot by any possibility understand the former. " Love of learning, he remarked, should be inculcated in youth for its very own sake; to achieve that objective, intimacy between teacher and taught was essential, and that kind of familiarity, he reasoned, required professors with a catholicity of outlook and versatile intellectual interests. "The teacher is too often a mere specialist, deficient in general and comprehensive views .... Formal and lifeless book-worms have too often filled the professor's chair." He argued, likewise, that an obligation rested upon the trustees to acquaint themselves with the performance of the teaching staff, and to attend to their multifarious University duties "as diligently and as constantly... as those devolving upon the directors of a bank or an insurance company."
A major task of trustees, naturally enough, was to look after institutional finances, and to see to it that sons of low-income homes could obtain an education on the higher level. From their inception universities had been "substantially eleemosynary, " Anderson candidly declared, and also "nurseries of equality... the special benefactors of the poor. (Perhaps in the back of his mind were recollections of the hard road he had himself traveled to gain a college degree).
Reminding his hearers that the work of the academic enterprise in Rochester had only just begun, Anderson solemnly and buoyantly concluded, "May that Divine Providence that has hitherto followed our labors continue, until this University shall reach with its hand of blessing the remotest dweller upon the habitable earth."
For the new captain on the bridge a prayer ascribed to that rugged Elizabethan seadog, Sir Francis Drake, possessed a certain relevance. "O Lord God, when thy givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same unto the end until it is thoroughly finished which yieldeth the true glory."
Before assuming the Rochester chair, Anderson, as has been noted, had for three years shared in editing and ownership of a Baptist weekly, the New York Recorder. As an editor, he became extensively known in denominational circles by reason of forceful, incisive, and trenchant writing, which extended over a broad range of topics, ecclesiastical and secular; in literary criticism, for instance, he cracked down hard on the currently popular William Makepeace Thackeray.
No narrow nor dogmatic sectarian, yet conventional rather than innovating in theological opinions, Anderson best displayed his wares as a controversialist during a sharp quarrel within the Baptist communion over revision of the Bible. A team of Baptist scholars -- Professor Conant for one -- wished the Greek word "baptizo" translated as "immersion," conforming with Baptist ritualistic practice; but opponents retorted that baptism connoted more than immersion and fought for the continued use of the traditional version of the Scriptures in divine worship.
This latter position was vigorously upheld by Anderson in the columns of on the other hand, the Recorder ; diffusion of the views of the revisionists, on the other hand, was undertaken by a second Baptist journal, the New York Chronicle, and the competing publications engaged in a furious and lengthy duel. Editor 0. B. Judd of the Chronicle proved quite as able and resourceful a polemicist as Anderson. "The annals of controversy do not furnish a parallel to the abuse, public and private," Anderson wrote, "which has been poured upon my head by the ... Chronicle." In the long run, the traditionalist posture of Anderson was generally adopted by Baptists. 9
Promotion of missionary endeavors also filled many pages of the Recorder, and the paper became entangled in the project to transfer Madison University to Rochester. Deacon Oren Sage visited Anderson to enlist his support for removal, but Anderson tried to discourage the plan; this interview was Anderson's "first vital connection with the cause of education in Rochester. " Before long, however, all his "prejudices" had turned to the side of removal and he intended to visit Rochester "to gather in fact facts and views;" he became a. "puissant ally" of the removalists expounding their logic in the Recorder and speaking on their behalf at a fund-raising dinner in New York City.
When the removal scheme collapsed, the Recorder energetically backed the plan for a wholly new university in Rochester -- "half-town and half-city..." but possessing "the requisite social advantages" for a seat of learning and free from "the dissipating luxuries of the great marts of commerce..." On the way to a Baptist convention in the nearby village of Brockport, Anderson in October, 1850, stopped off in Rochester, and, while the guest of the Sage family, thoroughly explored "this beautiful city."
The layout of the community, the fine streets, the homes of workingmen and the rich, and the public buildings and churches reminded Anderson of Worcester, Massachusetts -- rather faint praise -- only Rochester was larger and wealthier. He was impressed, too, with the University building and its facilities "equal to those possessed by three fourths of the colleges in the country," and the excellent faculty. On balance, he sympathized with the educational philosophy embodied in the "Kelly" Plan of Instruction, except for the elective principle for studies; the college, he thought, had a brilliant future before it. Wittingly or otherwise, the. mind of Anderson was being shaped to invest his life in the Rochester enterprise. 10
The young editor attended the first Commencement exercises of the young college beside the Genesee, interviewed Professor Quinby at West Point for the professorship of mathematics and natural philosophy at the U. of R. and recommended his appointment, and executed a like errand to Cincinnati to persuade a professor there to transfer to the Rochester Theological Seminary. Owing to the influx of German immigrants, Anderson urged that Germans should be trained at the Rochester school of theology for the gospel ministry. University trustees sought the counsel of Anderson on a "strong man" to undertake the presidency, which, of course, turned out to be himself. 11
Anderson quit the Recorder with considerable reluctance, as has been intimated; the Chronicle, on the whole, felt it was a case of good riddance. Anderson had enjoyed the editorial chair, the sense of social usefulness it fostered, and the prospect of "accumulating a handsome property." Yet he chose to forsake Manhattan for "a situation of care and toil in another part of the Master's vineyard." The call to the west was, however, hardly the proverbial bolt from the blue and Anderson responded with the conviction that he was well equipped for the instructional duties at least that would be expected of him. 12
The first U. of R. president obtained his collegiate training at Waterville (Colby after 1867) College in central Maine close to the lordly Kennebec River. A Baptist foundation, it was set up in 1820 as a "college for the people" to equip young men for the pulpit or the service of the state. Basic costs ran from eighty-three to ninety-five dollars a year and a workshop on the campus enabled students to earn part of their expenses. The college and the uncomplicated Maine village in which it was located were noted for piety and the purity of the moral atmosphere; only a few students attended and the struggling institution was recurrently threatened by dissolution because of the lean treasury.
Poor in purse himself, young Anderson toiled in the campus workshop or on farms or as a schoolteacher to get money. Recitation standards at Waterville were exacting and required diligent application from sunrise to bedtime, interrupted by violent physical exercise or swimming in the Kennebec. Anderson, who felt that Christian devotions were very important, found the moral and religious tone of the college good, but he frequently referred to the need of a religious revival. By the time he graduated in 1840 he, had established a reputation for industry, integrity, intelligence, and competence in philosophy and mathematics. 13
On the advice of friends, Anderson put aside the notion of going to instead Mississippi to teach in a common school and instead matriculated at the Newton Theological Institution to prepare for the ministry. He spent only a year, an unprofitable an unhappy, one at Newton which he described as "the most dull, lonesome hole that any body was put into.... The lower end of Harpswell [a peninsula near Brunswick, Maine] is not more dull than this place..." Additionally, a throat ailment caused him severe suffering whenever he spoke in public, and made a pulpit career out of the question.
So he returned to his Alma Mater as a tutor in the classics and mathematics. Becoming an eager student of philological investigation and criticism, he offered path-breaking instruction on the origin and growth of the English language. Promoted to a professorship in 1843, he remained at Waterville seven years longer at a salary that averaged less than $600 a year, managed the library, and won golden opinions for effectiveness in the recitation room. "Professor Anderson brings strong reasoning powers, with a fine imagination, to the work of training his pupils," a church journal of the day explained," and his aim is to make them speak and write like men... In his teaching and conduct, then and later, he was influenced by strong Christian principles and feeling; for him college was not merely a place of learning, but an island of intellectual and religious discipline, where healthy characters were molded and men were readied for the arduous duties and struggles of life. When a Waterville College alumni association was organized, Anderson took office as the first president.
One winter Anderson served as a supply preacher at a Baptist church in Washington, D. C. and he had several calls to attractive pastorates, all of which he declined. Though he preached occasionally throughout his long and busy life, he was not a theologian,probably never had "a carefully formulated system of theology," and refused to be ordained, preferring "to speak and act as a lay preacher. To Francis Wayland he wrote, "I have deliberately sunk the desire to attain distinction as a [professional] preacher in the desire to... exemplify... the idea of talking about Christ to poor condemned sinners ... as the spontaneous outpouring of a heart warm with the love of Christ." On a preaching errand to Brooklyn, Anderson met and, in August, 1848, married Elizabeth Gilbert, daughter of a staunch Baptist family. Attractive, cultivated, and socially minded -- the philosopher's ideal -- she proved an admirable helpmate throughout nearly four decades of life in Rochester. No children were born to the union, which may partly account for the exceptional interest of the presidential couple in undergraduates. 14
By 1850 Anderson had his fill of college teaching and, gripped with a sense of despair and frustration, he moved off to greener pastures in New York. I gave to her [Waterville College] ten years of the hardest work of my life, " he later recalled. The Maine institution esteems Anderson as one of its most distinguished sons, "one of the gifts of little Waterville College to the world." Bonds between that institution and the U. of R. were not severed with the death of Anderson, indeed, when the Colby authorities decided in the 1930's to quit the center of Waterville and create a magnificent new campus at Mayflower Hill on the edge of the town, they imitated the U. of R. River Campus quadrangle in the layout of part of the grounds. 15
Writers of a romantic cast of mind have detected the stamp of Maine, austere, rugged, rock-bound. upon the character and personality of Martin Brewer Anderson. There he was born, February 12, 1815, in the town of Brunswick, the home of Bowdoin College, and in Maine (until 1820 a province of Massachusetts), he lived his first thirty-five years. His parents, of sturdy British stock and Baptist-in faith, were honored and deeply reverenced by their distinguished son; in their humble household, which waged a constant struggle with poverty, the virtues of Christianity and the values of education were exalted.
Until disabled by an accident, the father worked as a shipwright, and then became a schoolman in the neighboring village of Bath. Affectionate ties between father and son persisted throughout the former's life; he spent his closing years in Rochester and was laid to rest in the spacious University plot at Mt. Hope Cemetery. "Whatever of ability I may have to serve my day and generation," Anderson in maturity wrote to his father, "is in great part due to the moral and intellectual impulse and training which I received from you and my dear mother...." Evidently, the very pious Mrs. Anderson passed her profound attachment to religion on to the son, who devoutly adhered to the Baptist way throughout his life, and he was extremely proud of that heritage.
Martin grew into a tall and strong lad and showed superior aptitude at school for acquiring knowledge; employment at a shipyard or on a farm aided the family budget and yielded small savings for further education. At Bath he participated in a debating club with older males, which taught him the valuable lesson of independent study and afforded useful experience in public speaking. Brought into the church fold directly by a "revival" experience, he decided to become a preacher, and to that end, as has been seen, enrolled at Waterville College. Finances being limited, he normally trudged from Bath to the college town, a hundred and more miles distant, or, if lucky, picked up a ride with a farmer or merchant driving along the way. Reviewing the lifework of Anderson in an obituary, a Bath schoolmate concluded, "Maine has seldom given to the country and to Christianity at large his peer." 16
When Anderson entered the presidency at Rochester, he was in the prime of manhood, a big man six feet three inches in height, imposing in appearance, "straight as the lofty pines of his native Maine, of fine proportions and most noble presence, " an undergraduate remembered. His eyes were blue, his nose straight, his mouth wide, his chin square with a dimple. Big-boned, angular, seemingly physically strong and endowed with limitless vitality, his rather grim features suggested "a granite cliff" to a second student. Since his complexion was light and the hair on his "Jovian head" sandy, he was affectionately nicknamed "Old Sorrel. " His throat ailment had yielded to treatment and he spoke with great force and conviction. No one questioned the earnestness of the man, or his will of steel, or his overarching sense of Christian and moral responsibility. Student awe of the President was matched by pride in him akin to that of "Napoleon's bodyguard of their imperial captain." 17
As a college leader, Anderson not only ranked among the foremost Baptist educators, but came off remarkably well when measured against contemporary academic administrators, who have been tagged the "old-time college presidents. To a newly appointed college executive who inquired for advice on administration, the President recommended reading Dean Arthur P. Stanley, The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold (1846), and Noah Porter, The American Colleges and the American Public (1870), the product of a Yale president who stood four-square for a Christian emphasis in higher learning. These books, it may be assumed, shaped the ideas and practices of Anderson in the conduct of the U. of R.
After decades of experience he defined the role of an academic executive in language of lasting relevance. "The college president," he informed a friend, "is expected to be a vigorous writer and public speaker. He must be able to address all sorts of audiences upon all sorts of subjects. He must be a financier able to extract money from the hoards of misers, and to hold his own with the trained denizens of Wall Street. He must be attractive in general society, a scholar among scholars; distinguished in some one or two departments of learning; gentle and kindly as a woman in his relations to the students, and still be able to quell a 'row' with the pluck and confidence of a New York Chief-of-Police. If he fails in any one of these elements of character, he is soon set down as unfit for his position.... In looking back over my career, I am simply astonished at having been able to bear up under my responsibilities as long as I have ...." 18
Anderson often became bogged down in the minutiae of his office and the patriarchal tone which suffused the institution extended to the teaching staff, with the President resembling the head of a family in dealings with sons and younger brothers. More than once he offered up thanks that the University had escaped the internal friction that had lamed other colleges and that he had been "permitted generally to live in peace" with faculty and trustees. He iterated and reiterated that "well-paid and able instructors" were pivotal in any college enterprise, and favorite aphorisms were that the authentic teacher strove to train his charges to outdo their master and that "the man who is not constantly learning cannot teach."
To the trustees, after quarter of a century as head of the a University, he said, "No man can teach with vigor unless he keeps his mind hot with action in making original investigations in the subject matter of instruction." The convention that teachers followed of carrying on instruction by means of student recitations from prescribed manuals was sharply upbraided, yet that technique persisted. With no less conviction Anderson deplored the tendency of some professors to choose writing as their chief preoccupation and to look upon classroom instruction as of secondary importance. "I am inclined to think," he said, "that those teachers who have made fortunes by the manufacture of books have quite often defrauded their pupils by the process." As time moved along, the University turned into a beneficent despotism with presidential authority paramount and unfriendly critics practically powerless. In a remarkably knowledgeable survey of American institutions of higher learning the Englishman James Bryce, wisest of all foreign analysts of the New World way of life, declared, "A visitor from Europe is struck by the prominence of the president in an American university or college, and the almost monarchial position which he sometimes occupies towards the professors as well as the students. Far more authority seems to be vested in him, far more to turn upon his individual talents and character than in the universities of Europe ...." 19 Writing this way, the shrewd Briton might easily have had Martin Brewer Anderson in mind.
A gentle colleague alluded to the President as a "little dictatorial," but Professor William C. Morey, who sat in his classroom and taught on his faculty, remarked, "if the University failed to place itself in perfect harmony with the educational movement of the time, such failure must largely be attributed to him.... His opinions prevailed." Anderson, it is true, did not command the unqualified cooperation of all the teachers, a few of whom openly rebelled against authoritarianism and sought chairs elsewhere. 20
Year in and year out, as is explained in later chapters, Anderson was worried and harassed by money problems which, on accepting the presidency, he had been explicitly assured would be borne on other shoulders. Financial perplexities brought on periods of acute mental depression and academic associates wonder time and again whether his mind was giving way. He frequently lamented that faculty salaries were lower than those of first-rate confidential clerks, and remarked upon his "unsatisfied ambitions" for the college, frustrated by shortage of funds; on more than one occasion, he proclaimed that the surest way for rich Americans to gain immortality was to make gifts to higher education.
"Nothing on earth except the Church of God has such vitality as a solidly rooted university" he observed. "Within the past five centuries dynasties, thrones, and States have passed away.... But the Universities of Bologna, Paris, Prague, Padua, Oxford, and Cambridge flourish as if endowed with immortal youth and the memory of their founders shall live through all time." (A generation later, George Eastman, largest of all benefactors of the U. of R., expressed a kindred conviction.)
Not long after Anderson arrived in Rochester, he managed a successful campaign to obtain state aid for the University, but subsequently his thinking on the appropriation of public moneys for academic communities switched radically. In a public address of 1876 entitled "Voluntaryism in Higher Education," which attracted a good deal of national attention, he argued that colleges and universities, like churches, should be financed "by individual and corporate benevolence." Government might legitimately maintain in institutions to train public school teachers and subsidize "practical" research, but the grant of public lands, for instance, to nourish higher learning or the establishment of a great national university in Washington at public expense, Anderson roundly condemned. The idea of a national university, he pilloried, indeed, as "precious humbug" which would "disgrace our capital.".
He dreaded lest government patronage would lead to interference in the instructional process, as had happened in western state universities, which were "managed by politicians in the interest of party rather than of learning," and in some sections of Europe. This reasoning corresponded, incidentally, with the views of the august president of Harvard, Charles W. Eliot.
Despite seemingly insuperable financial obstacles, Anderson cherished boundless confidence in the destiny of higher learning in America. "Scholars living, " as he stated his faith in a prophetic address, "are laying [the] groundwork for college greatness -- others will enter into their labors. Over our undistinguished graves, they may say, 'Amid poverty and self denial they wrought faithfully, and did what they could.'" 21
On educational policies Anderson almost invariably held uncompromising opinions and expressed them with vigor. All male youths capable of profiting from a college experience should have the opportunity, he thought, and a baccalaureate degree should be made a prerequisite for admission to professional schools. "We must make an education fit for all classes and professions," Anderson informed the Manhattan Baptist Social Union (1879). "What is education?" he inquired rhetorically. "It is the formation of right moral and intellectual habits through the means of organized knowledge .... The best college is the place where the scholar is brought face to face... with... men of intellectual and moral power, with force of will and capacity to do things .... Our work must be tested by the men we send out."
And the U. of R. Alumni Club of New York City was told (1870), "...True education is that which develops manhood.... Talk of the golden sweetness of life! It is all humbug unless it will help a man to do good work..." While he praised the excellencies of the great German universities, he fervently advocated the preservation of the American college as an efficient agency for producing liberally-minded and well-rounded men.
College teaching, he kept urging, would benefit from improvements in methods of instruction -- without extending the elective principle -- and standards at professional schools ought to be raised. In season and out, Anderson stoutly championed the values derived from the study of the classics and philology and recommended strongly that the historical approach should be applied in every department of learning. To the end of his academic career he never ceased to cultivate the philosophic spirit and to seek to translate philosophy into the wisdom of life.
Not details revealed by scrupulous research, but fundamental principles should be accented in teaching the sciences, Anderson held. And the proposition that art culture--painting, sculpture, architecture, and music--grossly neglected in existing college curricula, should have a secure place in undergraduate training had an ardent exponent in this old-time president. "...The esthetic element is part of our constitution," he explained, "just as much a constituent of our mental organization as the moral sense or the capacity for logic..." This branch of knowledge should be taught by lectures and copious illustrations, he recommended, and what Anderson preached he practiced by presenting pioneer courses on art at Rochester.
College teaching, Anderson profoundly believed, must be infused with ethical and religious idealism, though restricted "to those elements in our faith held by evangelical Christians in common." "All instruction," he told a National Baptist Education Convention (1870), "unfolding the laws of science, literature, or history should be permeated with the warmth and light and the glory of the incarnate Redeemer.... The ends of a Christian school... ought not to be essentially different from those of a Christian church...." Notwithstanding his conviction that denominational control of a college was essential--the term "sectarian" positively repelled him--Anderson spoke out against having a Baptist (or other) church on the Rochester campus, because of the possibility that it might be used for indoctrination purposes; each student should worship on the Sabbath at the church of his choice. 22
Central in the whole pattern of Anderson's philosophy and practice of collegiate education was the well-being and growth of the individual undergraduate. Though uncompromisingly opposed to dormitories as nests of vice and iniquity, he was constantly on the alert to see that students coming from outside of the city obtained reliable rooming and boarding houses or places to sleep until arrangements for permanent living were completed. An occasional undergraduate made his temporary home in the President's own residence.
It was often said that Anderson's favorite hobby was to become personally acquainted with every student; he felt that the ideal institution of higher learning was one small enough so that the president could know each undergraduate well by the end of the Sophomore year, and large universities in which impersonal relationships inescapably prevailed were targets of his wrath. "Every one of the young men sent to me is a special and most important trust... a center of the hopes and fears of some family circle," Anderson told the trustees (1868). This responsibility demanded that the president must have leisure to counsel with individual students and to meditate on inspirational chapel talks.
In the light of experience, he was sympathetically disposed toward the Greek-letter fraternity, a pervasive force in extracurricular affairs, as a "natural outgrowth" and an aid to discipline. But organized athletics were another matter, "relics of barbarism," just like "hazing" affrays in which Anderson sometimes intervened and stopped. And he poked fun at eastern colleges for exploiting the mania for sports as a means of getting publicity; at the very warmest, his attitude concerning a college gymnasium was tepid. His stand on sports did not mean however, that this "old-time" administrator was blind to the importance of drawing public attention to the University. "A President," he observed, "belongs not to himself, but to a large and exacting public. He must not let his institution be forgotten..." In the last stage of his administration he turned in upon himself more and more and rather lost his grip on the Rochester community, but his deep concern for the young men who attended "Dr. Anderson's School" never abated. 23
Upon the typical "old-time college president," almost perfectly personified by Anderson, devolved the challenge of imparting knowledge in moral and intellectual philosophy. This encyclopedic discipline, whose form and content may be traced back to Aristotle himself, was thought to enshrine the quintessence of wisdom, and consequently was reserved until undergraduates had attained the maturity of Seniors and was normally taught by the college president personally. Aimed to furnish perspective and depth for intelligent living, this course of study had suggestive analogues with syntheses of western civilization that flourished so luxuriantly in the better American colleges of the first half of the twentieth century.
For materials of instruction, Anderson relied heavily upon the writings of the Scottish thinker and educator, Sir William Hamilton, who obtained the chair of logic and metaphysics at Edinburgh University in 1836 and wrote extensively until his death twenty years later. A man of colossal erudition, Hamilton took all knowledge for his province, except certain areas of science; his thinking was shaped primarily by Aristotle and to a lesser extent by Immanuel Kant and second-class contemporary German philosophers. Hamilton never fashioned a rounded philosophical system, and his pattern of "natural realism" contained elements of confusion, inconsistency, and contradiction. Yet, by his best-known publication, Discussions in Philosophy and Literature, Education and University Reform (1852) and a smaller book, Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic (1860), he attracted discipleship--Anderson in the company--on both sides of the Atlantic. Cherishing sublime faith in mankind at a time when the idea of perpetual human progress was gaining ascendancy among enlightened western intellectuals, Hamilton boldly proclaimed, "'On earth there is nothing great but man."
In a laudatory assessment of Hamilton, Anderson saluted the scholar and his works as "unsurpassed in the literature of philosophy... Since the death of Kant no greater name has adorned the commonwealth of letters." (As a textbook, Anderson apparently prescribed The Philosophy of Sir William Hamilton (1853).)
In the recitation room, Anderson stood forth as the unflinching enemy of skepticism, rationalism, and irreligion. Waving his long arms, he was wont to admonish against "the sea of doubt, without a bottom or a shore." Repudiating the increasing challenge to the literal veracity of the Scriptures, posed by ongoing scientific findings and the scholarship of comparative religion, the President poured his fiercest verbal venom upon Herbert Spencer, supreme popularizer of Darwinism. For Anderson, the concept of organic evolution seemed a "useful working-hypothesis for the scientific inquirer; but it has no claim to take rank among verified laws ... or positive science." And even if the theory should be substantiated, the President said, "the doctrine of a personal God would be just as necessary in order to explain the origin of the universe and the process of its development...."
Anderson did not confine his instruction to philosophy and ethics. "I am almost ashamed to confess the amount and variety of teaching which I am obliged to do, " he confided to a University alumnus. "I have eleven exercises a week during this term. One hour every day is devoted to the History of Philosophy. Another hour to lectures upon Physical Geography in its relations to History, and following this, to History in general. Beginning with the downfall of the Roman empire, I discuss slavery, the Roman and Germanic elements of Feudalism, the Separation of the Greek and Western Empire, Mohammedanism, the Formation of the State System of Modern Europe, the History of the Modes of Administering Justice, and the Foundations of the English Constitution. For two terms, I lecture every Saturday morning on the Fine Arts, embracing history and the elements of criticism. Next term I expect to teach Moral and Political Philosophy one hour and Political Economy another hour." His quest for information for use in the classroom verged on the insatiable; from John D. Rockefeller, Sr., as an illustration, he solicited and secured factual data on the oil and railway industries.
"To inquire and to answer inquiries is the business of a scholar," crusty Dr. Samuel Johnson once affirmed, but to range so extensively over departments of knowledge as Anderson did staggers a twentieth century mind. And his interest was not limited to recitation or lecture, for he tried to discern the fundamental capabilities of each learner who sat at his feet (or who came to his quarters for a private conversation), studied their characters, watched their progress with a vigilant eye, and tried to remedy their defects by precept and example. By his unobtrusive sympathy with undergraduates and encouragement of the despondent, Anderson earned the deathless loyalty of many students. Characteristic alumni testimonies read: "Instruction in his philosophical classes was inspirational;" "First, and possibly the most important, he [Anderson] helped me to think. Pre-eminently was this true in his classroom... He never seemed to me to wish us to think just as he thought, but desired us to do our own thinking and reach our own conclusions..." 24
For many a Rochester man, the finest moments of the college experience came during chapel addresses, delivered by Anderson in an authoritative and impressive manner, who paused occasionally with his eye fixed on the ceiling. These talks fresh in content, full of suggestiveness, and vivified by homely or historical illustrations ranked among the cherished traditions of the University. "His face was leonine," an alumnus commented on the chapel periods half a century later. "His voice was deep and far-reaching. He would begin in a firm low tone, deliberately, hardly moving a muscle. Gradually his face would kindle and insensibly his voice would become vibrant and penetrative, until at length with whole being aflame he would speak with overwhelming passion and power. I used to sit before him at such times with thrills chasing each other from the soles of my feet to the roots of my hair..." "The boys look on with awe, " this student reported to his father. "I feel as I did on viewing Niagara Falls..."
For Anderson himself the chapel homilies were expressions of the "editorial function," and were ordinarily impromptu, suggested by a Scriptural passage or a current event that ignited a flame in his mind. "I do not preserve these talks," the President recounted. "They are sometimes the products of my walks to college and sometimes of my thought of two or three days at odd moments. I speak them, and that is the last of them."
The chapel talks, presented twice a week, usually lasted less than a quarter hour, seldom as long as twenty minutes, and ranged across the whole gamut of human experience -- theological issues, moral exhortations, the claims of personal religion, the social obligations of the educated man, or aspects of the contemporary scene, like American railway monopolies, "communism" in the Russia of the tsars, the tangled Near Eastern question, or the values of the Suez Canal. "All is fish that comes to the Doctor's net," a professor slyly observed.
"No man ever made... advancement in culture who did not early in life learn to save the minutes," a representative excerpt from an Anderson chapel message reads. "Benjamin Franklin said, 'Time is money. ' To you time is more than money. It is mental culture; it is reputation; it is power over men; it is success." On the intriguing subject of sin, he told the student body, "A great deal of trouble has arisen from the use of the words original sin. It is true that children inherit evil tendencies from their parents, but such sin, if any, is not theirs. We all come into this world relatively to moral responsibility and personal sin just as Adam did. We are not responsible for our tendencies, and I think God, in charging us with our sins, discounts whatever is due to inherited tendencies and inherited appetites.
Not every professional religionist elicited the applause of Anderson. "I have seen theologians," he related, "who talk as if they stood right behind the Almighty when he created the world.... These gentlemen know too much. The ratio of the known to the unknown is as one to infinity.... Gentlemen, a good subject for a review article when you get a little older would be the need of scientific modesty, theological modesty, philological modesty." Speaking about the recently deceased vice-president of the United States, Henry Wilson, Anderson remarked that he was a person "who illustrated in his successful life the power of steady, intelligent, and persevering effort, in a man of fair ability." He extolled Wilson as a self-made individual, as indeed were all men who were made at all, and he went on to stress the power of will to overcome adverse circumstances and the strength of character achieved only through conquest of obstacles. "In our free democratic society," he exhorted, "...men of nerve, of pluck, of talent will rise eventually, while the feeble, the weak, the imbecile will go down, and no prop of wealth or birth or station can long keep them up. You [undergraduates] are struggling against adverse circumstances, who don't know how your next board bill is to be met, hold on. Hold on! You will succeed.... There is no way of becoming a man but by fighting, fighting adversity, conquering difficulty, achieving success against odds."
This "old-time college President" peppered little talks to students with sayings like, "Whatever you do, bring things to pass;" "Aim not to be great and distinguished, but to be useful;" "Live earnestly, truthfully, courageously, intensely. Put your whole mind and soul into everything you do;" "Be alive, young men. One cannot create a soul under the ribs of death;" "You are here to have your noses held to the grindstone, and I am here to do it." If these snatches of practical philosophy and admonition savored of Samuel Smiles or Horatio Alger, the Anderson custom of commenting on contemporary affairs caught national attention and was cited "as an eminent illustration" of a practice that would be "an agency for good" if applied in colleges all across the Republic. 25
Classroom teaching and chapel ministrations by no means exhausted the zeal of Anderson in the process of education. Undergraduates talked with him in personal interviews or accompanied him on walks, picking up snippets of advice and straightening out their thinking. His meditations had an outlet, too, in occasional formal preaching, as on the annual day of prayer for colleges, which undergraduate auditors with retentive memories vividly recalled half a century later. The second best claim of Anderson to the remembrance of succeeding generations lay in his achievement as a moral mentor and intellectual guide of students. Before his death and after, alumni, manifested their gratitude and esteem by collecting funds to provide for the President on retirement and to raise a noble statue of him.
So absorbed was Anderson with financial concerns and administrative and teaching chores that he wrote relatively little and never ripened into a scholar in any technical sense. Though he understood the overriding importance of living languages as tools of investigation and studied German assiduously, his knowledge of foreign tongues was less than adequate. Hints were thrown out that he had no ambitions to achievement in authentic scholarship. "I used to feel that I had been sinfully careless regarding [my] reputation as a scholar," he wrote to his wife, "I have scattered my ideas and attainments broadcast... I have never saved my results or hoarded them. You know... how much of my moral and intellectual impulse I have given away. All this has cost me life and strength."
In the last decade of his presidency, representatives of the University alumni begged Anderson to take a year off to write and the Board of Trustees voted him a leave of absence and financial assistance to compose a book "containing his best thoughts on education," but nothing came of it. "The idea of leaving my work and devoting myself to manufacturing books is to my mind sheer nonsense," he wryly remarked; maybe after he laid down the cares and toil of office, he might prepare a book.
Yet the untiring activity of his mind produced articles for periodicals, some of them tantalizingly abstruse, reviews, general addresses that were published, and contributions to Johnson's Cyclopedia, of which he was a subsidiary editor, notably a specialist article on Engraving and others on Ethnology, Philosophy, and the history of the Baptist denomination. Several lecture courses that he presented to undergraduates on philosophy and psychology were printed and circulated and he gave series of lectures at Cincinnati --"The Relation of Ethics to Jurisprudence," to the divinity students at Boston University on scientific method, and on "Ethical Science" at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. More than one American scholar of renown paid tribute to Anderson for suggesting lines of research and writing, and it is claimed that the President inspired George P. Marsh to write Man and Nature (1864), which is regarded as the most important book on geography by a nineteenth century American and as the inspiration of the conservation movement. 26
For his contributions to the literature of economics, Anderson was elected (1872) to honorary membership in the Cobden Club of London--which issued economic tracts for the times, on free trade especially--at the same session as the ex-president of Yale, Theodore D. Woolsey, and Missouri Senator Carl Schurz were chosen members. Academic honors were bestowed upon him; the doctorate of laws by his Alma Mater and twice by the Regents of the State of New York; to relieve the monotony, Columbia awarded him a doctorate in literature, conferred simultaneously with the same degree to Andrew D. White, president of Cornell University; after a false start, Union College inducted Anderson into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He was the preferred candidate of White as first chief executive of Cornell University and he received invitations at one time and another to undertake the presidency of the universities of Cincinnati, Brown, Union, and Michigan, with the promise of a higher salary, and he was spoken of for the headship of Vassar College, of the College of New York, of the original University of Chicago and of Harvard, but he could not be tempted away. According to an alumnus, Anderson told him that the legislature of New York proposed to make him the executive head of the state educational system at a large salary and with the privilege of drafting the bill under which the system should operate. 27
A founding father and lifelong member of the "Club," or Pundit Club of Rochester, made up of community celebrities (University professors among them) who met periodically to dine sumptuously and discuss papers by members, Anderson presented to the society at least thirty-seven essays. Not only are these contributions further evidence of the intellectual versatility of the man, but they furnish additional insights on his qualities and his limitations. Subjects ranged over the unity of the human race, ethnology, Jewish and Protestant revisions of the Bible, pauperism, and, of course, the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton.
Aside from the Pundits (and he found repetitious themes for papers by some of the members very boring), Anderson in the last phase of his tenure at Rochester seems to have confined his social relations exclusively to fellow Baptists -- which damaged the image of the University in the community. Worshipping at the Second Baptist Church, he held tenaciously to transmitted notions on theology; it was said of him that his "convictions were definite not narrow, positive but not bigoted." As in his youth, Anderson at Rochester gloried in the role the Baptist denomination had played in western civilization, was still playing, and he was pleased to be known as a dyed-in-the-wool communicant of that faith. "We started the idea of liberty," he exclaimed --inaccurately-- to a company of co-religionists. "We started the idea of the separation of the Church and the State.... When I was a little boy, my mother used to take me by the hand," he recalled, "and lead me across a pasture--a two mile walk--to a Baptist Church, unable to maintain a minister, where sermons were read, and the forms of worship maintained. Thus I received my education in the principles which we hold..."
Homelife in the Anderson household, which sometimes included an undergraduate for an academic term or longer and in which the President's father lived out his last years, may be described as comfortable, idyllic, though not at all affluent. The President intensely enjoyed good conversation and good dinners, and he rejoiced when, while the Civil War raged, a benevolent trustee gave him "12 bottles of old brandy bottled in 1840 and 12 bottles of old Bourbon whiskey." Fond of art and interested in music, though not in the theater, seemingly, it may be wondered whether the Andersons ever had much plain, unadulterated fun; humor had little standing in the catalogue of virtues of this austere son of Maine, but he did remark after an unsuccessful fishing trip that he "caught nothing but a burnt skin. "
From a house in the central section of Rochester, the Anderson family moved in 1868 to a residence, surrounded by ample acreage, close to the University campus--at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Prince Street. For a time at any rate, the household budget exceeded the presidential salary and had to be balanced by private income. Whatever property the Andersons owned--land in Iowa at one point--was bequeathed, along with the President's remarkably well-stocked library, to the University. 28
Apart from occasional lecture missions, fund-raising errands, and summer holidays in his native Maine, Anderson's travels were restricted to a Rocky Mountain trip where he rode "astride a Texas mustang," a couple visits to Canada, and a single journey to Europe. Upon returning from the, excursion to the West, the President characteristically gave the undergraduates an intimate, factual description of the thriving cattle and sheep economy and of mining operations.
Worn down and mentally depressed by national and University ordeals, Anderson obtained a leave of absence in 1863, and, with borrowed money, he and his wife went abroad, rested, lived quietly, visiting "the seats of buried empires" and famous galleries of art. In Italian cities, he was mistaken time after time for the current popular idol of native patriots, Giuseppe Garibaldi, whom he in truth distinctly resembled. He acquired a variety of materials for illustrative purposes in instruction on art, famous books on the fine arts for the library, and lamented that money was not available to buy Etruscan antiquities and other artistic treasures to stack a university museum. Even when he was sojourning in the heart of faraway Italy, the parlous situation of the U. of R. provoked nagging worries; but he resolved to reform and to focus attention more on the present and less on the future. He returned to his Rochester duties refreshed in body, mind, and spirit. 29
Reserving for later consideration the activities of the man from Maine during the Civil War, his other public work and his ideas as a citizen merit summary treatment. Addresses for public consumption, which Anderson was often called upon to make, were invariably loaded with historical allusions and studded with terms to which he was partial, like "power" "Christian Law," "imperial," and "moral character."
In 1869, on the centennial of the birth of Baron Friedrich H. A. von Humboldt, which was celebrated with equal enthusiasm in Europe and America, the President delivered a brilliant: address to a Rochester audience on this German man of learning whom he properly called "a great mind, comprehensive and architectonic," "the Aristotle of modern physical science"--who had discovered far-reaching laws and set out vast and exciting generalizations in his famous Kosmos, especially. Geologist and botanist, von Humboldt it may be interpolated, had undertaken a prolonged and fruitful scientific expedition to Latin America and a less rewarding excursion across the empire of the tsars, all of which he incorporated in encyclopedic volumes.
After sketching the amazing career and important writings of the scientist, Anderson in his address attributed the genius of von Humboldt to the breadth and exactness of his investigations, his exceptional familiarity with languages, and the veritable mountain of knowledge that he accumulated. One passage in the discourse was a standard refrain in tributes by the President to eminent thinkers and authors. "While the kings, nobles, and statesmen with whom Humboldt was contemporary are... forgotten, his memory is as, green as the mountain pine and his reputation as solid as the Alps..." He finished the speech with a felicitous paragraph of praise to the Germans (he was a warm admirer of Prince Otto von Bismarck, the principal architect of the united German empire) and their contributions to the corpus of western civilization. The von Humboldt address alone should shatter the oft -repeated myth that Anderson cherished an inner and uncompromising aversion to the physical sciences.
In a kindred vein, the President spoke (1872) at a commemorative meeting in Rochester for Professor S. F. B. Morse, inventor of the electric telegraph, lauded him and the business enterprisers, such as Hiram Sibley of Rochester, who had built American telegraphic networks. He made the point that scientific worthies were often professors, and plaintively inquired of the audience, "Have not science and learning some claims upon the colossal fortunes which their votaries have made possible?"
In young manhood, Anderson displayed an active and practical interest in current politics and in maturity he was inclined to support policies espoused by the Republican Party--though not all of them. Infrequently, he sought to advance the political fortunes of friends, and he boldly tendered advice to President Ulysses S. Grant on how reconstruction in the South should be carried out. Anderson outlined his personal political creed this way, "... I am not considered a very good party man... Some folks might call me a 'trimmer'.... I have nothing whatever to do with the political relations of my students. I give them principles; the application of those principles they must make for themselves," an approach for teachers of plastic youth possessing everlasting validity. It has been said, whether reliably or otherwise, that Rochester admirers urged Anderson to seek election as a Congressman with the prospect of advancement to the United States Senate in due course; it was suggested, too, that he make a bid for the office of Governor of New York. 30
Several of the more memorable public utterances of Anderson spelled out his understanding of economics, a social discipline that he believed should be given a greater attention in college curricula. From his angle of vision, "economic science is but an application of the Ten Commandments," or "a demonstration in material facts of the precepts of morality." Among authorities on economic doctrine, he awarded highest honors to Adam Smith, who "by his speculations on the wealth of nations wrought a vaster and more beneficial result than the statesmen of his age, prolific as was that age in great men..." In Anderson's listing of the foremost benefactors of social progress, the distinguished Scottish economist ranked with Hugo Grotius, the so-called father of international law, and Jeremy Bentham, British philosopher of "utilitarianism" and popularizer of the concept of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number."
As an orthodox disciple of Smith, Anderson championed the principle of free trade, broadly interpreted, calling for the abolition of barriers to unfettered, legitimate action in commerce or in thought. He condemned high tariffs as taxes on the many for the pecuniary advantage of the few, as gross unfairness to foreign nations, and as no more defensible than the imposition of a religious creed by a government. Equally, he opposed giving silver a ratio of equality with gold in the national currency in order to appease selfish American silver interests and debtors. In the midst of a business recession in 1873, the President defined the dismal calamity and comparable financial upheavals in the past as "so many distinct illustrations of the retributive justice of God."
On the subject of private ownership of property, the "old-time college" President asserted, "Christianity guarantees ... the right of property and a right of inheritance," yet he added that wealth laid distinct social obligations upon the affluent; this latter theme, indeed, recurred repeatedly in addresses devoted to political economy. "With the Christian," reads a typical utterance, "wealth is mainly to be valued as the evidence of industry and self-denial on the part of its possessor, and as a means of elevating, purifying, and saving men." Speaking thus, and bedeviled as he was by the straitened finances of the University, he did not neglect to proclaim that "the most productive field for Christian benevolence is education...."
It is no surprise that this strongly individualistic follower of Adam Smith wished the role of government in the economic sphere narrowly restricted. In his own language, "The main function of the state is to prevent all abnormal interferences with free exchanges of all forms of capital and labor." Nor is it out of character that Anderson viewed with alarm the specter of Socialism haunting Europe and casting "its grim shadow over the civilized world;" he ascribed that menacing phenomenon to the lack of an "educated conscience." In correspondence with John D. Rockefeller, Anderson deplored legislative proposals to combat concentration of financial power; to his mind laws of that nature would impair property rights and introduce "paternalism... and its counterpart, the socialistic tendency, which is at bottom identical with it. Right here," he observed, "we find the great moral and political problem of the future." 31
For thirteen years, Anderson served on the New York State Board of Charities, which had jurisdiction over alms-houses, asylums for the demented, and lesser charitable establishments. In that capacity he on such subjects compiled revealing and elaborate reports on such subjects as "The Education of Deaf Mutes," and "Means of Relief from Paupers." Afraid that a tidal wave of impoverished Europeans, among them dangerous French Communists and Russian "Nihilists who have reduced murder to an industrial art," would sweep into the New World, Anderson advocated that American consuls abroad should debar indigents from sailing to the United States and that poor immigrants should be shipped back to their homelands. Public relief to families in dire need, he believed, should be strictly temporary and administered so as to "avoid encouragement of improvidence and idleness;" as he read the historical record, government projects to create jobs for the unemployed were as unwise as they were futile.
Participation in the Board of Charities brought Anderson into touch with William P. Letchworth, best known as the donor of a splendid Upstate park, who became an ardent admirer of the Rochester executive. The President also shared in a state commission that laid out the Niagara Falls Reservation, and had a place on several important Rochester boards, like the trustee body of the Reynolds Library, nearly every benevolent and philanthropic undertaking in the community solicited his advice and support. Fellow Baptists reciprocated his denominational pride and loyalty by repeatedly choosing him to preside over their national home and foreign missionary societies and he exercised a commanding influence in Baptist counsels generally. 32
If the rule of mandatory retirement at the age of sixty-five, which came into vogue in the twentieth century, had been fashionable in the era of Anderson, the absolute moment of truth for him would have arrived in 1880. In any case, it would have been prudent on his part to have withdrawn from the academic stage at that point or even earlier, as he more than once thought of doing. If his intellectual zest still remained sharp, physical infirmities had seriously impaired his stamina and interfered with constructive exercise of the presidential office. During the final decade as chief executive he grew increasingly pallid in complexion and thin in body, and he was afflicted with rheumatism of the hip, which brought on chronic and incurable lameness; for years he never took a step without pain.
Beyond that, Anderson was out of harmony with fresh winds that were blowing through the atmosphere of American higher education. Novelties that were faintly discernible on the academic horizon, such as the publish-or-perish syndrome and multi-disciplinary inquiry, lay almost beyond his ken, but more important, he clung to essentially traditionalist posture with regard to the elective scheme of college studies, yielding to the principle only to a very limited extent and solely for the last years of the undergraduate curriculum. Apart from the greater expense involved, Anderson contended that "callow striplings" lacked competence to select classes wisely, and that many undergraduates under an elective regime would be tempted to choose studies that were easy for them.
Time and again, the President expressed keen disappointment that the achievements of the University had fallen short of his expectations, partly because financial promises and pledges had never been integrally fulfilled. "O, how I have suffered and worked and prayed for that institution," he cried to his wife in an agonized hour of depression; indulging in prophecy, which the event proved inaccurate, Anderson declared: "My bones are being ground up to make cement for these hidden foundation walls, on which others may build, but which all men will forget to examine." When in 1875 he brushed aside a proposal that he become head of the first Chicago University, the President wrote, "In comparison with my early hopes, the work actually done seems to me to be barely an escape from failure. No one of my ideas is fully realized, and I see the work for another lifetime rising up before me.... In a short time a younger and stronger man will be needed to carry forward the work which I have so imperfectly (as it appears to me) begun."
At long last on March 15, 1888, Anderson informed the Board of Trustees that he would presently relinquish the grueling cares of office, citing age and physical handicaps as the reasons. Though a successor was promptly elected, the man from Maine, under circumstances to be related later, actually wore the presidential toga deep into 1889.
For an epilogue on the administration of Anderson, an eloquent passage in a lecture he gave to a Baptist society (1882) possesses singular appropriateness. "Men pass away, but institutions, when they incarnate great moral and religious truths, are as enduring as society. The founders of such institutions die and their unfinished work is handed over to their successors. But their labor, their sacrifices, their purposes and ideas, their fears and their hopes are consecrated by the passing years, and constructed into sacred epics, which live in the memory, control the thought, and inspire the activity of those whom the providence of God calls to enter upon the blessed inheritance which these founders leave behind them." 33
Footnotes to Chapter 5
- Not surprisingly, the literature on Anderson is voluminous. The most important and informative works are DAB, 1 (1928), 269; Joseph Ricker, Personal Recollections (Augusta, Maine, 1894), pp. 296-313; Asahel C. Kendrick, Martin B. Anderson (Philadelphia, 1895), which rather faithfully conforms to Edmund Gosse's conception of a biography as "the faithful portrait of a soul in its adventures through life, " and is more a preliminary work of esteem than a comprehensive and objective study. An octogenarian at the time of writing, Kendrick personally contributed relatively little to the book, the main burden falling upon his daughter, Florence Kendrick Cooper, who keenly regretted, first, that the writing was done while she was constantly worried by the declining physical powers of her father and, second, that the book "should with innumerable imperfections, have to pass as his work." [Florence K. Cooper to Rush Rhees, November 24, 1907. Rhees Papers.] A third of the biography consists of "A Personal Portraiture," painted by seven hands all but one of them U. of R. students during the Anderson era; the sole exception had been the President's pastor in Rochester. Anderson's intention to compose an autobiography never came to fruition, but a rich selection of the writings of this many-sided man was published under the editorship of William C. Morey, Papers and Addresses of Martin B. Anderson [hereafter cited as Papers... ] (2 volumes, Philadelphia, 1895). Materials in this work are arranged in five categories: Education, illustrating the views of Anderson on higher learning and its relations to church and state; Addresses to graduating classes; Religion, exhibiting the President's thought on world evangelism, the impact of scientific discoveries and theories upon theology, and secular applications of Christian principles; Philosophical discourses; and a mixed bag of papers in the nature of memorial addresses or speeches on current public issues. Frederick T. Gates, 1877, Autobiography in manuscript form, pp. 128,130. This extremely useful source of information was made available to the present writer by Mr. and Mrs. Leverett F. Hooper, Essex Fells, New Jersey; Mrs. Hooper is the daughter of Gates. Mrs. Bernard K. Crawford (Beatrice Corn Crawford), 1941, of Montclair, New Jersey located the Hooper family for me. Henry C. Vedder, 1873, "Martin Brewer Anderson," Baptist Quarterly Review, XII (1890), 206-227. A sketch of Anderson prepared by Professor Joseph H. Gilmore who knew him long, and intimately has, alas, vanished. (Rush Rhees to J. H. Gilmore, January 7, 1915. Rhees Papers.)
- Smith Sheldon to W. N. Sage, March 9, 1853; Robert Kelly to ibid., June 2, 1853. Sage Papers. Velona R. Hotchkiss to M. B. Anderson, April 18, 1853. Anderson Papers, Box II.
- Robert Kelly to W. N. Sage, Feb. 19, 1853. Sage Papers. Smith Sheldon to A. C. Kendrick, July 9, 1852; W. N. Sage to ibid., May 19, 1853. Kendrick Papers.
- Robert Kelly to W. N. Sage, July 30, 1852. Sage Papers. Smith Sheldon to A. C. Kendrick, July 9, 1852; W. N. Sage to ibid., May 19, 1853. Kendrick Papers. Trustee Records, I, July 14, 1852.
- Robert Kelly to A. C. Kendrick, Nov. 27, 1852, J. F. Richardson to ibid., Apr. 10, 1853, Kendrick Papers. Robert Kelly to W.N. Sage, Feb. 7, 1853. Sage Papers. Trustee Records, I, April 5, 1853, 52-54. Trustee Committee to M. B. Anderson, June 15, 1853, Rhees Library Archives.
- M. B. Anderson to E.G. Robinson, probably June, 1853. Anderson Papers, Box XII.
- M. B. Anderson to Trustee Committee, July 1, 1853. Rhees Library Archives. Ibid. to W. N. Sage, July 2, 1853. Sage Papers. Sage to Anderson, July 9, 1853; Anderson to his wife, undated. Anderson Papers, Boxes, VII, VI. R DD, July 16, 1853. J. H. Raymond to George R. Bliss, July 22, 1853, Lloyd, op. cit., p. 301.
- Press clippings, July, 1854. Sage Scrapbook, 5. Morey, Papers... , I, 3-50. Cf. Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 125-127.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 91-107, M. B. Anderson to [?] July 22, 1853. Anderson papers, Box XII.
- George W. Northrup and M. B. Anderson, Deacon Oren Sage (Rochester, 1866), p. 37. M. B. Anderson to J. N. Wilder, March [?] 1850. Sage Papers. R DD, June 7, 1850; New York Recorder, Oct. 16, 23, 1850.
- M. B. Anderson to J. N. Wilder, Aug. 8, 27, 1851. Rhees Library Archives. R DD, Dec. 23, 1851.
- New York Recorder, July 20, 30, Aug. 3, 1853.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 37-51. M.B. Anderson to his parents, September 22, 1836 [?] Anderson Papers, Box VII. Some of the letters reproduced in the Kendrick biography have disappeared. Edwin C. Whittemore, Colby College, 1820-1925 (Waterville, 1927), preface and pp. 1-30. Ernest C. Marriner, The History of Colby College (Waterville, 1963), passim.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 56-88. M. B. Anderson to his parents, Feb. 26, 1841. Anderson Papers, Box VII. The Christian Reflector, July 30, Aug. 13, 1846. Francis Wayland and H. L. Wayland, op. cit., II, 168.
- M. B. Anderson to E. W. Hall [?], Apr. 30, 1887. "Colby and Rochester," a six-page article, with no indication of the author or the date of writing, but at some time in the 1930's. Anderson Papers, Colby College.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 16-29. M.B. Anderson to his father, December 3, 1868. Anderson Papers, Box VII. G. F. Magoun, "An Eminent Son of Maine, " The Advocate, April 9, 1890.
- Kendrick, op. cit., p. 208. John R. Howard, 1857, Remembrance of Things Past (New York, 1925), p. 19.
- Ricker, op. cit., pp. 307-308.
- James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (2 volumes, New York, 1888), II, 532.
- Kendrick, op. cit., p. 124. Faculty Minutes, February 28, 1890. M.B. Anderson to his wife, December 29, 1871. Anderson Papers, Box VI. William C. Morey, "The U. of R. in its Relation to the Educational Movement of the Last Fifty Years," Addresses at the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the Founding of Rochester (Rochester, 1901). President's Annual Report to the Board of Trustees (hereafter cited as President's Report), 1879, 1883. Anderson Papers, Box XIII.
- Kendrick, op. cit. , pp. 125, 179. Morey, Papers... 1, 86, 102-118; John C. Ransom, 1879, "Reminiscences Plus Confidence," RAR, XIV (1936), no. 3, 59. University Record, November, 1873. Charles W. Eliot to M. B. Anderson, March 1, 1877. Anderson Papers, Box V.
- Morey, Papers...I, 87-101, 80-81. Rosenberger, Rochester, pp. 101-103. University Record, March, 1874, 213-214. M. B. Anderson to Matthew Vassar, Jan. 29, 1859. Anderson Papers, Box XII. M. B. Anderson to Samson, May 4, 1881. Ibid.
- M. B. Anderson to Samson, May 4, 1881. Anderson Papers, Box XII. Anderson to B. Wilder, May 10, 1878. Ibid. Anderson to Caldwell, Oct. 2, 1878. Ibid. Rosenberger, Rochester, p. 196.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 163-169. M. B. Anderson, "Sir William Hamilton Lectures," The Christian Review, January 1860, reprinted in Morey, Papers..., II, 74-98. See, also, Ibid. , I, 212, 215, M. B. Anderson to Elias H. Johnson, January 17, 1876. Anderson Papers, Box XII. M.B. Anderson to John D. Rockefeller, January 8, 1884, and Rockefeller to Anderson, January 24, 1884. Ibid., Box 5. Anderson to Rockefeller, January 28, 1884. Ibid., Box XII. Henry C. Vedder, 1873, "Dr. Anderson as Teacher," The Examiner, July 9, 1888. John Quincy Adams, 1874, "Intimate Picture of the Early Faculty," RAR, VII (1928), no. 1, 9-11.
- Frederick T. Gates, 1877, Autobiography, Chapter XIV, p. 161. In letters to his father, Gates carefully retailed Anderson's utterances, without claiming verbatim accuracy for what he set down. So highly did Gates value the impact of the man from Maine upon his life that he wanted his children to read the chapter on the President if they read nothing else in his elaborate reminiscences. John W. Eaton, Jr., The Report of the [United States] Commissioner of Education... 1872 (Washington, 1873), XLVII-XLVIII. President's Report, 1880. Anderson Papers, Box XIII.
- M. B. Anderson to his wife, April 14, 1869. Anderson Papers, Box VI. A. J. Johnson to Anderson, February 17, 1873. Ibid., Box X. Morey, Papers..., I, vii; II, 99-126, 127-176. Trustee Records, II (1882), 137. Kendrick, op. cit., p. 239. "Martin B. Anderson," The Examiner, March 20, 1884. David Lowenthal, George Perkins Marsh (New York, 1958), gives no indication that Anderson influenced Marsh.
- Duane Mowry, "Echoes from the Past," RAR, I (1922), no. 1, 10. Augustin S. Carman, 1882, "The Perspective of Fifty Years," ibid., X (1932), no. 4, 99. Martin B. Anderson to his wife, April 30, 1860. Anderson Papers, Box VI. Manton Marble 1855 to M.B. Anderson, March 16, 1869. ibid., Box IV, no. 2.
- An inventory of the library may be found in Anderson Papers, Box XIII.
- URLB, XX (1965), pp. 19 -20. RHSP, II (1923), 108-109. E. H. Johnson to David J. Hill, June 22, 1888. Hill Papers, Rhees Library Archives. Morey, Papers ..., I, 259-261. M.B. Anderson to his wife, July 1, 1864. Anderson Papers, Box VI. M.B. Anderson to his father, September 3, 1872. Ibid., Box VII. R D&A, September 28, 1872. Rosenberger, Rochester, pp. 149-165.
- Morey, Papers..., II, 203-213, 215-219. R U&A., Sept. 14, 1869, Apr. 19, 1872, Rosenberger, Rochester, pp.164-167. W. J. Kelly to Edward Bright, May 29,1879. Anderson Papers, Box V. M.B. Anderson to Thurlow Weed, Feb. 8, 1861. Weed Papers, Rhees Library Archives. Augustine S. Carman, 1882, op. cit.
- Morey, Papers..., I, 217-236, II, 258-269, 270-278. R U&A, Nov. 14, 1879. M. B. Anderson to John D. Rockefeller, Jan. 28, 1884. Anderson Papers, Box XII.
- Morey, Papers..., I, 265-285, II, 220-257. Charles M. Dow, The State Reservation at Niagara (Albany, 1914), pp. 24, 178. M. B. Anderson to his wife, May 21, 1864, Nov. 3, 1886. Anderson Papers, Box VI. Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 158-160, 178.
- Kendrick, op. cit., pp. 180-185, 213. M. B. Anderson to his wife, Dec. 29, 1871. M. B. Anderson to his wife, Dec. 29, 1871. Anderson Papers, Box VI. Duane Mowry, op. cit. Morey, Papers..., I, 265.