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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XXIII. Education

§ 45. Great College Presidents

The middle decades of the century were characterized by the prominence of a few influential college presidents whose personality dominated the period and whose writings and official reports gave character to the literature relating to higher education. Among these were Eliphalet Nott (1804–66) of Union, Francis Wayland (1827–55) of Brown, Mark Hopkins (1836–72) of Williams, Frederick A. P. Barnard (1864–89) of Columbia. Nott for more than half a century gave his impress to the independent non-sectarian type of institution; Wayland directed the transformation of a small denominational college into an institution with broad outlook, efficiently serving the whole community; Hopkins represents the entire conception of collegiate education as the moulding of the character of youth, as witnessed by the proverbial collegiate log with Hopkins at one end and the future President, Garfield, at the other; Barnard first caught the vision of the future university, growing out of the traditional college, and led the way to the threshold of a new day. Whether the curriculum should be reformed by the introduction of modern subjects; whether there should be a choice of these, when introduced, to the exclusion of the traditional classics; whether technical subjects, preparatory to the new professions of engineering, medicine, industry, and business should find a place—these became the subjects of continued discussion. The sectarian and hortatory discussions which prevailed before the Civil War gave way rather definitely after that conflict to such as these.