Light on the hill: A history of Tufts College, 1852-1952

Miller, Russell


Operating a school such as Fletcher, with its interlocking and intricate relationships with both Harvard and Tufts, was no simple matter. Misunderstandings, conflicts of interest (and personalities), and embarrassments of one sort or another over both details of administration and larger matters could have been quite accurately predicted. Unfortunately they also came to pass.

The establishment of a working relationship between the Tufts and Fletcher libraries was one of the most important matters of concern. President Cousens had firm ideas on the subject. He insisted that the College librarian "should take responsibility as head of the library organization of the college for all departmental libraries." This was not only "good organization but the only one which could be adopted." He considered the newly acquired library of the World Peace Foundation "an integral part of the library of Tufts College." This inevitably created practical problems of administration, particularly as Research Librarian Myers found himself in a position subordinate to the dean of the Fletcher School and the librarian of the College as well as to President Cousens. Nonetheless, Cousens was "confident that any difficulties which may be inherent in the situation" could be satisfactorily overcome. The problem of the geographical separation of the College and Fletcher libraries became apparent immediately. Cousens had reluctantly been forced by financial considerations to abandon a proposal made in 1930 by Professor Ruhl J. Bartlett to construct an addition to Eaton Library to house the


Foundation library and make accessible to Fletcher students the standard reference works already available in the College library. Such an arrangement would have provided maximum convenience and would have obviated the need for the purchase of expensive duplicate materials for Fletcher students.

Raymond Walkley, the College librarian, did his best to work within the framework on which the president insisted. An initially workable division of expenditures was arranged whereby the World Peace Foundation continued the subscription of periodicals needed for the school, and the Fletcher School purchased new books. It was hoped that the Fletcher library would "also prove useful to students here at Tufts College in advanced courses which may lead to work in the Fletcher School after they complete their undergraduate work." In order to concentrate in one building the books needed by Fletcher students, the College librarian arranged to transfer "several hundred" volumes to Goddard Hall as a loan from Eaton Library.

The Fletcher library was designated the Edwin Ginn Library in 1933 in honor of the Tufts alumnus who had founded the prominent educational publishing house bearing his name; he had also donated $1,000,000 to found the World Peace Foundation in 1910. A year's experience with the library required some readjustments of original plans. Because it was primarily a research collection intended for graduate students, it was anticipated that the use of the Ginn Library by Tufts students would "be confined principally to graduate work or work of graduate character."[35]  Tufts graduate students were required to obtain special permission cards through their department chairmen, subject to the approval of the Fletcher librarian. Undergraduates were allowed to use the reading room "individually for approved, specific purposes." To avoid unnecessary duplication of material as between the Fletcher and Tufts libraries, book orders for the first few years were "executed in principle through the Librarian of the College." There was also a constant lending of books back and forth - a device which saved considerable money but which also resulted in considerable inconvenience. It was no small task to transform the Foundation library from a private institutional collection into an integrated


academic library; it took years to accomplish. The Ginn Library at first consisted "overwhelmingly" of the World Peace Foundation collection, but Fletcher funds were used to build up gradually the books needed for course work. Initially, some friction occurred at the administrative level over library relationships. The research librarian had to be called to task in one instance for requesting a library grant of $5,000 directly from the Carnegie Corporation, bypassing all of the authorities responsible for the Fletcher School. The dean of the school was similarly forcefully reminded "that the Fletcher School library and the Eaton Library will, of necessity, be built up together." Therefore, "except in rare instances," purchases for Eaton Library were not to be duplicated in the Ginn Library. One of the reasons for channeling all book orders for both libraries across the Eaton librarian's desk was to make sure that the books desired were not already available. The overlapping of the two libraries was to be a perennial source of discussion, particularly as Dean Hoskins' understanding was that materials to build up the teaching collection should usually be obtained through the order department of the World Peace Foundation rather than through the Tufts Library.

The personnel problems of the Fletcher School continued to be a source of difficulty after the school was opened. One of the penalties paid for depending on part-time faculty was a constant turnover of teachers from year to year. When the school opened for its second year (1934-35), there were five new appointments, all from the Harvard faculty: William Y. Elliott, Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, who was also the chairman of the Department of Government at Harvard; Josef A. Schumpeter, Professor of International Economics; Philip W. Thayer, Professor of Public and International Law; John H. Williams, Professor of International Economic Relations; and Professor Richard V. Gilbert, who replaced Professor Lauchlin B. Currie. Professors Holcombe and Langer were not on the Fletcher staff that year, and in the following year three more changes were made. This became an all-too-typical situation in subsequent years. Virtually every appointment involving Harvard faculty required prolonged negotiation between Presidents Cousens and Conant and did not always result in complete harmony. The Fletcher School was able to


obtain in 1936-37 the part-time services of Dr. Hajo Holborn, who was Visiting Professor at Yale.[36]  Simultaneously, it lost Professor Manley O. Hudson, who had been elected by the League of Nations to a judgeship on the Permanent Court of International Justice.[37]  Professor Julius Stone returned to Cambridge University. No person was more aware than Dean Hoskins of the drawbacks inherent in a system of part-time staffing, for he was himself required for the first year of his administration to split his responsibilities between the Fletcher School and the Tufts Department of History.[38]  Even those of the Harvard faculty who were involved in and enthusiastic about the Fletcher program had their major academic commitments elsewhere. Consequently, they could contribute little more than classtime instruction. Hoskins considered the nucleus of a full-time faculty an absolute necessity as soon as possible - men who could "identify themselves completely with the School and share some of the duties of administration and student guidance." A beginning was made in recruiting a full-time resident faculty when Dr. Norman J. Padelford was appointed in 1936-37 as Professor of International Law and Organization.

President Cousens never succeeded in staffing the Fletcher School with the full-time faculty that everyone agreed was necessary. He summarized the dilemma in one sentence: "The kind of man whom we want as a full-time teacher in the Fletcher School is very hard to find and very difficult to finance after he is found." Even the minimum goal of only two full-time faculty members was impossible to achieve during Cousens' lifetime. The fields of international economics and diplomatic history seemed to be in most urgent need of strengthening. An effort was made in the summer of 1934 to obtain the services of a prominent young


Canadian scholar from Toronto, but he slipped through Cousens' fingers even after a contract had been signed with the Trustees. The Canadian government found it necessary to employ the young man. This turn of events greatly perturbed Cousens. He was confident that the school could "find men of reputation who have reached such an age that a comfortable berth in the Fletcher School at a good salary appears attractive." But men on the verge of retirement were not what was wanted. The ideal faculty were those in their middle years who had become recognized scholars and were of the highest caliber; but they were beyond the financial capabilities of the school. The remaining alternative was to select "young men of promise with the hope that their reputations may grow with the school." But this policy created its own disadvantages, for it was in its early years that the school most needed the faculty of highest stature.

Separate housing for Fletcher students had become imperative by 1935-36. Twenty Fletcher men in the fall of 1935 were residing in rooms designed for and sorely needed by undergraduates. In spite of his "high hopes to the contrary," Cousens found that the undergraduates and Fletcher students were like oil and water- they "will not mix." The answer to the problem was the purchase in 1936 of the so-called Bruce House opposite the western end of the campus and only a short walk from Goddard Hall.[39]  Enlargement of the house by using adjoining property acquired by the College was authorized in 1937, and a wing was added that year. This first Fletcher dormitory was named the George Grafton Wilson House the same year, on the recommendation of Dean Hoskins. The relatively small number of women then enrolled in the school did not yet seem to warrant an additional building. They made what private arrangements they could until the fall of 1937, when quarters for six students were provided near the school. In 1939 a house for women students was obtained adjacent to Wilson House and was named Blakeslee House in honor of another of the original members of the Fletcher faculty.

Before the Fletcher School had been open three months, the problem of insufficient funds for fellowships and scholarships arose.


Many of the students enrolled in the first year soon expressed their intention of continuing for the doctorate and needed continued financial assistance. Funds available for such purposes amounted to only $5,000. Cousens considered the total necessary for 1934-35 to be twice that figure and, because there was no money available, asked his friend Frederick C. Hodgdon to try to obtain a grant of at least $5,000 from the Carnegie Foundation. His efforts were fruitless. Cousens and Hoskins were fully aware that "large funds" were being established in the best universities for student assistance and that the keen competition for students of high caliber would increase rather than decrease. It was therefore incumbent upon the Fletcher School to make a relatively large outlay in this area. This policy was carried out in 1934-35, even though outside assistance was not forthcoming. Nine students were awarded scholarships equal to tuition, and fourteen others were awarded fellowship grants ranging from $500 to $1,000.[40]  It was evident that tuition charges could never become a very material source of revenue. Tuition was advanced for new students from its original $300 to $400, effective in 1936-37. This step was taken not only to bolster the slim treasury of the school but also to make its charges equal to that of Harvard. A $100 differential in tuition between institutions in which there were course exchange privileges could create an awkward situation.

The dearth of fellowship aid for Fletcher students was alleviated somewhat in the fall of 1934 when Dean Hoskins negotiated a cooperative fellowship for the school with the Brookings Institution in Washington. By this arrangement, similar to that for fellowships already established by the Institution with five other schools, a pre-doctoral grant of $1,000 to a third-year student was provided; it also provided housing and access to research facilities in Washington. The first such fellowship was awarded in 1936.[41] 


Informal arrangements were also made with the Institute of International Education in New York so that one or more exchange fellowships abroad could be provided Fletcher students; in return, the school was to receive a foreign student which it would select. Tangible evidence that the Fletcher School was growing in stature and reputation in academic circles was provided in 1935-36, when Dean Hoskins was selected to serve on the American Coordinating Committee of the International Studies Conference.[42]  Hoskins made a point of the fact that the school was selected for representation on the committee "as an independent unit, not as a school associated with Harvard University."

The creation by 1936 of a backlog of students who had completed their work at the Master's level and were anxious to continue for the doctorate became a matter to which serious attention had to be given. Again, the school was handicapped by a part-time faculty that continued to rotate with such rapidity that the students could not be encouraged to develop any long-range research projects. Initially, the students' only alternative was to transfer to Harvard to complete the doctorate, and several followed that path. Three students made formal application for Ph.D. candidacy in the Fletcher School in 1936-37, a development that necessitated the setting up of examining committees provided in the cooperative arrangement with Harvard. The Fletcher School awarded its first Ph.D. in 1941.

One noteworthy and valuable feature of the Fletcher School, introduced during its first year of operation and continued thereafter with great success, was the bringing in of outstanding scholars, public leaders, and diplomatic officials to deliver formal public lectures and to participate in informal discussions with the students and faculty of the school. Among the speakers in 1933-34 were Professor Alfred Zimmern of the School of International Studies at Geneva and President Charles R. Watson of the American University at Cairo. During the following year, the roster of distinguished speakers included Raymond L. Buell, by then president of the Foreign Policy Association; Stephen P. Duggan, director of the Institute of International Education; and Sir Herbert Ames, former treasurer of the League of Nations. The list of


distinguished speakers was impressively long for virtually every succeeding year.

The early products of the Fletcher School went into the most diverse occupations. For the first few years only a scattering of graduates entered the Foreign Service or held diplomatic posts of any kind. The majority went into college or secondary school teaching or into business. The high quality of the students admitted to the school was demonstrated in the early years in several ways. Not only did a high proportion come equipped with Phi Beta Kappa keys, impressive academic records, and strong recommendations, but many, after obtaining their Master's degree at Fletcher, went on to advanced work as holders of coveted fellowships in numerous prominent universities. Twice in the first three years of the school's history Fletcher students were selected as Rhodes Scholars.


[35] Rules for the use of the Fletcher library were prepared in November 1933.

[36] The traveling expenses of commuting faculty members became a sizable item in the Fletcher budget.

[37] The series of lectures he delivered at the Fletcher School in 1935 became part of a book (By Pacific Means: An Implementation of the Pact of Paris) published for the Fletcher School by the Yale University Press. The royalties were assigned to Fletcher.

[38] His appointment as dean, beginning September 1934, had repercussions in the undergraduate division of the College. It required adjustments in the Department of History, the most important of which was the appointment of Professor R. J. Bartlett as chairman. A new member of the department also had to be added.

[39] The purchase was made in two installments because the house was divided into two sections. This curious arrangement prevailed because the two parts of the house were owned by different people.

[40] The total expenditure was offset in part by the fact that fellowships did not carry exemption from tuition charges, and by the fact that two students were financed by traveling fellowships received from the institutions from which they were graduated. The net outlay for financial assistance was actually less than $3,500 in 1934-35, and that figure was not exceeded the following year in spite of the fact that over two-thirds of the student body received assistance in some amount.

[41] One-half of the cash grant was paid by the Brookings Institution and the other half by the Fletcher School.

[42] The Conference had been established in 1928 by the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations.

  • Light on the Hill, the history of Tufts College, was published to coincide with the centennial of the institution in 1952. A second volume was published in 1986. This edition was created from the 1966 edition of Light on the Hill, Volume I.
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