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

Miller, Russell


The story of the all-graduate Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy between 1937 and 1945 was a grim and unhappy one, of almost unrelieved pessimism. During this critical period the school, almost bereft of a student body because of the exigencies of the Second World War, lost its original dean, about one-third of its library resources, and a large part of its faculty. There was a


very real possibility that it might be forced to close or at least to suspend operations for a period of years. Somehow it managed to hang on, and experienced a revival and sense of renewed strength after 1945 that lent an air of unreality to the preceding decade.

Finances seemed to be, as in the entire history of the school, the crucial consideration. The limitation of enrollment to fifty meant that no other division of the College during the administrations of Cousens and Carmichael had as large a ratio of investment income to tuition income as did the Fletcher School. Dean Hoskins, and President Cousens until his death in the summer of 1937, had sought outside assistance that would remove the school from its unfortunate hand-to-mouth existence. The problem had become acute for several reasons. The modification in Harvard's policy of cooperation, arranged several years earlier, placed severe limits on the use of its faculty outside its boundaries and required the development by the Fletcher School of its own staff to a greater extent than before. The school had also to exploit as best it could the special talent that became available in the Boston area from time to time. The continuing attempt to build up a full-time faculty was marked by a degree of success when Dr. Leo Gross was appointed Lecturer in International Organization and Administration for 1941-42, with his salary furnished under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. This aid, welcome as it was, fell far short of the total needs of the school. What few gifts it received tended to be designated for special purposes, such as financing lectures. The problem of steadily shrinking income from the Fletcher endowment was aggravated by increased need for student aid.[12]  Library costs were going up because of financial problems encountered by the World Peace Foundation, which until 1937 had paid a large part of library staff salaries and had provided valuable documents from foreign governments. There was no endowment at all available for establishing a John A. Cousens Professorship in International Economic Relations. This chair had been proposed after his death to memorialize Cousens' part in creating the Fletcher School and to recognize his special interest in the realm of finance.

As a result of a prolonged effort by the Fletcher dean and by


President Cousens, sufficient interest in the school and its prospects had been generated among the various Carnegie organizations (Endowment for International Peace, Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the Corporation proper) to encourage submission of a statement of the school's endowment needs. No specific sum was mentioned, but $200,000 seemed to be appropriate.[13]  Hoskins was told that the application for funds would receive "sympathetic consideration." The Trustee Executive Committee gave its blessing to such an application, and an elaborate prospectus was prepared by Dean Hoskins and forwarded to the Carnegie Corporation in January 1939, a few months after Dr. Leonard Carmichael became president of Tufts. The effort bore no fruit; neither did a proposal in 1941 for support of a program in American defense. Hoskins persistently called to President Carmichael's attention the fact that the school's finances were more precarious than ever, that its relative standing was beginning to decline, and that it was in danger of losing its position of leadership and becoming a second-class school. Unless the situation changed radically, some faculty and courses would have to be dropped.

The outbreak of the Second World War seemed to make bad matters worse for the Fletcher School. It was justifiably proud of the fact that in the fall of 1942, 75 of its 238 alumni were in government positions, 36 of them in the State Department alone. It was likewise noteworthy that a member of the Fletcher Class of 1943 became the first woman in fifteen years to pass the State Department examinations and to be accepted in the Foreign Service as a career diplomat. These facts did not, however, have much relevance to the problem of maintaining a student body of at least minimum size. Dozens of students who would ordinarily have stayed in the school to complete their degrees left for government or military service. There was no draft exemption or deferment for Fletcher students; there were no special programs comparable to the Naval


units that had been established in the undergraduate departments of Tufts in 1943. Fletcher enrollment in 1943-44 dropped precipitately, from fifty to twenty-five, of whom ten were women. The Fletcher men's dormitory was taken over by the Navy V-12 Program, and the few males left in the school's student body were housed in the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity house, which had been taken over by the College. Blakeslee House was used for a few Fletcher women and students from Jackson College and the Bouve-Boston School of Physical Education, which had become affiliated with Tufts in 1942.

The Fletcher School was the only part of the College that did not go on an accelerated program during the war, although it adjusted its opening date to November 1 to conform to the undergraduate school calendar. So many of the Harvard faculty teaching in the Fletcher School had been engrossed in some phase of the war effort, even by 1942-43, that the only alternative, if the school was to be staffed to any degree, seemed to be the use of the undergraduate faculty of Tufts. Consultation with President Conant made it a certainty that the school could no longer count on using Harvard faculty, for they had committed themselves to a twelve-month teaching year in such a way that they could not be allowed to do "outside teaching." For the Fletcher School to remain open, the choice seemed to be between sacrifice of position and an unbalanced budget. If any further retrenchment were forced on the school, it would have to be accompanied by a lowering of standards of instruction or a reduction in the caliber of students admitted. These were alternatives to be avoided as long as possible.

Several efforts were made, as early as 1941, to explore ways in which Fletcher could contribute to the war effort and at the same time continue to serve academic needs. The Navy League suggested in that year that it might contribute to a special study group on the role of sea power in international affairs, and in 1942 the possibility of setting up a program for training intelligence officers was considered. Nothing came of either proposal, or of a scheme, also discussed in 1942, of establishing a program for preparing personnel to govern areas recovered from the Axis powers. When Dean Hoskins heard in the autumn of 1942 that Harvard was negotiating with the federal government for a similar program in international administration, he immediately inquired as to what role the


Fletcher School might play. President Conant's reply made it clear that he had no desire to involve the school. In fact, Hoskins was told in no uncertain terms that Harvard was "endeavoring not to interfere with your domain, but I am sure you will agree that this particular activity does not fall within the scope of your original activities." The best that Dean Hoskins could expect was to be kept informed of Harvard's plans. The Fletcher dean replied that he had been unprepared "for a by-passing of the Fletcher School entirely in the development at Harvard of a program of training in international administration." He admitted that Fletcher could not conduct such a program alone, but he felt that the school deserved "some consideration." He very well knew that the project at Harvard would have an adverse effect on the future prospects of the Fletcher School. Harvard did, however, invite Dean Hoskins to serve on its Committee on Military Government and International Administration. President Carmichael was also a participant in a conference held at Harvard early in 1943 to discuss training programs for personnel in occupied areas. The upshot of this meeting was the announcement by Harvard in February 1943 that a special School for Overseas Administration was being established "under the auspices of Harvard University with the assistance of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts College."[14] 

The year 1944 was especially critical for the Fletcher School in several respects. One of the serious problems concerned its library resources, which consisted, in effect, of four parts. The two smaller segments were largely teaching materials borrowed from the Tufts Library and current materials acquired with Fletcher funds. The two major sections were not the property either of Tufts or of the Fletcher School but had been housed at the school and were subject to recall; the older collection was that of the World Peace Foundation, deposited when the school had opened, and the other was the property of the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation. This foundation, established in 1939 with headquarters in New York City, was organized by the Honorable Dave Hennen Morris and associates to assist in advancing "the orderly conduct of international affairs," to promote international economic relations, and to encourage the effective application of international law. Among its projects was


the development of a special library which was deposited at the Fletcher School early in 1941 "for an indefinite period." Needless to say, the collection greatly strengthened the school's research capabilities, which were also augmented by some financial support from the Foundation.[15]  Within a brief period in 1943-44, both the World Peace Foundation and the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation announced their intention of reassessing their policies regarding their libraries, with the probability that they would be relocated.

After the World Peace Foundation library had been placed in the Fletcher School, President Cousens had, in the 1930's, made sure that relations between the school and the Foundation were as close as possible. He saw to it that when a vacancy occurred in 1937 in the directorship Dean Hoskins' name was considered. One linkage that was maintained for almost a decade between the Foundation and the Fletcher library was Denys P. Myers, the research librarian of the Foundation. He severed his connection with both the Foundation and the school in 1942 and joined the staff of the Division of Special Research in the State Department.

Early in 1944 the World Peace Foundation reminded President Carmichael that its collection was on deposit only, and that if its integrity were not being maintained or if the library ever ceased to be used "for purposes of advanced instruction in the fields of international law and diplomacy," it might be withdrawn from Fletcher. Carmichael hastened to inform the Foundation that there was "in contemplation no change in the conditions under which the collection is maintained" and that the school very much hoped the collection would remain where it was. The next step taken by the College was to offer to purchase the collection for slightly over $5,000. The Foundation declined the offer, on the ground that the League of Nations publications in the library had a market value themselves of approximately $10,000. A compromise was eventually worked out whereby the Foundation repossessed sufficient works to comprise an effective reference collection in its Boston headquarters, and the main body of the library was acquired by Fletcher for $10,000. The settlement was made with the understanding that the collection in the Fletcher School would always be available to qualified investigators (including the staff of the Foundation) and


would be transferred to the Foundation "in the event that the Fletcher School is discontinued or the Library ceases to be maintained." Fortunately for the school, it received by gift the same year the extensive private library of Professor George Grafton Wilson, one of the original Fletcher faculty.

The wartime situation in which the Fletcher School found itself had become a matter of official concern to the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation in mid-1943. The status of its library on deposit at the school was the main issue at stake. Word had come that the residential facilities of the school were being taken over for other uses, and doubt had been expressed that the school would maintain its original character and direction. The Foundation requested a statement from the College, "as clear and detailed as may be," of its policies and plans affecting the Fletcher School. President Carmichael informed the Foundation that, although Wilson House (the men's dormitory for Fletcher students) was being taken over temporarily by the Navy as part of its training program, the Tufts Trustees expected to continue the Fletcher School during the war if at all possible, even though on a greatly reduced scale. Carmichael further assured the Foundation that its library collection would be kept intact. He also promised that, after the war emergency was over, the Trustees would "devote all possible energy to the general promotion of the program of the Fletcher School." An attempt to maintain it on a full scale while a world war was in progress would have seemed "doubtful both from an educational and from a patriotic point of view."

The specific reason for the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation's sudden interest in the future of its library was not far to seek. In 1943 there was established in Washington, D.C., an organization known as the Foreign Service Educational Foundation. Its official aim was "to promote the education and training of persons in the fields of government, business, international economic relations, international law, and such related fields as may fit them for better service in the foreign interest of this country at home or abroad."[16]  The twenty-four Trustees included Presidents Conant of Harvard and Henry W. Wriston of Brown, with Congressman Christian A. Herter as president. The new organization immediately set about


establishing a Foreign Service Training Center with aims strikingly parallel to those of the Fletcher School. Dean Hoskins proposed to President Carmichael in the spring of 1944 that a cooperative arrangement be entered into with the Foundation so that the advanced work of Fletcher students could be taken in Washington through the new training center. The nation's capital would thus become a working laboratory for Fletcher students. In reply, President Carmichael instructed Hoskins that the Fletcher School would "go forward with approximately its present program here on the Tufts campus next year." Carmichael did, however, attend a conference in June at which representatives of ten other institutions were present. The possibility was discussed of establishing a Universities Cooperative Training Center in International Affairs in which institutions which were members of the Association of American Universities, plus the Fletcher School, might participate. Nothing came of the proposal after the directors of the Foreign Service Educational Foundation rejected the plan.

Dean Hoskins, in the meantime, had become treasurer of the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation and curator of its library deposited in the Fletcher School. He was instructed in May 1944 by the secretary of the Foundation "to proceed at once to remove the Foundation's possessions from their present location and to place them in storage pending an opportunity to transport them to their destination in Washington." When President Carmichael was apprised of this decision, he immediately contacted the acting president of the Foundation (Herter) and ordered Hoskins to leave the collection where it was, pending an investigation of its ownership. Legal advice requested by Herter made it indisputably clear that the Foundation had the right to withdraw its collection, and the Tufts Trustees promptly released it.[17]  The seemingly precipitate departure of the Foundation library, of which the College had received no written notification until after the arrangements had been made, was followed in a matter of days by Dean Hoskins' resignation and his departure for Washington.[18]  The intricate and close


relationship of the ex-dean of the Fletcher School with these various groups did much to explain the circumstances under which he left the Tufts campus, but the factors that accounted for his decision to depart can be traced back well before 1943 and 1944. Dean Hoskins had become increasingly restive under the restrictions imposed by the limited endowment of the Fletcher School, and its worsened plight because of the Second World War. Its future was, to him at least, a matter of serious doubt. The school had become too small and too uncertain an operation with which to be associated, particularly when the vistas of Washington seemed so bright for postwar opportunities.

Whether justified or not, a cloud hung over Hoskins' sudden departure. It appeared to some that he was deserting the school when it needed most the directing hand of an experienced administrator, especially one who had seen the school born and nursed through its infancy. Others were perturbed that the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation library had been removed without sufficient warning but with the foreknowledge of the ex-dean.[19]  Still others interpreted his well-matured advance plans to move to Washington as a deliberate attempt to become involved in establishing a school that would compete directly with Fletcher and weaken it correspondingly. Others noted that not only the dean's secretary


but the registrar and also the acting librarian resigned simultaneously.[20] 

President Carmichael immediately turned to the pressing matter of securing a new dean for the Fletcher School. He asked for President Conant's reaction if the post were offered to Dr. Norman J. Padelford.[21]  Carmichael's choice met with Conant's full approval. The next task was to obtain Dr. Padelford's services. Meanwhile, Dean Hoskins had informed the alumni of the Fletcher School that he had resigned, and referred to the difficulty in securing a full complement of either students or faculty during the war. President Carmichael also felt constrained to send letters to the Fletcher alumni explaining the difficulties faced by the school in wartime and assuring them that the school would return to something approaching normalcy with the ending of the war and under the leadership of a new dean.

As President Carmichael feared might be the case, Dr. Padelford declined the deanship of the Fletcher School in the late summer of 1944. The work of the school, seriously curtailed as it might have been because of the dislocations of war and the resignation of its long-time dean, had to go on, and Professor Ruhl J. Bartlett, chairman of the Tufts Department of History, was appointed acting dean.[22]  The unanimous choice of the Tufts Trustees for the deanship of the Fletcher School was Dr. Robert Burgess Stewart. He had received the Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the


school in 1937 and his Ph.D. from Harvard. For the six years preceding his appointment he had served in various capacities in the State Department, including posts as assistant chief in the Division of European Affairs and in the British Commonwealth Division. He had also been a representative at a number of conferences. Immediately after taking up his new duties at the Fletcher School in March 1945, the dean-elect had participated, together with over a dozen other Fletcher alumni, in the San Francisco conferences establishing the United Nations organization. He had also maintained close ties with fellow Fletcher graduates and had held the presidency of the school's Alumni Association.

The imminent end of the Second World War in the spring of 1945 and the appointment of a new dean for Fletcher infused new life into the struggling school. President Conant of Harvard sent a cordial letter to Carmichael offering good wishes for the success of the school under its new head and expressed Harvard's willingness "to continue to share in the work of the School through representation on the Joint Academic Council." The Harvard president also reaffirmed the accessibility of that institution's libraries to the students and faculty of the Fletcher School and expressed the expectation that reciprocal course privileges for students would continue. The enrollment of the school, so greatly disrupted by international conflict, returned to the limit of fifty for the first time in mid-1946, after having reached a low point of seventeen at the start of the 1944-45 academic year. The faculty, which in 1945 could boast of only one full-time member, was rebuilt and strengthened, and new courses were offered. There was talk of raising the ceiling on enrollment because of the increased demand for graduates of the school. Operating income was increased when tuition was raised from $450 to $600 in 1949 and to $700 in 1952.

The Fletcher School received, in 1946-47, the first addition to its endowment fund since it had been established in 1933. Joseph Cummings of Somerville bequeathed $15,000 for the Edwin Ginn Library. Even though the school, in 1948, was operating with substantially the same financial resources it had possessed twenty-five years before, it was still able to perform phenomenally well. During its first fifteen years it had awarded only five Ph.D.'s; in the one year of 1948, there were thirteen candidates. The faculty was also


more active than ever. Harry C. Hawkins was elected Professor of International Economics in mid-1948, after twenty-one years in the State Department. George N. Halm, who for many years held a shared appointment between the arts and sciences Department of Economics and the Fletcher School, became a full-time member of the Fletcher staff in 1950, as Professor of International Economic Relations. Both men were frequently called upon for expert advice. In 1948-49 they assisted the State Department Foreign Trade Council, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The Fletcher School in the postwar period also assumed the unique task of giving special training to the diplomatic corps of the new nation of Pakistan, and to that of Siam. At the same time, two Foreign Service officers of the State Department were assigned to the school for special training in international trade and finance. Although substitution frequently had to be made in course offerings and gaps appeared and reappeared in special field and area coverage from time to time, individuals were somehow found to cover them and to augment and enrich existing offerings. Systematic instruction in the areas of eastern Asia and the Far East was made possible by the addition of Professor Allan B. Cole to the staff in 1949. The school was heartened in 1949-50 to receive an allocation of $600,000 in the Tufts Second Century endowment fund drive. Scholarly endeavor by the faculty in the field of international affairs was also made available to the public with the inauguration of a series of volumes published under the general title of Fletcher Studies in International Affairs. The first three works, appearing in 1951 and 1952, were George N. Halm's Economic Systems: A Comparative Analysis, Harry C. Hawkins' Commercial Treaties and Agreements, and Hans Kelsen's Principles of International Law.

As the Fletcher School approached its twentieth anniversary in 1952, another source of strength was added. The school had obtained its first endowed chair in 1949 when the William L. Clayton Professorship of International Finance was established.[23]  Three


years later the endowment which made possible this position was enlarged to $300,000, largely through the efforts of Dean Stewart, and was funded as the William L. Clayton Center for International Economic Affairs. The Center, created to honor the nation's first Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, and under the sponsorship of the American Cotton Shippers Association, was devoted to research and training in an area of critical significance in world affairs. The Fletcher School thereby received not only its first endowed chair but also a fellowship program and an annual series of public lectures. The latter were delivered in the years immediately after 1952 by such distinguished individuals as Dean Acheson, former United States Secretary of State; Lester B. Pearson, a president of the United Nations General Assembly and leader of the Liberal Party in Canada; and J. William Fulbright, United States Senator and, at the time he delivered his series of lectures in 1962-63, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. There could be no doubt that the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy brought deserved luster to itself and, at least indirectly, to the institution of which it was a part on the Medford campus. Notwithstanding the handicaps under which it had been conceived and lived its early years, the Fletcher School had made remarkable progress, and looked with confidence toward its future.


[12] A Fletcher School loan fund was established in 1938, consisting originally of $30.30 contributed by the World Peace Foundation and $25.00 by an anonymous donor.

[13] At the time the request was made, the annual income from the Fletcher endowment ($1,000,000) was less than $48,000. Receipts from tuition and fees ($17,500) almost exactly equaled those from other sources (dormitory rental, dining-hall charges, and the like). The operating deficit of the school for 1937-38 was almost $6,000. It was erased only after the Honorable Dave Hennen Morris, former ambassador to Belgium and for a time chairman of the Board of Counselors to the Fletcher School, offered $500 toward cancellation of the deficit; the Tufts Trustees agreed to raise the remainder.

[14] Dean Hoskins and Professor Norman J. Padelford of the Fletcher School were listed as members of the staff.

[15] Contributions by the Foundation in the form of money or gifts provided more than half the Ginn Library accessions in 1941-42.

[16] W. S. Rich and N. R. Deardorff (eds.), American Foundations and Their Fields, Vol. VI (New York: Raymond Rich Associates, 1948), p. 200.

[17] An inventory of the most important titles was kept so that the Fletcher School could replace as many as seemed necessary and desirable.

[18] His formal resignation was dated June 27, 1944, effective three days later. It was confirmed by the Trustees as of August 31, 1944, with the explanation that his "full time seems to be required in his service with the Foreign Service Educational Foundation at Washington, D.C." Hoskins continued as treasurer of the Diplomatic Affairs Foundation and also became director (until 1948) of the training facility established by the Foreign Service Educational Foundation. The Diplomatic Affairs Foundation library formed the nucleus of the Center, which became known as the School of Advanced International Studies. The school, in turn, was incorporated into the Johns Hopkins University in 1950 as a graduate school of foreign affairs.

[19] At President Carmichael's request, the College librarian made an inspection, as best he could, of the already crated library in the summer of 1944. He found that a separate catalogue had been maintained of the collection, which was quite appropriate for a library on deposit only. The librarian was a bit more disturbed to discover that several miscellaneous gifts of books intended for the Fletcher School had been put in the Foundation collection. The Eaton and Fletcher libraries had over 40 per cent of the titles in the Foundation collection, but its removal left several important gaps that had to be somehow filled. The loss of the World Peace Foundation library would have been a much more serious matter.

[20] It was alleged by some individuals that Hoskins "wanted to move the whole Fletcher School to Washington." There is no conclusive evidence to support the assertion also made that he took some of the Trustees, faculty, and students with him. Miss Priscilla Mason, the ex-registrar of the Fletcher School, did become secretary to the Board of the Foreign Service Educational Foundation when Hoskins became its director; she later became associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

[21] The latter had received his Ph.D. from Harvard and had been Professor of International Law in the Fletcher School since 1936. He had been offered permanent posts of major responsibility in the State Department and had declined two offers of college presidencies.

[22] After relinquishing this temporary post in 1945, Dr. Bartlett continued as a part-time member of the Fletcher faculty, with the title of Professor of Diplomatic History. Beginning in the fall of 1956, he was a full-time member of the Fletcher staff, and Professor Albert H. Imlah became chairman of the Department of History; the latter served simultaneously on the staff of the Fletcher School on a part-time basis.

[23] Harry C. Hawkins was the first occupant. The second endowed professorship resulted from a piece of business that remained unfinished for a quarter of a century. In 1958, after several attempts to settle the matter, the Braker Professorship, intended for the Fletcher School since 1930, after the Braker School of Commerce failed to materialize, was assigned to the school. George N. Halm was the first recipient on the Fletcher faculty, although he continued to carry also the title of Professor of International Economic Relations.

  • 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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