Sojourn In England,
Between 1898 and 1902 Beard spent nearly four years in England, returning to American shores only briefly for a term of study at Cornell and his wedding to Mary Ritter. At Oxford he continued, with the congenial Tory Frederick York Powell, the study of English history and politics he had so enjoyed at DePauw; he met the fascinating Walter Vrooman; and he assisted Vrooman in organizing a new venture in workers' education, Ruskin Hall. Though he might have visited the slums of Chicago in college days, it was in England in his mid-twenties that he got a closer look at life in smoke-filled industrial settings. There he encountered such leaders of trade unions as Ben Tillet and James Sexton of the dockworkers and Kier Hardie, the Scottish miner who a few years before had founded the Independent Labour Party. In a new situation there were opportunities for a direct young man who did not have enough education or sense of class to be awed by Oxonian tweeds and indifference. Young Beard's radiant vitality, ambition, and responsible habits led him to seek experience with both town and gown in the medieval city.
Financed by his father's generosity, Beard arrived in the "city of Oxford with her aged blackened buildings," in the land of his colonial ancestors, the country of Thomas Carlyle and John Morley, of John Ruskin and Walter Bagehot, of John Richard Green and F. W. Maitland, late in the summer of 1898 to pursue graduate study in English constitutional and political history at the university. "My ignorance," he recalled, "was, as American movie