Charles A. Beard, an Intellectual Biography

By Ellen Nore | Go to book overview

7

Experiments and Conclusions,
1919-1922

T he New School for Social Research was probably the idea of James Harvey Robinson, although the institution that evolved was quite different from his early dream of "an intellectual club—to which all visitors of intellectual distinction would repair and toward which all residents of intellectual distinction would gravitate." Like Beard, Robinson was disgusted with Columbia and, although he was so popular that his classes were being held in the largest auditorium on campus, he too left after the academic year 1918-1919. 1

Beard and Robinson had talked during 1918 of forming a "Free School of

Political Science," presumably to furnish an antidote for the unfree state of the discipline at Columbia. According to Beard, the fundamental purpose of people trying to raise money for the New School in 1918 was "to establish an institution of learning at which the social sciences may be as emancipated from lay interference as the natural sciences." Appointment and dismissal of faculty was to be entirely in the hands of the teaching staff, and Beard headed a committee to secure a distinguished faculty. Alvin Johnson and Herbert Croly of The New Republic were interested, as were Emily James Putnam, former dean of Barnard College and a member of the faculty of history there, and Emma Peters Smith, then the graduate adviser at Barnard. In Washington during the summer of 1918, Alvin Johnson met Wesley Mitchell while the two were doing economic studies for the government, and Johnson persuaded

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