The Shaping of the American Research University, 1865-1920
The American research university assumed something like its present form in the half-century prior to 1920. In this respect it was scarcely different from many other American economic and cultural institutions that evolved during these decades from small localized concerns with parochial interests and clienteles into bureaucratic organizations integrated with national communications networks. 1 Many of the colleges, institutes, normal schools, and universities remained even by 1920 quite restricted in the scope and the spread of their activities, just as did a multitude of commercial and industrial establishments. But the major research universities had become the corporations of the education industry -- organized to gather the lion's share of social resources available to higher education, and committed to produce the most valued educational products for the most important national markets. The evolution of research universities over these years was anything but even. Between the Civil War and 1890 a series of scattered, discrete events provided precedents and stimuli for subsequent developments. The pace of change accelerated abruptly in the 1890s, reaching a peak around the turn of the century. A second surge of expansion in university undertakings and the means for their fulfillment was interrupted by the Great War. In its aftermath science, technology, and an attendant belief in human progress through rational, systematic investigation occupied a permanent niche not only in the major universities of the country but in the national consciousness as well.
The "emergence of the American university" was a multifaceted phe-