To Advance Knowledge: The Growth of American Research Universities, 1900-1940

By Roger L. Geiger | Go to book overview

6
The Research Universities in the 1930s

1. Effects of the Depression

The impact of the Depression upon the research universities was initially cushioned by the extraordinary surge of prosperity that they experienced in the late 1920s and that persisted even while the country's financial system was deteriorating. When the effects of the economic collapse did penetrate, all but the most favored institutions experienced a period of considerable hardship. These difficulties then receded only grudgingly through the remainder of the 1930s. During the preceding golden age the scope of university research had significantly expanded. Just as important, university commitments to research were irrevocably enhanced. No longer a frill accompanying the educational enterprise, research was now fully rooted in university departments. The rapid pace of scientific advance and the latent competition between institutions further assured that university research would continue to expand despite persistent financial difficulties. The result was a paradox of a sort: university research tended to prosper during the 1930s despite the severe pressures felt elsewhere in the universities. 1 Over time this divergence produced increasing strain between the limited resources available in the university research system and the burgeoning demands of research itself.

The research universities were comparatively unscathed by the effects of the Depression until 1932, almost three years after the initial crash in the stock market. The factors determining university budgets were well

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To Advance Knowledge: The Growth of American Research Universities, 1900-1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - The Shaping of the American Research University, 1865-1920 1
  • 2 - The Conditions of University Research, 1900-1920 58
  • 3 - Research Universities from World War I to 1930 94
  • 4 - Foundations and University Research 140
  • 5 - The Privately Funded University Research System 174
  • 6 - The Research Universities in the 1930s 246
  • Appendices 269
  • Notes 279
  • Index 321
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