IN ASSAYING western civilization in the time between Sedan and Warsaw we may, under stress of the tragic contemporary trend, unduly emphasize the negative and destructive side. The humane and liberal concepts which flourished in the last century are still cherished in American society despite the competition of current ideologies. The field of historical scholarship affords evidence to support this view. The perpetuation of standards of objectivity and fair- mindedness in the writing of history in America is in no small measure due to the precepts and example of recent generations of American scholars. Prominent among these scholars has long stood Evarts Boutell Greene.
Before the perilous view became fashionable that the historian is controlled by a personal frame of reference from which he cannot escape, scholars such as Greene, educated in the latter part of the nineteenth century, wrote in self-dedication to the then prevailing concept of history as a description of the past as it actually was. In his distinguished Harvard doctoral monograph, The Provincial Governor in the English Colonies of North America, published in 1898--a study of constitutional relations in the colonies--Greene embodied this fair-mindedness and impartiality, buttressed by evidence drawn from the primary sources. In a guide to the manuscript sources for American history available in New York City and in a study of population estimates before the first Federal census, he endeavored to make available to other scholars the primary sources for the pursuit of further original investigations.
The career of Evarts Greene illustrates that New England dispersion which, as he indicates in his biography of his father, Daniel Crosby Greene, he regards as so important a phase of American history. Born in Kobe, Japan, July 8, 1870, of New England parentage, educated successively at Northwestern, Harvard, and Berlin,