William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

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some sentiment or complimentary remark regarding the library. The
kindly gentleman who refused hated Americans, and wrote the gentle-
man who sent him the book to be autographed for the owner, that ^^ he

considered it a piece of American impudence to ask such a

favor." He little appreciated that as many, if not more, copies of his

book were being purchased by those *' Americans," than by his

own countrymen. In over twenty-five years of ardent collecting this is
only the second case of churlish rudeness the owner has met with.
The other, it is sad to state, was from a fellow-countryman from the
Middle West

Besides the books on the subjects of the library, there is a very large
collection of books on whaling. In the early part of the 19th century
New York lawyers argued long and earnestly on the subject, ^^ Is the
whale a fish ? " and, although we all know now that it is a mammal, the
subject is so nearly allied, always being referred to as '< the whale fish-
ery," that a most interesting portion of the library is taken up with that
subject; comprising colored and plain prints, engravings and etchings,
photographs and charts, besides several hundred volumes in different
languages together with a few manuscripts, and many log-books. The old
log-books are of particular interest They were usually written by the
captain of the whaler, who used a wooden or rubber stamp depicting a
whale, and if said whale was killed, the stamp appears lengthwise on the
page, and in a blank space on his side was written in the number of
barrels of oil he tried out, but, if he escaped, a stamp showing only his
tail was used perpendicularly.

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274 The DepartmefU of Boanomics. [December,

The library contains probably a greater nomber of EngliBh '< Acts"
and French ^^Arrdts" on the subject of *' fisheries," together with
Danish, Dutch, Grerman, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish Government
acts and laws, with a few Russian, than any other single library. The
library contains one superb example of the Finnish laws, in folio, each
page engraved, print and borders of fish and game, made in 1709, with
an English translatiou in manuscript on each opposite page, done in
1720. It contains a virtually complete set of the publications of the
United States Bureau of Fisheriee up to 1912, and almost complete sets
of all the various state publications on the subject up to the same date.

Enough has been said, however, to bear out the motto, —

" Whatever the wind, whatever the tide,
Here ie irood fiahinir by thie firesiile."

This motto was suggested to the owner after reading Eugene Field's
delightful little essay on Fender Fishing^ in the Love Affaire of a Bib-
liomaniae, and so, '' To those who love quiet, virtue, and angling —
this for Farewell."


The most striking change that has taken place during the last fifty
years in the content of the College curriculum has been the dominance
acquired by the political and economic subjects. What Greek, Latin,
Mathematics were a half-century ago, that Economics, Grovemment, His-
tory are now, — the backbone of the ordinary undergraduate's studies.
I will not undertake to say whether on the whole the change is or is not
to be welcomed. It has its good sides and its bad sides. In one respect it
is undoubtedly good. The main cause behind it is a great awakening of
public spirit, -— a consciousness that the country is confronted with pressing
political and economical problems, and that we must gird our loins to
meet them. And an assured consequence will be that the new generation
of College men, who are being graduated every year by the thousands and
tens of thousands, all trained in these subjects, will constitute a leaven-
ing force which must in time affect profoundly and beneficially the con-
duct of public affairs. At all events, so far as university teachers and
administrators are concerned, the plain fact must be faced : instruction
in these subjects has to be provided on a large scale.

The responsibility thus devolving on the Harvard Department of
Economics among others was impressed on its members by the outcome

Digitized by


1916.] The Department of Economics. 275

of the new system of concentration introduced in 1910. It appeared that
in some years this department had the largest number of concentrations
of any ; and in every year the number was very large. Its only rival was
the English Department. These figures — familiar enough to Harvard men
— set the economists to thinking. Under the able leadership of the chair-
man, Prof. C. J. Bullock, a deliberate inspection of tbe Department's
work was decided on. Obviously, the surest way to get at the unvarnished
facts was to enlist the services of outside critics. To this end the Depart-
ment of Education was asked to come to our aid. Its members were in-
vited to attend lectures and recitations, to read examination books and
theses, to learn by questionnaires what the students themselves said and
thought, to suggest improvements. In addition, some members of the
Visiting Committee appointed by the Board of Overseers really visited,
attending systematically the exercises in some courses and preparing valu-
able critical reports. The Educators responded to the appeal with gratify-
ing heartiness, and the two Departments have cooperated cordially in a
course of action which is unique in the history of the University.

Already this movement has borne fruit ; and it will bear still more.
The introductory course Economics A (which has successively borne the
names Philosophy 6, Political Economy 1, Economics 1, and now Eco-
nomics A) has been systematically visited. New methods of instruction
have been suggested, old methods have been tested, promising devices
are on trial It should be added that the more expensive and effective
methods of instruction tried in it, and started even before the educational
survey, were made possible only by generous financial support from the
Visiting Committee. This is the largest elective course in College, having
over 500 students; here is the most important teaching task. In the
next tier of courses, two are being conducted on new lines ; in these cases
on the department's own initiative rather than in consequence of advice
from outside. They are the undergraduate courses on accounting and sta-
tistics, in which something closely akin to a laboratory system is being
applied. That is, the assigned tasks are done, not in tbe student's room
and at his own (procrastinated !) hour, but in special quarters equipped
for the purpose, at times appointed in advance, and under the supervision
and with the aid of well-trained assistants. Other courses, especially those
having considerable numbers, are now under similar inspection, and we
have every hope that in tbem also good advice will be secured and good
results obtained.

The problems of instruction in this subject, as in so many others, are
&r from being solved. How far lecture, how far enlist discussion, how far
recite ? In what way bring it about that the students shall think for them-
selves ? In what way communicate to them the best thinking of others ?

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276 The Department of Economics. [December,

Almost every department of the Uniyersity, not excepting the professional
schools, is asking itself these questions and is experimenting with solations.
Undoubtedly, different methods will prove advantageous for different sub-
jects. Within the Department of Economics itself there is occasion for va-
riety in methods. Some courses, especially those dealing with matters of
general principle and of theoretic reasoning, are best conducted hy discus-
sion. Others, dealing with concrete problems, with the history of industry
and of legislation, with description and fact, call for a judicious admix-
ture of required reading, lectures, written work. In all, the great thing
to be aimed at is power and mastery : training in thinking for yoursdf , in
reaching conclusions of your own, in expressing clearly and effectively
what you have learned and thought out The courses that deal with in-
dustrial history, with the labor problems, with railways and combina-
tions, taxation and public finance, money and banking, need something
in the nature of laboratory work, such as I have just referred to ; an ex-
tension and improvement, supervision and systematization, of the familiar
thesis work.

Now, throughout all such endeavor and experimentation, the indispens-
able thing is a staff of capable and well-trained instructors. We need able
men, effective personalities. We need them throughout, from top to bot-
tom, — professors, assistant professors, instructors, assistants. The ideal
man is one having a good head, good judgment, good teaching power,
good presence, good training, the spirit of scholarship and research. Men
who possess all these qualities are rare birds ; we are in luck when we
get the perfect combination. Often we have to accept men not up to the
ideal. But we know what we ought to have, and we should strive to get
as nearly to its height as we can.

In no subject is there greater need of good teachers and of trained
thinkers than in economics. The subject is difficult, and it abounds with
unsolved problems. Some things in its domain are indeed settled, — more
than would be inferred from current popular controversies or from the
differences in the ranks of the economists themselves. But on sundiy im-
portant topics it is useless to maintain that we have reached demonstrable
conclusions. There are pros and cons; conflicting arguments must be
weighed ; only qualified propositions can be stated. Differences of tem-
perament, of upbringing, of environment, will cause the opinions of able
and conscientious men to vary. Hence there is need above all of teachers
who can think, weigh, judge ; who are aware of the inevitable divergencies
of opinion and of the causes that underlie them. There is abundant
room for conviction, for enthusiasm, for the emphatic statement of one's
own views. But also there is need, above all in the teacher, of patience,
discrimination, charity for those whose views are different.

Digitized by


1916.] The Department of Economics. 277

It is thus of the utmost importance that young men of the right stamp
should be drawn into the profession. I say the profession, because it
has come to be such. And it is a profession with large possibilities, one
that may well tempt a capable, high*spirited, and ambitious young man.
Twenty-five years ago, when I was in the early stage of my teaching
career, it would have been rash to encourage such a youth to train him-
self to be an economist. Then academic positions were but ill-paid, and
were not held in assured high esteem. The situation has changed. Though
salaries are still meager, they are rising ; and the public regard for scien-
tific work is increasing for all subjects, and not least for this one. Quite
as important is the circumstance that the services of trained economists
are now in demand for the public service, and that in this direction there
are large opportunities for usefulness and for distinction. The possible
range of work has come to be much wider than the academic field. And
no large pecuniary bait is necessary to enlist men of the needed quality.
Those who are interested primarily in money-making cannot indeed be
advised to enter the profession ; but they are also not of the sort to be
welcomed in it I am convinced that nowadays there are more young
men than ever, in Harvard and elsewhere, to whom something nobler
appeals. The spirit of service is abroad in the land, and moves students
not only in their choice of college courses, but in their choice of a career.
Yet a career should be in sight. There should be a reasonable prospect
of promotion, a decent income according to the standards of educated

To enlbt men of the right stamp in the service of the University there
must be still another sort of inducement. There must be a stimulating
atmosphere, a pervasive spirit of initiative and research. To mould the
thoughts of students and so the opinions of the coming generation is an
attractive task; but no less attractive, often more so, — much will depend
on temperament, — is the opportunity to influence the forward march of
thought, the solution of new problems. As I have just said, economics
offers unsolved problems in abundance. There are high questionsof theory,
concerned with the very foundations of the social order and tempting to
the man of severe intellectual ambition. There arc intricate questions of
legislation and administration, calling for ekborate investigation and press-
ing for prompt action ; these will tempt the man of practical bent. For either
sort of work, there must be something more inspiring than the opportunity
for routine teaching. The advanced student needs the cUwh of mind on
mind, the companionship of eager inquiry. It is L* this way that the
Graduate School most serves Harvard College, and indeed is indispen-
sable to the College. Without the opportunity and the stimulus of inde-
pendent scientific work by the graduate studente as well as by the teach-

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278 17^ Department of JSconomics. [December,

ing 8ta£Fy it woold be hopeless to try to enlist in the University serriee
promising men of the desired quality.

I dwell for a moment on this aspect of the sitaation, because it is not
understood by those among the alumni who believe that too much of the
University's money and too much of the professors' time are given to
graduate instruction. The late Professor Child, one of the most distin-
guished scholars as well as one of the most delightful men in the annals
of Harvard, is said to have remarked that Cambridge would be a most
attractive place were it not for the students. The remark reflects the
weariness which in time comes over the professor whose teaching is con-
fined to the routine instruction of undergraduates. It is astonishing how
much scholarly work of high quality was achieved by Child and others
of the older generation, under the untoward conditions of their day; some-
times, there is ground for suspecting, — not, by the way, in Child's case,
— because they simply slighted their routine teachiog. Under the new con-
ditions and the new competition in the academic world, we may be sura
that if this were the only sort of work expected of the staff, the staff
would be made up in the main of men qualified for this work only. It is
the opportunity of doing creative work that tempts the highest intel-
lectual ability ; and creative work needs a creative atmosphere.

It is to be noted, further, that the source from which Harvard College
and all the colleges must draw their teaching staffs is in these graduate
schools. The experience of the Department of Eksonomics convinces its
members that the only way to secure a good staff of junior teachers, —
instructors and assistants, — is to train them in a g^raduate school. The
staff of the Department has been very much improved during the last
ten years, and the improvement has come almost exclusively by recruit-
ing from its own advanced students. We are confident that the training
we give them is thoroughly good ; we even cherish the belief that no-
where else can so good a training be secured. At all events, we try to
retain the best of our advanced students in our service ; if not indefinitely,
at least for considerable stretches of time. And among the inducements
which lead them to stay with us are the opportunities not only for teach-
ing, but for research of their own, made possible by a moderate stint of
stated work and enriched by the wealth of material in our greaJt library.

What the Department of Economics most needs, then, and indeed what
the University most needs in every department, is men. The University
must have buildings, laboratories, libraries ; but most of all it must have
ripe scholars, inspiring teachers, forward thinkers. As it happens, external
and mechanical facilities count less in economics than in many other sub-
jects. There is no need of expensive laboratories, such as are indispensable
for physics, chemistry, biology, the medical sciences. Like the Law School,

Digitized by


1915.] Harvard Rowing. 279

we use chiefly collections of books and docoments, and convenient lecture
and conference rooms. The one f andamental thing is the men, and the
one way to get them is to have free money, — enough money to pay good
salaries to those on the ground, and to draw to the University the rare
genius whenever by good fortune he is to be found. The specific way in
which the generous-ndnded graduate can serve the needs of such a de-
partment is by the endowment of instruction and research.

The endowment of instruction ordinarily takes the form of the estab-
lishment of a professorship ; and this will doubtiess remain the most effec-
tive way of achieving the end. But there are other ways also. Professor
Bullock has recenUy called attention in these columns to the possibilities
of the endowment of economic research. I venture to offer a suggestion
for something analogous, — something which may combine the endow-
ment of research with that of instruction, and which has the further merit
of not requiring so formidable a sum as is necessary nowadays for the
foundation of a professorship. The University has at its disposal a not in-
considerable number of fellowships for training young men of promise. I
believe that it could use with high advantage similar posts, more digni-
fied and more liberally endowed, for mature men who are more than
promising, — whose powers are proved, whose achievements are assured.
Research fellowships they might be called, or professorial fellowships, if
you please. An endowment of a moderate amount would enable the in-
cumbent of such a post, if a young unmarried man, to give his whole
time to research; if an older man, to limit his teaching hours within
moderate bounds and so to give a large share of his time and energy to
research and publication. The appointments would be made, I should
suppose, for a specified term of years ; and they would go preferably to
scholars in the full vigor of early manhood. They would be highly honor-
able, and they would be tempting to men of high ideals and of quality
coming up to our own ideals of University service. Will not some of our
friends, not of the multi-millionaire class, desirous of doing what they
can for our benignant mother, and perhaps of perpetuating a cherished
name, reflect on this possibility ?



Eybby one who saw the race at New London last summer, whether
learned in the art of rowing or not, must have been struck with the
great difference in the style of tiie two crews. We Harvard men had to

Digitized by


280 Harvard Rowing. [December,

sit there on the observation train and suffer while the stronger, heavier,
and more experienced Hanrard crew, which had folly determined to go
for the lead at the start, was beaten a length bj Yale in the first half-
mile, and fell farther behind in every succeeding half-mile. One eoold
see that the Tale crew, with their long body swing and great' dash, was
asing its power to greater advantage than the Harvard crew, with its
short body swing, and lack of panch and drive. Indeed, it was p^infoUy
evident that the Tale style of rowing was greatly saperior to that of
Harvard and that a change of coaching for Harvard was necessary. That
change has now been made.

Wray, who has done practically all the coaching for eleven years, has
been replaced by Mr. Herrick, who will have the assistance of Haines, an
experienced English professional coach. I propose in this article to show
why this change seems to me altogether wise and likely to make rowing
at Harvard even more popular and successful than it has been during
the last decade.

In 1907 the Harvard crew, witb Oliver Filley as captain and stroke
(having beaten Yale), went to London and was beaten by the Cambridge
crew over the University course from Putney to Mortlake (4^ miles) by
about three lengths and a half. The Harvard crew was more powerful
and fitter than the Cambridge crew, but the ease with which the English
crew rowed away at the start was most significant In a quarter of a mile
Cambridge had a lead of a length and at one time of almost five lengths,
but near the end of the race Harvard improved her position and seemed
hardly rowed out at the finish. Wray coached that crew and has been
entirely consistent in adhering, without any substantial modification, to
the style which he then taught. He seems to have learned nothing and
to have changed nothing to this day.

This year's Yale crew rowed exactly the same stroke as did Cambridge
in 1907, and, although lighter and physically inferior to the Harvard
crew, won somewhat easily. Against this stroke well rowed the Wray
stroke could never, in the judgment of most rowing men, win again.

Let us look at Harvard's rowing record for the last eleven years. She
has won seven out of eleven races with Yale, has won two out of eleven
races with Cornell, and has been beaten by Columbia and Princeton on
the only occasions when she rowed against these universities. I do not
forget the splendid victory of the Harvard second crew at Henley last
year when it won the Grand Challenge Cup, beating Leander, the Ger-
man, the Canadian, and Union Boat Club crews. That crew had all been
taught their rowing by Wray. It is a fact, however, that the crew was
physically splendid, absolutely fit, perfectly together after many months
of practice, and was coached by Mr. Herrick for the last month before

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1916.] Harvard Rowing. 281

the raee. I have been told and believe that Mr. Herrick during that time
lengthened ont their body swing and taught the men to get a harder
catch at the beginning of their stroke. Whether I am correct or not in
this belief, Harcourt Gold, an old Oxford winning stroke, and as good an
authority as there is in England, pronounced the Harvard-Henley crew
the best he had ever seen.

No technical knowledge is necessary to understand the differences be-
tween the English and the Wray strokes. These differences were never
more strikingly illustrated than in the 1915 Harvard-Tale race, and all
those who saw it will remember that the Yale crew had more body swing,
were veiy quick in shooting their hands away at the finish of the stroke,
made the last part of the forward swing slow, covered their blades at the
full reach with a very hard beginning, and rowed the stroke through hard
all the way, using both body swing and leg drive ; while the Harvard
crew slid forward and back with little body swing, no appreciable catch
at the beginning of the stroke, but seemed to get on most of their power
after the middle of the stroke — in a word, the crew sat up well and
seemed to walk the boat along. They looked very sluggish compared
with Yale.

Wray's style has been aptly described as the sculler's style, and his
crews certainly look exactly like eight men sculling. It is undoubtedly
less exhausting than tiie English style, although, me jtidice, much slower,
especially for any distance under four miles.

In this connection we must remember that rowing is considered the
most important, as it is certainly the most popular, of all the sports at the
English universities, cricket coming next, and then Rugby and Associar
tion football, track athletics, tennis, and the minor sports, and that in
rowing a distinct standard has been reached. Long slides and short body
swing, swivel rowlocks, the sculling style — all have been tried out at the
English universities, and have been abandoned in favor of the standard
style which Nickalls taught the Yale crews to row in 1914 and 1915. On
the other hand, there is no rowing standard in American universities.
Wray has been teaching one style at Harvard, Spaeth another at Prince-
ton, Rice another at Columbia, and Courtney still another. Of course,
Courtney is or was the best coach in America — if not in the world. His
record of victories over Harvard and over all the other universities at
Poughkeepsie is unique and most impressive, but his present stroke is
absolutely different from the one he taught in 1895. In the summer of
that year he took the Cornell crew to Henley. This crew, a fine one
physically, rowed over 40 strokes a minute with long slides and little

Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 38 of 103)