William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

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without raising the ratio of cost of carriage to income is one that never

Very few people, even of those who have to do with railroads, appreci-
ate the enormous importance in the aggregate of charges or costs, which
are too insignificant in the unit to attract attention. It is on this rock
that uncounted transportation experiments have come to grief. A frac-
tion of a mill may change a profit to a loss if the tonnage is great. A
difference of one-handredth of a cent in the cost of caiTying one ton one
mile is apparently too small to worry over. Yet, on a ton mileage of a
billion tons, quite within the range of railroad commerce, it amounts to
one hundred thousand dollars. The railroad manager most, and the stu-
dent of railroad economics should, from the beginning, learn to observe,
study and respect the small items of cost.

Tiiat this is true is proved by the following figures, which show how
difficult it is to obtain a return on capital invested in railways in the
United States:




Inyestment in toad and equipment per mile

Qro88 operating revenue per mile


1 ^^






Net operating: income per mile


Per cent operatin«r inoome on property inTestment


In other words, increased investment and increased business resulted in
smaller returns. To analyze this problem, and to supply a proper solu-
tion is of the utmost importance to the future.

This country is committed to the plan of private ownership of rail-
ways subject to public regulation, and it is to be hoped that the country
will not — because of -sins of omission and commission by both owners
and regulators — turn to public ownership of these great highways. To
train men, therefore, to nnderstand rightly, the true and helpful rdations
of government to transportation, that our citizens and regulators may be
wise, sane, and far-seeing, is almost as important as to train men to be
expert and economical railway managers. There must be constantly de-
veloped an increased number of both types of men if the best results are
to be obtained by the railways for the people.

Digitized by


1916.] The Hill Professorship of Transportatum. 441

To establish a department to teach the theory and practice of rail-
roading that shall be wor^y of the subject and worthy of Harrard Uni-
▼ersity, and to give students a troe conception of the problem and ability
to deal with railway operations iDtelligently, is no slight or easy task.
Sach work should be adjusted, from the first, to actual conditions ; and
should start from and return to close and accurate observations of fact
There should be no guesswork. It is one thing to arrange a theoretically
faultless course, which the student can gallop through and come out a
little better informed than he was at ^e beginning. It is a different
tiling to analyze the records of railway performance, to get in touch
with real railway work, and so arrive at the truth. So many different
conditions affect the operation of a railway that the problem is unusually
complicated. And these conditions must be understood not only in
themselves but in their relation to one another. Without a thorough
grasp of this network of facts and relations, there cannot be any mastery
of the underlying subject as a whole.

The transportation courses in the Harvard Graduate School of Business
Administration ought to be able to do good work. They have practically
a new field to occupy ; and the endowment, which makes the work perma-
nent, should insure, also, that it be done in the right way. The vital thing
is to train young men by the study of current actual results in the opera-
tion of different railway systems and different parts of the same system ;
to analyze their statistics and discover the reasons for the differences that
appear. This is practical instruction and must be the starting-point of
practical results. The young man who enters railway service without
any special training has a limited vision. He is engrossed with the par-
ticular tasks which are set before him, and he has little time or opportu-
nity to gain knowledge concerning other phases of railroad work. A man
who has the advantages which Harvard is now able to offer will come to
the railway with a clearer perspective of the relation of each factor in
the problem to the whole problem. His sense of proportion will be better,
and, while he must necessarily begin at the bottom, his training will
make it possible for him to profit earlier by his experience and to be of
greater use after he has obtained some practical training.

With this work well established at Harvard, some of tlie New £ngland
roads should be compared and studied, to discover the reasons and rem-
edies, if there are such, for the differences that appear. Such work will be
as really original research as any undertaken in laboratory or observa-
tory. There is no end to the material with which the student can work
or to the interesting but difficult problems that he will find arising out
* of it.

Books of abstract principles and discussions about railroading, which

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442 The Hill Professorship of Transportation. [March,

80 abound in these days, shonld have a rather small place in the work of
a department handled in the truly scientific spirit Too many of their
principles and laws are generalizations ; and they are apt to bear about
the same relation to practical railroading that a table of logarithms does
to the surveying and location of a line. It is the practical application to
the problem in hand, and the ability to make it, that count. To create
the power to make such application instantly and accurately is the aim
and end of real education. It can be attained in the department of rail-
roading at Harvard along such lines as are suggested here.

It is not expected that there will be turned out of the Business
School full-fledged railway superintendents, auditors, and managers, any
more than there are produced from the Law and Medical Schools law-
yers and doctors who can at once take up the most difficult and intricate
cases. The School, however, can do much to start men on the right road
to understand railway accounts and methods aud make such men of much
greater service after they can obtain some practical experience by actual

Lord Macaulay said, with prophetic vision : '< Every improvement of
the means of locomotion benefits mankind morally and inteUectually, as
well as materially, and not only facilitates the interchange of the various
productions of nature and art, but tends to remove national and provin-
cial antipathies and to bind together all the branches of the great human

The life-work of James Jerome Hill has been of great benefit to the
United States in bring^ing about the results foreseen by Macaulay.

Mr. Hill was born at Guelph, Ontario, on September 16, 1838. When
he was a mere lad he left his father's farm and came to the States. His
earliest business venture, in 1856, was in steamboat transportation at St
Paul, Minnesota. In 1870 he established the Red River Transportation
Company, which was the first transportation agency between St. Paul and
Winnipeg. By this time Mr. Hill had well defined in his own mind a
worthy ambition to develop the great regions of the Northwest, the
arable but little cultivated prairies of the Red River Valley and of the
country between St Paul and the Rocky Mountains. His first interest
in railways was in 1878, when he and a few other able men purchased
the St Paul & Pacific Railway from the Dutch owners of the property
and reorganized it as the St Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Com-
pany. This railway was the beginning of the enterprise now known as
the Great Northern, which extends from Lake Superior to the Puget
Sound, with many important branches north and south of the main line.
There are in this system 10,492 miles of track.

In all this development and in the building of the railway, mile by

Digitized by


1916.] The Hill Professorship of Transportation. 448

mile to the Far West, Mr. Hill was tihe guiding spirit He showed ex-
traordinary gifts in three directions : first, in liis far-sightedness in
selecting from an uninhabited and andeveloped country those regions
that natare had destined for great development if transportation was f or-
nished ; second, in his power to command the en thasiastic. confidence and
support of large capit^ts, in both Europe and America ; third, in the
woiidei*fully economic and scientific construction and operation of the
transportation propei-ties of which he was the head. United with these
qualities Mr. Hill had rare integrity, great physical strength, and capa-
city for work. There is a well-founded story about him to the effect that
in the early stages of the building of the Great Northern Railway, when
its treasury was low in funds, Mr. Hill, with his usual foresight, bought
up along the line of the railway building sites that were bound to become
of great value later on, and paid for them with his own money ; yet,
later on, instead of profiting personally by the transaction, he turned
over to the railway company, as soon as it was able to take up these
properties, the benefit of this shrewd investment.

Mr. Hill, in spite of the great constructive work that he has done, has
taken much interest in other human affairs. He has written and spoken
much on the importance of proper agricultural development in all its
forms ; he has been a leader in pointing out that the steady growth of
population places a responsibility upon government and individuals to
conserve the natural resources of the country. He has taken a great in-
terest in, and helped financially, many educational institutions through-
out the West, institutions which give young men training without the
necessity of going to more distant colleges and schools. Again and again
he has sounded a warning on the extravagant habits of the American
people and the ever-increasing practice of communities in creating debts
which are and will be a serious burden.

He is so much interested in the work that this new Chair at Harvard
should do that he is giving considerable personal attention and advice
as to the best way to obtain the desired results, and, in October, 1915,
he supplemented the fund presented to the University in June, 1915,
by a generous contribution of $125,000, — so that the total income for
instruction and investigation would be more nearly equal to the impor-
tance of the work.

It is the hope and belief of Harvard, of Mr. Hill, and of his friends that
the work to be done through the medium of the James J. Hill Professor-
ship of Transportation in the Harvard Graduate School of Business Ad-
ministration will be of constantly increasing benefit to the science of trans-
portation and to the United States. Monuments are erected to many
worthy men after death. In this case it is a gratification to Mr. Hill*s

Digitized by


444 From a Graduate^ s Window. [Maxell,

many friends that daring his lifetime this tribute has been paid to him
and that for yean to come the name of the foremost railroad constroctor
and operator in the United States will be linked with the leading nni-
▼ersity of the ooontry in a work of this very great national importanee.


<^400 MX78T ENLIST BT Fbidat.'* So Stated the Crinuon in very bhiek
headlines a few weeks since — the Crimsany which only a year ago was
pleading tearf ally with the nndergraduates for peace at any price, which
was urging, in clear view of devastated Belgium, that so long as we were
unable to distinguish one end of a rifle from another we were perfectly
safe. '' Sueh," says tlie outsider, ^* is the inconsistency of college journal-
ism." *^ Such," answers the graduate, ^^aughi to be the inconsistency of
college journalism."

Usually this right^bout-f aee in editorial policy concerns only questions
of delightful unimportance — so unimportant that nobody notices the
reversal ; the policy, furthermore, is merely an expression of opinion held
cheerfully, and perhaps quite unreasonably, by amiable young editors.
Last year, however, pacifist editors were attacking, with full conscious-
ness of the importance of the question, a matter of national and perraa-
nent, not of local and ephemeral, interest It was well that they did so,
because the University at large responded, sometimes flippantly, some-
times savagely, in a stream of red-blooded letters that made the most care-
less students sit up and take notice. The pale pacifist editorials of the
Crimson convinced no one of anything, except that the University had not
lost the primal virtues, and that it is well even for the inteUectually-
minded to look facts in the face. The manly, well-reasoned answers •— * it
would not have tried the intelligence even of a ^' superman " to refute the
Crimson arguments — made the self-satisfied students look abroad,
for once, even beyond that enlarged horizon resulting from a Boston

If one can draw conclusions from the tablets in Memorial HaU, it is
clear that the student body, back in the sixties, both thought and acted.
The boys did a certain amount of thinking in '98, too, and some of them
acted ; but an intensely dramatic crisis was needed to stir them to ventura
beyond accepted conversational formulie. One cannot help feeling, more-
over, that in most crises the response has always been rather emotional
than intellectual natural, perhaps, in youths of twenty summers.

The response to extrarmural demands is still, today, laigely emo-
tional. A little bit of the horror of the Great War has somehow woiked

Digitized by


1916.] From a Graduate's Window. 446

its way through the barrier of athletics and musty stadies; a little, too,
of the XtaiHl of soldiering, which even the 75 centimetre guns have not
quite destroyed. These things have affected the 400 and yet other 400
who '* enlisted by Friday." Bat along with the emotionalism of it all, we
old folk, who sit — sometimes rather sneeringly, to our shame be it said
— ^^on the heights of Olympus, think that we discover also a suggestion
of awakened interest in the big things of life, the tilings that are going to
count, after football signals, and Greek optatives, and even tiie glory of
dnb-life, have ceased to have much significance. The emotional impulse
has touched those deeply imbedded springs which set ajar the doors of
intellectual apprehension. A good many students are beginning to realize
the real lack of nourishment in the mental spoon-feeding process. They
are beginning to be interested in life. They are beginning to differentiate
themselves from the Chinese, to doubt their indisputable superiority to the
rest of the world. They even talk politics a little, make such acute re-
marks as that ** a college president is n't necessarily any good in the
White House," and get really ang^ when a g^oup of Divinity students
write a pacifist letter to the Oritnson in wluch the phrase national
Tumor is put between quotations, as though it were some queer foreign
expression. Some of them were so eager to vote that they overlooked the
exact registration requirements and got arrested in consequence.

All this cotis(aous turning of attention to outside matters is worth while.
We don't want Harvard students to be metamorphosed into political ani-
mals, big talkers and little doers ; we want them to remain the same happy,
somewhat irresponsible youths that we were, years ago, because we have
learned that there is little enough time for care-free laughter after the
four golden years are over. But, on the other hand, we rejoice to see the
irrepressible laugliter bubble out, not from vacuity of mind, but as
the effervescent expression of youthful high spirits, which can neither be
corked up nor evaporated by full recognition of future responsibility.
Tliere is no reason why our students should march the last lap on the road
leading to life with funereal faces ; there is every reason why they should
realize that life actually confronts them, that its responsibilities are im-
minent, and that, as Harvard men, they owe it something bigger and bet-
ter than mere respectability.

That is why we old grads are glad when the Crimson opens the door
to frank discussion. That is why we believe in the Harvard Battalion —
not that we expect it to produce trained sokliera, but that it is going to
keep its members conscious of a greater entity than Harvard. We cannot
yet look intelligently beyond our country. We can make sure that Har-
vard never forgets the country, that Harvard men realize that the College
is only of value as it serves the nation. Let us hope tiiat ^^ 4000 will


Digitized by



ITie Presidents Annual Report.




[On Jan. 10, 1916, President Lowell submitted to the Board of Orerseers the report
for 1914-15, which marks the oonoliision of his sixth year as President. In reprintinc^,
only the salient points of what is said on military training have been retained, and the
aooonnt of medical work abroad has been omitted, since it has already been diaeossed
in these pages. — Ed.]

Entering Classes, In the last annual report it was stated that the class
entering College in September, 1914, was 84 larger than the year before.
This aatumn the namber has remained Tery nearly the same, the new
Freshmen being in fact 17 less than last year. Carioasly enough the in-
crease in the namber of men who enter is less regular than that in the
namber of applicants for admission. The applicants, those admitted, and
those who entered for the past ten yeai*s, have been as follows :











• 69.1








67.1 .










In these figures, several things may be observed. Of the applicants
admitted a good many do not come. Some of them are thooght by their
parents too young — in most cases a grievous error. Others, for financial
reasons, give up college and go to work. Others, again, especially those
who have taken the examinations of the College Entrance Examination
Board, ai*e entitled to enter more than one college and go elsewhere ;
while some probably never intend to enter, but try the examination
merely as a test. Another fact to be observed is that for the last eight
years the number of applicants has increased almost steadily while the
number admitted has not, the percentage of rejections having varied from
23.2 in the first of these years to 31.1 in the last The natural inference
is that the standard of marking varies from year to year. No doubt this
is to some extent true, and with the necessary changes in the examiners
it is in part unavoidable. The fact that our old-plan examinations are
now wholly conducted by the College Entrance Examination Board, and

Digitized by


1916.] The President's Annual Report. 447

that the papers for the new plan are to be prepared in common for Har-
vard, Yale, and Princeton, will reduce this difficulty to a minimum ; or
at least subject us only to irregularities common to all colleges. But a
Tariation iu standard is not the only explanation, for the examiners de-
clare that the average proficiency of candidates in certain subjects varies
at times quite rapidly with a change in methods of teaching in the schools.

Freshman Halls. The most notable change in the College during the
past year was the opening of the Freshman Halls. The time for discussing
the effect these halls are expected to produce has passed ; the time for
weighing the final results achieved has not yet come, nor will it come until
more than one class has lived in them and passed through the rest of its
college coarse. As is often the case, the by-products may prove more far-
reaching than the direct effects. Moreover, one of the chief objects in
view, the breaking-up of groups with a similar origin, the provision of
an opportunity for friendship among men from different environments,
is in its nature intangible, or at least incapable of exact measurement.
The impressions of any single individual are likely to be partial and mis-
leading, while the total result cannot be reduced to statistics. Those who
have come into close contact with the life in the halls have not been dis-
appointed in their hopes. The only serious difficulty has lain in turning
so many boys into men at once. In view of the fear entertained by the
boys before coming that they would be subjected to the discipline of a
boarding-school, the supervision of order was not at first so close as it has
since become ; and a few of the Freshmen, to show their age, were youth-
ful in conduct, played roughly and broke panes of glass. Probably there
was no more of this than in past years, and certainly it can be avoided in
the future.

The general conduct of the Freshmen in the halls was good, and the
remarks of the Dean on this point are interesting. He shows also that the
record in scholarship was somewhat better than in the preceding year.
The percentage of men eliminated for low record was slightly less, the
percentage of high and of satisfactory grades was slightly larger, and the
number of men with a clear record of A's increased from three to seven.
If all this does not prove that the Freshman Halls had a distinctly good
effect on scholarship, it certainly shows that assembling the men in large
dormitories has not lessened their attention to study.

The i^e at entrance of the seven men who achieved a clear A record
is notable. Two were eighteen, four were seventeen, and one was fifteen;
the oldest was eighteen years and three months, while the average age
of the class was about eighteen years and six months. This is one more
illustration of the truth that the younger men are the better scholars.

The student as the unit of education. The Freshman Halls are not

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448 The FresidefU'e Annual Report. [March^

an isolated projeet, an attempt to treat the ne weomen bj a method peen-
liar and distinct. They are a part of a general tendency to be seen in all
American colleges, the objeet of which is to bring the strongest possible
influences for good to bear apon the stadent, instead of merely offering
opportanities to be seized or neglected as he may please« The anlimited
electiye system presented to the stadent tlie broadest and most diversified
opportanities, placing apon him the responsibility of making a wise ase
of them. The attention of the c<^ege anthorities was naturally directed
to the list of courses given, in an effort to make tlie offering as rich, as
varied, as comprehensive as possible; and the eonsoientioas instructor
strove to make his own coarse as yaluable as he could. Save in the case
of candidates for distinction in a special field, or men who proposed to
carry their studies in one subject far, it was not the duty of an instructor
to inquire what courses other than his own a student might be taking, or
might thereafter elect. Nor was it the bosiness ol anyone but the student
himself. The single coarse inevitably became the unit in college educa»
tion, and the degree was conferred upon the accumulation of a fixed
number of those units. They might be well or badly selected ; they miglit
form a consistent whole, or be disconnected fragments of knowledge, ac-
cording to the earnestness and wisdom of the student If he selected well,
he obtained an excellent education, not because he had to his credit so
many units, but because he had so chosen them that together they gave
him the development he required.

But in fact, the single course is not, and * cannot be, the true unit in
education. The real unit is the student He is the only thing in education
that is an end in itself. To send him forth as nearly a perfected product
as possible is the aim of instruction, and anything else, the single course,
the curriculum, the discipline, the influences surrounding him, are merely
means to the end, which are to be judged by the way they contribute and

Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 61 of 103)