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“Scientia Pro Patria”: Herbert Baxter Adams and Mugwump Academic Reform at Johns Hopkins, 1876–1901

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

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Two days before the 1884 presidential election, Woodrow Wilson, then a graduate student in history and political science at the Johns Hopkins University, confessed somewhat guiltily to his fiancée that he had been scanning the newspapers on the Lord's Day to gauge the chances of the Democratic candidate. “I am exceedingly hopeful,” he wrote, “though so anxious as to be thankful that there is only a day or two more of suspense. Only my profound trust in an over-ruling Providence will keep me from the deepest despondency, my darling, if Cleveland should be defeated.” Wilson's commitment to Grover Cleveland and his aversion to James G. Blaine were characteristic of the feeling at the university. In the department of historical and political science, headed by thirty-fouryear-old Herbert Baxter Adams, such feeling ran high. Adams, a New England Republican who made no secret of his mugwump convictions, took for granted that his students hoped for a Cleveland victory. The Cleveland motto, “Public Office is a Public Trust”, he reminded them, was a truth as old as Aristotle. On election night, Hopkins men scrutinized the returns into the early morning hours, and lectures the next day were heard with slight attention. Cleveland's inauguration was an occasion for celebration, and Adams, with a large contingent of Hopkinsians, went off on a “spree” to the Capital.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

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References

NOTES

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5. This is the opinion of Marvin E. Gettleman, who kindly permitted me to read the introductory essay to his forthcoming complete edition of the minutes of the Johns Hopkins seminar of history and politics from 1877 to 1912.

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81. Howe, Frederick C., The Confessions of a Reformer (1925; rept. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967), p. 8Google Scholar; see also, Historical Seminary Records 1 (November 8, 1889): 459. Hugh Hawkins goes so far as to say that, during the 1890s, political, social, and economic reform “set the dominant tone of the institution” (Hawkins, , Pioneer, p. 307)Google Scholar. This was true at least of Adams's department.

82. Adams, Herbert B., Public Educational Work in Baltimore (Baltimore, 1899), pp. 89.Google Scholar

83. Historical Seminary Records 1 (April 16, 1887): 279. Adams called George a “brilliant agitator” (Adams, , “Toynbee,” p. 5)Google Scholar. The seminar discussed George's theories on various occasions. See “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 1 (12 1880): 83Google Scholar; 8 (September 1889): p. 105; and 10 (March 1891): p. 84; and “News of a Fortnight,” (Johns Hopkins) News-Letter, 03 10, 1898.Google Scholar

84. Adams, , Methods of Historical Study, p. 56Google Scholar; and Rader, , Academic Mind and Reform, p. 23Google Scholar. Ely later presented an account of Most's talk to the seminar (p. 23, n. 46).

85. Adams, Herbert B., “Political Education in Baltimore,” Civil-Service Reformer 4 (07 1888): 81.Google Scholar

86. Adams, , “Political Education”Google Scholar; Ely, , “Adams,” p. 37Google Scholar; and Adams, , “Public Educational Work,” pp. 1112.Google Scholar

87. Historical Seminary Records 1 (February 10, 1888): 349; and Adams, Herbert B., “University Extension in America,” Forum 14 (07 1891): 515.Google Scholar

88. Historical Seminary Records 1 (February 13, 1891): 586. Papers on labor issues were presented to the seminar throughout the 1880s and 1890s. See, for example, “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 3 (03 1884): 58Google Scholar; 6 (January 1887): 61; (August 1887): 93; 7 (April 1888): 80; 10 (March 1891): 84; 14 (January 1895): 29; 16 (January 1897): 22; and 17 (March 1898): 49.

89. Quandt, , Small Town to Great Community, p. 7.Google Scholar

90. Adams, , “University Extension in America,” pp. 511–12.Google Scholar

91. Thelen, David P., “Rutherford B. Hayes and the Reform Tradition in the Gilded Age,” American Quarterly 22 (Summer 1970): 152, 165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

92. Adams, Lecture Notes: Nineteenth-Century Europe; and Adams to Bryce, November 17, 1892, James Bryce Papers (Bodleian Library, Oxford University).

93. Adams, Herbert B. et al. , “The Government of Cities,” The (Boston) Beacon, 02 12, 1887Google Scholar; Adams, , Working-Women in Baltimore, p. 1Google Scholar; Adams, Lecture Notes: Nineteenth-Century Europe; and Adams, Herbert B., “Educational Extension in the United States,” in Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1899–1900 (Washington, D.C., 1901), pp. 282–83.Google Scholar

94. Adams, , “Literature of Charities,” pp. 23, 24.Google Scholar

95. Adams, , Working-Women in Baltimore, p. 8.Google Scholar

96. Adams, , “Toynbee,” p. 4.Google Scholar

97. Hayes, Alice to Adams, , 03 10, 1889Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections); and Addams, Jane to Adams, , 10 10, 1897, Adams Papers.Google Scholar

98. Adams, , “Toynbee,” p. 5Google Scholar. Settlement work was discussed on numerous occasions at the seminar. See “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 7 (04 1888): 80Google Scholar; 8 (February 1889): 27; 10 (March 1891): 84; (January 1891): 56; 11 (February 1892): 50; (June 1892): 109; 13 (February 1894): 32; 14 (February 1895): 52; and 19 (June 1899): 62.

99. Adams, , Church and Popular Education, pp. 6364Google Scholar; Woods, Katherine Pearson to Adams, , 03 18, April 3, 1894Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections). For a biographical sketch of Sherwood, see Koudelka, Janet Brock, “Sherwood, Mary,” in Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, 4 vols., ed. James, Edward T. et al. (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 19711980), vol. 3, pp. 283–84.Google Scholar

100. Lawrence, Margaret Woods, Reminiscences of the Life and Work of Edward A. Lawrence, Jr. (New York, 1900), pp. 441–43, 509, 349, 516–17Google Scholar; Crooks, , Politics and Progress, p. 162Google Scholar; and Requardt, Cynthia H., “Alternative Professions for Goucher Graduates, 1892–1910,” Maryland Historical Magazine 74 (09 1979): 279Google Scholar. For accounts of Baltimore settlement work, see Montgomery, Caroline W., Bibliography of College, Social, University and Church Settlements (New York, 1900), pp. 4243Google Scholar; Hirschfeld, , Baltimore, pp. 156–57Google Scholar; and Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 162–64.Google Scholar

101. Adams, , Church and Popular Education, pp. 6263Google Scholar. Adams's interest in Lawrence House is revealed in his financial contributions and correspondence with Lawrence's mother. See Welsh, John A. to Adams, , 10 8, 1897Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections); Adams, Cash Book, p. 36, Adams Papers; and Lawrence, Margaret W. to Adams, (11 1893)Google Scholar in Lawrence, , Lawrence, pp. 508–9.Google Scholar

102. Adams, , William and Mary, p. 64.Google Scholar

103. Bemis, Edward W., “What England Owes to Protection” (abstract), JHU Circular 1 (05 1882): 205Google Scholar. For other seminar papers on the tariff, see “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 2 (08 1883): 156Google Scholar; and 3 (March 1884): 70.

104. Adams, Herbert B., “Hopeful Words to the Y.M.C.A. Evening Institutes” (unpublished paper, 10 1897), p. 1Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections).

105. Adams, , Study of History in American Colleges, pp. 9596.Google Scholar

106. Harter, to Gilman, , 02 16, 1892Google Scholar, in Holt, , Historical Scholarship, pp. 181–12Google Scholar; and Harter, to Adams, , 03 9, 1892Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections).

107. Herbert B. Adams, Lecture Notes: Educational History, Adams Papers (Special Collections). Adams was actually referring here to the 1900 election campaign. There were two theses on the currency question: Woodford, Arthur B., “On the Use of Silver as Money in the United States,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 4 (07 1893): 91149CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Takaki, Masayashi, The History of Japanese Paper Currency: 1868–1890 (Baltimore, 1903)Google Scholar. The subject was also discussed in the seminar. See “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 1 (07 1881): 149Google Scholar; and 17 (December 1897): 32.

108. See, for example, Sato, Shosuke, History of the Land Question in the United States (Baltimore, 1886), pp. iii, 181Google Scholar; Warner, Amos G., Three Phases of Cooperation in the West (Baltimore, 1888), pp. 367–8Google Scholar; and Bentley, Arthur F., The Condition of the Western Farmer as Illustrated by the Economic History of a Nebraska Township (Baltimore, 1893), pp. 8687.Google Scholar

109. Historical Seminary Records 1 (October 15, 1886): 199.

110. Adams, Herbert B., “National Problems-The Land Question,” Boston Times, 09 5, 1886Google Scholar. The evil of land engrossment was a matter to which Adams seems to have returned again and again. See Adams, Herbert B., Village Communities of Cape Anne and Salem (Baltimore, 1883), pp. 33, 42Google Scholar; and Herbert B. Adams, Lecture Notes: Roman History, Adams Papers (Special Collections).

111. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, p. 13.Google Scholar

112. Adams, to Wilson, , 01 6, 1888Google Scholar, in Wilson Papers, vol. 5, p. 652Google Scholar. The reference is to ten public lectures on “The Problems of Modern Cities” given during the spring semester (“Lectures in Hopkins Hall at 5 P.M.,” JHU Circular 7 [03 1888]: 51).Google Scholar

113. Adams, to Vincent, John M., 04 30, 1892Google Scholar, John Martin Vincent Papers (Huntington Library). On the conversion of the Baltimore press to reform, see Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 1723, 33–4Google Scholar; and Lambert, , Gorman, pp. 240–42.Google Scholar

114. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 2324Google Scholar; and Klapp, William H. to Adams, , 01 18, 1894Google Scholar (invitation attached), Adams Papers (Special Collections). Adams's name does not appear in Proceedings of the National Conference for Good City Government Held at Philadelphia - January 25 and 26, 1894 (Philadelphia, 1894).Google Scholar

115. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 2526, 2829Google Scholar; and Crooks, James B. to author, 03 16, 1984.Google Scholar

116. “Commemoration Day,” JHU Circular 14 (04 1895): 56Google Scholar; and Fredman, L. E., “Seth Low: Theorist of Municipal Reform,” Journal of American Studies 6, no. 21 (1972): 21CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For Adams's views on urban universities, see Adams, Herbert B. et al. , “A Symposium - Where Should a College Be Located?Chautauquan 12 (07 1891): 469–70.Google Scholar

117. Adams, Herbert B., quoted in Baltimore Sun, 02 26, 1895Google Scholar, in Wilson Papers, vol. 9, p. 231Google Scholar; see also Baltimore American, 02 26, 1895Google Scholar, Wilson Papers, vol. 9, pp. 227–28.Google Scholar

118. “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 14 (02 1895): 52Google Scholar; (April 1895): 68; (June 1895): 83; Crooks, , Politics and Progress, p. 29Google Scholar; and Baltimore News, 06 8, 1895.Google Scholar

119. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 3239, 9394Google Scholar; Lambert, , Gorman, p. 250Google Scholar; and Baltimore News, 10 16, 1895.Google Scholar

120. Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State - Compiled by the Workers of the Writers' Program of the Works Progress Administration in the State of Maryland (New York, 1940), pp. 197, 212Google Scholar; Lambert, , Gorman, p. 249Google Scholar; Merriam, Lucius to Ross, Edward A., 11 10, 1892Google Scholar, Edward A. Ross Papers (State Historical Society of Wisconsin); Crooks, , Politics and Progress, p. 39Google Scholar; and Adams, Herbert B., “Relation of Science to Good Government,” Baltimore Sun, 11 11, 1895Google Scholar. Several versions of this address (including Adams's typescript) are extant; citations indicate the version(s) used.

121. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 4041Google Scholar; and Lambert, , Gorman, p. 251Google Scholar. Gorman lost his Senate seat in 1898 (Lambert, , Gorman, p. 263).Google Scholar

122. Adams, , “Relation” (Sun)Google Scholar; and Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 41, 86.Google Scholar

123. Historical Seminary Records 2 (November 15, 1895): 197.

124. Adams, et al. , “Government of Cities.”Google Scholar

125. Adams, , “Relation” (Sun)Google Scholar; and Adams, Herbert B., [“The Relation of Science to Good Government”]Google Scholar, (typescript, irregular pagination), Adams Papers (Special Collections).

126. See Baltimore Sun, 11 11, 1895Google Scholar; and December 18, 1895.

127. Adams, [“Relation”]Google Scholar, (typescript); Schiesl, Martin J., The Politics of Efficiency: Municipal Administration and Reform in America, 1880–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 610, 23Google Scholar; and Keller, , Affairs of State, pp. 527–28Google Scholar. At least three Johns Hopkins Studies preferred a limited franchise in municipal elections: Porter, , Washington, p. 45Google Scholar; Levermore, Charles H., The Republic of New Haven: A History of Municipal Evolution (Baltimore, 1886), pp. 323–24Google Scholar; and Howe, , New Orleans, p. 29.Google Scholar

128. Adams, , “Relation” (Sun)Google Scholar; Adams, [“Relation”]Google Scholar, (typescript); and Schiesl, , Politics of Efficiency, p. 76Google Scholar. In these addresses, Adams drew substantially on Shaw, Albert's Municipal Government in Continental Europe (1895)Google Scholar and Municipal Government in Britain (1895)Google Scholar. See also Graybar, , Shaw, pp. 7583.Google Scholar

129. Wilson, to Adams, , 01 13, 1896Google Scholar, in Wilson Papers, vol. 9, p. 380Google Scholar; Adams, , “History, Economics, and Politics,” JHU Report: 1896, pp. 3435, 4142Google Scholar. Courses open to the public included Frederick H. Wines on social problems, Davis R. Dewey on unemployment, and Woodrow Wilson on urban government. This procedure was followed in 1896–97 and 1899–1900. See JHU Report: 1897, pp. 5859Google Scholar; and JHU Report: 1900, p. 74.Google Scholar

130. Baltimore News, 02 26, 1896Google Scholar, in Wilson Papers, vol. 9, p. 449Google Scholar. Wilson had given public lectures on urban government in the 1887–88 spring semester. See Adams, , “History and Politics,” JHU Report: 1888, p. 73.Google Scholar

131. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 87, 18Google Scholar; and Adams, , “History, Economics, and Politics,” JHU Report: 1896, p. 35Google Scholar. On Wilson's 1896 public lectures, see Bragdon, , Wilson, pp. 195–98Google Scholar; the Baltimore News reports are published in Wilson Papers, vol. 9, 411–12, 437, 449–54, 461–65, 468–73, 477–80, 482–83Google Scholar. On the Baltimore News and reform, see Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 1723.Google Scholar

132. Baltimore News, 02 28, March 4, 1896Google Scholar, in Wilson Papers, vol. 9, pp. 463, 483–86Google Scholar; Baltimore Sun, 03 4, 1896Google Scholar; and Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 8788.Google Scholar

133. Marburg, to Adams, , 01 7, 1893Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections); Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 9293, 131Google Scholar; and Marburg, to Johns Hopkins Trustees, 05 22, 1900, Adams Papers (Special Collections).Google Scholar

134. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 8889, 9495Google Scholar; Pumphrey, , “Richmond,” p. 414Google Scholar; and Ballagh, James C., “Baltimore and Municipal Reform” (abstract), JHU Circular 18 (03 1899): 40Google Scholar. The sections on education and charities were Gilman's work.

135. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, p. 96.Google Scholar

136. “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 18 (03 1899): 43Google Scholar; and Ballagh, , “Baltimore,” pp. 3940.Google Scholar

137. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 97100Google Scholar; and Coll, , “Brackett,” p. 101.Google Scholar

138. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 128–29Google Scholar; and Schiesl, , Politics of Efficiency, p. 59Google Scholar. “I appreciate your wisdom in turning the attention of your students to the higher institutional life of cities rather than toward the more thoroughly exploited questions of municipal administration” (Spiers, Frederic W. to Adams, , 11 11, 1897Google Scholar, Adams Papers [Special Collections]).

139. Schiesl, , Politics of Efficiency, p. 83.Google Scholar

140. Olson, Sherry H., Baltimore: The Building of an American City (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), p. 235.Google Scholar

141. Adams, Lecture Notes: Greek Politics. These notes have probably been misfiled.

142. Adams, , “Address to Old Town Merchants,” p. 12Google Scholar; Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 165, 182, 171–72, 132–36, 183Google Scholar; Adams, , “Relation” (Sun)Google Scholar; and Adams, Herbert B., “Free Municipal Baths” (unpublished manuscript, 1899)Google Scholar, Adams Papers (Special Collections).

143. [Adams, Herbert B.], “Why Not Be Generous?” Baltimore Sun, 01 9, 1893Google Scholar. Adams held strong opinions on building construction and building codes. See Adams, to Shaw, , 12 11, 1889Google Scholar, Shaw Papers; and Herbert B. Adams, Lecture Notes: Jewish History, Adams Papers (Special Collections). On the “city beautiful,” see Peterson, Jon A., “The City Beautiful Movement: Forgotten Origins and Lost Meanings,” Journal of Urban History 2 (08 1976): 415–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

144. Crooks, , Politics and Progress, pp. 130–31Google Scholar; and Marburg, Theodore, The Municipal Art Society of Baltimore: Its Activities, Aims, and Hopes (Baltimore, 1902)Google Scholar. On the origin and scope of municipal- art societies, see Peterson, , “City Beautiful Movement,” pp. 416–20.Google Scholar

145. Adams, , Cash Book, p. 3Google Scholar; and Adams, , “Educational Extension,” pp. 339, 344.Google Scholar

146. Boyer, Paul S., Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820–1920 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), p. 236.Google Scholar

147. Adams, , “Literature of Charities,” p. 32Google Scholar. These remarks are an expansion of his more brief seminar comments. See Historical Seminary Records 1 (May 6, 1887): 365.

148. Adams, Herbert B., “City Parks” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1899), Adams Papers (Special Collections).Google Scholar

149. Adams, Herbert B., “Free Music” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1899), Adams Papers (Special Collections)Google Scholar. See also Adams, , “Literature of Charities,” p. 32Google Scholar; and Adams, , “Educational Extension,” p. 353.Google Scholar

150. Adams, , Church and Popular Education, pp. 7678Google Scholar. A shorter version of this paper was given to the seminar in April, 1899. See “Proceedings of the Societies,” JHU Circular 19 (06 1899): 62Google Scholar. On the relation of mugwumpism to progressivism, see McFarland, , Mugwumps, pp. 125–48.Google Scholar

151. Adams, , “Educational Extension,” pp. 337–79, 333–34.Google Scholar

152. Hammack, , “Elite Perceptions,” pp. 365, 386Google Scholar; McFarland, , Mugwumps, pp. 173–74Google Scholar; Hall, David D., “The Victorian Connection,” in Victorian America, ed. Howe, Daniel Walker (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1976), pp. 82, 94Google Scholar; Keller, , Affairs of State, pp. 550–52Google Scholar; and Schiesl, , Politics of Efficiency, pp. 12, 2324.Google Scholar

153. Adams, to Shaw, , 04 7, 1886Google Scholar, Shaw Papers; Adams, Lecture Notes: Roman History.

154. Ross, Edward A., Seventy Years of It: An Autobiography (New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1936), p. 42Google Scholar; and Adams, to Adams, Henry C., 08 23, 1884Google Scholar, Henry Carter Adams Papers (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan).

155. The view of the mugwumps as a patrician class displaced by a status revolution was first advanced in Hofstadter, Richard, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959), pp. 137–43Google Scholar; It is also found in Hoogenboom, , Outlawing the Spoils, pp. viiiixGoogle Scholar; Sproat, John G., “The Best Men”: Liberal Reformers in the Gilded Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. vii, 273–81Google Scholar; Tomsich, John, A Genteel Endeavor: American Culture and Politics in the Gilded Age (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1971), pp. 7678, 8283, 87, 92, 111–12, 188Google Scholar; and Dobson, John M., Politics in the Gilded Age: A New Perspective on Reform (New York: Praeger, 1972), p. 76Google Scholar. For a historiographical overview, see Blodgett, Geoffrey, “The Mugwump Reputation, 1870 to the Present,” Journal of American History 66 (03 1980): 867–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

156. Robert Wiebe's perspective sheds more light on Adams's motivation than does Hofstadter's: “Moving near the mainstream of urban-industrial development, they [‘new professionals’] welcomed i t.… At the minimum it provided outlets never before available for their talents. Usually it offered them respectable and profitable positions as well.… Outgoing and enthusiastic, they were self-conscious pioneers” (Wiebe, , Search for Order, p. 112).Google Scholar

157. Sproat, , “The Best Men”, p. 272.Google Scholar

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