THE UNIVERSITYOFCHICAGO MAGAZINEJ U NIN TWO PARTS PARPublished by the Alumni Council of the University of Chicago monthly, from October to June. Office of Publication, 403 Cobb Hall, 58th St. atEllis Avenue, Chicago. Annual subscription price $2.00. Single copies 25 cents. Entered as second class matter December 1, 1934 at the PostOffice at Chicago, Illinois, under the act of March 3, 1879. The Graduate Group, Inc., 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, is the official advertising agency of the University of Chicago Magazine.Copies of this part of the Magazine containing the biography of William Rainey Harper, 50 cents.VOLUME XXXI 1 1 THE UNIVERSITY OFCHICAGO MAGAZINE NUMBER 9PART IIJUNE, 1941WILLIAM RAINEY HARPER• By MILTON S. MAYER!. SUNDAY MORNING AT VASSARTHE Professor of Hebrew finished his lecture onAmos and wiped his sweating spectacles with alinen handkerchief. The white-waisted maidensclosed their notebooks and crowded out of OldMain. It was a sunny Sunday morning in October. Itwas 1888. It was Poughkeepsie. The professor, stillflushed with the enthusiasm that always captured himwhen he taught the Prophets, was putting his notes away.The richest man in the Western world was standing inthe rear of the otherwise empty hall, but the professordidn't notice him.Looking suddenly up, the stocky young Professorof Hebrew* pumpkin-faced and long-haired, foundhimself face to face with his antithesis, a spare,square-shouldered individual with a distinctly businesslike black mustache and a distinctly businesslike carriage.The rich man held out his hand. "Dr. Harper/' he said,"I happened to be up here for the day, and I wanted totalk to you."Dr. Harper smiled his sweet, unworldly smile. Livingas he did in the dusty past, absorbed as he was in menand matters that might have been important twenty centuries before, it wasn't likely that he saw the significanceof Rockefeller's coming to see him. The President of theTrust, the Moloch of Monopoly, never happened to bespending the day anywhere. But it wasn't likely that theround-faced Professor of Hebrew would appreciate thefact.It wasn't likely, but it was so.Dr. Harper took his worldly visitor by the arm. Together they walked out of the hall and into the sunlight.Fourteen hours later they separated in New York, having come down from Poughkeepsie together. The professor, still smiling his sweet, unworldly smile, took the midnight train to New7 Haven. He went to his study toprepare for his crowded classes at Yale. He left his studyat dawn, still smiling. The President of Standard Oilwent home to his mansion on Fifty-Fourth Street. Hewas almost smiling himself.For the first time in his life, John D. Rockefeller hadmet a man his own size. And he, knew it. He knew allabout this earnest young theologian, all about his consuming selflessness, his prodigious powers as an educational organizer, his fantastic success at stirring up thecountry to the study of Hebrew. He had made up his mind that this was the man to spend his money for him.That was why the richest man in the world happenedto be spending the day at Vassar.This month the University of Chicago celebrates itsfiftieth anniversary. It is not the anniversary of itsfounding, nor yet the anniversary of its opening. It isthe anniversary, quite properly, of the day the Professor of Hebrew left Yale to create some sort of educational institution "in," as the Boston Post put it, "Chicago, of all places." Nobody then, least of all the manwho agreed to finance it, had any idea what sort of pig-in-a-poke it would be. Nobody, that is, but the man whowas going to create it. And the University of Chicagothat today is one of the world's great centers of learningis nothing but the lengthened shadow of William RaineyHarper.The man who conceived and created the first greatuniversity is one man. The man who got thousands ofpeople to study the deadest of all dead languages is another man. The man who pried the padlocks off thepockets of John D. Rockefeller is still another man.These three men, effectively disguised as one, lived to beforty-nine years old, and died leaving the details and theimmortality to others. This is the story of these threemen. This is the story of the professor who met andmastered John D. Rockefeller and brought the higherlearning to America.That Sunday morning in 1888 could not have happened before, and no one nowadays seriously believesthat anything like it will ever happen again. The twomen who met that morning symbolized two eras. MathewArnold had just died, and the era that achieved theemancipation of man had ended; B. P. Hutchinson hadjust pushed the price of wheat to two dollars, and the erathat achieved the emancipation of nature had begun.Harper, a^t thirty-two, was the flower of the first era;Rockefeller, at forty-nine, was the seed of the second.They met the moment that the expanded spirit met theexpanding machine, and for a few historic years thespirit dwarfed the machine.The paths of the two men had to cross. The thirst forlearning cried out from the parched land, and Harperyearned to slake it. The dammed-up gold cried out fromthe Rockefeller vaults, and its owner yearned to releaseit. He owned, among other good things, one-fourth ofthe shares of the Trust, which paid fourteen million dollars in dividends in the modest year of 1888. The simpleprofessor smiled his sweet, unworldly smile that Sunday29THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEWhere William Rainey Harper was born in New Concord,Ohio, July 24, 1 856.morning, while Moloch, gorged on his golden diet, talkedhimself into opening his vaults to education.II. NEW CONCORD, OHIO"I cheat my boys every time I get a chance," "Doc"William Rockefeller once said, "I want to make 'emsharp." Samuel Harper wanted to make his boys sharp,too, but where "Doc" Rockefeller's idea of a sharp boywas one who piled up his account with the banker,Samuel Harper's was one who piled up his account withGod. Samuel Harper was a typical member of the atypical community of New Concord, Ohio.The few hundred Scotch Covenanters who settled NewConcord were "peculiar." They hated chiffon and liquor,they loved the Bible, and they were positively fanaticalabout education. In the 1830's they established Muskingum College and supported it without any aid from churchor state. They wanted their children to be wise as wellas good. Otherwise they were ordinary people, and therewasn't anything in either the Harper or the Rainey ancestry to suggest that something important had happened in the world the day that Samuel Harper wrotein his diary: July 24, 1856 — / attended store and wehad a babe born about 11 and a half o'clock A. M.The Harper home was a log house about thirty feetsquare, but it had more than its share of books, more thanits share of family worship, and more than its share ofmusic. And the babe's mother and father had more thantheir share of the sturdy virtues. But the babe had something more still.By the time he was three years old he could read. His"good little book," as he called it, was the New Testament, but his precocious appetite didn't stop there. He read everything he could lay his hands on, and he readwith fierce concentration and fixative memory. Fortunately, New Concord didn't know enough to pamper aprodigy, and Willie Harper was punished in the NewConcord way when his parents, seeing a lamp burning inthe parlor in the middle of the night, found Willie sprawling on his stomach, his elbows propping up his arms, hischin in his hands, and a book on the floor in front ofhim. He had to be dragged away, because he was deafwhen he was reading; the only thing he could hear nomatter what he was doing was music.There was something strangely guileless about thechild, even in guileless New Concord. One summer Sunday in church, the perspiring preacher poured himself aglass of water. Willie Harper, wearing his white Sundaydress, wriggled down out of his seat and walked up theaisle to the platform and up the steps to the pulpit. Withperfect equanimity he stood there in front of the congregation until the preacher paused, and then he asked thepreacher for a drink. He drank the whole glass, just asunconcernedly as if he were standing at the kitchen sinkat home. Then he smacked his lips and thanked thepreacher, turned around and walked back to the familypew and climbed up into his seat. The performance tooka long time, for three-year-old Willie walked all the way,slowly and sedately.Willie Harper wasn't a sissy, but the delights of boyhood seemed slow and flavorless, somehow. He wantedto read and learn. He learned faster than any kid NewConcord had ever seen. He could learn from anybody,and, as they said in New Concord, he could "learn 'emdry." He finished high school before he was ten yearsold, and there was nothing to do but admit him to Muskingum College. The rest of the freshmen ranged fromeighteen to twenty.The College faculty thought they ought to hold himback, for his own good, but stocky little Willie Harper,still in short pants, breezed right through Latin andGreek, Trigonometry, Psychology, and Physiology. Threeof his classmates, preparing for the ministry, wanted tostudy Hebrew, and Willie joined them- Hebrew washard ; he liked it. Mornings he walked up the hill to thecollege building, and evenings he walked down, absorbedin his Hebrew. If he stumbled, he picked himself up,still studying.Commencement was approaching, and Willie Harperwas to deliver the Salutatory in Hebrew. The college faculty met in special session. Could they give a Muskingumdegree to a boy of thirteen ? What would it do to the boy ?What would it do to Muskingum's honorable reputation ?President Paul, a man of great breadth, was the mostworried of all. Willie Harper was very dear to him,,for Willie came over to the Paul house with his booksevery night and studied while young Ella Paul playedthe piano by the hour. The boy was normal. His collegework was not brilliant and erratic, but consistently good.What could they do ?June 23, 1870 — I attended store and Commencement.Willie graduated. It zvas a very solemn matter to me.Think of having a son to graduate before he was 14years old.THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE 31Samuel Harper was a solemn man anyway, and he andPresident Paul spent several solemn hours together afterCommencement. Willie wanted to go on studying. Thatmeant graduate work away from home. Samuel Harperleft the decision to President Paul. President Paul shookhis head and said that he was afraid, afraid of havingWillie Harper spend two years in graduate work andemerge a Doctor of Philosophy at the age of fifteen.Samuel Harper went home and watched and listenedto Willie playing the cornet. When the boy finished, hisfather spoke to him. "Will," said Samuel Harper,"you've got to decide what you want to be." ''Be ?", saidWillie, puzzled. "Yes," said his father, "you've got todecide whether you want to be a band leader or a collegeprofessor." The boy, still puzzled, said, "But why can'tI be both ?" His father explained that he was too youngto be away, that he was needed at the store, and that hecould organize a band and study nights.New Concord discovered that Willie' Harper had anunsuspected talent : he could sell anybody anything. Theboy was a bottomless well of enthusiasm, and whether itwas the Bible, the cornet, or a bolt of yard goods thatengaged his interest, he put such gusto into it that theProphets, the composers, and the customers couldn'tresist him. Business boomed at Samuel Harper's generalstore, and New Concord said that Willie Harper wouldmake his mark as a businessman, that New , Concordwouldn't hold him, that he'd burn 'em up some placelike Zanesville.But clerking interested Willie only while he stood behind the counter. What really interested this fourteen-year-old college graduate was boyhood. He'd missed itin his hurry. Now he played boyhood games, none ofthem very well, and indulged in boyhood pranks, noneof them very successfully. He smoked a cigar behind thebarn and got sick and ate an orange to take the tasteout of his mouth and got sicker. He organized and ledthe New Concord Silver Cornet Band, whose members,including its fourteen-year-old leader, all wore derbiespushed back on their heads, and many years afterwardpeople grinned at academic processions and Long Islandlawn parties, when they saw the President of the University of Chicago with his mortarboard or his stove-pipetilted back on his head like a derby on a poolroom dude.Willie Harper gave organ lessons, too, and spent hisevenings still at Ella Paul's, studying Hebrew while Ellaplayed the piano.Three times a week he rode horseback over to Zanesville, to study advanced Hebrew with a teacher there.President Paul decided that it wouldn't enter Willie'shead — much less turn it — that being a college teacher atsixteen was extraordinary, and Willie got a job teachingelementary Hebrew at Muskingum. The following yearPresident Paul began bringing catalogues of the European universities over to the Harper home. The SamuelHarpers of New Concord, Ohio, couldn't see themselvessending their Willie to Oxford or Berlin, even if they.could have afforded it. There were no universities inAmerica, and Yale was the only college in the countrywith the semblance of non-professional graduate work.So Willie entered the Graduate School at Yale. He waswearing long pants. III. THE PROFESSOR OF HEBREWAs soon as he got his Ph. D. he was offered the principalship of Masonic College at Macon, Tennessee. Hemarried Ella Paul — the fulfillment of a resolution madewhen he was ten — and she went with him to Macon, ametropolis of two hundred inhabitants. The College,which had about seventy-five pupils, wasn't really a college at all, and the biggest thing Principal Harper succeeded in doing there was organizing the college band,which he conducted. He was nineteen now — getting on,he told himself — and he had a lot to learn and a lot to do.When Denison University, a small but already distinguished college in Granville, Ohio, offered him thejob of tutor in its preparatory school, he took it, thoughit meant a reduction in rank. It wasn't long beforePresident Andrews was hearing the complaints of otherinstructors- that the students were putting everythingthey had into their work for Harper, letting the restof their work get done as best it could. Andrews, one ofthe great educators of his time, at once appointed Harperprincipal of the preparatory school.He w&s only twenty, but he had no trouble handlingthe students. He called himself "Mister" instead of "Doctor", and his unaffected love of teaching communicateditself (as it always does) to his charges. He gave themhard work and plenty of it, but he worked harder himself than any of them. His discipline, like everything elseabout him, was unsophisticated. When he decided thatdrinking was becoming a campus problem he walked intothe local saloon and sat down with the offenders andpresented his dilemma to them, concluding, quite simply,Early New Concord days. "Willie" Harper (right) and hisfriend, Jack Gault, "dress up."32 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEwith, "I don't know what to do. What would you fellows do in my place?"The man's titanic power for toil amazed his colleagues.He never seemed to sleep, he never seemed to rest. Instead, he moved easily, unhurriedly, from one task to another. One of his friends, finding Harper buried in workin the middle of the hottest day of the year, asked theperspiring toiler if he never took it easy. Harper lookedup and said, with his characteristic innocent amiability,"Why, I've got to work — I consider my time worth adollar an hour." A dollar an hour, in 1877, was severaltimes the salary of any professor.He persuaded the University to let him organize aHebrew class. His regular work was Latin and Greek.The Hebrew class was outside the regular course, andits members, at the beginning, were mostly faculty people,men twice and even three times his age. Within theyear, the Denison undergraduates were filling Harper'sHebrew classes.President Andrews realized that he had stumbled upona man who could raise the dead. The teaching of ancientlanguages, particularly the Semitic languages, was rapidly becoming extinct in America. The reason was thatthey were badly taught,- and men like Andrews realizedit. But educators despaired of finding men who wantedto teach them well, or who could if they wanted to. InHarper, Andrews had stumbled upon the hope of reviving interest in the classic tongues.But neither Andrews nor Harper realized what Andrews had stumbled on until, one night in 1876, the20-year-old language teacher appeared at a Baptistprayer-meeting in Granville. Most of the faculty, including President Andrews, was there. William Rainey Harper, who was not a church-member though he had beenborn a Presbyterian, sat in the back row. At the endof the services he stood up, no longer a language teacherto whom the Bible was his "good little book," but a mantransported. "I want to be a Christian," said Harper,simply and earnestly. "I don't know what it is to be aChristian, but I know I am not a Christian and I wantto be one."The Baptist Church received a convert, and the pathsof William Rainey Harper and John D. Rockefeller began, unknown to either of them, to converge.IV. THE CHRISTIAN TEACHERAbout that time President Northrup of the BaptistUnon Theological Seminary wrote to President Andrews of Denison, asking if Andrews knew of anysuch thing as a good Hebrew teacher. Andrews knewof a good one — the best, he thought, in America. Buthe hated to let him go and he doubted if Northrup couldkeep him. The "West" appealed to Harper, and the Seminary was located in the Chicago suburb of Morgan Park.He went. He was twenty-two — younger than the menhe would teach — and he looked still younger. At the endof his first year he was given the degree of Bachelor ofDivinity and promoted from Instructor to Professor. Hiselementary course was the most popular in the Seminary.It consisted of four hours' study a day for five days "aweek in a ten weeks' course. The strain of such concen tration was generally thought to be impossible for students, but the Examining Committee of Visiting Pastorsand Scholars reported, in 1880, that "the students atMorgan Park pursue Hebrew as though their immediatesettlement in the pastorate and their final success in theministry depended upon a knowledge of the entire Hebrew Bible. Their interest does not expend itself in theregular courses, but appears in the formation of extraclasses for reading more than is prescribed."One night in the spring of 1881, Will Harper camehome from his classes, exhausted, but, as always, excited,and Ella Harper served him his supper. It was coveoyster stew, his favorite dish, and he ate too much, asusual. The last mouthful was no sooner down than hishead was on his chest and he was asleep in his chair.Ella Harper went to the piano and began playing Mozart,softly. Will Harper could always turn himself on andoff like a light; he went to sleep suddenly, slept deeplyat once, and awakened suddenly. Ella was still playingMozart when Will sat up in his chair. An idea hadawakened him.Why should the Seminary close in the summer? Whyshould anything close in the summer ? Why waste timeon vacations, when there was so much to do and solittle time to do it in?The next day he asked President Northrup for theuse of the Seminary building for a summer school inHebrew. It was 1881. By 1883 institutions all over thecountry were asking him to conduct summer schoolsfor them. In the summer of 1885 he conducted fiveschools, east, west, north, and south. When preachersand students wrote him that they wanted to attend hissummer schools but couldn't afford to, he had anotheridea. He could teach Hebrew by correspondence, preparing mimeographed lessons, sending them out, and receiving the papers by mail. The idea caught, and thecallous year of 1886 smiled at the spectacle of thousandsof people, the country over, studying Hebrew under aman of thirty.The demand for Hebrew textbooks had to be met,and nobody else was able to write them. So Harperwrote them. There ought to be journals, too, one for laystudents and another for scholars, and nobody else wasable to start them. So Harper published The HebrewStudent and Hebraica. An organization of the country'sHebrew teachers was needed, now, so Harper foundedthe American Institute of Hebrew, ultimately to be oneof the great learned societies. There had to be bookkeeping, endless book-keeping, but that was where Harper drew the line. His younger brothers, who were livingwith him and studying at the Seminary, took the job.He insisted only on keeping the tuition fees, the subscriptions, and the memberships so low that the poorestteacher or parson could take advantage of them, andthe book-keeping showed a deficit. So there had to bemoney raised, and Harper organized a joint stock company' embracing all his ventures and sold the shares at$100 apiece to his friends.The whole thing grew and grew until it looked like,well, the Standard Oil Company, with holding companies, subsidiaries, interlocking directorates, and stockissues. There were some differences, of course, in thetwo institutions, not the least of which was the fact thatTHE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE 33the earnings of the Hebrew King were somewhat smallerthan those of the Oil King. The earnings of the HebrewKing came to almost two thousand dollars a year. Buta Morgan Park realtor prospered when he rented Harper a building for his offices and press. And the MorganPark postmaster got a salary raise on the show thathe was handling several hundred pieces of mail every dayfor a man named Harper.The people of New Concord had discovered, manyyears before, when they went to Samuel Harper's store,that Willie Harper could sell anybody anything. Nowhe was doing it. He was selling the country Hebrewlessons and Bible studies. And it wasn't the "Bible belt"he was selling them to, for William Rainey Harper wasa modernist, a lover of the Jew's Old Testament and ascientific student of the New. "For several years," hesaid later in his life, "I studied the Bible for the purposeof discovering that which. would enable me to convinceothers that it was only an ordinary book, and very ordinary at that." But now the skeptic was retreating rapidly before the assault of faith. The "good little book"had become The Book, and the mission to teach was aChristian mission.Will Harper had always said what he meant and actedas he felt. His Christianity embraced all men, whetheror not they called themselves Christians, and all truth,whether or not it happened to be denominational. Harper was a scholar and a Christian, and if scholarship andChristianity appeared to be in conflict, the conflict had tobe resolved; it could not be disposed of by dogma onthe one hand or apostasy on the other. The inner lifeof a Christian scholar is hard. It was at Morgan Parkthat the servant of truth and the lover of Scripture facedhis first great conflict. Discovering that his critical conclusions on a certain problem involved the denial of theDavidic authorship of one of the psalms quoted by Jesus,he struggled with himself* for days. At the time he spoketo no one of his problem. In the end, the haggard truth-seeker emerged resolute and calm, ready for the storm hisdecision would bring down upon him. He had decidedto follow his scholarly findings.Without the support — with, indeed, the enmity — oftraditionalists and secretarians — he plunged heedlesslyahead with his work, teaching, studying, organizing, administering. A vacation was a change of work ; work itself never stopped. In 1882 he conducted one of hissummer schools at the Baptist assembly across the lakefrom Chautauqua, the great Methodist summer conference organized by Bishop Vincent in the '70's. TheBaptist assembly had never amounted to much, but therelurked in Bishop Vincent's mind the possibility that theBaptists might some day find the right man and establisha rival Chautauqua. The first time Vincent heard Harper lecture, he knew that Harper was that man. Likethe early petroleum operators who took one look atRockefeller and realized he would put them; out of business unless they made a deal with him, Vincent decidedhe had to hire that man to save Chautauqua from theBaptists. Harper accepted the principalship.Chautauqua bloomed under the touch of its new director. The fifteen summers he spent there saw the annualenrollment rise to two thousand and the staff to more than a hundred. The Baptist Menace across the lakesimply melted away.His classes at Chautauqua, each numbering hundredsof pupils, compelled him to develop the art of publicspeaking. Fie had always refused to go into lecturing —then, as now, a source of steady income for ragged professors — because he thought he lacked the address thatthe lecture platform demanded. But Chautauquamade him try. He overcame his inhibitions and lectured.He lectured, as he wrote, in a lucid style devoid of rhetoric, eloquence, and humor. But his earnestness somehow made him a magnetic speaker. He could read arailroad timetable and convey the impression that thiswas an important document profoundly considered by apowerful man. Given a great crowd of people interestedin his subject, Harper could hold them intent for hours.V. CHICAGO, OF ALL PLACESAffiliated with the Morgan Park Seminary was arickety little Baptist college, in Chicago, established in1859 by Stephen A. Douglas. It bore an imposing name,The University of Chicago, but it was neither a university nor of Chicago. It had never been more than twoor three steps ahead of the sheriff, and in the early '80' sit was only one. The value of its first public subscription had been wiped out by the panic of 1857, fund-raising was made impossible by the Civil War, and suchresources as it had left were destroyed in the Great Fireof 1873, the panic of 1873, and the second big fire in1874. Northrup and the Seminary's financial secretary,Thomas W. Goodspeed, were trying to save this Christian outpost of higher education.Its collapse would not affect the Seminary, but itwould weaken Baptist education in the West and stripthe city of Chicago of its figleaf of culture. The sheriffcaught up with it at last in the spring of 1886, whenan insurance company foreclosed its mortgage on theproperty. Goodspeed and Northrup were beggingRockefeller, a trustee and supporter of the Seminary, tosave the dying college. Goodspeed thought $100,000would revive it. But Rockefeller was apathetic ; Northrup and Goodspeed were noble spirits but impractical,and Rockefeller, whatever his spirit, was notoriouslypractical. Though Goodspeed insisted that "there isprofound interest felt by many Western men in the re-establishment of the University," Rockefeller knew better. The people of Chicago had other things to do withtheir money.Meanwhile Dr. Augustus H. Strong was pressing theOil King to found a twenty-million-dollar institution i^f7New York City. Strong was President of the Rochester Theological Seminary and a lifelong friend of Rockefeller. He wanted to "take possession of New Yorkfor the Baptists," who, he complained, had always madethe mistake of building their churches on back streetsand their colleges in country towns. "We have alreadyenough one-horse colleges to stock the world." Good-speed's hundred-thousand dollar college in Chicagowould be "nothing but a great high school." Thetwenty-million-dollar "university" which he wantedRockefeller to establish on Morningside Heights— whereColumbia now stands — was to be militantly Christian,34 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEclosed to "infidel" teachers, and strictly controlled bythe church. Rockefeller was, like Strong, a fundamentalist, but the latter's passionate illiberality disturbed thecapitalist who, as a young clerk in Cleveland, had contributed not only to the church but to Catholic, Negro,and Jewish causes as well.Early in 1886, John D. Rockefeller heard a rumor. Itwas not a rumor about federal indictments or anti-monopoly legislation, though there were plenty of such rumorsabout. It was a rumor that President Dwight of Yalewas trying to get young Harper from Morgan Park.Rockefeller sat down and wrote Goodspeed, saying thathe supposed Morgan Park would be reluctant to let theyoung fellow go. Goodspeed, who wasn't quite as impractical as Rockefeller thought he was, went to the trustees of the expiring college and proposed that they electHarper president, which they immediately did. Thenhe answered Rockefeller's letter, saying that MorganPark saw no way of holding Harper unless he could beinduced to accept the presidency of the college, which,in turn, would have to be put on its feet. "Our seminary can no more hold him long within its limits thanyour first refinery could hold you. We have not so manymen of eminent abilities that we can spare such a manto Yale and the Congregationalists."The two-way trap was set, but neither of the victimschose to walk into it. Rockefeller replied that he "didn'tknow what to say" about the college, but he most emphatically felt that the Seminary should make every effort to keep young Harper, and he was ready to makea special grant for the purpose. The other victim declined the presidency of the tottering University of Chicago, which promptly summoned enough strength to shutits doors. Harper couldn't be interested in a good college, much less a bad one.He was interested in something else. He was interestedin something no one had thought of before, somethingthat made twenty million dollars look like a down payment. What Harper was interested in was a great university.VI. THE PROFESSOR'S IDEAAmerican education had been spreading since the CivilWar, but it had not been improving. There were exceptions — Harvard under Eliot, for instance — but theydid not impress the country. As for graduate research,it was almost non-existent. Harper's far-flung contacts, at Chautauqua, at his summer schools, had shownhim the picture. His insight had shown him the need.What American education needed was an institutionnew enough to pioneer and strong enough to set the pacethat the rest would follow. The task of such an institution would not be to teach but to learn. It would take asits province not the daylight of human understanding butthe darkness, hacking away at the night of the unknownuntil at last it had hacked a hole big enough for mankind to pass through into a better society. Civilizationmight spread with the spread of old truths, but it couldadvance only with the discovery of new.The business of this university, then, would be discovery and the training of discoverers. Every instructorwould be an investigator, for, said Harper, "it is only the man who has made investigations who may teachothers to investigate." The men to be called to the faculty of such an institution would have to be originalminds, and, like all men consumed by the peculiar passion of originality, they would have to have a world oftheir own to live in, a world whose limits would be thefarthest reaches of man's inquiry.The students of the university would not be boys andgirls but mature men and women, candidates for theworld of scholarship. Henry Philip Tappan had had thesame idea when he became the first President of theUniversity of Michigan in 1852 and announced thatMichigan was not to be "a preparatory school for boys."But Tappan, denounced for trying to "Prussianize" thestate of Michigan through its University, had to abandonhis dream, and Ann Arbor, after he left, had becomeanother great college. It could not be done, apparently,in a state university, which had to give the taxpayerswhat they wanted when they wanted it. An endoweduniversity was the only hope.This university of Harper's would contain a college,and even a secondary and elementary school. But theywould exist for the sake of the university, not the university for the sake of them. They would be laboratories,nothing more, for experimentation in education. So, too,with professional schools, Divinity, Law, and Medicine.They would not exist primarily for the preparation oflawyers, doctors, and preachers, but for the purpose ofdiscovery and the training of discoverers in each field.College life, meaning fraternities, football, and fun,would be permitted to exist only insofar as it did notinterfere with the purposes of the university. Harperknew from grueling personal experience, how nearly impossible it was for a man to be at once a scholar and ateacher, to give himself up to research and at the sametime civilize the adolescent homo sapiens ferus. Heknew, too, how nearly impossible it was for an institution to pursue the truth fearlessly and at the same timeto tack and shape its policy to increase enrollment andcompete with other institutions.The work of Harper's university would be primarilytheoretical, not practical. In Science, it would lay thegroundwork for discoveries of general use. In Education, it would give the country new methods and producea steady stream of teachers to introduce those methodsinto the schools and colleges in which they would teach.In the professions, his university would find out how toproduce better practitioners so that the professionalschools could produce them. Harper's university wouldwater the tree of knowledge at the roots.William Rainey Harper didn't sit around having Visions with a capital V. A conversation, a lecture, or thereading of a book would produce a segment of the university to be, and the segment would lodge itself, unordered, in the things-to-be-done compartment of hismind. As the segments piled up, over the years, in thethings-to-be-done compartment, they began to crowd thethings-being-done compartment. Then the university hadto be created, to make room for them.Harper did not create the university idea. In 1886the University of Berlin had five thousand students, allof. them post-graduate in the American college sense.Oxford and Cambridge had twenty-five hundred to threethousand students each. But America was busy withTHE UNIVERSITY OFmore urgent matters than new truth. It was satisfiedwith Harvard, a college only, a few of whose faculty andstudents were engaged in real university work. In 1876Johns Hopkins was established with Daniel Coit Gilmanas President. Hopkins was devoted to research, but itwas a small institution. In 1888 G. Stanley Hall leftHopkins to be the first President of Clark University.Hall, too, tried to create an institution for advancedwork, but the founder of Clark wanted a college, andthe founder finally had his way. While Harper was stillat Morgan Park, Seth Low was trying to persuade Columbia College to transform itself into a university, andTimothy Dwight was doing the same thing at Yale.Harper's slowly shaping vision wasn't so much original as it was audacious. To have the university hewanted he would have to find, not a millionaire but amulti-millionaire, and not an ordinary multi-millionaireeither, but one who could be sold an idea completelyremote from American thinking on education and philanthropy. As to who would do the selling, once thisHeaven-sent Midas was found, there was never anydoubt in Harper's mind. Willie Harper could sell anybody anything. Nor was there any doubt that Heavenwould send the Midas, for Harper's faith, like his vision,was audacious.God would provide, but He could not be hurried.Harper was being deluged by letters from friends atYale, begging him to take the professorship of Semiticlanguages there. His future, they told him, lay not in asmall seminary in Chicago but in a great college in thecultural center of the country. Harper thought that hisfuture lay in a great university in Chicago. PresidentDwight was sending him telegrams now and railroadtickets to New Haven. Harper thought it over anddecided, finally, that the shortest way from MorganPark to Chicago was via New Haven. He accepted thepost at Yale. He was twenty-nine years old.VII. HOME OFFICE: NEW HAVENIt wasn't a man but a caravan that moved acrossthe country from Morgan Park the summer of 1886.The headquarters of the correspondence school, ofthe summer schools of Hebrew, of Chautauqua, of theAmerican Institute of Hebrew, and of two learned journals all had to be carried away, together with all theassistants and equipment involved. It was certainly thefirst time that any American railroad had ever shippeda complete composing room of Hebrew type. MovingHarper to Yale required the whole summer, and housing\iirn, when he got there, required a three-story buildingin downtown New Haven.What had happened at Denison and at Morgan Parkhappened all over again, only on a larger scale. Thewhole Divinity School at Yale, traditionally hardenedagainst Hebrew, caught his enthusiasm. Students discovered that after a year in Hebrew with Harper, theyknew the language better than they knew any other language after six years with any other teacher. He wasasked to give seminars in Assyrian, Arabic, Aramaic,Chaldee, Sanskrit, and Syriac, and the divinity students,. who scarcely needed the command of these exotictongues for success in the ministry, piled into his classes.They wanted all the Harper they could get. CHICAGO MAGAZINE 35DAYS WITH PEOPLE—MR. ROCKEFELLER.This cartoon, one of a hundred about Harper, appeared inthe Chicago Daily News in 1901.But the linguist's major interest now was in teachingthe "good little, book" of his childhood. He offeredcourses in the English Bible to undergraduates, and before long the entire undergraduate body was absorbedin the historical study of the Prophets, an approach thatwould have been decidedly unorthodox in any Baptistinstitution. In the hands of this warm and simple man,the Bible came to life. In his second year at Yale, theadministration had to turn over the largest assembly hallin the University for his undergraduate lectures.He gave a series of Bible lectures in downtown NewHaven, and twelve hundred townspeople attended them.He was called to New York, to Philadelphia, and toBoston to repeat them. Every other Sunday he lecturedbefore the entire student body of Vassar, and speciallectures took him to colleges everywhere. The man washungry, and his hunger fed on the feeding of others.He was probably one of the busiest men in America.His daily mail was larger than Yale University's. Hecouldn't carry the burden, but he wouldn't lay it down.There was only one alternative. Carefully picking menlike Frank Knight Sanders, who was later Dean of theYale Divinity School, he established a managing assistant for each of his enterprises. Once he had chosen aman, the man was given complete responsibility for details. "If. you get into trouble," said Harper to Sanders,"let me know." That was the way John D. Rockefellerwas operating, in a somewhat different line of. business.But there was one thing he could not delegate toothers, and that was the fire he infused into everythinghe touched. He neither could, nor would. Except forroutine details in each of his ventures, he did everythinghimself. His schedule took him to his first class at 7 :30in the morning. He taught until 11 :00, and went to his36 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEoffice to work on his mail, discuss perhaps a dozen matters with each of his fivt assistants, and drink a quart ofeggnog at his desk. Catching the 1 :00 o'clock train toNew York or Boston, he would deliver a lecture in theafternoon and another in the evening. The midnighttrain took him back to New Haven and his study. Professor T. D. Seymour, the father of the present Presidentof Yale, invariably awakened at 4 :00 in the morning andwent to his study, just as invariably encountering Harperleaving his.He seldom slept when other men did. But when othermen were awake and discussing matters of routine thatdidn't interest him, he would say something to indicatethat he was attentive, go to sleep the next instant, andawaken five minutes later and resume the discussion. Hecould anticipate a profitless period of a conference andput himself to sleep for its duration. It was hard to takeoffense when he did it, because he never lost the threadof the conversation. "He could listen and sleep," saidone of his Yale associates, "at the same time."The midnight hours were all he had for study, forwriting, for reading, and for friends. A student or younginstructor, unable to solve some personal or scholarlyproblem, would get up in the middle of the night andwalk over to the darkened campus. One light would beshining, from the corner study of North College. Irresistibly the single beam of light drew the troubled spiritdown its path to Harper's study. And no matter howdeeply engrossed in his work the professor might havebeen a moment before, he seemed to have nothing whatever to do but listen to his visitor and consider hisproblem. Harper couldn't bring himself to refuse thoseinterviews.But they had to be paid for, and sleep had to payfor them. No matter how near the dawn it was or howweary the man, classes had to be prepared. The studentsmight be forgiven for coming to class unprepared, theteacher never.Scholarship, too, had to be crowded into the night.During his two years at Yale he wrote a textbook onHebrew and another on Greek, he edited a series of volumes on the inductive method of teaching Latin andGreek, he wrote articles for learned journals and regularreports on his various enterprises, and he carried on arunning disputation in Hebraica on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, taking the liberal position againstthe traditional position of his eminent opponent, Dr. W.Henry Green of Princeton.Sleep had to pay for it all, but Harper had ultimatelyto settle his account with sleep. He was a heavy, muscular man, but nobody could withstand indefinitely theabuse of driving work, erratic hours, and a diet of hurried mouthfuls broken occasionally by an oyster feast.His dark round face had no ruddiness in it. As a boyof fifteen he had what was known in New Concord as a"bad spell," so bad, indeed, that Samuel Harper wrotein his diary one day : / fear Willie will not be long withus. There was something wrong with what New Concord called his stomach.The summer of 1889 was the hardest-worked of hislife. "We have had a most glorious season at Chautauqua," he wrote his friend Goodspeed. "The increase in every department is over forty per cent. We do notknow what we are to do with the people who are to comein this week and next." His pallor was darker, his stepswere slower, his weariness never lifted, but the summerwas "glorious." Then he broke down. Ella Harper wasworried, but her husband told her he was just tired. Hedecided to go to Europe for a month of "perfect rest,"but when he went, he found himself, accidentally ofcourse, in Stockholm where the International Congressof Orientalists was meeting.VIII. MR. ROCKEFELLER SHOPSThere was one project that wasn't pressing. That wasthe university. Goodspeed and Strong had weakenedthemselves, he thought, by adding their names to thelong, long list of petitioners who came to John D. Rockefeller wanting something. They didn't want anythingfor themselves, it was true, but they wanted somethingfrom Rockefeller. They harassed him. The Oil Kingwanted to be let alone; perhaps he even wanted somebody he could go to, somebody who wanted to listeninstead of talk.William Rainey Harper was an impatient man, impatient to spread education everywhere, impatient todiscover and to see discovery done. But he wasnot impulsive. He could wait, as long as he knewthat success was inevitable. And though he had neverexchanged a word with Rockefeller, he knew that success was inevitable. He knew, too, that he wanted hisuniversity in Chicago, in the roaring capital of the greatuncultivated middle empire of America. An idea thatdefied tradition belonged in a place that defied tradition.He predicted, in 1887, that a university in Chicago"would in ten years have more students, if rightly conducted, than Yale or Harvard has today." The prediction seemed fantastic. And so it proved. It was fantastically modest.Rockefeller spent the summer of 1887 in Europe withDr. Strong and when they returned it appeared thatStrong was on the very verge of victory. But the theologian made a fatal mistake. Rockefeller had talked agreat deal about Harper that summer in Europe, andas soon as they got back Strong visited Harper and wroteto Rockefeller : "My dear Mr. Rockefeller, if we let thatman get out of our hands, it will be the greatest lossour denomination has sustained during this century."Rockefeller had heard about that man long enough.He wanted to see him. He wrote him at New Haven,asking him to spend the day with him in New York.The friendless Oil King and the friendly little professorhad lunch together. Rockefeller talked. Rockefellersuggested they spend the afternoon riding in the park.Harper's time was, by his own estimate, worth a dollaran hour ; Rockefeller was getting rich. Rockefeller suggested, at the end of the afternoon, that Harper cometo the house for the evening. Rockefeller talked. Hetalked and talked. He talked as if he had never had achance to talk beforehand perhaps he hadn't. Harperlistened and smiled and answered questions.Rockefeller wanted to know all about him, about hislife, his work, and his family. As the evening wore on,the lonely capitalist, drawn on by his attentive com-THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE 37panion, found himself talking about Strong's plan forNew York. Harper smiled and nodded. Rockefellerdescribed the project in intimate detail and said he wasthinking of putting eight or ten million dollars into it.Harper smiled and nodded. Then he said he wanted Harper to be its president. Harper smiled. It was very flattering, Harper said. It would be a great opportunity.But he didn't nod. He changed the subject, absent-mindedly, and talked about Goodspeed and Northrupand the Seminary in Morgan Park. Then he went backto New Haven.A year passed, and Rockefeller, watching everythinghe touched turn to gold, resisted the petitioners, Eastand West. William Rainey Harper went on about hiswork in New Haven, saying nothing. His apparent indifference may have irritated Rockefeller; it certainlymust have fascinated him. Early in October of 1888the capitalist appeared at Vassar after Harper's Sundaymorning lecture, and the fourteen-hour interview ensued.Rockefeller talked. Harper listened. Much of what heheard, he'd heard before. But as they took the train toNew York together that night, Rockefeller began to talkabout Chicago. "He talked for hours in reference to thescheme for establishing the great university of Chicagoinstead of New York," Harper wrote Goodspeed thefollowing day. "The long and short of it is I feel confident that his mind has turned, He stands ready afterthe holidays to do something for Chicago. It will haveto be managed, however, very carefully."It was already being managed very carefully. Sensing that the strategic moment had come at last, Harper,his enthusiasm at flood stage, opened the dam. Hedidn't, however, make Strong or Goodspeed's mistake oftrying to sweep the man off his feet. He let Rockefelleradvance the arguments for Chicago, he himself merelytestifying to their validity. His role was that of the disinterested expert.Rockefeller turned up again at Vassar and spent theday with Harper. "He is practically committed to thething," Harper wrote Goodspeed. A week later Rockefeller went to Cornell to ask the advice of educatorsthere and found himself listening to Prof. E. BenjaminAndrews, the same E. Benjamin Andrews who, as President of Denison University several years before, had decided that Will Harper was the most promising youngman he had ever seen. The following week the capitalist appeared in New Haven, inquiring the way to Professor Harper's study."It is absolutely certain that the thing is to be done,"Harper wrote Goodspeed. "It is now only a question asto what scale. I have every time claimed that nothingless than four millions would be satisfactory to beginwith, and have expressed my desire for five. Just whathe wants to do and what his definite ideas are I cannotyet tell. . ."Rockefeller did not pretend to be an educator or toknow what the needs of education were. Harper had theideas. The industrialist wanted to.hear the objections toHarper's ideas. But there were no objections. PresidentTaylor of Vassar was for it. Professor Andrews was forit. Professor Robinson of Cornell was for it. Rockefellerasked them if it wouldn't be better to place the institution A studio portrait of W. R. Harper taken in Boston in Washington, if it wouldn't be better to assist existingcolleges, if it wouldn't be better to build a Seminary.They thought it would be better to build the Universityof Chicago, and to build it around Harper.Only Dr. Strong dissented and his dissent was violent.He wrote Harper that "the chance is open to us totake possession of New York, and to lead the march ofeducation on this continent." Harper's idea of "a mongrel institution in Chicago, which is neither fish, flesh,nor fowl, neither University, College, nor Academy, butall three combined," would not create "a ripple on thesurface of our educational ocean."But Strong was not nearly so horrified at the locationor organization of the proposed institution as he was atits fundamental character. It was to be non-sectarian.Profoundly religious men like President White of Cornell had long maintained that the secretarian spirit wasthe worst enemy of higher education. Denominationalintolerance went all the way back to the ousting of thelearned Henry Dunsfer, first president of Harvard College. Harper had no stomach for witch-burning. Hehad advised Rockefeller to separate Theology from theother departments of the new university and to followthe liberal tradition of indifference to the orthodoxy ofthe teachers. Rockefeller had no choice but to acceptthis advice if he wanted Harper. What was more,Rockefeller could not see what difference it made. Butto Strong it made a difference little short of heresy.Seeing his dream slipping hopelessly away, the fervidtheologian played his last card, in what must have beenthe hope of discrediting Chicago by discrediting Harper. Strong's daughter, a student at Vassar, was attending Harper's lectures there and taking notes. Strong,THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEALL READY FOR JOHN D. SANTA CLAUS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.Chicago Record Herald, December 2, 1902.a trustee of the school, studied the girl's notes and decided that Harper was in fact a heretic. He wrote Harper that he was unwilling, as a parent and a trustee ofVassar, "to have the unsuspecting child under the influence of this teaching." He wrote Rockefeller, whowas also a trustee of Vassar, that Harper had "departedfrom the sound faith" and was plainly a dangerous man.Though Harper refused to answer the attack, it discouraged him completely. He was, he said, "ready topull out of the whole concern." He had his moods, lessfrequently, perhaps, than most men, but more possessive.He could be stiff-necked. He would not defend his integrity. He certainly would not oppose Strong, a fanatic, with Rockefeller, a layman, as judge betweenthem. President Taylor, who had heard all the Vassarlectures, defended Harper to Rockefeller. PresidentNorthrup of Morgan Park wrote the capitalist thatHarper was "the most remarkable young man in thereligious history of our country in this century." Rockefeller had never really believed Strong's charges. Hehad believed, however, that the affair might bring aboutan open and ruinous schism in the Baptist Church.Now he was satisfied that the denomination was behindHarper.A few weeks later, Strong surrendered at last, retracted his charges. Then Rockefeller sought an interview with Harper and discussed Chicago, this time indefinite detail. Harper reported, as usual to Goodspeed."He is certainly planning to do something for Chicago. . .*He will decide soon. . . He is more tired than ever ofStrong, and the New York plan is N. G." While Strong's unhappy efforts were delaying Rockefeller's decision, a new and powerful figure was pressingit. The Rev. Frederick T. Gates had been appointedExecutive Secretary of the American Baptist EducationSociety, which was organized in 1888 to canvass the educational needs of the denomination. Gates is one of thoseamazing individuals who sometimes slip through the historians' fingers. He was not a preacher at all, but ago-getter, sidetracked, temporarily, in a pulpit in Minneapolis. He was a business man's businessman, superlatively sharp and cynical. He had been watching Harperfor a long time, and he was convinced that Chicago wasthe place for Rockefeller's great contribution to Baptisteducation.At a ministers' conference in October, 1888, Gatesread a paper entitled, A New University in Chicago,A Denominational Necessity, as Illustrated by a Studyof Western Baptist Collegiate Education. "The brethrenwere 'all torn up' over it," the realistic Dr. Gates wrotein describing the reception of his paper. "They wereastonished, astounded, confounded, amazed, bewildered,over- whelmed." And they were, in Chicago, in Washington, in Boston. And one of the brethren, the brotherwho was the hardest of all to astonish and astound, founda copy of it on his desk at 26 Broadway, New York. Heread it and sent for Gates.IX. MR. ROCKEFELLER BUYS INIt was one of those occasional May mornings in NewYork that lighten men's hearts and hearten their hopes.Gates and Rockefeller paced up and down in front of thenarrow brownstone house at 4 West Fifty-Fourth Street,just off the Avenue. The Baptist Education Societywas to hold its annual meeting in Boston a few dayslater. Passersby on Fifty-Fourth that morning mighthave caught a word or two of the conversation betweenthe two thin men who seemed to be, and were, so muchalike. The phrases "four hundred thousand" and "sixhundred thousand" were mentioned several times. Itwas Rockefeller who was saying "four" and Gates whowas saying "six."Suddenly Rockefeller stopped and faced Gates, andsmiled the smile of a man who seldom smiles. "I haveseen him give $10,000,000, $30,000,000, $1,000,000,000,"Gates wrote many years afterward, "but no gift of hishas ever thrilled me as did the first great gift of $600,-000, on that May morning after those months of anxioussuspense."In New Haven the Professor of Hebrew smiled thesmile of a man who often smiles. The richest man inthe world had agreed to give $600,000 for an educationalinstitution in Chicago provided the people of Chicagoraised another $400,000 within a year. If anyone hadtold Rockefeller that day that the $600,000 pledge wasgoing to cost him and his foundations a modest $80,000,-000, he wouldn't have believed it. Gates wouldn't havebelieved it. Goodspeed wouldn't have believed it. Onlythe Professor of Hebrew would have believed it. It washis idea.In his conversations with Rockefeller Harper had always talked as if neither of them was thinking of anything but a university. In his letters to Goodspeed hewrote always of "the great university" and "a universityTHE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE 39to begin with," and when Goodspeed suggested that itmight be a college to begin with, he wrote, "it is not acollege, but a university that is wanted, a university ofthe highest order, having also a college." And to Good-speed's reply that a college was bound to grow anyway :"Unless we hold a stiff upper lip and come out boldlyand confidently for what we want, viz., a university ofthe highest character, we shall lose ground and make amistake."A few months before making his $600,000 pledge,Rockefeller had written Harper, "Of late I have rathercome to feel that if Chicago could get a college and leavethe question of a university until a later date, this wouldbe more likely to be accomplished." When the pledgewas announced "for a college," Harper decided that thetime had come to turn the screw. He wrote Rockefeller :"This idea of a college now, perhaps a university later,is, it strikes me, most excellent. . . Perhaps Dr. Good-speed has written you that I have refused absolutely toconsider the question of going to Chicago." Now theidea of a college certainly did not strike him as excellent,and while it was true that he would not consider goingto Chicago to establish a college, there was somethinguncharacteristic about the casual finality with which heappeared to be closing his long negotiations with Rockefeller.The Trustees of the new College asked him, as theman they wanted to <head the institution, to draw up aplan for adoption at the September, 1890, meeting of theBoard. He said he would, but the months went by andhe did nothing. For the first time in his life he appearedto be barren of ideas. He could not plan a college. IfRockefeller, Gates, and Goodspeed thought he hadyielded, they were wrong. If he appeared to have yielded,it was because he wanted to stay in the game until thelast hand was played. He was not going to quit untilhe had lost. And if he played his last card cannily, ifhe held it until the bids were in on the last hand, he mightwin. His last card was William Rainey Harper.He had let himself be drawn into a game with a manwhose fortune was great enough to give America worldleadership in education and research. Unless Harpercould persuade him differently, Rockefeller's colossalfortune might go the way of so many others, scatteredamong hundreds of causes which, worthy as they were,would never solve the problems of mankind. Truthalone, truth discovered and taught, would do away withthe ills that charity poulticed. For such a stake as thisguileless Willie Harper of New Concord was willing toplay a sophisticated game. For such a stake as this hehad persisted in misunderstanding the Oil King's intention to establish a modest college. Rockefeller had onceconsidered a twenty-million-dollar institution; he wouldhave to be "managed" into considering it again.But apart from the strategy of maneuvering Rockefeller, Harper wasn't sure himself that he wanted to goto Chicago. He wanted, on the one hand, to teach andto learn, "to go on growing," he said. On the otherhand, he wanted to create a university. It was not a.question of personal ambition. He had already turneddown the presidencies of Brown, Rochester, and SouthDakota, and would some day, if he wanted it, get thepresidency of Yale. President Dwight of Yale, uponhearing of the Chicago offer, sent for Harper and offered him the Yale School of Languages, for which a two-million dollar endowment was being raised. Having raisedthe money, Dwight wrote Harper, in the summer of1889: "And now all intending and approaching Baptistswho from time to time are disposed to assail the tabernacles of the blessed saints, and run off with their professors, may have leave to withdraw."The only thing that would resolve his doubts would bea free hand — holding a blank check with the signatureof John D. Rockefeller on it — to go to Chicago and createthe university he wanted. He had spurned a college, andhe would not, he wrote one of his friends, consider auniversity like those already in existence. "It is the opportunity to do something new and different that appealsto me." The opportunity was Rockefeller's to make ordeny, and John D. Rockefeller never in his life felt theimpulse to sign blank checks. But he wanted Harper,and each passing month made him want him more. Agroup of Baptist leaders informed the industrialist that"the managers of Yale University have recently madeProfessor Harper a series of propositions designed tobind him permanently to that institution." This, theytold Rockefeller, would be "scarcely less than a denominational disaster." Rockefeller kept writing Harper — •"You are the man for President," "I regard you as thefather of the institution" — in the hope of wheedling himinto taking something less than a university.40 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEW. R. Harper and John D. Rockefeller at the laying of thecornerstone of the Press, 1901.But Harper held on to his last card. He was not theman to be wheedled. Nor was he the man to be bullied.When President Dwight heard that Harper was considering the Chicago offer, he told him he could not honorably leave Yale. Harper would not be talked to thatway, and Dwight's remark almost drove him to Chicago.Rockefeller did not know that, however. He knew onlythat he had to have Harper, and that Harper, thoughhe had taken a place on the Board of the new institution, had flatly refused to head it.X. MR. ROCKEFELLER PLUNGESAttending the first meeting of the Board in July of1890, Harper was told he was expected to take thepresidency. He said nothing, and he produced no plan.A few days later he wrote Goodspeed that "there mustin some way be an assurance of an additional million.How this is to be obtained, or where, is the question.If Mr. R. is in dead earnest, possibly the case will notbe so difficult as we may think." He didn't say whetherhe was talking about a college or a university, or howan additional million would affect his position. Good-speed wrote to Gates, Gates wrote to Rockefeller, andRockefeller wrote to Harper: "I confidently expect thatwe will add funds from time to time to those alreadypledged to place it upon the most favored basisfinancially."Rockefeller wrote the phrase most favored basis financially with studied ambiguity ; Harper read it withstudied unambiguity. He responded as if Rockefellerwere of course talking about universities. "The denomination, and indeed the whole country, are expecting theUniversity of Chicago to be from the very beginning aninstitution of the highest rank and character . . . andyet, with the money pledged, I can not understand howthe expectations can be fulfilled. ... It seems a greatpity to wait for growth when we might be born full-fledged."Rockefeller invited him to come to Cleveland and disrcuss the situation. What transpired there isn't known,but on August 17 Harper sat down with Gates and drew up a list of eight conditions on which he would accept thepresidency. They provided, among other things, that theSeminary was to be transferred from Morgan Park asthe Divinity School of the University, and that OldTestament criticism and Hebrew instruction were to betransferred to University chairs, with Harper as headof the department. Point Number 7 was the heart of theagreement: "Mr. Rockefeller to give one million dollarsas a new, unconditional gift, a part of which would gofor aid to the Seminary in carrying out the plan."Rockefeller had to decide at last. The million dollarswould be used for research. The college would be auniversity. It would be the university Harper wanted.And the university Harper wanted would ultimately costmillions. The wizard of American business, looking backto that Sunday morning at Vassar, must have paid passing tribute to the superior wizardry of the unworldlyProfessor of Hebrew. He accepted the eight conditions,spent a day with Harper discussing details, and Harperwas selected President at the Board meeting of September 18, 1890.His election provided, at Harper's insistence, a periodof six months for consideration of the offer. But heacted, as did everyone else concerned, as if he werealready committed. Returning to New Haven after hiselection, he got on the train and pulled his little rednotebook out of his pocket. Late that night he had completed his plan for the University of Chicago. He hadspent a year trying in vain to plan a college ; in a fewhours he succeeded in planning a university which included a college. It "flashed upon him," he said, andthere is no doubt that he felt, devoutly, that DivineProvidence had illuminated his mind at the same moment it had moved the heart of Rockefeller.Meanwhile, Gates and Goodspeed had raised the $400,-000 that secured the original pledge of $600,000. Gateshad moved to Morgan Park, and, with Goodspeed steering him around, he had emptied the Baptist pockets ofChicago. The campaign had been a bitter one, for Chicago, proud as it was of getting a great university,regarded it as a present from the richest man in theworld. That was exactly what Rockefeller didn't wantto have happen. So Gates and Goodspeed fought on, andthe money finally came in. Local Baptists provided halfof it. Business men, individuals in other cities, alumniof the old University, and a Jewish club made up therest. Marshall Field, when the money was all in, gave aten-acre tract of marsh on the undeveloped South Side.Still engaged at Yale, teaching, studying, writing, editing, lecturing, still administering Chatauqua, the summerschools and the correspondence work, Harper plungedinto the biggest job of his life with characteristic abandon.He rarely saw his family. Little Sam, who was noweight years old, had the privilege of bringing his fatherhis can of eggnog at lunchtime, and the overburdenedman pulled up a chair for the boy and engaged him in aserious discussion of the pressing problems of second-grade arithmetic. Will Harper was trying desperately toresist the depersonalization of his life. But he got homeat night — such nights as he did get home — too tired evento eat cove oyster stew, and he threw himself on thesofa, slept ten minutes, and resumed his work.THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE 41The University had to be built and opened by October, 1892. The tools at hand were two million dollars,ten acres of land, an ardent scattering of Baptists, andthe mind and personality of William Rainey Harper.Harper was jealous of his idea ; he must do everythinghimself, down to the most trivial detail, for nobody elsereally knew what he was trying to do. He must evensupervise the building and the money-raising, in addition to the larger assignments of organizing the curriculum and finding the faculty. Here he would delegateno power at all. If the new university was to be something truly new, Harper would have to pick the men andthe studies himself. He woud fight academic traditionalism as he had fought theological traditionalism.But it seemed to him that theological traditionalismmight stand in the way of academic innovation. In themidst of his labors he began to worry all over again aboutthe question of orthodoxy. He would, he knew, neveryield on the first principle of all his Theology, the principle of truth wherever the truth might lead. Theologicalscholarship in America was dying, a victim of dogma.Harper's historical interpretation of the Scriptures hadrevived it, but it had stirred the dead bones and arousedthe wrath of the guardians of the shrine.There would be more Dr. Strongs. The Seminarymight find itself embarrassed as a part of Harper's truth-at-any-price university. Unless he made his positionclear, right from the start, the supporters of the institution might desert it when the attacks began again. Hecould remain at Congregational Yale and teach as hewanted to, and he did not intend to compromise eitherhimself or the new institution. Goodspeed, receiving along and unhappy letter from him, replied, "We havesettled that matter and I will not reopen it." Harperthereupon wrote Rockefeller, insisting that a commissionof Baptists pass upon his orthodoxy before he took office. "There is no doubt that the way I present Bibletruth differs largely from that of leading men of theBaptist denomination."Rockefeller was angry. He had long since grown impatient with what he called "pushing and pulling" overTheology. He had been hopeful that "you wise menwill all see eye to eye" on the matter of Biblical interpretation. Dr. Morehouse, one of the men whom Harperwanted to examine his orthodoxy, flatly refused to sit injudgment on the men who had already supported Harper in the Strong matter. Rockefeller and Morehousewrote Harper that they would not consider his request."I am ready to go to Chicago," he wrote Dr. Morehouse on February 7, 1891. "I do so, however, with theunderstanding that everybody has known beforehand myplatform and my position and my situation and that I amfree to do in the way of teaching what, under all thecircumstances, seems to be wise." On February 16 heaccepted the presidency of Chicago, in a letter writtenfrom New Haven on the purloined stationery of an AnnArbor, Michigan, hotel.He had known for years what kind of university hewanted. He had prepared a general plan on the trainbetween Chicago and New Haven six months before.Now he had to make the blueprints and submit them tothe Trustees in December, 1891. They were adoptedwithout a hitch. The blueprints were as staggering as The Founder and the President at the laying of the cornerstone of Foster Hall.the vision had been. It should have been apparent atonce, even to the Trustees, that this was no two millionor ten million dollar institution. Nor was it the twentymillion dollar institution Strong had asked for. But itseems to have been apparent to no one but the pudgylittle Professor of Hebrew. To an intimate friend heconfided that "the first step will have been taken whenthe University has fifty million dollars."With easy effrontery, Harper organized a universityon a scale entirely unwarranted by the funds at hand orin prospect. God, who had set up the universe withoutcounting the cost, would set up the University. Harperwas only His humble instrument, and other instruments,less humble, perhaps, but better-heeled, would be provided. The plan of the University, he told Rockefeller,was "very simple, but thorough-going." He was persuaded, he added, that "it will revolutionize universitystudy in this country."XI. "HARPER'S FOLLY"He divided the institution into three parts — the University proper, the University extension work, and theUniversity publication work. Neither extension nor publication work was an important part of any other university. They would serve Harper's driving ambition toeducate everyone everywhere. The mutuality of understanding, among scholars in different fields and betweenscholars and the outside world, had been realized, Harper said, in the great universities of the Middle Agesand had since disappeared. Organized extension work,which did not exist in America, would carry the University to the public, through regular lecture courses in othercities, through evening courses in downtown Chicago,through correspondence courses, and through libraryservice. In publication, the University would bring together the minds of men in any one field all over theworld by means of learned journals, and would breakdown the barriers of specialization by the publication ofdocuments bringing together the work in all fields. Therewas no such Press, with its own printing plant, inAmerica.42 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINE^0^o^#^«-*«^«j^«^c»^#^#^a-^#*i««*i*<»The Chicago American ran this cartoon in 1905 with the followingverse:JOHN D. ROCKEFELLERI here and now make high resolve,That out of town I shall be foundWhen, as the seasons slow revolve,My friend "Doc" Harper drops around;For, though he is a charming man,And widely heralded as such,While any oil is in the canHe's ready with his little touch.The University proper was divided into the academiccollege, consisting of the first two years, and the university college, consisting of the last two. The academiccollege would be devoted to general education, with specialization beginning in the third year. Thus was thejunior college, now a standard educational unit, givenits impulse. It was Harper's idea to unite the juniorcollege with the preparatory period of education, a reform now advanced by educators everywhere.Above the Sophomore year, the theme of the University would be research and the training of research workers. One of Harper's innovations was the reduction ofthe teaching load to eight or ten hours a week, so thatthe faculty would have adequate time for its real job,that of research. In addition to offering scholars andscientists absolute freedom from outside interference,the new University jarred the academic world by doubling the prevailing salary scale. Top salaries of $6,000and $7,000 a year, offered by Harper, ultimately didaway with the near-peonage of the poorest-paid of professions.The respective roles of the past and the present — a question which agitated education then as bitterly as itdoes now — were clearly assigned in the new University.Harper, with his whole scholarly career imbedded in antiquity, was a thoroughly modern spirit. He was of thepast, but not in it. His respect for the ancients and theirthinking verged on reverence, but his respect for truthwas greater. He insisted on having the students concentrate on three, or even two, general subjects of fundamental importance. (The prevalent method diffused thestudent's interest over half a dozen subjects at a time.)The object of this concentration on fundamental subjectswas the discipline of the mind, not the communicationof information. The. tools of this education would be thebest thinking of all the ages ; fifty years before PresidentHutchins began his clamor for the revival of the humantradition, President Harper sat on an international commission to select and publish the world's great books.But the ultimate purpose of this classical disciplinewas what was known as the higher criticism. The learning of learned men was useless unless they were equippedto analyze it; mere fact finding, purposeless or repetitious, would not pass for research in Harper's university. Already the spirit of rigorous criticismdominated the natural sciences ; Harper introduced . itinto a dangerous area, the social sciences. Recognizingthat the emancipation of nature was bringing with it,unheeded, the enslavement of men, Harper declared that"the times are asking not merely for men to harnesselectricity and sound, but for men to guide us in complex economic and social duties." This was "the crying-need."The plan cut brutally through taboo and tradition.Women would be admitted, not only as students at everylevel, but as faculty members, for the first time in anyuniversity. Sports would be conducted for the students,"not," said Harper, "for the spectacular entertainmentof enormous crowds of people," and for the first timein any university the head coach would be a professorwith tenure that did not depend upon his winning games.There would be no rigid qualifications for matriculation,such as prevailed at other endowed universities; studentswould be accepted, not on the basis of formal gradesand credits, but on the basis of capacity and interest inhigher education. The library must be a comprehensivecollection of related libraries, meeting the needs of specialists in every department. The University would assist in the establishment of new colleges and in solvingthe problems of old ones.Ever since his Morgan Park days Harper had beendetermined to salvage the summertime for education andscholarship. The notion that minds and buildings shouldstand empty one-fourth of the year was intolerable tohim. Now was his chance. Chicago would not havesemesters; it would have the quarter system. No existing institution had a regular summer quarter. A summer quarter would utilize the plant more effectively andproduce more revenue.But these material considerations, though they appealed to the Rockefeller streak in Harper, were secondary. The summer quarter would enable students whohad to work their way through to complete their collegeeducation in three years. If students had to drop out fora few months, on account of illness or lack of funds,THE UNIVERSITY Othey could still keep their place in their class by attending summers. Graduate students, teachers, and professors could take advanced courses during their vacation.And there would be four convocations; students couldtake their degree as soon as they completed their work,and President Harper would have four ceremonious occasions on which he could hammer home the University'sideals — and its needs.XII. PRESIDENT HARPER SHOPS"If the first faculty of the University of Chicago hadmet in a tent," said President Hutchins, at hie own inauguration, "this would still have been a great university." No one could have felt more profoundly thanHarper the infallibility of the adage that it is men andnothing but men that make education. It was Harper,not Denison, Harper, not Morgan Park, Harper, notYale, that revived the study of Hebrew and revitalizedAmerican theology. It was men who made education.Since research was to be the principal occupation of theUniversity, ,the quest for men was a quest for mentalitiesrather than personalities. The Harper criterion of selection was difficult; he had to know a great mind, notonly in Theology or language, but in the sciences and inEconomics and History, when he saw one.There were more than a thousand applications forfaculty jobs and Harper handled them all. Most of themhe rejected remorselessly. He wanted the best minds inthe country, from the most famous department headdown to the youngest docent. He had to go out andget them. There was plenty to attract them to Chicago,but there was, it seemed, even more to repel them. Scholars, like other people, hate to pull up their roots. Therewere other objections, too. Who knew how long Harperwould last, and after Harper was gone, what would happen to Rockefeller, and if Rockefeller went, what wouldhappen to Chicago? Finally, there was the unscholarlyatmosphere of the roaring West, a concern that revealeditself in the bedtime prayer of little Bobby Hale, whosefather, the Latinist, was induced to leave Cornell fora Harper, professorship : "Good-bye, God, we are goingto Chicago."Harper had to go out and bring in the men he wanted,by something approaching force. After almost a year ofunrelenting effort, he admitted he was "completely discouraged." He didn't have a single department head.He could not budge the men he wanted. Professor Herbert P. Adams of Johns Hopkins rejected the chairmanship of the History Department : "I like you and Chicagoand all that your new combination represents, but I havechosen the Babylonian captivity rather than an Egyptianalliance." If he could only get these men to visit Chicago, if they would only let him show them what washappening, they would never get away. J. LaurenceLaughlin, the Cornell economist who was one of theframers of the Federal Reserve System, made the mistake of dropping in to see Harper. He had no intentionof leaving Cornell. But he stayed' for dinner, and thenhe stayed overnight, and then he stayed for twenty-fiveyears.While American scholars remained immobile, Harper'sinternational friendships, formed at academic congressesand mainfained by correspondence, began to yield fruit.He wanted Richard Green Moulton, the pioneer in ex- CHICAGO MAGAZINE 43"IHE UNKINIEST CTT OF All"tension work in England, to do the same job for America and to come to Chicago to do it. Moulton finallyagreed to come for a year, to get it started. He remainedthe rest of his life. Harper did not admire the narrowness of the German universities, but he admired thebreadth of certain German scholars, men like Von Hoistin History, and Maschke and Bolza in Mathematics.Sure enough, they were interested in breathing freer air,and they found it in Chicago.Gates was now stationed in New York as Rockefeller's personal representative. His job was to keep Harper's finances straight — and narrow. Rockefeller himselfcould not resist Harper; he had to hire a harder-boiledman to do it. He had impressed on Gates just twoprinciples in connection with the University. It mustget increasing support outside, and it must operate withinits income. When Harper, at Gates' request, submittedtrial budgets, Gates saw that they called for deficit financing. He was stern with Harper. Harper was "in despair"because the men he wanted for the faculty were skepticalof the University's financial stability.In Frederick W. Gates, Harper was up against a manwho made Rockefeller look like a philanthropist. Gates,like Harper, was an artist at arousing other men's enthusiasm; unlike Harper's, his own was usually under control. In October of 1891 the President of the new University went East to talk to Gates and persuaded him thatthe situation was serious. It was the beginning of January, 1892. The opening of the University was scheduledfor October 1, less than nine months away, and therewas no faculty. Gates decided to visit Chicago. It wasthe same mistake that Laughlin had made.Taking the professional skinflint by the arm, PresidentHarper led him over the wooden walks that bridged thelevel marsh, conjuring up great laboratories and librariesuntil Gates was almost ready to admit they were there.44 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEThe fact that the plant consisted of the foundations oftwo buildings, that only half a dozen men had signedup for the faculty, that there wasn't a cent available forapparatus, for books, for heating, lighting, janitorial, secretarial, and administrative costs — it all seemed suddenly unimportant as long as Harper held your arm andtalked. Gates was mesmerized. He wrote Rockefeller along letter: "Let me say that none of us ever dreamedat the first of the magnitude of the opportunities, thepromise, the occasion. It has grown on our wonderingeyes month by month. I stand in awe of this thing. Godis in it in a most wonderful way."With God and Gates on Harper's side, Rockefellerwas helpless. Gates asked for another two million dollars — more than Harper, with all his audacity, wouldhave dared to ask for. Rockefeller immediately gave another million. Marshall Field gave $100,000 on the condition that another $900,000 be raised in sixty days. Halfof it was raised in fifty days, and Field extended theoffer for another thirty. The Trustees, who now includedthe most influential men in Chicago, put all their effortinto the drive.Most of Chicago's rich men were "self-made." Some ofthem were self-educated and some of them uneducated.They might be generous, but they couldn't see this education thing, beyond, of course, enough Reading, Writing,and Arithmetic to enable a man to make change and keepbooks. They could not, however, refuse to talk to President Harper when a distinguished fellow-citizen askedthem to, and once they walked into Harper's parlor,they were lost.The million was raised within ninety days, bringingthe endowment to four million. In 1888 Harper hadwritten Goodspeed: "I have every time claimed thatnothing less than four million would be satisfactory tobegin with."With only a few months more to complete the all-important task of finding a faculty, Harper found that hesimply couldn't be in enough places at once. Rockefellerwarned him against spreading himself out too thin. Harper submitted his working schedule to his old friendPresident Faunce of Brown. Faunce decided that he hadto give up something, and, since he would not relinquishany of his continuing enterprises, he cancelled thirty-sixlecture engagements. This gave him a little more time toprowl around the country, turning up now at one institution, now at another, shamelessly robbing Yale, Harvard,Cornell, Hopkins and other schools of their best men.The Clark University episode was worthy of that master muscler-in, John D. Rockefeller. Three-year-oldClark was a collection of great scholars, but the facultywas on such bad terms with the President that it wasready to resign, and President Hall was on such badterms with Founder Clark that the continuance of theschool itself was in doubt. Harper simply moved in andtook it over. With the Clark crisis at its height, he appeared there one morning, went to the home of ProfessorCharles C. Whitman, and met and hired most of theClark faculty. .Then 'he went to Hall and, informing ofhis action, offered to hire him too. Hall furiously (inclined the offer, comparing Harper, a little infelicitously,to "the eagle which robs the hawk of its prey." It was not the first time that Harper, his heart fixedwholly on his great objective, had ignored propriety.When he left Yale, after President Dwight raised a greatendowment to keep him, Dwight compared him to "apastor on whose behalf a house or an endowment has,with earnest and continued effort, been secured, and who,when the thing has been accomplished, is called to another parish. . . I would much rather you had nevercome to Yale at all. . ." Other university presidents,down the years, resented him just as bitterly. ButHarper, given his goal, was no less ruthless than Rockefeller, given his.The first faculty of the University of Chicago, as itwas finally established a few days before the opening ofthe institution, was the strongest faculty in America.It included eight former presidents of colleges and universities, with a ninth added during the year. It includedthe country's first Dean of Women, in the person ofAlice Freeman Palmer, former President of Wellesley.It included the country's first Jewish theologian in aChristian university, in the person of the great RabbiEmil G. Hirsch as Professor of Biblical Literature andPhilosophy. It included the country's first professorialfootball coach, in the person of Amos Alonzo Stagg, who,incidentally, was also captain of the team.When it came to hiring the men he wanted, Harperwas impatient to the point of recklessness. He hadknown of Stagg as an athlete and Bible student at Yale.He summoned the curly headed young man and offeredhim an instructorship at $1,500 a year. Stagg, whomoved much slower off the football field than on it, wasabout to accept when Harper, mistaking his awkwardness for hesitation, said, "I'll make it an assistant professorship at $2,000." Stagg was still trying to say Yes,when Harper said, "An associate professorship at $2,500,and appointment for life." Stagg finally managed toaccept, and Harper closed the interview. The Old Man— then in his twenties — went outside and sat down tocatch his breath.The Clark haul alone gave Chicago first rank in Biology ; of the sixteen biologists at Clark, all but four wentwith Harper. Whitman, a pioneer in Embryology, became head of the Biology Department, bringing with himsuch distinguished men as Franklin P. Mall in Anatomy,H. H. Donaldson in Neurology. Clark was tapped inother fields, too. A. A. Michelson, later the first American to win the Nobel Prize in science, took the chairmanship of the Physics Department, and John U. Nef,already a leader in Organic Chemistry, became Chairmanof the Chemistry Department.From the presidency of Colby came Albion WoodburySmall to organize the science of Sociology, from thePresidency of Wisconsin, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin,who subsequently developed the planetesimal hypothesisof the origin of the universe. Chamberlin brought withhim another great geologist, Rollin D. Salisbury. FromBryn Mawr came Paul Shorey., the foremost Greekscholar of his time, and Jacques Loeb, the brilliant physiologist, and from Northwestern Eliakim Hastings Mooreto head an eminent Department of Mathematics.Harper brought all these men together, not only togive first-class zoologists or philologists a chance toTHE UNIVERSITY OFwork with other first-class zoologists or philologists, butalso to give men in widely separated fields a chance toknow each other. The barriers of specialization, with theadvance of the sciences, had risen almost to insurmountability. Men in different fields never met each otherand couldn't talk to each other if they did. Harper wasdetermined to tear down the barriers. He would create a community of scholars in the deepest sense of theword community.XIII. HOW TO CREATE A DEFICITAnd this, as the tight-fisted Gates realized with somehorror, was only the beginning. Harper's plan includedprofessional schools which, apart from Divinity, werestill to materialize. But he was following his plan, stepby step. This thing would, in time, cost more millionsthan Rockefeller had to give. And there was no checking Harper; he didn't count costs, and he didn't havetime to listen soberly while others counted them. Tocomplain to him from New York was to submit oneselfto an account of the hopeless poverty of the new institution ; to come to Chicago for a personal investigationwas to walk into his spell.Gates' early fears were justified in the years that followed. The debts and deficits mounted year by year until in 1896 the University was, by anybody's book-keeping, on the rocks. The country didn't know it becausethe University didn't dare publish a treasurer's report.Harper really wanted to economize, especially after eachof his painful annual interviews with the stony Gates.But he couldn't. The sun shone on a new horizon everyday, and he reached for it. "He asked the trustees for asmuch as he dared," said John Matthews Manly, "andthen he spent as much more as he dared."During his whole administration he fought everybody— Rockefeller, Gates, Goodspeed, the Trustees — on thequestion of spending. After his death Goodspeed agreedwith Gates that he had in fact created the deficits as akind of lever on Rockefeller. Each year he presentedthe capitalist with the necessity of putting in more inorder to save what Rockefeller called "the best investment I ever made." Guileless Willie Harper had, goingdown the years with Rockefeller, acquired guile.If Rockefeller had actually given Harper money freely,"it is doubtful," said George Vincent, "whether even theRockefeller fortune could have survived." The showdown came when Rockefeller, satisfied that Harper wasleading the institution (if not the Rockefeller fortune) tobankruptcy, refused to make another contribution unlessthe budget for 1905 was balanced. Harper balanced it,gravely reporting the $26 surplus to the Oil King.Rockefeller replied with a million-dollar gift, but by thetime the gift was reported the budget-balancer was gone.The University of Chicago never had another deficit — oranother Harper.Harper intended to open the University with a facultyof, perhaps, seventy. But one appointment led to another ; when he got a leader in, one school of economicor political thinking, he had to have a leader of an opposing school to offset him. These great men who tookdifferent positions had to be brought together to reconcile them. Every view had to be represented. By open- CHICAGO MAGAZINE 45ing day the faculty numbered one hundred twenty, andHarper was hiring more. In every case Gates and theTrustees, themselves no judges of scholarly merit, wereswept off their feet by Harper's insistence that this particular appointee represented an opportunity the University could not afford to pass up. That was the wayhe always presented his case, to Rockefeller, to the Trustees, to the local merchant princes. And, since he believed it himself, it worked.Will Harper could sell anybody anything. The lateProfessor Philip Schuyler Allen recalled the time Harperwalked into a smoking-room on a train between Chicagoand New York. There were four men sitting there, noneof whom knew each other. By the time the night washalf over the four had pledged a total of $50,000 forarchaeological research at the University of Chicago.Harper's own correspondence discloses that Miss HelenCulver wanted to give the city of Chicago $50,000 foran art museum ; after a three-hour conversation withHarper she found she wanted to give the University amillion dollars for Biology instead. Charles T. Yerkes.the coldest plunderer of his time, never suspected himself of harboring a latent interest in the search for truthuntil he met the President of the new University ofChicago.XIV. PRESIDENT HARPER HURRIESSomewhere in between raising money — and men to takeit — Harper found time to go on with his summer schoolsand his correspondence schools, his journals, and hisdefinitive analysis of Amos and Hosea. And he grewalways more tired. His older son Sam had advancedfrom the role of carrying the can of eggnog to that ofgetting his father out of bed in the morning, pulling histwo sweaters over his head, and sending him unsteadilyoff on his bicycle in a futile effort to take off weight.Getting him out of bed grew more and more difficult, forhe either worked until dawn or sent for his secretary totake dictation between five and • seven in the morning.When Sam asked him, one day, why he worked so hard,President Harper (right) with A. C. Bartlett, donor ofBartlett Gymnasium.46 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MAGAZINEPresident Roosevelt and W. R. Harper at the laying of theLaw School cornerstone, 1903.his father looked seriously at the boy for a few moments,and said, "Sam, I've got to kill myself doing this. Thereisn't much time."He had always worked as if he had to kill himselfdoing it, as if there wasn't much time, but he had neverbefore said so. What did he mean? Why did he thinkhe had to kill himself? Why wasn't there much time?Was it because he felt that Rockefeller alone would andcould go on supporting this thing, and that even Rockefeller would not go on forever? There was some reasonto think so, some reason to believe that there would neverbe another man able to support so stupendous a venturewithout wanting a voice in its control."When the University has fifty million dollars," Harper had said, "the first step will have been taken." Nobody but Rockefeller had fifty million dollars to give,and Rockefeller would give it, for a venture like this,to no one but Harper.But what was the hurry? Rockefeller was only fifty-three. He was getting richer faster every year. "Hegives with both hands," Bob LaFollette was telling thecountry, "but he takes with many." Harper was onlythirty-six, but he was giving with many hands, and hewas terribly tired.Overpowering weariness tried to assert itself and wasbeaten back. The occasional pains in his abdomen flashedtheir signals, but the grimace that tried to twist his happyface was repressed. He smiled his sweet, unworldlysmile, and his eyes, through their thick, gold-rimmedspectacles, were always alight with infectious joy. Hemoved serenely from one appointment to another.Blessed with a phlegmatic body and a feverish mind, he"never seemed to hurry. Every one of the thousands of men and women who passed through his office felt thatHarper had nothing else to do at that moment but seehim, that, as a matter of fact, he was just the personHarper wanted to see.Throwing his feet up on his littered desk, his garter-less sox revealing a stretch of leg beneath the muddied,unpressed cuffs of trousers that were much too narrowfor the hams they cased, the President of the Universityof Chicago would lean back in the swivel chair he overflowed, ' clasp his hands behind his head, shut his eyes,and say to his visitor, "Talk to me. Tell me what you'vebeen doing and what you want to do." He seemed to fallasleep, yet he nodded at appropriate intervals and said,"Yes, yes, I see," and when the interview was overHarper had heard it all. And the visitor, leaving aftera leisurely half hour of talk, looked at his watch outsideand discovered he had been there only five minutes.Insisting, as he did, on running his own departmenton a full-time basis, in making every faculty appointmenthimself, and in passing upon every detail of administration apart from the niggling question of funds, Harperwas certain to be regarded as a tyrant. And so he was,even by a large proportion of his own faculty. He couldnever have been an elected executive, responsive to thewill and the whim of his constituents. He had to servedemocracy in his own undemocratic way, as would hisUniversity. Yet, he was positively eager to hear everyman out. He wasn't inflexible ; he simply did his ownflexing. And the simplicity that informed his whole nature deprived his enemies of their fire. As for him, hedidn't know he had enemies. He held no grudges. Hehad no time to.There was no time, no time to waste on the simplefamily pleasures he enjoyed as much as any man. Still,though the house might be filled with guests, rangingfrom obscure scholars to President Theodore Roosevelt,the whole Harper family, including Davida and Sam,and even little Paul, sat down at the table together andthe head of the house invoked the blessing of God uponthe meal. And though conferences with his intimatefriends now dealt with matters of millions instead ofsome nice point of Prophecy, the conferences were heldat De Jonghe's in Chicago or at Delmonico's or the Murray Hill in New York, and the wines were selected byWill Harper.He even stole time, once in a while, from the fewwinks of sleep that were left him, to play practical jokes,like the seven-course Christmas dinner, consisting entirely of corn-meal mush, prepared with elaborate ceremony by the epicure himself. He found that missinglunch entirely not only saved time but whetted his appetite for an especially good dinner, and the smell of steaming cove oyster stew, as Ella Harper set it on the table,still awakened him from the deepest sleep.October 1 approached, and the dormitory and thelecture hall began to assume their Gothic dignity. President Harper, of course, had planned the campus himself,and supervised the architecture. The buildings would notbe isolated "colleges," but related spatially as closelyas the departments were to be related intellectually. Outon the Midway, across the street from the as yet unimpressive City Grey, was rising the gaudy City White, theWorld's Columbian Exposition. Chicagoans, passing theUniversity on their way to watch the construction of theTHE UNIVERSITY OFFair, looked coldly at the cold grey stones piling up.Rockefeller had been right when he doubted Goodspeed'sassertion that Chicago wanted a university. Harper wasnot a popular figure in the city ; to the extent that he wasa figure at all, he took the contradictory forms of a doddering old sage on the one hand and one of Rockefeller'ssinister henchmen on the other.The country followed the progress of "Harper's Folly"with mixed amusement and contempt. One cartoonistportrayed Rockefeller fleeing from Harper and droppingmillion-dollar bills to delay the pursuit. The Hearstpapers, campaigning against the well-hated Oil King andcorporations in general, depicted a fawning Harper holding a tin cup up to an octopus-like Rockefeller and saying, "Don't forget the professor." Harper was impervious. His single minded purpose consumed him. If hereacted to the cry of "tainted money," he never said so.He wasn't thinking about the color or smell of the money ;he was thinking of its use.In time the attacks subsided and the man was generally looked upon as a master of the art that interestedhim least: money-raising. When he persuaded the Sultan of Turkey to rescind the ancient ban on archaeological excavation, an American newspaper said, "Abdulis lucky to escape so easily. He might have been drawnin for a subscription of a million or two." This was abanal light in which to place a man who had no personallove of money, but another contemporary observer, arguing that it was Harper and not Rockefeller who foundedthe University, insisted, with considerable accuracy, that"the man did not follow the money ; the money followedthe man."During the two years preceding October 1, 1892, theoffices of the new University received more than threethousand inquiries from prospective students, without asemblance of promotional effort on the part of the institution itself. Everywhere Harper went, to lecture or tovisit, young people wanted to know about Chicago. AndHarper told them, with all the enthusiasm he put intohis meetings with Gates or the local millionaires. Theseboys and girls were more important than founders ordonors ; it was they who would carry on the tradition hewas organizing long after the men who gave it life weregone.His contempt for what other men called dignity enabled him to collar prospective students wherever hewent. Invited to deliver the commencement address atthe Platteville State Normal School in Wisconsin, hewas met at the station by an awe-stricken boy who hadbeen chosen for the honor of driving the famous visitorto the campus. When the boy motioned him into theback of the buggy, the great man said, "I'll ride up infront with you," and when the boy, under persistentquestioning, admitted that he intended to enter the University of Wisconsin the following autumn, Harper sidledover to him, put his arm around his shoulder, and said."Young man, have you considered the University ofChicago ?" All the way to the campus Harper expoundedthe advantages of Chicago ovei; Wisconsin, mentioningthe fact, in passing, that he had hired the President ofWisconsin to head his Geology department. The youngman, whose name was Charlton Beck, decided to go toChicago. CHICAGO MAGAZINE 47A family group picture, taken about 1902. Top row: JamesHarper, brother of W. R.; Davida Harper Eaton, daughter;Mary Harper Douglass, sister; J. Gardner Douglass,brother-in-law; Robert F. Harper, brother. Middle row:Mary Irwin, cousin; William Rainey Harper; Mrs. SamuelHarper, mother; Samuel Harper, father; Mrs. W. R. Harper. Bottom row: Samuel, son; Francis, son; Paul, son.XV. OCTOBER FIRSTThe Trustees thought there should be a great ceremony on the occasion of the opening day. They thoughtMr. Rockefeller would think so, too. But Harper wasopposed to it. He loved processions the way a small boyloves parades, but not this time. This time the University would simply open, "as if it were the continuationof a work which had been conducted for a thousandyears." A majority of the Trustees disagreed, and Harper laid the matter before Rockefeller. The latter tookthe occasion to tell the Trustees that he preferred "torest the whole weight of the management on the shouldersof the proper officers. Donors can be certain that theirgifts will be preserved and made continuously and largelyuseful, after their own voices can no longer be heard.only in so far as they see wisdom and skill in the management, quite independently of themselves, now."Neither Rockefeller nor his family ever suggested thata man be appointed or fired, nor did they ever make astatement publicly or privately that might even be distorted to look like an intrusion upon the conduct of theinstitution or the content of the curriculum. Donors likethat were rare then, and if they are commoner now itwas because William Rainey Harper, in his fight forabsolute academic freedom, had the biggest donor of allas his ally.The night before October 1, Harper worked late (asusual), not on the problems of opening day. but (alsoas usual) on matters far in the future. Harry PrattTudson, his dean, was with him. It was after midnight48 THE UNIVERSITY OFwhen Harper lifted his head from the papers in frontof him. He sat back slowly, and his overstrained eyesslowly closed. He was as thoroughly exhausted as aman could be. The impossible — Harper himself, manyyears later, confided to a friend that "an awful lot of thiswas done on bluff" — was coming true. "I wonder," hesaid, half to himself, half to Judson, "if there will be asingle student there tomorrow." He still couldn't believe it.But at 8 :30 the following morning, when the bell rangin the still unfinished Lecture Hall, there were five hundred and ninety-four students in their seats, a hundredand sixty-six of them graduate workers. They had comefrom thirty-three states and thirteen foreign countries ;the University of Chicago, the day it opened, was anational institution. The professors, including Harper inSemitic languages, were at their desks, and the teachingbegan just as it does in any day in any school. Thescience departments, having no buildings to work in, hadinstalled themselves, their apparatus, and their studentsin empty flats on Fifty-Fifth Street, several blocks fromthe campus.At 12 :30 the students and faculty gathered informallyin the assembly room on the first floor of the LectureHall. President Harper stood on the platform, hismortarboard tilted back on his head, his black academicgown, hanging in careless folds from his heavy shoulders,bulging out over his front and rear like a tent drapedover a baby elephant. He was, in a way, grotesque.But when he began talking, however little he mightsay, he at once dominated the scene. He seemed to growas he spoke, and his low voice had in it a restrainedthunder. Today he did not even speak, and still hedominated. He bowed his head and prayed. Then hesaid, "We will sing the Doxology." The building rangwith the tones of Praise God from Whom All BlessingsFlow. Harper's voice was perhaps more earnest thanany other ; at least it was louder. He loved to sing, andwhen he felt like singing at home he would say to hiswife, "Are the windows shut, Ella? This is going to benoisy." After the Doxology, the congregation sang afew more hymns. That was all. There were no speeches,no processions.William Rainey Harper stood for a moment, his headbowed, perhaps in prayer, as the students and facultydrifted off to lunch. Those who started up to the platform to congratulate him stopped and stood there. Hishead remained bowed; it sank to his chest. He was verytired. But he did not know how tired he was. CHICAGO MAGAZINEThe University's first President, February 20, 1905. Believed to be the last portrait photograph.Nobody knew.Nobody knew that one day, less than thirteen yearslater, he would call Goodspeed to his home and say, "Ihave received my death sentence ; my trouble is internalcancer." Nobody knew that a year after he received hisdeath sentence, having, in those twelve months of silentagony, completed three books on the Prophets and outlined his plans for the University, for the years to come,he would die at the age of forty-nine, that on his face,as he died, would be the sweet, unworldly smile, and onhis lips the murmur that he was less concerned this daythan he was the day he took the presidency of the University of Chicago.Nobody knew, that October noon of 1892, that theUniversity he created would in fifty short years stamp itspattern on the whole higher learning in America, fromCalifornia to Cambridge, transforming ancient collegesinto centers of research and state universities into independent institutions. Nobody guessed that long after hewas dead and forgotten millions of learners and teacherswho had never heard of him would be moving to themeasure of his audacious vision.The Professor of Hebrew lifted his head and smiled,came briskly down from the platform to shake handswith the people who were waiting for him, and walkedout of the hall and into his office. He was ready for hisnext appointment.