Professor Abbott


(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld.)

To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

As one of his students and admirers I feel bound publicly to criticize the absurd caricature of Professor W. C. Abbott set forth in the October 19th copy of your paper. Of his fondness for milkshakes and black canes, I know little and care even less. Perhaps his generosity to the blind newsdealer offsets his smug self-complacency. But to dismiss his contributions to historical scholarship and his activities as a teacher as "dull" or trivial shows a singular ignorance of the former, and a failure to appreciate the real wisdom underlying his teaching methods.

Wisely eschewing the eight-league boots of his predecessor, Professor Abbott has preferred the less brilliant and melodramatic methods of locomotion which have made him one of America's foremost historians. It is unfortunate that he conducts no course which would give us the benefit of his profound knowledge of the period of Cromwell and Charles II. It may be pertinent to observe that his general work, "The Expansion of Europe," which is neither so dull nor so momentous as the author of the alleged portrait supposes, enjoys a popularity in other countries, notably England, which is shared by very few other recent works of American historians. Altogether, it may be fairly said that, in his writings, as on the lecture platform, Professor Abbott's lack of brilliance is overbalanced by a worldly wisdom and common sense which keep him close to the realities of things present and past.

Those who judge professors by their eloquence or skill in "spoon-feeding" ought seduously to avoid Professor Abbott's lectures. I hope there are some others who believe that the true office of a teacher is to suggest and guide rather than to stuff or entertain. (Name Withheld by Request.)