Conant's Plan for U.S. History Is to Be Inaugurated in May
Reading Lists for Elementary and Advanced Study to Be Ready in May
President Conant's plan for extra-curricular study of United States history will be inaugurated next month, it was announced yesterday. The program of study will be available to college students and the general public, and prizes will be awarded on the basis of competitive examinations.
The committee responsible for the report and organization of the new plan is as follows: Kenneth B. Murdock '16, professor of English, chairman; James P. Baxter, 3rd, Professor of History; Chester N. Greenough '98, professor of English; Howard M. Jones, professor of English; Francis O. Matthiessen, associate professor of History and Literature; Frederick Merk, professor of History; Samuel E. Morison '08, professor of History; and Arthur M. Schlesinger, professor of History.
A comprehensive syliabus for both elementary and advanced study of American history will be available in May, and the committee will arrange public lecture courses by members of the University, distinguished visiting scholars, writers, critics, and men of affairs.
Prizes will be awarded on the basis of yearly examinations for students and the general public, and will be known as the William H. Bliss Awards in American History. Mrs. Charles Warren, of Washington, D. C., has established a fund in memory of her father which will cover all expenses of the plan for five years.
The plan was recommended to the Board of Overseers by President Conant in his recent report in which he expressed a desire to "inoculate the student body with an educational virus." He said that, "the importance of a knowledge of American History to every citizen is evident."
Stressing the idea that the best education is an individual development continuing through life, President Conant reported that he wanted the history plan to counteract the widespread attitude that "the only road to knowledge lies through formal instruction administered by a college . . ."
"To encourage such study is clearly a valuable undertaking for any educational institution which desires to serve as completely as possible the community of which it is a part," stated the faculty committee report. The plan should serve not only undergraduates, "but also graduates and properly qualified members of the public who desire some organized study of a subject of fundamental importance for any active-minded American citizen."
Detailed suggestions of the committee are that competitions for the prizes will be open to any student not taking courses in fields related to American history; that fine books and certificates by awarded to students with the best records; that discussion groups be organized in the Houses; that summer "reading parties" to organized by instructors.
The report continues, "The experiment will afford a new integration between Harvard and the general public, by offering a course which can be taken in whole or in part by any intelligent citizen, and whose patriotic value, in the best sense, will be admitted by everyone.