We are indebted to "Life" for calling attention in its current number to an article by Mr. John J. Chapman '84, entitled "The Harvard Classics and Harvard," published recently in "Science." The article in question is a most amazing arraignment of the Harvard Corporation, including President Eliot, on the charge of commercialism.
Mr. Chapman's special plaint is that "the whole body of graduates is being organized in a Harvard service, to employ Harvard men, to advertise Harvard, to make converts, to raise money, to assist in a general Harvard forward movement." As specific instances of the depraved advertising methods to which our governing bodies have had recourse in their efforts to keep Harvard numerically in the lead, Mr. Chaplian cites the use of the University's name in connection with President Eliot's edition of the classics, the "Joan of Arc" performance in the Stadium, the honors which were paid to President Eliot by Harvard clubs on his seventieth birthday, and the raising a few years ago of a $3,000,000 endowment fund for increasing the salaries of teachers. Finally Mr. Chapman issues a call for Harvard to return to the paths of academic rectitude; to forego the alleged endeavor at mere physical size and to become again the biggest influence in the college life of the country. This change Mr. Chapman would accomplish by replacing with "scholars" the "business men" of the Corporation.
If they had not been given such wide circulation we would regard these utterances as humorous; but so far as they may prejudice against Harvard the minds of unknowing persons they are altogether serious. In this community it is not necessary to explain the error of Mr. Chapman's attitude; the aims and methods of President Eliot and the Corporation stand above such reactionary attacks. Harvard men do not care whether their University has a few students more or less than any other institution in the land, except that large numbers offer large means for spreading and deepening Harvard influence. As to Mr. Chapman's criticism of the Corporation as a mere body of business men, it is sufficient to say that the organization of that body is the same now as it has always been, and that it is just as competent to keep Harvard in the place of leadership which it has ever held.