Mammon Drives Out Thespis


Harvard has had no difficulty in raising funds for things it really wanted. While starving the Workshop it raised more than $30,000,000, including its recent ten-million-dollar drive, from which six millions were pledged to the business school but not a cent to the drama. This drive blocked the effort which Mr. Baker's friends wished to make to raise money for a college theatre workshop, and thus he was given as plainly as possible to understand that though the Harvard officials were anxious to teach advertising and accounting they took no serious interest in the development of creative literature.

We do not doubt that the leaders in commerce need training, but business, so powerful and so rich, can look after its own, and the first duty of a university is surely its duty to the things of the spirit. If the colleges, theoretically devoted to the cultivation of those things which the busy world is likely not to find time for, relegate them to a bad second place, where shall they find refuge? If Harvard can get more money than it needs for the real work of a university it might perhaps conduct a school of business (though we are of those who believe such a school out of place at Harvard); if it is determined to put the requirements of such a school first it is betraying its trust and its tradition.

The incident has, in addition, its moral side. If Harvard wants to make itself "practical" in conformity with the spirit of a practical age, it may have the right to do so. But has it the right virtually to cast off a man who for thirty-six years has served it faithfully? It has decided too late that it has no need of Mr. Baker. His aims and aspirations have long been known; the university has accepted his labor and expressed its gratitude, but if it intended to do no more it should have made that fact clear to him long ago. To Harvard he gave the best efforts of his best years and Harvard, having accepted them, starved him into resignation. What, we wonder, would its teachers of business ethics have to say about such a procedure?

Meanwhile, Yale gains what Harvard has lost. Thereby it wins a vaster prestige than all the athletic victories it ever won in its bowl or Harvard's stadium. New York Nation.