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Says Lack of Creative Scholarship Is Non-Existent--Much Is Done by Individual Effort


"Ninety per cent of the historical research work now being carried on in the United States, is done by men who hold Ph.D. degrees," asserted William Benneit Munro '99, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History and Government; yesterday when asked by a CRIMSON representative to comment upon the questionnaire recently sent out by the American Historical Association. This questionnaire asks instructors and graduate students at universities throughout the country to explain what facilities are afforded them for conducting independent research work and also to state their individual opinions in regard to the causes for the dearth of productive work by holders of Ph.D degrees. If the results of this survey indicate an actual need for revision of the present system, the Historical Association intends to start a campaign for funds to aid research students.

"The Pulitzer prize awards", continued Professor Munro, "which are given each year for the best contributions to American historical, work, have been won, almost without exceptions, by Ph.D. men. Three of the latest winners of this prize. Professors Edward Channing '78, C. H. Mcllwain and F. L. Paxon are all holders of the Ph.D. degree from Harvard.

"A considerable portion of the biographies and monographs produced during the past half dozen years, have been the work of this same class of scholars.

Dearth of Productive Work Non-existent

"In fact, there are just three comments to be made about this dearth of productive work by men who hold a degree. First of all, in doesn't exist. I should say that more work is being done now than in previous years and that as many men as are necessary are engaged in research.

"In the second place, I believe that at least half of the research work and the research publications now produced by young Ph.D. men represent a waste of time. Their talents could much more profitably be devoted to the instruction of elementary students, which, after all, is a much needed kind of productive work.

Research Work Not Encouraged

"My third and last comment on the Historical Association's query is that research work in itself is not specifically encouraged by most. American endowment funds for research, and the college itself may grant vacations with half pay to some of its instructors for research purposes, but productive effort on the scale evidently desired by the Historical Association is not made practicable and probably never will be.

Scholars Act on Own Resources

"A great deal of the research now accomplished is done by scholars on their own resources. It is done by University teachers who use their evenings and their summer vacations for the purpose. College authorities, all over the country, do Ilp-service to the principle that research and creative scholarship should be encouraged in every way; but let a teacher ask for fewer classroom hours in order to do his own writing he will usually find that the real interest of the College authorities does not go very deep."

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