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Contrary to the statement made yesterday by Professor Ralph A. Burns of Dartmouth College, the majority of Harvrd history teachers do not go to Cape Cod during the summer, few have written high school textbooks, and all of them deny any conspiracy to keep hiden from the American public the facts of Canadian, Russian, and South American history.
Burns, in a speech at a conference of the New Jersey Educational Association said that American history books are "so provincialized by a dominant school of Harvard historians, who live in Cambridge in the winter and Cape Cod in the summer, that millions of Americans are practically entirely ignorant of other countries."
Of six of the most important men in the History Department interviewed last night, none journey to the Cape for vacation, all denied ever writing a high school text, and all ridiculed Burns' assertions.
Said Samuel Eliot Morison, professor of History, "Nonsense--a very distorted view, Cambridge is, of course, a narrow-minded, provincial place, and we can't expect it to have the wide-world outlook a man receives at Hanover, New Hampshire."
An unidentified professor remarked, "Who is Professor Burns? Obviously, someone trying to shock school marms." Associate Professor Paul H. Buck commented, "Silly," and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History, called the speech, "Fantastic."
Burns particularly attacked high school texts and history teaching.
According to Norman B. Floyd, head of the history department of the Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Burns' claims are, "Grossly exaggerated, although they have some truth to them. It is a fact," Floyd said, "that Americans know little of Russian, Canadian, and South American history, but that is not on account of any action of Harvard historians. Granted that Harvard has had more influence in the teaching of history throughout the country, it has not had enough influence to suppress the teaching of the stories of those countries. It is just a matter of what people want to study about, and are interested in."
The most widely used texts in high schools, according to Floyd, are the ones written by Charles and Mary Beard and David S. Muzzey, none of whom has or ever has had a professorship at Harvard.
Harold Rugg, who has had more influence on the teaching of history to modern children than any other man, according to Floyd, never taught at Harvard.
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