The University of Delaware: A History – Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Walter Hullihen and the University
Tall, handsome Walter Hullihen was forty-five years old and dean of the University of the South (usually called Sewanee) when he came to the attention of a presidential search committee of the Delaware College trustees. The chairman of the committee was Henry Ridgely, who had also been chairman six years earlier when Mitchell was appointed president.
Ridgely knew what he wanted. "It is not so much the educator or professor that we want," he wrote, "as the man of liberal education with executive and administrative ability. We want our College to play an increasingly important part in public affairs and in the life and thought of the State. Therefore we want a man able and willing to carry out such a program. We want a man who can mix readily with all kinds and condition of men and yet maintain the position of leader."1
He also knew what he did not want, which included the A and M type, as he thought of it. In most states, he explained to Rodney Sharp, there are state-supported arts and science colleges as well as a land-grant college, and the latter generally gets a particular type of student and shapes its curriculum so as to "embrace a maximum of specialized subjects with a minimum of subjects of general education. Specimens of the product of this policy may be found in our present Station staff." In his opinion the agricultural course at Delaware College was "too ambitious in imitation of the Land Grant Colleges. For example, notice how little time is given to history."2
Though Ridgely did not want an agriculturist for president, he decidedly did want "someone who is sympathetic with agricultural work," inasmuch as most of the state below Wilmington was agricultural. Dean Charles McCue, of the School of Agriculture, agreed with Ridgely that the new president should have an arts and science background, but he wanted a man with teaching experience in a land-grant college and (as Ridgely would have agreed) with a sympathetic view toward science, agriculture, and engineering. One member of the agriculture staff, responding to a request for suggestions from the faculty, proposed that an interim president be appointed to allow for a very careful search, but Ridgely did not like this idea; he thought having an acting president would just add to the confusion of Mitchell’s departure.3
As Ridgely wished, the replacement of Mitchell was worked out very expeditiously in less than a month and a half. Hullihen’s name was suggested to Ridgely early in May by Wilson Lloyd Bevan, who was related to Mrs. Ridgely and was a professor of history at Kenyon College. Ridgely wrote to Hullihen and to some referees Hullihen suggested, asking them to answer by return mail. On June 1 Hullihen was in Delaware for interviews and to see the campus. Another leading candidate, Dr. John George Becht, deputy commissioner of education in Pennsylvania, was in Newark at about the same time. The trustees who met them apparently favored Hullihen; the executive committee unanimously recommended him to the full board of trustees on June 12; and he was thereupon elected president at a salary of $7,000, in addition to a house and a contingency fund of $500, effective September 1, but with leave to October 1 at his request.4
"He is attractive and dignified," said Chancellor Curtis in recommending Hullihen to the board; "thinks and speaks directly; has had experience in maintaining discipline; has a broad and actively manifested interest in education, including teacher training; has a sound constitution; and an unusual capacity for business administration."5
Like Mitchell, Hullihen was a southerner, liberally educated in the classical tradition, and a devout church member. Both also had fathers who served the Confederacy. But there the resemblance stops. Whereas Mitchell’s parents had been impoverished by the Civil War and he had early been thrown on his own resources, Hullihen had enjoyed a genteel rearing in an Episcopal parsonage in Virginia. He prepared for college at the Staunton Military Academy and then took B.A. and M.A. degrees at the training school of gentlemen, the University of Virginia. From Charlottesville he went to the Johns Hopkins University, where he took a doctorate in the classical languages in 1900. He taught Latin and Greek briefly at a preparatory school in Baltimore, where he was also director of athletics and football coach. From there he moved to college teaching, first at the University of Chattanooga for five years, interrupted by a year of post-graduate study in Europe that was also a honeymoon trip, and then at the University of the South in Tennessee. After three years he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Science.
Here again he served for a time as director of athletics. He also became active in a number of regional educational groups and won sufficient reputation that he was seriously considered (though eventually passed over) for promotion to the highest administrative position in his school (the vice-chancellorship). In 1917, when war broke out, he entered the army, rising to the rank of major. While in the service he was recommended for the presidency of Hobart College, but he refused to allow his name to be considered because he would not ask for release from the service.
The invitation to Delaware came to him at a propitious time, at the end of his first year back at Sewanee, where he had little immediate chance of advancing his career, particularly since his ambitions were in educational administration, not in teaching or research. "It would not be fair for me," he told Henry Ridgely, "to leave you under the impression that I am a scholar, as my training would seem to indicate. I am not." The business and administration side of education had absorbed his attention for a decade at the expense of scholarship.6
He was, however, proud to call himself a sportsman, and in biographical matter he sent to a Wilmington newspaper he noted that he had experience in long canoe trips and in big-game hunting, and that he was classified an expert rifleman and had once been the amateur trap-shooting champion of Maryland.7 The achievement of which he was proudest, however, was one that was also a source of considerable income. While still at Johns Hopkins he had founded a summer camp for boys, Camp Greenbrier, in the mountains of West Virginia and had developed it to a point where its gross receipts for July and August were between $35,000 and $40,000, making it probably the largest such camp in the country, except for Culver, in Indiana. "From the pleasure I take in this work I have come to the conclusion," he wrote, "that I have the mind of a business man rather than that of a scholar."8
The mind of a businessman was certainly something Samuel Mitchell would not have claimed. It was a considerable change on the Delaware campus, from a plain Baptist who knew (or sought to know) every student by name to an austere Episcopalian who did not mix easily with students nor "with all kinds and condition of men" (as Ridgely had framed his desideratum). Hullihen shared some of Mitchell’s interest in national and international problems but he took a much less active role in such affairs and kept his attention primarily on the affairs of Delaware College.
As Robert Wolf had counseled Mitchell regarding the politics of the campus he came to in 1914, so Edward Vallandigham, back in town while he completed his history of the college in the last fifty years, sought to counsel Hullihen in 1920. Vallandigham was hopeful that Hullihen’s "native firmness and frankness" would save him from mistakes that had cost Mitchell the confidence of the faculty, though he made the task seem difficult when he told Hullihen that in a half century only one president–Purnell–had seemed to him even "moderately well fitted by native gifts, education, [and] temperament" for the job. On the other hand, it must have been comforting to Hullihen to be assured that partisan politics would not bother him: "You will not be embarrassed by meddling politicians, for, bitter as are the political hatreds of this state, there has always been a truce to these things upon the campus. Nobody will inquire what ticket you vote or what church you attend."
A warning about alumni influence was not easily forgotten: "A movement of the alumni, headed by Dr. Sypherd, Mr. Sharp and others resulted in the calling of Dr. Mitchell to the presidency six years ago….Another movement of the alumni indirectly led to the resignation of Dr. Mitchell." It is not strange that Hullihen remained sensitive about alumni relations throughout his administration. Two alumni, he was told, Sypherd and Laurence Smith, were suggested for the presidency, though neither sought the place. To Vallandigham, Sypherd was too autocratic, though a man of thorough rectitude, and Smith, a dependable dean with a genuine interest in students, tended to overrate athletics.9
In the same letter Vallandigham described many of the leading faculty members, generally quite favorably. In a second letter he concentrated on the trustees. He thought Henry B. Thompson "an admirable president," although likely to withdraw soon. He also noted that one unpopular Newark trustee, out of sympathy with recent developments, had been eager to get rid of Mitchell and of Hayward both, and now had his sights trained on Dean Robinson. There was sentiment on the board opposed to student government, and Vallandigham claimed that the trustees’ executive committee had a "long and vicious habit of coming between the President and the student body at every serious occasion."10
"You have told me enough," Hullihen responded, "to make me fear that the position of President of Delaware College is a very difficult one. If I am not mistaken the organization is such as to greatly hamper and restrict the President in the performance of his normal functions."11
But several months passed before Hullihen took over these duties. Busy at Camp Greenbrier, he made one trip to Newark in July to discuss things with Mitchell, who did all he could to make Hullihen’s task easier. At commencement exercises on June 14, when the guest speaker was the Virginia writer and diplomat Thomas Nelson Page, who spoke (at the men’s college) on women’s rights and noted that his father had graduated from this college in 1839, Mitchell’s "little addresses upon one occasion and another…were models of taste, tact, and charm." In private correspondence too, he sought to ease Hullihen’s way, praising him as "the finest type of man, admirably trained and with liberal outlook."12
Mitchell was away for two weeks in mid-July at a YMCA camp near Asheville, North Carolina, and then took his family to Maine on vacation in August, leaving Dean Smith to deal with any problems that arose. Dean Robinson, also away for much of the summer in Vermont as usual, was comforted by a letter from the new president that read, "I do not plan to interfere in any way with anything that you have decided upon for the coming session. It is my intention to learn the situation at Delaware very thoroughly before making any suggestions." In the absence of the most important administrators a young man from Peking University named Henry W. Luce visited the campus in July to make two addresses on China and Chinese education to the summer school students, as part of a series of lectures and concerts presented with the financial support of the Service Citizens (which meant Pierre du Pont).13
The new president had more spirit–more choler, that is–than his sense of dignity permitted him to exhibit publicly. When a railroad charged him more than double what he expected for moving his furniture to Newark, he called the railroad officials "robber barons" and wrote to a lawyer friend, "You are familiar with the rogueries, trickeries, extortions, and robery [he was so angry he misspelled] of the railroads and I have a first-class case for you."14
He thought the town of Newark "a neat, well-kept little place of the type so common in the neighborhood of Philadelphia," but after he had been on the job for a while he was thoroughly disheartened and wondered whether he had been wrong to accept the position so quickly. "Everything, everybody," he wrote his father, "seems dead–or at least deadly discouraged. The only lively or energetic person on the campus is the so-called `Business Administrator’ and his way of showing his energy is not especially pleasing. He is what you would call a bumptious individual–very important–but he has all the energy and enthusiasm I have been able to find in the place."
Many of the faculty, he added, "seem unused to the social amenities and courtesies by which we set so much store in the South. [Note that Newark was not regarded as southern, either by Hullihen or by Mitchell.] It is almost unbelievable, isn’t it, that no member of the faculty has called on me or invited me to his home, with the exception of Dr. Harter, professor of mathematics and former president, who has been most hospitable and cordial….The Board of Trustees I am grateful to say is quite different."15
To some extent Delaware was and remained an alien soil to this Virginia gentleman, always excepting the gentlemanly ways of those portions of its society likely to be represented among the trustees. Yet as a man devoted to educational administration he planned his steps carefully in beginning what turned out to be the longest presidential administration in the history of the institution.
One of the first problems he tackled was that of organization. Coming from a small southern institution that called itself by the grand title of University of the South, he naturally concluded that it made sense to call the Newark college a university. It was really awkward to have a Women’s College subject to the president and board of trustees of Delaware College, which latter college was the operating name of a men’s college. Hullihen’s suggestion of calling the total educational complex in Newark the University of Delaware, to consist of a Women’s College, Delaware College (for men), and such related activities as the summer school, the experiment station and farm, and extension programs, agricultural and academic, was reasonable.
Still, there was opposition to the change. The two colleges were so small, with less than 500 undergraduates altogether, that some people thought it an overweening conceit to call the school a university. Delaware College was a name many alumni prized; they disliked seeing it downgraded to the title of but one portion of the institution they claimed as theirs. However, the growth of the institution, present and potential, as well as the variety of its operations, made the name Hullihen suggested a fitting one. The enrollment in the 1920-21 school year was 302 in Delaware College; 179 in the Women’s College; 160 in the veterans’ rehabilitation program (though never more than 95 at one time); 145 in extension (evening) classes; and 167 in the (1920) summer school.16
To Hullihen the change offered more advantages than merely overcoming misunderstanding arising from the lack of a comprehensive title–such as the confusion of outsiders who were led do think that there were two separate and unrelated institutions in Newark. He recognized that a sense of separateness had developed that made internal organization and loyalty to the "good of the whole" difficult. He believed the change would increase the prestige of the institution, help it to attract students and attract and hold good teachers, boost its standing in the state, while wiping out remnants of old denominational rivalries and fears of private control, and provide a broad foundation for the future–for establishing, for instance, a School of Education, which Mitchell had proposed before his departure.17
Hullihen’s arguments were persuasive. The faculty supported his proposal; the board of trustees adopted it; and on March 21, 1921, the new name was statutorily adopted as an amendment to the Charter.18
Another change was made in the charter at the same time, that of a six-year term for trustees, whether appointed by the governor or elected by the board. The name change, introduced in the state House of Representatives as an amendment to the college charter, passed on a 28-4 vote (all opponents were from Kent County) and was forwarded to the Senate. It was here that the limitation on the terms of trustees was apparently introduced, for Senator Asa Bennett, of Sussex County, presented a new bill as a substitute for the one the House had passed. Bennett’s bill passed the Senate and then the House practically without opposition.19
No contemporary record explains the rationale behind adoption of the six-year term for trustees, but it seems clear. Downstate there was probably some suspicion that the board of trustees was dominated by men from the Wilmington area and Newark. There had always been a good many Newarkers on the board (the institution had, after all, developed out of the Academy of Newark and Newark College) and in 1921 Charles B. Evans and Chancellor Curtis (an ex-Newarker) were especially influential on the board. The Wilmington influence was newer, but Wilmington was now the center of wealth in Delaware, and such board members as Henry B. Thompson, Rodney Sharp, Henry F. du Pont, Charles R. Miller, and Henry P. Scott (a prominent banker who had been in the class of 1887) did indeed represent the dominant influence on the board.
The six-year term did not necessarily limit service on the board of trustees. As it turned out, most trustees were re-elected or re-appointed to term after term. But each election or appointment had to be confirmed by the state Senate, and since the state Senate was controlled by rural downstate Delaware (ten of seventeen state senators came from Kent and Sussex), the new restriction did permit a legislative check on the board supervising what was now a state university.
A state university it was in name, but in facilities, in financing, even in spirit, the new president found much lacking. For example, Hullihen was a long time recovering from the shock he experienced soon after he came to Delaware when he asked Dean Smith what association had accredited the college. "The Dean," according to Hullihen’s recollection (which was written years afterwards), "did not at first seem to understand what the question referred to but after some discussion stated that, as far he knew, the college was not on any accredited list. Pressed to know why this was the case, he thought that `probably no one had ever thought very much about it.’"
"A strange feature of the situation," Hullihen added, "was the apparent apathy of faculty and friends of the college on the subject which seemed to me to be of such paramount importance–but on a visit to the alumni chapter in New York I did find one man who was very emphatic in his approval of plans for accreditation. He had been refused membership in the University Club because the college from which he had received his degree was not recognized as a college in any list."20
Actually, though Laurence Smith, who had not then been a dean, did not know it, this was a problem that had disturbed George Harter when he was president. Accreditation itself was still a new development in the academic world, even in 1920; for example, the most important accrediting agency in the area, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (then called the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Middle States and Maryland) did not prepare a list of accredited colleges until 1921. But what had disturbed President Harter were the standards being set by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This foundation, created in 1905, helped provide retirement pensions for college faculty, and in order to establish limits, or perimeters, for its functioning it needed to define what constituted a college. In doing so, it studied entrance requirements especially, but also library holdings, endowment (as a measure of financial stability), and so forth, and thus began to exert an influence on standards (the "Carnegie unit" as a measure of high school preparation originates in this fashion) that was a kind of accreditation.21
Harter had been in frequent correspondence with Henry Pritchett, first president of the Carnegie Foundation, in an attempt to secure some concessions for Delaware College. The great problem was admission requirements. Delaware gradually raised them and thus exerted pressure on the high schools to meet the standards the Carnegie Foundation expected; but the college could not go too far or it would have disqualified most of its potential students. President Mitchell was well known to Pritchett–in fact Pritchett recommended him for the Delaware presidency; during the Mitchell administration the college’s gradual raising of its admissions standards finally reached the Carnegie requirements, and at the same time continued improvement of the library and acquisition of endowment funds through the generosity of Pierre du Pont helped it meet the expectations of the Carnegie Foundation in other respects. In the fall of 1919 arrangements were being made for a survey of the college by the General Education Board, but apparently the events of that fall and the succeeding winter–Hayward’s dismissal and the investigation into it, plus the resignations of Cullimore and Mitchell–led to abandonment of this plan and thus kept the issue of accreditation from coming to the fore.22
The recent improvements in requirements and resources had come too late to help Delaware College when the first published list of accredited colleges appeared in 1914. This list was issued by the Association of American Universities and consisted only of the twenty-two members of this elite association plus those colleges that met its requirements (not including Delaware) and some other colleges that met all of its requirements except that they were under sectarian control–a total of 119 institutions. Probably in Hullihen’s mind as he came from Tennessee to Delaware in 1920 was another list of accredited colleges that was published in 1919, a list of southern colleges (south of Maryland) issued by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.23
Because of the new president’s concern a representative of the Carnegie Foundation visited the Delaware campus in 1921. The report that he submitted was quite favorable. On the critical issue of entrance requirements, the major stumbling block to accreditation that Harter had worked on, this report declared that Delaware’s practice "for several years [had] been in accordance with standard usage," although "the previous practice was admittedly not so rigorous." It noted that the endowment was now just under $400,000 (taking care of another problem Harter had faced), which yielded an annual income of $17,000. In the previous year the university had income from tuition and other fees amounting to $24,000; from other sources, including federal and state appropriations (and gifts) it had received $223,600. The state had raised its appropriations from $44,000 a year in 1917 and 1918 to $80,000 in 1919 and 1920, and $175,000 in 1921, plus $91,000 to make up a deficit. The investigator was satisfied that Delaware met the endowment requirements. He also commented on the "excellent system of financial records" at Delaware–a compliment for Arthur Wilkinson.
On the faculty he found thirteen persons with a Ph.D., nine with only an M.A., three with a B.A., one with a B.S., and three persons (in music, fine arts, and physical education) without a degree. The laboratories and the library, both in quarters that were considered unsatisfactory by those who knew them best, were nevertheless approved by the special investigator as "adequate," at least for the immediate need. The library, he reported, had a trained librarian in charge, consisted of 20,000 volumes, and received $2,000 a year, exclusive of salaries.24
Thanks to this commendatory report, the first accreditation list issued by the Middle States Association (in 1921) included the University of Delaware, a fact that President Hullihen was proud to announce in his report to the board of trustees at the end of the 1921-22 school year. He could also announce at that time that in November 1921 the university was elected to membership in the National Association of State Universities after a careful examination by its executive committee. Another milestone of accreditation that pleased President Hullihen–and Dean Robinson–was reached seven years later when the American Association of University Women, after consideration by an ad hoc committee, announced its decision to admit graduates of the Women’s College to membership.25
When Hullihen arrived in Newark, faculty stability was threatened by the economic pinch of inflation and by the loss of morale from the disturbances in the last year of the Mitchell administration. Hullihen sought, as Mitchell had, to improve the salary scale. In 1922 the range was as follows:
By June 1926 the scale had been raised to the following amounts:
The highest-paid professors who were not deans were Sypherd (who was head of the largest department), at $3,800, and Harter, at $3,600. Quaesita Drake, at $3,200, was the highest-paid woman after Dean Robinson.26
The salaries of women on the faculty were reduced by a sum set as the cost of their room and meals, which they were required to take on campus. To help some of the men with housing for their families (the women faculty were required to be unmarried) the college in 1920 bought the "faculty row" of six semi-detached brick houses on West Delaware Avenue; nine other houses, brick or frame, on the main campus were rented to faculty, as well as some apartments in Elliott Hall, on Main Street, next to Rhodes Drug Store.27 The faculty in university-owned rental houses were generally regarded as being very fortunate (at least this was so in later years) because they had cheap housing and good maintenance. In the early years faculty families were undisturbed in their tenure of these houses, but after the Second World War they were expected to find housing of their own after two years, with mortgage help from the university.
To improve faculty organization and clarify responsibilities, the trustees in 1921, under Hullihen’s leadership, ordered that the faculty, which should meet at least once a month, should have charge of the government of students and of courses and curricula. Each department that consisted of as many as three persons should have a supervising head (practice varied over the next decade before the use of the term head was finally supplanted by chairman). In most departments the head would be a full professor and the only person with that rank. In history special provision was made for two full professors, one of American history and politics, the other of European history. Wilson Lloyd Bevan, who had initially recommended Hullihen for the presidency and had himself joined the Delaware faculty in 1920, was promoted to the second history chair in 1921, and there is a likelihood that this was a special provision for his benefit, since there were not two full professors in this department after he left.28
Other steps to improve faculty organization were taken in the next few years. In February 1922 Laurence Smith was formally appointed dean of Delaware College (as he had been listed in the catalogue since 1915) as well as of the School of Arts and Science, and though the board rejected the idea of having a vice-president (which might have lowered the standing of Dean Robinson) it decreed that the dean of Delaware College should act for the president in his absence. This, after all, is what Smith had done in August 1920 after Mitchell left and before Hullihen arrived. A man would be kept at the helm; Dean Robinson could be trusted to control her own bailiwick, but the primacy of Delaware College (which was not only older, but also larger than the Women’s College) was acknowledged. An all-male board of trustees was hardly likely to make any other decision.29
For a time after the 1919-20 resignation of Dean Cullimore and his brief replacement by the chemist Firman Thompson, the engineering departments had carried on without a dean, but in November 1922 Merrill Van Giesen (Gimpty) Smith, the senior engineering professor, was made acting dean. Though the record does not say so, perhaps there was indecision over whether these departments should be constituted as a separate school. Still, they were the most popular fields for male undergraduates. In 1921-22, for example, there were 135 men enrolled in engineering, 39 in agriculture, and 111 in arts and science. It should be noted, however, that with the Women’s College in existence, the arts and science departments had become the largest in the institution in enrollment of majors as well as in enrollment in their courses, which (particularly English, mathematics, and the sciences) were necessary parts of the agriculture and engineering curricula.30
Laurence Smith died in January 1923, and in June of the same year he was succeeded as dean of Delaware College and dean of the School of Arts and Science by another alumnus, George E. Dutton, ’04, a member of the English department. (Dutton’s father was a member of the board of trustees, but as far as is known this relationship played no part in the new dean’s appointment.) Dutton was also given the title of registrar of Delaware College (Smith had been acting registrar for the last two years), thus concentrating control of the records in his office.31
A strange incongruity remained in the organization of the university: Delaware College was divided into three schools; so was the Women’s College, according to an organizational chart published in the Newark Post early in 1922 and also according to the catalogues beginning in the same year.32 But each school at Delaware College had a dean of its own; the Women’s College, on the other hand, had only one dean, an organizational peculiarity that was never rectified as long as the Women’s College existed. Probably the explanation is that Dean Robinson wished to maintain tight control over her college. At Delaware College, the dean of the college had very little if any authority over the functioning of the schools of agriculture and engineering. His position was only that of first among equals, which would not have satisfied Dean Robinson at all and would not have assured continuation of the Women’s College on the model that had been created by the dean.
Near the close of the Mitchell administration, there had been some consideration to giving special status to the department of education, and in many ways, especially considering the importance placed upon teacher training and the assistance available from the Service Citizens and the Delaware School Auxiliary for this work, it would have made sense to give William Wilkinson, chairman of this department and director of the summer school, the title of dean. But since most of the students in this program were women, a dean of education might have detracted from Dean Robinson’s authority. Besides, the number of faculty in education and in home economics was small. There was some overlapping of authority between Dean Robinson and the dean of the School of Arts and Science in relation to the faculty of this school; President Hullihen occasionally had to play the role of arbiter or peacemaker. (Though Dean Dutton was not disposed to make trouble for Dean Robinson, he was called on at times to defend members of the male faculty; the female faculty, in all departments, was very much under Dean Robinson’s control, as was probably necessary since these women were regarded as having a distinct social responsibility in the Women’s College.) Women faculty who did not sympathize with Dean Robinson and her policies probably left Delaware after a few years; one who left a record of her unhappiness was Harriet Winslow, the first professor of art history (and also hostess at Warner Hall), who resigned in the spring of 1918, declaring, "I cannot loyally support what seems to be the ideals and the policies of the Women’s College."33
Both Dean Robinson and President Hullihen took an active role in filling vacancies in the faculty, the one of women, the other of men, though Hullihen largely confined his attention to major appointments in the School of Arts and Science, where he seems to have largely superseded the dean. On one occasion, for instance, when there were vacancies in American history, chemistry, and philosophy, he declared, "In each case I want not only a man well trained in his special field but also one who has a vital personality, who will be a real force in the institution. It will also be a prime prerequisite of eligibility that the candidate shall be able to use the English language grammatically. I do not care to consider anyone who says `I come’ for `I came,’ or `you was’ for `you were.’ I am not joking. I find that a very considerable number of the people who apply for positions as professors in colleges and universities do not speak grammatical English, especially the scientists, and I am of the opinion that this fault is inexcusable."34
In the early Hullihen years many men and women were added to the faculty who came to have long and distinguished careers at Delaware, such as Carl J. Rees, Arthur E. Tomhave, Thomas A. Baker, Claude Philips, ’21, George Worrilow (who came as a county agent), George H. Ryden, Henry Clay Reed, Ezra B. Crooks, Elizabeth Kelly, George Brinton, Leo Blumberg, ’16, W. Francis Lindell, ’20, Albert S. Eastman, Rena Allen, James A. Barkley, Alexander D. Cobb (leader of county agents), Edwin C. Byam, George L. Baker, Alice Van de Voort, Emma Ehlers, Beatrice Hartshorn, and Edith McDougle, ’18 (the last five all coming in 1925).35
Just as Hullihen found it necessary to reorganize the faculty, he also felt that student organization needed attention. Mitchell had declared his full confidence in the good judgment of students and in student government. Hullihen was more conservative and more doubtful; probably he was closer to general faculty opinion in this respect than the trusting Mitchell had been. Through a series of conferences in his first fall at Delaware Hullihen sought to eliminate misunderstandings about the powers of the faculty and of student government over the conduct of students. He saw to it that the faculty committee on scholarship added "and discipline" to its title and its responsibilities. The students, he wrote, "have been somewhat reluctant to abandon certain undesirable practices which they feel have been sanctioned by tradition and by toleration of them in the past. But he was determined that the faculty committee should not relax its responsibility for the maintenance of order and decorum; student government should have only those powers the students were "willing to accept and exercise."36
One student activity for which Hullihen had nothing but praise from the beginning was the dances, particularly those given by the fraternities. "In few colleges," he wrote, "are dances given with greater attention to every detail of the courtesy or with a more noticeable absence of the objectionable forms of dancing and of conduct that have marred such occasions in recent years elsewhere." The "order and decorum" that Dean Robinson insisted on at the Women’s College had some carryover effect, even on fraternity dances, for, as Hullihen admitted, "the dignified and womanly bearing of the girls of the Women’s College…whose conduct is above reproach," deserved a share of the credit.37
With some experience at Sewanee in the direction of an athletic program, Hullihen moved quickly to establish a measure of control over the program at Delaware. At his first board meeting in November 1920, the trustees asked the Athletic Council to account to them for their funds, and in June 1921 the board voted that all the funds of the Athletic Association should be held for it by the university.
Despite his interest, experience, and genuine enthusiasm for athletics, Hullihen’s relationship with the athletic program at Delaware remained an uneasy one until near the end of his administration, with frequent changes of personnel and a considerable amount of mutual suspicion between the university president and the coaches and the alumni most enthusiastic about athletics–especially intercollegiate athletics–at Delaware. H. Burton Shipley was coach and director of athletics when Hullihen came, and though warned, vaguely, of intrigues between Shipley and a group of young faculty or staff in agriculture, Hullihen kept Shipley as athletic director for two years. Shipley, though a good baseball coach, did not do well with the football team, and in the fall of 1921 another man, Sylvester R. Derby, an Illinois graduate, was added to the staff as assistant professor of physical education and football coach. Both Shipley and Derby were dropped in 1922, when W.J. McAvoy, who had coached all major sports before the war, was called back. In 1925 McAvoy was replaced by Frank Forstburg, who in his turn was replaced by Joseph Rothrock, ’22, in 1927. Another alumnus, Gerald P. (Doc) Doherty, Jr., ’16, was also added to the staff in 1927 in the new position of graduate manager of athletics. Doc Doherty, who coached basketball and baseball, had a comparatively long tenure, remaining at Delaware for fourteen years, while other coaches came and went, with frequent recriminations, particularly after unsuccessful football seasons. Some alumni were quick to criticize President Hullihen, and he proved very sensitive to their criticism.38
One of the chief concerns of Walter Hullihen when he surveyed conditions on the Delaware campus was the encouragement of research. Outside of agriculture he found few teachers "engaged in any form of creative activity." "Once men–and women–joined the faculty they seemed, for the most part, to lose interest in further study themselves. In fact," Hullihen recalled, "there was a rather widely prevalent opinion that graduate study was of little value in its effect upon teaching."
Hullihen sought to change this attitude by several measures. One was to give leaves with partial pay to faculty members wishing to carry on further study, whether for an advanced degree or not. He sought to work toward establishment of a sabbatical system, providing half a year on full salary or a full year on half salary for faculty above the rank of instructor; unfortunately, financial problems prevented him from establishing leaves on any regular basis. Nevertheless many of the faculty were encouraged to continue work on advanced degrees or even to take leaves for postdoctoral study. Carl Rees, George Ryden, Henry Clay Reed, Edwin Byam, Francis Squire, Cecil Lynch, and Arthur Dunlap were among the faculty members who came to Delaware in the early Hullihen years without the doctorate but completed the Ph.D. later, usually by means of a leave.39
Another device for encouraging original work was a publication that was called Delaware Notes. The first volume appeared in 1923, edited by Ezra B. Crooks, the new professor of philosophy and social science, who got an extra $300 added to his salary of $3,000 for undertaking this work. The first issue showed wide diversity in its four articles: "The Social Teaching of Thomas Aquinas" by W.L. Bevan (history); "The Role of Acids in Fruit Jelly Formation" by Lester W. Tarr (experiment station); "The Interest in Greece and Greek Literature in England from 1801-1836" by Finley M.K. Foster (English); and "The Great Bolshevist Epic" by Isadore Levine (modern languages).
As far back as the Harter administration, occasionally faculty writings, usually "practical" pieces on subjects like the teaching of English, had been published, one to an issue, in a series called Delaware College Bulletins, under which title the annual catalogue also appeared. Delaware Notes included articles like those named that might be termed more nearly pure research. It ran, appearing almost annually to 1961, for a total of 33 volumes; its discontinuance arose from a lack of interest on the part of the faculty.40 By 1961 they had apparently found other avenues of publication preferable to a volume that had no distinct focus–except for a number of articles bearing on the history of the university. It is likely that Delaware Notes did for many years stimulate faculty research, as Hullihen hoped it would. Its very existence encouraged scholarly writing. The availability of offprints meant that anyone publishing in Delaware Notes could make sure that copies of his article reached interested people, and because exchange arrangements were worked out with many other universities, copies of Delaware Notes became widely available in scholarly libraries.
The publication was financed on a shoestring, by three subscriptions of $100 each from H.B. Thompson, P.S. du Pont, and President Hullihen. Before Hullihen "passed the hat" to raise this money, he hoped that he might publish through the agency of a University of Delaware Press, but it turned out to have other priorities.41
The idea for a University of Delaware Press apparently originated in conversations between Hullihen, Everett Johnson, publisher of the Newark Post and owner of the Press of Kells, and Dr. Joseph Odell, director of the Service Citizens, an organization funded by Pierre du Pont for the purpose of improving the Delaware public schools. As Hullihen explained the venture to the university trustees, the Service Citizens wanted to publish four books and were forbidden by their charter from engaging in any business for profit; they would subsidize a press to publish these books and the university would have no financial obligation at all.
"Nothing, perhaps, excepting always sound scholarship and adequate equipment for instruction, redounds more to the credit of an educational institution," in Hullihen’s opinion, "than a Press…issuing only books and journals of permanent value which carry [its name] to other institutions of learning and to educated men in all parts of the world." Among possible publications, Hullihen mentioned a second edition of Sypherd’s literary presentation of the Bible, as well as a work by Finley Foster, and a school history of Delaware that the Service Citizens had commissioned Katharine Pyle to write.42
Pierre du Pont, Henry Scott, Hugh Morris, Dean Robinson, and George Morgan (alumnus and journalist) attended early organizational meetings, Dean Robinson responding enthusiastically to one notice, "I don’t know of anything that interests me more." Hullihen, Odell, and Finley Foster were the incorporators of the press, and at the first meeting on July 13 Hullihen was elected president, Odell vice-president, and Rodney Sharp secretary. Besides most of those persons already mentioned, Professor Bevan, Edward Vallandigham, and Christopher Ward (lawyer and author) were members of the first board of directors. They declared it their intention to "consider for publication only such books or pamphlets as may be deemed contributions to the various fields of art and knowledge."43
The Service Citizens appropriated $12,000 to the press as working capital and then gave it another $5,000 to publish a collection of ten essays by Glenn Frank, editor of the Century Magazine, which appeared in 1923 under the title An American Looks at His World: Variations on a Point of View. Odell liked the idea of publishing essays by educators, but another work that his Service Citizens sponsored attracted more attention, at least locally, than the Frank essays–Negro School Attendance in Delaware, by Richard Watson Cooper (who was employed by the Service Citizens) and Hermann Cooper. Two years later, in 1925, the press published another related work by the same authors, The One-Teacher School in Delaware; a Study in Attendance.44
The school history that Katharine Pyle was said to be working on never appeared. (She had published a fictionalized history for children called Once Upon a Time in Delaware in 1911, and it was republished in a second edition in New York in 1927.) However, a second, revised edition of Sypherd’s The English Bible, Being a Book of Selections from the King James Version was published by the University of Delaware Press in 1923, when works by Frank and the Coopers appeared. Further additions to the list of the press in its first year were two works that had special interest to Pierre du Pont, who, of course, financed their publication: National Education in the United States of America, a forgotten work by his ancestor, Du Pont de Nemours (and the first book issued by the press), and Life of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont from Contemporary Correspondence. Both works were translated and edited by Bessie G. du Pont and both publications were of undoubted value to scholars, especially the second, which was an eleven-volume collection of E.I. du Pont’s letters.
Unfortunately, the University of Delaware Press did not keep up the fine publishing record of its early years. Everett Johnson, whose Press of Kells did the printing for the university press, died suddenly in early 1926. The charter of the Service Citizens, which had subsidized the press, expired in 1927. The small faculty of the university had not proved sufficiently productive to justify having a press for its own work, nor had this press developed a sufficiently wide clientele to carry on when Johnson, who had ambitions to develop a scholarly printing business, and the Service Citizens, along with Pierre du Pont’s subsidies, were gone.
In the following years the university occasionally published books under the title University of Delaware Press, but the organization set up so hopefully by Hullihen, Odell, and their associates in 1922 was abandoned. The tight budgets of the Depression years made other publishing difficult, but in time a committee was given funds with which to issue an occasional scholarly book, contracting separately with a printer on each occasion. From this activity at long last–after the Second World War–the University of Delaware Press was reborn.
The most important of Walter Hullihen’s efforts to improve scholarly research on the Delaware campus was his campaign for a new library. Mitchell had furnished a valuable suggestion when he proposed making it a war memorial; Charles Klauder had sketched a very grand, formal building as the centerpiece of the campus, a grander building than, as it turned out, available money could provide for. But here the project had stopped until Hullihen came on the scene to take it up with enthusiasm.
"Convinced," he wrote, in reminiscence, "as every college executive is, that no great institution of higher learning is possible without a great library," he made the library his favorite project. As a war memorial it was not the only proposal before the state: Governor Townsend in January 1921 suggested that a new wing added to the north end of the state capitol would be a proper memorial. This suggestion was soon forgotten, but Hullihen learned he could not look for help to the 1921 General Assembly, which rejected proposals for a new dormitory and new dining hall at the Women’s College. Nor were wealthy citizens sufficiently interested to take over the responsibility; the most likely one, Pierre du Pont, was now engaged in his large-scale project of helping the public schools, which eventually meant providing the means of erecting many new school buildings. Undaunted, Hullihen proposed a great public campaign, involving the entire state in a project for a memorial to those Delawareans who lost their lives in the recent war. He presented his plan to the alumni in June 1921; there is disagreement on the response it elicited. The Morning News reported the alumni accepted the plan, but Hullihen said they took no action on it. Three times he presented his plan to the university board of trustees before they authorized him to go ahead with it on February 18, 1922, though even then they told the eager president not to begin the campaign until September, when they hoped business conditions would have improved.
Hullihen proposed to reduce Klauder’s grandiose library plans to provide for a simpler building, one that could be built for $170,000, which, with $30,000 for equipment and new books needed at once, and $50,000 for endowment, meant a campaign goal of $250,000. In the previous summer he had written Rodney Sharp, then on a trip around the world, a lengthy description of what he had in mind, stressing that he too believed "beautiful and dignified physical surroundings are very important factors in a college education" and that his desire was "to carry out your library plan on a reduced scale." The library Hullihen proposed would be satisfactory for twenty years, through providing stack room for 100,000 volumes, "more than we will have in the next forty years." (Hullihen underestimated the rate of growth; the library had 300,000 volumes by 1962.) The endowment fund would "shut off" objections to the project as a drain on state resources and would provide for annual additions to holdings. Among his pleasures in the project was the idea that the Johnson building (the current library) and some adjacent "eye-sores" on the south side of Main Street could be removed, leaving a splendid vista "from Old College and its yard down `The Green’ past Wolf Hall to the Library standing at the south end of one college and the north end of the other…with two facades, inviting with equal hospitality the people of both colleges." But as important as campus beautification was, Hullihen confessed, "it is of small importance as compared with the need of a real library, properly and conveniently equipped and constantly being added to."45
Hullihen wrote that it was Sharp’s idea to make the library a war memorial–perhaps Mitchell’s idea had come to Hullihen through Sharp, or possibly it was Sharp who had inspired Mitchell. At any rate, it was Sharp, with some associates, who now agreed to finance the campaign so that every cent that was raised in the subscription drive could go to the new library. On September 11, 1922, Hullihen, as chairman, and Sharp, as secretary of the Library Campaign Committee, signed a contract with Ward, Wells, Dreshman and Gates (of New York and Chicago) for a campaign to cost $6,000, besides expenses that were expected to run to $9,000 or $10,000.46
Sharp, Hullihen, and Henry Scott had been appointed to the campaign committee by the board of trustees, with authority to enlarge their membership, as they did by adding Everett Johnson and H.W. Lyndall, ’05, the president of the Alumni Association. By the time they reported to the board of trustees at a special meeting on September 22, 1922, they had made important decisions and laid the groundwork for the campaign. They had, for instance, secured the approval of both the alumni and alumnae associations, and they had determined on a goal of $300,000, raising the estimate for cost of construction to $225,000. Central to the plans was provision for a memorial hall, with "a bronzed tablet bearing the names of those who fell" in the war "and a hand-illumined, hand-engrossed volume in which one parchment page shall be devoted to a life history of each person whose name appears upon the tablet." (The Memorial Library, when constructed, did have such a central hall, with four bronze tablets rather than one and a book with one parchment page bearing the name–but not the life history–of each person listed on the bronze tablets. A page in this book, which is in a case under glass, is turned every weekday.)47
A facility planned for the library but later given up was a mailing service, to supply the needs of public school teachers for books and other printed materials. It was stipulated that the State Board of Education would need to cover the cost of this service, and presumably it never did. Another department was to contain books relating to the World War. As far as is known no effort was made to create such a special department; probably it was evident to the librarians that such books were best merged into the collections in their proper place.
Endorsements were sought–and to some degree secured–from state officials and organizations (from Governor Denney, the American Legion, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Bankers’ Association, for instance) recognizing the library as the state’s war memorial. An elaborate committee structure was set up for the campaign, including area committees and community committees. Five weeks were allowed for publicity and organization (including collecting lists of prospective donors), with just one week at the end of October for intensive soliciting.48
At the very beginning of this campaign the September Alumni News carried articles supporting it by Sypherd and Hullihen. Sypherd, who had been teaching in the summer school of the University of California, declared himself more pleased with the prospect of a good library than with anything that had happened at Delaware since his graduation, twenty-six years earlier. He recognized that there had been improvement since that time, when the library, in one room in Old College, had consisted mainly of government documents and when the students did most of their reading in the rooms of the two literary societies. After several removals–to Recitation Hall, to the Alumni Hall, and finally to what he called "the old ramshackle building at the corner of Main Street and South College Avenue"–the library had grown to 25,000 volumes.
But, as Hullihen explained in his article, 5,000 volumes had to be stored in the basement of Recitation Hall, for want of library space. The library was "the most urgent present need of the University," Hullihen emphasized, and it should have precedence over all other needs, including an engineering building, dormitories, an auditorium, and a women’s gym, real as these needs were.
The groundwork was laid before the intensive final week of the campaign began. President Lyndall of the Alumni Association wrote every alumnus requesting a gift of $5 a month for 20 months; state school superintendent H.V. Holloway and Wilmington superintendent David A. Ward wrote every public school teacher asking for cooperation in seeking small contributions from school children; it would be these children who could profit directly from the new library. Everett Johnson, as general campaign chairman, and Josiah Marvel, as chairman of the executive committee, asked every clergyman in the state to "place the project favorably" before his congregation. A Knights of Columbus campaign team sought contributions from 100 percent of their membership. The Rotary Club and parent-teachers associations were similarly solicited.49
The intensive week of campaigning began with a dinner at the Hotel du Pont on Friday, October 20, when Bishop Philip Cook, of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, pronounced the invocation, and the Reverend J. Francis Tucker, a Wilmington native who was a popular Catholic priest, gave the benediction. The turnout at the dinner was a great success, with a better percentage of the campaign workers present than at any similar meeting in recent times. The preliminary campaign was also declared a success, with pledges of $101,803 already secured.50
It was fitting that this dinner was held in the Hotel du Pont because campaign headquarters were in the same building in Wilmington–on the eighth floor of the Du Pont Building, rather than in the more isolated locale of the campus in Newark. Literature rained on the workers from this command post almost daily from October 20 to 27. For instance, a printed booklet gave them "Talking Points," such as the fact that enrollment at the university had doubled in the last four years. Another booklet was entitled "The Method for Enlisting the School Children of the State of Delaware in the Erection of a War Memorial Library on the Campus of the State University." Printed directions told workers to go out in teams of two and solicit personally, not over the telephone, and to ask only an assigned list of potential donors, suggesting an amount to be given each month for twenty months.51
On Wednesday, October 25, a great parade was held in Wilmington by the children from the public schools and the students at the university, accompanied by an army band from Fort du Pont–"an impressive sight," according to one onlooker, and another echoed this praise, adding, "We have had nothing of this kind better handled in this city." By Friday, October 21, Josiah Marvel and Everett Johnson announced that there were 1,500 subscribers in Wilmington besides school children and plant workers, who apparently were approached in groups for small donations. On Saturday, October 28, a day after the "intensive week" of campaigning had ended, Rodney Sharp, chairman of the important Wilmington campaign committee, was still rallying his troops. We have $200,000, he told them, and are on the last lap; if each worker could get fifteen friends to pledge $1 a month for twenty months, we will reach our goal by Monday, October 30, when the completion of the campaign was to be celebrated at a dinner for the workers at the Hotel du Pont.52
After a successful conclusion was proclaimed, Henry B. Thompson sent President Hullihen a congratulatory note. "It ended," he wrote, "about as I surmised, with our good friends, the Du Ponts, pulling us out of a hole. I must say, however, that I was a bit disappointed in the amount of the public subscriptions, but delighted with the number." In all, just over $300,000 had been pledged by 26,690 contributors, including the children at 219 schools. Hullihen expressed dismay at the amount of the alumni contributions, which he said were less than those of the faculty and the students–but he was, as usual, very sensitive about alumni support and failed to consider the gifts of wealthy alumni, like Sharp.53
Not that he failed to appreciate the help Sharp had given. After writing to everyone connected with the campaign–a form letter to captains and workers, another to school teachers, a personal, longhand letter to everyone giving over $500–he addressed Sharp, confessing he could not use "the perfunctory phrases" employed in the other letters. "I do want you to know," he wrote, "how very deeply I appreciate and how completely I understand what you have done for the University….The new library has been my dearest project for nearly two years. I have given it more thought and study than I have ever given to any single enterprise in the same length of time….And you more than anyone else are responsible for its being accomplished."54
If Sharp’s was the greatest contribution to the campaign in terms of effort and accomplishment, the largest contribution was from his brother-in-law, Pierre du Pont, whose interest was genuine. His initial gift of $30,000 was twice that of anyone else’s, and he later doubled it. Du Pont was not disappointed that a few large donors had saved the campaign: "Many of our citizens are with us," he wrote Hullihen, "and it is part of our work to educate the multitude." He saw the library campaign as more important than the achievement of a new library alone. We look to you, he told Hullihen, "to build a university worthy of the name….This first effort must be typical of the whole, i.e., successful. It is important that those who stand for better things in Delaware must not permit their plans to fail, as it is by a continued line of successes only that the ultimate goal can be reached."
The motive behind Pierre du Pont’s splendid service to the schools of Delaware is revealed in his comments to Hullihen. "Education being by far the most important matter for the development of a strong race, we cannot hope for success in other things unless our educational projects are carried through. Delaware is a land of opportunity in the educational line, and I hope the continued effort will win for us the great success for which we hope."
The spirit of this man, who did indeed take on thankless public duties, breathes through another comment: "I am always sorry that other duties prevent my giving more time to you and the University; but my heart is always with you."55
Among the groups contributing to the campaign were the employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad car shops at Wilmington, who gave $200, and the 135 men in the veterans’ rehabilitation program on campus, who pledged $3,000. But the large gifts came mainly from the du Ponts, Pierre being followed in generosity by his brother Irenee, who gave $14,000, and his cousins T. Coleman and Alfred I., who gave $10,000 each. Besides many other du Pont donors, the Henry Scott family gave $5,000 and the Bancrofts $4,000. And yet, it was not enough.56
Two problems arose after victory was proclaimed on October 30. First, the subscriptions, many of them promised over a twenty-month period, came in slowly; some did not come at all. Second, inflation drove up estimates of what the new building would cost. The architects reported that the $225,000 building that had been envisioned would now cost $281,600.57
After putting so much effort into the campaign Rodney Sharp was terribly discouraged. He checked with Wilmington builders who said the cost estimates of the architects were correct. "I don’t see how it is possible for us to go ahead at such prices," he wrote. And he did not expect the prices ever to be much lower. He felt his committee had promised to set aside an endowment fund to keep the building from ever becoming a burden to the state. With the current cost estimates, there would be no money for endowment.58
At least one member of the library committee, which had been enlarged, was not despondent. Responding to Sharp’s discouraging report, W.O. Sypherd tried to buck him up: "If you will turn to the Seventh Scene of the First Act of Shakspere’s [sic] `Macbeth,’" Sypherd wrote, "you will find the following conversation:
Macbeth: If We should fail?
Lady Macbeth: We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we’ll not fail."
"There can be no such thing as failure, failure to build this library at once," Sypherd added. "All we need is courage to face the issue." There was money enough to build the library and spend $20,000 on books. They should, in his opinion, run the risk of raising $4,000 a year for maintenance till a permanent endowment could be acquired. Surely there were people who would come to the aid of the university in its first real crisis since the reopening in 1870. "Failure to build this Library now will be a moral failure, the results of which would be disastrous to the future welfare of the University."59
Despite Sypherd’s argument, the committee hesitated. Hullihen reported they would wait a few months to see whether costs receded; if not, they would "start anew and develop plans for a smaller and less extensive building." But Sharp, possibly buoyed by Sypherd’s encouragement, did not give up. He went back to the major contributors and asked them to raise their pledges by twenty percent. He had raised an additional $30,000 in this manner–still too little to provide for the building, its furnishings, and its endowment–when his brother-in-law saved the day. "It is important," Pierre du Pont had written, "that those who stand for better things in Delaware must not permit their plans to fail." Now he agreed, "in view of the great need of this building…to make up the deficiency." This meant more than doubling his original pledge of $30,000–besides which his wife had made a $5,000 gift.60
Even then there was a problem. The costs of construction had been affected once again by inflation. The Delaware School Auxiliary, an agency set up by Pierre du Pont to build the public schools he was giving the state, was asked to take charge of construction of the library; its estimate of the cost was $312,500. The only recourse the committee had now was to send the architects back to the drawing board. Adjustments were made: the length of the wings was reduced by ten feet each and a number of cost-saving changes were made in regard to the basement. They decided to raise the building two feet, replacing plans for a French drain system and waterproofing with "integral damp-proofing." It was a risky step to take. The architects had worried about the dryness of the basement because the site chosen for the library was so low that cattails had grown there; practically, it would have been more sensible to build the library at the side of the mall, on a site that could have been somewhat higher, that would have allowed for future enlargement of the building, and where one entrance would have sufficed. But aesthetic considerations had outweighed the practical in the siting of the library. And now, in November 1923, to save money in assuring a dry basement it was decided to raise the level of the building slightly. "This made waterproofing unnecessary," it was thought–quite incorrectly, as it turned out.61
Ground was broken for the library on December 11, 1923. Three hundred students, faculty, and alumni turned out under the leadership of President Hullihen and excavated most of the basement, while Women’s College students served doughnuts and coffee and gave encouragement. (Some of the vigorous digging may have been done in the wrong place.) At commencement time, June 9, 1924–the first joint commencement of Delaware College and the Women’s College–the cornerstone was laid for the first building planned for the joint use of both colleges. By December of that year the building was complete–though the bronze memorial tablets had not yet arrived–and during Christmas vacation the librarian, Dorothy Hawkins, supervised the removal of the books from the old building that had once been the Delaware House hostelry (plus the 5,000 volumes stored in the basement of Recitation Hall) to the new building. When college reopened on January 5, 1925, the new library was in operation.62
To those who know Memorial Hall only after its transformation into a classroom building, its internal–and, for that matter, external–appearance in its first decade would be surprising. Its wings were stubby and flat, and the central section relatively narrow, consisting only of the memorial hall, with entrances to it from both the north and south. In this hall were four bronze tablets bearing the names of Delaware’s war dead and a "book of the dead" in a case in the center. Near the four corners were the flags of the principal allied nations. On the east side was a broad corridor between the circulation desk, on the south, and the card catalogue, which had drawers opening both ways so they could be removed from the rear by library cataloguers working there. Off this corridor on the south side a broad stairway (still there) led to a gallery under the dome of the building. Here local and traveling art exhibits were tastefully mounted under the direction of the art department, of which Professor Harriet Baily became the very able chairman in 1929. The east corridor terminated in a reading room with long desks and comfortable chairs. Around the walls leading reference works were shelved. It early became the custom for women to sit on the south side of this room and men on the north, although no regulation required their separation. Quiet was rigidly enforced.
A west corridor led past the librarian’s office and ancillary rooms, including one where the central campus telephone operator was long enthroned, to a central periodical room in the west wing. Surrounding it were offices used by departments that taught students from both campuses. Except for the gallery there was no second floor, but the full basement contained the stacks and, at its western end, classrooms and offices used by the department of education.
To collect unpaid pledges the Student Council received permission late in February to hold a mass meeting and conduct a week’s solicitation campaign. Although the library was dedicated, appropriately, on Memorial Day, May 23, 1925, its collections were not complete until books from the Women’s College library, previously housed in Robinson Hall, were moved into the new building over the summer.63
The completion of President Hullihen’s favorite project was, as he told the trustees, "an event in the history of the University of the utmost significance." Compared to the facilities, the space, the staff, and most of all the collections of the Morris Library, dedicated in 1963, the Memorial Library may seem wanting. But it was built for the needs of a different institution–a university in name and ambition but in reality only two small undergraduate colleges with a total, in 1924-25, of 560 students.64
The new library was important, it was necessary, it was fundamental to the primary work of the University of Delaware. One can understand President Hullihen’s chagrin, as revealed in his annual report, when only 1,200 people showed up at the elaborate dedication ceremonies. But there was another important project of the university in these same years that was neither necessary nor fundamental and that interested far fewer people in the state than the Memorial Library and yet contributed far more to the good reputation of Delaware in academic circles across the nation and abroad than anything the university had done in the past–and possibly more, considering its international aspects, than anything the university was to do in the future.
Late in 1920, when Hullihen was new to the presidency, a young assistant professor of French came into his office with an imaginative new proposal. Raymond Watson Kirkbride had joined the faculty in 1919 after service in France that included a short period of study at the University of Grenoble. At Delaware he distinguished himself neither as teacher nor as scholar (he never took a Ph.D. and did little if any scholarly writing), and though he was soon placed in charge of the academic extension (night school) program, his faults as an administrator were later to worry Hullihen. Yet Kirkbride proposed the most innovative new program in the history of the university–at least since the idea of an auxiliary college for women had led to establishment of the Women’s College.
The program he proposed became known as the Junior Year Abroad, and the essence of it was that American undergraduates could profit–and their nation with them–if they spent their junior year at a foreign university, living with people of the country and taking courses with students and under professors of that foreign university and yet at the same time meeting the requirements for graduation in an arts and science curriculum at Delaware. It was not conceived as a foreign language program but a program of immersion for one year in a foreign culture. Since France, the country of Kirkbride’s foreign experience, was chosen as the site for the first experiment, it was necessary that students in the program have some proficiency in French–at the least have studied the language for several years–before leaving the United States. On arrival in France they would be placed in French homes in a provincial city for about two months of intensive language drill before being sent to the university in Paris. Here too they would live in French homes, each student with a different family, and would be expected to use French exclusively, even with each other, in order to quicken their understanding of the language and, through it, of the civilization of this country.65
Kirkbride not only proposed the idea. He promoted it very effectively for most of the next decade. Still, the success of the program–and there is little doubt that it was a success–depended also on the support given it by two other men. One was Walter Hullihen, who welcomed the proposal, saw its broad possibilities (not only for the education of students at his and other universities or colleges, but for the cause of international understanding and world peace–for Hullihen was a Wilsonian), envisioned a number of such programs in various foreign countries, and furthered its development in every way he could. The other was Pierre du Pont, whose support, given at first indirectly, made the initiation of the program possible.
For two years after Kirkbride first proposed the plan to Hullihen, the two men devoted much time to considering how it could be implemented. They conferred in person and by correspondence with leading educators in America and abroad, with bankers and with businessmen. Herbert Hoover, then secretary of commerce, who had himself had years of experience abroad as an engineer, was particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of producing college graduates equipped, through this program, to serve American business in foreign markets. Kirkbride went back to France in the fall of 1922, supported by a $500 grant from the Service Citizens (and a leave, without pay, from the university) to investigate the possibility of coordinating courses in the French universities with the curricula at Delaware and in other American colleges.66
Kirkbride’s report, or Hullihen’s presentation of it, apparently satisfied the trustees, for in February 1923 they empowered the faculty to draw up regulations for the foreign study plan, subject to the approval of the board’s committee on instruction. Hullihen hoped that students, with Hoover’s influence on their behalf, might be able to get jobs on American merchant ships and work their way abroad; because of cheaper living conditions in France than in America, he believed the Junior Year Abroad would not cost more than twenty percent beyond the very modest costs of a year at the University of Delaware.
As far as is known the jobs on ships were not available, and costs, particularly considering the excursions, for cultural or other purposes, that students were encouraged to take, were probably higher than Hullihen hoped they would be. The Service Citizens provided a grant to take care of a faculty leader, who was, naturally, Kirkbride, and scholarship funds were found from du Pont and others to help gather students for the initial experiment. When Hullihen himself went abroad to oversee the plan in action, Rodney Sharp paid his steamship bill and Pierre du Pont took care of the rest of his expenses.67
Du Pont apparently looked forward, as Hullihen did, to eventual extension of the plan to England, and he urged Hullihen, "Try to take at least half of the trip for rest and pleasure. Please also include Mrs. Hullihen….As this will be somewhat of an official trip on behalf of the University of Delaware I hope you will see that it is done in appropriate style, and such entertaining, etc., as appears necessary will be at my expense. I can see great benefit at this time, when the plans in France are being carried out, to have you meet and know some of our British friends also. I am happy to contribute to that end; and, I confess, that the personal gratification will be greater in knowing that you are having an enjoyable vacation."68
The friendliness of this letter is matched by du Pont’s comment in the summer of the preceding year when, agreeing to come to convocation to receive an honorary degree the trustees had voted him, he wrote, "Its acceptance is another tie to bind me to the University of Delaware. I hope that many good minds working on its problems will make and maintain a college of first rank in quality even though we have no prospect of great size."69
In inviting Pierre du Pont to the 1922 convocation the university celebrated a felicitous connection of eight years’ standing. In inviting Jules Jusserand, the French ambassador, to the 1923 commencement the university marked the beginning of a new relationship, for it was preparing to send its first group of students to spend their junior year in France.70
Eight men, all juniors, composed the first foreign study group. Seven of them were Delawareans and had spent two years on the Delaware campus. The eighth was a Pennsylvanian (from Kirkbride’s undergraduate college) who transferred to the University of Delaware to enter the program. One of the men, David Daugherty, who became a professor of French at the University of Oregon, eventually became head of the group abroad. As far as is known only one member of the group, Herbert Lank, from Seaford, made a significant career in international business; he became president, first of Du Pont in Argentina and, later, of Du Pont of Canada. A third member of the group whose achievement was remarkable was Francis Cummings, a blind youth from Wilmington who later attained a Ph.D. in French at the University of Pennsylvania; after teaching there briefly he returned to Delaware to become executive director of the State Commission for the Blind.
In announcing the departure of this group on July 7, 1923, on the Rochambeau, the New York Times quoted Hullihen extensively. The most important detail of the plan, Hullihen told a reporter, was the provision for months of intensive language study before the students entered a French university. Its distinctiveness lay in its forming part of an undergraduate course toward a baccalaureate degree–not graduate study–and in its intention of serving the ordinary undergraduate–not just teachers or scientists. "Our plan," he told the Christian Science Monitor, which ran at least two stories about the Delaware group, "aims to reach the type of man who is going into business; the type that embraces two-thirds of our college graduates of today. We wish to see eventually a great reservoir of college trained men from which business, trade, industry, commerce, and the Government can draw…for work abroad or…work that involves knowledge of the languages and customs of other countries." The Monitor added that "at present the expenses are to be borne by the students selected for the work abroad; later it may be by the institution, which is well endowed."71
The institution was not so well endowed that it could have begun or continued this program without outside assistance. When the program was scarcely begun, the Service Citizens, who had helped it get started, guaranteed a grant of $4,800 for its continuation a second year. In its second year the program became coeducational, accepting some students from the Women’s College.72 There were only seven students, four men and three women, in this second group and two were doing graduate work, which indicates that there had been more difficulty recruiting juniors in 1924 than in 1923. To expand the group it was necessary to open the program to students from other colleges, a step that the faculty committee on foreign study recommended. In the spring of 1925 this committee published a bulletin with a full account of the experiment. Copies of it were sent to the presidents and to chairmen of modern language departments of all accredited colleges and universities. The reaction in many of the colleges was very favorable. President William Neilson, of Smith College, wrote that they were paying Delaware "the compliment of imitation" by sending thirty juniors to Paris in the fall for a program along the same lines as the Delaware plan. Responses from other colleges included applications to join the Delaware group; as a result, when the third group went to France in 1925 it included not only nine Delaware students, but five from other universities, including California, Florida, and Rutgers.73
In February 1926 another young assistant professor from Delaware, George E. Brinton, went to France to replace Kirkbride temporarily. With him Brinton took a group of eight graduate students from Teachers College of Columbia University that was to be affiliated with the Delaware group, and Kirkbride came home to tour American colleges on behalf of the Junior Year Abroad idea at the instance of the American Council on Education–and a with the support of a $1,000 grant from Pierre du Pont.74
Kirkbride was an effective promoter and his idea caught on rapidly. Few schools were willing to set up programs abroad as Delaware had done (Smith, and later Sweet Briar, were exceptions); consequently the American Council on Education asked Delaware to expand its program so as to include as many students as possible from other institutions. The way having been paved for outsiders in 1925, in 1926 the number of students from other institutions became so great that the Delaware contingent became only a minority in the program, and so it remained. The total number of students was forty-three in 1926 and sixty-eight in 1928. There was a slight falling off in numbers at the onset of the Depression, but ninety-two students registered to go with the group in 1932. The program had become, as the business administrator noted, a small college. To Dean Robinson, who was not easy to please, the Foreign Study Plan was "the outstanding feature" of the university.75
Hullihen was, of course, very proud of a plan that made Delaware, he felt, more widely known than any other institution of its size–and the best known of all American colleges in France. He contemplated extension of the plan to England and Germany, where "we have gotten a tiny bit of a start," and to Switzerland, where "[we] have made some preliminary inquiries." Kirkbride recommended Aix as a good place to set up a branch to avoid overcrowding in Paris. Pierre du Pont was underwriting the plan for $10,000 a year, to prevent loss to the university. He and others, including Senator Coleman du Pont, made frequent outright contributions, and a group of Delawareans offered scholarships through the Institute of International Education, the great majority of which went to students in the Delaware Program. To 1939 Fletcher Brown gave a total of $13,200 (forty-four scholarships worth $300 each), J. Pilling Wright gave $6,000, Robert H. Richards and Frank G. Tallman each gave $3,600, and smaller amounts came from other Delawareans, as well as a total of $14,400 from the French government.76
Kirkbride’s lax administrative methods were, however, a cross for Hullihen to bear. Wilkinson had to be sent to France to straighten out the finances, and Kirkbride was frequently six months or more in arrears in reporting on the work of students. Hullihen figuratively tore his hair. "Further threats on my part," he wrote in December 1926, "would, I am sure, be useless. I can only warn you that the end seems near." "You incur a deficit," he warned in June 1927, "with as much nonchalance as though you had the Bank of England behind you and had carte blanche to draw upon it." We cannot spend $500 again to send Wilkinson over just to clean up the books. "At this writing," he concluded, gloomily, "I have no plans for continuance after this coming year."77
The plan did continue, but without Kirkbride. That remarkable innovator was forced by illness (probably tuberculosis) to return to the United States in March 1928; almost a year later, on February 28, 1929, he died in the Johns Hopkins University Hospital. But his program continued. George Brinton became his successor, and despite the onset of the Great Depression, the Junior Year Abroad program flourished, expanding in the next few years to Germany and Switzerland. The memory of Kirkbride was kept alive by a memorial library established in Paris with the aid of alumni of the program and, eventually, by a building named in his honor on the university campus.78
One of the remarkable features of Kirkbride’s achievement is that this successful program developed almost exactly on the lines he laid out for it in a memorandum he submitted to Hullihen on January 17, 1921. He had then contemplated a group of only six to fifteen students, all from Delaware, who might keep their expenses down by working their way abroad. He thought initially that they might spend each of three terms at a different French university. The success of the program dictated its enlargement, in which his visits to other universities played a large part. Scholarships soon provided travel expenses for students who needed this help. Instead of using several universities, it proved most satisfactory to concentrate all work at the University of Paris. Otherwise the program was much as this young assistant professor conceived it. His fame on the Delaware campus is justified.79
The Foreign Study Plan greatly enhanced the national reputation of the University of Delaware, but it had little effect on the campus. Visible signs of growth and improvement did, however, appear in the 1920s. Construction of the Memorial Library in 1924 made it possible to clear the remaining old buildings that stood on Main Street between Harter Hall and South College Avenue. To buy one property, not previously available, Pierre du Pont gave the university $8,000, thus completing his funding of the purchase of the land between Main Street and the Women’s College. (Apparently the university had not felt able to force the sale by using its right of eminent domain since it would not immediately use the property except for beautification.) Bricks from the old library, now vacated, were used in building a wall at the Main Street end of the mall.80
Actually one more tract of land was still to be acquired before the university holding was solid on the west side of South College Avenue between Main Street and Park Place–the central campus. This was a lot on the northeast corner of South College Avenue and Delaware Avenue that the United States government owned as the future site of a post office. With the help of the congressional delegation from Delaware, the post office department was persuaded to trade this tract for a lot on Main Street at Centre Street. It was a three-way trade: S.J. Wright, a Newark businessman who owned the Main Street lot, gave it up in return for a lot on Academy Street owned by the university, plus several thousand dollars, largely contributed by Senator T. Coleman du Pont, who had helped secure post office department acquiescence in this trade.81
North of Main Street and east of Recitation Hall, two fraternity houses were built as part of a fraternity complex that was never completed. (The plan, of Day and Klauder, involved razing Recitation Hall and moving the John Watson Evans House.) The first of these houses was that of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, dedicated January 19, 1923, and the second was the Sigma Nu house, opened in 1929. Both were built according to regulations drawn up by the building and grounds committee and adopted by the board of trustees in 1921. The fraternities secured the land from the university on ninety-nine-year nontransferable leases and funded the construction themselves, their plans being subject to the approval of Day and Klauder. No meals or liquor could be served in the houses, no gambling was permitted, and penalty for misuse of the property was its forfeiture, a provision that was not applied for approximately a half-century. A third fraternity, Kappa Alpha, was promised a campus site in 1929 if it could give evidence of being ready to build soon; the coming of the Depression evidently made this impossible.82
The first regulations governing fraternities, drawn up in 1916, had been allowed to lapse by 1925, when Dean George Dutton asked a committee of trustees, faculty members of fraternities, and student fraternity officers to draw up a new set of rules, recognizing, he wrote, that "fraternities are an integral and important part" of Delaware College. The committee Dutton called for was not in operation until 1927, when a result of its deliberations was establishment of an Inter-Fraternity Council, an agency through which the fraternities might regulate their own conduct and take some responsibility for enforcement of regulations established by the faculty. Each fraternity had one representative, normally its head, on this council. The constitution of the council, approved by the faculty on November 7, 1927, set rules for recruiting: for instance, freshmen could not be "rushed" until a two-week period just before Thanksgiving and they could not be initiated until the second term. A fifth national fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, had been organized on the campus in 1924, and later (in 1925) a sixth, Sigma Tau Phi, a "Jewish fraternity," which came to the campus because of the racist anti-Semitic restrictions enforced by the other fraternities. These restrictions were so much accepted that they apparently bothered few if any people on campus. Fraternities with an ethnic tie came into renewed popularity in the late 1970s, and in the 1920s Moses Weiler, ’29, an immigrant, found the brotherhood of Sigma Tau Phi, with whom Nathan Miller, a philanthropic Wilmington merchant, arranged for him to room, to be helpful in the process of his acculturation in America.83
Hullihen approved of fraternities that were part of national organizations because he thought they encouraged the members to have a sense of pride and responsibility that could be appealed to by university authorities; if the local failed to respond, an appeal to the national was likely to bring results. Sharp, who had attended college before fraternities appeared, was skeptical of their growth, but Hullihen wanted as many fraternities as possible to "reduce the number of non-fraternity men, `barbarians,’ to the lowest possible limits."84
Hullihen’s attitude toward Jews was probably no worse than the prevailing attitude in academic circles in his day. The prevailing tone of campus at this time was distinctly Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Of eight speakers in a 1923 summer school lecture series that included Robert Frost, five were ministers–two of them Methodists, one Presbyterian, one Congregationalist, and one Episcopalian. In recommending very favorably a former faculty member, William G. Lewi, Jr., to a western college, Hullihen wrote, perhaps in answer to a question, "I do not know whether or not he is a Hebrew, but I am inclined to think that he is. This was never remarked upon here, however, and I am sure he could not be called a Jew of the objectionable type, if indeed he is a Jew."85
A comment on German affairs and the Nazis that Hullihen made in the 1930s led at least one Delaware Jew to complain to the board of trustees. Hullihen’s persistent advocacy of a chair of religion irked Delaware Catholics, who assumed that it would be filled by a Protestant. It never materialized but Hullihen, a devout man and a minister’s son, felt he had achieved one step toward providing proper moral training for the young barbarians under his charge when he secured a former Methodist minister, Ezra B. Crooks, as professor of philosophy.86
Dean Robinson did not share Hullihen’s enthusiasm for fraternities–at least not for sororities. She believed in fostering a collegial spirit in the Women’s College and was adamantly opposed to the introduction of groups like sororities that might fragment the student body and would possibly weaken its allegiance to the college. On several occasions proposals were made, usually by transfer students, to organize sorority chapters, but the dean, her faculty, and the student body too, when its opinion was taken, were all overwhelmingly opposed to such an innovation.
A notable expansion of the Women’s College occurred in 1925 when the legislature appropriated money to construct another dormitory, New Castle Hall, and a dining hall, Kent, that permitted the basement of Warner Hall to be converted (with the aid of several gifts from private donors, including $1,000 from Mrs. William Bancroft) from dining facilities into a women’s faculty clubroom, bringing the women at last to equality in this respect to the men on the faculty, who had enjoyed the amenities of clubrooms on the ground floor, east wing, of Old College since that building’s reconstruction in 1916-17.
The opening of New Castle Hall in September 1926 did not permit abandonment of the three "temporary" wooden dormitories, Topsy, Turvy, and Boletus, for enrollment had outpaced legislative action. The new additions did contribute mightily to the furtherance of the collegial ideal of Dean Robinson, and the establishment of reading rooms–the Emma Worrell library (presented by the Wilmington New Century Club) in New Castle Hall and the Browsing Room in Warner Hall, the latter strengthened by a bequest of $1,000 in the will of Mary H. Askew Mather–helped to make the Women’s College a somewhat self-contained unit.87
The appropriation for Kent Hall was too niggardly to permit construction of anything more than a flat-roofed factory-looking structure, but a gift of $50,000 from the Delaware School Auxiliary saved the day, permitting construction of an attractive dining hall, opened in November 1926, though the dormitory that was intended to be joined to it had to be put off to another day. Another legislative grant, in 1929, permitted construction to begin on a Women’s Gymnasium, now known as the Hartshorn Gymnasium, designed by Louis Jallade. Not till a second appropriation came in 1931 could this building be completed, however.88
There were other buildings that Dean Robinson wanted but failed to get. One was a building variously described to serve as a center for social activities, especially for a college branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association, and also for the departments of art and music, which had special needs for studio space. Another was a classroom and laboratory building to supplement Robinson Hall, where the laboratories, especially in physics, were quite deficient. This latter building did seem assured in 1931, when the General Assembly appropriated $210,000 for its construction and equipment. Unfortunately for the university, Governor C. Douglass Buck refused to sign this measure, among other appropriation bills, on the grounds that the state could not afford expenditures at a time when the Depression was decreasing income and increasing responsibilities of the state.89 Of course, the Depression grew even worse in the next year, and Dean Robinson was fated never to acquire these buildings; when art, music, and expanded social activities did achieve the space they needed and when additional classrooms and laboratories were provided they were open to men and women and did not further the separate development of the Women’s College, as Dean Robinson had hoped they would.
Physics, which had been taught at Delaware College under inadequate conditions on the third floor of Recitation Hall, acquired a home of its own in 1924. In that year, at university request, the laboratories of the State Board of Health left the campus–moving to Dover–and the old experiment station building that they had occupied (the present Recitation Annex) was turned over to physics.90 A year earlier Hullihen had brought to Delaware its first professor with a Ph.D. in physics, George Porter Paine, who came from Harvard. Development of this field was encouraged by Lammot du Pont, who gave $2,000 for equipment in 1926 and promised an additional $600 a year for five years, half for research equipment and half to augment Paine’s salary for directing the research. Unfortunately, Paine contracted a rare form of meningitis and died in June 1928. J. Fenton Daugherty, who succeeded him, became a very popular teacher and eventually was appointed the first dean of men in 1945.91
The breakdown of the Delaware College heating plant in the summer of 1924 hastened construction of the first unit of a new central heating plant to serve both colleges; this plant was gradually enlarged over subsequent years. A $10,000 appropriation by the Service Citizens (justified by the importance of the new plant to the teacher-training department) and the help of the Edgemoor Iron Company made possible a quick beginning on the new facility, which was located between the campuses, east of the site where the Memorial Library was then being constructed.92
Another improvement in the physical facilities, the enlargement of the men’s gymnasium by addition of a swimming pool, originated with the students in the spring of 1927. The existing pool, in the basement of the gym, was, as Hullihen said, hardly more than "an overgrown bathtub." Its inadequacy was especially noted in 1927 by students from Wilmington High School, which had just won the national high school swimming championship for two years in a row. The University Student Council, of which James E. Wilson, ’28, was president, led a campaign, heartily approved by Hullihen and the trustees, to raise $48,000 to remedy the situation. Fifty students worked on the solicitation on mornings and afternoons when they had no classes, and after they secured pledges (usually for $30 each) from a good share of the student body, they turned (with help in soliciting from some graduates in Wilmington) to alumni and friends of the university. Before the year was over they had pledges of almost $50,000 from 380 students, 54 of the faculty and trustees, about 275 alumni, and 244 other friends of the university–the last group giving $30,000, including $3,500 from Rodney Sharp, who was, of course, an alumnus. Ground was broken in October 1927 for the addition, which was skillfully designed by E. William Martin, ’16, to fit with the old gymnasium so as to give, in Hullihen’s words, "the appearance of an entirely new building of excellent proportions and arrangement." Besides providing a swimming pool, the addition allowed space for bleachers to be erected for basketball games and swimming meets. When opened in 1928 the remodeled gym was named for Alexander J. Taylor, ’93, who had been a major factor in inspiring the campaign and then volunteered his services as an engineer to supervise its construction. (As chief engineer for the Delaware School Auxiliary, Taylor already had other work on campus to his credit.)93
Before the end of Hullihen’s first decade as president two more very substantial buildings appeared on the men’s college campus. The first was the long-needed engineering building, which was named Evans Hall for George G. Evans, who was a member of the board of trustees for forty-eight years, 1856-1904, much of that time as its secretary-treasurer, and for his son Charles B. Evans, a trustee from 1894, and secretary-treasurer of the board from 1896 until his death in 1933.
When the legislature granted $225,000 for a new engineering building in 1927 it was the first state appropriation for any large building at Delaware College (in distinction from the Women’s College) in many decades. (The intercession of Senator Coleman du Pont or of his son Frank, a powerful figure in Delaware politics, may have been telling.) The new building was badly needed: mechanical engineering was still quartered in old Mechanical Hall, while civil and electrical engineering were in the three wooden temporary buildings just south of Harter Hall and chemical engineering was mainly in Wolf Hall. The appropriation was not nearly enough; Hullihen told the legislators another $110,000 was needed, urging them in their preoccupation with the construction of public schools not to forget that the university was "the cap-stone of the public school system." Still, it was enough to construct the single-story laboratory and shop portion of the building, which was opened in September 1928.94
While this construction was under way the university was looking for a new engineering dean, for Merrill Van Giesen Smith, who had been acting dean (and never made permanent dean) since 1922, died in April 1927, whereupon Dean Dutton took over his duties on a temporary basis. The search for a new dean was handicapped by the low salary offered by the university, which paid its deans less than any state university on a list the federal Bureau of Education compiled for 1927-28 and which Hullihen published for the edification of his trustees. Once again a private benefactor–who was, once again, Pierre du Pont–came to the aid of the university, furnishing one-fifth of the $5,000 that sufficed to attract a new dean, Robert L. Spencer, in 1928. As it did two years later in the case of the Women’s Gymnasium, the legislature completed its commitment to Evans Hall by a second grant at its next biennial session. And when the new dean was unhappy to find that no provision had been made, or requested, for a hydraulics laboratory, the university’s Good Samaritan, Pierre du Pont, rectified the deficiency with a gift of $30,000, which came on top of another $30,000 he had just given toward a $75,000 expansion of the heating plant.95
At the same time that Evans Hall was being constructed on the east side of the Green, another building was rising on the west side, "the finest building on campus," in Hullihen’s opinion. This was Mitchell Hall, the first major gift to the university from H. Rodney Sharp, that ever-loyal alumnus who had heretofore been the major conduit–and to some extent, the instigator–of Pierre du Pont’s numerous gifts to the university; in time Sharp was to exceed du Pont in his university contributions and to become one of the nation’s major benefactors of higher education. In December 1928 Sharp, of his own volition, announced his intention of giving an auditorium to the university. Out of his admiration for Samuel Chiles Mitchell, the former president, he chose to name the building Mitchell Hall. Hullihen would have preferred to acknowledge the donor’s generosity by naming the building Sharp Hall, but Sharp was insistent (as he had been in naming Harter Hall and Wolf Hall for men he admired) and gave the name to a reporter.
The gift delighted Hullihen. As he explained at the dedication, he had placed an auditorium last when he drew up a list of needed buildings soon after coming to Delaware, but this was because he thought it would be difficult to persuade the legislature to support it; in his heart, he said, it ranked second only to the library. How happy it was for him that Sharp felt there were important facets of a college education that were not likely to be provided for in the prescribed course of studies.96
Klauder was the architect for the building, which was planned only after several consultations with George Pierce Baker and Philip Barber, of the Yale department of drama, as well as with Ellsworth P. Conkle, a Yale graduate who had recently joined the Delaware English department, where he was in charge of all work in drama. Before these plans were made, P.S. du Pont announced that he was buying a new organ for his conservatory at Longwood and would give and install his old organ, valued at $100,000, in Mitchell Hall. Some of the advisers at Yale demurred at attempting to make a theater of a building where the stage would be greatly constricted by installation of the organ pipes; better, they suggested, to hope for a separate little theater on campus. But it was concluded that despite restricted stage space, the new building could serve at once as auditorium, concert hall, and theater.97
Built by Allen L. Lauritsen, ’18, of Wilmington, the handsome new domed building cost $287,000. Sharp gave another $50,000 as endowment for its maintenance, $7,000 for planting and incidentals, $8,000 for additional grading, terrace, and walks, and $12,500 to move five houses that had stood on the site and to purchase land to which they were moved, east of the campus on Delaware Avenue.98
The dedication on May 24, 1930, was a grand day at Delaware. Rodney Sharp and his wife gave a luncheon for 250 guests in Old College Hall preceding the program in the new building, which included an organ recital by Firmin Swinnen, P.S. du Pont’s Belgian organist, an original one-act play, Minnie Field, by Ellsworth Conkle (with an all-male cast from Delaware College), and a concert by the Women’s College Glee Club. Hullihen praised Sharp for his unswerving loyalty and generosity, and Samuel Mitchell, when introduced, declared it was a fortunate day for this institution when, in 1896, Hugh Rodney Sharp was admitted as a freshman from Lewes. For the Student Council, its president J. Caleb Boggs, ’31 (later governor and senator), presented Sharp with a bronze plaque as a token of appreciation.99
Appreciative as they were of Rodney Sharp’s generosity, it seems likely that few, if any, in the audience can have dreamed that his future gifts to Delaware would far transcend the value of Mitchell Hall.
Mitchell Hall, Evans Hall, and the Women’s Gymnasium completed a decade of physical improvements on the Delaware campus–two decades if one goes back to the beginnings of the Women’s College. There were other buildings in the offing. A new chemistry laboratory was already being designed, President Hullihen was recommending a new classroom-administration building as well as a new men’s dormitory, and Dean Robinson still hoped for an activities-arts building and for the new classroom building that the legislature had voted but the governor had vetoed.
Yet some members of the faculty complained that physical improvements had not been matched by improvements in other regards, especially in the salaries and other benefits that could attract and retain good teachers. While in appearance the University of Delaware had come to compare very favorably with most other small state universities, salaries lagged considerably below the average and aging professors had no pensions to look forward to, despite P. S. du Pont’s effort to start a pension system in 1916. George Harter, for example, probably the best-loved man on campus, taught until 1935, when he was just short of being 82, and then a gland operation finally led him to accept retired status.100
W. O. Sypherd stated the problem as he saw it in his report to President Hullihen in the fall of 1925. "The fundamental need" of the university, he argued, "is the dignifying and strengthening of the position of the teacher….Before any other buildings should be erected, before any other movements toward expansion of any sort should be started–the Administration should make a drive–persistent through the next few years, if necessary–for an endowment fund for teachers’ salaries. It seems to me obvious that the State cannot support the University entirely, cannot even, I believe, appropriate sufficient funds for the greatly increased salary budget which must soon come if the University is to hold or improve its position among American colleges. No halfway measures of relief will avail. Now is the time to face the situation frankly."101
This was not an appeal from a young assistant professor struggling to support a family, but from a bachelor, who was (at $3,800) the highest-paid professor on campus, except for a very few men–like Paine, in physics–whose salaries were supplemented by outside grants. But as long-time chairman of the largest department on campus, frequently needing to go into the academic market to add or replace members of this department, Sypherd was kept aware of the inadequacy of Delaware salaries. Moreover, he demanded high intellectual standards of his staff, insisting there should be a difference in what was expected of college and of high school teachers.
In 1923 Sypherd had been the first Delaware professor to join the American Association of University Professors, followed shortly by Bevan, Crooks, Eastman, Foster, Koerber, Preston, Ryden, and William Wilkinson–all high-ranking full or associate professors.102 In May 1930 the AAUP reported the result of a survey of teaching conditions at the university. One of their most startling discoveries was the turnover rate. Half of the faculty, they learned, had been at Delaware three years or less, and of 188 teachers listed in catalogues from 1920 to 1930 inclusive, over half had stayed for not more than two years. Ten teachers who left because of low salaries raised their average income from $2,811 at Delaware to $3,817 on the next job. Only full professors at Delaware could support a wife comfortably, and they did not make enough to support children.
From economic necessity, faculty members deferred marriage longer than most professional people. They augmented their salaries by summer and extension teaching, by royalties, by taking in lodgers, by their wives’ earnings (women faculty were not married), by income from property and gifts–the average having less than $1,000 in extra income, with sixty-four percent having less than $500 a year from these sources.
In summary, the AAUP report argued, the university could not count on attracting or retaining good men unless salaries rose. Able men did sometimes stay because they had driven roots deep and could leave only at a sacrifice of personal relationships or because they were engaged in work peculiar to this institution or locality. The conclusion of the report was a powerful challenge to the president and the trustees: a university or college with students willing to learn and with splendid teachers may be good despite poor buildings and equipment; the reverse is never true. "It is the faculty…that stamps a school as poor, mediocre, or great."
The AAUP acknowledged with gratitude "the remarkable progress" of the last fifteen years in improvement of both the physical and intellectual conditions of the university and the efforts of the president and the board to raise salaries and make teaching conditions more attractive. But they had recommendations for further improvement in three ways: (1) to improve opportunities for the better students; (2) to effect economies in instruction; and (3) to offer greater inducements to attract and hold good teachers. On the first point, they were brief and vague, proposing special kinds of instruction, which they acknowledged to be expensive. On the second, they were controversial, suggesting a limited degree of coeducation by the joining of men and women in small junior and senior classes and use of the same laboratories and lecture halls (though not at the same time) by both men and women.
On the third point, they went into more detail, suggesting (a) the gradual establishment–over a fourteen-year period–of a system of sabbatical leaves (a half-year at full salary or a full year at half salary every seven years) for all full professors, and for assistant and associate professors at the discretion of the board; (b) the establishment of "retirement allowances" or pensions; and (c) changes in the provisions for salaries, tenure, and promotion, as follows:103
|Instructor (M.A.)||$1,800-2,100||$100||1 year, with 3-year limit|
|Assistant Professor (M.A.)||$2,300-2,800||$100||3 years, 6-year limit|
|Associate Professor (Ph.D.)||$3,000-3,700||$200||5 years, tenure or dismissal|
|Professor (Ph.D., plus reputation)||$4,000-5,000||Not specified||Permanent|
As was noted earlier, Walter Hullihen had been aware of the needs of his faculty for higher salaries. In January 1923, at a time when the General Assembly was carefully scrutinizing the budget with the suspicion that the university had too many instructors, doing too little and paid too much, President Hullihen had answered this criticism by explaining that three-fourths of all colleges had more instructors in proportion to students enrolled, that faculty really worked very long hours, their classroom schedules rarely representing even one-third of their work, and that they were underpaid in comparison with the average at sixty state colleges and universities, according to statistics of the U.S. Bureau of Education.104
Over the next five and a half years the situation did not improve; in fact, it deteriorated. From figures released by the Bureau of Education for 1927-28 it appeared that Delaware paid $1,100 less to deans, $700 less to full professors, $400 less to associate professors, $300 less to assistant professors, and $150 less to instructors than the average at thirty-four other state universities. Only in the case of instructors was the salary differential less than it had been in January 1923. Not one of these state institutions paid its full professors an average salary less than Delaware’s $3,300, and only one, Idaho, paid as little. In neighboring states, the University of Maryland and Penn State paid $3,800, and Rutgers paid $4,000. (Wisconsin paid full professors an average of $6,000.) The situation for other ranks, while not as bad, was similar, and the salary picture was made worse by the lack of any provision for regular (or irregular) increases.
Hullihen blamed low salaries for almost all of eighteen resignations submitted in 1928. A few resignations were withdrawn after some salaries were augmented by money from private sources, but still three full professors and the librarian left Delaware, the latter giving up a salary of only $2,500 to accept the lower rank of assistant librarian with the higher salary of $3,200 (plus $100 in annual increments) at another state university. How, Hullihen asked, could he compete in the academic market for the best men or keep the best that Delaware did secure.105
Henry B. Thompson, as president of the board, talked the matter over with Pierre du Pont, who was sympathetic but thought that the Wilmington-Newark area was growing too dependent on a very small circle of men to rescue its cultural and eleemosynary institutions: a new, younger element should be brought into these endeavors, including some in his own family. The upshot was that Thompson, Rodney Sharp, and Henry Scott invited a number of people to lunch at the Hotel du Pont on May 25, 1928, and asked their assistance in raising an emergency salary fund of $30,000 over two years. The amount requested was quickly over-subscribed, thanks to a $10,000 gift from Pierre, $4,000 each from his cousins A. Felix and Henry F. du Pont, and $3,000 each from his brothers Irenee and Lammot and from his close associate John J. Raskob. Among the other donors, Rodney Sharp, Frank G. Tallman, Henry P. Scott, Henry B. Thompson, Harry M. Pierce, Willis F. Harrington, and H. Fletcher Brown each gave from $1,000 to $2,000.106
With the assistance of this fund the trustees felt able in December 1928 to establish a new salary scale, with instructors beginning at $1,600 (as before), assistant professors at $2,300 (instead of $2,200), associate professors at $2,700 (instead of $2,600), full professors at $3,400 (instead of $3,200), and deans at $4,600 (instead of $4,400). The maximum in the first four ranks was raised slightly to $2,100, $2,600, $3,100, and (for full professors) $4,000. The maximum for deans remained at $5,000, but Hullihen’s salary was raised in June 1929 to $8,000, plus housing. The trustees also agreed that annual raises of $100 might be given after two years up to the maximum for the rank–if the president, the deans concerned, and the committee on instruction of the board agreed. At the same time, the trustees warned that promotions could only be expected when a vacancy occurred at a higher rank.107
Even with this raise in the salary scale, the best that could be claimed for Delaware salaries was that they had by 1930-31 almost reached the average of the seventy-five state colleges and universities that reported to the commissioner of education–and there were many private colleges that paid considerably better salaries than the state institutions. It was this situation that the AAUP sought to rectify by their salary recommendations in the spring of 1930. Hullihen was sympathetic; in his desire to build a distinguished small university it was aggravating to be forced to admit constantly that Delaware not only was not in the forefront in terms of salaries but was not even up to the average. Salaries did rise at Delaware but so did they elsewhere, and so did living costs in what was, so far as education was concerned, a prosperous decade. Yet in 1933 Delaware still lagged behind the average, and in that year the exigencies of the Depression temporarily ended any hope of raising salaries further.108
In May 1932 Governor Buck asked all organizations receiving state appropriations to accept a voluntary reduction of ten percent in their grant for the year 1932-33. Since only one-third of the university budget came from the state, this reduction, when applied to individual salaries, came to only four percent, a cut that was applied across the board. But as the Depression deepened in the winter of 1932-33 the General Assembly demanded a reduction in salaries–of ten percent of all between $1,200 and $3,500 (which applied to most of the faculty), fifteen percent of all above $3,500 to $5,000, and twenty percent of all above $5,000. To the chagrin of President Hullihen, the state auditor interpreted the action of the legislature as meaning that no part of the state appropriation could be paid to the university unless all salaries were cut, including those derived from federal or private money.109
Since the reduction was to be made on the basis of salaries as they were in 1932-33, all raises were wiped out, and, of course, an end was put to progress being made in raising Delaware salaries from their low state. This development probably did not have as bad an effect on the attraction and retention of good professors as had the failure to raise salaries more rapidly in the 1920s. The Depression reduced living costs and froze jobs so that there was limited competition in the job market.
No progress was made in these years in establishing the sabbatical leave system requested by the AAUP, although leaves were occasionally granted and sometimes augmented by that portion of a professor’s salary not used for a substitute. Although there was no official rule regarding sick leaves, salaries were normally continued during absence due to sickness. Tenure provisions had been similarly informal. Contracts were written for one year, but it was generally understood that after three years of acceptable service, assistant professors and those in higher ranks were considered to have indefinite tenure and were removable only for cause.110
In December 1934, however, the board of trustees adopted, on the recommendation of Hullihen, the regulations on tenure proposed by the AAUP in 1930. Instructors, by these rules, were to have one-year appointments, renewable only twice except in unusual cases. Assistant professors and associate professors would receive three-year and five-year contracts respectively, and professors who had been at Delaware at least three years would receive contracts without term. The AAUP had recommended two other provisions that the trustees did not adopt; (1) that assistant professors be promoted or dismissed after two three-year terms and (2) that associate professors receive permanent tenure after five years. The trustees did declare that all appointments could be cancelled at any time for cause, including inefficiency, neglect of duty, breach of rules, or misconduct.111
Hullihen was entirely sympathetic to faculty requests for a pension fund, which he hoped the state would provide. "It is of the utmost importance that the University have a retirement fund," he advised Governor Buck in the fall of 1930, and he served on a committee representing the university, the State Board of Education, and Delaware State College that, under the chairmanship of H. Fletcher Brown (a university trustee as well as president of the State Board of Education) and with the help of the Carnegie Corporation, drew up a pension plan for teachers. It provided for retirement at age sixty-five through the support of a fund built up by individual contributions each year of five percent of a teacher’s salary and a matching contribution from the state. To Hullihen’s chagrin some of the university faculty opposed required contributions; to his greater disappointment the legislature failed to pass the bill.112
As a stop-gap Hullihen and the local AAUP chapter proposed a scheme of partial retirement: at the age of sixty-five all teachers would go on part-time schedules at half pay. Presumably this would have allowed the university to hire a replacement at half the salary, but it raised obvious staffing problems; in a one-man department like ancient languages, for example, when the professor goes on half time is there work enough for a full-time instructor? Could an important administrator be replaced in this fashion? While a trustee committee considered the problem, Hullihen and Sypherd included a fund for pensions prominently in a list of university needs they drew up in anticipation of gifts that might be attracted by a celebration of the centennial of the chartering and the opening of Newark College in 1833-34. If to the nest egg of $30,000 contributed to a pension fund by Pierre du Pont in 1917 the university could add enough to have about $125,000, it was deemed feasible to establish a retirement system to which all teachers and administrators who were forty-five or over would contribute five percent a year to retire on half salary at any time between the ages of sixty-five and seventy. In this plan no state matching grant was required, in recognition that the Depression made it unlikely the state government would take on this responsibility.113
The centennial celebration attracted no contributions to this plan, but in June 1934 Hullihen presented it to the board, arguing that it was comparatively cheap to introduce the plan at this time when the faculty was relatively young and there would be few retirements for the next ten or a dozen years. In December the trustees empowered a special committee to seek the needed funds, and though it had some success almost immediately, there was still no retirement system in effect in June 1935 when Hullihen pleaded the urgency of setting up some plan very soon. Elderly professors and administrators were forced to keep working rather than "resign and starve–or `go on relief.’" This was, Hullihen insisted, "the most important and most urgent matter the Board had before it." At the same meeting Hullihen announced that a former president, George Harter, at the age of eighty-two and after fifty years at Delaware, was becoming a professor emeritus "with a greatly reduced burden of class work." (Actually, as has been said, illness made it necessary for Harter to retire completely.)114
Perhaps Harter’s situation drove the trustees to take action. At any rate, in December 1935 a retirement plan was approved and ordered put into effect by a standing committee chaired by H. Fletcher Brown and including Hullihen and Rodney Sharp. To get it under way they took $20,000 from the Emergency Salary Fund and $7,000 made available by the Bankhead-Jones Act (a recent federal act that supplemented the Morrill Act’s support for land-grant colleges) to add to the old inadequate pension fund (now amounting to $32,000), chiefly contributed by Pierre du Pont, and $27,000 in contributions just collected from "generous friends," as Hullihen put it, for this purpose. It was, in his view, "an accomplishment of paramount importance to the future of the University," and he received congratulations from friends in other universities that were struggling with this problem, for only twenty-eight of forty-three state universities had retirement plans then.115
Hullihen was peculiarly sensitive to this problem because he was himself sixty years old in the spring of 1935 and was contemplating retirement not later than 1945. It was, as he saw clearly, important to get the plan started quickly, but to do so certain limitations on it had to be accepted. The staff of the agricultural experiment station and of the agricultural extension division were completely omitted from the new pension plan, as were all other faculty and staff under age forty (reduced from forty-five, as first planned)–apparently because in this way the matching contributions the university was required to make were kept to a minimum. For a similar reason–lack of financial resources–the new system was set up with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company rather than with the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association, an agency that the Carnegie Corporation had organized to help provide professors with pensions. One notable advantage of the TIAA to professors was that in moving from one institution to another they could take their pension contract with them; Delaware had to reject TIAA because the trustees did not feel they could afford to let a professor leaving for another college take with him the matching contribution that this university had made to his retirement.116
Gradually, as time passed, the age when teachers could join–and contribute to–the retirement system was lowered, and in 1951 the university finally shifted its contract to TIAA, which gave it some advantage in attracting new faculty.
In terms of salaries, tenure, and pensions Walter Hullihen sought to improve the conditions of his faculty. A better faculty should mean better teaching and be to the advantage of students, but Hullihen was not content to wait quietly for improvements in instruction. He had ideas about curriculum reform that he was never able to institute for lack of the means of pursuing any expensive teaching experiments. At the beginning of a college course, he told the faculty, students should be given a panoramic view of man’s knowledge, as in the contemporary civilization course at Columbia, so that they might see the whole before they studied parts of man’s knowledge. No one course and no one textbook would do. Mathematics, for instance, should be connected to other subjects–astronomy, physics, chemistry–to demonstrate its importance. "History should be the clearing house of all the disciplines, lending and borrowing in a commerce equally gainful to all parties."117
His hope that the Service Citizens would finance the development and trial of such a new curriculum was disappointed. But Hullihen’s enthusiasm for curriculum reform was not quenched. In 1926 or 1927 he inaugurated a series of evening faculty conferences on curricula and teaching methods, and these were resumed in April 1928. A few years later he appointed a committee on the improvement of teaching that discussed methods and objectives and encouraged interclass visiting within departments and even between related departments as part of encouraging departments to devote some meetings to problems of teaching. In June 1931 the board of trustees made a small appropriation to encourage members of the Delaware faculty to visit classes at other colleges. Volunteers for such visiting applied to a faculty committee for financial aid; after the trip they reported their impressions at a special meeting of the whole faculty.118
Hullihen praised the work of another faculty committee–consisting of E.C. Byam (French), H. Clay Reed (history), and Ralph W. Jones, ’25 (mathematics)–which, under sponsorship of the AAUP, completed a monograph in 1934-35 entitled "Methods of Encouraging the Better Students." This report led the faculty to provide in 1935 for degrees "with general honors" and "with distinction in a special field," which were intended to encourage the better students to seek more than a "pass" degree by demonstrating excellence in breadth of knowledge or special ability in investigating a particular field. Both degrees proved popular with students and faculty.119
In 1933 Hullihen declared that vocationalism had gone too far in college curricula, that it was time to stop the proliferation of vocational courses and insist on a greater dose of the liberal arts for all students. As one means of accomplishing this end he proposed extending the engineering program to five years, with the B.S. granted after four years and a professional degree in engineering after the fifth year. At a time when jobs were very scarce it was possible to persuade men to stay in college for a fifth year, and the program Hullihen recommended was eventually adopted (in 1938) for chemical engineers. However, the coming of the Second World War created such a demand for engineers that this experiment in prolonging their preparation had to be abandoned.120
Probably at the instigation of H. Fletcher Brown, who lent him a copy of a new biography of Charles W. Eliot, Hullihen in 1931 devoted a portion of his annual report to arguing the need for a graduate school at Delaware. "The most important element in any college or university," he said, "is its atmosphere of scholarship, [which can be] a vitalizing force in the lives of the students it teaches." Having a graduate school would turn the interests of students toward advanced study and would stimulate teachers to continue their own studies beyond the minimal point at which they might rest in teaching undergraduates. This was doctrine Wilson had argued at Princeton and therefore familiar to board president Thompson, but in case trustees thought Delaware too small for a graduate school Hullihen told them that Harvard "was very little larger in number of students…and did not have as large a teaching staff" at the time Eliot was establishing a graduate school there.
Hullihen hoped that celebration in May 1934 of the centenary of the college would bring gifts of endowed professorships but he was disappointed. Some of the faculty and some students thought he was being unrealistic in talking of a graduate school when much needed to be done to improve the existing undergraduate programs. Even Dean George Dutton felt that with good graduate schools nearby there was no need to spend money on graduate instruction, except in agriculture and for the five-year professional program in engineering. Professor Sypherd, however, had some sympathy with Hullihen’s idea and accepted chairmanship of a committee on graduate study and research, which asked departments to list courses they might give, especially in summer and on Saturday mornings. Sypherd assured departments they were not being pressed to offer any course that would not be of top grade.121
Discussion of graduate courses led almost inevitably to consideration of coeducation. The summer school had been coeducational since its foundation in 1913; it was founded primarily for teachers, of whom the great majority were women. Gradually the number of men increased, particularly as regular university students began enrolling in the summer school in increasing numbers in order to work off deficiencies or to speed up their graduation. In 1928 there were 238 teachers and 60 regular university students in the summer school. In 1933 there were 250 teachers and 188 regular college students in summer school; with 18 students who did not fit into either category, this made a total of 456, of whom 122 were men.122
Yet, while coeducation was the rule in the summer when most courses were conducted in Robinson Hall on the Women’s College campus, strict segregation of sexes was preserved in classes on the same campus at other seasons of the year. When the AAUP proposed in May 1930 that juniors, seniors, and graduate students of the two colleges might be taught together in classrooms and laboratories by departments wishing to do so, there was a cry of protest from the Women’s College. The AAUP argued that this proposal would equalize educational opportunities, save laboratory space and apparatus, and eliminate many small classes, freeing at least eight teachers to offer additional courses.123
In belated response, Jeannette Graustein, professor of biology, on behalf of the women faculty, addressed a circular letter to President Hullihen and the trustees. "All of the women members of the faculty of the Women’s College," she wrote (and it is evident that she could not speak for the men who were shared by the Women’s College and Delaware College), "are earnestly opposed" to the AAUP proposal. However, they "have been prevented in the past from expressing their stand through a minority report from the A.A.U.P." In other words, they suffered from being in a minority in an organization dominated by men; it was from such suppression–or oppression–purposeful or not, that they wished to preserve the young women students of the university.
Professor Graustein made five points in support of the position of the women faculty. (1) Men express themselves freely but women are passive in combined classes. (In Purnell’s day, in the 1880s, an argument made against coeducation was that men would not recite when women were in the class.) (2) If extracurricular activities, like the French Club, became coeducational, women would have decreased opportunities for leadership; in other words, the president would probably be a man, the vice-president or secretary a woman. (3) In advanced courses the emphasis and subject matter are often "necessarily different" for men and women. (4) Economies in advanced courses would be small, for such courses are often taught as seminars yielding their best results when the enrollment is small. (5) The young women enrolled at Delaware are immature and profit from instruction by both men and women teachers. The women faculty, living in the dorms, can be a significant factor in the students’ development, but in coeducational institutions most women on the faculty would never rise beyond the rank of instructor.124
It is a temptation to say that the words are Jeannette Graustein’s but the spirit is Dean Robinson’s, but this would be unjust to Professor Graustein, who was a woman of character–and a scholar, as her published study of Thomas Nuttall (Thomas Nuttall, Naturalist: Explorations in America, 1800-1841) demonstrates. It is a further temptation to suspect a statement that "all of the women members of the faculty" are "earnestly opposed" to the AAUP proposal, for unanimity is rarely found on a college faculty, though sometimes an opposing view may be unexpressed. Yet so strong was the collegial spirit at the Women’s College, where the women faculty slept, ate, and spent most of their waking hours, if not engaged in study or in pedagogical chores, in association with each other and with the young women who were their students, that diversity of opinion on such a basic matter as the evils of coeducation, did not exist. (Only Harriet Baily, of the art department, and Alice Van de Voort, of the education department, also taught men–but in separate classes, of course.)125
There was, indeed, reason to be suspicious of strong-minded men like Wilbur Owen Sypherd, of the English department, and George Herbert Ryden, of the history department. Few if any of the men of the faculty felt so completely opposed to coeducation as did the women faculty; even President Hullihen doubted some details of the Women’s College dogma. He suggested, for instance, that a young woman from downstate, unable to afford living on campus, might be allowed to room in Newark with her uncle and aunt–an abridgment of the strict rules that required women to live at home or on campus. On another occasion he asked Dean Robinson to admit a German student who had already spent a year at Bryn Mawr and wanted to stay in America another year. She was a friend of a friend of Mrs. Pierre du Pont, who spoke to Hullihen on her behalf. Apparently Dean Robinson feared the effect of a foreign student transferring from what she regarded as the very sophisticated atmosphere of Bryn Mawr. You feared, wrote Hullihen, the contrast between conditions here and at Bryn Mawr might make her discontented, but "it is so rare that Mr. and Mrs. du Pont…ever ask any sort of a favor of us, that I should be willing to go to any length to make any arrangements that would gratify them." But he would not, apparently, go to the length of peremptorily overruling this formidable dean.126
For her part Dean Robinson thought the existing arrangement at Delaware "as nearly ideal as possible." The key words in this comment are "as possible," for she added, "I am a firm believer in the separate college for women, and I think absolute separation is really better than the coordinate plan, in spite of the fact that it works in Delaware extremely well."127