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The Research Coa~ncil~s Permanent Status and i;he Academics New Home Edwin B. Wilson, for fifty years ~ ~ 9 ~ 5- ~ 964) the editor of the Academy Proceedings and faithful recorder of Academy memoirs, remembered Charles D. Walcott as "a very great scientist and a very great administrator and a very impressive person three characteris- tics one hardly expects to find united in a single person to such an extent." Possessed of an extraordinary capacity for organization, Walcott had separate office arrangements at the Smithsonian for his Academy activities and those of the Institution, and near them his "scientific shop . . . twith] bones lying around and the assistants work- ing on them. It all looked orderly and simple." So, too, Dr. Wilson recalled, was his calm, firm administration of the Academy and governance of the Research Council, whose operations, he felt, "should be given as much independence as possible," confident that each would "do what was expected of it cooperatively without either being in the way of the other." ~ E. B. Wilson to Frederick Seitz, November ~4, ~964 (NAS Archives: ORG: Historical Data). 242
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 243 Of more even temperament than Hale, Walcott was like him in enterprise, in his propensity for advancing the interests of science, and in promoting new scientific institutions. In ~899 he had inspired the founding of the Washington Academy of Sciences. Charles G. Abbot, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian and Home Secretary of the Academy, described him as "a master of tactful accomplishment." Walcott had been instrumental in establishing the Carnegie Institu- tion of Washington (egos); and, in the government, the Reclamation Service (egos), the Forest Service (agog), the Bureau of Mines (igloo, and the National Park Service (~9~5~.2 He prepared and carried through Congress in ~9~4 the third and last amendment to the Charter of the Academy, greatly clarifying Academy financing. A year later he convinced Congress of the importance of creating the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and in ~ 9 ~ 6 he had been Hale's counselor in the establishment of the National Research Council. A later President of the Academy, Frank B. Jewett, once noted that "the three most powerful positions in Washington in the scientific field are those of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the President of the Carnegie Institution and the President of the Academy." He felt . . that it would be "ideal" if the President of the Academy could "always be one of the first two or always a member long resident in Washing- ton and with a web of established social relationships. We had it once," wrote Hewett, "in Walcott's time."3 For all his characteristically calm mien, Walcott felt the pressures of the hectic years, and the increasing weight of his own. He was in his seventy-f~rst year, and Hale, of much frailer constitution, was fifty- three, when they simultaneously presented their resignations from office to the assembled Academy at the meeting in the spring of ~92 I. Walcott pleaded his twenty-three years' service as Treasurer, member of the Council, Vice-President, and President; Hale, his eleven years as Foreign Secretary. Upon the formal presentation of his letter of resignation, Walcott at once rose from the chair to recommend and nominate Hale as his successor, then left the room. Upon Hale's motion immediately fol- lowing, the membership persuaded Walcott to complete the six-year term to which he had been elected. Hale's own request to resign his 2 Nelson H. Darton, "Charles Doolittle Walcott," Geological Society of America, Bulletin 39 :80-1 16 (~928); Charles G. Abbot, Adventures in the World of Science (Washington: Public Affairs Press, ~958), pp. 95 95.; Abbot to F. R. Lillie, August 25, ~937 (NAS Archives: NAS Members: C. D. Walcott). ~ Frank B. Jewett to Robert Yerkes, May 7, ~947 (NAS Archives: lewett file 5O.7~).
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244 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy office was accepted, but he was immediately prevailed upon to assent to another term, with its less burdensome duties, on the Council of the Academy.4 In the last years of Walcott's presidency, the Academy elected almost sixty new members, but few of them were outside the tradi- tional scientific disciplines. The problem of representation of the applied and humanistic sciences in the Academy continually con- fronted the membership. In ~9~9, at Hale's request, Walcott had invited James H. Breasted,5 Professor of Egyptology and Oriental History at the University of Chicago, to a meeting of the Council to present a proposal from the American Oriental Society, That the Council of the National Academy of Sciences consider the feasibility of . . . [selecting ten from a list of fifty or sixty names] in humanistic research [to be submitted by the American Oriental Society] to come together to form a National Academy of Humanistic Research under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. That this group should represent economics, sociology, history, archaeology, comparative religions, philology, and philosophy, and eventually have a membership of between fifty or sixty members. Walcott had appointed a committee of I. C. Merriam, Hale, and educational psychologist Edward L. Thorndike to consider a plan tor the associate academy and report back to the Council.6 That fall, while the committee deliberated, thirteen prominent learned societies organized the American Council of Learned Societies (ACES), with the support of the Carnegie, Rockefeller, and later the Ford Foundations. Two years later, Walcott, in agreement with Hale on the merit of a broader range of scientists in the . membership, asked Merriam s committee to consider electing -em~- nent investigators in the humanities. Confronted by members of the Academy unwilling "to risk expanding the work of the academy into the field of emotional rather than scientific activity," the committee pondered the inclusion of humanists in the section of anthropology and psychology, or even the forming of a new academy coordinate with the National Academy. Its only firm recommendation had been 4 NAS, Annual Report for 1921, pp. ~ 3- ~ 5; NAS, Biographical Memoirs 21 :213 ( ~ 94 ~ ); "Minutes of the Academy," April 27, ~92~, pp. ~oo-~02; "Minutes of the Council," November ~ 3, ~ 927, p. ~ o7. 5 On the election of James H. Breasted to the Academy, see E. B. Wilson to E. B. Van Vleck, April So, ~923 (NAS Archives: E. B. Wilson Papers). 6"Minutes of the Council," April ~9~4, p. 33; April ~9~6, p. ~75; April ~9~9, pp. 429-43~', 44~442; NAS, Annual Reportf Jr 1919, pp. 28-29; NAS Archives: ORG: National Academy of Humanistic Research: Proposed.
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 245 that the Council "take the initiative in recommending from year to year the several leaders in the field of humanistic research to be voted upon by the Academy as a whole," but it was rarely acted on.7 That same year, ~ 9 ~ 9, as a result of the growing recognition of the interdisciplinary sciences, the Academy again permitted members who were working in "the fields between the sciences" to enroll in more than one section.8 The Academy also established a separate Section of Engineering, to accommodate a number of engineers in the Academy who were affiliated either with the Section of Physics or the Section of Chemistry. Academy members H. L. Abbot, I. l. Carty, G. Dunn, W. F. Durand, I. R. Freeman, H. M. Howe, F. B. Jewett, G. O. Squier, and D. W. Taylor left their sections of previous affiliation to form the new Section of Engineering.9 While the Research Council continued to evolve its peacetime structure and procedures, the Academy received two minor requests from federal agencies, one concerning a weather station near one of the world's most active volcanoes, Hawaii's Kilauea, which came to naught when the volcano erupted. The other related to a claim on Congress by an inventor whose secret underwater radio proved to have many discoverers.~° 7 NAs,AnnualReportfor 1921, pp. so-so; NAS Archives: INST Assoc: American Academy of Arts & Sciences: Conference of Learned Societies Devoted to Humanistic Studies: ~9~9; ~bid., IR: lU: Interallied Academic Union: Proposed: ~9~9. In his twelve years as a member, Breasted found fellow humanists in ethnologist [esse W. Fewkes (elected in ~9~4) and his fellow specialist in Oriental languages, Berthold Lauder ( ~ g30). Archaeologist Al Fred V. Kidder was elected the year after Breasted's death In ~935 In ~ 93 I, E. B. Wilson suggested to the Council of the Academy that it consider either taking "the initiative in the organization of a Social Science Academy" or electing to membership "a few social scientists as it did in earlier days," thereby abrogating the need for such an academy. At its meeting in November ~93~, the Council decided "That it is not advisable at this time to establish a section in the Academy to include the Social Sciences but the names of distinguished men may be recommended to the Council for consideration" [E. B. Wilson to NAS Council, November 9, ~93~, and Minutes of the Council, November ~5, ~93~ (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Social Sc in NAS: Proposed)]. ~ The resolution adopted in ~9~9 overturned the ~9~6 ruling that permitted Academy members to enroll in no more than one section ("Minutes of the Council," April ~9~6, pp. ~75, ~94; "Minutes of the Academy," April ~9~9, pp. 472, 498; "Minutes of the Council," November ~ 9 ~ 9, pp. 488-489). 9"Minutes of the Council," November ~9~9, p. 474; "Minutes of the Academy," November ~ 9 ~ 9, p. 495. ° NAs,AnnualReportfor 1919, pp. ~2-~3, 34-37; "Minutes of the Council," November ~9~9, pp. 485-486; "Minutes of the Academy," November ~9~9, pp. 497-498; April , pp. 24-27.
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246 / Permanent Status for the N1RC; New Home for the Academy A third request, late in ~9~, came from a member of Congress seeking the opinion of the Academy on a bill he had introduced in the Senate to fix the metric system within ten years as the single standard for weights and measures. The Academy's long-standing Committee on Weights, Measures, and Coinage, with the concurrence of the membership, reported its approval of the legislation. A century had passed since the introduction of the first legislation to make the metric system the national standard, and the ~9~s effort proved no more successful. It was not until ~959 that even uniform equivalents be- tween the yard and meter and the pound and kilogram were estab- lished, and then without benefit of legislation. Except for an opinion sought by the Speaker of the House in ~9~8 on the mathematical aspects of reapportionment, subsequently printed in the Congressional Record, there were few requests to the Academy until ~ 933, when the Science Advisory Board was or- ganized.~2 Postwar Organization of the Research Council Hale, with Walcott's support, was eager to perpetuate the government- educai~onal-ir~dustr~al research complex that the wartime Research Council had been, and he was as intensely busy after the war as he had been during the twenty months of the conflict. With many of the war- or~ented programs in the first stages of conversion, he had ready a tenta- iive plan for "a permanent scheme of organization for the Council" just seven weeks after the Armistice. The plan was presented at a meeting of the Council of the Academy on December 30, ~9~8, to which John C. Merriam, the Chairman-elect of the Research Council, had been invited. With minor modifications, the reorganization was formally adopted by the Council of the Academy and by its counterpart, the Executive Board of the Research Council, on February ~ I, 1919.~3 The object of the reorganization, said Hale, was to render the ~~ NAS, Annual Report for 1922, pp. 4-6, lo; 1923, p. lo; "Minutes of the Academy," November ~92~, pp. ~7-~22; "Minutes of the Council," April ~922, p. ~25; C. D. Walcott in Science 54:628-629 (December 23, ~92~). ~2 On the apportionmenbt request, see NAS, Annual Reportfor 1928-29, pp. 2~-23, and E. V. Huntington in Science 69:471~73 (May 3, ~929). ~` The "Constitution" of the Research Council submitted to the Academy in late ~9~8 was revised as "Articles of Organization" and adopted on February ~ I, ~9~9 ("Minutes of the Council," December 30, ~9~8, p. 425; January ~5, ~9~9, p. 426; NAS, Annual Report for 1918, pp. 62-63, log- ~ 2). For its initial amendment, see Annual Report for 1919, pp. 33-34, ~ 27- ~ 3°
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy / 247 John Campbell Merriam, Chairman of the National Re- search Council, ~ 9 ~ 8- ~ 9 ~ 9, and Chairman of the National Research Council Executive Board, ~92 ~-~923 (From the archives of the Academy). Research Council "an effective federation of the leading research agencies of the country," its purpose to promote research in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, and in the application of these sciences to engineering, agriculture, medicine, and other useful arts, with the object of increasing knowledge, of strengthen- ing the national defense, and of contributing in other ways to the public welfare, as expressed in the Executive Order of May ~ I, ~ 9 ~ 8. }4 The Research Council had been closely associated with the federal government during the war, but the bond was relaxed in the new organization in June when, as Hale said, the National Research Council passed out from under its more direct rela- tions to the National Government through the Council of National De- fense.... [All is] in the way of a speedy settlement, and we may look forward 4 NAS, Annual Reportfor 1918, pp. 63, log. As Millikan said in his Autobiography (New York: Prentice-HalI, Igloo, p. ~87: "For the first month after the close of the war . . . all of us at lath and L Streets were very busy . . . setting up the expanded organization, not the expanded activities, of the National Research Council for its peacetime job of promoting and stimulating, but definitely itself not doing, scientific work throughout the United States."
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24~3 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy to an early conclusion of all our more direct responsibilities to the Govern- ment. Through the Government division, however, as well as through the division of foreign relations . . . we shall continue our contacts with the Government.... '5 Under Acting Chairman John C. Merriam;'6 Secretary Vernon Kellogg; with Vice-Chairmen Charles D. Walcott, Gano Dunn, and Robert A. Millikan; Treasurer Frederick L. Ransome of the Geologi- cal Survey (who as Treasurer of the Academy was ex officio Treasurer of the Research Council); and Assistant Secretary Alfred D. Flinn, also Secretary of the Engineering Foundation in New York, Hale reorganized the Research Council into two divisional groups: Divisions of General Relations Government Relations (C. D. Walcott) Division of Foreign Relations (G. E. Hale) Division of States Relations id. C. Merriam) Division of Educational Relations (V. Kellogg) Division of Research Extension 0. Johnston) Research Information Service (R. M. Yerkes) Divisions of Science and Technology Division of Physical Sciences (C. E. Mendenhall) Division of Engineering (H. M. Howe) Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (W. D. Bancroft) ~5 NAS, Annual Report for 1919, pp. 65, 75; A. Hunter Dupree, Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities to 1940 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, ~957), pp. 328-329. The severance may have been eased when in the spring of ~ 9 ~ 9 the CAD, under a new Director, was rumored to be planning a Research Board similar in intent to the National Research Council. It did not materialize [Hale to James R. Angell, August ~3, 1919 (NAS Archives: Legal Matters, Opinion re NRC-CND Relationship)]. With the close of fiscal year ~ 9 ~ 8- ~ 9 ~ 9, CND funds from the President's Funds for NRC activities lapsed and the wartime relationship ceased ("Minutes of the Council," November 9, ~9~9, pp. 480-48 I; NAS, Annual Report for 1919, p. 65). 16 As early as May ~9~8, Hale, to conserve his limited strength, had turned over the chairmanship of NRC to Noyes. When Noyes's work called him away in July, Merriam became Acting Chairman, then Chairman, until the appointment in July ~9~9 of James R. Angell, on leave of absence from the University of Chicago. A year later, upon Angell's acceptance of the presidency of the Carnegie Corporation, H. A. Bumstead became Chairman. Following Bumstead's sudden death in December Ago, Walcott assumed the newly created position of Chairman of the Executive Board. See The Autobiography of Robert A. Millikan, pp. ~ 69, ~ 84, ~ 88- ~ 89; NAS Archives: ORG: NRC: Of ricers: Chairmen: Terms: Excerpts from Minutes: ~ 9 ~ 6- ~ 9 ~ 9; NAS, Annual Reportfor 1921, p. ~8. For the succession of NRC Chairmen, see Appendix G.
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 249 Division of Geology and Geography (E. B. Mathews) Division of Medical Sciences (H. A. Christians Division of Biology and Agriculture (C. E. McClung) Division of Anthropology and Psychology (W. V. gingham) The activities of the supporting structure of this organization, oriented around the scientific disciplines, engaged well over 250 people. It came under an Executive Board consisting of the officers of the Research Council, the President and Home Secretary of the Academy, the President of the AAAS, the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Divisions of Science and Technology, the Chairmen of the Divisions of General Relations, and a number of members-at-large.~7 Such an organization of science and scientists would have been unthinkable before World War I, but the phenomena, new to this nation, of mass mobilization, mass production, and unparalleled technological innovation had also introduced new concepts in the world of science. These included the beginning of large-scale cooperative research, scientific investigation of a new order of mag- nitude, and the rise of the scientist-administrator. The National Research Council became the focal point of the new conception of organized science. Its membership was nominated by approximately forty of the great national scientific societies, independent of federal support or supervision. In the last months of the war, two elements in the Research Council, the Division of Industrial Relations and the Research Information Service, underwent, as Millikan said of the latter, "an evolution of function." Spokesmen for industry were concerned that the Division of Industrial Relations might consider problems of the economics and ~7 The Articles of Organization of the permanent Research Council, as formally adopted by the Council of the Academy on February 1 1, 19~9, appear in NAS, Annual Report for 1918, pp. 109-112; its detailed structure in Annual Report for 1919, pp. 104-127- ~8 ~ames R. Angell in Robert M. Yerkes (ed.), The New World of Science: Its Development during the War (New York: Century Co., 1920), pp. 417-419. "The organization of research" after the war, particularly as exemplified in the Research Council, was the title of at least three articles by Academy members within a year: a much-reprinted one by James R. Angell in Scientific Monthly 11:26-42 (July 1920), one by Henry P. Armsby in Science 51:33-36 (January 9, 1920), and that by William Morton Wheeler in Science 53:53~7 (January 21, 1921). For Academy member Cattell's somewhat uncharitable view of Hale's efforts on behalf of science and the Academy, see "The Organization of Scientific Men," Scientific Monthly 14:568-578 (ague); Nathan Reingold, "National Aspirations and Local Pur- poses," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 71:235-246 (Fall 1968). See also Chapter 7, note 3 ~ .
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2 JO I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy personnel of industry as within its sphere, and particularly that it might conflict with Engineering Division concerns with industrial research. They were reassured only when Industrial Relations was renamed the Research Extension Division and its activities limited to promoting the general interests of the scientific and technical divi- sions of the Research Council in industry. Five years later it was merged with the Engineering Division.~9 The Research Information Service, Hale's "pioneer corps of the Council," was intended "to continue and develop the useful service which it rendered during the war." That service, however, had been radically altered some months before.20 Begun as a vehicle for the exchange of scientific information through diplomatic channels with the counterparts of the Research Council abroad, soon after the war it had become instead a "national center of information concerning American research work and research workers," engaged in prepar- ing a series of comprehensive card catalogs of research laboratories in this country, of current investigations, research personnel, sources of research information, scientific and technical societies, and of data in the foreign reports it received. But as Millikan said later, the "attempt to keep American industrial and research groups informed as to the research personnel of the country and the status of research de- velopments . . . was found so grandiose and difficult an undertaking that it was abandoned after perhaps the fifth year" for a more limited role. Lesser reorganization took place in the other divisions of the Research Council. The Government Relations Division was reor- ganized in agog and shortly after renamed the Division of Federal Relations. Walcott was Chairman of the division during its first eight years. Its membership of forty-one included representatives of bureaus and branches of ten government departments, all designated i9 NAS, Annual Report for 1919, pp. 74-75, 80; 1923-24, p. ~82 and note; James R. Angell in Yerkes, The New World of Science, pp. 427-429; Millikan to I. B. Cohen, n.d., in Cohen's "American Physicists at War," American Journal of Physics 13 :339n (August ~945) 20 NAS, Annual Report for 1918, p. 4 ~ . "The work of the Research Information Service continued without interruption and without important changes until the end of the fiscal year when the foreign service had to be discontinued because no further funds had been provided for it" [NRC, "Report for ~ 9 ~ 8- ~ 9 ~ 9, made to the Council of National Defense," p. ~4 (NAS Archives: ORG: NRC: Reports: Annual Reports to CND)]. 2~ NAS, Annual Report for 1919, pp. 74, 83-85; 1920, pp. 59-63; Angell in Yerkes, The New World of Science, pp. 429-434; Millikan to I. B. Cohen, cited above.
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy / 25 lames Roland Angell, Chair- man of the National Research Council, ~ 9 ~ 9- ~ 92O (Photo- graph courtesy National Broadcasting Company). by the President of the United States upon the recommendation of the President of the Academy, in accordance with the Executive Order.22 Although it made a survey of the scientific bureaus in the government, prepared a report in ~ 92 ~ on a federal policy for research, held annual discussions of problems arising from the nature and scope of government scientific work, and participated in the preparation of several surveys of government research, the Division of Federal Relations in that prosperous decade accomplished little of its promise of ensuring closer relations between science and govern- ment.23 22 NAs,Annual Reportfor ~ 920, pp. 34, 5O-5~, 86-88. 2S "Consolidated Report Upon the Activities of the National Research Council ~9~9 to ~ ~92" (2fi~-na~e mimeograph renort in NAS Archives). on. a-; NAS Archives: ~;7~~ ~—-fir rats lo-—r-- -r - ~ ~ ~ a_ ^~ FEDERAL KelatlOIlS: Meetings: 1919 - 192~; and FEDERAL KelallOIlS: ~eIleral: 1919 - 1939. "This division was to be an advisory body, more or less coordinating the course of science throughout the Federal Government. It is perhaps the closest approach that the United States has ever had to a department of science.... Unfortunately Walcott's attempt to organize this large and unwieldy group was unsuccessful . . . " [Yochelson in NAS, Biographical Memoirs 39 :508 ( ~ 967)]. The Executive Board of the Research Council, finding itself unable to effect any significant degree of cooperation between American science and the highly autono-
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252 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy NRC Policy, Procedures, and Relation to the Academy By the end of ~9~9 some eighty committees had been launched, the greatest numbers in the Divisions of Physical Sciences, Engineering, Medical Sciences, and Anthropology and Psychology. To house their administrative activities, the Research Council in mid-year moved to larger quarters at Sixteenth and M Streets and, continuing to expand, made plans for still another move in ~geo.24 These were the last of the temporary quarters, for on March 28, ~9~9, the Carnegie Corpora- tion announced its gift of $5 million to provide a building for the Academy-Research Council and an endowment for the permanent support of the Research Council. The unprecedented responsibilities this endowment laid upon the Academy required an authoritative determination of the precise legal nature of the relationship between the Academy and the Research Council. Hale had said the Research Council was a "committee of the Academy"; Millikan variously called it "a committee," "an adjunct," and "a permanent subcommittee" of the Academy.25 Now, with need for clarification,Walcott, after consulting with the legal counsel of the Academy, presented the question, through President Woodrow Wil- son, to the U.S. Attorney General. Three months later, the Attorney General declared that the National Research Council constitutes an agency of the National Academy of Sciences for the purposes and with the powers expressed in the paper entitled "Organization of the National Research Council," adopted February ~ I, ~9~9. The decision meant that contracts proposed by the Research Coun- - cil became binding upon the Academy only upon Academy approval of them.26 As Academy-Research Council Treasurer Ransome observed, mous government bureaus, or to provide counsel in coordinating the scientific activities of the government, terminated the Division of Federal Relations in ~938 and reas- signed its members to the scientific and technical divisions of the Council (NAS, Annual Report for 1937 - 38, pp. 28 - 29; NAS Archives: FEDERAL Relations: End of Division: ~938-~939). 24 NAS, Annual Report for 1919, p. 75; 1920, pp. 39-40. In ~ 920 the Research Council moved from its Sixteenth Street address (the site of the present National Education Association building) to the Charles Francis Adams house at Seventeenth and Massachusetts Avenue ("Minutes of the Council," November ~5, ~920, p. 53; NAS Archives: REAL Estate: Buildings: NRC: Listing: ~9~6—~9~9). 25 See Chapter 8, pp. 22~-222 and note 87. 26 Memorandum of legal counsel Nathaniel Wilson to Angell, October ~3, ~9~9; Walcott to President Wilson, October ~ 8, ~ 9 ~ 9; Attorney General to President Wilson,
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270 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy National Research Council staff in ~923. Left to right, back row: Dan Loomis, Charles L. Wade, Allen Fisher, John Gillick, Marie Blake, (unidentified), Eva Teague, Mary Dalton, Mrs. Breedlove, Ruth Albert, and William Davies. Front row: Miss Wood, Nyla Welpley, Helen Rankin, (unidentified), Mrs. Neva Reynolds, Mrs. Conger, Margaret Light, Marguerite LaDucer, (unidentified), Anna May Stambaugh, Callie Hull, and Honora Burton (From the archives of the Academy). marked for the activation and early support of research projects. "One basic principle has been not to commit the Council to continuous or even long term support of any given project." It was Council policy to keep its funds for the initiation of projects or their support in the early years. With exceptions, most undertakings soon developed and acquired sufficient strength of their own to assume an independent status, with funds from other sources. Each division of the Research Council, said Barrows, was expected to promote some new specific undertaking each year, and it had been found that the best way to initiate a project was to hold conferences to make an estimation of a situation, to define a program of research on a series of related problems, or to assemble a number of researchers on various phases of a problem in order to correlate their efforts. A division enterprise thus determined was submitted to the Council's Project Committee for critical review, to the Interim Committee or the Executive Board of the Council, and then to the Academy's Council for authorization of the acceptance of necessary funds.78 78 "Social Science Research Council, Hanover Conference," pp. 247, 250-253, 256, 259.
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the al cademy 1 2 7 1 This, in general, was the mode of activation and administration of projects. The Academy Acquires a Home The "new epoch in the history of the Academy" contemplated by Hale in his letter to Walcott in 191279 began with the establishment of the National Research Council four years later and culminated in the visible symbol of the imposing marble structure on Constitution Avenue dedicated in the spring of ~924. For more than forty years the Academy had sought secure quarters for its meetings and the keeping of its records, first at the Smithsonian, then in the Library of Congress, and elsewhere; but until the rise of industrial America made possible great philanthropic organizations, it had no prospect of a building of its own.~° As early as ~906, George Ellery Hale, man of vision and prime mover, had projected a building for the Academy. In ~9~3 he had tentative designs prepared for its interior arrangement. A year later, as chairman of an Academy building committee, he reported to the Academy Council his private discussions with Elihu Root, a member of the Board of Trustees of the recently organized Carnegie Corpora- tion, and obtained approval for continuance of the discussions. Walcott's proposed amendment to the Act of Incorporation, passed by Congress in May ~9~4, enabled the Academy to hold real estate; and Hale prepared a second brochure of the Academy (the first had been published in Cool, seeking an endowment for the recently established Proceedings, but principally directing attention to "the greatest need of the Academy," a building in Washington "to serve as its headquarters and permanent home." When the brochure ap- 79 Hale to Walcott, May ~7, ~91:2 (NAS Archives: NAS: Future of NAS). See Chapter 7, pp. i94-~95 80 Hale to Root, December 20, ~9~3 (NAS Archives: NAS: Attempts to Secure Permanent Quarters). 81 Hale to R. S. Woodward, December 29, 1906, and January 2, 1913 (Carnegie Institution of Washington and California Institute of Technology, George Ellery Hale Papers: Microfilm Edition, ~968, Role 38, Frames40s-406; Roll 39, Frames 272-273). The designs later appeared in Science 41 :13-17 (lanuary I, ~9~5). 82"Minutes of the Council," March ~9~4, p. ~96; "Minutes of the Academy,'' April ~ 9 ~ 4, insert pp. ~ 7-25; NAS, Annual Report for 1914, p. 20. 85 "Minutes of the Council," December ~9~4, p. 66; NAS Archives: PUB Rel: Brochures: NAS: Description of Activities, Membership & Financial Needs of NAS: ~9~5. For the activities of Walcott and Hale's Committee on the Collection of Historical
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272 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy peered, the war in Europe was four months old, an unpropitious time for its consideration. The war over and the National Research Council established on a permanent basis, Walcott and Hale returned to their plans for a building. In April ~ 9 ~ 9, with funds assured when the Academy acquired the site, the membership authorized the President to pro- ceed. By December, largely through the fund-raising efforts of Robert A. Millikan, the Academy had purchased Square 88, near the new Lincoln Memorial in Potomac Park, for $~8s,o~o.~. The New York architect Bertram G. Goodhue, recommended by Hale and the Commission of Fine Arts, had prepared building plans; and the Carnegie Corporation had authorized a sum of $~,3so,ooo for the building. The remainder of its gift of $s,ooo,ooo was to go for the establishment of an endowment, the income from which was to be used for the maintenance of the Research Council.84 The site purchased by the Academy was bounded on the north by C Street, by Twenty-first and Twenty-second streets on the east and west, and, cutting diagonally across its southern boundary, by Upper Water Street. Shortly after, through Walcott's intercession with Con- gress, Upper Water Street was closed off, making the Academy's land a quadrangle, with the southern boundary B Street, renamed Con- stitution Avenue in ~ 93 ~ .X5 Final plans for the building were completed in April ~9~, and the construction contract was let a year later, the completion date set for September So, ~923. Ground was broken in the first week of July 9, and construction began with the erection of seventy-four concrete piers set on bedrock. The cornerstone ceremonies took place three months later, on October So. Delayed for almost six months by Portraits, Manuscripts, Instruments, etc., begun then and continued for a decade, see "Minutes of the Academy," April ~9 ~4, pp. ~ 7, 40-43; April ~9 ~5, pp. ~ ~8- ~ ~9; NAS, Annual Report for 1915, p. 2 ~ et seq.; Science 41: 12 ( January ~ ~ ~ 9 ~ 5) 84 "Minutes of the Council," April ~9~9, p. 443; December ~9~9, pp. 504-506; "Excerpt from minutes of special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation held Dec. ~9, ~9~9," attached to J. Bertram to Walcott, January 20, ~920 (NAS Archives: FINANCE: Funds: Grants: Carnegie Corp of NY: Building & Endowment Fund). The ultimate cost of the building, $~,4so,ooo, was met from transfers from the endowment (NAS, Annual Report for 1923 -24, p. 5 ~ ). For Hale's Committee on Building Plans, see NAS, Annual Reportfor 1920, p. 85 et seq., and its successor, Gano Dunn's Building Committee, in annual Reportfor 1923, p. ~ z5 et seq.; also WAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Committee on Building: Joint with NRC: 1919— ~ 923. 85 See "Minutes of the [NAS Council] Executive Committee," March lo, ~93~, p. 332.
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy / 273 Charles Doolittle Walcott, President of the Academy, placing the first cement under the -cornerstone of the Academy building on October So, 1922 (From the archives of the Academy). unavoidable construction difficulties, the building was completed less than a week before the dedication at the annual meeting in ~924.86 Members, guests, and dignitaries arriving for the dedication exer- cises on the morning of April 28 ("a fine spring day," Walcott noted in his diary) came up the broad walk past three inset reflecting pools 86 Acceptance of the plans and blueprints is reported in NAS, Annual Reportfor 1921, p. 21; 1922, p. 2. See also Annual Reportfor 1922, p. xii; Gano Dunn, memorandum to Carnegie Corporation . . . on the Building, May 3~, 1923 (NAS Archives: REAL Estate: Buildings: NAS-NRC). This archival file also has a list of the contents of the box deposited in the cornerstone. For the construction of the building, see annual Reportfor 1922, pp. 26-27; 1923, pp. 26-27. Walcott's much admired "building speech," given at the annual meeting in 1922 and printed in the Annual Report for 1922, pp. xi-xiv, is his only "preface" to an Annual Report.
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274 / Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy _~_ ~ The Academy building under construction (From the archives of the Academy).
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 275 The Academy building, completed less than a. week before its dedication, and opened to the public on the following day, April 29, ~924 (From the archives of the Academy). leading to the Academy building, a massive, impressive three-storied structure, centered on the city square.87 The main floor comprised an entrance hall and a central domed auditorium encircled by seven exhibition rooms, the installation of their contents completed just the previous day. Mounted on the dome of the rotunda was Hale's coelostat telescope, which formed on a bronze drum a large image of the sun, capturing the diurnal passage of its sunspots. A sixty-foot Foucault pendulum was suspended from the eye of the dome to demonstrate the diurnal motion of the earth. (The instruments and the surrounding exhibition rooms replaced the research laboratories Hale had originally intended.) A library, reading room, lecture hall, and board room were adjacent to the auditorium. Above the marble fireplace in the board room was Albert Herter's painting depicting (fictionally) Abraham Lincoln with seven of the founders of the Academy Benjamin Peirce, Alexander Dallas Bache, Joseph Henry, Louis Agassiz, Henry Wilson, Charles H. Davis, and Benjamin A. Gould. 87 Gano Dunn, memorandum to Carnegie Corp., May 3~, ~923 (NAS Archives: REAL Estate: Buildings: NAS-NRC). For the resurfacing of the approach to the building and replacement of the pools with panels of grass, see NAS, Annual Reportfor 1950-1951, p. xii. For Walcott's diary, see Smithsonian Institution Archives: C. D. Walcott Papers, Diaries, ~895-~927. 88 For a note on the Herter painting, see Leonard Carmichael, "Joseph Henry and the National Academy of Sciences," NAS, Proceedings 59:1-2 (July ~967). Descriptions of the building appear in NAS, Annual Report for 1923 -24, pp. 4-7; 1924-25, pp. ~ I, 32-34, 55-56; W. K. Harrison, "The Building of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council," Architecture 50:3-7 (October ~9~4); Paul Brockett, "Na-
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276 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy Filling the basement area of the building were a two-story stack room for the library, an additional exhibition room, a machine shop for preparing exhibits, storage rooms soon to be occupied by the "several hundred boxes" of records, publications, and books of the Academy brought over from the Smithsonian a large kitchen, and boiler rooms and heating and ventilating apparatus.89 Fifty-seven offices occupied the upper stories of the building, and from their south and west windows the nearby Lincoln Memorial, the Potomac River, and the heights of Arlington were at that time clearly visible. "This building for the National Academy of Sciences and the Na- tional Research Council," Walcott had said at the annual meeting in ~9~2, "is to be the focus of science in America . . . emblematic of all the creative mind" can envision for "a better existence for the future people of the world. . . [to whose] enlightenment and advance- ment . . . it is dedicated." Dr. Albert A. Michelson, the new President of the Academy who presided over the dedication ceremonies, called it "the home of science in America." Of its structure and appoint- ments, a friend later wrote Hale, "the Academy . . . is housed in a manner surpassing that of the Academies of the Old World."90 The dedication ceremonies took place before an assembly of more tional Academy of Sciences," The Open Court 40 :193-203 (April ~ 9~6). The exhibits and scientific instruments are described in Annual Report for 1923-24, pp. 8-~o, 5~; 1924-25, pp. ~ I, 33-34 et seq. The exhibits, visited by 60,ooo people annually, were dismantled and stored in ~94~ and the rooms partitioned to provide wartime office space for the NDRC and later OSRD. See F. E. Wright to Jewett, September 2, ~94~ (Jewett file 50.6); Brockett to John Victory, November ~9, ~94~ (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Committee on Buildings & Grounds: ~94~); NAS,Annual Reportfor 1941-42, p. ~7. A room with several mimeograph machines was later converted to a small print shop and moved in ~967 to larger quarters on Bladensburg Road in Washington. For a more recent description of the Academy building, see the brochure, The Academy Building: A History and Descriptive Guide (Washington: NAS-NRC, ~ 97 ~ ). 89 Walcott noted the "several hundred boxes" in NAS, Annual Reportfor 1922, p. xi. They undoubtedly included "the academy archives" reported in NAS, Annual Reportfor 1910, p. lo, and some portion of the ~4o,ooo volumes brought from storage at the Smithso- nian, mentioned in Annual Report for 1924-25, pp. I-2. For the allocation of space in the building, see Annual Reportfor 1923-24, pp. 38-40. A year later, Paul Brockett, whom Walcott had brought over earlier from the Smithso- nian, was appointed assistant secretary in charge of the building and a member of the building and exhibits committees, positions he held for the next twenty years. 90 NAs,Annnal Reportfor 1922, pp. xiv, ~9; 1923-24, p. I; H. M. Goodwin, MIT physical electrochemist, to Hale, n.d. (Hale Microfilm, Roll ~5, Frames ~362/5). See also Hale, "A National Focus of Science and Research," Scribner's 72:515-530 (November 1922), with its drawings by architect Goodhue, and NRC, Reprint and Circular Series 39 ( ~ 9~ a).
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 277 than six hundred persons, including Academy and Research Council members and their invited guests; members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Diplomatic Corps; the contributors to the building site; and the officers of the Carnegie Corporation and Rockefeller Found- ation. Dr. Michelson introduced the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, the Right Reverend James E. Freeman, who delivered the invoca- tion.9~ The principal address was given by the President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. The program also included brief speeches by John C. Merriam, Vice-President of the Academy; Vernon Kellogg, the Permanent Secretary of the Research Council; and Gano Dunn, Chairman of the Building Committee. Although George Ellery Hale took no part in the ceremonies, he was twice "presented" to the assem- bly, first by President Michelson, then by Gano Dunn, "as the one man to whom we owe . . . this magnificent memorial to the sciences." As he turned over the building to the President of the Academy, Dunn chose, fittingly, to recite the inscription encircling the dome of the Great Hall, devised by Hale himself and his friend James Breasted: To science, pilot of industry, conqueror of disease, multiplier of the harvest, explorer of the universe, revealer of nature's laws, eternal guide to the truth.92 Following luncheon, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Columbia University experimental zoologist, delivered a lecture on "The Constitution of the Hereditary Material," drawing on his currently much celebrated research on the genetic mechanism of sex determination. Late in the day the Academy ceremoniously assigned Room ~22 to the Engineer- ing Foundation, in appreciation of its assistance in establishing the 9~ In the gathering for the dedication were ~o6 of the Academy's Rio members, including past Presidents Ira Remsen and William Welch, new President A. A. Michel- son, and future Presidents T. H. Morgan, W. W. Campbell, and F. B. [ewett [see lists in NAS Archives: REAL Estate: Buildings: NA0NRC: Dedication: Invitations & Responses: ~924; also Hale to Walcott, January 25, ~924 (ibid., Arrangements: ~923-24)]. 92 Helen Wright, Explorer of the Universe: ~ Biography of George Ellery Hale (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., ~966), p. 3~6; NAS, Annual Reportfor 1923-24, pp. 5~, 53. For the printed program, see NAS Archives: REAL Estate: Buildings: NAS—NRC: Dedication: Program; for the inscription, see Dunn to Hale, May ~7, ~9~3, and Hale to Dunn, June 3, ~923 (Hale Microfilm, Roll 48, Frames 53, 67). The "Charter Book" that Hale planned, like that of the Royal Society, was not realized [Paul Brockett to Hale, December 3~, ~9~3 (Hale Microfilm, Roll 48, Frames 334-345)].
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278 / Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy Albert A. Michelson, Charles D. Walcott, Vernon L. Kellogg, President Coolidge, John C. Merriam, Bishop lames E. Freeman, and Gano Dunn at the dedication of the Academy building, April 28, ~924 (Photograph courtesy the Library of Congress). Research Council. After supper, officers and members of the Academy and Research Council held a reception for their guests.93 The event was widely reported in the national press, a number of the papers printing the complete text of President Coolidge's address. Many of the readers had heard the ceremonies broadcast over the radi~still a great novelty, not to say a national crazed WCAP in Washington, WEAF in New York, and WEAR in Providence. Newspaper accounts agreed that the new building was "one of the handsomest in Washington," that its construction, in which "even the stones of the wall. . . twere] artificially made to improve acoustic properties," was a triumph of science. Feature articles later that week described in detail the great show of exhibits in, as one paper called it, the "Miracle Palace in the Capital." A San Francisco paper, possibly influenced by the wire report, captioned its story: "Coolidge Dedi- cates American Museum."94 Perhaps the most gratified member of the assemblage was Dr. Walcott, for whom the years as President of the Academy had probably been more exacting than any since Joseph Henry's time. In 95 The single most complete account of the building from its inception to the dedication ceremonies appears in NAS, Annual Reportfor 1923-24, pp. ~-~2, 38-54, 6445. 94 San Francisco Examiner, April 29, ~924 (NAS Archives: PUB Rel: NewsDaDer Articles on NAS—NRC Building: ~ 9 ~ 9—~ 936). 1 ~
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Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy 1 279 The Great Hall of the Academy (From the archives of the Academy). his diary, where he recorded faithfully daily events but rarely an emotion, he made note of his thankfulness that after twenty-five years his official duties in the Academy had ended.95 The connection was by no means severed, however. Though he had recently passed his seventy-fourth birthday, he continued as a Vice-Chairman of the gs Smithsonian Archives: C. D. Walcott Papers, Diaries, ~895-~927, entry for April 27, ~923
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280 I Permanent Status for the NRC; New Home for the Academy Research Council, Chairman of its Division of Federal Relations, and a member of two standing committees in the Academy, as well as Secretary of the Smithsonian, until his death three years later. E. B. Wilson commented that there had never before been "a President twho resided] in Washington and shad] really taken care of the affairs of the academy in the way Walcott did."96 His many years in that office were long remembered as a time of serene control amid vast activity, a time of wise administration and of high accomplish- ment. 96 E. B. Wilson to E. G. Conklin, lanuary ~6, ~939 (NAS Archives: E. B. Wilson Papers).
Representative terms from entire chapter: