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One-Third of a Campus: Ruth Crawford Mitchell and Second-Generation Americans at the University of Pittsburgh

  • Harold S. Wechsler (a1)
Extract

It was confusing to him. He was in a world which had a set of rules all its own. He knew the other rules—the rules of his own world. But these were different. Men actually lived their four years away at the University, and sent children after them. It was a wild, improbable thing to have fallen into, and the day student looked at his fellows, could distinguish them no differences among them at first, and felt lost. His evenings were spent in the company of old friends and in the old places; his days at the college. And he plunged from past to present; present to past. They told him about loyalty, and he went home to think about it. But at home it became dim and unreal. Then he went back, the next morning, and they told him of loyalty again, of the mighty traditions. If he took it to heart he could only do so above the sickening realization that at four o'clock he must be on Trolley 13 again. And it was hard to take the traditions over the river.

Samuel Lipschutz, B.A.

University of Pennsylvania, 1929

Many of our alumni and some of our students, supported by more than a few of our faculty and corporation, have seriously queried whether or no Brown, in common with other institutions located in a like environment, has in her student body too large a proportion of socially undesirable students. We are most emphatically not concerned with Jew-baiting. I am proud to say that race and creed are still not valid causes for concern in the liberal community founded by Roger Williams. But some of us are worried by the influx of alien blood into what was not so long ago a homogeneous group of students prevailingly Baptist and Anglo-Saxon. Says one alumnus, “A certain type of student is far below the standard we should like to see. I refer to those called carpet-baggers! They live in or near Providence, arrive at the University in the morning in time for their first class, park themselves, their books, and their lunch in the Union, leave the college the minute their last class is over, take no part in college life, absorb all they can, give back nothing of benefit, and probably will prove no credit to the University as alumni.” Surely some of you have heard the same tale.

—Kenneth O. Mason

Dean of Freshmen, Brown University, 1927

Were colleges obliged to address the dilemmas faced by the many firstand second-generation Americans who enrolled after World War I? No, replied many administrators who espoused exclusion or assimilation, or who expressed indifference. These attitudes meant that many students would never learn to navigate the turbulent waters of campus social life. Dropout rates were significant even before the Great Crash created insurmountable financial difficulties for numerous undergraduates. The testimony of peers who remained suggested that success often came despite institutional hostility.

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1 Lipschutz, Samuel, “Four Years of College I: Dim Joys; Cloudy Sorrows.” The American Mercury 18, no. 70 (October 1929): 129136.

2 Mason, Kenneth O., “Two Problems Associated with the Pressure of Academic Populations,” in Proceedings of the Meeting of the Association of Urban Universities at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 3rd, 4th and 5th, 1927 (n.p.: The Association of Urban Universities, 1928), 7677.

3 The University of Pittsburgh has announced plans for another eight rooms.

4 The State of Pennsylvania subsidized other “private” colleges. For example, Lehigh College, in the eastern part of the state, received a substantial appropriation late in the nineteenth century. See Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through One Hundred and Fifty Years: The University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1937), 234–35.

5 Ibid., 242.

6 Ibid., 243.

7 See, for example, Jenkins, Philip, “Spy Mad: Investigating Subversion in Pennsylvania 1917–18.” Pennsylvania History 63, no. 2 (1996): 204–31.

8 University of Pittsburgh, Report of the Chancellor to the Trustees: July 1, 1924 to June 30, 1926 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1926), 2728.

9 Ibid.

10 Bowman, and architect Klauder, Charles spent months in its planning, but Klauder did not live to see the opening of the building eleven years after the September 27, 1926 groundbreaking.

11 Quotation from Alberts, Robert C., Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787–1987 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986), 102. A survey of School of Business Administration freshmen found a response of 93-affirmative, 70-negative to this true-false question: “The great scientific advances of the world have always come from conservative individuals who have been cautious about accepting new reforms. It is the best policy for the country to lock up all soap box speakers who seek to inaugurate radical reforms. They are a menace to the country.” Warne, Colston E., “Economic Attitudes: A Brief Study of the Viewpoint of Freshmen in the School of Business Administration of the University of Pittsburgh,” 3, RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder: “Committee on Second-Generation Students—Special Material 1928–29.”

12 Starrett, , Through One Hundred and Fifty Years, 261.

13 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “From a University Skyscraper,” n.d., c. 1934, 8–9, University Archives (hereafter “UA”), 40/1, Box 10, file folder 52: “Mitchell, R.C., Misc. correspondence, speeches, and articles.”

14 He died of malaria in Nigeria in 1876, before assuming office.

15 Crawford, Hanford took an interest in the work conducted among African Americans by the St. Louis YMCA (Jones, David D. to Crawford, Morris, 8 February 1930, Hanford Crawford Papers, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Box 1, folder 9).

16 Dunlap, Margi and Montalto, Nicholas, Out of Many, One—A History of the Immigration and Refugee Services of America Network (Washington, DC: IRSA, 1998); Mohl, Raymond A., “The International Institute Movement and Ethnic Pluralism.” Social Science Review 56, no. 1 (1981): 1421; idem, “Cultural Pluralism in Immigrant Education: The International Institutes of Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, 1920–1940.” Journal of American Ethnic History 1, no. 2 (1981): 35–58; idem, “The International Institutes and Immigrant Education. 1910–1940,” in American Education and the European Immigrant, ed., B.J. Weiss (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), 117–136.

17 Mitchell remained active in YWCA work, serving on a committee on second-generation families at the same time that she conducted the study of SGS. In return, the chair of the YWCA family study conducted a study of the family backgrounds of female Pitt SGS.

18 The Mitchells divorced a decade later.

19 On Mitchell, see Miller, Donald, “The Inspiration of Ruth Crawford Mitchell,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (13 February 1984).

20 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Clinic Report III: Foreign Born and Second-Generation Students—Do They Present the Need for a New Emphasis in the University of Pittsburgh?” 20 May 1927, “Recommendations” section, p. 1, RCM Papers, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, Ruth Crawford.” This box contains the three-volume report—actually a compilation of statistics and relevant memos—alluded to in Alberts, Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787–1987, 137.

21 Memo to Mr. George [sic] Gow from Ruth Crawford Mitchell regarding: The students of foreign birth attending University of Pittsburgh (draft),” n.d., c. 1925, 10–11, RCM Papers, Box 9, “Study of Foreign Students 1925, University of Pittsburgh.”

22 Occupations of Foreign-Born Fathers of Students in The College, University of Pittsburgh,” attached to Mitchell to Gow, 15 December 1925, RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder: “Student Study Beginnings, 1925–26.”

23 “Faculty Comment on Second-Generation students in the University of Pittsburgh, attached to Mitchell to J. Steele Gow, 15 December 1925, RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder: “Student Study Beginnings, 1925–26.”

24 Brief Summary of Interviews,” pp. 2–3, attached to Mitchell to Gow, 15 December 1925 (draft), RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder: “Student Study Beginnings, 1925–26.”

25 Mitchell, probably meant Yiddish, not Hebrew, or perhaps both languages. Modern Hebrew was mainly spoken in Palestine at the time.

26 Tentative Suggestions,” 1, attached to Mitchell to Gow, 15 December 1925 (draft), RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder: “Student Study Beginnings, 1925–26.”

27 Tentative Suggestions,” 2.

28 University of Pittsburgh, Report of the Chancellor to the Trustees: July 1, 1924 to June 30, 1926 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1926), 2629.

29 Ibid., 44–45.

30 Ibid., 37.

31 Ibid., 41.

32 Memorandum: Mitchell to Bowman, 17 February 1927, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “General University of Pittsburgh Material.”

33 Many SGS “of non-English-speaking heritage” (31 percent) left the answer to this question blank (Clinic Report, Section VI, p. 2). Mitchell defined Slovak as a “combination of Slovak and Slavish” (Clinic Report, Section IV, p. 8).

34 Greek Orthodox = 0.4 percent; Greek Catholic = 0.3 percent (Clinic Report, Section IV, 8). Adding foreign-born students brought the total to 883 Jewish students.

35 Clinic Report, Section VI, 1.

36 Boarding houses were more common than dormitories. Mitchell recommended university supervision of boarding houses for men and women. “Recommendations,” May 20, 1927, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “General University of Pittsburgh Material.”

37 Clinic Report, Section VII, 1.

38 Procedure to be followed in Compiling Nativity Statistics for five-year Study of the Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1926–1931,” RCM Papers, Box 12, file folder: “Procedure in compilation of data.” This time frame, Mitchell noted, allowed the study to track members of one class through their undergraduate academic careers. But instead of analyzing the data by class, she reported aggregate data that neither compared native-born students with native-born parents to SGS by transfer or dropout rates, nor traced the academic progress of SGS between the freshman and senior years. It is not clear why Mitchell failed to break the data down by class.

39 Mitchell also proposed a companion study of foreign students—a much smaller number and proportion of students than SGS. The time-consuming and often pressing issues raised by foreign students affected the amount of attention Mitchell could devote to the larger group.

40 “[Findings] based on interpretive material believed to be interesting and suggestive, but not backed by sufficient evidence to warrant conviction” (Clinic Report, Section IV, 9).

41 The SGS committee met only once in 1928–29 and once in 1929–30, and was reconstituted in 1930–31.

42 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, p. 4, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

43 Committee on Second Generation Students, “Annual Report, 1928–29,” July, 1929, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Nativity Study: Preliminary Findings with Statistical Data, 4 years.”

44 Alberts, Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 134–140.

45 The institute, which formally issued Mitchell's reports, was “not responsible for applying the results of its work.” See Jones, Walter B., “Self-Survey in Urban Universities.” The Educational Record 10 (1929): 5158, quotation from 53.

46 Second Generation Students in the Undergraduate Schools of the University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1928–29,” 1, RCM Papers, “Committee on SGS, Special material, 1928–29.

47 The total was 2,842, an increase of 536, including Pitt's new junior colleges in Johnstown, Uniontown, and Erie. The school of education, the graduate school, and the law school accounted for most of the increase. The number of SGS decreased between 1928–29 and 1929–30, perhaps, Mitchell thought, because of a change in entrance requirements in several schools.

48 See, for example, Sass, Steven, The Pragmatic Imagination: A History of the Wharton School, 1881–1981 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).

49 Three-fourths of these countries were non-English speaking (Mitchell to Bowman 9 July 1932, 1, UA, RG 90/F-12, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, Ruth Crawford).

50 Division of Research in Higher Education, University of Pittsburgh, “Nativity Study of Student Population, Part 2: Comparative Tables, Nativity Statistics of Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semesters, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30,” June 1930, Table 5.

51 “The lag of 18.1% of the foreign stock in Allegheny County in sending their quota of students to the University in so far as it is due to economic causes is not a permanent lag. Time has always in the past removed the special economic stress due to migration, allowing free scope for the ambition and ability of individual foreign born parents and their American born children.” Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, pp. 27–28, quotation from p. 28, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

52 Mitchell included the first five countries of birth of foreign-born Pittsburgh residents, according to the 1920 U.S. Census: Germany (16,028), Poland (15,537), Italy (15,371), Ireland (13,989), and Russia (13,837). “Discussion of Table VI” in Third Annual Report on Nativity Statistics of Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1920–29,” July 1929, 3, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder “Nativity Study 1926–1929, Preliminary findings, 3 Years.”

53 Second Generation Students in the Undergraduate Schools at the University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester 1928–29,” RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder: “Committee on Second-Generation Students—Special Material 1928–29.”

54 “The number of freshmen is rigidly regulated to a number that holds the school to 260 and a very definite policy has been adopted of limiting the number of representatives of any particular nationality group. Russia was the country of birth of 19 sets of parents. Germany was second with 11 sets of parents.” Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 15–16, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.” See also “A Condition, Not a Theory,” Jewish Criterion (1 May 1931): 6.

55 A campaign for a Jewish room began in the early 1930s, but their categorization as a religious group helped to disqualify them. “In any discussion of nationality the Jew presents a serious problem,” wrote Mitchell, “because while anthropology recognizes the Semitic race, the term Jewish refers to religious affiliations and not to nationality, except perhaps in Palestine where the factors of country of birth, citizenship, language and religion are one.” Jews often took on the cultural characteristics of the indigenous cultural group, she added. But “it cannot be denied that there is a religious and racial homogeneity among Jews throughout the world that is productive of habit patterns that are as distinct and characteristic as those of any nationality.” See Joseph, Charles A., “Random Thoughts.” The Jewish Criterion, (3 April 1931): 14, and Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 35, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

56 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 35, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

57 Ibid.

58 Jewish = 870; English descent = 665; “Other” = 901; Total SGS = 2,436. Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, p. 37 RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

59 Second Generation Students in the Undergraduate Schools of the University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1928–29,” 1, RCM Papers, “Committee on SGS, Special material, 1928–29.”

60 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 16, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

61 A survey of all 256 freshmen women in the class of 1932 found 90 SGS, of whom 22 were of English-speaking origin and 44 were Jewish. That left 24 non-Jewish women SGS from non-English-speaking origins (9.4 percent of all freshmen women). “Nativity Information about Women Students, University of Pittsburgh, Freshman Class, 1932,” n.d., RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Committee on Second Generation Students-Study of Freshmen Women.”

62 Discussion of Table VI,” in Third Annual Report on Nativity Statistics of Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1920–29,” July 1929, 2, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder “Nativity Study 1926–1929, Preliminary findings, 3 Years.”

63 Ibid.

64 Division of Research in Higher Education, University of Pittsburgh, “First Annual Report on Nativity Statistics of Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1926–27,” May 18, 1927, Table 1; idem, “Second Annual Report on Nativity Statistics of Student Population, University of Pittsburgh, 1st Semester, 1927–28,” Table 1, June, 1928. The third and fourth nativity reports did not include similar statistics.

65 Walls, Jean Hamilton, “A Study of Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh for the Decade 1926 to 1936” (PhD dissertation: University of Pittsburgh, 1938), 118. The seventy-eight graduates came mainly from families with low socio-economic status, and had parents with educational levels comparable to white families. They considered increased earning capacity their top priority, and most worked, usually in domestic and personal service, to defray their educational expenses.

66 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 42, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

67 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Clinic Report III: Foreign Born and Second Generation Students—Do They Present the Need for a New Emphasis in the University of Pittsburgh?” May 20, 1927, “Recommendations” section, 4, UA, RG 90/F-12, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, , Crawford, Ruth.” Faculty from the School of Education would later participate in several projects aimed at reducing intergroup tensions, notably the College Study, sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the American Council on Education. See Lloyd Allen Cook, College Programs in Intergroup Relations: A Report by Twenty-Four Colleges Participating in the College Study in Intergroup Relations (Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 1950).

68 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Clinic Report III: Foreign Born and Second Generation Students—Do They Present the Need for a New Emphasis in the University of Pittsburgh?” May 20, 1927, “Recommendations” section, 6, RCM Papers, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, Ruth Crawford.”

69 NYU, having compared the occupations of the parents of its students enrolled in its University College with the students enrolled at Amherst in 1928—greater proportions of professionals among the parents of Amherst students, and of merchants and manufacturers among NYU students—collected no new data. “Extract from Reports of Officers to the Chancellor of the University, 1927–28, New York University,” March 20, 1929, RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder: “Committee on Second-Generation Students—Special Material 1928–29.”

70 The University of Chicago would include nationality statistics as part of its ten-volume university survey, conducted in the early 1930s. Institutional studies conduced by professional “surveyors” such as Strayer, George, Capen, Samuel (president of the University of Buffalo), and Zook, George (president of the University of Akron), often included data on student ethnicity, religion, and nationality.

71 Committee on Second Generation Students, “Annual Report, 1928–29,” July 1929, p. 3, UA, RG 90/F-12, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, , Crawford, Ruth.”

72 At UB, SGS from Sweden and from English-speaking nations, except for the Irish, exceeded the proportion of their group in the Erie County population. Jews from Russia tripled their representation. The larger proportion of Polish students represented the greater proportion of Poles in Erie County; conversely, Allegheny County and Pitt had greater proportions of Slovaks and South Slavs. Mitchell attributed the greater proportion of Italians at UB to their origins in northern Italy: the Italians of Allegheny County came largely from Calabria and Sicily. Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 24, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

73 Table 1: Showing General Nativity of Students in Each Division of the University,” RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “Write Up Material for Second Generation Student Study, University of Buffalo.”

74 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March, 1933, 18, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.” This was no surprise to Yale. See Dan Oren, Joining the Club: A History of Jews at Yale rev. ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), and Synnott, Marcia G., The Half-Opened Door: Discrimination and Admissions at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, 1900–1970 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979).

75 Holyoke, Mt.: 14.9 percent native born, with foreign or mixed parents (class of 1929); University of Chicago: 39.6 percent native born, with foreign or mixed parents and 4.5 percent foreign born (registrar's totals). Data from Bragdon, Helen D., Counseling the College Student (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928), and Angel, Robert C., A Study in Undergraduate Adjustment (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1930).

76 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “From a University Skyscraper,” n.d., c. 1934, 8–9, UA, 40/1, Box 10, file folder 52: “Mitchell, R.C., Misc. correspondence, speeches, and articles.” The remainder of the quotation: “There was … even up to the early days of many of us present surprising harmony in our American ways of thinking and acting—a harmony that in the complexity of modern industrial life and the diversity of our cosmopolitan population with its roots in forty different languages and varied tradition seems to have disappeared taking with it that other most essential pioneer characteristic—faith in the future—and leaving a sense of chaotic futility.

77 Similar rooms at Wayne State University were established during the 1960s, but Mitchell insisted on the greater authenticity of the rooms at Pitt. SUNY Buffalo also established a “Polish Room” for study and research.

78 Mitchell, claimed to have advocated for an African Room in the late 1950s (Miller, Donald, “The Inspiration of Mitchell, Ruth Crawford,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, [13 February 1984]).

79 In practice, the Nationality Committees did not uniformly adhere to the rule. The English room (not one of the original 17), for example, included tiles from the British Parliament building, bombed by the Germans in World War II, dating from 1834. Here are the “Principles Governing The Creation Of Nationality Rooms”: “From the inception of the Nationality Rooms Program in 1926 until the completion of the Irish Classroom in 1957, the following principles governed the creation of the rooms, assuring a basic commonality of purpose, authenticity, and cultural, non-political, emphasis: “A Nationality Room must illustrate one of the outstanding architectural or design traditions of a nation that is recognized as such by the United States Department of State. “The design of a given historical period must be cultural and aesthetic; not political. “The period depicted should be prior to 1787, the date of the United States Constitution, with emphasis on cultural roots. “To avoid political implications in the rooms, no political symbol is permitted in the decorations, nor a portrait or likeness of any living person. “The only place a political symbol may be used is in the corridor stone above the room's entrance. “No donor recognition may appear in the rooms. “Most architects and designers of the rooms have been born and educated abroad. “This has been instrumental in insuring authenticity of design. “In the 1970s, policy revisions were implemented which, while retaining most of the earlier principles, utilized the broader definition of nation, i.e., a body of people associated with a particular territory and possessing a distinctive cultural and social way of life. Adoption of this non-political terminology enabled the African American community to undertake creation of an African Heritage Classroom, which represents a continent. It also opened the way for the Armenians and Ukrainians to build rooms representing their homelands, which were not yet independent nations.” Bruhns, E. Maxine, The Nationality Rooms (Pittsburgh, PA: Nationality Rooms Program, University of Pittsburgh, 1994).

80 She called, for example, for interaction between the Italian Club (the only nationality-based club then in existence) with the Italian Cathedral of Learning committee and the participation of Italian students in fund-raising activities for the Italian room. Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Clinic Report III: Foreign Born and Second-Generation Students—Do They Present the Need for a New Emphasis in the University of Pittsburgh?” May 20, 1927, “Recommendations” section, 3, RCM Papers, Box 3, file folder 16: “Student Nativity Study: Volume 2, Mitchell, Ruth Crawford.”

81 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “The Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh and International Understanding,” Higher Education: Semi-Monthly Publication of the Federal Security Agency 7, no. 4 (15 October 1950), 39.

82 The Czechoslovak room opened in 1939, just before the Nazi invasion. The Austrian room opened in 1996.

83 See Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “One Layman's Query About Modern Language Teaching,” December 9, 1938, UA 40/1, Box 10, file folder 52: “Mitchell, R.C., Misc. correspondence, speeches, and articles.” The issue recurred frequently. In Chicago, for example, education officials asked whether first- and second-generation students could use their native languages to meet the University of Chicago's foreign language entrance requirement. See Young, Ella Flagg to Judson, Harry Pratt, 4 March 1913; Judson, to Young, , 7 March 1913, and Angell, James R. to Judson, , 8 March 1913, University Presidents’ Papers, 1889–1925, University of Chicago Special Collections, “Young, Ella F.“ file. Jewish students mounted demands for instruction in Modern Hebrew at CCNY and other colleges with significant Jewish enrollments. See Ritterband, Paul and Wechsler, Harold S., Jewish Learning in American Universities: The First Century (Bloomington: IN: Indiana University Press, 1994), 179187. Norwegian and Scandinavian languages, classical and modern, were taught as early as 1869 at the University of Wisconsin. See Flom, George T., “Norwegian Language and Literature in American Universities,” Norwegian-American Studies, II (1925), 78. See also Coleman, Arthur Prudden, A Report on the Status of Russian and Other Slavic and East European Languages in the Educational Institutions of the United States, its Territories, Possessions and Mandates, with Additional Data on Similar Studies in Canada and Latin America (New York: American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, Columbia University, 1948), and idem, The Study of Polish in the United States of America (New York: n.p., 1943).

84 Recommendations,” May 20, 1927, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “General University of Pittsburgh Material.”

85 An experiment in Hungarian language instruction was discontinued after 1929.

86 The scale: a = 7; b = 5; c = 4; d = 3; f = 0.A 1930 draft report using the same data went further: “On the whole, second-generation students did significantly better work than their native born counterparts, even though they were endowed, on the average, with less capacity. [as measured by the Thorndike Intelligence Test].” “Second Generation Students in the University,” attached to Borgerding, Adah S. to Mitchell, , 30 October 1930, RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder “Committee on Second Generation Students, Minutes and Program, 1926–1927; 1927–1928.”

87 Table Showing Average of Composite Placement Test Percentile According to Country of Birth of Father Grouped According to Jewish and Non-Jewish,” c. 1928, RCM Papers, Box 12, file folder: “Write up Material for Second Generation Student Study.”

88 Second Generation Students in the University,” attached to Borgerding, Adah S. to Mitchell, , 30 October 1930, RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder “Committee on Second Generation Students, Minutes and Program, 1926–1927; 1927–1928.”

89 The estimate is from Alberts, , Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 144.

90 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Memo to Gow, George C. [sic] regarding: The students of foreign birth attending the University of Pittsburgh,” n.d., c. 1925, p. 8, RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder, “Study of Foreign Students, 1925.”

91 The course attracted 39 of 233 foreign-born and second-generation Italian students (Clinic Report, Section VI, p. 8). Casa Italiana at Columbia University faced similar charges of housing fascists. In 1931, Mitchell, lobbied for resurrecting the club on the basis of national background, not of language. The Italian students who had held a fund-raising event for the Italian Room in the Cathedral of Learning would provide the nucleus. Mitchell, to Amos, Thyrsa, 2 June 1931, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder “General University of Pittsburgh material.”

92 The University of Pennsylvania had six national clubs by 1910, but these clubs mainly recruited foreign students who expected to return to their native countries. The university also had about 25 state and even more county clubs that often worked with home-based alumni. Slosson, E.E. compared these clubs with the “Nations” of the medieval universities. Great American Universities (New York, Macmillan, 1910), 364–65.

93 Mitchell, , “Summary Report of Committee on Second Generation Students for the Year 1927–28, University of Pittsburgh,” May 28, 1928, p. 3, UA, RG 90/F-12, “Mitchell, Ruth Crawford,” Box 3, file folder 16 “Student Nativity Study, Volume 2.”

94 Alberts, , Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 144.

95 Rhoades, Robert A. discusses key status group identification with respect to gay students in Coming Out in College: The Struggle for a Queer Identity (Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey, 1994).

96 Untitled report of Hungarian Club activities, n.d., c. 1930, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder “Second Generation Student Clubs: Hungarian Club.”

97 SGS records do not mention the extracurricular activities of African Americans or Jews: the fraternities and sororities organized for these groups, for example, nor the attempts of the Hillel Foundation to address the religious and social needs of Pitt's Jewish students. All but four of 78 African-American graduates (1926–36) interviewed by Walls—104 in the universe—belonged to national black fraternities and sororities while at Pitt. These fraternities and sororities “meet such a definite social need that despite their ills, they are still the answer to some of the important social problems of the Negro student in a large co-racial University.” Jean Hamilton Walls, “A Study of Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh for the Decade 1926 to 1936” (PhD dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1938), 49. Most interviewees participated in few other extracurricular activities. “What can be done,” asked Walls, “to help the Negro group, minority in race and number, to a richer more contented life at the University of Pittsburgh?” Her answer: “How to secure for the Negro more participation in extra-curricular life” Walls, 107.

98 Minutes-Committee on Second Generation Students,” November 4, 1930, and Mitchell, to Amos, Thyrsa, 3 June 1931, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “General University of Pittsburgh material.”

99 Mitchell, to Amos, Thyrsa, 3 June 1931, RCM Papers, Box 11, file folder: “General University of Pittsburgh material.”

100 Memo to George, Mr. [sic] Gow from Mitchell, Ruth Crawford regarding: The students of foreign birth attending University of Pittsburgh (draft), n.d., c. 1925, 10, RCM Papers, Box 9, file folder: “Study of Foreign Students 1925, University of Pittsburgh.”

101 Mitchell, continued to believe in the existence of a “foreignness factor.” Here is the end of her final report on SGS (1933): “Not until students of foreign background are so thoroughly familiar with the many positive cultural elements which the history of every nationality unfolds that they are able to interpret the significance of these contributions in the world at large and in the United States in particularly will they be adequately armed to withstand the psychological ravages of ‘inferiority’.” Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the University of Pittsburgh,” March 1933, 42, RCM Papers, Box 10, file folder: “Foreign Born and Second Generation Students at the U. of P. 1933, 5 years, Preliminary Statement.”

102 The university discontinued this committee “without advance notice” in 1930, when Weber, John replaced Gow as dean of administration. Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, handwritten note on Committee on Foreign Students, “Annual Report for 1928–1929,” July 5, 1929, 9, RCM Papers, “Mitchell, Ruth Crawford,” Box 3, file folder 15: “Student Nativity Study, Volume 1.”

103 Mitchell, to Bowman, , 11 July 1932, UA, RCM Papers, Box 2, file 13: “Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, Personal Papers.”

104 Tabor, Edward O., “The University and the New American,” reprint from The Pittsburgh Record (April-May, 1932): 6; copy in RCM Papers, Box 2, file folder 13: “Mitchell, Ruth Crawford Personal Papers.”

105 Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, “Annual Report to Chancellor for 1931–32,” attached to Mitchell, to Bowman, , 11 July 1932, 8, RCM Papers, Box 2, file folder 13: “Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, Personal Papers.”

106 Alberts, , Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 148.

107 Yeghenian, A.Y., “Some Thoughts on the Second Generation Problem,” n.d., 4–5, RCM Papers, Box 6, file folder: “Committee on Second-Generation Students—Special Material 1928–29.” Italics in original.

His books include: Access to Success in the Urban High School: The Middle College Movement and The Qualified Student: A History of Selective College Admission in America: 1870–1970. He is the 2007–08 president of the History of Education Society. The author would like to thank Tara McCarthy, Scott Morgan, Paul J. Ramsey, and Jonathan Silver for their research assistance, and Marianne Kasica at the University of Pittsburgh Archives for untiring support. He would also like to thank the Spencer Foundation for underwriting this research. This essay is dedicated to the memory of Charles R. Travaglianti. The formal citation for the Mitchell archives (hereafter cited as “RCM Papers”) at the University of Pittsburgh is: “Collection of Ruth Crawford Mitchell, 1926–1980, University Archives RG 90/F-12, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.”

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History of Education Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0018-2680
  • EISSN: 1748-5959
  • URL: /core/journals/history-of-education-quarterly
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