The Princeton Graduate School
A History
Willard Thorp, Minor Myers Jr., & Jeremiah Stanton Finch

With a new chapter by James L. Axtell


The Princeton Graduate School was born of controversy, first between President James McCosh and his opponents, who doubted the wisdom of attaching a graduate school to a small college with a religious complexion, and then between President Woodrow Wilson and the formidable Dean Andrew Fleming West. Dean West, who won every point at issue between them, went on to establish a graduate school that has increasingly been identified with excellence in all the fields in which it offers training. Succeeding deans, notably Hugh Stott Taylor, shaped Princeton's particular approach to graduate study with its central focus on research. Especially through the professors trained in the graduate school, Princeton has profoundly influenced education at many colleges and universities nationwide. Outside the academy, Princeton graduate alumni have been leaders in the arts, religion, industry, and government here and abroad, carrying with them a deep commitment to learning fostered by their time in the shadow of Cleveland Tower. The history of the Graduate School at Princeton thus reveals a great deal about the explosion of knowledge that has radically changed American society in the twentieth century.

First published in 1978, The Princeton Graduate School: A History has been revised and expanded, with new chapters recounting the dramatic growth of graduate education since World War II. The updated edition celebrates the centennial of the Graduate School's founding and looks forward to its continued importance in the twenty-first century.

The late Willard Thorp was for many years Holmes Professor of Belles Lettres at Princeton University. He was an eminent figure in American literary history, having produced the first fully annotated edition of Melville's Moby Dick. Minor Myers, Jr., President of Illinois Wesleyan University since 1989, is a political scientist and a graduate alumnus of Princeton. His most recent book is Liberty without Anarchy: A History of the Society of the Cincinnati. He coauthored the first edition of The Princeton Graduate School in 1978. Jeremiah Stanton Finch, former Secretary of Princeton University, served also as Dean of the College from 1955 to 1961. A scholar of seventeenth-century English literature, he has also published and lectured on teacher preparation and liberal education. James L. Axtell has been William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Huamanities at the College of William and Mary since 1986.