Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/12

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ants were six doctors of philosophy engaged in university teaching, who also served as secretaries for their special sectional meetings.

This was a congress of scholars, conceived, administered and conducted by scholars. Under the general supervision of Dr. Howard J. Rogers, deputy superintendent of education for the state of New York, who was the official director of congresses for the exposition, it was arranged by an administrative board consisting of Presidents Harper of Chicago, Jesse of Missouri, Pritchett of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Librarian of Congress Putnam and Director Skiff of the Field Columbian Museum, under the chairmanship of President Butler of Columbia University, a professor of philosophy and a distinguished expert in education.

The congress was presided over by Simon Newcomb, retired professor in the United States Navy, a profoundly original, accomplished and productive astronomer and mathematician, perhaps of all Americans the most honored throughout the world among the peers of the realm of science. Hugo Münsterberg, Harvard's brilliant psychologist, philosopher and man of letters, author of the original plan of the congress, to whom is also due the largest share of credit for the splendid achievement, divided the vice-presidency with Albion W. Small, professor of sociology in the University of Chicago, whose wide grasp of the multifarious activities of organized social regulation and culture is largely responsible for their elaborate representation in the final scheme.

Thanks to the wisdom, enthusiasm and devotion of these learned officers of the congress, and the intelligent enterprise of the management of the exposition under its president, the Hon. David R. Francis, it was possible to carry out a program without a parallel in history. Other meetings of men, including some more eminent than any of those who came to St. Louis, may have accomplished more for science and civilization, but never before has there been a gathering of so large and representative a body of the world's leading scholars and thinkers. It will lie sufficient to remind our readers in passing that the unique purpose of this congress was to see science whole. It was a deliberate attempt to exhibit the totality of intellectual achievement, to formulate the interrelations of the several branches of knowledge, and in some measure to realize the potential unity of the several sciences ami their applications by harmonizing the confused mass of knowledge scattered through a bewildering multiplicity of specialties.

The program was designed to exhibit a certain dramatic unity in the order of the proceedings, which represented a progressive differentiation from the most general treatment of knowledge in the opening session through the several divisional and departmental addresses to the more specialists sectional discussions, with a view to effecting an ultimate integration within each group, from the particular sections up to the all-inclusive whole of knowledge. The manner of the actual acting out of this ambitious plot during that memorable week in Sep-