aughan Literature

On July 19, 1933, the ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Charles P. Vaughan Literature Building, which was in service in 1934 and dedicated and named on February 12, 1938. Completed at a cost of $129,000.00, the building included the following facilities: an auditorium which seated 450; seminar rooms for Classical, Germanic and Romance languages; faculty offices; ten classrooms; a lounge; and a library which housed the Enoch Perrine Memorial Library, a collection of English literature funded by the Class of 1927. Furnishings cost $6,000.00. Charles Parker Vaughan was a Trustee from 1921 to 1926 and was Acting President of the University for six months in 1931 before the appointment of Homer P. Rainey.

English, Classical and Modern Languages between 1915 and 1945

Before America’s entry into the First World War, the classical languages and literature had dominated the curriculum, but English literature and rhetoric and oratory also played an important role. The study of foreign languages in the College had become more important after the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1915-1916, Professor Hamblin taught the Greek language and literature; Professors Rockwood and Ballentine taught the Latin language and literature; Professor Perrine taught the English language and literature; Professor Philips, Instructor Smith and Assistant Professor Fries taught rhetoric and oratory; and Professors Riemer and Griffith and Instructors Rockwell and Baldwin taught the modern languages, mainly German and French, although there were three courses in Spanish and instruction in Italian for engineering students. Thus, there were three men teaching classical languages and literature; five men teaching English, rhetoric or oratory; and four men teaching modern foreign languages. By 1945, there were major changes in the characteristics of these departments within the College.

English Language and Literature, Journalism and Speech

Professor Enoch Perrine, “who had headed the work in English ever since he came to Bucknell, in 1885,” died in 1920, and Professor Amos L. Herold was his replacement as “headship of the department.” When Herold left Bucknell in 1923, he was replaced by Professor Harry W. Robbins who was still chairman of the English department in 1945. In 1924, Lewis E.Theiss was appointed as the first professor of journalism. He had received his Ph.B. degree from Bucknell in 1902 and “[his] journalistic training was gained on Mr. Charles A. Dana’s old New York Sun.” In the journalism courses that he taught “[e]very effort was made ...to pass on to students practical knowledge as to how to earn one’s living by writing.” In 1945, Professor Theiss was on leave writing the centennial history of Bucknell University, which was published in 1945. By the mid-1920’s, oratory was referred to as “oral English” or “public speaking,” and “[e]xpression [was] no longer taught as an ornament, but as a business and professional necessity.”

In the 1920's, the English Department occupied the second and third floors of the Annex to the Academy Building, but moved to the Literature Building after its completion. From 1915 to 1945, the English faculty increased in size. In 1919, when Emory Hunt became president, there were four professors and one instructor in the department. By the end of Hunt’s tenure in 1931, the department had grown to five professors, four assistant professors and four instructors. In 1945, there were three professors, three associate professors, three assistant professors, an instructor and a lecturer.

By the mid-1920's there was an increasing emphasis placed on scholarship in the English department. In 1927, a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honorary fraternity, was established at Bucknell, and thereafter more emphasis was placed upon intellectual rigor in classes in English taken by students who elected that subject as a major.

In 1929, an honors seminar in English was established, to provide for individual study by especially capable seniors majoring in English, and the first group of students participated in this work. Six students were freed from all other college requirements during their final semester, in order to devote themselves to intensive reading and study. After a comprehensive final oral examination, five of the candidates were graduated with final honors in English.

In the late 1930’s, Professor Robbins co-authored with Professor William H. Coleman of the English department “...a monumental Anthology of the masterpieces of world literature, of which the MacMillan Company printed 15,000 copies [in 1938].” Throughout the 1940's, this text was used in many colleges in courses in world literature. It was the text used in English 103-104 (World Literature) at Bucknell, a course that was required to be taken by students in all degree programs, except those in engineering. Engineers had to take only English 100 (Reading, Writing, and Speaking) and English 131 (Fundamentals of Speech). By 1945, the courses offered by the English department reflected a balance of academic and vocational interests and were presented under four subdivisions in the catalogue: Literature, Composition, Journalism, and Speech. The major changes from 1916 had been the introduction of journalism, and the transformation of oratory into speech and rhetoric into composition.

Modern Languages and Literature

By 1931, the Modern Language Department had been divided into the Department of Romance Languages and the Department of German, and the number of faculty teaching French and Spanish had increased.

[I]n the year 1917-18 all the modern language work, including German (at that time the largest section, by far), was done by four teachers. In 1930-31, six teachers [were] listed under the Romance languages alone.”

As a consequence of the First World War, “German disappeared from the curriculum completely for a brief period, so that the modern language requirements were satisfied by courses in French and Spanish.” However, in the 1920's, the enrollment in German rose from nine students in 1919-20 to 167 students in 1929-30. In 1925, the German Club, which had been founded in 1906 but suspended during the World War, was resurrected because of the “reviving interest in German civilization.

In 1945, courses in modern foreign languages were listed in the Catalogue under French, German, Spanish, and Russian. Two faculty members taught French, two taught German and two taught Spanish. One faculty member had a dual appointment in French and German and also taught Russian. Thus, seven faculty members taught modern foreign languages on the Lewisburg campus in 1945. Professor Ballentine continued to teach the courses in Greek and Latin, but he was the only faculty member assigned to do so. The major changes from 1916 in this area had been the sharp decrease in the number of faculty members teaching and courses in Greek and Latin; the division of Department of Modern Languages into the departments of French, German, and Spanish; and an increase in the number of students enrolled in foreign language courses. By1945, there was a requirement for competence in a foreign language in all degree programs except those in engineering, commerce and finance, and education. Greek or Latin also could satisfy this requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

The Effect of World War II on Englsih, Foreign Languages and Social Sciences

Because of the war, by 1943 there was a “strong trend away from social science, English and foreign languages” so that enrollments were falling. As a result of this decline, Vice-President Rivenburg informed the Trustee that “...to meet this new situation members of the liberals arts faculty, who will not be needed full time in their departments, will teach either part time or full time next year in other departments.” This temporary redeployment of faculty ended after the war.

Vaughan Literature Building in 1945

A very concise, but complete, description of the Vaughan Literature Building was printed in the 1944-1945 Catalogue.

The completed portion of the building includes a lecture hall, a classroom section, and an office section. Literature Hall seats about four hundred and fifty students, and is provided with a projection room for stereopticon and both sound and silent motion pictures, and with a visitor’s balcony. The office section has a branch library with a seating capacity of about one hundred and shelf-room for ten thousand volumes. In this section are also the Classical, Germanic, and Romance seminar rooms, fifteen offices for teachers, and a Literature Lounge with kitchenette. The corridors connecting these two units give access to ten classrooms seating from thirty to seventy each and forming the central unit of the building.

The Catalogue also contains a description of the collections in the library.

The Literature Library…contains over three thousand volumes including the Enoch Perrine Memorial Library, founded by the Class of 1927; the Loeb Classical Library, presented by Roy G. Bostwick of the Class of 1905; the French Collection, founded by the Class of 1936; the Modern Library collection founded by the Class of 1934; and the Ferdinand Thun collection of German literature.

In 1945, offices for faculty in art, English, history, Latin, mathematics, modern languages, political science, sociology and speech were located in the Vaughan Literature Building. Many faculty in English shared offices as did some in foreign languages. The only mathematician in the building shared an office with an English professor and the only art professor shared an office with another English professor. The three historians and two sociologists had private offices.

History and Sociology

The survey course, History 99-100, The History of Western Civilization, was a required course in the freshman year for all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Bachelor of Science degree and the Bachelor of Science in Education degree. It was an elective course for the Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance Degree. The courses in the history department were listed under three headings: European and Eastern History, English History and American History. One of the two sociologists, Dr. Meyer Nimkoff, was the coauthor with Dr. William F. Ogburn, “Head of the Department of Sociology of the University of Chicago”, of “Introductory Sociology”, which had been “…adopted by between 350 and 400 colleges within the first year and a half after its publication.,” and later had “been chosen by the Armed Forces Institute as the introductory textbook in sociology…”

Vaughan Literature Building was built upon part of a tract of 170 acres which had been added to the campus at a cost of $55,000.00 in 1920, when the University purchased the George Barron Miller Farm. It was the second building to be constructed on this addition to the campus; the first wing of the Engineering Building had been the first.

In 1945, a mall containing various plantings and gardens was located on the new campus between the Vaughan Literature Building and the Men's College Quadrangle.

"who had headed..." MBU '19-'31, p. 70

"headship of the department" ib.

"[h]is journalistic training..." ib., p. 72

"[e]very effort was made..." ib.

"[e]xpression was no longer..." ib., p. 71

"In 1929, an honors seminar..." ib., p. 70

"...a monumental Anthology..." BT '20-'50, 6/10/1936, p. 2

[I]n the year..." MBU '19-'31, p. 88

"German disappeared..." ib. p. 25

"reviving interest..." ib., p. 73

"a strong trend away.." and the other quotation in this paragraph, BT '20-'50, 5/28/1943, p. 4

"The completed portion of..." CAT '44-'45, p. 25

"The Literature Library..." ib.

"...adopoted by between 350..." BT '20-'50, 5/23/1942, p. 1

"been chosen by the..." ib., 6/24/1944, p. 2

The major sources for the information on this page are Memorials of Bucknell University, 1919-1931 (MBU '19-'31) and the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1920-1950 (BT '20-'50). Additional sources are "Directory of Faculty, Officers of Administration and Ship's Company of Bucknell University, November, 1945"; the Bucknell University Bulletin (Fifteenth Series, Janueary 1916, No. 4) Catalog 1915-1916 (CAT '15-'16), the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, Ninety-Ninth Year, 1944-1945 (CAT '44-'45) and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, One Hundredth Year, January, 1946 (CAT '45-'46).

This building in other years: 1965 | 1985 | Current
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