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The Inception of the Meaning and Significance of Endowment in American Higher Education, 1890–1930

by Bruce A. Kimball & Benjamin Ashby Johnson - 2012

Background/Context: Endowments of institutions of higher education in the United States have attracted widespread attention in recent decades due to their meteoric rise in value and their precipitous decline during the recent recession. But there has been little research on the beginnings of the significant interest in and importance of endowments.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This study examines how the importance of endowment, the emphasis upon increasing it, the competition for it, and even its current meaning originated between 1890 and 1930. The research focused on the emerging meaning and significance of endowment in higher education in the United States, demonstrated by the eight universities that acquired the largest endowments during the period between 1890 and 1930.

Research Design: This study presents a historical analysis relying on published documents and archival records from the period between 1890 and 1930.

Conclusions/Recommendations: While colleges have long had permanent invested funds, endowment first acquired its meaning and significance in U.S. higher education between 1890 and 1930 as universities realized that their autonomy, stability, and comparative advantage over competitors depended heavily on the amount of their financial capital. The universities that first made this realization began to focus on increasing their endowment and thereby established an upper tier of wealthy universities that maintained this elite status through the ensuing century. Consequently, the inception of endowment between 1890 and 1930 had far-reaching influence on the stratification of higher education in the United States.

While the recent recession of 2008–2009 drew attention to the significance of endowments in higher education,1 their meteoric rise in value during preceding decades had already attracted widespread notice, prompted by the annual list of largest endowments published by the Chronicle of Higher Education beginning in 1970 and by the surveys conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers starting in 1974.2 In fact, the Chronicle’s annual lists became a prominent benchmark in the competition among universities for resources and prestige. “Short of beating an archrival in football, posting the highest one-year investment ranks near the top of the list of institutional aspirations. . . . Performance competition causes some institutions to engage in . . . inflating published endowment values.”3 By 2011, “as everyone knows . . . endowment size, perhaps more than any other single factor, determines the success and the perceived quality of private colleges and universities.”4

Permanent invested funds exercise this influence by enhancing the autonomy, stability, and competitive advantage of a college or university in the long term. Other major sources of revenue—tuition, grants, or gifts for current expenses—are soon spent and depend directly on external expectations or requirements. Endowment, even when restricted, provides revenue that can be controlled by the university, and thus expands its capacity for self-determination. This kind of revenue also provides stability because it is relatively reliable and facilitates planning for the short or long term. Finally, a larger endowment provides a comparative advantage among competing institutions by supporting the capability to pursue opportunities and discretionary goals, which can increase accomplishments and elevate prestige.5 Consequently, size of endowment stratifies colleges and universities by perceived or realized quality within higher education.

It was not always so. To be sure, colleges and universities have long held permanent invested funds yielding income for current expenses. The oldest endowments and the longest investment record in the United States belong to Harvard College, the oldest corporation in the nation.6 One might therefore assume that endowment has always played a significant role in higher education. Yet, the fundamental importance of endowment, the emphasis upon increasing it, the competition for it, and even its current meaning originated between 1890 and 1930.

It was during this period that certain universities significantly increased their financial capital and thereby established an upper tier of endowed universities whose elite status has largely persevered for a century.7 Despite its significance, this emergence of permanent invested funds in higher education has not been closely studied. The growing body of historical research on philanthropy and fundraising in higher education examines the donating, granting, and soliciting of money but not the financial capitalization of universities, that is, the rise and development of endowment.8 The early accumulation of wealth at the university with the largest endowment in the country, Harvard, has received attention from historians.9 But the historiography of Harvard during the period from 1870 to 1930 largely neglects finances,10 and the leading comprehensive historical study of Harvard’s finances overall is seriously flawed.11 Meanwhile, the history of the second largest university endowment, that of Yale, is hampered because the university “lacks clean data on gifts, spending, and investment performance” prior to 1950.12

More generally, leading accounts of the development of the university in the United States have tended to focus on academic and institutional developments, rather than finances.13 Historiography addressing financial developments of universities during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has tended to conflate endowment with tuition, grants, current gifts, and physical plant in analyzing university wealth.14 One understandable reason for this conflation is that the research for these studies was conducted in the 1980s, soon after the “golden age” of higher education extending from 1945 to 1975. During this period, income from government grants and expanding enrollments grew tremendously,15 and this growth made endowment income seem less significant, resulting in the tendency to conflate endowment, tuition, grants, gifts, and physical plant within university wealth.16 In addition, the “stagflation” of the 1970s had eviscerated endowment income by 1980, reducing its fraction of aggregate revenue to merely 2 percent for all of higher education.17 Consequently, historiography of higher education has tended to neglect the importance of endowments.

But the great bull market of the 1980s and 1990s reestablished the overriding significance of endowment, as the percentage of income contributed by endowment to overall revenue at Yale University, for example, jumped from about 10 percent in 1985 to 45 percent in 2009.18 Already in 1990 the distinguished historian Roger Geiger, in contrast to his earlier study of the period examined here, observed that, although the “total wealth” of a university included “theoretically the sum of all physical and financial capital . . . A more meaningful measure of financial strength would be annual income from endowment.”19

Finally, only cursory references to the historical developments appear in the recent and growing economic literature concerning endowments in higher education. This scholarship primarily addresses portfolio management and the appropriate spending rule—the amount of the annual return on endowment that the university should spend rather than reinvest.20 Consequently, the inception of the meaning and significance of endowment deserves closer study, and it unfolded, we argue, through the following contemporaneous developments.

One important development was that permanent invested funds in higher education grew at an unprecedented rate between 1890 and 1930, particularly those funds belonging to the wealthiest universities. Another was that universities began to realize that wealth would provide a comparative advantage in their competition for academic achievement, influence, and status and, furthermore, that a particular kind of wealth—invested financial capital—would provide the greatest competitive advantage. The first university to make this realization and concentrate on building its endowment gained a lead over all other universities in 1920 that it would never relinquish. This ascendance of Harvard, combined with the policies of the General Education Board (GEB), prompted other colleges and universities to devote effort to increasing their permanent funds, especially after 1920.

Finally, appreciating the importance of endowment entails understanding what endowment is. Hence, in the 1920s the longstanding, broad, variable usage of the term “endowment” began to be considered “wrong” and to be displaced by a new “correct sense,” that is, “a fund which shall be maintained inviolate, the income of which shall alone be used.”21 That new meaning became conventional after 1930, a development culminating the inception of the meaning and significance of endowment in higher education.

One important result was that the universities with the largest endowments established and consolidated their position in the upper tier of institutions, since “the ones that have had the longest time to build an endowment—are the richest.”22 As a result, these early events profoundly shaped the stratification of higher education in subsequent decades. In addition, the norms of these well-endowed institutions proliferated throughout higher education, not so much due to isomorphic behavior,23 but because other institutions sought the competitive advantage of an increased endowment.


Prior to 1865, the economy of the United States did not produce enough surplus wealth to support significant benefactions, and most gifts were made for current use.24 Consequently, few treatises devoted to endowments in higher education appeared before the Civil War,25 and those circulating in the United States soon afterward were generally written by British authors.26 Between 1870 and 1920, the gross national product of the United States grew more than six-fold, as a revolution in the areas of transportation, communication, and manufacturing sparked a great economic expansion.27 Commensurately, large industrial corporations emerged, producing an unprecedented number of millionaires and multimillionaires, who contributed to an enormous increase in philanthropy, most of which flowed into higher education.28 Particularly prominent was Andrew Carnegie, who sold his steel companies in 1901 and founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1905, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911.29 Even more influential was the philanthropy of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, who endowed the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research in 1901, the GEB in 1903, the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913, and the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial in 1918.30

Notable gifts to found individual institutions during the 1860s and 1870s included $500,000 to establish Cornell University in 1865, a total of $800,000 to establish Vassar College in 1868, and $7 million—the largest benefaction to that point in American history—bequeathed in 1873 by merchant Johns Hopkins to found a university and a hospital in Baltimore.31 During the early 1890s, the $20 million reportedly given by Leland and Jane Stanford to found a university in California and the several million dollars donated by Rockefeller to invigorate the University of Chicago attracted widespread publicity, as did many smaller, but significant gifts to other universities. Contemporary observers considered this late nineteenth-century wave of benefactions to be “one of the most striking phases of American educational history.”32 By 1900 endowments in higher education already totaled between $165 million and $195 million.33

These unprecedented gifts were welcomed with few reservations. In England the “dead hand” of donors who endowed charities with highly restrictive purposes had created many “inconveniences” that prompted legal and policy reforms during the mid-nineteenth century.34 But such dead hand restrictions did not become a significant factor in the United States, largely because the number and amount of benefactions were relatively small until the 1870s, by which point the lessons of the English controversy had “taken effect upon the public mind” in the United States, as the president of Harvard observed.35 Furthermore, the cy près legal doctrine began to emerge, allowing courts to modify outmoded or unduly narrow restrictions.36 Nor did complaints that unethical or illegal dealings “tainted” the benefactions of industrial capitalists dampen universities’ enthusiasm for gifts.37

Consequently, in the opening decades of the twentieth century, the number and size of charitable endowments of various kinds grew to astonishing dimensions. During the nineteenth century, “only five persons of wealth established foundations for philanthropic purposes. . . . Six new foundations were established during the first decade of the twentieth century, twenty-two during the second, and forty-one in the third.”38 The phenomenon was most pronounced in higher education. The years between 1900 and 1930 saw “an extraordinary devotion of private fortunes to the establishment of permanent endowments,” and “the great bulk of such endowments [we]re held by the colleges and universities.”39 In 1926 the GEB estimated, “Of the present financial resources of endowed institutions of higher education approximately three quarters has been obtained since the year 1900.”40 Among these institutions, the permanent funds of the wealthiest universities grew the fastest.41 The staggering increases of the eight wealthiest are enumerated in Table 1.

Table 1. Largest endowments of colleges and universities, 1875–193942









































































































































Notes: Figures are in 1,000s of dollars. Dashes indicate values omitted from the source cited for the corresponding year; round numbers indicate uncertainty in the figures reported by institutions.

This study focuses on these eight universities, which accumulated the largest endowments in the United States during this period. Only a few other institutions came close to this group in the value of their permanent invested funds.57 Two of these were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT). Between 1895 and 1900 the endowment of MIT grew fivefold to $3 million and began to rival that of Cornell and Johns Hopkins, but declined to $1,872,000 by 1910 and then caught up to Stanford, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton during the 1920s and 1930s. Likewise, in 1915, when CIT began to report its endowment to the U.S. Commissioner of Education, it claimed $8,650,000, exceeding Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and MIT. But CIT’s endowment did not keep pace, growing to just over $9 million by 1920 and falling further behind thereafter. This study does not address MIT and CIT because the distinctive character and policies of these technological institutes make it difficult to compare them to the universities.

More generally, the value of endowments below the first tier fell off rapidly, dropping by two-thirds within the next 20 colleges and universities that comprised the second tier. In any given year, the top three or four institutions in the second tier rivaled the endowment of the bottom of the first tier, but those top three or four were not consistent, because the second-tier institutions rotated in rank of endowment value. It is also evident that few public universities had endowments ranking in the top 30 colleges and universities, as seen in Table 2.

Table 2. Values of second-tier endowments, 1920 and 1930


Washington University, St. Louis


University of Pennsylvania


University of California


University of Washington


Northwestern University


University of Rochester


Amherst College


Dartmouth College


Clark University


Bryn Mawr College


Western Reserve University


Tulane University


Vanderbilt University


University of Minnesota


University of Oklahoma


Tufts College


Barnard College


Brown University


Wellesley College


Williams College



University of Rochester


Northwestern University


University of Texas


Duke University


Vanderbilt University


Washington University, St. Louis


Oberlin College


University of Pennsylvania


University of California


Dartmouth College


California Institute of Technology


Western Reserve University


Rice Institute


College of Mount St. Joseph


Brown University


Tulane University


University of Virginia


Wellesley College


Berea College


University of Minnesota



Notes: Figures are in 1,000s of dollars. Public institutions are italicized.

Consequently, the eight universities in Table 1 emerged as the wealthiest in financial capital over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this study focuses on their experience.


Amid the unprecedented increase of permanent invested funds in higher education, the success of the eight wealthiest universities was remarkable. But even among these, the growth of Harvard’s endowment was exceptional. This was due not merely to its quantitative increase, but also to the novel strategy pursed by Harvard to achieve its lead. Harvard was the first to expound the view that accumulating endowment would provide the greatest comparative advantage in the competition for academic achievement, influence, and status.

Harvard established its lead in financial capital not by banking an enormous gift, as did the seven other wealthiest universities. Each, in fact, received at least one “mega-gift” dwarfing any that came to Harvard.60 The $3.5 million in property bequeathed to Johns Hopkins University in 1873, the reported $20 million from Leland and Jane Stanford in 1885, and the $5.5 million from Ezra Cornell and from New York’s land-grant scrip realized by 1900 were benefactions to their namesake institutions that vastly exceeded the value of Harvard’s largest gift of $1,135,000 received only in 1903.61 Even apart from those huge gifts, during the mid-1890s “at least five American universities, all situated outside of New England, received much larger additions to their endowments” than did Harvard.62 In the following two decades, the $34.7 million given by Rockefeller to the University of Chicago (culminating in his pledge of $10 million in 1910), the John W. Sterling bequest of $15 million to Yale in 1918, and the Henry C. Frick bequest of $15 million to Princeton in 1919 overshadowed Harvard’s largest gift of $5 million that was received only in 1924.63 Meanwhile, Columbia’s older mega-gift of productive real estate in the “Botanic Garden” of New York City made its endowment the largest in the nation through the early 1910s.64

In contrast, Harvard’s competitive advantage arose from its early strategy to build endowment. During his administration between 1869 and 1909, Harvard President Charles W. Eliot became the first university president to identify and emphasize the importance of increasing the permanent funds of his institution and to develop policies to that end.65 Like other presidents, Eliot took for granted that universities were engaged in a Darwinian competition for “survival of the fittest,” as observed President William R. Harper of the University of Chicago.66 All presidents also recognized that the outcome of the competition depended on adequate financial resources, particularly “external sources of patronage.”67 But it was Eliot who first and most clearly perceived that the outcome would be determined not simply by accepting gifts from major donors, but by actively seeking to increase the financial resources of the university. The competition for academic distinction was a struggle to accumulate wealth. This was his fundamental principle. “If the primacy of Harvard University among American institutions of education is to be maintained, it must not be surpassed by any other in material resources,” he declared in 1896.68 The leading universities would need more money in order to hold their position.

The direct link between competition in academics and in finances echoes throughout his writings, beginning early in his presidency and growing louder over time, as the mega-gifts arrived at Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Chicago, and other universities.69 Furthermore, private institutions faced “formidable competition with a large number of strong State universities in which tuition is free,” Eliot maintained.70 Harvard was under threat on all sides, and although “the present is safe, . . . it is for the future we need money.”71

It is perhaps surprising that, during Eliot’s administration from 1869 to 1909, the presidents of the seven other wealthiest universities did not enthusiastically embrace the responsibility of increasing the financial resources of their institution, unless their existing resources declined or were threatened. At Cornell University, founder Ezra Cornell attended to financial matters, while President Andrew D. White (1866–1885) focused on academic policies.72 President William R. Harper (1891–1906) at the University of Chicago, and President David S. Jordan (1891–1913) at Stanford University discussed financial issues extensively with their respective founders and benefactors, John D. Rockefeller and Leland and Jane Stanford. But these negotiations generally addressed the financial limits that those benefactors placed on the presidents, who saw their primary responsibility as determining how to develop the academic programs of the university.73 At Johns Hopkins University, President Daniel C. Gilman (1875–1901) viewed himself primarily as an academic leader, and only after the value of the founder’s bequest of stock in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad plummeted in the mid-1880s did he seek to raise money from a few large donors to cover deficits and current expenses.74

Concurrently, the presidents of the other three oldest and wealthiest universities did not view finances as central to their responsibility. Until 1902, Princeton chose as presidents Presbyterian clergymen who clung to their pastoral role and largely left money matters to the treasurer or trustees. The academic visionary Woodrow Wilson (1902–1910) was reluctant to solicit gifts, and Princeton continued to fall behind other wealthy universities in financial resources until John G. Hibben became president in 1912.75 At Yale, the clerical presidents Noah Porter (1871–1886) and Timothy Dwight (1886–1899) largely left finances to the university secretary or treasurer, while the alumni organized appeals largely unaided by the university administration. In 1899 economist Arthur T. Hadley (1899–1921) became the first Yale president not drawn from the clergy, but he also left financial planning and management to the university treasurer and secretary. Yale’s endowment grew, but most gifts went to buildings and current use, and the university continually faced serious financial constraints.76

Columbia University had the largest endowment of any university in the first decade of the twentieth century, yet that capital lay primarily in real estate holdings in New York City. As late as 1930, nearly a third of the income of the entire university came from the rent of one 11-acre parcel in Manhattan. Columbia’s presidents Frederick A. P. Barnard (1864–1889), Seth Low (1890–1901), and especially Nicholas M. Butler (1902–1945) were more entrepreneurial than their contemporaries above, but their efforts were largely directed to expanding the university with more acquisitions and buildings, which drew upon the university’s revenue for support and maintenance.77

Beyond embracing the responsibility of increasing the financial resources of the university, Eliot maintained that a university’s wealth is measured by its permanent invested funds. He relentlessly emphasized that point, arguing in 1873: “Let us cling fast to the genuine American method . . . for the higher grades of instruction, permanent endowments administered by incorporated bodies of trustees.”78 And 30 years later: “further endowment is the only thoroughly satisfactory and permanent remedy” for any problems that the university may face in the future.79

Eliot’s devotion to increasing endowment was unique among presidents of the wealthiest private universities. Gilman at Johns Hopkins and Jordan at Stanford gave attention to endowment, but their concern resulted from deficiencies. Gilman faced a steep decline in the value of Hopkins’s permanent funds, and Jordan had no control over Stanford’s because the founders did not legally relinquish ownership. In both cases, the attention to endowment was driven by a threat rather than an entrepreneurial effort to build, and was felt by the president to be a distraction from his proper work.80 Meanwhile, Columbia University, confident of its perpetual wealth in New York City landholdings, focused on erecting new buildings, rather than increasing permanent invested funds, and covered its resulting annual deficits with gifts for current use.81

Yale accepted endowment when offered, but made little effort to persuade benefactors to donate permanent funds rather than buildings or gifts for current use. In 1910, the Yale Alumni Weekly observed that Yale’s financial constraints had “rendered competition with our rivals exceedingly difficult. Harvard and Columbia each had more than double the endowment of Yale.”82 In 1914, the president of Princeton first began to express the need for endowment in order to avoid relying on “a group of alumni and particular friends of Princeton” to cover its annual deficits.83 Until at least 1920, these seven universities had not made increasing permanent invested funds the highest priority, as had Harvard.

Eliot received no mega-gifts before stepping down in 1909, and it took another decade until Harvard’s permanent funds gained the lead over all other universities that it would not relinquish.84 Yet, his policies led directly to that outcome because he had taught the Harvard alumni to direct their gifts primarily to endowment. In 1899 he observed that, during the previous year, donors had given about $1,380,000 in permanent funds and about $160,000 for current use. Hence, 89 percent of the annual gifts went to endowment, a remarkably high percentage, particularly given the “multitude of small gifts,” and this trend persisted over the last 15 years of Eliot’s administration.85

By comparison, when the Yale Alumni Association commenced the nation’s first annual alumni fund drive in 1891, “the intent of the Association was to contribute all of its income to the current needs of the University.”86 As of 1899 about $86,000 had been contributed, and the principal of the fund stood at merely $7,664, about 9 percent of the total gifts. In 1905 the principal of the Yale Alumni Fund had grown to nearly $113,000, at which point the Harvard class of 1880 began the custom of making a twenty-fifth anniversary gift of $100,000 in permanent funds to their alma mater. As a result, the endowment of the Harvard alumni fund rapidly eclipsed that of the Yale fund, even as the proportion of principal to total gifts in the latter increased.87 Similarly, the university’s broader appeals during the 1900s did not give highest priority to endowment, and much of the contributions went to buildings, while the reporting of gifts did not clearly distinguish permanent funds, demonstrating the lack of priority.88 In 1911, a Yale observer commented hopefully that the trend “since 1908 forecasts the beginning of a period of large gifts to endowment for the University.”89 Similarly, Princeton’s “endowment fund” campaign of 1919 and 1920 allocated about half of its goal to permanent funds and the balance to buildings and current use, whereas Harvard’s contemporaneous endowment fund campaign allocated over 90 percent to permanent funds.90

The Harvard Endowment Fund (HEF) campaign, in fact, provided the vehicle through which Eliot’s focus on increasing endowment was extended across higher education.91 In 1909, A. Lawrence Lowell assumed the Harvard presidency and sought to reverse Eliot’s major academic policies, while adopting the patrician aloofness toward fundraising that characterized President Hadley of Yale.92 Notwithstanding Lowell’s lack of support, in 1916 the Harvard alumni, who had been listening to Eliot for 40 years, began planning “the biggest, longest, and most important campaign of its kind ever undertaken in this country.”93 The HEF began soliciting pledges at the beginning of 1917, paused during World War I, recommenced in the summer of 1919, and concluded in 1921. The five-year national effort attracted widespread publicity and many inquiries from other colleges and universities.94

Throughout the campaign, the Harvard alumni extolled the financial teachings of Eliot.95 Indeed, his signal quotation that “in the competition between American universities, and between American and foreign universities, those universities will inevitably win which have the largest amounts of free money [unrestricted endowment],” became the epigraph of the HEF Campaign Book and appeared in printed pamphlets mailed to Harvard’s alumni throughout the world.96 Hence, Eliot’s emphasis upon permanent funds ramified throughout higher education as public and private colleges and universities began to emulate Harvard by initiating their own endowment fund campaigns. Already in February 1920, some 75 colleges and universities were “following in your wake,” as Princeton President Hibben wrote to the HEF at the outset of Princeton’s first Endowment Fund campaign.97 In 1922, Eliot’s central tenet about the priority of unrestricted endowment was codified in the leading analysis and guidebook on academic finance, published by the GEB.98


Although many institutions were prompted to act by the competitive advantage gained by Harvard through these purposeful efforts to increase endowment, the policies of the GEB also contributed materially to stoking appreciation for the significance of endowment and enthusiasm for increasing it. John D. Rockefeller founded the GEB in 1903 with a gift of $1 million and made additional gifts of $10 million in 1905, $32 million in 1907, and $10 million in 1909. In dispensing these funds to higher education, GEB adopted the policy of aiming for the “concentration of gifts in the form of endowment.”99 Moreover, the GEB treated the endowments of the wealthiest institutions not as extraordinary, but as normative, because the board maintained “that an efficient college should enjoy an income from endowment covering from 40 to 60 per cent of its annual expenditure.”100 This standard of about one-half of income, or expenses, being covered by endowment income was the norm of “the better-endowed colleges.”101 In fact, because Harvard was drawing about half of its annual income from endowment at the time, the GEB standard implied that every private university should be as well endowed as Harvard!102 Furthermore, the GEB was, in effect, projecting that the permanent funds of U.S. higher education should be doubled, given that the percentage of income coming from endowment for all colleges and universities in the country was estimated to be about 25 percent in 1900.103

In order to achieve this breathtaking goal, the GEB decided to rely on the “almost indispensable leverage” of “conditioning” its gifts to endowment upon the donations of others, so as to multiply the increase of permanent funds.104 In the typical arrangement, the GEB provided about one-third of the amount sought. For example, the GEB contributed $500,000 to the HEF campaign conditioned on a match of $1.5 million to create an endowment for the Harvard Graduate School of Education.105 In 1919 Rockefeller gave an additional $50 million to the GEB in order increase the endowments of private institutions, and by 1925 the GEB calculated that it had committed some $60 million to the endowments of colleges and universities, ultimately yielding about $200 million in combination with the leveraged gifts. As a result, GEB officials observed that the board’s existence was closely correlated with the expansion of endowment in higher education.106

In terms of focusing widespread attention on the importance of endowment, the GEB was successful. Touring the United States in 1908 and 1909 to select “the great American universities” for his landmark treatise, Edwin E. Slosson concluded that “the leading institutions from the point of view of graduate study are all of the endowed class.”107 In 1912, another observer remarked, “the dream of every private benevolent agency is to secure endowment.”108 This dream, in fact, became an expectation, because “the preservation and increase of endowment is so important to the well-being of an endowed college or university.”109 By 1929, it was said, “there are few colleges in the land to-day, which are not striving for ‘adequate endowment.’”110

However, the GEB fell short of its quantitative goal, because it had not anticipated the vast expansion in the number and size of colleges and universities. To be sure, the board had expected a long campaign, stating in 1914 that “many years must elapse before the main task . . . can be approximately completed.”111 In addition, the GEB restricted its giving to private institutions, and public institutions expanded at a much faster pace than private universities in the early twentieth century. Nevertheless, as fast as the GEB directed and attracted permanent funds into higher education, the goal of colleges and universities drawing half their income from endowment receded because private institutions were also increasing rapidly in number and size.

As indicated in Table 3, the fraction of income drawn from endowment for all institutions in 1900 fell by about 40 percent over the next three decades. Notwithstanding the millions poured into permanent funds, the percentage of income drawn from endowment significantly decreased for all institutions over this period. Looking back, the GEB stoutly declared, “The first two decades of the twentieth century will stand out as the relatively brief period during which endowed higher institutions of learning have suddenly expanded in numbers and have endeavored to obtain the financial resources rendered necessary by their expansion in size and scope.”112

Table 3. Percentage of total income from endowments of colleges and universities, 1900–1932113









[c. 6.0]

[c. 40.0]























< 2.5




In the mid-1920s the GEB therefore abandoned its goal “because the amounts which the institutions were seeking were so large and the resources of the General Education Board were relatively so limited.” But in the same breath the GEB declared victory because “its objective in stimulating gifts of endowment for general purposes had been attained . . . because the habit of giving endowment to colleges seemed well established.”121 Though equivocal, the statement was accurate. On the one hand, the GEB conceded that the goal was unattainable, and the Depression soon eroded the potential of enlarging endowments during the 1930s. On the other hand, colleges and universities now appreciated the significance of endowment, as confirmed by the increasing interest of scholars in the topic122 and the emerging recognition of the “correct sense” of the term.123


Today, the term “endowment” conventionally denotes funds “accepted subject to a requirement that the principal be maintained intact and invested to create a source of income”;124 this meaning first achieved currency during the 1920s among those seeking to increase permanent funds in higher education.125 This semantic development is noteworthy because it signaled the new focus on permanent invested funds, in as much as appreciating the importance of endowment entails understanding what endowment is.

The background of this development lay in the notoriously weak accounting practices in colleges. Eliot had made a central tenet of his administration the full, accurate, comprehensible reporting of Harvard’s finances, in as much as “the winning of new endowments depends on widespread confidence in the wisdom and success with which the trustees have used their existing endowments.”126 With this in mind, at Eliot’s request, the Harvard treasurer began publishing a full annual accounting of each of its endowed funds as of 1869–1870.127 The only other wealthy university to undertake this full accounting was Yale, although its reports incorporated into “investments” such items as “unproductive real estate” and expended “advances” to its units.128 In 1905, a new treasurer at Yale radically revised its financial statements because the previous reports lacked “intelligibility and clearness.”129 Columbia first publically itemized its funds in 1904, but did not list income or payouts, so donors could not track the effect of their gifts, as they could easily do each year through Harvard’s reports.130

The wealthiest universities were even less willing to reveal their financial operations. In California, Stanford University could make no public accounting because Jane Stanford clung to control over the amounts and purposes of spending until 1902, when the University began to assume legal title and control to the gifts and endowments that the Stanfords had supposedly conveyed years before.131 In New York, Columbia’s treasurer was issuing extensive annual reports by 1910, but they did not illuminate fundamental distinctions, such as among permanent invested funds, building funds, income-producing real property, and productive real property. Nor can be discerned the flow of revenue from various sources to the expenses of various units of the university. The reports, in fact, appear to be a collection of separate account statements that do not allow an appraisal of the overall financial condition of the university or any of its individual units. This opacity was calculated because Columbia’s president and treasurer wished to cloak the finances in order to maintain their control, and even the trustees were frustrated in trying to fathom the university’s financial situation.132 Similarly, the University of Chicago had not issued a treasurer’s statement by the turn of the century because “it has never dared to disclose to the public the facts [of its finances]. The public confidence is maintained only because the public is not informed as to the true situation.”133

Accordingly, the GEB observed in the 1910s that often “financial reports [in higher education] are made to conceal the situation rather than disclose it.”134 Quite apart from such motives, the GEB found that many colleges and universities “had no organized bookkeeping staff,” their treasurer’s reports were “frequently . . . incomplete and confused,” and, beyond those deficiencies, no uniformity existed in presenting financial data.135 Of particular concern to the GEB was that “all sorts of property were being reported as ‘endowment,’ the word being so freely and loosely used by colleges in reporting that published statistics were valueless.”136

As part of its campaign to increase permanent funds, the GEB therefore decided to clean the Augean stables of college and university finance and enlisted Trevor Arnett as its Hercules. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Arnett served as that university’s chief accountant between 1896 and 1922 and secretary of the GEB from 1920 to 1924, then president of the GEB from 1928 to 1936.137 In these roles, he became a national authority on financial matters, and in 1922 published College and University Finance, which presented “the principles underlying college accounting” for endowed institutions.138 Over the next two years the GEB distributed 5,626 copies of this standard handbook—about eight copies for every college and university in the country.139

At the outset of this effort, the GEB recognized “that, before accurate statements . . . could be made, words must be defined”; hence, the board attempted “to secure the use of terms in their exact meaning” and to address the central question: “what is endowment?”140 By 1922, Arnett and the GEB believed that they knew the meaning of endowment, so the problem had become to rescue others from semantic and financial error. “It is amazing to find how rarely the term ‘endowment’ is used in its correct sense,” observed Arnett. “This would be a trivial matter if it were simply a matter of definition. But, as the reader will soon perceive, unless the term ‘endowment’ is properly understood by the trustees and officers, the financial policy of an endowed college may go seriously astray.”141

The roots of the English term lie in the late 1400s when the verb “endow” signified “to give a dowry,” “to enrich with property” more generally, or “to furnish with . . . any gift, quality, or power of mind or body.” In the nominal form, “endowment” therefore denoted “the property or fund” or “power, capacity, or other advantage” that inhere in a person or institution.142 Continuing through the 1800s, these senses were adopted directly into American English,143 and the ambiguity between personal and institutional endowments still appeared, for example, in 1915 when a Harvard dean lauded the character of a donor—“an exemplar of what a pronounced individual endowment can accomplish with . . . the best professional training”—who gave “a welcome addition to the endowment which the Library so much needs.”144

Apart from personal endowment, the terminology referring to institutional endowment presented a confusing array of variability and ambiguity through the early 1900s, and this lack of consensus demonstrates that the concept of and appreciation for endowment were still emerging. For example, Eliot sometimes used “endowment” broadly to include “first, the number of buildings . . . secondly, the total of the investments of the University . . . thirdly, the collections of books, specimens, apparatus, and other appliances.”145 Other times he narrowly distinguished “endowment” from “grounds, buildings, instruments, and library.”146 But he also employed the terms “productive funds,” “invested funds,” and “productive capital” in the latter sense.147 In the 1880s and 1890s Eliot increasingly wrote of “permanent funds”148 while continuing to use “endowment” in the broad and narrow senses above.149 Meanwhile, the annual reports of the Harvard University treasurer simply employed “funds” to refer to investments of the university, whether held in trust or drawn from residual cash.150

At Yale, the university treasurer also employed “funds” broadly in this way, and Presidents Porter and Dwight varied their terminology like Eliot’s.151 In 1905, a Yale treasurer first proposed to distinguish sharply between "Land, Buildings and Permanent Equipment Funds" and “Endowment Funds," which “will obviate the possibility of any confusion with respect to the nature and character of these assets,”152 but the president and alumni continued to interchange various terms, such as “endowment,” “productive funds,” and “invested funds.”153 Contemporaneously, the reports of the U.S. Commissioner of Education used “productive funds” through much of the 1870s and 1880s, shifted to “permanent funds” or “permanent productive funds,” then returned to “productive funds.”154 In 1899, the reports of the Yale Treasurer and the U.S. Commissioner of Education applied three different labels to the same figure of $4,554,829: "Endowment," "Productive Funds," and "Total Permanent Funds."155 Still another approach was to distinguish “endowment” from “land and buildings” and denote them together as “property,” as did one of the Monographs on Education in the United States prepared for the U.S. Educational Exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900.156 In the following decade, the obscure terms “working capital” and “corporate wealth” appeared at some endowed universities, further demonstrating the semantic uncertainty.157

Amid the variation and ambiguity, two issues were fundamental, as expressed by the two terms most commonly applied to the financial assets of a college or university during the 1800s: “productive funds” and “permanent funds.” First was the function of the assets, associated with the term “productive funds.” A certain asset type, such as real estate, was often included within “endowment” even though it served a variety of purposes and institutional leaders found it helpful or necessary to distinguish “real estate . . . for educational purposes” from “productive real estate,” that is, income-producing real estate,158 and from “unproductive real estate,” which might be simply buffer land that a university had acquired.159 In the 1910s the GEB began to emphasize that the function of endowment is solely to produce income, so “the word ‘endowment’ . . . would not be interpreted to mean college buildings, or subscription notes of doubtful value.”160 Endowment contributes income and does not consume it, as do academic buildings. In 1922, Arnett emphasized the idea that endowment yields “income . . . consist[ing] of interest on bonds, mortgages, and loans, dividends on stocks, and rentals from real estate in which the endowment funds are invested.”161 This aspect of endowment reflected the common usage of “productive funds” in institutional or government documents throughout the 1800s.

But “productive funds” typically included any invested cash, surplus, or unallocated monies, so that term left unresolved a second fundamental issue: the duration of the income-producing assets. During the 1800s this concern prompted the widespread usage of the term “permanent funds.” As the GEB and Arnett insisted, endowment should be “permanent” and “inviolate” and “last forever.”162 Nevertheless, even in the early 1900s wealthy institutions, such as Smith College, routinely suggested that “a sufficient amount can be taken from the endowment” for building dormitories or other purposes.163 In addition, institutions were “borrowing from endowment on the assumption that the loan would later be repaid,” but often was not.164 “Still another misuse of endowment is . . . the pledging of endowment investments as security for loans for the current expenditures of the college,” known as “hypothecation.”165 Finally, trustees sometimes committed an unrestricted gift to endowment, then later decided that they needed the money and revoked the commitment.166

Against these practices, Arnett preached that endowment “is sacred and should not be touched or encroached upon for any object whatsoever; its income alone is available.” Furthermore, “a college has no right, moral or legal, to ‘borrow’ from its endowment, to hypothecate endowment securities, to ‘invest’ endowment in college buildings and equipment, or, in fact, to do anything with endowment except to invest it so that it will produce a certain and steady income.”167 The GEB thus anathematized all these practices, insisting that its own gifts “shall be invested and preserved inviolably for the endowment” and that, more generally, endowment should be treated as “permanent funds” which should not be “depleted” or “borrowed” by the institution.168 This aspect of endowment reflected the prominent usage of “permanent funds” in institutional or government documents during the 1800s.169

Anticipated by the nineteenth-century terminology, the two cardinal characteristics of productivity and permanence became closely associated between 1900 and 1920. The emphasis on these two characteristics might have given rise to an ungainly neologism, such as “permanent productive funds,” a term that appeared occasionally in preceding decades.170 Instead, the traditional broad term “endowment” was adopted with increasing frequency, while its meaning narrowed to the central points. In 1910, Anson Phelps Stokes, the Yale treasurer, distinguished “endowment” from all invested “funds,” though he also employed “permanent endowment,” which appeared repeatedly in the subsequent decade.171 Also in the 1910s, the annual reports of the U.S. Commissioner of Education began to employ “endowment funds” in the tables of data concerning colleges and universities.172 Concurrently, in the landmark Cyclopedia of Education, the article on “Endowments” distinguished its subject from impermanent assets for “current needs” and from unproductive “land and buildings.”173 In the late 1910s the Harvard Endowment Fund campaign consistently used “endowment” to mean productive and permanent funds of the university.174

In 1922, Arnett and the GEB firmly adopted “the definition of endowment here given—namely: a fund which shall be maintained inviolate, the income of which shall alone be used,”175 a definition subsequently repeated by others.176 Independent of the GEB, a series of scholars in the 1920s adopted “endowment” to mean permanent capital producing income for current use.177 A signal turning point came in 1929 when the annual report of the treasurer of Harvard University redefined and renamed the longstanding category of “funds” as “endowment funds,” effectively adopting the new usage. No less significant, Harvard’s shift in terminology needed and received no explanation.178 At the end of the 1920s, the largest university endowment in the country officially assumed the name “endowment” as a matter of course.179

These semantic developments are confirmed and illustrated in the appended Chart of the Historical Usage of the Terms “Endowment Funds,” “Permanent Funds,” and “Productive Funds,” 1840–2000. Before 1860, the terms “productive funds” and, especially, “permanent funds” were used much more commonly than “endowment funds,” which was employed relatively rarely. After 1860 the usage of “endowment funds” increased steadily commensurate with the rise of wealth and philanthropy in the United States. In the late 1890s, the usage of “endowment funds” caught up to the other two terms, and began to be employed at the same rate. In the late 1910s, “endowment funds” began to displace “productive funds” and “permanent funds,” while subsuming their meaning. In the early 1920s, the usage of the latter two terms started to decline. By the end of the twentieth century, the usage was nearly reversed from the early 1800s. “Productive funds” and “permanent funds” had fallen out of use, and “endowment” was the predominant term. About 1920 was the axis on which the usage shifted.

The meaning and the significance of endowment thus emerged by 1930 and gradually became matters of consensus. Some sources vacillated, as did the reports of the U.S. Commissioner of Education, which employed “endowment,” “productive funds,” and “permanent funds” through the early 1940s,180 and scholars relying on those reports did as well.181 Yet, other analysts routinely adopted the new usage, as the problematic issue shifted from defining and appreciating endowment to improving the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of data on endowment. Concurrently, scholars began to track and compare the size of endowments of universities.182 This new attention also led to realizing the intrinsic difficulty of calculating endowment. In particular, the problem arose as to whether to figure invested funds at their original “book” value or at their current “market” value. The former obviously soon becomes outmoded and inaccurate; the latter is hard to determine, highly variable, and ultimately inaccurate as well.183 By any measure, however, it was agreed that endowment had become “the Rock of Gibraltar of American higher education” by 1951.184

This metaphor conveys how wealthy universities had come to appreciate the fundamental significance of endowment. It provides stability because the financial capital continues in perpetuity and its revenue can be incorporated into planning. Notwithstanding the variability of the financial markets, endowment income is more reliable in the long run than tuition, grants, or gifts for current expenses, all of which are soon spent. Also, endowment yields revenue that is largely controlled by the university and thus affords a large degree of self-determination and capability to pursue discretionary goals, in contrast to other sources of revenue that depend directly on the expectations or requirements of external entities. Consequently, Eliot’s belief came to be widespread: the size of a university’s endowment largely determines its autonomy and stability in the long term, and this provides a distinct comparative advantage in the competition among institutions for accomplishment, influence, and status.

The issue of competitive advantage leads directly to the matter of stratification. Notwithstanding the decline in principal and income of invested funds during the Depression,185 the wealthy institutions enjoyed higher rates of return on their larger endowments, increasing their absolute and relative lead over less-endowed colleges and universities during the 1930s.186 Institutions that had not accrued significant endowment before the Depression had greater difficulty in doing so thereafter.

Moreover, within the upper tier, Harvard increased its lead by taking another strategic leap while its peers were still catching up to its fundraising strategies. Alone among wealthy universities, Harvard moved beyond the traditional conservative investment policy in higher education, which avoided equities.187 Instead, Harvard began increasing its risk and shifting its endowment into stocks early in the Depression, raising the percentage of equities in its portfolio from 12.4 in 1932 to 34.7 in 1941 and then 49.1 in 1952. Other wealthy institutions, including Yale, Columbia, and Princeton, did not begin to match this shift until the 1940s, by which point Harvard had already made large gains by pursuing a new strategy to increase its endowment rather than merely seeking to bank large gifts. Institutions with smaller endowments generally remained more conservative in their investment policies.188

Consequently, the inception of endowment arising between 1890 and 1930 resulted not only in the heightened stability, autonomy, and competitive advantage provided to universities by their permanent, productive funds, but also in enshrining the upper tier of wealthy universities, which subsequently consolidated their elite status. Today, “mega-endowment institutions are at the epicenter of American intellectual life,” and “the growing wealth gap” has prompted some to argue that “a small number of schools have . . . excessive endowments” and that “Congress should take action” to limit their growth.189 Such fundamental changes in policy must be debated in light of the fact that universities began to discover the nature and the significance of endowment relatively recently, and the full impact of that discovery may still be unfolding.


Chart of the Historical Usage of the Terms “endowment funds,” “permanent funds, and “productive funds,” 1840-2000


This chart was generated by entering the search terms at the Google Ngram website (http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/), which samples approximately four percent (5,195,769) of all published books. Y-axis indicates ten-year moving average of percentage of books in the sample. The method is explained in more detail in Michel Jean-Baptiste, et al., "Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books," Science 331 (14 Jan 2011): 176-82.


1. Molly C. Broad, “Endowments Are Both Vital and Misunderstood,” Chronicle of Higher Education 55 (21 Nov. 2008); Goldie Blumenstyk, “Market Collapse Weighs Heavily on College Endowments,” Chronicle of Higher Education 55 (6 Feb. 2009). Both available online at http://www.chronicle.com.

2. “College Endowment Funds: Their Performance in 1969,” Chronicle of Higher Education (4 May 1970): 8; “1974 NACUBO Investment Questionnaire Endowment Market Value . . . of 145 Responding Institutions,” typescript (Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Business Officers, 1974). See James Tobin, “What Is Permanent Endowment Income?” American Economic Review 64 (1974): 427-32; Henry Hansmann, “Why Do Universities Have Endowments?” Journal of Legal Studies 19 (1990): 14-40; Sarah E. Waldeck, “The Coming Showdown over University Endowments: Enlisting the Donors,” Fordham Law Review 77 (2008-2009): 1805-9.

3. David F. Swensen, Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment, rev. ed. (New York: Free Press, 2010), 320.

4. Victor E. Ferrall, Jr., Liberal Arts at the Brink (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011), 23.

5. Swensen, Pioneering, 9-15. Cf. Tobin, “What Is Permanent Endowment Income?,” 427; Hansmann, “Why Do Universities Have Endowments?,” 14-39; Waldeck, “Coming Showdown,” 1805-7.

6. Editor’s Note, “Investing Harvard Money,” Harvard Alumni Bulletin 12 (May]1951): 628n; Seymour E. Harris, Economics of Harvard (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970), 378.

7. Nevertheless, “new research universities did emerge from the competitive scramble after 1945 to challenge, more successfully than has been recognized, the hegemony of traditional elites.” These new elites often relied on newly developed endowments. Hugh D. Graham and Nancy Diamond, The Rise of American Research Universities (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 5-6. Emphasis in original.

8. See Merle Curti and Roderick Nash, Philanthropy in the Shaping of American Higher Education (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1965); Robert Bremner, American Philanthropy, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1988); Scott M. Cutlip, Fund Raising in the United States: Its Role in America’s Philanthropy (1965; New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1990); Dwight Burlingame, ed., Philanthropy in America: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004), 3 vols; Andrea Walton and Marybeth Gasman, Philanthropy, Volunteerism and Fundraising in Higher Education (Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2008).

9. Margery Somers Foster, Out of Smalle Beginnings . . .” An Economic History of Harvard College in the Puritan Period 1636-1712 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962); Ronald Story, The Forging of an Aristocracy: Harvard and the Boston Upper Class, 1800-1870 (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1980).

10. See Henry James, Charles W. Eliot: President of Harvard University, 1869-1909 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930), 2 vols; Hugh Hawkins, Between Harvard and America: The Educational Leadership of Charles W. Eliot (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972); Samuel E. Morison, ed. The Development of Harvard University Since the Inauguration of President Eliot: 1869-1929 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1930); Samuel E. Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936); Morton Keller and Phyllis Keller, Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America’s University (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 13-4, 134.

11. The long study by economist Seymour Harris, Economics of Harvard, is full of valuable information and insights, but is disorganized, redundant, and often misleading due to a persistent tendency to compare financial policies in different eras without sufficient understanding of the different historical contexts. Many of its citations to Harvard’s archives are inaccurate or unspecific. In particular, Harris misunderstands key policies during the critical period 1870 to 1910. See Bruce A. Kimball and Benjamin A. Johnson, “The Beginning of ‘Free Money’ Ideology in American Universities: Charles W. Eliot at Harvard, 1869-1909,” History of Education Quarterly, forthcoming in 2012.

12. Swensen, Pioneering, 35. Cf. George W. Pierson, A Yale Book of Numbers: Historical Statistics of the College and University 1701-1976 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983), 548-9, 613.

13. Richard Hofstadter and Walter P. Metzger, eds. American Higher Education, A Documentary History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 2 vols.; Laurence R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); Julie A. Reuben, The Making of the Modern University: Intellectual Transformation and the Marginalization of Morality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

14. Clyde W. Barrow, Universities and the Capitalist State: Corporate Liberalism and the Reconstruction of American Higher Education, 1894-1928 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990); Roger L. Geiger, To Advance Knowledge: The Growth of American Research Universities, 1900-1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 40-7.

15. Richard M. Freeland, Academia’s Golden Age: Universities in Massachusetts 1945-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 70-120.

16. See, for example, Graham and Diamond, Rise, 4, 177.

17. Howard R. Bowen, The Costs of Higher Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980), 147.

18. Swensen, Pioneering, 2, 36, 325.

19. Roger L. Geiger, “Introduction,” xv, in Jesse B. Sears, Philanthropy in the History of American Higher Education (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1990). Cf. Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, published in 1986, which does not emphasize this financial measure relative to others.

20. Hansmann, “Why Do Universities Have Endowments?,” 9, 29-30; Waldeck, “Coming Showdown,” 1801-32.

21. Quotations are from Trevor Arnett, College and University Finance (New York: General Education Board, 1922), 24-25. Emphasis in original.

22. Ferrall, Liberal Arts, 24.

23. See Paul DiMaggio and Walter W. Powell, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” American Sociological Review 48 (1983): 147-60.

24. Isaac L. Kandel, “Endowments, Educational . . . United States,” in A Cyclopedia of Education, ed. Paul Monroe (New York: Macmillan, 1911-1913), vol. 2, 458-9; Jesse B. Sears, Philanthropy in the History of American Higher Education (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1922), 38; Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, 41, 56.

25. See, for example, Robert Davidson, A Vindication of Colleges and College Endowments (Lexington, KY: Kentucky Gazette, 1841). No such treatises are cited in Nancy Beadle, Education and the Creation of Capital in the Early American Republic (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

26. See Essays on the Endowment of Research by Various Writers (London: Henry S. King, 1876).

27. See “Standard Series” in Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition On Line, ed. Susan B. Carter, Scott Sigmund Gartner, Michael R. Haines, Alan L. Olmstead, Richard Sutch, and Gavin Wright (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977), 52.

28. Michael E. McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 147-81; Pitirim Sorokin, “American Millionaires and Multi-Millionaires: A Comparative Statistical Study,” Journal of Social Forces 3 (May 1925): 627-40; Merle Curti, Judith Green, and Roderick Nash, “Anatomy of Giving: Millionaires in the Late 19th Century,” American Quarterly 15 (Autumn 1963): 416-35; Bremner, American Philanthropy, 85, 106; Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, 91, 110, 164, 211; Samuel G. Cash, “Private Support to Public Universities in the United States: Late Nineteenth-Century Developments,” in Philanthropy, Volunteerism & Fundraising in Higher Education, eds. Andrea Walton and Marybeth Gasman (Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2008), 616.

29. Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Private Power for the Public Good: A History of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1983); Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, The Politics of Knowledge: The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy, and Public Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).

30. See Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (New York: Random, 1998); Allan Nevins, Study in Power: John D. Rockefeller, Industrialist and Philanthropist (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953), 2 vols.

31. Carl L. Becker, Cornell University: Founders and the Founding (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1943), 89-109; Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, 91-2, 114, 117; Helen Hopkins Thom, Johns Hopkins: A Silhouette (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1929), 71-2; Hugh Hawkins, Pioneer: A History of the Johns Hopkins University, 1874-1889 (Baltimore: Cornell University Press, 1960), 3; Kathleen W. Sander, Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 95.

32. Quotation is from Kandel, “Endowments,” 458-9. See Joseph H. Choate, Education in America (London: Harrison and Sons, 1903), 17; U.S. Commissioner of Education, Report [for the Year 1890] (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1893), vol. 5, 778; Veysey, Emergence, 264; Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 10.

33. Ernest V. Hollis, Philanthropic Foundations and Higher Education (New York: Columbia University Press, 1938), 200; Claudia Goldin, “Table Bc968-975 Property Value, Endowments, and Liabilities of Higher Education Institutions, 1899-1994,” in Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition On Line, eds. Susan B. Carter et al. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). The range reflects the uncertainty in defining and measuring endowment, as discussed below.

34. See John Stuart Mill, "Educational Endowments,” (1866) in The Collected Works, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), vol. 21, 209-17; John Stuart Mill, "Endowments,” (1869) in The Collected Works, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967), vol. 5, 614-29; Arthur Hobhouse, The Dead Hand: Addresses on the Subject of Endowments and Settlements of Property (London: Chatto & Windus, 1880).

35. Quotation is from Charles W. Eliot, Annual Report of the President and the Treasurer of Harvard College, 1882-1883 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1884), 41. See Kandel, “Endowments,” 458-9; Sears, Philanthropy (1922), 16-7, 38; Curti and Nash, Philanthropy, 31-2, 41, 56; Bremner, American Philanthropy, 48-50.

36. Roger G. Sisson, “Relaxing the Dead Hand’s Grip: Charitable Efficiency and the Doctrine of Cy Pres,” Virginia Law Review (April 1988): 635-54; Lawrence M. Friedman, Dead Hands: A Social History of Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Law (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009), 153-4.

37. Washington Gladden, “Tainted Money,” Outlook 52 (1895): 886; Washington Gladden, “Shall Ill-Gotten Gains Be Sought for Christian Purposes?” (1905), in The New Idolatry (London: Isaac Pitman, 1906), 34-63.

38. Eduard C. Lindeman, Wealth and Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936), 18.

39. Henry S. Pritchett, “The Use and Abuse of Endowments,” Atlantic Monthly 144 (Oct. 1929): 520.

40. General Education Board, Annual Report of the General Education Board, 1924-25 (New York: General Education Board, 1926), 4.

41. Trevor Arnett, Observations on the Financial Condition of Colleges and Universities in the United States (New York: General Education Board, 1937), 2. Cf. William A. Orton, “Endowments and Foundations,” Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: MacMillan, 1931), vol. 5, 532; Goldin, “Table Bc968-975”; Arthur R. Seass, Endowment Income and Investments, 1926-35 (Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 1937), 3-5.

42. The figures in this table cannot be made entirely accurate due to the variations in terminology and meaning discussed below. The figures differ at points from those provided in Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 274-7, which are not documented specifically.

43. U.S. Commissioner of Education, Report [1875], vol. 2, 738-47.

44. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1880], vol. 3, 665-70.

45. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1885], vol. 4, 609-21.

46. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1890], vol. 5, pt. 2, 1600-9.

47. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1895], vol. 5, pt. 2, 2132-47.

48. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] for . . . 1900, vol. 2, 1924-57.

49. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] for . . . 1905, vol. 1, 616-35.

50. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] for . . . 1910, vol. 2. 868-942

51. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] for . . . 1916 , vol. 2, 253-319. The year covered was 1915, see 239.

52. U.S. Bureau of Education, Biennial Survey of Education 1920-22 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1925), vol. 2, 384-425.

53. U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1924-26, vol. 2, 863-945.

54. U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1928-1930, vol. 2, 480-500.

55. U.S. Commissioner, Biennial 1934-36, vol. 2, 256-273.

56. Clarence S. Marsh, ed., American Universities and Colleges, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 1940). s.v. Endowment values for 1940 are not included in U.S. Office of Education, Statistics of Higher Education, 1939-40 and 1941-42 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1944), vol. 2.

57. The following discussion relies on the same sources cited for Table 1.

58. U.S. Bureau of Education, Biennial Survey of Education 1920-22 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1925), vol. 2, 384-425.

59. U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1928-1930, vol. 2, 480-500.

60. Quoted term is drawn from Marybeth Gasman and Noah D. Drezner, “Fundraising as an Integral Part of Higher Education,” in Philanthropy, Volunteerism and Fundraising in Higher Education, eds. Andrea Walton and Marybeth Gasman (Boston: Pearson, 2008), 596.

61. Thom, Johns, 71-2; Hugh Hawkins, Pioneer: A History of the Johns Hopkins University, 1874-1889 (Baltimore: Cornell University Press, 1960), 3; Orrin L. Elliott, Stanford University: The First Twenty-Five Years (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1937), 76; Becker, Cornell, 39, 89-109, 113-8; Eliot, Annual Report 1901-1902, 35-6; 1905-1906, 27.

62. Eliot, Annual Report 1895-1896, 43.

63. These gifts arrived over time, and the amounts fluctuated. George W. Pierson, Yale College, An Educational History, 1871-1921 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1952), 371n; “Bequests of Frick Shrink $30,000,000,” New York Times (23 Feb. 1921): 1; Thomas W. Goodspeed, A History of the University of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1916), 497-8; William Lawrence, Memories of a Happy Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1926), 419-20.

64. Columbia University, An Official Guide to Columbia University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1912), 6; Horace Coon, Columbia: Colossus on the Hudson (New York: Dutton, 1947), 29.

65. See Kimball and Johnson, “The Beginning of ‘Free Money’ Ideology.”

66. William R. Harper, The Trend in Higher Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1905), 375. See Veysey, Emergence, 317, 323-32, 347, 357-8; Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 12.

67. Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, vii. See 1-2.

68. Eliot, Annual Report 1895-1896, 43.

69. See Charles W. Eliot, “What Is a Liberal Education?” Century Magazine 28 (June 1884): 203; Eliot, Annual Report 1877-1878, 35-6; 1885-1886, 20; 1896-1897, 29, 38; 1901-1902, 57.

70. Eliot, Annual Report 1906-1907, 16.

71. Eliot is quoted in “Bishop Lawrence Pleads for Funds from the Alumni,” Boston Journal (30 June 1904): 1.

72. Becker, Cornell, 87, 118, 173-80.

73. Richard J. Storr, Harper's University: The Beginnings; a History of the University of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 65. See 246-78, 345-55; Goodspeed, A History, 275-88; George E. Crothers, Founding of the Leland Stanford University (San Francisco: A.M. Robertson, 1932), 24-35; Elliott, Stanford, 104, 252-3, 283-99, 462-6, 326-78.

74. Sander, Mary, 95-6, 141-2, 156, 162-70; Slosson, Great, ix; Hawkins, Pioneer, 316-21.

75. Thomas J. Wertenbaker, Princeton 1746-1896 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1946), 389-90; James Axtell, The Making of Princeton University: From Woodrow Wilson to the Present (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 24-5, 51.

76. Geiger portrays Yale as financially progressive and thriving between 1900 and 1920. Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 48-51. But Yale historians describe the situation as bleak and regressive: Frederick M. Leonard, “Yale Endowment,” Yale Alumni Weekly 20 (17 Mar. 1910): 636; Pierson, Yale, 505, 535-8; Brooks M. Kelley, Yale: A History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974), 333-4, 355-6.

77. Coon, Columbia, 29, 108-9; Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 52-3; Robert A. McCaughey, Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754-2004 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), 208, 226-7, 230, 302-15, 330, 416-8.

78. Charles W. Eliot, “National University,” in The Addresses and Journal of Proceedings of the National Education Association . . . 1873 (Peoria, IL: N. C. Nason, 1873), 119.

79. Eliot, Annual Report 1904-1905, 23.

80. Storr, Harper’s, 67, 78, 245-78, 298, 335, 341-7, 350-4; Glenn C. Altschuler, Andrew D. White: Educator, Historian, Diplomat (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979), 67-150; Hawkins, Pioneer, 97-324; Elliott, Stanford, 36, 50-1, 125, 283-99, 462-6.

81. Munroe Smith, “The Development of the University,” in A History of Columbia University, 1754-1904 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1904), 265; Coon, Columbia, 108-9; McCaughey, Stand, 208, 226-7, 230, 302-15, 417-8. In 1909–1910 Columbia drew 39 percent of all its revenues from the rent of real estate in Manhattan. Columbia College in the City of New York, Annual Report of the Treasurer to the Trustees 1909-1910 (New York: The University, 1910), 9-10.

82. “The President’s Report for 1910,” Yale Alumni Weekly 19 (8 July 1910): 1026.

83. “Princeton Cramped by Yearly Deficit,” New York Times (12 Jan. 1914): 5. See Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 24

84. In 1903 Gordon McKay, who never attended Harvard, left to the university a bequest that began to pay out in 1909 and that was not fully available until 1949, at which point it became the largest gift ever received by Harvard and ultimately supported some 40 professorships, numerous fellowships, and a building that were valued at a half billion dollars in 2007. The extent of this gift, unmentioned in Eliot’s annual reports, was not appreciated in the 1900s. Had this mega-gift been realized upon McKay’s death, Eliot would have effected the growth of Harvard’s endowment far above any contemporary. Yeomans, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, 260, 269; James B. Conant, Annual Report of the President of Harvard College for 1948-1949 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1952), 24; Harry R. Lewis, “Gordon McKay: Brief Life of an Inventor with a Lasting Harvard Legacy: 1821-1903,” Harvard Magazine 110 (Sep.-Oct. 2007): 48-9.

85. Eliot, Annual Report 1898-1899, 53. See 1905-1906, 55.

86. Lee McClung, Report of the Treasurer of Yale University, 1906 (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1907), 9. See George C. Holt, “The Origin of the Yale Alumni Fund,” Yale Alumni Weekly (2 Feb. 1917): 528-9.

87. Lawrence, Memories, 228; Clarence Deming, “Yale’s Larger Gifts,” Yale Alumni Weekly (1911): 634; Pierson, A Yale Book of Numbers, 610.

88.  “The Yale Bi-centenary Fund,” New York Times (25 June 1901): 7; Deming, "Yale's,” 634; Samuel R. Betts, “General Alumni Gifts to Yale,” in The Book of the Yale Pageant, 21 October 1916, ed. George H. Nettleton (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1916), 236; Geiger, To Advance Knowledge, 50-1, 288n.

89. Deming, “Yale’s,” 635n.

90. “Princeton Opens $14,000,000 Drive,” New York Times (27 Sep. 1919): 13.

91. This campaign is conventionally dated to 1919–1920 and attributed to the professional guidance of John Price Jones, based on the authority of Cutlip, Fund Raising in the United States, 169-74. But this version does not consist with the records of the campaign in Harvard Endowment Fund Committee, Records of Harvard Endowment Fund, 1916-1939, Harvard University Archives.

92. Arthur T. Hadley to A. L. Lowell (24 Sep. 1919) and Lowell to Hadley (26 Sep. 1919) in Abbott Lawrence Lowell, Records of the President of Harvard University, 1909–1933, box 135, Harvard University Archives. See Hugh Hawkins, Between Harvard and America: The Educational Leadership of Charles W. Eliot (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 269, 273, 282-4, 290.

93. Thomas W. Lamont to John J. Jones (Dec. 1916) in Thomas W. Lamont, Correspondence 1916-1921, Records of Harvard Endowment Fund, 1916-1939, boxes 1 and 2, Harvard University Archives.

94. “Call for Harvard: After Fund of $10,000,000,” Boston Globe (11 Jan. 1917): 5; “New Harvard Fund Reaches $1,187,160,” New York Times (8 July 1917): 19; “Harvard Drives For 15 Million,” The Washington Post (1 Oct. 1919): 20; "Harvard Endowment Fund Passes Half-Way Mark,” Chicago Daily Tribune (27 Oct. 1919): 12; “To Raise Million a Year for Harvard,” Boston Globe (30 June 1921): 4. See Lamont, Correspondence.

95. Lamont to Duncan (5 Feb. 1917) in Lamont, Correspondence. See Richard N. Smith, The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), 57-61.

96. Eliot Wadsworth, “Campaign Book of the Harvard Endowment Fund Committee” [typescript] (June 1919), 2, in Lamont, Correspondence; Harvard Endowment Fund (Harvard Endowment Fund Committee [Sep. 1919]), 11-2, in Lamont, Correspondence; Harvard Endowment Fund, Harvard and the Future (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1919), 8.

97. Hibben to Lowell (24 Sep. 1919) in Lowell, Records, box 135. See “Universities Ask Over $200,000,000,” New York Times (8 February 1920): E1.

98. Arnett, College, 6-7, 16, 63-4. See Storr, Harper’s, 259.

99. General Education Board, The General Education Board: An Account of Its Activities, 1902-1914 (New York: General Education Board, 1915), 143. See 3-17.

100. General Education Board, General, 142.

101. Arnett, College, 11. See Samuel P. Capen, Resources and Standards of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Bulletin, 1918, No. 30, U.S. Bureau of Education (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1918), 44.

102. R. Keith Kane and Dana Doten, “The Case for Endowment,” Harvard Alumni Bulletin (24 Nov. 1951): 212.

103. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1900, vol. 2, 1876. This figure includes public and private institutions, but private institutions predominate.

104. General Education Board, General, 142, 144.

105. Arnett, Observations, 2-3; “Harvard Wants $11,000,000, Endowment Fund Committee Raises Its Objective $1,000,000,” New York Times (28 Jul. 1919): 3.

106. Raymond B. Fosdick, Adventure in Giving (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), 140-9; Hollis, Philanthropic, 200-1; General Education Board, Annual Report 1924-25, 4-5; Arnett, Observations, 2.

107. Edwin E. Slosson, “Universities, American Endowed,” in A Cyclopedia of Education, ed. Paul Monroe (New York: Macmillan, 1911-1913), vol. 5, 668.

108. William H. Allen, Modern Philanthropy: A Study of Efficient Appealing and Giving (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1912), 184.

109. Arnett, College, 1-2.

110. Julius Rosenwald, “Principles of Public Giving,” Atlantic Monthly 143 (May 1929): 599.

111. General Education Board, General, 145.

112. General Education Board, Annual Report 1924-25, 4.

113. The reports of the U.S. Commissioner of Education do not distinguish between public and private institutions in total income for the years 1900–1919. Figures in brackets are extrapolations.

114. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1900, vol. 2, 1876.

115. U.S. Commissioner,[Report] 1905, vol. 1, 543.

116. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1910, vol. 2, 868.

117. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1916, vol. 2, 253-319.

118. U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1920-22, vol. 2, 282; Arnett, College, 1.

119. U.S. Office of Education, Biennial 1934-36, vol. 2, 20.

120. U.S. Commissioner of Education, Statistics of Higher Education, 1930-32 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1935), 17. Combined totals for “colleges, universities, professional schools” for 1930 are given in U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1928-1930, vol. 2, 336.

121. Arnett, Observations, 4-5. See General Education Board, Annual Report 1924-25, 6.

122. Sears, Philanthropy (1922); Lemuel H. Murlin, “Problems in the Use of College Endowments,” School and Society 16 (26 Aug. 1922): 246-50; James C. Young, “The Dead Hand in Philanthropy,” Current History 23 (Mar. 1926): 837-42; Frederic A. Ogg, “Foundations and Endowments in Relation to Research,” in Research in the Humanistic and Social Sciences (New York: Century, 1928), 323-61; Edwin W. Kemmerer, “Endowments in Jeopardy,” Atlantic Monthly 160 (Dec. 1937): 729-39; Walter C. John, Higher Education 1930-36 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1938), 17; Walter C. Eells, “Income from Endowments,” Journal of Higher Education 7 (Dec. 1936): 476; James R. Angell, “The Support of Endowed Universities,” School & Society 40 (22 Dec. 1934): 848.

123. Arnett, College, 24-25.

124. Burlingame, ed., Philanthropy, vol. 2, 536. See New Strategies for Educational Fund Raising, ed. Michael J. Worth (Westport, CT: American Council on Education, 2002), 400-1; Waldeck, “Coming Showdown,” 1801-32; National Association of College and University Business Officers, 2007 NACUBO Endowment Study (Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Business Officers, 2008), 1099.

125. Arnett, College, 24-5.

126. Charles W. Eliot, University Administration (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908), 17-8. See 234.

127. See “Treasurer’s Statement,” (1870) in Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, 1869-1870 (Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1871); Eliot, Annual Report 1904-1905, 59; 1905-1906, 7-8.

128. H. C. Kingsley, Report of the Treasurer of Yale College [1880-1881] (New Haven, CT: Yale College, 1882), 8; William W. Farnam, Report of the Treasurer of Yale University [1889-1890] (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1891), 14; Tyler, Report, 1904, 7-8.

129. Lee McClung, Report of the Treasurer of Yale University, 1905 (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1905), 3.

130. John B. Pine, comp., Columbia University . . . Gifts and Endowments . . . 1754-1904 (New York: Columbia University, 1904).

131. George E. Crothers, Founding of the Leland Stanford University (San Francisco: A.M. Robertson, 1932), 1-36.

132. Coon, Columbia, 31-2. See, for example, Columbia College, Annual Report 1909-1910, 8-65.

133. Goodspeed, A History, 286-7; Storr, Harper’s, 269.

134. Arnett, College, 105.

135. General Education Board, General, 148-9.

136. General Education Board, General, 150.

137. Trevor Arnett, Suggestions as to the Methods of Handling Endowment and Other Funds (Chicago: privately printed, 1927), 1, in Trevor Arnett Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

138. Arnett, College, v.

139. Storr, Harper’s, 259; Nevins, Study in Power, vol. 2, 322; Barrow, Universities, 77.

140. General Education Board, General, 150-1.

141. Arnett, College, 24-5. See 7-8.

142. Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), s.v. endow, endowment.

143. Noah Webster, Chauncey A. Goodrich, and Noah Porter, An American Dictionary of the English Language (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1848), s.v. endowment; Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: A Dictionary of the English Language (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1898), s.v. endowment.

144. Emphasis added. Ezra R. Thayer, “Annual Report of the Dean of the Law School 1909-10,” in Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, 1913-1914 (Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1915), 134-5.

145. Eliot, Annual Report 1900-01, 49-50. See also 1869-70, 28; 1884-85, 54; 1907-08, 41.

146. Eliot, Annual Report 1877-78, 131.

147. Eliot, Annual Report 1877-78, 32-7; 1870-71, 29.

148. Eliot, Annual Report 1885-86, 22-3; 1881-82, 51-2; 1892-93, 36; 1894-95, 34.

149. Eliot, Annual Report 1895-96, 29-30; 1902-03, xx; 1903-04, 50-1; Eliot, University, 30.

150. Harris, Economics, 358.

151. See, for example, Tyler, Report, 1901, 8-9; Tyler, Report, 1904, 7-8; Noah Porter, The Report of the President of Yale University, 1879-80 (New Haven, CT: Yale College, 1880), 8, 10, 17-18, 20, 22; Timothy Dwight, The Report of the President of Yale University, 1887-88 (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1889), 8-9, 19, 22-3, 36-7, 39, 26-28, 34, 37, 46-7, 57-58.

152. McClung, Report 1905, 4.

153. “Treasurer McClung’s Report,” Yale Alumni Weekly 19 (1 Oct. 1909): 34; “The Treasurer’s Report,” Yale Alumni Weekly 19 (22 Oct. 1909): 107-8; “Treasurer Day’s First Report,” Yale Alumni Weekly 20 (30 Sep. 1910): 31-2; “The President’s Report for 1910,” Yale Alumni Weekly 19 (8 July 1910): 1026.

154. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1875], vol. 2, 738-47; U.S. Commissioner, Report [1880], vol. 3, 665-70; U.S. Commissioner, Report [1885], vol. 4, 609-21; U.S. Commissioner, Report [1890], vol. 5, pt. 2, 1600-9; U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1900, vol. 2, 1924-57; U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1905, vol. 1, 616-35; U.S. Commissioner, Report [1895], vol. 5, pt. 2, 2132-47.

155. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1898-99], vol. 2, 1590, 1633; Farnam, Report of the Treasurer of Yale University [1898-99], 1.

156. James R. Parsons, Jr. Professional Education, Monographs on Education in the United States 10, for the United States Commission to the Paris Exposition of 1900 (New York: J. B. Lyon, 1900), 17-8.

157. Ezra R. Thayer, Annual Report of the Dean of the Law School 1909-10, 134-5, in Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, 1912-1913 (Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1914), 126-7; Leonard, “Yale,” 636; “The Week,” Yale Alumni Weekly 20 (13 Jan. 1911): 1.

158. Eliot, Annual Report 1888-89, 5. See U.S. Commissioner, Report [1880], 601n.

159. “The President’s Report for 1910,” 1026.

160. General Education Board, General, 151.

161. Arnett, College, 14.

162. General Education Board, General, 152; Arnett, College, 25

163. L. Clark Seelye, Annual Report of the President of Smith College, 1900-1901 (Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1901), 21.

164. Quotation is from Sears, Philanthropy (1922), 95. See General Education Board, General, 151.

165. Arnett, College, 46.

166. Arnett, College, 25-6.

167. Arnett, College, 24.

168. General Education Board, General, 152.

169. Henry Kiddle and Alexander J. Schwem, eds., The Cyclopedia of Education, 3rd ed. (New York: E. Steiger, 1883), s.v. endowment.

170. U.S. Commissioner, Report [1890], vol. 5, pt.2, 1600-9.

171. Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr., “Yale’s Financial Future, [from the Yale News of January 20].” Yale Alumni Weekly 20 (20 Jan. 1911): 430; Anson P. Stokes, Jr., Yale Endowments: A Description of the Various Gifts and Bequests Establishing Permanent University Funds (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1917), 3; Yale Alumni University Fund, 27th Annual Report, July 1, 1917 (New Haven, CT: Yale Alumni Association, 1917), 3.

172. U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1910, vol. 2, 868-942; U.S. Commissioner, [Report] 1916, vol. 2, 253-319; U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1920-22, vol. 2, 384-425.

173. Kandel, “Endowments,” 458-9. In contrast, the English historian, A. F. Leach, employed “endowment” broadly and ambiguously to mean either a stipend paid by the state or the Church, or buildings and lands, or permanent invested funds. A. F. Leach, “Endowments, Educational,” in A Cyclopedia of Education, ed. Paul Monroe (New York: Macmillan, 1911-1913), vol. 2, 452-6.

174. See, for example, Eliot Wadsworth ’98, “Campaign Book of the Harvard Endowment Fund Committee,” typescript (June 1919), in Lamont Correspondence; Harvard Endowment Fund, Harvard and the Future (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1919).

175. Emphasis in original. Arnett, College, 24-5.

176. Seass, Endowment, 7.

177. Sears, Philanthropy (1922), xvii, 103-4, 109-10; Murlin, “Problems,” 246-50; Young, “The Dead Hand,” 837-42; Ogg, “Foundations,” 323-61; Rosenwald, “Principles,” 599-606; Julius Rosenwald, “The Trend Away from Perpetuities,” Atlantic Monthly 146 (Dec. 1930): 741-9; Pritchett, “Use,” 520-4.

178. “Treasurer’s Statement,” in Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, 1927-1928 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1929), 7.

179. In contrast, an assessment of Harvard’s endowment during the 1820s relies on calculations based on figures in the reports of the Harvard treasurer while anachronistically assuming that the twentieth-century consensus around the concepts of productivity and permanence existed at the earlier time. Hansmann, “Why Do Universities Have Endowments?” 29-30; Waldeck, “Coming Showdown,” 1801-32.

180. U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1924-26, vol. 2, 863-945; U.S. Bureau, Biennial 1928-1930, vol. 2, 480-500; U.S. Commissioner, Biennial 1930-32 , vol. 2, 320-368; U.S. Commissioner, Biennial 1934-36, vol. 2, 256-73; U.S. Commissioner, Biennial 1938-40 and 1940-42, vol. 2, 31-3.

181. Orton, “Endowments,” 5323; Eells, “Income,” 475-6. Cf. Tobin, “What Is Permanent Endowment Income?” 427.

182. Walter C. Eells, “Endowments in American Colleges and Universities,” School & Society 41 (23 Feb. 1935): 263-72; Eells, “Income,” 477; Arnett, Observations, 8; Albert N. Ward “Making Provision for the College of Liberal Arts,” Liberal Arts College Bulletin 1 (Nov. 1930): 4; Seass, Endowment, 2; Trevor Arnett, Trends in Current Receipts and Expenditures . . . of Endowed Universities and Colleges (New York: General Education Board, 1939), 84; Charles R. Sattgast, “The Administration of College and University Endowments” (Ph.D. diss., Teachers College, Columbia University, 1940), 7; William H. Claflin, Jr. “Our Endowment: Its Vital Importance to the University,” Harvard Alumni Bulletin (31 May 1940): 1080-3.

183. Harris, Economics, 350-60; Arnett, College, 29-30; Seass, Endowment, 1; Sattgast, The Administration, 7; George Putnam, “Sound Investing: A Brief Comparison of the Financial Policies of Five Eastern Universities,” Harvard Alumni Bulletin (9 May 1953): 629.

184. Kane and Doten, “The Case,” 212.

185. Kemmerer, “Endowments,” 729-39; John, Higher, 17; Eells, “Income,” 476; Angell, “The Support,” 848; Harris, Economics, 223-4.

186. Seass, Endowment, 9; Arnett, Observations, 7-9; Eells, “Income,” 477, 479; Joseph H. Cain, College and University Investments and Income, 1925-41 (Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 1942), 2.

187. Arnett, College, 33. See Putnam, “Sound,” 629; Paul C. Cabot and Leonard C. Larrabee, “Investing Harvard Money,” Harvard Alumni Bulletin (12 May 1951): 628-34.

188. Harris, Economics, 369-71; Putnam, “Sound,” 628-9; Cain, College, 4.

189. Waldeck, “Coming Showdown,” 1810, 1799.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 114 Number 10, 2012, p. 1-32
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16669, Date Accessed: 5/28/2022 10:50:12 AM

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About the Author
  • Bruce Kimball
    Ohio State University
    BRUCE A. KIMBALL, a professor in the School of Educational Policy & Leadership at Ohio State University, is pursuing research on the emergence of “free money” ideology, fundraising, and endowments in American higher education as a Guggenheim Fellow in 2012. His most recent books are The Inception of Modern Professional Education: C. C. Langdell, 1826–1906 (2009) and The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Documentary History (2010).
  • Benjamin Johnson
    Ohio State University
    E-mail Author
    BENJAMIN ASHBY JOHNSON is a Ph.D. candidate in history and philosophy of education with an emphasis in higher education policy at Ohio State University. His research interests include endowment building, leadership, faculty–student mentoring, and comparative and international education. He is currently working on a dissertation that asks why and how the University of Michigan eclipsed Ohio State University in building an endowment in the critical period from 1910 to 1940. His recent publications include “The Ethics of Corporatization: Competing Visions for University Leadership,” Philosophical Studies in Education 41 (2010): 95–105, and with Bruce A. Kimball, “The Beginning of ‘Free Money’ Ideology in American Universities: Charles W. Eliot at Harvard, 1869–1909,” History of Education Quarterly (forthcoming).
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