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|12th President of Columbia University|
|Preceded by||Seth Low|
|Succeeded by||Frank D. Fackenthal (Acting)|
|Born||April 2, 1862|
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||December 7, 1947 (aged 85)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||Columbia University (BA, MA, PhD)|
Nicholas Murray Butler (2 April 1862 – 7 December 1947) was an American philosopher, diplomat, and educator. Butler was president of Columbia University, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the deceased James S. Sherman's replacement as William Howard Taft’s running mate in the 1912 United States presidential election. He became so well known and respected that The New York Times printed his Christmas greeting to the nation every year.
Early life and education
Butler, great-grandson of Morgan John Rhys, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Mary Butler and manufacturing worker Henry Butler. He enrolled in Columbia College (later Columbia University) and joined the Peithologian Society. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1882, his master's degree in 1883 and his doctorate in 1884. Butler's academic and other achievements led Theodore Roosevelt to call him "Nicholas Miraculous". In 1885, Butler studied in Paris and Berlin and became a lifelong friend of future Secretary of State Elihu Root. Through Root he also met Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. In the fall of 1885, Butler joined the staff of Columbia's philosophy department.
In 1887, he co-founded with Grace Hoadley Dodge, and became president of, the New York School for the Training of Teachers, which later affiliated with Columbia University and was renamed Teachers College, Columbia University, and from which a co-educational experimental and developmental unit became Horace Mann School. From 1890 to 1891, Butler was a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Throughout the 1890s, Butler served on the New Jersey Board of Education and helped form the College Entrance Examination Board.
Presidency of Columbia University
In 1901, Butler became acting president of Columbia University and, in 1902, formally became president. Among the many dignitaries in attendance at his investiture was President Roosevelt. Butler was president of Columbia for 43 years, the longest tenure in the university's history, retiring in 1945. As president, Butler carried out a major expansion of the campus, adding many new buildings, schools, and departments. These additions included Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, the first academic medical center in the world.
In 1919, Butler amended the admissions process to Columbia in order to limit the number of Jewish students (it became the first American institution of higher learning to establish an anti-Jewish quota). Butler's policy was successful and the number of students hailing from New York City dropped from 54% to 23% stemming what one administrator[who?] called "the invasion of the Jewish student". This is one of the reasons why Butler has been called an Anti-Semite.
In 1941, the Pulitzer Prize fiction jury selected Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. The Pulitzer Board initially agreed with that judgment, but Butler, ex officio head of the Pulitzer board, found the novel offensive and persuaded the board to reverse its determination, so that no novel received the prize that year.
During his lifetime, Columbia named its philosophy library for him; after he died, its main academic library, previously known as South Hall, was rechristened Butler Library. A faculty apartment building on 119th Street and Morningside Drive was also renamed in Butler's honor, as was a major prize in philosophy.
An in-depth look at Butler's time at Columbia University also can be found in The Goose-Step: A Study of American Education, by Upton Sinclair.
Butler was a delegate to each Republican National Convention from 1888 to 1936; in 1912, after Vice President James S. Sherman died eight days before the presidential election, Butler was designated to receive the electoral votes that Sherman would have received: the Republican ticket won only 8 electoral votes from Utah and Vermont, finishing third behind the Democrats and the Progressives. In 1916, Butler tried to secure the Republican presidential nomination for Elihu Root. Butler also sought the nomination for himself in 1920, without success.
In June 1936, Butler traveled to the Carnegie Endowment Peace Conference in London where, at the meeting, the question of gold being used internationally was considered.
Attitude towards Fascism and Nazism
Butler was a longtime admirer of Benito Mussolini. He compared the Italian Fascist leader to Oliver Cromwell and, in the 1920s, he noted "the stupendous improvement which Fascism has brought".
Months after the 1933 Nazi book burnings, he welcomed the Nazi ambassador to the United States to Columbia and likewise refused to appear with a notable German dissident when the latter visited the university. Butler was criticized for his "remarkable silence" and complicity towards Hitler's regime until the late 1930s; according to historian Stephen H. Norwood, Butler failed to "grasp the nature and implications of Nazism, [...] influenced both by his antisemitism, privately expressed, and his economic conservatism and hostility to trade unionism".
Butler was the chair of the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration that met periodically from 1907 to 1912. In this time he was appointed president of the American branch of International Conciliation. Butler was also instrumental in persuading Andrew Carnegie to provide the initial $10 million funding for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Butler became head of international education and communication, founded the European branch of the Endowment headquartered in Paris, and was President of the Endowment from 1925 to 1945. For his work in this field, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1931 (shared with Jane Addams) "[For his promotion] of the Kellogg-Briand pact" and for his work as the "leader of the more establishment-oriented part of the American peace movement".
In December 1916, Butler, Roosevelt and other philanthropists, including Scottish-born industrialist John C. Moffat, William Astor Chanler, Joseph Choate, Clarence Mackay, George von Lengerke Meyer, and John Grier Hibben, purchased the Château de Chavaniac, birthplace of the Marquis de Lafayette in Auvergne, to serve as a headquarters for the French Heroes Lafayette Memorial Fund, which was managed by Chanler's ex-wife, Beatrice Ashley Chanler.
Butler was President of the Pilgrims Society, which promotes Anglo-American friendship. He served as President of the Pilgrims from 1928 to 1946. Butler was president of The American Academy of Arts and Letters from 1928 to 1941.
Butler married Susanna Edwards Schuyler (1863–1903) in 1887 and had one daughter from that marriage. Susanna was the daughter of Jacob Rutsen Schuyler (1816–1887) and Susannah Haigh Edwards (born 1830). His wife died in 1903 and he married again in 1907 to Kate La Montagne, granddaughter of New York property developer Thomas E. Davis.
In 1940, Butler completed his autobiography with the publication of the second volume of Across the Busy Years.
Butler became almost completely blind in 1945 at age 83. He resigned from the posts he held and died two years later. He is interred at Cedar Lawn Cemetery, in Paterson, New Jersey.
Butler was not universally liked. In 1939, a former student of Butler, Rolfe Humphries, published in the pages of Poetry an effort titled "Draft Ode for a Phi Beta Kappa Occasion" that followed a classical format of unrhymed blank verse in iambic pentameter with one classical reference per line. The first letters of each line of the resulting acrostic spelled out the message: "Nicholas Murray Butler is a horses [sic] ass". Upon discovering the "hidden" message, the irate editors ran a formal apology. Randolph Bourne lampooned Butler as "Alexander Macintosh Butcher" in "One of our Conquerors", a 1915 essay he published in The New Republic.
Butler wrote and spoke voluminously on all manner of subjects ranging from education to world peace. Although marked by erudition and great learning, his work tended toward the portentous and overblown. In The American Mercury, the critic Dorothy Dunbar Bromley referred to Butler's pronouncements as "those interminable miasmas of guff".
- Knight Grand Commander in the Order of the Redeemer.
- Order of Saint Sava.
- Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion on 14 July 1926.
- Grand cordon of the Order of Leopold.
- Knight Grand cross in the Order of the Crown of Italy.
- Commander in the Order of the Red Eagle.
- Knight Grand cross in the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
- Doctor honoris causa - University of Szeged (Hungary) in 1931.
- ———— (1896). Introduction. Regeneration: A Reply to Max Nordau. By Hake, Alfred Egmont. New York City: G. P. Putnam's Sons. LCCN 22018013. OCLC 2886930. OL 6647134M. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1907). True and False Democracy. New York City: The Macmillan Company. OCLC 1085980194. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (March 4, 1908). Philosophy (Third Thousand ed.). New York City: Columbia University Press (published 1911). OL 20542028M. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1912). The International Mind: An Argument for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 1047511494. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1912). Why Should we Change our Form of Government? Studies in Practical Politics. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 1158379286. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (October 1914). The Great War and Its Lessons. New York City: American Association for International Reconciliation. LCCN 21003338. OCLC 1158379286. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1914). "The United States of Europe" (Interview). Interviewed by Marshall, Edward. New York City: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. OCLC 1086146230. OL 23638844M. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1914). "The United States as a World Power" (Interview). Interviewed by Marshall, Edward. New York City: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. OCLC 1086146637. OL 13497116M. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (April 25, 1916). The Building of the Nation. New York City: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. LCCN 16014796. OCLC 1041645865. OL 23283299M. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1918). The Basis of Durable Peace: Written at the Invitation of The New York Times. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. LCCN 24003441. OCLC 1041043446. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (February 11, 1919). Problems of Peace and After-Peace. Paterson, New Jersey. OCLC 181661998. Retrieved July 7, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (February 21, 1921). Making Liberal Men and Women; Public Criticism of Present-day Education; The New Paganism; The University, Politics and Religion. New York City: Columbia University. OCLC 1049618080. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1921). Scholarship and Service: The Policies of a National University in a Modern Democracy. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 1084595889. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1923). Building the American Nation: an Essay of Interpretation. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OL 14798157M. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1924). The Faith of a Liberal: Essays and Addresses on Political Principles and Public Policies. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. LCCN 24030512. OL 14125156M. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- ———— (1934). Between Two Worlds: Interpretations of the Age in Which We Live. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. LCCN 34010046. OCLC 1124951. OL 6303958M. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- ———— (1939). Across the Busy Years: Recollections and Reflections. Vol. 1. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 1038753871. OL 13530857M. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- ———— (1940). Across the Busy Years: Recollections and Reflections. Vol. 2. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 1038780341. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- Pringle, Henry F. (October 17, 1928). Bellamy, Francis Rufus (ed.). "Publicist or Politician? A Portrait of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler". The Outlook. Vol. 150, no. 7. New York City. p. 971. ISSN 2690-1811. OCLC 5361126. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- "Morgan J. Rhees papers, 1794–1968". Columbia University Libraries. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
Abolitionist, Welsh republican radical, publisher, Baptist minister, pioneer and adventurer Morgan J. Rhees… was the great grandfather of Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University.
- "A Tribute to Grace Hoadley Dodge". Teachers College, Columbia University. Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- "A Long Tradition". Horace Mann School. Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- Ballon, Hillary (January 2002). "The Architecture of Columbia: Educational Visions in Conflict". Columbia College Today. Vol. 28, no. 3. p. 14. ISSN 0572-7820. OCLC 12357245. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- Wills, Matthew (December 10, 2021). "Silence in the Face of Intellectual Conflagration". JSTOR. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
- "Honorary Members". New York State Society of the Cincinnati. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- McDowell, Edwin (May 11, 1984). "Publishing: Pulitzer Controversies". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- Shapiro, Gary (December 29, 2015). "Ask Alma's Owl: Butler for President". Columbia University. Archived from the original on June 9, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- Butler, Nicholas Murray (1939). Across the busy years: recollections and reflections. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 363. LCCN 39027850. OCLC 568730477. OL 13530857M – via Internet Archive.
- Elon, Amos (February 23, 2006). "A Shrine to Mussolini". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
- "FOREIGN NEWS, ITALY: Axis (1936-1943)". Time Magazine. September 20, 1943. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
- "Lafayette Memorial". Lafayette - Château Musée. Archived from the original on May 9, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
- "Americans buy Lafayette's Home". The Sacred Heart Review. Vol. 57, no. 4. January 6, 1917. p. 3. Archived from the original on April 20, 2021.
- Hart, Albert Bushnell, ed. (1920). Harper's Pictorial Library of the World War. Vol. 7. New York City: Harper. p. 110. LCCN 20007999. OCLC 1180489 – via Google Books.
- Written at New York City. "Americans Aid War Refugees in Paris". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Vol. 179, no. 35. Philadelphia. August 4, 1918 [1918-08-03]. p. 11. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Seabury, Paul (May 29, 1966). "The Establishment Game: Nicholas Murray Butler Rides Again". The Reporter. Vol. 34, no. 10. p. 24. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- "Dr Butler wed Miss La Montagne" (PDF). The New York Times. March 6, 1907. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 30, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Butler, Nicholas Murray (1940). Across the Busy Years: Recollections and Reflections. Vol. 2 (1st ed.). New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 568730477. Retrieved July 6, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
- Gamaliel. "Nicholas Murray Butler". Everything2. Archived from the original on May 15, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Juvenis (September 4, 1915). "One of Our Conquerors". The New Republic. Vol. 4, no. 44. p. 121. ISSN 0028-6583 – via Internet Archive.
- Bromley, Dorothy Dunbar (1935). "Nicholas Murray Butler—Portrait of a Reactionary". The American Mercury. Vol. 34, no. 135. p. 298. ISSN 0002-998X. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- Coon, Horace (1990) . Money to Burn: Great American Foundations and Their Money. New York City: Longmans Green. ISBN 0887383343. LCCN 89020465. OL 2199648M – via OpenLibrary.
- "Československý řád Bílého lva 1923–1990" [Czechoslovak Order of the White Lion 1923–1990] (PDF). President of the Czech Republic (in Czech). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
- Comte, Edward Le (1986). "Dinner with Butler and Eisenhower". Commentary. Vol. 81, no. 1. ISSN 0010-2601. OCLC 488561243.
- Hewlett, Charles F. (1983). "Nicholas Murray Butler and the American Peace Movement". Teachers College Record. 85 (2). ISSN 0161-4681. LCCN 92645723. OCLC 1590002.
- Hewlett, Charles F. (1987). "John Dewey and Nicholas Murray Butler: Contrasting Conceptions of Peace Education in the Twenties". Educational Theory. 37 (4): 445–461. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.1987.00445.x. ISSN 0013-2004.
- Marrin, Albert (1976). Nicholas Murray Butler. Twayne's World Leader Series. Vol. 52. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 978-0-805777-06-2.
- Rosenthal, Michael (2006). Nicholas Miraculous: The Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-29994-3.
- Sokal, Michael M. (May 2009). "James McKeen Cattell, Nicholas Murray Butler, and Academic Freedom at Columbia University, 1902–1923". History of Psychology. 12 (2): 87–122. doi:10.1037/a0016143. ISSN 1093-4510. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- Thomas, Milton Halsey (1932). Bibliography of Nicholas Murray Butler, 1872–1932: A Check List. New York City: Columbia University Press. OL 16551925M.
- Williams, Andrew (2012). "Waiting for Monsieur Bergson: Nicholas Murray Butler, James T. Shotwell, and the French Sage". Diplomacy & Statecraft. 23 (2): 236–253. doi:10.1080/09592296.2012.679471. ISSN 0959-2296. S2CID 153505243. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- Akhund, Nadine; Tison, Stéphane, eds. (2018). En guerre pour la paix. Correspondance Paul d'Estournelles de Constant et Nicholas Murray Butler (1914–1919) [At war for peace. Correspondence between Paul d'Estournelles de Constant and Nicholas Murray Butler (1914–1919)] (in French). Translated by Akhund, Nadine. Paris: Alma éditeur. ISBN 978-2-362792-63-2. OCLC 1101112844.
- Nicholas Murray Butler on Nobelprize.org
- Davis, Linda. "Nicholas Murray Butler". Find a Grave. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- Works by Nicholas Murray Butler at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Nicholas Murray Butler at Internet Archive
- Nicholas Murray Butler at IMDb
- Newspaper clippings about Nicholas Murray Butler in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
- Nicholas Murray Butler papers, 1891-1947 at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York, NY
- Works by Nicholas Murray Butler, at Hathi Trust
- CEIP archive at Columbia University
- "Nicholas Murray Butler, ca. 1930". Archives of American Art. Archived from the original on March 24, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- "Portrait of Nicholas Murray Butler: Augustus Vincent Tack". The Phillips Collection. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on May 16, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
- "John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Letter to Nicholas Murray Butler" (PDF). New York City. June 6, 1932. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
- "Address by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler to the members of the Union League of Philadelphia". November 27, 1915. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Digital Library@Villanova University.
- Thorkelson, Jacob (August 19, 1940). "Documented in the United States of America Congressional Record, Proceedings and Discussions of the 76th Congress, Third Session, Remarks of Hon. J. Thorkelson of Montana, in the House of Representatives, Aug. 19, 1940: Steps Toward British Union - a World State and International Strife--Part IV (Page 12)". Congressional Record. Retrieved March 24, 2022 – via Internet Archive.