MAY 22 !9I8
The McKay Endowment
Applied Science at Harvard
By HENNEN JENNINGS
The McKay Endowment
Applied Science at Harvard
By HENNEN JENNINGS
The Gordon McKay Bequest
HP HE contributions sent to the HARVARD ALUMNI BULLE-
* TIN by Professors Lawrence J. Henderson, Theodore
W. Richards, and William Morton Wheeler give most ex-
cellent suggestions as to a new start of applied science at
Harvard and the best future use that can be made of the
McKay Endowment Fund.
No attempt is here made to tear down their work, but, on
the contrary, to support some of their main lines, and at the
same time to stimulate further intelligent discussion by mak-
ing an attempt at surveying the ground leading up to the
present condition of things, and making more detailed anal-
ysis of some of the operative forces in the problem, and thus
better equipping future contributors.
The writer takes a deep interest in these problems as he
was a student at the Lawrence Scientific School, obtaining
the degree of Civil Engineer in 1877. His knowledge,
sympathy, and interest, however, are not wholly marshalled
on the technical side of the subject, as his son obtained his
Harvard A.B. in 1915, and is enrolled in the Harvard Law
School, though now taking his part in France.
While not having had opportunity of meeting Mr. Gordon
McKay, the writer, as consulting engineer of the Conrey
Placer Mining Co., Ruby, Mont., was thrown in intimate
business contact with Messrs. J. J. Myers and F. F. Stan-
ley, directors of this company, as well as trustees of the
Mr. Myers was attorney for Mr. McKay for some years ;
he was, besides, first and last a Harvard man. He took his
A.B. in 1869, and was also a graduate of the Harvard Law
School. He dwelt in Wadsworth House in the College
Yard for many years. As president of the Conrey Co., he
was ever zealous of Harvard's financial interest, and yet,
in duty bound, he felt impelled to stimulate legal action
against the Harvard-Tech merger, which caused him sorrow
and concern at the time of his death, in April, 1915.
Mr. F. F. Stanley, as secretary and treasurer of the Con-
rey Co., had dealings with McKay and Shaler in such capac-
ity from the starting of the venture in 1896 up to the
time of their deaths, and with the writer from 1906 up to
the present time. He was connected with McKay in con-
fidential business relations for over 35 years.
These gentlemen had the highest respect and regard for
Mr. Shaler and Mr. McKay; they were also able to give
assurance of the close and sympathetic relationship existing
The writer makes no claim to being a trained or com-
petent educator, nor has he ambition in that direction ; but,
as he has had opportunities as a mining man to obtain the
views of others more competent on the subject, he deems it
possible that it may give increased weight to his views,
should he mention some of them.
As a member of the Departmental Committee of the
Board of Education on the Royal College of Science, etc.,
London, 1904-1905, of which R. B. Haldane now Lord
Haldane was chairman, he was given opportunity of hear-
ing the views of some of the best-known technical men of
As president of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy,
1904, he presided at some of the meetings of this institution
when the equipment of laboratories for teaching and re-
search in the mineral industries was most earnestly and ex-
tensively discussed, contributions to the discussion even be-
ing obtained from some eminent instructors in this country.
He was member of the Harvard Visiting Committee on
Mining and Metallurgy from 1906 to 1914.
His greatest opportunity and privilege in connection with
instructors was his contact with Professor Shaler, who
seems to him to have been a prince among educators, an
inspiration to his students.
Mr. Shaler not only was great as a teacher but his versa-
tility and power were such that he took a foremost place
as a humanist, philosopher, naturalist, and engineer, and,
withal, glowed with poetic imagination and kindly humor.
The writer's first meeting with Mr. Shaler dates back to
the former's freshman year at the Lawrence Scientific
School, in 1873. While sitting in his room a rather for-
lorn "scientific pill" (an academic classification given Law-
rence Scientific students by their classmates at that time)
a knock at his door brought into his life an influence that
can never be taken away. Mr. Shaler had called upon him
because he saw his name in the catalogue as coming from
Kentucky, and, he explained, there were few Kentuckians
at the University and he thought possibly he might be
lonely. After this, until Mr. Shaler's death in 1906, the
writer was a welcomed visitor at his home, and kept in
touch with him as far as his long absences from this coun-
try would permit.
A few weeks before Mr. Shaler's death, the writer visited
him in Cambridge and spoke of the wonderful influence Mr.
Shaler had exerted on his students during his long teaching
career. Mr. Shaler admitted that he prided himself upon
two things during his forty years' stay at Cambridge one,
that he had never done his colleagues or students the dis-
courtesy of keeping them waiting at any appointment he had
made; the other, that with the thousands of students with
whom he had been thrown in contact, he never found any so
hopelessly bad that he had to report them to the Faculty,
but admitted he had given them some fierce tongue-lashings
The essence of his power was not punishment, but rather
sympathy and suasion, and this is beautifully told in the
"Autobiography of Nathaniel Southgate Shaler," in the
Memoir by his wife, published 1909, pages 374 to 376,
wherein she sets forth as follows his relations with students :
The truth is, as time wore on, mere intellectual distinction un-
accompanied by high character was held in only moderate esteem;
to his mind the supreme excellence consisted in being a gentleman.
But in whatever shape it presented itself, whether able-minded or
dull-witted, he had great reverence for the organism called man,
and was ever conscious of the immense struggle the ages had
witnessed to bring him to the place where he now stands. He not
infrequently quoted Emerson's saying, that it was something for
man to have got up on his hind legs and shuffled off some of his
animal propensities. It was this historic sense that enabled him
to see the latent significance that lay beneath the smooth-faced
vacancies of the youths that passed before him, and to such of these
as would submit to his guidance he was a born director of souls.
How many did submit is shown by the hundreds of letters from
students acknowledging the help he had given them, the perverted
ways abandoned at his stirring call to lead the clean and whole-
some life. His willingness to bother, up to a certain point, with
men of crooked ways, is all the more remarkable since there was no
one who had less call for indulgence than he. Nevertheless, his long
experience had taught him to weigh a man's errors against his
temptations, and these he felt were to a certain extent involved
in the previous conditions of the man's life. He therefore looked
upon individuals tolerantly, with a discriminating eye as to their
values and their needs, and without being sermonic he sooner or
later imparted to them a sense of what was dross and what
was gold a lesson which he himself had so well learned. The
fact is, his influence for good was great because he lived on the plane
of right doing to which he directed others.
Mr. Shaler's relations with his students were the most vital
and interesting of the contacts that came to him. Young men of all
degrees and temperaments liked him, not because he spared their
faults, was truckling, or sought to be popular, but because he met
them on the broad level of humanity; and if in his estimate of them
he sometimes gave them credit for what they should be, rather than
for what they were, in the long run his judgment was as true as
it was generous. The foundation of the attractive power that drew
men to him was his manliness and outgoing sympathy; he had a
kind word to bridge the deeps that lie between most human beings.
Furthermore, when he commended a student, it was with whole-
heartily liberality; when he condemned him it was in a broad and
catholic way. Detesting anything like mechanical treatment of a
human soul, he refused to be hemmed in by rules or to raise author-
ity to a system of oppression. Each individual was to be treated
with reference to his capacities. "The business of the true teach-
er," he says, "is like that of the gardener who is dealing with hy-
brids, where the product of each seed is a problem to be studied
at every step of its development, to be fostered by all the resources
in the way of soil and climate which can be applied to it through
all the resources of art."
What other equipment of experience Mr. Shaler had for
his tasks can best be told by again quoting from the same
Memoir, pages 217, 218, as follows:
The fervid rate at which men lived in the early sixties of the
last century may be inferred from the events which took place in
Mr. Whaler's own life before he had reached the age of twenty-two.
He already had taken his S.B. degree with honors; had become a
captain of artillery; and had chosen his wife. This fervor of a par-
ticular period which he shared with others, eventually crystallized
into a permanent personal quality, for without fervor he could
never have gone out as he did to meet life on all sides. Rich ex-
periences came to him in military and civil affairs, in his work as
field geologist, mining expert, director of a state survey, member
of various state commissions and of two bureaus of the national
government; as traveller, prose-writer on many subjects, and poet.
At twenty-three he became lecturer, at twenty-seven professor, and
dean at fifty.
His relationship with Mr. Gordon McKay can be best
obtained from this Memoir, pages 327, 328, and the justi-
fication of giving further quotation from it seems evident,
as it speaks well of one to whom Harvard men are so in-
Since Mr. Gordon McKay was destined, at a later period, to
play so large a part in Mr. Shaler's life and in that of the Univer-
sity, the above allusion to him would seem to call for a word
of explanation. Mr. Shaler's acquaintance with Mr. McKay, one of
Harvard's greatest benefactors, began in 1865, and from that time
on he knew him intimately until Mr. McKay's death in 1903. In-
deed he somewhere says he never knew any man so well or so
long. For many years they were very close neighbors, and at first
were drawn together by the mutual interest in inventions and min-
ing problems. The side of his character which Mr. McKay pre-
sented to his friend was one of great dignity and kindliness. More-
over, his mind was constantly reaching out to large enterprises, and
in these excursions he sought for sympathy and suggestions from a
source which he well knew would never fail him. On his part, Mr.
Shaler found, in many ways, great satisfaction in his business
relations with Mr. McKay, who could imaginatively project him-
self into any large enterprise and grasp the possibilities of an
unverified hypothesis, whereas with prosaic men of affairs of the
average type Mr. Shaler's imagination was often a barrier. Be-
cause he saw far beyond the immediate question, they sometimes
seemed to doubt his practical grasp of the concrete problem itself.
Not so with Mr. McKay; he eagerly followed him in his scientific
and practical quests and showed an inspiring faith in his fore-
casting power as well as in his capacity to meet the unforseenable dif-
ficulty. But aside from the advice which Mr. McKay asked in min-
ing matters, he especially sought Mr. Shaler's counsel with, ref-
erence to the best uses of money intended for the public good, and
particularly the conditions of his own proposed bequests were the
subject of continuous discussion. So far from having a predilec-
tion for the College, he began with a serious dislike, which it was
Mr. Shaler's special task to overcome. Mr. McKay, however, did
believe very firmly that the men whose work tended toward ap-
plied science had better be educated with those trained in the liberal
arts. This conviction remained fixed in his mind until, the time came
to make his final decision. After 1891 there was no longer a shadow
of doubt as to the destination of his fortune, and he always al-
luded to Mr. Shaler as the one person of all others whom he
looked to for the carrying out of his wishes.
Conrey Placer Mining Co.
As a practical miner, engineer, promoter, and administrat-
or, Mr. Shaler has done much for Harvard through his con-
nection with the Conrey Placer Mining Co., of which he
was president and chief factor from its inception to the
time of his death.
The Conrey Placer Mining Co. is a gold-dredging com-
pany in Ruby, Montana, which started in 1898, before large
dredging was done in California. It was a pioneer in the
size of the dredging machinery employed.
Gordon McKay largely financed the company in the ini-
tial stages ; thus his estate, and eventually Harvard Univer-
sity, became the chief owner. Mr. McKay took a deep in-
terest in the details of the work, visited Montana with Mr.
Shaler, and invented a centrifugal pump for one of the
dredges which did, and is still doing, most excellent work.
The initial mistakes and troubles incident to pioneer work
had been very largely overcome and the venture put in a
sound condition for future profits at the -time of Mr. Sha-
ler's' death, thanks to his vision, tenacity, and faith, and his
power of infusing in others, especially Mr. McKay and his
trustees, sufficiency of faith to stand crucial money tests.
The Conrey Co., of which Mr. Charles Francis Adams,
Treasurer of Harvard University, is now president, is still
working; its profits have enlarged the McKay trust by
considerably over a million dollars. This mining venture
is scientifically interesting in its details to the gold-dredging
industry; it was courageously planned and wholesomely
A full description of the operations of this mining com-
pany can be found in Bulletin 121 of the Bureau of Mines,
"The History and Development of Gold Dredging in Mon-
tana," by the writer.
The "Proceedings" of the Massachusetts Supreme Judi-
cial Court in the 'test case as to the legality of the Har-
vard and Institute of Technology amalgamation, were
printed some time before the decision, November 27, 1917,
in the case of the President and Fellows of Harvard Col-
lege vs. The Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. The Court gave judgment that the agree-
ment entered into between Harvard and the Institute was
not in accord with the provisions of the will of Mr. McKay.
In the printed "Proceedings," the testimony, letters, and
appended documents are most interesting and instructive in
that they give the main features of the McKay Endowment,
much history of the Lawrence Scientific School, and the
Graduate School of Applied Science, also "An Account of
the Gordon McKay Trust," written by Mr. Shaler shortly
before his death, and a variety of statistics and educational
views given by such great educational authorities as Presi-
dents Eliot, Lowell and Maclaurin.
As comparatively few of the alumni of Harvard have had
opportunity of hearing or reading these "Proceedings," it is
necessary, in order to make clear the meaning and nature
of the McKay Endowment, to give liberal quotation and
Mr. Shaler's account of the origin of the McKay Endow-
ment is full of interest, but it is too long to quote fully. The
following, however, ("Proceedings", page 229), seems a
fair epitome :
During the various stages in the discussion and growth of the
project, which resulted in. his will and trust, I was much with Mr.
McKay on long journeys, while I served him in a friendly way as
a mining engineer. While thus occupied we were together in the
field for many months. He was satisfied with the service he had
with me, and chose to regard my training as about what he wished
to have for the youths who were to be educated by his trust. He
knew how my education had combined training in the exact sciences
with liberal culture in the atmosphere of Harvard University, and
he often told me that he saw the profit of the combination.
From this account, no matter how much one believed in
the wisdom of the merger, the equity of the Court's decision
certainly is made clear.
Mr. Shaler laid no claim to dominating, dictating, or con-
trolling the McKay bequest, but there is no doubt that he
was the inspiration of it, guided some of the details, and
was sympathetic with it all.
His life and accomplishments indicate that the soul, brain,
and character of the teacher count more, in the uplift and
other benefits to the student that an institution of learning
can give, than any brick, motar, housing, or perfection of
For right comprehension and intelligent suggestion, some
of the main facts and principles of technical education as
given at the Lawrence Scientific School, the Graduate School
of Applied Science, and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology should be clearly understood, and they can be
largely obtained from the reports, letters, facts, and opinions
set forth in the "Proceedings."
Lawrence Scientific School.
The Lawrence Scientific School was founded in 1847, sec-
ond in priority of the technical schools in this country;
the Rensselaer Polytechnic School, founded in 1824, was
first. The Sheffield Scientific School was third, 1847; the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1861 ; the Columbia
School of Mines, 1864.
President Eliot, ("Proceedings", page 68), in connection
with the early organization of the Lawrence Scientific
School, states :
The students consisted mostly of what we nowadays call special
students, or unattached. It had no organized program of instruc-
tion. It consisted of these three detached units, and was, of course,
feeble in all respects. Nevertheless, it graduated an extraordinary
number of men who turned out in later life to be singularly suc-
Some explanation of the success of students may be
found in the fact that among the early technical teachers
such names appear, as, Louis Agassiz, Benjamin Peirce, Jo-
siah P. Cooke, Eben N. Horsford, Asa Gray, T. Sterry
Hunt, Jeffiries Wyman, Joseph Lovering, J. D. Whitney,
and Nathaniel Southgate Shaler.
In 1877 the number of students in the Lawrence Scien-
tific School amounted to no more than 34. The courses
were disjointed, but excellent in spots, the students were
made to work for their degree, and thus obtained mental
drill. As a whole, there was great aloofness between the
scientific and academic students, but even so, some warm
friendships were often made.
The School further dwindled until 1885, when Dean
Chaplin took charge; the student enrollment was then only
16. From this time on it took a new lease of life, the
courses of instruction were improved and readjusted, the
teaching staff was augmented, and the work and the stu-
dent more woven into that of the College.
Mr. Shaler became dean in 1891, at which time the num-
ber of students had increased to 88. In his first report,
1891-1892, ("Proceedings", pages 213, 214), Dean Shaler
The remarkable increase in the attendance at the Lawrence Sci-
entific School which has taken place in the last five years, appears
to be in the niain due to a more widely disseminated knowledge of
the advantages which it can afford students who wish to combine a
measure of academic culture with a training in some branch of sci-
ence which will serve as the foundation for a career. At the same
time, it is a valuable element in the policy of the School that spe-
cial effort is made to adapt the instruction to the needs of the
individual student, and at the end of the course to place him in a
suituation suited to his capabilities and training.
The vigor and success with which Shaler developed this
policy and further enlarged it while dean is mirrored in the
fact that the number of students before his death increased
to over 500, of which 270 were in the Department of Engi-
The students of the Scientific School had access to the
chemical,, physical and biological laboratories of the Uni-
versity, and special laboratories and plants were provided
for students of applied science, the cost of which, President
Lowell stated at the time of the merger, was about $365,000.
This sum, however, does not apply to the main laboratory
equipments of the University, as Dean Shaler in his report
from 1893-1894, ("Proceedings", page 217), states:
Since the foundation of technical schools in the United States
the very rapid extension of the elective system in the greater
colleges has altogether changed their attitude towards professional
Moreover, the elective system has made it necessary for the Col-
lege to create, at a great cost, a number of laboratories and other
means of scientific research, all of which are suited to the needs of
applied science. The development of these establishments for prac-
tical enquiry, with their associated museums, has gone so far that
in this University they represent an aggregate investment of about
$4,000,000*. Similar changes have taken place in all the stronger
universities of this country.
Further, in regard to laboratories, Dean Shaler's report
for 1898-1899, ("Proceedings", page 221), gives the follow-
It may be well to note that in the project for the laboratories in
mining and metallurgy it is not proposed to do more than illustrate
the principles involved in the various methods of treating ores.
Thus, while the establishment is to include the usual tools, stamps,
vats and so forth, so that samples may be passed through the series
of operations and the theory of these processes thereby made
clear, the aim will be to limit the work strictly to this purpose
of illustration and experiment. Those who have charge of instruc-
tion in this department believe that little relating to the craft of this
and other technical arts, can or should be taught in a school; the
*No doubt in this estimate the Agassiz Museum is included.
technique is profitably learned in those places only where the work
is conducted with a view to profit. Therefore the students in this
department are required to spend the larger part of one of their
long vacations in mines and metallurgical works, where they may
observe the economic application of methods with which they have
become familiar in the laboratofy.
The following quotation from President Eliot's report for
1889-1890 ("Proceedings", pages 210, 211), throw addi-
tional light on the accomplishments at the Lawrence Scien-
tific School :
The Lawrence Scientific School has within three years so add-
ed to its numbers that it is larger in the current year than it has
ever been before, since its foundation in 1847. The number of
students was 35 in 1888-89; 65 in 1889-90 and 88 in 1890-91, the
numbers being those given in the annual catalogues, and being
therefore a little below the numbers annually reported by the
Dean. There is reason to believe that this growth will continue.
The five courses of instruction which lead to the degree of B.S.
are all thorough and well-arranged ; the admission-examination is
within the capacity of any graduate of a good high school; and
through the intimate association of the School with the College its
students enjoy all the privileges in Cambridge which College stu-
In his report for 1897-1898 ("Proceedings", page 219),
the social relationships of the students are set forth as
The status of the scientific student in Cambridge has completely
changed within ten years; he is no longer an outsider, but
a comrade and equal of the College student in every respect. He
has the same rights in the same buildings and associations, is eli-
gible to the same clubs, teams, and crews, shares with the candi-
didates for the A.B. the delights and charges of Class Day, and
graduates on the same day after the same period of residence. In
proportion to its numbers, the Scientific School furnishes more
members of the principal athletic teams than the College does ; and
last spring more undergraduates, in proportion to its number of
students, enlisted in the army or navy from the Scientific School
than from the College. ' .
Graduate School of Applied Science.
President Eliot gives an outline of the birth of the Grad-
uate School of Applied Science, pages 109, no, of the "Pro-
ceedings", as follows :
The establishment of the Graduate School of Applied Science was
a step in a long process which had been going on for nearly forty
years. It began when I became president of- Harvard Univer-
sity. That process was the giving of all the preliminary and ele-
mentary instruction in what we may call the applied sciences, not in
a separate school called the Lawrence Scientific School, but to
young men entering upon the full elective privileges of Harvard
College, with a requirement for admissions somewhat lower than
those which lead into Harvard College. There developed with that
policy certain prescribed programmes of instruction in all the
different branches of applied or industrial science, such as mechani-
cal engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mining en-
gineering. Those programmes of study were carried out at first
by students registered in the Lawrence Scientific School, but later
by students registered in Harvard College; and the great growth of
the school was due to the institution of these programmes for pre-
paring engineers, chemists, miners, etc., which could be carried out
by the student in Harvard College, simply be availing himself of
the broad election of studies which is there offered.
Presidents Eliot, Lowell, and Maclaurin.
President Eliot testified that he became president of Har-
vard University in 1869, prior to which he had been tutor
and assistant professor at Harvard for nine years; that he
was connected also with the Institute of Technology the first
year of its organization and was a member of that Faculty
for four years. He was president of Harvard for forty
President Lowell testified that before he became president
in 1909 he had been a professor at Harvard since 1900, and
a lecturer for three or four years previously. He stated
that he had been a member of the Corporation of the Insti-
tute of Technology since 1890 and a member of its Execu-
tive Committee for four. years, and was one of two mem-
bers appointed from 1903 to 1905 by the Institute to nego-
tiate with Harvard as to a union of the two institutions.
He stated that in 1909, there were only 36 students of the
Graduate School of Applied Science in the departments that
were merged with the Institute of Technology, but that at
the time of the merger (in 1915) there were 53 students.
He evidently was of the belief that there was no tendency
towards any great increase in student material either in num-
ber or in quality.
He expressed a belief in the advantage of large numbers
of students rather than small, on grounds of both education-
al value and economy, but made the statement, "The value
,of education comes quite as much from one's fellow-stu-
dents as from the instructors, and a certain sized body of
students is essential for the best results."
Dr. R. C. Maclaurin testified that he had been president
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1909;
had graduated at the University of Cambridge, England;
had received educational training in Scotland, New Zealand,
and Canada; and also, had been a professor at Columbia
University in this country.
In his testimony he gave but meager information as to
the theoretical nature of the courses given at the Institute,
no doubt feeling satisfied that they were sufficiently set
forth in the printed literature concerning the Institute. Cer-
tainly its "Bulletin" for 1916 assures its students of com-
prehensive, technical education.
He dwelt on the importance of student numbers and the
advantages of laboratory equipment. In number of stu-
dents pursuing courses in branches of engineering, he
ranked the Institute with Cornell and Michigan, each having
over 1,000 students.
Universities and institutes giving instruction in these
branches and which numbered between 1,000 and 500 stu-
dents, he placed in numerical importance, as follows : Illi-
nois, Purdue, Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Rens-
salaer, University of Pennsylvania, Stevens Institute, and
Between 300 and 200, he gave : Columbia, Princeton, and
Further, he stated : "The Sheffield Scientific School . . .
is a little less than 400."
The four great universities of the country, Harvard,
Yale, Princeton and Columbia, he placed at the foot of the
He showed that the Institute of Technology had splendid
new buildings, costing about $4,530,000, with generous new
equipment, costing $840,000, totalling over $5,300,000; that
the endowment of the Institute amounted to $9,500,000;
that it enjoyed from the state and federal governments an
annual grant of $122,000; and received from students an
income of $500,000.
He indicated that the upkeep of the joint school with
Harvard was $628,000 per annum, of which Harvard would
pay $100,000 ; and that the total expenditure of the Insti-
tute amounted to $1,043,3000.
In connection with the yearly grants to state universities,
he made the interesting statement that California received
$3,742,000, Wisconsin $3,094,000, and Illinois $2,845,000.
From the Harvard Treasurer's report for the year ended
June 30, 1917, it appeared that the total funds and gifts
in the hands of the President, Fellows and Treasurer were
$32,436,394.34, which, at five per cent, per annum, would
yield about $1,621,819.72 in interest. The general sum-
mary given in the Harvard Catalogue for 1915-16, pages
280-281, gives the total enrollment of students in the Uni-
versity proper as 5,226, while, including university exten-
sion and small schools, the total amounted to 6,306. The
number of teachers, officers, and other employees connect-
ed with the University was listed at 1,076.
The Harvard McKay Endowment Fund has been built
up gradually from the income of the McKay estate, and
will continue to increase until the last annuitant of the es-
tate dies; in the meantime, the management of these funds
will rest entirely in the hands of its trustees.
No opportunity was given Harvard University to ex-
pend any portion of the bequest until eighty per cent,
of the accumulated income from the McKay estate had
amounted to $1,000,000, when it was to be turned over to
the University. This was done in 1909, but even thereaf-
ter only the income from the fund could be made use of;
each year the Endowment Fund was to be enlarged by eighty
per cent, of the income receipts obtained by the trustees
and by them turned over.
In this way, up to January, 1917, Harvard had received
$2,247,261, and a valuation of the capital fund then in the
hands of the trustees amounted to $5,324,973.
Mr. Howard Stockton, actuary, ("Proceedings", pages
180-181), made an estimate based on the probability of
the last annuitant dying before 1956, in which case, at that
date the fund, allowing interest at 4^ per cent., should
amount to :
Total to Harvard of 80% payments, $9,244,561.12
Total of 20% Reserve Fund, 8,379,365.00
Capital Fund, 5,324,973-o8
The main provisions of the Endowment, ("Proceed-
ings", pages 5, 6), are here given:
The net income of said Endowment shall be used to promote ap-
plied science :
First. By maintaining professorships, workshops, laboratories and
collections for any or all of those scientific subjects, which have, or
may hereafter have, applications useful to man and
Second. By aiding meritorious and needy students in pursuing
Inasmuch as a large part of my life has been devoted to the
study and invention of machinery, I instruct the President and Fel-
lows to take special care that the great subject of mechanical en-
gineering in all its branches and in the most comprehensive sense,
be thoroughly provided for from my Endowment.
I direct that the President and Fellows be free to provide from
the Endowment all grades of instruction in applied science, from
the lowest to the highest, and that the instruction provided be kept
accessible to pupils who have had no other opportunities of previ-
ous education than those which the free public schools afford.
I direct that the salaries attached to the professorships maintained
from the Endowment be kept liberal, generation after generation,
according to the standards of each successive generation,
to the end that these professorships may always be attractive to able
men and that their effect may be to raise, in some judicious meas-
ure, the general scale of compensation for the teachers of the Uni-
I direct that the professors supported frx>m this Endowment be
provided with suitable assistance in their several departments by
the appointment of instructors of lower grades, and of draughts-
men, foremen, mechanics, clerks or assistants, as occasion may re-
quire, my desire being that the professors be free to devote them-
selves to whatever part of the teaching requires the greatest skill
and largest experience, and to the advancement of their several
I direct that the President and Fellows be free to erect buildings
for the purposes of this Endowment, and to purchase sites for the
same, but only from the income of the Endowment.
I direct that all the equipment required to illustrate teaching or to
give students opportunity to practice, whether instruments, diagrams,
tools, machines or apparatus, be always kept of the best design and
quality,, so that no antiquated, superseded, or unserviceable imple-
ment or machinery shall ever be retained in the lecture rooms,
workshops or laboratories maintained from the Endowment.
Finally, I request that the name Gordon McKay be permanently
attached to the professorships, buildings, and scholarships or other
aids for needy students, which may be established, erected or main-
tained from the income of this Endowment.
Should the said President and Fellows of Harvard College fail
to accept (in writing) the above Endowment upon the terms and
provisions above set forth within two years after my death, I then
give said accumulations and said residue to my trustees hereunder
and their successors, in trust to apply the same to the purposes
above set forth.
Harvard College, founded in 1636, is the oldest in the
country. It was the first to start the experiment of- link-
ing up applied science with its other university courses.
The older a university is, the less was science known and
appreciated at the time of its founding and the more
its ideals and methods conformed to church and medieval
instruction. Thus the incorporation of scientific training
at Harvard was more difficult than its adoption by a younger
institution. The Harvard motto, "Christo et Ecclesise," fos-
tered the belief that truth and God could be obtained only
from within and that true religion was the highest outcome.
Modern science asserts that truth and God can best be
found from without, by rightly unsealing, unfolding, and
reading the leaves of God in nature. This, when done in
lofty spirit, is the highest definition of science both pure
and applied. It would appear in this age that we must
have both religion and science to guard and uphold worth-
ily our motto "Veritas," and the more intimately and har-
moniously they are linked together the safer is the premier-
ship of our University.
President Eliot had a very hard task and struggled for
forty years to find a way to get Harvard to incorporate ap-
plied science into its being. Though the Lawrence Scien-
tific School started with brilliancy by the prophetic finger-
pointings of Benjamin Peirce, Louis Agassiz, and other
great instructors, they gave no accurate charts of guidance
and it soon sadly languished. President Eliot did not give
up the struggle but called to his aid Dean Shaler, who
was a great humanist as well as a brilliant and inspiring
lecturer, and success seemed imminent at the time of his
After Mr. Shaler's death, the pathways became confused.
The one leading to the Massachusetts Institute of Technolo-
gy seemed the broadest, easiest, and most desirable, but
through the court decision, it ended only in a cul de sac.
The financial possibilities of the McKay Endowment have
been set forth, and they are such that in a material way it
is wise for Harvard to obtain them, but her "Veritas" de-
mands that she should earn them.
The conditions of the Endowment at first sight are be-
wildering, for they do not include in their equations of direc-
tion specific constants of time or dimensions. However,
this is more subtly taken care .of by the snowball growth of
the Endowment Fund than is at first obvious, for, while
the directions give extreme latitude in detail to the execu-
tives at Harvard, it limits them by placing automatic appro-
priation in the hands of the McKay trustees.
The waste that might be incident to duplication of effort
in technical training by two great institutions so closely lo-
cated as Harvard and Tech., is better taken care of by the
bequest than is generally supposed, as the very terms of
the Endowment prohibit wasteful immediate competition in
brick and mortar, or student numbers, and there would at
this time seem great need for both.
President Maclaurin fortifies the above statement in his
report, "Bulletin," 1915-16, as follows:
The rapid growth of the Institute in recent years makes it clear
that our new buildings are none too large and that in several de-
partments we shall soon have to face the problem.
For many years there has been a steady growth in the number
of students coming to the Institute from the colleges. This year
there were more than 17% who were graduates of colleges, the
corresponding number last year being 290, and the number of
students who have spent one or more years at some college before
In this "Bulletin" the number of students in the different
courses at the Institute are given. About twenty courses
are enumerated. Mechanical engineering heads the list with
279 students ; electrical engineering is second with 235 ; civil
engineering is next with 188; and chemical engineering with
157. No instruction is given in the classics, but there are
courses in English and other modern languages, and also
It is evident that Mr. McKay believed in making haste
slowly, and desired that the accomplishment of his objects
should come by degrees, rather than by leaps. He was
not impressed by mere mass-showings of students or by
grandeur or magnitude of architecture to make the world
appreciate immediately his gift. He was free enough from
vanity and big enough to wait, and let time give the verdict
as to his wisdom.
Does it not appear that democracy is now -in danger of
over-worshipping the power and might of mere numbers
in its voting units, irrespective of quality or their truthful-
It would seem that Mr. McKay with his money and Pro-
fessor Shaler in his teachings had other thoughts in view
than the wholesale training of the rank and file of the engi-
neer technicians, which is being done so well at the Insti-
tute and other technical schools of the country.
They evidently desired to attract to Harvard future lead-
ers and uplifters of science and engineering, and to give
them a better chance to take their proper places and have
the importance of their work better understood in the world ;
they aimed for quality, not numbers, and desired for their
students the broadening and mellowing influence of the fine
arts. The contact and social companionship with 'the future
choice spirits in other professions at the most formative
period of life, they believed, would make their students bet-
ter able to hold their own among men.
No doubt they also held the vision that the highest
representatives of science both pure and applied could
demonstrate to the world not only the exceeding might of
their calling, but also its truth and beauty.
Most of the provisions of the bequest are easy to carry
out, as great latitude is given in details, and all of them seem
to the writer possible and desirable if undertaken in a sym-
pathetic, believing, willing spirit. At first it was thought
that a serious stumbling-block in the way was the direction
that courses should be kept accessible to students who had no
other opportunities of previous education than those which
the free public schools afford. * This does not seem insur-
mountable since the Boston, high schools send their grad-
uates direct to Harvard, and it would also appear that one
of the great advantages of the Freshman Dormitories at
Harvard is that it permits students to enter the University
earlier and get through the college and professional train-
ing, as well as to mix intimately together, before they are
overtrained and stale for the race of life ahead of them.
It would seem that there is nothing to prevent immediate
erection of buildings with the interest of the funds from
the Endowment if the buildings bear the name of Gordon
McKay. A certain amount of such construction appears
desirable and permissible by borrowing money for this pur-
pose and by paying the interest and sinking funds on such
loans from the interest of the Endowment Fund. This
right, however, should in fairness be only moderately exer-
The instructions as to equipment are more specific, but
still general. They state that such equipment employed
should be up-to-date and best of its kind. It would appear
that Professor Shaler meets this difficulty in the quotation
given on page 15 regarding laboratories.
Especially interesting is his statement as to the desirabil-
ity of mixing laboratory equipment and practical study with
up-to-date practice in the mine, shop, metallurgical works,
etc. With this I am in thorough accord, if the necessary
arrangements can be made with the managers of the works
to have it carried out.
The engineer is the closest connecting link between cap-
ital and labor in any employment, and he should thus know
and be sympathetic with both. In student days he is given
his only opportunity of being a fellow-laborer, as after-
wards he develops from a small to a big boss.
The clause reading,
Inasmuch as a large part of my life has been devoted to the
study and invention of machinery, I instruct the President and Fel-
lows to take special care that the great subject of mechanical engi-
neering in all its branches and in the most comprehensive sense, be
thoroughly provided for from my Endowment,
would seem to propose what is most desirable not only for
the student but for Harvard University itself. In fact,
Mr. McKay was prophetic in his estimation of the impor-
tance of mechanical engineering. Its scope and meaning
are greater than is at first apparent, for, taken in its most
comprehensive sense, mechanical engineering demands, of
its leaders sound, if not thorough, knowledge of the prin-
ciples of civil, mining, electrical, in fact, almost all other
branches of engineering, for they are now so closely allied
arid interdependent that they must do team-work in order
to be effective.
In the court proceedings it was implied, if not openly stat-
ed, that the student material entering the Scientific, School
at Harvard was not equal in quality to that going to the
College, and that some very dull and undesirable units
gained admission to the College by this door.
It would seem that the McKay bequest greatly aids this
aspect of the problem by its provision for scholarships and
for adequate salaries to the teachers. They can be made
prizes of merit as well as need, and helpful in establishing
in the future Scientific School a corps d' elite, which Profes-
sor Henderson so happily recommends. Mr. McKay in no
way aimed to aid merely the mediocre, though worthy, stu-
dent without talent or funds, but quite the reverse; the
bequest shows his desire to have the school enfold and train
leaders of future engineering thought and action. Scholar-
ships to students and high salaries to professors and teach-
ers should be regarded as paving the way to the enrollment
of the higher class of students, as well as teachers. For the
student, it takes away the barrier of poverty, if desire and
talent are great, while to the best teachers, it allows ade-
quate money reward. There is no intimation that the students
who can afford to do so should not pay for their privileges.
The new Harvard scientific school, while not making
claim to great numbers, should do everything to be classed
as a corps d' elite. It certainly will have money enough for
the experiment. It should be made a great privilege to en-
ter the School, obtainable only by competitive examination.
In the entrance examinations the number of subjects need
not be many, but thoroughness in those demanded should
be insisted upon.
Only a limited number of students should be taken at
first, and their number should be increased as funds become
available. It would seem desirable that the highest salaries
should be paid professors in the freshman and sophomore
years, who should be selected from among men of high
scholarship, supplemented with practical accomplishment
and knowledge of men. They should have the power of
creating a thirst for knowledge and laying foundations by
making clear and interesting the simple and seemingly ob-
vious. Erudite refinements should come later.
You can take a horse to water, or a student to a fountain
of knowledge, but you can make neither drink unless he is
thirsty. If the thirst is there, it is simple to slake it in the
There is no doubt that a thorough, complete merger
of Harvard and the Institute would, on the grounds of
economy and efficiency, have much in its favor ; but it must
be thorough and whole-hearted to make it worth while. A
complete merger of the two under the mantle of Harvard
would seem the only way, not only for the sharing of the
McKay Endowment, but for making the union effective.
A greater Harvard is a big thought, but it seems destined
not to be realized. I quite understand and sympathize with
the reasons that prevent it ; they are not of a material but 'of
a sentimental nature, and they involve two distinct classes
of alumni, both with pride of tradition, both believing that
they can stand alone, and both confident of their future
The writer is in hearty accord with President Lowell
when he says : "The value of education comes quite as much
from one's fellow-students as from the instructors, and a
certain sized body of students is essential for the best re-
sults." Certainly, the Harvard mantle, in point of num-
bers, would in mass effect, be greater than what the Insti-
tute could offer.
No mandate of authority will make two sets of students
blend in harmonious social accord unless the desire comes
from and is fostered by the students themselves ; and unless
one can blend the alumni of Harvard and Tech., how is it
possible to give to the present students the best in student
life by dividing their loyalty and traditions?
It does not seem fair to the McKay students to ask them
to be placed in a position in which their parent colleges do
not unite in pride of their birth. It savors of an illicit union
or clandestine marriage.
What Harvard could give and what the Institute could
not give in a material way may be illustrated by the state-
ment that an engineer's report may be perfect in technique
and sound in all its conclusions, but absolutely worthless
in practice if it is not understood or appreciated by the read-
er who has the power of decision. In other words, it is
necessary for those in authority to have some educational
insight, if not training, and contact with the; engineer, to
understand his recommendations, as also to safeguard him-
self from disaster due to action without comprehension.
The Institute does not pretend to be a good training
ground for the future statesman, writer, politician, lawyer,
journalist, banker, and business man. The throwing to-
gether in formative years of the youth of these several
professions and putting them in social and athletic accord
and ambition, will result, naturally, in later years, in a bet-
ter understanding of one another's professions, as well as
Alumni gatherings, from time to time, bring them in
close and understanding touch in after life.
The engineer has for building material, stone and min-
erals, which he cannot bend, twist, or distort to cover
mistakes in detail calculation or final judgment. He must
stand by the results and may be ruined by miscalculation.
He thus must seek for eternal verities rather than beautiful
Contact with other professional men and a better knowl-
edge of the fine arts may result in more flexibility of thought
and expression in the engineer; less dull mechanical ways
of looking at life ; give him greater knowledge and power
to take his place in the legislative halls of the nation and at
the council tables of big business; and present opportunity
of having his work passed upon and appreciated by represen-
tatives in his own profession:
On the other hand, the word-architects can be made more
conservative and useful by becoming more conversant with
the principles and individuality of basic fact builders, and
believing more in the necessity of checking inspirations by
Thus, geyser word-outpourings of internal discontent, of-
ten stimulated and pioneered in seats "of learning, and parti-
cularly in Russia, may be restrained, Bolshevik experiments
may be avoided, and democracies better saved from them-
selves and made more worth while to live in.
In an address on "Mining as a Profession," delivered
before the Columbia School of Mines, May, 1914, by the
writer, there was incorporated a set of diagrams which
show for the United States the progressive growth of the
outputs of gold, coal, petroleum, iron, copper, as also the
progressive membership in the civil, mining, mechanical and
electrical engineering societies in this country from 1800 to
1913. 'It- is regretted that the chemical societies were not
included, but they have been in close sympathy with the
others. The growth of population, railway mileage, and de-
posits in all the reporting banks are shown as far back
as records exist.
It is most interesting to note, first, the lack of parallelism
of the curve for growth of population with those for rail-
ways and bank deposits, which were far more sympathetic
with the 'upward plunges of the curves for mineral outputs.
The most startling thing connected with the diagrams is
the showing of the magnitude and newness of great min-
ing. The growth of the engineering societies is also shown
in close parallelism with the mineral output curves.
The following table gives the date of starting growth,
and membership in 1890 and at present, of these societies :
Membership Percent Increase
Society Start growth about 1890 1917 since 1890
Civil Engineers, 1871 1,300 8,600 561
Mining Engineers, 1872 1,900 6,587 246
Mechanical Engineers, 1880 1,000 9,000 800
Electrical Engineers, 1885 500 8,900 1680
Chemical Engineers, 1876 2,750 11,000 300
Total, 7,450 44,087 600
The diagram for the world's mineral output is a fair par-
allel to that of the United States, and, taken together, they
seem to justify the statement that since Mr. McKay made
his bequest in 1891 far more coal, iron, copper and petrole-
um have been taken from the earth than in the whole previ-
ous existence of the world.
The force generated, confined, and made effective by the
engineers is in proportion to the mineral outputs, and thus
during the last few years, it has amounted, in muscular
energy, to millions, even billions, of strong men units.
The diagrams give also the key to the sudden wealth of
the world, the restlessness and lack of adjustment and hap-
piness of some of its people. It has been too sudden for
They also show why this war is so largely a war of engi-
neers and chemists. Are they not the marshallers of obe-
dient servitors, very many times stronger in muscular force
than all the men in the combined armies of the world? Do
they not also give some insight into the causes leading to
the present great war? Too greedy drinking at the force
A number of shining milestones of crucial discovery and
invention could be set forth, showing how one invention
has led to another, and how engineering of today has grown
on the practice of the past, but this is not possible in the
scope of this paper.
It may be wise to dwell on three discoveries, or inventions,
that have been developed since the McKay Endowment was
established; namely, the automobile, the aeroplane, and the
securing and fixation of nitrogen from the air.
The seed of the automobile was sown by the slow, lumber-
ing Trevethick steam carriage in 1802 over 116 years ago
but it was not until after the making of the McKay be-
quest that the petrol and gasoline automobile had its devel-
opment. Its creation was a triumph of the patient en-
deavor of mechanical engineering, supplemented by the help
of the engineering brotherhood; it has given man racing
chariots so swift that the accomplishments of those in the
stadiums of old seem tortoise marches. The speed chariots
have been followed by other motor vehicles now considered
almost a necessity.
Is it not lack of all-round culture not to know why the
automobile runs ?
Langley's aerodrome, though sound in principle, made its
false start only in 1896. By aid of the mechanical engineer, -
the Wright Brothers' flight was made possible in 1908.
Again, has not the prosy mechanical engineer, with his
brethren, given man wings swifter and stronger than those
of the eagle, and which may prove the decisive factor in
this terrible war?
Is it not ignorance not to have some comprehension of why
the aeroplane flies?
The manufacture of nitrogenous compounds from the air
is a matter of only seven or eight years past. In this the
chemist takes first place, but he had to be backed by his
brother engineers. The significance of the accomplishment
is that man has obtained from the air the most necessary
ingredient for his thundering guns. It calls to mind the
Prometheus fable, for man has stolen Jupiter's thunder-
bolts, and possibly is being punished for his presumption by
the slaughter of his best youths by the Krupp shells. There
is balm even in this, for if we look deep and far enough
we find that the nitrogren thunderbolts filched from the air
can be made into fertilizers as well as shells and make
two blades of grass grow where before there was but one.
Will it not soon be a brand of ignorance not to know how
man has been able to steal Jupiter's thunderbolts?
What, in fact, is the meaning of the great manufacture
and distribution of force that has taken place of late years ?
Is it not again the scientist, inventor, and engineer in all
branches who has created an Aladdin's lamp which, when
properly rubbed, brings millions, yes billions, of obedient
Have not the men who have done these things much to
give? Their mental and character fibre will be crucially
and thoroughly tried out by the cleansing fires of war, and,
although they may come out of it less in numbers, I am bold
to prophesy they will in courage and efficiency come through
Alumni of Harvard, have you not as great need for such
men in your halls and annals as they have need of you?
The war will certainly accentuate the usefulness and im-
portance of the great engineers in all branches of the profes-
sion, and the student material will be more and more de-
sired by the universities and schools of this country.
Harvard cannot obtain the best students merely by us-
ing the money from the McKay Endowment. Harvard
University must make them feel and give expression
through its President, Fellows, teachers, students, and alum-
ni to the thought that it needs and wants the student of sci-
ence, both pure and applied, to round out and make perfect
and enduring its best culture, and that it welcomes the sci-
entific student heartily and does not consider his training a
Unless this can be done, it is right and natural for the
student of applied science to go where the "glad hand"
The writer is of the belief that Harvard has now the
material resources within its grasp to lay the foundations
for an applied-science department second to none in this
country in point of excellence and usefulness. The work,
however, must be undertaken with courage and hope, and
no patchwork arrangement with the Institute allowed to dull
and paralyze initiative and effort.
There is need for all that both Harvard and Tech can
give for the training of the future engineer, and the fear of
wasteful and overlapping effort seems to the writer more
imaginary than real ; wholesome, friendly competition in
similar fields might result in a good tonic to both, rather than
any serious detriment.
Effort has been made here to show that Harvard Univer-
sity, between 1885 and 1906, had incorporated in her teach-
ing and student body a thriving and progressively-growing
scientific school without such material aid as the McKay
Endowment Fund now permits.
In the foregoing the writer has tentatively given sugges-
tions which he considers helpful and wise for the future,
but he does not pretend to have elaborated them or put them
in form for final usefulness. His hope is that this article
will give information which others have not had so much
opportunity of obtaining as. he has had, and that his sug-
gestions may be stimuli for further and better suggestions.
In conclusion, it may be said that one of the great and
good things of the McKay Endowment is that it permits
experiments and even false starts without great injury to
the final usefulness of the Endowment Fund. The sooner,
however, comprehensive plans for slow growth are laid
down and cultivated, the greater its usefulness in this gener-
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