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Harvard College by an Oxonian

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Abstract

DR. BIRKBECK HILL spent two months in 1893 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has compiled this little volume giving some account of the history of the celebrated college and university of Harvard. So far as Dr. Hill relies upon previous publications, his account is accurate, but his own observations and impressions are—as is very natural—often quite erroneous. Scant justice is done to the important and costly arrangements for the study of the various branches of the natural sciences which exist either at or in connection with the Massachusetts university. Dr. Hill is not fitted by his own education and experience to report on these mattersr nor, indeed, can much value be attached to his somewhat antiquated standpoint as a critic or observer of university institutions. He contrasts Oxford and Harvard at every step, but he fails to give any picture or presentation of the real characteristics of the student's life at Harvard. He does not sufficiently emphasise the fact that the undergraduate at Harvard enjoys the immense benefit of true university education, at the hands of distinguished professors, with freedom and independence in regard to his choice and method of study, and as to such personal details of life as board and lodging; whereas the Oxford undergraduate is treated throughout his career as a goose to be nursed, monopolized and plucked by college ushers, who (owing to the system under which they are appointed) are, as a rule, as litile capable of good teaching as they are of managing the domestic and disciplinary details of the college-boarding-houses. Dr. Hill notes that the rage for athletics is almost as serious an injury to study at. Harvard as it is at Oxford.

Harvard College by an Oxonian.

By George Birkbeck Hill (London: Macmillan and Co., 1894.)

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