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Benefactions to Universities: British and American

    Naturevolume 115pages629631 (1925) | Download Citation



    ANY attempt to apply to such matters as gifts and bequests to universities the methods of scientific investigation is beset by peculiar difficulties. To begin with, no complete tabulated statistics of such benefactions are in existence. Many of them are not in the form of money, and their money value is not easily ascertainable; public announcements of gifts of houses and lands often do not indicate their value, and bequests are often subject to indeterminate charges, or in the form of residuary estates regarding which no further public announcement is made. The figures to be given in this article have, therefore, no pretensions to exactitude. Further, if we proceed to use available data, such as they are, for purposes of comparison, inference, and prediction, it is soon apparent that the flow of benefactions is as little subject to ascertainable laws and its course as difficult to predict as if it were “the gentle rain from heaven.” An illustration of this difficulty is afforded by comparing the benefactions, as recorded in the “Universities Yearbook,” of the years 1913–14 and 1923–24.

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