Education: Historian's Heritage

Columbia University was delighted and flabbergasted to read in the papers last week that it had inherited some $2 million. Its benefactor was a competent but obscure historian named Frederic Bancroft,* who died in Washington last fortnight.

The news presented two mysteries: 1) how a historian came by such a fortune; 2) why he bequeathed it to Columbia. Investigation soon disclosed that Bancroft, born in Galesburg, Ill. and an Amherst A.B., had taken his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1885, and lectured there for a year.

Except for other brief tenures as lecturer, Bancroft held only one other notable job, as librarian of...

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