N.B. This chapter is under
North Dakota History.
History before Libby:
Horace B. Woodworth and the Study of History at the University of North Dakota
While most scholars regard Orin G.
Libby as the “Father of North Dakota History”, he was not the first man to
teach history nor was he the first individual to hold the position of Professor
of History at the University of North Dakota.
Horace B. Woodworth held these honors.
The former farmer from Southern part of Dakota
Territory taught history as well as philosophy, math, and even
astronomy at the University of North Dakota from its inception in 1885 to his
retirement in 1904. From 1902-1904 he
held the rank of Professor of History at the University. In contrast to Libby’s relatively
well-established professional credentials, Woodworth held a more fluid and
ambiguous position both within the discipline of history and at the university
reflecting the important changes to both of these institutions at the turn of
the century. Consequently, the context
for Woodworth’s appointment to the university and his career preserve important
perspectives on the early years of higher education in state.
Woodworth’s story intersects with
the history of the University of North Dakota and the history of history as a
recognized academic disciplines in the United States. Woodworth’s migration from the Professor of Mathematics,
Physics, and Astronomy to Professor of Moral and Mental
Science to the Professor of History at the University of North Dakota was
contemporaneous with the creation of the professional infrastructure of the
historical discipline, most notably, the American Historical Association, which
was intended among other things to establish the integrity of the discipline by
developing a coherent set of professional standards. The role of the American Historical
Association and its founders, particularly Henry Baxter Adams, in transforming
the discipline in the United
States from the domain of dedicated and
erudite amateurs and to credentialed professionals is relatively well known. The one factor that has not necessary been
fully appreciated is that the transition from amateur historians to
professionalized discipline was not simple a tug-of-war between a faction within
and outside of the modern university. In
many cases, like at the University
of North Dakota, the
transition from so-called amateur history to professional history occurred
within departments and even within the individual’s appointed to particular positions. In this regard, Woodworth represents a kind
of missing link between the soon to be bygone days of amateur historians and
the professionalization of the discipline which Orin G. Libby’s arrival on
Like many missing links, exploring
Woodworth’s place in the evolution of the university and the discipline,
however, has proven to be particularly difficult. This is, in part, because of the lack of
information on Woodworth himself – despite his central role in the history of
the university – but also because of the dearth of sources on the universities
formative years in general. Some fragments of information appear in the
President’s annual reports to the board of trustees and the annual report of
the Department of History to the President which either exist as freestanding
documents or as embedded within the President’s Report to the Board of
Trustees. The minutes of the Board of
Trustees’ meeting for the first two decades of the university contain odd
references to Woodworth and his pursuits at the University. Woodworth appears infrequently in the
correspondence of Merrifield, Vernon Squires, Kennedy, and others. Unfortunately these correspondences contain
regrettably little information regarding the man himself, his influences, or
the reasoning behind the policies, events, and decisions that affected his role
at the university. Later reminiscences
offered by faculty members, the local press, and the Dakota Student, the University’s student newspaper, provide some
additional background and color, but little true substance. This general dearth of sources for the
University’s early years, plagues the two best studies of the University
history – Vernon P. and Duane Squires’s serialized history of the University
published in the late 1920s and early 1930s and Louis Geiger’s more expansive
later work. Without diminishing the difficulties
associated with the fragmentary record, one can see the source limitations
presented in the study as a byproduct of the very process of professionalization
that this study seeks to examine. The
absence of comprehensive, bureaucratic records reflects, at least in part, the
informality of life at the University in its first few decades where jotted
notes, hastily composed reports, and impromptu visits provided structure for
university affairs as much as carefully composed epistles and memoranda.
Despite these limitations,
Woodworth’s career remains sufficiently significant to serve as the center
piece of this study. It will do this by
both attempt to piece together Woodworth’s place within the transformations of
the University in its first two decades and by comparing his experiences to the
experiences of his peers at the University of North Dakota and, more
frequently, at other institutions in the larger region. The following chapter examines three
particular elements of this transitional time.
First, it will consider how Woodworth’s position within the university
shifted as the goals of the University changed.
Second, it will contextualize the relationship between Woodworth’s
pedagogy and scholarship and the broader field of history. Finally, it will consider the place of
Woodworth in Grand Forks’
society and the memories of the students and faculty.
Physics, and Astronomy to History
From an institutional standpoint, Woodworth’s career path was not
terribly unusual in his time. Born in
1830, he grew up farming in rural Vermont and
graduated from Dartmouth
in 1854 at the age of 24. Upon graduation he continued to farm while
serving as the principal of several New England
boarding schools through the latter 1850s.
By 1861, he had earned a degree Hartford Theological Seminary and
preached in Connecticut and New Hampshire. His choice of careers, first in teaching and
then in the ministry, was not unusual for Dartmouth College
students in 1850s. His formative years there were spent in an
institution steeped in the educational traditions of the 19th
century which saw the university primarily as a “paternal organization in which
the president and the faculty watched over their congregation to insure their
spiritual, moral, and intellectual progress.” There was, needless to say, little interested
in peer-reviewed scholarship or academic achievement per se. Less concerned with academic success, many Dartmouth students, especially the sons of farmers from
rural New England, sought the skills
credentials to succeed in changing economic and social conditions of the 19th
century, and as might be expected many of them moved west. Woodworth followed this trend and left New
England first to serve as the pastor in Congregational churches in Charles City
and Decorah, Iowa
for several years, before moving to Mt.
Vernon in what is now South Dakota to farm in
the early 1880s. In 1884 owing perhaps to his acquaintance
with a member of the University of North Dakota’s Board of Regents, F. R. Fulton, whom
he had known in Iowa,
he was hired by the University, an institution that was scarcely a year old, as
Professor of Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy.
His appointment in this capacity may appear to be an odd beginning for a
man who would come to inaugurate the Department of History, but it reflects the
transformative era of higher education from which the University emerges. Woodworth was hired by Henry Montgomery and
Webster Merrifield in 1885 who had emerged from the tumultuous first years of
the University of North Dakota which included the dismissal of the first
University President, William Blackburn, as responsible for both preparing the
curriculum and hiring sufficient faculty to teach it. Merrifield’s had graduated from Yale College
in 1878 during Noah Porter’s term as College President. Porter held strong opinions favoring the
maintenance of a conservative curriculum emphasizing Latin, Greek, and moral
education. In the early 1880s, he becomes known for his
rejection of the elective system emerging at Harvard and other progressive East
Coast universities and the preservation of the most traditional aspects of the
American college education. Merrifield’s background mated well with Montgomery’s conservative educational roots amidst the
strong English influence present in Eastern Canada to produce a curriculum for
the University of
North Dakota that
emphasized Classical education and values. It would have also sat well with the Board of
Regents of the University, men like James Twamley, William T. Collins, and
Charles E. Teel, who all held degrees earned from east coast colleges around
the mid century.
Both Merrifield and Montgomery were certainly attuned to the debate over
whether a practical or more traditional curriculum was appropriate. The president of the University of Minnesota,
William Folwell, had been ousted in 1884, in part, by trustees and faculty who
favored more a traditional approach to university coursework. A year later, a similar scenario befell the
University of North Dakota’s first president, William Blackburn, who had
advocated a more practical and popular curriculum for the school. While the exact circumstances surrounding his
departure are not entirely clear, and may have also involved personal
differences with members of the Board of Trustees, he was relieved of duty
after serving but one year. Merrifield
and Montgomery served to fill the gap left by his departure and were
responsible for putting together the core of men to implement their ambitious,
if overly traditional, curriculum. This
group, which included Horace B. Woodworth, would be known as the first
Merrifield faculty (to distinguish it from the faculty hired by Merrifield
during his official term as President of the University from 1891-1909). They hired along with Woodworth, John Macnie
to be the Professor of English, French and German. He also had strong “traditionalist”
credentials with a B.A. from the University
of Glasgow in Scotland and an honorary M.A. from
Yale in 1874. Like Woodworth, he would be a fixture at the
University for years to come.
While it is difficult to assemble a complete picture of all those who
were willing and available to teach at the University when Woodworth was hired,
one candidate stands out and perhaps sheds light on the kind of men Merrifield
and Montgomery sought for their new faculty.
In 1885, the applicant pool for Woodworth’s position did not appear
particularly deep; he was one of two chosen from four applicants. Among his competition for the position was
Elwood Mead from Lafayette,
Indiana who had applied to be a
Professor of Mathematics or History.
Elwood Mead gives his name to Lake Mead
for his service as the head of the Bureau of Reclamation from 1924-1936 during
which time the Hoover Dam was built.
Mead’s training, a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University,
was hardly more suited to teaching history than Woodworth. His degree, however, was from an
unapologetically practical university in contrast to Woodworth’s background as
a preacher and a teacher from Dartmouth
Interestingly enough, despite the interest of some qualified men, there
was clear concern regarding the absence of a historian on the University
faculty. The first catalogue of the
University in 1884-1885, for the Arts Course required history of Freshmen (Greece and Rome),
Second Years (European and English History), and Third Years (Constitutional
History of England and the United
States), and it was offered as an elective
for Seniors. In the early years of the University when
there were few qualified students the lack of such required classes, especially
for upper classmen, was less of a concern than the dearth of classes for first
year students or students at the college preparatory level. In 1885-1886 Macnie, the Professor of
English, French and German taught Greek history and in 1886-1887 he taught
Roman, Greek, and English History.
Woodworth taught some history in the preparatory department which in the
early years of the University housed more students than the university
department itself. Montgomery and
Merrifield, however, were aware that the lack of a fulltime professor of
history was one of the principal needs of the young university. Montgomery opined in his
second report to the board of Trustee’s in June of 1885:
“But probably the greatest need of all is a fund for the employment of first
class men to take charge of chairs in Metaphysics, History, the Physical
Sciences, and Pedagogics. By a draft on
the energies of the Professor of Modern Languages instruction in History and
Mental Science may be carried on for another year, but this cannot be continued
It is doubtful, however, that Montgomery and Merrifield recognized the
need for a professional historian. In
fact, the first graduate program in history in the U.S.
had begun less than a decade earlier under Henry Baxter Adams at Johns Hopkins
in Baltimore. It was only in 1884 with encouragement from
Daniel Coit Gilman, President of Johns Hopkins, H. B. Adams and others such as
Andrew D. White, President of Cornell, that Baxter, Jameson and others had
founded the American Historical Association as part of a broader effort to
establish the fixtures of a professional identity. Nevertheless, the creation of the AHA was not
an immediate cornerstone of professional identity. It was largely populated by amateur
historians, a handful of foreign trained scholars, and some teachers of
undergraduates, as graduate training in history was almost unheard of in the
U.S; at late as 1984, in over 400 universities and colleges in the U.S. there
were only 20 fulltime history teachers and less than 30 graduate students. Despite the dearth of individuals with
professional credentials and the novelty of formal graduate education in the U.S., in February of 1884 – a year before
Woodworth or Mead had applied – Merrifield received a letter from Edward W.
Bemis, the principal of the Marcy Grammar School in Minneapolis asking whether the University
would be interested in his services to teach history. Bemis was an early graduate of the Johns
Hopkins seminar in history and offered as references Adams and Gilman. There is no evidence that he received
consideration for the position. He goes
on to teach economics at the University
of Chicago from which he
was famously dismissed in 1895 for criticizing the Rockefeller gas monopoly.
policies of the University, however, began to change with arrival of Homer Sprague on campus in 1887 who held markedly different attitudes toward
the qualifications of its faculty. Sprague, while also Yale graduate differed
considerable from Merrifield, was also well-connected and friendly with many of
the important figures involved in the transformation of American University
life in the latter years of the 19th century. He counted among his friends, Andrew D.
White, who taught history at the University
of Michigan and was an
inaugural member of the American Historical Association, and from childhood
Gilman, the President of Johns Hopkins responsible for hiring Henry Baxter
Adams and a supporter of the AHA. Men like these supported the development of
History as a discipline and its place within the academy, and clearly
influenced Sprague’s idea of a university as “preparing the young to be
valuable members of the body politic.” This “utility oriented” approach to
university education was tied closely then in philosophy and institutional
roots to the development of the professional standards. By 1888, Sprague had hired Ludovic Estes to
replace Woodworth as the Professor of Mathematics, Physics, and
Astronomy. Estes held a Ph.D. in Physics from Michigan and worked hard to develop
laboratory science at the university which was seen as a key contribution to a
useful education. As a result of Estes hiring, Woodworth
moved to Chair of Didactics, Mental, and Moral Science and Principal of the
Normal Department. By 1890, he would
have as part of his responsibilities the requirement to teach history.
This is the context, then, of Woodworth’s brief stop as the Chair of Didactics,
Mental, and Moral Science and Principal of the Normal Department and his final
arrival in 1890 as the chair of the Department of History. The actual workings of this shift are
clear. Woodworth did not like the
position as principal of the Normal Department, which was primarily responsible
for teaching secondary school teachers in the state, and felt that it detracted
from his lectures in History and Mental and Moral Science. By 1890, Woodworth asserted his hope that “the course in History
may be more fully developed in the near future and that it may be giving the
prominence which its importance demands,”
and he duly appeared as the Professor of Mental and Moral Science and
History. In this new position Woodworth
begins to prepare a more complete and consistent offering of University level
history courses – namely in 1890 offering a course to juniors on the
constitutional history of England
and course on the History of Civilization for students in the Letters Course
(which required less math and had a stronger emphasis on literature). These
classes were complemented by courses in logic, psychology, and the history of
philosophy. Woodworth’s brief statements
on pedagogy or educational philosophy suggest the link between his classes in
philosophy, psychology, and history; in his report for 1890 he explains that
teaching psychology partially as a lecture and partially as a recitation was
“to encourage habit of independent thinking and thorough investigation.”
It goes without saying that these habits of the mind fit within the character
of Sprague’s conception of the University, even if the Woodworth lacked the
professional status that graduate departments of history and organizations such
as the AHA would come to imparted in their members. His new title, on the other hand, reflected
an awareness on the part of the administration that narrower, more professional
disciplinary focuses were becoming the norm at institutions throughout the U.S.
Sprague had resigned as president of the University and Merrifield succeeded
him. Merrifield’s attitudes toward the
function of the university had changed markedly over the preceding years,
something that he himself acknowledged.
According to Geiger, Merrifield characterized the Merrifield-Montgomery
curriculum as “grotesque.” A good example of the transformation of
Merrifield’s direction came in 1891 when Woodworth had suffered a prolonged
illness which kept him from many of his normal teaching duties. At the same time, the Principal of the Normal
Department, George Hodge, moved to become the Director of the newly created
Conservatory of Music established. In
response to these two events, Merrifield hired Willis M. West, the
Superintendent of Faribault Schools, to serve as the Principal of the Normal
School and Professor of History. While
not a product of the august east coast seminars in history, West held a B.A.
and M.A. from the University
of Minnesota. His subsequent career trajectory, however,
provides an interesting counterpoint to Woodworth’s. West’s stayed at the University of North
Dakota’s only briefly, and by the end of 1892, he returned to the University of
Minnesota to take the place of Professor Harry Pratt Judson who had been hired
away by the University of Chicago where he would ultimately come to be the head
of the Department of Political Science as well as the President of the
University. Judson was an important figure in the
development of the study of history at the University of Minnesota. He had encouraged the development of history
as a matter of study at the Minnesota
as well as “pedagogics,” serving with the title Professor of History and
lecturer on Pedagogy there. West followed Judson’s lead in combining the
study of history and pedagogy at the University
of Minnesota for two
decades and writing some of the most influential history textbooks in U.S.
History. The failure of the University
of North Dakota to retain his services prompted Merrifield to note: “His
resignation is great loss to the University and causes deep regret that the
University is not in a position to pay such salaries to professors at least now
who will not be tempted to similar institutions in surrounding states by the
salaries there paid. I fully believe it
would be the soundest wisdom for the University to pay its professors $2500 a
year and call no man to its professorship who are not worthy and would not be
able to command an equivalent salary elsewhere.”
At the same
time as the University of North Dakota and University
of Minnesota were working to establish
a faculty of history, other universities in the Midwest
likewise sought to invest in creating departments in line with the developing
professional standards. In 1890, the University of Wisconsin hired a young Johns Hopkins
Ph.D. candidate, Frederick Jackson Turner to replace his supervisor there,
William Francis Allen who died in 1889 having taught history and ancient
languages. Allen like many of the faculty
of his day did not have a Ph.D., but established credentials from Harvard and
later from work at Berlin
and Göttingen. His
scholarly production ranged from European history, to recorded Slave songs from
the American South, to a significant contribution to G. Stanley Hall’s Methods of Teaching History. Allen, like Woodworth and Judson, had come of
age prior to the professionalization of the discipline, but he, nevertheless,
adapted and contributed to the changing standards of the day. He began to teach history at the University of Wisconsin in the mid 1870s, and he
believed himself to be among the first to make American History a requirement
in 1879-1880. Turner, in contrast, was in the process of
earning his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins under the tutelage of Adams and Richard T.
Ely. His research interests would remain, to a
certain extent, narrower than his predecessor at Wisconsin, but his teaching interests
remained every bit as broad. He reports
to Adams in 1889 that he was teaching “French Revolution, Primitive Society,
Dynastic and Territorial History of the Middle Ages, Constitutional History of
and a seminary in History of the Northwest.” With the arrival of Clarence Haskins,
Turner’s classmate at Johns Hopkins in 1890, and Turner’s successful completion
of his Ph.D. in the same year, the Department of History at Wisconsin had two historians with Turner
serving as Professor of American History and Haskins as Professor of
Institutional History. At that time
Turner taught American Constitutional History, American Colonial History,
Nineteenth Century, and seminary, and Haskins taught English History, English
Constitutional History, History of Institutions, Greek History, and
seminary. Turner and Haskins, both of
whom held Ph.D.s and were to become prolific scholars, as well as Presidents of
the AHA, were hired by the University
of Wisconsin for $2000 a
year. It would seem that Merrifield’s complaint
about the low salaries of University
of North Dakota faculty
in the early 1890s was not entirely justified.
Woodworth, Allen, Judson and West carved their positions in the field of
history out of a number of pre-existing disciplines and interests in the
academy. These scholars saw history as a
discipline as having particularly close ties to long standing concerns within
the academy ranging from pedagogy to ancient languages, to the more broadly
construed moral and mental sciences.
This contrasts the next generation of scholars who establish their
professional credentials in the seminars of Germany, Johns Hopkins and
elsewhere which tended to focus on particular problems distinct to specific
times and places in the past. Despite
these differences, it was the interaction between these two groups of scholars
that ensured the discipline of history had a solid base in the modern
Teacher and Scholar
It would be
easy based on credentials alone to emphasize the difference between a scholar
like William F. Allen and his successor Frederick
Jackson Turner or
ultimately Horace B. Woodworth and his more august successor Orin G.
Libby. To do this, however, would be to
overlook both the developments within the institutional structure of the
university and the work of men like Woodworth and Allen at their respective
institutions. A closer examination of Woodworth’s role in establishing both a
curriculum and contributing to the scholarly discourse in the discipline of
history will demonstrate that the professionalization of the discipline of
history was not entirely externally stimulated.
Not only did Woodworth continuously revise his curriculum, but he also
produced published works that showed both an awareness of larger scholarly
trends and a commitment to pedagogy.
earliest offerings at the University in the field of history reflected late 19th
century interests in institutional and constitutional history epitomized in the
work of Adam’s seminar at Johns Hopkins and concomitant with an understanding
of historical study as a way to ensure good and conscientious citizenship. In 1886-1887, Woodworth offered classes in
the Constitutional History of England and the Constitutional History of the United States
using the then recently-translated Hermann von Holst’s, The Constitutional and Political History of the United States, as
the textbook. Adams and others of the burgeoning
professionalization movement greatly admired Von Holst’s work for its “most
impartial and scientific treatment.” While it is impossible to know what, exactly,
Woodworth taught in his classes, it is worth noting that works like von
Holst’s, while carrying on the standard Whig interpretations of history
reflected the modern state of scholarship in the discipline. Ten years later in the Catalogue of
1895-1896, Woodworth showed professional development in his use of course
material. While he still relied on the Israel Ward Andrews’ rather outdated textbook
Manual of the Constitution of the United
States and assigned the work of the
amateur historian George Ticknor Curtis, these
works are listed alongside it not only the work of von Holst as well as the
works of and the professional practitioner Woodrow Wilson. It is from the latter, more professionalized
branches of this intellectual tree that O. G. Libby would spring with his early
works on Constitutional History.
It is well known that the professionalization project in the discipline
of history was as rooted in a particular method – most notably the seminar and
the emphasis on the careful reading of actual documents, but it was not
detached from a topical element. In G.
Stanley Hall’s much cited, Methods of
Teaching History, Adams recommends not
only the study and writing of local history, but of a kind that seeks to
establish “the constitutional basis of local self-government in church and
state.” Along these lines he commends the work of J. Macy at Iowa College
(later Grinnell College)
is “one of the most active pioneers in teaching ‘the real homely facts of
government’ and who in 1881 published a little tract in Civil Government in Iowa.” Macy’s tract, published by Adams series, Johns Hopkins University Studies in
Historical and Political Science, includes a rather detailed discussion of
the development of the Iowa
constitution. While Macy’s work may have been of a finer
quality with a greater emphasis on contextualizing narrative and the
preservation and reconstruction of the affairs of the earliest settlers in Iowa, it is not
fundamentally dissimilar from Woodworth’s relatively modest scholarly effort, The Government of the People of the State of
North Dakota. Eldredge and Brother,
a textbook publisher in Philadelphia, published
the work both separately as well as bundled with Newton Thorpe’s The Government of the Nation: A Course in
Civil Government based on the Government of the United States. In the preface, Woodworth notes: “the new
interest in the study of Civics is a hopeful sign. But the study ought not to be confined the
study of the Constitution of the United States. Home government in the township, in the
county, and in the State has more to do than the national government, in
matters connected with the home, family, and daily life of the citizen.” It begins with a twenty page history of the
state before a chapter detailing the basic narrative of the states founding. The bulk of its pages, however, are committed
to a detailed analysis – almost of an exegetical nature – of the content,
institutional apparatus, and, in some cases, reasoning behind the text of the
constitution. Perhaps it is more useful
to contrast Woodworth’s book with that of the former President of the
University, William Blackburn’s which details the history of the territory and
early statehood of the Dakotas. Blackburn’s
work apparently written during 1892 and published 1902 with revised notes and
forward in De Lorme W. Robinson, is highly fragmentary and primarily anecdotal
in nature. It lacks the bent toward institutional
history characteristic of the professionalization of history in the latter
years of the 19th century as well as the emphasis on primary sources
(in Woodworth’s case this involved including the complete text of the
Constitution). One can, of course,
object to this comparison as involving two different genres but during a period
when the genre of history itself was just beginning to be formalized, but the
comparison nevertheless would seem to place Woodworth more firmly in the
evolving, professionalized school emphasizing institutional and Constitutional
history than in the less formal school of historical writing manifest in
Blackburn’s work. Woodworth’s book is
only surpassed in 1910 when James E. Boyle wrote The Government of North Dakota.
A greater affirmation of Woodworth’s understanding of the professional
discourse perhaps emerges in the curriculum that he established over his long
career which remained relatively stable even after his retirement and Libby’s
arrival and promotion. Both shared an
interest in institutional and Constitutional history, and it is unsurprising
that the core courses – those of U.S. and English History persisted
well into the 20th century as Course 1 in the catalogue of
history. Even after the myriad changes
that shaped the modern university – the emergence of the pure elective system,
the move to semesters, the slow growth of the faculty available to the
Department of History – there remained an emphasis on institutional and
Constitutional history. This, of course,
is no surprise as Woodworth’s famous successor Orin G. Libby wrote his
dissertation, and probably his most important work, on the U.S. Constitution.
Woodworth: Man and Society
The final key element of the
professionalization process evident in the career of Horace B. Woodworth is
that his work as a historian provided him with his income rather than previously
acquired or long held wealth. While the
social standing and backgrounds necessary to gain access academic positions
varied among the rapidly changing universities during the late 19th
and early 20th century, initially, at least, the opportunity of paid
teaching positions in the discipline opened to individuals of more modest means
than their 19th century predecessors. Salaries earned by teaching provided these
individuals with the time and resources for research and writing at the same
time that AHA sought to establish professional standards that replaced
stylistic elegance with rigid and almost mechanical precision characteristic of
the modernist cult of objectivity.
While little is specific detail is
known of Woodworth’s financial situation, there is no reason to assume that he
was wealthy. In fact, he spent much of
his life farming, first in Vermont and then in
various places in the Midwest. A modest rural background would have been in
keeping with many of Dartmouth
College’s students. With
his appointment at the university his salary was $2000 a year consistent with
other faculty of his rank. This would
have allowed him to live comfortably in town – he lived in a modest house at 815 S. 5th St.
in Grand Forks
– and to enjoy the benefits of a middle class lifestyle. Although as his position as a professor at
the University would have afforded him some social clout as well as
responsibilities, he spent some of his on charitable activities. In a statement read by Vernon Squires, Joseph
Kennedy and M.A. Brannon into the minutes on the occasion of Woodworth’s
retirement in 1904, it is noted that he contributed money to the university’s
Woodworth’s family life likewise seems consistent with a middle class and
perhaps upwardly mobile existence. He
had two daughters, and it is possible to gain some sense of his position in the
community and American society by considering their lives. Alice Woodworth Cooley worked in the
administration of the Minneapolis
city schools and co-authored a well-regarded English grammar. In 1901 she returned to Grand
Forks to take up a position in the School of Education
before she retired in 1905 she was the Assistant Professor of Education. She also taught for a semester her father’s
course titled The
Reformation as an European Event in the 1901-1902 academic year when he was
ill. With a well-developed professional
reputation and access to
solidly middle class society, she married C. F. Cooley who would become a local
judge. Woodworth’s other daughter,
Henrietta (Hattie) Woodworth also taught at the University briefly in music in
1889, although her father objected to her appointment. She married W. A. Gordon a New
York City native and Amherst
graduate who made his fortune as a real estate developer and insurance
broker. He was for many years a
prominent citizen in Grand Forks and a staunch
supporter of the university in the crisis of the 1890s at one point travelling
with Merrifield to Bismarck
to lobby on the university’s behalf. The intermarrying of Woodworth’s daughters
with members of the local “gentry” is a good indication that the Woodworth
family was not limited by the later breach between “town and gown”. Recalling the situation perhaps 15 years
later, Orin G. Libby’s eldest son, Charles, noted that university families
tended to live near one another and children of the university professors did
not necessarily play with the children in town. While the information of Woodworth himself
remains modest, his family demonstrated access to middle and upper class
society in Grand Forks.
Despite the appearance that
Woodworth circulated among the elite society of Grand Forks, there are some indications that
Woodworth himself remained dependent upon income from his position at the
university. After he retired he received
a modest pension from the university of $600 a year and professor emeritus
standing. Webster Merrifield, who had
been in regular contact with Carnegie Foundation in an effort to secure funds
for a new library, in 1906 inquired whether Woodworth would be eligible for a
Carnegie Fund Pension. In this letter Merrifield specifically cited
his friend’s former salary of $2000 a year.
Woodworth did not live to hear that he had been awarded a Carnegie
Pension. The letter announcing that he
had been awarded a Carnegie Pension of $1000 a year for life arrived two days
after his funeral in 1907.
Placing Horace B. Woodworth’s career
at the University of North Dakota in its professional, academic, and social
context provides a distinct insight into the emergence of history as a
profession at the University of North Dakota.
The goal of this brief chapter was to offer a gentle corrective on the
idea that the professionalization project in the discipline of history sprung
fully formed from several prestigious intellectual hubs (Harvard, Johns
Hopkins, later Wisconsin and elsewhere) whence
properly qualified individuals streamed forth to pollinate universities
throughout the U.S.
This model, with its emphasis on academic prosopography at the expense of
individual development, posits that the main impetus for the development of
history as a profession was external to the structure and faculty of the
university. While Orin G. Libby’s status
as “Father of North Dakota History” should in no way be diminished, his arrival
at the University of North Dakota in 1902 deserves a more refined context. The case study of Woodworth shows that creating
space in the university dedicated for the “Professor of History” preceded the
appointment of an individual, like Libby, who held the typical array of
scholarly credentials characteristic of the discipline at the turn of the
century. In many cases the intelligent
and intellectually qualified individuals who served at Professors of History
transformed their own identities to accommodate, in some capacity, many of the
professional standards projected from Henry Baxter Adam’s seminars and the
increasing emphasis on formal rigor encouraged by the American Historical
Association and academic publications.
This internal transition at University of North Dakota was, on the one
hand, the product of limited resources, disparate and changing priorities of
the university, and the growing competition for the limited scholars with
professional credentials. On the other
hand, it speaks to the general effectiveness of Woodworth as a member of the
faculty. His ability to transform his
own credentials in response to national expectations is clear in his publications
and the persistence and sophistication of the curriculum that he
implemented. Woodworth’s standing in Grand Forks society,
however, emphasizes that he was not perceived as an outsider bringing a foreign
profession to the prairie, but rather like many of the locals a man determined
to make good in a changing environment.
 J. F. Jameson, “The American Historical
Association 1884-1909,” AHR 15
(1909), 1-20; John
Higham, History (Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 16-19; P.
Novick, That Noble Dream, (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1988), 47-60.
 L. Geiger, University of the Northern Plains.
(Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota Press, 1958), 457-460
provides a brief survey of the material available.
 V. P. Squires, “Early Days at the
University,” The Quarterly
Journal of the University of North Dakota 18.1 (1927), 4-15; --, “The University of
North Dakota, 1885-1887,” The Quarterly
Journal of the University of North Dakota
18.2 (1928), 105-118; --, “President Sprague’s Administration,
1887-1891,” The Quarterly Journal of the
University of North Dakota 18.3
(1928), 201-230; --, “The First Quadrennium Under President Merrifield,” The Quarterly Journal of the University of
North Dakota 18.4 (1928), 313-344;
D. Squires, “The University Attains its Majority: 1901-1905” The Quarterly Journal of the University of
North Dakota 21.4 (1931), 293-317; Geiger, The University, passim.
 Contra Geiger, The University, 52-53 who dates Woodworth’s B.A. from Dartmouth to 1857.
 M. Tobias, Old Dartmouth on Trial: The Transformation of the Academic
Community in Nineteenth Century America. (New York: New York University Press, 1982),
 Tobias, Old Dartmouth, 23.
 “His Illness Proves Fatal,” Grand Forks Evening Daily Herald, December 22, 1906, 6.
 Geiger, The
 L.R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American
University. (Chicago : University of Chicago Press,
 Veysey, The Emergence, 51-53.
 Geiger, The University, 41-44.
 Geiger, The
University, 11. Novick, Noble Dream, 63-67 for a general
discussion of the role of Boards of Regents in appointing faculty.
 J. Gray, The University of Minnesota 1851-1951. (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1951), 66-70; Veysey, The Emergence, 69.
 Geiger, The University, 53-54.
 Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Trustees. Vol. 1. 115, 128. University Archives.
Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz
Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 University of North Dakota
Catalogue 1884-1885. (Grand Forks 1885), 12-18
This list varies from the courses listed by Gieger, The University, 42. This may
be because of the fluidity of the early curriculum or a simple mistake.
 T. L. Haskell, The
Emergence of Professional Social Science. (Urbana, IL: University of
Illinois Press, 1977), 168-177 for a nice, concise discussion of the creation
of the AHA.
 Higham, History, 4; Jameson, “The American Historical Association,” 3.
Novick, Noble Dream, 47-50.
 Webster Merrifield to Edward Bemis
[Bernis]. February 14, 1884. Orin G. Libby Manuscripts Collection, Merrifield
Papers, Collection 146, Box
2, File 4. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections,
Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 David Hogan and Clarence Karier, “Professionalizing the Role
of ‘Truth Seekers’,” Interchange 9:2
(1978-1979), 47; Novick, Noble Dream,
 Geiger, The University, 65-67.
 Geiger, The University, 65.
 Geiger, The
 Higham, History, 10-12.
 Squires, “President Sprague’s Administration,” 214.
 Report to the Board of
Vol. 3., pp. 102-103. University Archives. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections,
Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 Report to the Board of
Vol. 3., pp. 102-103. University Archives. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections,
Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 Geiger, The
 Squires, “The First Quadrennium Under President
Merrifield,” 319-320. It is worth noting
that the academic “rumor mill” functioned just as nimbly in those days. Clarence Haskins, in a letter to Henry B. Adams
comments that Judson’s move the Chicago “ought to be a good opening for someone”
at Minnesota (see: W. Stull Holt ed., Historical
Scholarship in America, 1876-1901, As revealed in the Correspondence of Herbert
Baxter Adams. (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1938), 163)
 Gray, The University of Minnesot, 87 and 109. A position he would hold briefly at the University of Chicago before being replaced by the
German trained Americanist Hermann von Holst.
See: T. W. Goodspeed, A History of
the University of
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1916), 207-210.
 Allan G. Bogue,
Frederick Jackson Turner: Strange Roads Going Down. (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1998), 21-23.
 Holt, Historical
 Bogue, Strange
 Holt, Historical
 Billington, Frederick
Jackson Turner: Historian, Scholar, Teacher. (New York: Oxford University Press 1973), 88.
 It was not until 1901 that John G. Halland was hired to teach history at the Agricultural College
in Fargo. He had served as the Superintendent of Public
Instruction in the state of North Dakota from
1896-1900 and had held an A.M. having attended Luther
College in Iowa,
Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Valparaiso, and the
Chicago School of Psychology. While like West, Halland was notable for holding an advanced,
graduate degree, his background in secondary education, reflected continuing
close tie between history and pedagogy, rather than research, in the minds of
many university administrators at this point.
(W. C. Hunter, Beacon Across the Prairie: North Dakota’s Land-Grant College. (Fargo, ND:
North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies), 37.)
 Higham, History, 10-15.
 H. Von Holst, The
Constitutional and Political History of the United States. Vol 1. translated by John J. Lalor and Alfred B. Mason; v.3,
by John J. Lalor and Paul Shorey. (Chicago: Callaghan Co.,1876).
 H. B. Adams to Hermann Eduard von Holst in
Holt, Historical Scholarship,,
 I. W. Andrews, Manual
of the Constitution of the United
States. (Cincinnati: Wilson, Hinkle
& Co 1874). Most likely: George Ticknor Curtis, Constitutional history of the United States, from
their declaration of independence to the close of their civil war. 2
vols. Vol. 2 edited by J. C.
Clayton (New York: Harper and Co. 1889).
The formation of the discipline of history had regrettably passed Curtis
by. For a negative review of Curtis’s
work see: D. H. Chamberlain, Review of
G. T. Curtis, Constitutional history of
the United States, from
their declaration of independence to the close of their civil war. AHR 2 (1897), 549-555.
 W. Wilson,
Congressional Government: A study in
American politics. (Boston : Houghton, Mifflin, 1885); --, The state; elements of historical and
practical politics. (Boston: D. C. Heath & Co. 1889).
 For discussion of Libby’s place in the
discourse of Constitutional and Institutional history see: R. Wilkins, “Orin G.
Libby: His Place in the Historiography of the Constitution,” in O.G. Libby, The Geographical Distribution of the Vote of
the Thirteen States on the Federal Constitution 1787-1788. (Univerity of
North Dakota Press, Grand Forks 1969), 5-20.
James. H. Hutton, “The Creation of the Constitution: Scholarship at a
Standstill,” Reviews in American History
12 (1984), 463-477.
 G. Stanley Hall, Methods
of Teaching History. (Boston: Ginn and Company 1883), 163-164.
 J. Macy, Institutional Beginnings in a Western State. Johns Hopkins
University Studies in Historical and Political Science. Second Series. Vol. 7. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University:
Thorpe, The Government of the Nation: A
Course in Civil Government based on the Government of the United States. (Philadelphia: Eldriged and
 Woodworth, The Government of
the People of the State of North
Dakota . (Philadelphia: Eldriged and Bro. 1986) iii.
 William Blackburn, “A History of Dakota,” South
Dakota Historical Collections 1 (1902), 42-162.
 J.E. Boyle, The
Government of North Dakota.
(New York: American Book Company, 1910).
Boyle goes on to teach at Cornell and become an important figure in the
study of agricultural economics.
 O.G. Libby, The Geographical Distribution of the Vote of the Thirteen States on the
Federal Constitution 1787-1788. Economics,
Political Science, and History Series of the University of Wisconsin
1 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1894).
 Novick, Noble
Dream, 63-66. See: A. Creutz,
“Social Access to the Professions: Late Nineteenth-Century Academics at the University of Michigan As a Case Study,” Journal of Social History 15 (1981),
 Novick, Noble
 Higham, History,
 Minutes, University of North Dakota
Faculty Meeting, October 12, 1904.
University Archives. Elwyn B.
Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University
of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 D. Squires, “The University Attains its Majority:
1901-1905” The Quarterly Journal of the University of North Dakota 21.4 (1931), 298; Alice
Woodworth Cooley and W. F. Webster, The New
Webster-Cooley Course in English. 2
Vols. (Chicago: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1905).
 W. Sprague, President of the University
Report to the Board of Trustees of the University of North Dakota. Oct. 7th, 1889. University
Archives. Elwyn B. Robinson Department
of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota,
Grand Forks, ND.
 Geiger, The
 Charles Libby and Margaret Libby Barr
Interviewed by John Davenport on October 30, 1975. Orin G. Libby Manuscript
Collection. Oral History Interviews
Collection. Collection #1213, Box
1, File 15 Elwyn
Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University
of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
 Merrifield to Henry S. Pritchett. April
12, 1906. Orin G. Libby Manuscripts
Collection, Merrifield Papers, Collection 146, Box 2, File 2. Elwyn B. Robinson
Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North
Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
 The Dakota Student, Jan. 12, 1907. 4