Jacob Gould Schurman & the Russian Jews

November 25, 1905: Jacob H. Schiff received a letter today from Jacob G. Schurman, the President of Cornell University in which he enclosed his check “for the fund in relief of the suffering Jews of Russia whose terrible condition appeals to the universal heart of mankind.” Schurman, a native of Canada whose family came from the Netherlands wrote, “The atrocities of the Russian mob have been beyond all description or imagination. Such an exhibition of bigotry, intolerance and racial hatred has seldom if ever, disgraced the history of the mankind. And to crown the horrors of it, the fiendish mob invoke the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached good will to men…”  (with thanks to Mitchell Levin)

As Cornell’s president, Schurman helped invent the modern state-supported research university. Under the Morrill Act, states were obligated to fund the maintenance of land grant college facilities, but were not obligated to fund operations. Subsequent laws required states to match federal funds for agricultural research stations and cooperative extension. In his inaugural address as Cornell’s third president on November 11, 1892, Schurman announced his intention to enlist the financial support of the state.

Schurman later served as United States Ambassador to Greece in 1912-13, Minister to China between 1921 and 1925, and then as Ambassador to Germany between 1925 and 1929, a position twice previously held by Cornell’s first president Andrew Dickson White. In 1917 Schurman was appointed honorary chairman of the American Relief Committee for Greeks of Asia Minor, an organization which provided humanitarian relief to Ottoman Greeks during the Greek genocide.  (from Wikipedia)

Pictured here today are two thematic artifacts:  (1)  a postcard of Morse & Franklin Halls at Cornell, ca. 1908 and, (2) a U.S. 1-cent postcard (Scott No. UX5) addressed to a Mr. W.A. Dudley at Cornell U. postmarked June 15th at Centennial Philadelphia, PA.






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