Butler, Nicholas Murray

Butler, Nicholas Murray,

1862–1947, American educator, president of Columbia Univ.Columbia University,
mainly in New York City; founded 1754 as King's College by grant of King George II; first college in New York City, fifth oldest in the United States; one of the eight Ivy League institutions.
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 (1902–45), b. Elizabeth, N.J., grad. Columbia (B.A., 1882; Ph.D., 1884). Holding a Columbia fellowship, he studied at Paris and Berlin, specializing in philosophy. Beginning in 1885 he was made successively assistant, tutor, and adjunct professor of philosophy at Columbia. He became (1886) president of the Industrial Education Association, reshaped it into what is today Teachers College, Columbia, and was (1889–91) the institution's first president. He was intimately associated with John W. BurgessBurgess, John William,
1844–1931, American educator and political scientist, b. Tennessee. He served in the Union army in the Civil War and after the war graduated from Amherst (1867). He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1869, but did not practice.
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 in the struggle to create a university organization and was largely responsible for the expansion of Columbia College into Columbia Univ. In 1890 he became professor of philosophy and education and dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and in 1901 acting president of Columbia. The next year he formally succeeded Seth LowLow, Seth,
1850–1916, American political reformer and college president, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., grad. Columbia, 1870. He entered his father's tea and silk importing firm, but became interested in politics and was reform mayor of the city of Brooklyn for two terms
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 as president. He instituted the Summer Session, University Extension (now the School of General Studies), the School of Journalism, the Medical Center, and other units that are an integral part of the present-day university.

An advocate of peace through education, Butler helped to establish the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, of which he was a trustee and later president (1925–45). His efforts in behalf of disarmament and international peace won him international prestige, and he shared with Jane AddamsAddams, Jane,
1860–1935, American social worker, b. Cedarville, Ill., grad. Rockford College, 1881. In 1889, with Ellen Gates Starr, she founded Hull House in Chicago, one of the first social settlements in the United States (see settlement house).
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 the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize. Prominent in national, state, and New York City politics, he remained a regular Republican party member despite differences with its platforms. Though a close friend of Theodore RooseveltRoosevelt, Theodore,
1858–1919, 26th President of the United States (1901–9), b. New York City. Early Life and Political Posts

Of a prosperous and distinguished family, Theodore Roosevelt was educated by private tutors and traveled widely.
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, he refused to join the Progressive movement of 1912, and that year Butler received the Republican electoral votes for vice president after the death of Vice President James S. Sherman, the regularly nominated candidate. He later sought unsuccessfully the 1920 Republican presidential nomination, was the leading Republican advocate of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, urged economy in government, and supported local reform movements. He was (1928–41) president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His books include Education in the United States (1910), The International Mind (1913), The Meaning of Education (rev. ed. 1915), Scholarship and Service (1921), The Faith of a Liberal (1924), The Path to Peace (1930), Looking Forward (1932), Between Two Worlds (1934), and The World Today (1946).


See his autobiography, Across the Busy Years (2 vol., 1939–40); biography by M. Rosenthal (2006); R. Whittemore, Nicholas Murray Butler and Public Education (1970); Bibliography of Nicholas Murray Butler, 1872–1932 (1934).

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Butler, Nicholas Murray

(1862–1947) educator; born in Elizabeth, N.J. He graduated from Columbia University and then returned to teach there in 1885. He became a professor of philosophy and education (1895) and then president of the university (1902–45). During his long tenure, he abolished intercollegiate football at Columbia, was active in Republican politics (he advised both Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft and sought the 1920 presidential nomination), and made Columbia preeminent in graduate education. He was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1925–45). He was influential in the creation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact for which he shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize (with Jane Addams). Because of his many accomplishments he came to be known as "Nicholas Miraculous."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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