One of the forthcoming volumes for The Santayana Edition is Volume 8: Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. As a research assistant here at the Edition, part of my work involves doing various tasks to help develop many of the future volumes. For example, I have reviewed transcriptions, numbered 1200 microfilmed pages of letters from a university archive, searched for references to important people and concepts to be included in upcoming volumes, inventoried file cabinets to create a finding aid, and searched through the filing cabinets for material to be published in a volume.

Today (4/13/2016) I was tasked by Associate Editor, Kellie Dawson with finding a poem that Santayana had written entitled “On the Three Philosophical Poets.” This task was a bit tricky; there was more than one cabinet and file where the poem might be. Since she said the poem was mentioned and attached to a July 6th 1936 letter to John Wheelock, I decided that finding the letter would be the best way to locate the poem.[1] Initially I thought that finding the letter in the file with copies of Santayana’s letters would be simple, but as soon as I opened the drawer I remembered that the letters were not organized by date or the volume they pertain to. The letters are instead organized by which institution holds the original letters. This was only a minor setback however because transcribed copies of the letters are digitized in searchable PDF format on the Edition’s server. I could see from reference to The Letters of George Santayana that Princeton has the letter in question, so to the Princeton file I went. The letters within the file were less organized than the drawer as a whole with the contents looking as though someone had tried to organize them by the book they referenced. Regardless of this fact, I found the letter tucked somewhere in the middle of the second Princeton file.

I felt triumphant that I had found the letter in a relatively short period of time, and Kellie was happy as well. And yet, my adventure (and the point of this blog post) does not stop there. As I copied the letter, I noticed that there was not one, but two copies of the poem (pictured below).[2]

At first, I thought nothing of there being two copies of the poem, but nonetheless I mentioned it to Kellie as I handed her the copied pages. She, however, knew the significance of there being two copies of the poems. Apparently, as mentioned in the footnote of the letter (see below), when the letter was transcribed for Volume 5: Book Five, 1933-1936 (2003) only one copy of the poem was identified by The Santayana Edition as located. The copy of the poem on the left was thought to be unlocated at the time of publication.

Since I had such good luck finding this “lost” copy of the poem, I was subsequently tasked with finding the original 1911 copy of the poem which might have been in a letter from Santayana to Onderdonk (possibly archived at Princeton or Stanford). Sadly, there was not a copy of a letter from that year in the Stanford file. The Edition will contact Stanford University to try to find that letter and hopefully another copy of the poem, but I can still find solace in the fact that I found something previously “unlocated.”

Update 4/19: We have heard from Princeton that the original poems are not in their library’s collection with the letter. We’re still hopeful Stanford may have what we’re looking for.

Update 4/21: We have heard from Stanford.  They have sent us a facsimile of the then-untitled 1911 version of Santayana’s poem “On the Three Philosophical Poets.” We see now that Santayana clearly revised this version before sending off the above versions to Scribner’s to appear in the Triton Edition. Pending approval from Stanford, we will use a facsimile of this poem as the frontispiece for our forthcoming volume and add a transcription here.


[1]

To John Hall Wheelock
July 1936 . Paris, France
C/o Brown Shipley & Co
123, Pall Mall, London, S.W.1
Paris, July 6, 1936

Dear Mr. Wheelock
Enclosed is the contract for the special edition of my “Works”, signed & witnessed: the essay on Bishop Berkeley: an autograph version of the sonnet On the Three Philosophical Poets: another copy of this in my ordinary handwriting, in case the other seems cramped.1 I was not sure whether the reproduction can vary the size of the original or not, and for that reason made the autograph version fit the proposed page.

I have signed all the sheets now, and will see at once about sending them back to you. The two remaining prefaces will follow soon.

Mr. Bonamy Dobrée, who had the enclosed copy of the Berkeley made for me says he thinks his book, From Anne to Victoria, will appear in October, and that his publisher expects that the contents shall not have appeared previously. I have replied that I suppose the limited edition of my .Works. will not be ready until well after that time, but that I would inquire of you about it. As the Berkeley was written for Mr. Dobrée’s book, I couldn’t very well print it elsewhere first. Mr. Dobrée has no objection to the publication afterwards.

Yours sincerely
GSantayana

1Unlocated.

From The Letters of George Santayana: Book Five, 1933-1936. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003. 5:355.

Location of manuscript: Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Libraries, Princeton NY


[2]

Transcription:

On the Three
Philosophical Poets.

Falling untempered from the ethereal blue,
The light of truth might scorch the eyes, and blind.
Therefore these giant oaks their branches twined
And betwixt earth and heaven the lattice drew
Of their green labyrinth. Rare stars shone through,
Low, large, and mild. The infinite, confined,
Suffered the measure of the pensive mind,
And what the heart contrived it counted true.
Scant is that covert now in the merciless glare,
Stripped all those leafy arches, riven that dome.
Unhappy laggard, he whose nest was there.
Some yet untrodden forest be my home,
Where patient time and woven light and air
And streams a mansion for the soul prepare.


Adelea Willman is a Master’s student in English and Documentary Editing.  She has been an intern at the Santayana Edition since 2014.


 

Coming to America
Academic dress, or regalia, is a type of clothing worn by students and faculty. In the United States, this form of dress generally consists of a cap and gown and is worn during commencement ceremonies or other special occasions. The history of academic regalia dates back to the Middle Ages as the first universities as we know them were established in Europe. During this period, academic dress was not merely ceremonial; rather it was worn as a daily uniform by students and instructors alike. The style of dress, a long hooded robe, was derived from the garb worn by medieval clerics (Figure 1).[1]

Figure 1. This illustration from the Grandes Chroniques de France, shows a group of students and their instructor wearing robes during a philosophy lesson in the late 14th century. [Image credit: Wikipedia]

Figure 1. This illustration from the Grandes Chroniques de France, shows a group of students and their instructor wearing robes during a philosophy lesson in the late 14th century. [Image credit: Wikipedia]


Long before today’s students were forced to contend with classrooms pumped full of freezing air, their studious predecessors used the long robes to keep warm in Europe’s chilly university halls. Jumping ahead a few centuries, the traditions of academic regalia, particularly those derived from Oxford and Cambridge, found a firm foothold amongst the first American universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Sixteen-year-old Princeton University student, James McCulloch, in his undergraduate robes. Painted some time prior to 1773, when Princeton was still known as the College of New Jersey. [Image credit: Wikipedia]

Figure 2: Sixteen-year-old Princeton University student, James McCulloch, in his undergraduate robes. Painted some time prior to 1773, when Princeton was still known as the College of New Jersey. [Image credit: Wikipedia]


During the eighteenth century, students, and some faculty, at these institutions regularly wore academic gowns on campus.[2]

It was not until the mid-nineteenth century, however, that the role of academic regalia in American universities came to resemble its modern function as solely ceremonial attire. At this time, there was little standardization of academic dress between the different colleges and universities in the United States (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, former president of Columbia University, in academic robes. This portrait, by Eastman Johnson, was completed in 1886 before there was any formal standardization of academic dress. Image credit: Transactions of the Burgon Society

Figure 3. Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, former president of Columbia University, in academic robes. This portrait, by Eastman Johnson, was completed in 1886 before there was any formal standardization of academic dress. [Image credit: Transactions of the Burgon Society]


In 1895 the Intercollegiate Commission held a meeting at Columbia University attended by representatives from some of the top scholastic institutions to discuss adopting a regulated code of academic dress. Gardner Cotrell Leonard, whose family operated the manufacturing firm Cotrell and Leonard in Albany, New York, was also present at the discussion to provide practical advice[3] as he had, several years earlier, designed the gowns for his class at Williams College and had (in 1893) published an article on dress standardization that became a significant factor contributing to the creation of the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume (passed in March 1895 by representatives from Princeton, Columbia, New York, and Yale).[4]

 

Which Robe is Which?
The Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume has been amended five times since its inception (in 1932, 1957, 1959, 1973, and 1987).[5] While there are many variations in gown, sleeve, and hood styles (not to mention the effects of school colors), there are some basic guidelines for recognizing degrees based on gown design. In general, bachelor’s and master’s gowns are untrimmed and may both feature hoods; the master’s gown typically has oblong sleeves and a longer hood than the bachelor’s (Figure 4).

Figure 4. An image depicting the difference in length between a bachelor’s and master’s hood. [Image credit: The Cap and Gown in America: Reprinted from the University Magazine for December, 1893]

Figure 4. An image depicting the difference in length between a bachelor’s and master’s hood. [Image credit: The Cap and Gown in America: Reprinted from the University Magazine for December, 1893]


The doctoral gown is the easiest to distinguish as it is trimmed in velvet down the front of the robe and has three velvet bars on the bell-shaped sleeves; the doctor’s gown also has the longest hood of the three styles (Figure 5).

Figure 5. William Lyon Mackenzie King, former Prime Minister of Canada, in his doctoral gown from Harvard University (c. 1919). [Image credit: Wikipedia]

Figure 5. William Lyon Mackenzie King, former Prime Minister of Canada, in his doctoral gown from Harvard University (c. 1919). [Image credit: Wikipedia]


Although the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume describes the design of academic regalia, no body exists to enforce adherence to the code. As a result, the Code of Academic Costume may be adapted by any university provided that the changes are “reasonable and faithful to the spirit of the traditions which give rise to the code.”[6] Therefore, the Code of Academic Costume is less of a rulebook than it is a general guideline led by tradition.

 

The Santayana Edition’s Hidden Treasure
Tucked away amongst the books and manuscripts of the Santayana Edition is a treasure of academic dress history: George Santayana’s doctoral gown from Cotrell and Leonard. That this gown is a doctoral robe is clear from its design; the black gown features black velvet facing down its front as well as the distinctive bars on the sleeves also done in black velvet (Figures 6-8).

Gowns6a

Figure 6. The front and back of George Santayana’s doctoral gown. This gown is very similar to the one shown in Figure 5 apart from the crow’s feet on the lapels of King’s robe. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Figure 6. The front and back of George Santayana’s doctoral gown. This gown is very similar to the one shown in Figure 5 apart from the crow’s feet on the lapels of King’s robe. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Figure 7. A closer look at the gown’s sleeve. Note the velvet stripes and the wide bell shape, both characteristic of a doctoral gown. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Figure 7. A closer look at the gown’s sleeve. Note the velvet stripes and the wide bell shape, both characteristic of a doctoral gown. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Close-up of the pleats and braided details on the back of the gown. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Figure 8. Close-up of the pleats and braided details on the back of the gown. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]


The gown is in good condition for its age and still clearly bears the brand label on its interior (Figure 9).

Figure 9. Cotrell & Leonard label on the interior of Santayana’s gown; notice the faded initials “G.S.” above the brand name. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]

Figure 9. Cotrell & Leonard label on the interior of Santayana’s gown; notice the faded initials “G.S.” above the brand name. [Image credit: Kristin Lee]


The exact date on which Santayana purchased his gown is unknown. However, since he earned his doctorate from Harvard in 1889, one may infer that he acquired his gown sometime around this year. Following his graduation, Santayana taught at Harvard until 1912, at which time he retired and moved to Europe. Before leaving the country, in a letter dated December 12, 1911, Santayana wrote to one of his former students at Harvard, Horace Kallen:

In looking over my goods and chattels, I find a doctor’s cap and gown which I don’t know what to do with. If you haven’t one and would like it, I should be very glad to have you take it off my hands.[7]

In another letter written on December 29th, Santayana notes that he has sent off his academic regalia to Kallen.[8] Many years later, the gown arrived at the Edition as a donation from Kallen’s widow. Its corresponding cap remains with Kallen’s son, David.

Although academic regalia has undergone many changes in the United States, it remains grounded in European traditions that span centuries of scholastic history. We at the Santayana Edition feel fortunate to have this artifact of early American academic dress in our possession and we are excited to share a piece of George Santayana’s past with our colleagues.


[1] Eugene Sullivan, “Historical Overview of the Academic Costume Code,” American Council on Education, accessed February 4, 2016, http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Historical-Overview-Academic-Costume-Code.aspx.
[2] Stephen L. Wolgast, “Timeline of Developments in Academic Dress in North America,” Transactions of the Burgon Society 9, (2009).
[3] Stephen L. Wolgast, “The Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume: An Introduction,” Transactions of the Burgon Society 9, (2009), 13.
[4] For Leonard’s article see Gardner Cotrell Leonard, The Cap and Gown in America: Reprinted from the University Magazine for December, 1893 (Albany, NY: Cotrell & Leonard, 1896).
[5] For detailed descriptions of the changes see Wolgast, pp. 23-32.
[6] Eugene Sullivan, “Academic Costume Code,” American Council on Education, accessed February 8, 2016, http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Academic-Costume-Code.aspx.
[7] Holzberger, William G. and Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. eds., The Letters of George Santayana, Book 2: 1910-1920 (MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2002): 64-65.
[8] Ibid., 65.

Kristin Lee is a graduate student in Public History and an intern with the Santayana Edition.

 

 


Recently, while going through George Santayana’s letters for the Letters in Limbo section featured daily on our home page, I found an ambiguously dated letter that, to my eyes, seemed suspect. The letter was to Santayana’s longtime friend Charles Augustus Strong, and it mentioned one of their mutual acquaintances. It’s a fairly typical, brief Santayana letter to which the original editors of The Letters of George Santayana had assigned a tentative date of “Before 1889,” proposing that the letter may have been written while Santayana was in Roxbury, Massachusetts.[1] I can say with certainty that the suggested date cannot be correct.

A little background is necessary here. For the past year, I’ve been working with Santayana’s unfinished translation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, preparing it for presentation on this site. Part of that process involved researching the background of the manuscript to understand when, why, and how Santayana went about working through the translation. During this process, I became aware of a student and eventual colleague of Santayana’s, Benjamin Apthorp Gould Fuller, who’d been a member of Santayana’s Aristotle study group, translating and comparing notes on the Metaphysics. He went on to join the faculty at Harvard with Santayana’s recommendation.

Why is all this important? Fuller is the acquaintance Santayana describes to Strong. This immediately throws off the “before 1889” dating, as Santayana wasn’t even aware of Fuller until at least 1896, when he began his studies at Harvard. Moreover, and this is where things are particularly puzzling, the published letter includes a footnote identifying Fuller, noting his birth year as 1879. Santayana is unlikely to have been commenting on the life of a ten year old.

The misdating is stranger yet given the letter’s content. Santayana comments that Fuller always seems to be distracted; he notes that Fuller was recently in the company of a young French professor, who discussed Albert Einstein and argued he was an absolutist, saying “that his theory should have been called Théorie de l’Invariance!” Einstein, also identified in a footnote to the letter, was born in 1879, and while certainly a brilliant mind, he was far from a well-recognized physicist as a pre-teen.

Fortunately, all of these facts can help us to home in on a more precise date for this letter. Fuller completed his PhD at Harvard in 1906 and began teaching there in the same year. Einstein’s paper on Special Relativity was published in September of 1905, igniting a firestorm of opinions in the intellectual world and almost certainly causing the French professor’s quip about relativistic theories. And finally, Santayana left Harvard permanently in 1911. So the letter must have been written between October of 1905 and April of 1911. Additionally, the letter was almost certainly written in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as Santayana says he saw Fuller yesterday, implying the latter had just recently been on Harvard’s campus.

More than anything else, I think this oversight points to the real-world difficulties associated with the work of a scholarly edition. A publication like The Letters of George Santayana requires years of preparation, the collaboration of several editors, and frequently the help of numerous interns. With so many hands and minds working on a project, mistakes are bound to happen, and sometimes they slip through the cracks and find their way into a published volume. The task of curating this sort of project never really ends. In the future, new information might be discovered, scholars might find other mistakes, and revisions can always be made.


[1]
To Charles Augustus Strong
[Before 1889?] • [Roxbury, Massachusetts?]  (MS: Rockefeller)

Thursday

Dear Strong
Thank you for this. I am pleased with that the reviewer takes us1 seriously; but he seems to be exclusively occupied with one point.
I see Fuller2 now and then—unsatisfactory mind: always seems to be really thinking of something else, like a woman. Yesterday he had a young French professor3 in tow who said Einstein4 was an absolutist, and that his theory should have been called Théorie de l’Invariance!

Yours ever
G. S.

1 Unidentified.
2 Benjamin Apthorp Gould “Bags” Fuller (1879–1956) was a member of the Harvard class of 1900. He pursued graduate study (Ph.D., 1906) with Santayana and later was appointed to the Harvard faculty.
3 Unidentified.
4 Albert Einstein (1879–1955), born in Germany, was an American theoretical physi- cist (known for his theory of relativity) who won the 1921 Nobel Prize.

George Santayana,The Letters of George Santayana:  Book One, [1868]-1909.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001. 99.

 

Austen Hurt is a graduate student in Philosophy, and an intern at the Santayana Edition.


In articulating his philosophy, George Santayana drew on spiritual and philosophical traditions of Europe, Asia, and the United States. It is relatively easy to begin looking into the influence of his teachers William James and Josiah Royce since he corresponded with them, wrote essays about them, and remembered them in his autobiography. His discussions of Modern Philosophy also are sustained and obvious in chapters and essays. The Christian tradition lent concepts, vocabulary, and imagery to his thought; and the influence of ancient Greek culture is beyond question. Many readers, I suspect, would find it reasonable enough to assert that Santayana’s thought has some connection to Indian philosophy, yet mentions of it in his work—while not invisible—are not as prominent as references to other traditions. And so, I think it worth remarking Santayana’s comments on Indian philosophy to begin to get a more definite sense of its influence on his thinking.

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