On the premise that there is no study in the University that does not have humanistic aspects, the Council is governed by a committee consisting of a representative from each of the humanistic departments and also single representatives from the natural sciences, the social sciences, architecture, and engineering. This committee, in addition to its other duties, administers the Council's endowment, determines long-range policy in carrying out its purposes, supervises and coordinates interdepartmental programs in the humanities and nominates Fellows of the Council.
Six previously established programs came under the purview of the Council at its founding: the Special Program in the Humanities (superseded in 1964 by the Committee on Humanistic Studies), the Creative Arts Program (later divided into programs in Creative Writing, Theatre and Dance, and the Visual Arts), the Christian Gauss Seminars in Criticism, and programs in American, European, and Near Eastern studies. Subsequently, the Council helped develop programs in linguistics, classical philosophy, political philosophy, and comparative literature, which became a department in 1975.
Regarded as the equivalent of ``distinguished professors,'' Fellows of the Council devote up to half their time to teaching and the balance to research. Their work has led, in many instances, to the development of new teaching programs and to important publications. During their tenure as Fellows in 1957-1958, English professor Lawrance R. Thompson began his biography of Robert Frost, and politics professor Alpheus T. Mason brought to completion his work In Quest of Freedom. Two years earlier, historian Charles C. Gillispie had used his fellowship to work on an essay in the history of scientific ideas, later published as The Edge of Objectivity, and to prepare and conduct a course that eventually led to the University's program in the history and philosophy of science.
As Visiting Fellow in 1957-1958, Brown University classicist W. Freeman Twaddell, then president of the Linguistic Society of America, gave courses in linguistics and also acted as adviser to a Humanities Council subcommittee, which was planning a linguistics program, begun several years later. Another Visiting Fellow, I. I. Rabi, Columbia's Nobel laureate in physics, stimulated the development of a program in Science in Human Affairs and continued to act as its consultant for a number of years. Among other Visiting Fellows have been Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, Rosamund Tuve, Richard Hofstadter, Reinhold Niebuhr, Erwin Panofsky, Isaiah Berlin, Denis Brogan, Elizabeth Bowen, Anthony Burgess, René Wellek, and Philip Roth.
A later development has brought the appointment of another group of Visiting Fellows for brief but intensive periods of one or two weeks. Each of these ``Short-Term Fellows'' undertakes a coordinated program of participation in graduate seminars, departmental colloquia, public lectures, and other activities involving them fully in the University community.
In the 1960s the Council sponsored a project to appraise American humanistic scholarship during the preceding several decades. This endeavor, undertaken on the invitation of the Ford Foundation, which made a $335,000 grant for the purpose, was planned by a subcommittee of the Council; its director, Rutgers historian Richard Schlatter, and many of the thirty-five scholars who participated were in residence in Princeton as Fellows of the Council while engaged on the project. Their work resulted in fifteen volumes of The Princeton Studies: Humanistic Scholarship in America, published by Prentice-Hall.
In its early years the work of the Council was underwritten by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Other grants came later from the United States Steel Foundation, the George W. Perkins Foundation, and the Old Dominion Foundation. In 1962 the work of the Council was given added impetus by a $500,000 grant from the Avalon Foundation to endow a chair in the humanities.
Chairmen of the Council's interdepartmental committee have been Whitney J. Oates, professor of classics and first incumbent of the Avalon chair, 1953-1970; Samuel D. Atkins, professor of classics, 1970-1971; A. Walton Litz, Jr., professor of English, 1971-1974; and Edward D. Sullivan, professor of French and comparative literature and Oates's successor as Avalon professor, since 1974.
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