I should like to do two things today. First, I should like to shed some fresh light on the matter of David Starr Jordan and the motto. This effort will take us back to Indiana University. Second, I should like to begin an effort to trace the motto's fate at Stanford more fully than has been done so far. To set the stage, I begin by reminding you of what is known.
Jordan has given us a couple of fairly meager reports on how the motto was introduced at Stanford. For instance, in 1917, in an extemporaneous Founders' Day address, then Chancellor Emeritus Jordan told how, "[I]n connection with one of my early speeches, I had occasion to quote what Ulrich von Hutten said when Luther was being persecuted. 'Don't you know that the air of freedom is blowing?' This pleased Mr. Stanford and it pleased the faculty, and somehow 'Die Luft der Freiheit weht' got on the seal of the university of those days."2
A year later, he gave a slightly different and slightly fuller version: "In the first year of the University I tried to tell the story of this martyr of democracy. Mr. Stanford was impressed with the winds of freedom - which we hoped would continue to blow over Stanford University. . . . And so on the temporary seal adopted by the professors for their convenience, we put these German words."3
What the second version suggests is that in 1891/92, Jordan gave a talk about Ulrich von Hutten, referred to the winds of freedom, and found Senator Stanford "impressed." An undefined "we" then placed the words on the "temporary seal of the faculty." "We" may refer to Jordan and Stanford, or to Jordan and the faculty, or to all three of them. No evidence has been found of the faculty formally adopting a seal, nor of any official embrace of the motto by the faculty. The University Archivist, Maggie Kimball, speculates that, given the small size of the faculty and Jordan's relationship to each member, the faculty could have accepted the Hutten motto informally.4 There is no existing evidence of a seal used by Jordan or the faculty that carries the motto.5
A few reminders about Hutten, a humanist who was associated with Johannes Reuchlin, Albrecht Durer's friend Willibald Pirkheimer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Sir Thomas More. Hutten was born in 1488. He belonged to the lesser German nobility that at the time found itself severely squeezed by the princes of the Holy Roman Empire and by the Church. In 1521, when Martin Luther was called before the Diet of Worms to abjure his beliefs and teachings, Hutten, in support of Luther and the "cause of truth and freedom," published, in Latin, three so-called Invectives. In the third of the Invectives, he admonished his own and Luther's enemies among the clergy with the words videtis illam spirare libertatis auram.6
Literally translated this means: "See," or better, "Recognize that the wind of freedom blows." The Latin "aura" can be rendered various ways. The German term "Luft" means "air" rather than "wind," though "wind" is clearly appropriate. Indeed, one might argue that Der Wind der Freiheit weht would have been a better translation of the Latin into German.7 The words videtis illam spirare libertatis auram constitute the beginning of a sentence, the remainder of which tells the Catholic clergy that people are tired of the present state of affairs and want change.
Now, why do we have Hutten's words in German? The answer to this question is rather more complex than one might expect and involves 19th- century intellectual history. I begin by discussing Jordan's source for the Hutten text.
In 1885, only 13 years after graduating from college and 5 years after he had become professor of natural sciences at Indiana, Jordan, age 34, was made president of Indiana University. The following year, 1886, he published, in two parts, a long article about Ulrich von Hutten in a Chicago literary journal by the name of Current.8 A lightly edited version, under the new title A Knight of the Order of Poets, appeared in 1896, after Jordan's move to Stanford, in his book The Story of the Innumerable Company and Other Sketches.9 It was also published as a separate in 1910 and 1922.10 In short, throughout his life, Jordan publicized Hutten. Hutten had been poet laureate of the Holy Roman Empire. His German poetry resonated with Jordan. Jordan translated some of Hutten's poems in his sketch, just as he had previously, when still a student at Cornell, published translations of other German poetry.11
In the 1886 version, Jordan offers an explanation for his effort that, in this form, he eliminates from the 1896 edition. I quote:
Almost four hundred years ago began the great struggle for freedom of thought, which has made our times what they are. Modern science, modern religion, modern freedom alike date from this great struggle which we call the Reformation. I wish to give in this paper something of the history of one who was not the least in this struggle, one who dared think and act for himself, when daring to think and act was costly, one to whom the German people, and we their English-speaking cousins, owe a debt not yet wholly paid or appreciated.12
It is later in this 1886 article about Hutten, "this lover of freedom," that "the wind of freedom" makes its first appearance, however, in English only.
Jordan's source was not Hutten's writings themselves, but rather the German theological critic David Friedrich Strauss. Jordan's piece on Hutten begins with an asterisked footnote: "For many of the details of the life of Hutten, and for most of the quotations from Hutten's writings given in this paper, the writer is indebted to the charming memoir by David Frederick Strauss, entitled 'Ulrich von Hutten'. . . . No attempt has been made to give, in this brief paper, a full account of Hutten's writings, only a few of the most notable being referred to at all."13
I have not found any information on how and where Jordan came across Strauss' biography of Hutten. The book was first published in three parts in 1858-60. Jordan refers to the 1878 fourth edition. A one- volume English translation made its appearance in London in 1874.
Among the protagonists of humanism, Ulrich von Hutten was a rather minor, and in some ways problematic figure.14 Outside Germany, 19th- century interest in him may have had more to do with the person of the biographer, Strauss, than the humanist himself. Strauss was a fairly famous, even notorious, author who, in the 1830s, had caused a considerable stir with the publication of two volumes entitled The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. The book treated the Gospels as "myths" rather than history. An English translation by no less a writer than George Eliot appeared in 1846. Later in life, Strauss received the honor of being singled out by Nietzsche in 1873, in the first of his Unfashionable Observations, as the foremost among "cultivated philistines" who, following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, engaged in a nationalistic glorification of German culture.15 Strauss died in 1874.
There is no indication that Jordan's interest in Strauss went beyond his having been captivated by the liberal Protestantism of the Hutten biography and the questioning, critical spirit that characterized Hutten. At the end of his sketch, Jordan sums up what Hutten's life, as characterized by Strauss, meant to him. Hutten, Jordan said, was one of the first to realize that religion is individual, not collective: "It is concerned with life, not creeds or ceremonies. In the high sense no man can follow or share the religion of another. His religion, whatever it may be, is his own."16
Returning to the "The Wind of Freedom" phrase, I should like to quote, from Jordan's 1896 paper about Hutten, the entire paragraph in which the phrase makes its appearance. The 1896 version is identical to the 1886 one but for a starred footnote that gives the crucial sentence in German.17
Hutten, on his sick-bed at Ebernburg, not far away, was full of wrath at the trial of Luther. "Away!" he shouted, "away from the clear fountains, ye filthy swine! Out of the sanctuary, ye accursed peddlers! Touch no longer the altar with your desecrating hands. What have ye to do with the alms of our fathers, which were given for the poor and the Church, and you spend for splendor, pomp, and foolery, while the children suffer for bread? See you not that the wind of Freedom* is blowing? On two men not much depends. Know that there are many Luthers, many Huttens here. Should either of us be destroyed, still greater is the danger that awaits you; for then, with those battling for freedom, the avengers of innocence will make common cause."
* "Sehet ihr nicht dasz die Luft der Freiheit weht?"
If one compares the third Invective in its original Latin with Strauss' account of it, one notices that Strauss takes elements out of sequence, in short, rearranges the text. Furthermore, Strauss renders the Latin text from which the Stanford motto derives into German by transforming the affirmative statement ("Recognize that the wind of freedom blows") into a rhetorical question that Jordan translates into English as "See you not that the wind of freedom is blowing?"18
Indeed, one wonders whether Jordan was under the mistaken impression that Hutten's original text was in German. Jordan's starred footnote to his summary of the Invective in the 1896 version of the sketch supplies, and thereby emphasizes, the German text of the wind of freedom passage. Furthermore, in his 1918 article about the motto, Jordan quoted the German in a context in which he emphasized that Hutten was one of the first scholars in Europe to throw aside the Latin "and speak in a tongue the people could understand."19 A close reading of Strauss and his footnotes would seem to rule out the possibility that Jordan could have been mistaken about the language in which Hutten had written the Invectives. And yet he might have been. Occasionally, all of us may become neglectful of our sources as we become enamored of their contents.
Can any light be shed on the question why, in 1886, while he was at Indiana University, Jordan makes so much of Hutten and freedom? In 1887, after he had become president of the College Association of Indiana, Jordan gave a substantial talk on "The Evolution of the College Curriculum" in which he lends forceful support to the elective system of course selection. "Freedom is as essential to scholarship as to manhood. Not long since I met a young German scholar, a graduate of a Prussian gymnasium, who has enrolled himself as a student of English in an American college. To him the free air of the American school was its one good thing" [emphasis added].20 Later in the same speech he says: "The ideas of 'Lehrfreiheit' and 'Lernfreiheit,' - freedom of teaching and freedom of study, - on which the German university is based, will become a central feature of the American college system."21
He meant these two sides of the academic freedom coin to be central features of Indiana University. Jordan was the first Indiana president not to be an ordained minister, a "Darwinian extrovert among Hoosier fundamentalists," as Thomas Clark has said.22 When he became president, chapel attendance every morning was still mandatory. The faculty was small and old and the curriculum was that of an "antebellum classical college."23 In Jordan's words: "The college course in those days led into no free air" [emphasis added].24
Jordan, on the other hand, was caught up in that vast transformation of American colleges and universities that took place during the last third of the 19th century and that was associated with such names as Charles Eliot of Harvard, Daniel Gilman of Johns Hopkins, Andrew White of Cornell, and William Rainey Harper of the University of Chicago. Jordan wanted science to invade the college and he wanted faculty to be as inspiring and open as had been his own teacher Louis Aggasiz, who "believed in the absolute freedom of science and that no authority whatever can answer beforehand the questions we endeavor to solve."25 On Charter Day 1893, at Berkeley, Jordan delivered a lengthy address in defense of public universities in which he denied denominational colleges any role in higher education and asserted that, about universities, one should ask only, "in the words of the old reformer, Ulrich von Hutten, if 'die Luft der Freiheit weht?' - whether 'the winds of freedom are blowing'.26
After my inauguration in 1992, I turned to the then president of Indiana University, Tom Ehrlich, who was also the former Dean of our Law School, to determine whether, at Indiana, they knew what had been the catalyst for Jordan's interest in Hutten. He wrote me back that there was nothing in the Jordan Papers at Indiana that gave a clue. But, Ehrlich said, he was persuaded that Jordan's interest in Hutten "was a result of Jordan's own struggle to obtain freedom - for Jordan, this meant academic freedom, but he well understood the term in all dimensions."27
I think this is the correct view of the matter. Hutten's appeal to Jordan had first of all to do with the most fundamental of Protestant tenets: the right of individual interpretation, the "priesthood of all Christians." Jordan appreciates Hutten primarily as an early example of Protestant individual daring - a point Jordan makes much of in a rather nonreligious, "general theory of life" sort of way that reflects Jordan's attenuated universalist religiosity. In his Hutten sketch he sums up: "The issue was that of the growth of man. The 'right of private interpretation' is the recognition of personal individuality."28
When David Starr Jordan decided to leave the Midwest to come to
Stanford, he wrote to his mentor Andrew Dickson White, the president of
Cornell, that he was prepared "to take whatever came." Jordan's
nonreligious, secular use of Hutten is evidenced by the fact that even
on this occasion, hardly a religious turning point, he quoted two lines
from a very militant, "Protestant" poem by Hutten entitled "Hutten's
Song": "With open eyes I have dared, and cherish no
However, in the context of university building at Indiana and Stanford, Hutten's significance for Jordan lies in his association with the fight for the freedom to challenge established orthodoxy and perhaps the most important freedom that the humanists battled for: the pursuit of knowledge free from constraints as to sources and fields. As to this, Jordan employs the Hutten motto in a secularized, somewhat attenuated way - as if Hutten had been a precursor of the scientific spirit that Jordan, along with many other American educators, found epitomized in the German university of the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, the point about science is made explicitly in the opening paragraphs to the 1886 version of the Hutten sketch when Jordan refers to the Reformation as the source of "modern science, modern religion, modern freedom."30
Once at Stanford, Jordan seemed to localize the motto and discover in it an expression of what we might call Stanford's "Western" spirit, a way to capture the spiritus loci of a campus, then without any ivy, stretching more or less from "the foothills to the Bay." The only mention of the motto in Jordan's 1922 autobiography occurs in a quote from an article by Ellen Elliott, wife of the registrar, about the experiences of the "Cornell Colony" in Stanford's early days. Jordan quotes:
Perhaps it is the spirit of the West, perhaps it is the vital breath of the Pacific, coming in to us over the mountains, but whatever it may be, some enchantment has blinded us to the crudities, the drawbacks, the limitations of our state. The giants looming in the path of the pioneer appear but frivolous windmills in our eyes. Come not out to us, O doubting Cornellians, thinking to return untouched by the unreasonable enthusiasm. Christmas shall bring you, and the months of spring shall bring you, critical, skeptical, curious, speering after our library, questioning about our funds, and you shall return - if you return at all - chanting as fervently and irrelevantly as we, "Die Luft der Freiheit weht."31
The motto was certainly not irrelevant when Stanford University, nine years after its opening, had its first academic freedom controversy, resulting from Jane Stanford's displeasure with the political activities of Edward Ross, a professor of sociology.32 At the time, faculty contracts were renewed annually and Ross had been advised by Jordan that he would not be reappointed at the end of the academic year 1900/01. Whereupon Ross, in November of 1900, announced that he had been forced to resign. The "Stanford University scandal" led other faculty members to quit in protest and the Ross affair became "one of the most celebrated academic freedom cases in United States history."33
What I am concerned with is the fact that the affair was viewed as testing the motto's implications for academic freedom. The most interesting and telling comment is perhaps a well-known one by Ray Lyman Wilbur, then a first-year assistant professor of physiology at Stanford. In his memoirs he wrote: "Up to the time of our difficulty with Dr. Ross we had taken as a matter of course at Stanford the right of every man to express his opinion. We gave it no more thought than the air we breathed. We were all for Dr. Jordan's slogan which was popularly adopted as a Stanford motto, 'The winds of freedom are blowing'."34
As a result of the Ross affair, academic freedom at Stanford had a more precarious status. Among the faculty members who resigned was the economist Frank A. Fetter, who later would become President of the American Economic Association. He left Stanford not out of solidarity with Ross but because Jordan refused to accept his condition for returning from a leave at Cornell. Fetter, to whom Jordan had given the task of recruiting new faculty, demanded from Jordan formal statements, in writing and in public, that members of the economics department would be guaranteed "as large a measure of academic freedom as is enjoyed in any university." The members of the department were to be "free to teach and discuss any question within the range of their studies; that they shall not be called to account for any opinion on social questions which they may hold, or for the public expression of their views; that they shall not be limited by the university in the exercise of any political rights or the performance of any political duties pertaining to good citizenship."35 Jordan replied that he could not issue such a statement nor "pledge the University in any unusual manner." Instead, he insisted on the customary "unwritten contract": "Liberty of thought, speech and action, on the one hand; reasonable discretion, common sense and loyalty on the other."36
I did not have the time to examine papers related to the Ross case to see whether and how the motto was employed by the various parties to the issue. What does seem clear is that the aftermath of the turmoil did not substantially diminish the motto's overall popularity. B. Q. Morgan reports that, prior to World War I, all the seal stationery, all the shields and jewelry, and other mementos sold at the Stanford Bookstore showed the German phrase on the Stanford seal.37 So did the many plaques, cast in bronze, since the first decade of the century by generations and generations of engineering students learning the skills of foundrymen at the foundry of the engineering laboratories under James Bennett Liggett.38 To Wilbur, the Ross case seems not to have affected the fundamental situation at the university. He writes: "As we knew first-hand what remarkable freedom we had at Stanford that did not seem much of an issue to us."39
However, Wilbur notwithstanding, the motto's implications for academic freedom had become somewhat of an issue and the motto was seen, at least by some, with a certain ambivalence. One of the most intriguing episodes in the history of Stanford's motto came in the first decade of the century when the Board of Trustees adopted a seal for itself. Among the most influential early trustees was George E. Crothers who had concerned himself as a committee of one with designing a seal for the Board that, in 1903, had taken over Jane Stanford's role in the governance of the university. In 1908, the Board chose a seal with the Latin motto Semper Virens meaning "ever greening" or, staying forever young and vital. The Board's motto is a reference to the Sequoia sempervirens, the tall redwood for which Palo Alto is named, but also, in Judge Crothers' words, stands for "perpetuity of life, growth, and strength"; "a pledge and resolve that the University shall never become stagnant, unprogressive, self-glorifying, or petrified in its imperfections."40
According to Crothers, the Board acquiesced in his selection without ado. "I [had the seal] cast and adopted by the Board of Trustees without mentioning 'Semper Virens', lest the wisdom of the selection, not to mention its correctness or suitability, should result in a discussion sure to result in many other suggestions, perhaps better ones."41
The year before, in 1907, Crothers had, however, consulted Jordan concerning the matter of an official seal and motto. This led to a fascinating exchange of letters between the two men. Jordan suggested "that a motto if used should be short and in a foreign language." He refers to Die Luft der Freiheit weht, makes some other proposals, but expresses a preference for a Latin aphorism that was inscribed over the bedroom of the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Linnaeus: innocue vivite, numen adest. Jordan renders this as "live blameless [sic!] in divine presence (divinity is here)." Bartlett's Familiar Quotations gives the text as "Live innocently; God is here."42 I am not sure about either translation. Another possibility would be: live righteously, God helps you.
Be this as it may. What matters is the fact that Jordan concludes his letter to Crothers by indicating his preference for the Linnaeus motto, "with the German one as second choice."43 Jordan previously had invoked the Linnaeus maxim in his address at the opening of Stanford on October 1, 1891. I quote: "For the life of the most exalted as well as the humblest of men, there can be [no] nobler motto . . . . 'This', said Linnaeus, 'is the wisdom of my life'. Every advance which we make toward the realization of the truth of the permanence and immanence of law, brings us nearer to Him who is the great First Cause of all law and phenomena."44
It seems somewhat strange that Jordan would propose as his first choice for the Board of Trustees' motto a maxim of this complexity that pertains to bringing individuals nearer "to Him who is the great First Cause of all law and phenomena." Had the Ross affair, during which he had been widely and publicly attacked,45 left Jordan with reservations about whether the Hutten aphorism could be reconciled with "reasonable discretion, common sense and loyalty"?
Crothers, responding to Jordan's suggestions, is explicit about his reservations concerning Die Luft der Freiheit. I quote:
I personally prefer a motto in either English or Latin, preferably the former. The words "truth" and "service" come about as near to expressing the aim which the founders had in founding the University, and the ideals which the University should have in the execution of the founders' purpose, as any words which occur to me. I think that the word "truth" implies "freedom." The motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" is certainly a splendid motto, with splendid associations, but my recollection is that it includes a freedom both on the part of the student and the professor as to what is learned and the method of learning, and what is taught and the method of teaching which is not really recognized in any American college.... Would not its adoption imply the adoption of the German university system of instruction and teaching under quite different conditions? 46
In short, Crothers had come to understand Jordan's earlier "more idealistic professions"47 quite accurately. As I have pointed out, the wind of freedom, to Jordan, originally also meant Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. The Republican lawyer from San Francisco was, however, worried whether these were alien, "un-American" concepts. Jordan himself obviously had reservations about professors who appeared to be using their position for political propaganda.48 Jane Stanford, following the Ross affair, in 1902, had amended the Founding Grant to stress the nonpolitical, nonpartisan nature of the university.49 It was as if an age of innocence about academic freedom had ended: What the wind of freedom actually meant had become problematic. Ironically, only a few years later, Jordan's own political activities as a pacifist became the target of others who thought the motto alien.
In the years immediately preceding World War I and American entry into the war, the most controversial person at Stanford was easily its former president. Jordan would have retired from the presidency in the ordinary course of events in 1916 when reaching the age of 65. Jordan himself had been ambivalent about waiting that long, given his ever increasing efforts on behalf of world peace50 and his vision of a better world, one ruled by ideas, not by guns, bayonets, and poison gas. A new trustee by the name of Herbert Hoover, who had joined the Board in 1912, arranged matters. He saw to it that Jordan, in 1913, was "relieved of routine work for the remaining three years" of his administration by being given the title Chancellor. This freed Jordan to pursue his work for peace in Europe and what he called "my propaganda against the war system."51 Jordan's friend and colleague (and Hoover's former teacher) John Casper Branner became Stanford's second president, to be succeeded in January of 1916 by Ray Lyman Wilbur.
In those years, Jordan gave hundreds of lectures, both here and abroad, for the cause of peace. As Edith Mirrielees puts it dryly: "Dr. Jordan had preached peace when peace had been everybody's good word. He went on preaching it now."52 But now he became viewed by some as an "unwitting," "deluded tool" in Germany's "plot against humanity,"53 by others "as actively Pro-German before the entrance of the United States into the war."54
After the United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917, Jordan issued a statement that began with the words "Our country is now at war and the only way out is forward."55 Nevertheless, Jordan remained a target of accusations and attacks. For instance, in May of 1918, members of the Cornell class of 1873 called on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University to revoke his degree.56 Jordan had to spend endless time and effort to defend himself against charges and distortions. In a letter to Senator Lee Slater Overman, of North Carolina, who chaired a special investigating committee of the United States Senate, Jordan wrote on December 23, 1918: "For myself, I wish to deny emphatically that I have ever been actively or otherwise 'pro- German'. For eight years I have openly and vigorously opposed the German emperor and the system he represented. In 1910, I spoke publicly in the German language in Berlin against German militarism, and later in the fall of 1913 in the cities of Southern Germany, from Frankfort to Munich. Among other things I said that the German war-system had 'perverted and poisoned all teaching of history, of patriotism and even of religion'. I believe that I am the only outsider who has thus spoken in Germany in open meetings in the German language."57
The Chancellor Emeritus was forced to worry about the impact of it all on the university and to bend over backward to distance it from himself. There is an almost pathetic letter from Jordan to President Wilbur, dated September 9, 1918, responding to some document attacking Jordan that had been addressed to Wilbur. I quote:
I send you my answer, by which you will see that the charges are based on accident and misinterpretation. I have used great care not to entangle the University in any opinions of mine. But to avoid misapprehension, I shall send out no printed matter of any kind, and shall use only plain envelopes, posting my letters outside the campus.
At the bottom of the letter is a note in Jordan's handwriting that reads: "Kindly show the document to Mr. Hoover. I regret the whole business very much on my own account but more especially on that of the University."58
In May of 1918, the university felt obliged to deny reports "apparently circulated" by "subtle German propagandists" that, "on the official seal of Stanford appears a phrase in the German language." The Daily Palo Alto wrote: "Unofficially, a motto in German has sometimes been used at Stanford, but Acting President C. D. Marx said . . . that it never was adopted by the trustees, that it appears nowhere on official University stationery or documents, and whatever use may have been made of it at any time has not received the sanction of the Board of Trustees or of the Academic Council of the faculty." I guess in order to make the point how unfamiliar they were with the motto, the editors of The Daily Palo Alto went on to quote the motto as "Die Luff [sic!] der Freiheit Weht."59
At the same time, The Stanford Illustrated Review published an article by Jordan entitled "The Wind of Freedom." The article is prefaced by the following editorial comment: "German propaganda made it necessary for the University to issue recently a statement explaining that the University has no German motto on its seal. This history of the phrase by Chancellor Emeritus Jordan is timely as well as interesting." And interesting, if somewhat disingenuous, it is. I should like to quote the first three paragraphs.
Some one in a spirit of illiterate intolerance has lately ventured to criticise Stanford University for its alleged German motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" (the wind of Freedom is blowing).
As a matter of fact this is not the motto of the University, as it has never been officially adopted and does not appear on the University official seal. It is not the policy of the trustees to use a living language for this purpose, and the only motto I know to have been actually considered is "Semper virens" (ever green, or practically, ever growing), the scientific name of the redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) which is the central figure of the University seal.
But the German phrase has a noble history in which Stanford is in a degree concerned.
Then follows an account of Hutten and the previously cited mention of Jordan's exchange with Senator Stanford about Hutten and the winds of freedom back in 1891/92. The article concludes with the sentence: "Meanwhile it is still true that 'the wind of freedom is blowing', and it will in due time sweep over the whole earth."60
It appears that the "alleged" motto that, at best, had been adopted by custom, though never "officially," returned to ordinary use no later than 1923.61 Just before the beginning of World War II, when the Stanford Alumni Association commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for the university with a 250-page "pictorial record," the seal with the motto in German decorated the cover.62
Of course, contrary to the hopes of Jordan who had died in 1931, the wind of freedom was not sweeping over the earth. Nazi Germany had started a second world war. Among the devastations of World War II and in the wake of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, Stanford invoked its motto in defense of the values the motto represented, especially and poignantly Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. American universities now stood for the very values that Wilhelm von Humboldt's University of Berlin had symbolized since the 19th century, but, in 1933, abandoned.
Two months before Pearl Harbor, on October 1, 1941, the university celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its opening. At a dinner in San Francisco, attended by more than a thousand alumni, faculty, and friends, the Stanford Associates invited their guests to dedicate themselves once more to the ideals upon which the university was founded and "to perpetuate," as the program said, "for all time Stanford University as a place where indeed the winds of freedom blow."63
In the spring of 1941, the University of Leyden in Holland had been closed by the Nazis. This event prompted, at the anniversary dinner, a "mask," a presentation by the Department of Speech and Drama, under the title "The Winds of Freedom Blow." The only speaker at the dinner was the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raymond B. Fosdick. His subject, likewise, was "Let the Winds of Freedom Blow." Fosdick began by talking about Leyden.
Three hundred and sixty-six years ago, in one of the darkest hours that Holland ever knew, William the Silent founded the University of Leyden. He needed it in his struggle against Spain. He needed it as a weapon against tyranny. He realized that a university could be a mighty bulwark of liberty, a citadel of ideas which no physical force could permanently overthrow. For 366 years Leyden has stood for political and scholastic freedom; it has been the determined foe of absolutism in every form. It has welcomed scholars like Grotius, Arminius and Descartes - heretics in their day. It has been a center of intellectual ferment. For over three centuries and a half the cultural life, not only of Holland but of all of Europe, has borne witness to the influence of Leyden.
Today Leyden is silent and isolated. When the Germans over-ran Holland, all Jewish professors were dismissed from the faculty, and three prominent Nazis were appointed to the chairs of political economy, history, and what is called "new philosophy." An outstanding member of the faculty who objected to these German measures was imprisoned; and when the student body held a meeting of protest and sang the Dutch national anthem, the institution was closed "until further notice." Judged by outward appearances the University of Leyden has ceased to exist as an effective force in the extension of knowledge and in the development of a free society.
Fosdick went on to detail other instances, elsewhere in Europe, including Germany. He then reminded his audience that "the Nazi mentality is not necessarily confined to Germany" and that it "has a way of coming to life even in localities in the United States." I quote again:
It may seem superfluous, especially before a Stanford audience, to underscore this matter of academic freedom, but in days like these when intolerance and public suspicion are so easily fanned into flame, there is an occupational hazard connected with some branches of teaching and research; and a university as an institution must be prepared to stand unfalteringly behind the isolated and perhaps dangerously exposed individual scholar.... Let the winds of freedom blow.64
I am coming to a close. The limited time available to me in my "off- hours" has not allowed me to go beyond World War II and what role, if any, the motto played during the periods of McCarthyism and of student protest against the Vietnam War. Since my Inaugural Address, where I spoke about what the motto might entail for a university's freedom, Die Luft der Freiheit weht has seen some modest revival. I say "revival" because it is my impression that it had somewhat fallen into desuetude. As its legitimacy is based on custom rather than formal adoption, we need to remind ourselves that custom is undone by nonuse. The seal with the motto now appears (apparently for the first time) on the President's stationery - and that is as far as my influence reaches.
In my Inaugural Address, I spoke about nine aspects of a university's freedom. And most likely there are more than that. My nine are not easily reconciled with one another nor is it easy to arrive at syllogistic conclusions about their application to the demands of the hour. But then, contrary to the truly obnoxious habits of contemporary television and politics, few issues can be reduced to two opposing, sloganeering sound bites. May Die Luft der Freiheit always be understood as a guiding principle that - instead of being a slogan itself - blows away the slogans that stifle academic debate and freedom.
* For research assistance, I am much indebted to Margaret Kimball, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist, and to Steven Martinez. The paper also reflects help I received in the summer of 1992 from two then graduate students at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Ed Callahan and Jonathan Strom.
1Cf. David Starr Jordan, The Wind of Freedom, The Stanford Illustrated Review, May 1918, 297; B. Q. Morgan, How Stanford Selected That "Winds of Freedom" Slogan, The Stanford Illustrated Review, November 1937, 22-23; Gunther W. Nagel, M.D., The Legacy of Ulrich von Hutten, Stanford Review, March 1962, 12-15; Gerhard Casper, Inaugural Address, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 12-13, October 7, 1992.
2David Starr Jordan, Founders' Day Address, The Stanford Alumnus, March 1917, 224.
3David Starr Jordan, The Wind of Freedom, note 1 supra.
4Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 7, 1995. Nineteen men were in attendance at the first faculty meeting on October 3, 1891; Edith R. Mirrielees, Stanford: The Story of a University, New York 1959, 58.
5Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 25, 1995.
6Ulrich von Hutten (Eduard Bocking, ed.), Opera vol. 2, Leipzig 1859, 34.
7On the matter of translation, also see letter to the editor from Ronald Bracewell, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 3, October 14, 1992.
8David Starr Jordan, Ulrich von Hutten, Current vol. 6, 357-59, December 4, 1866; 375-76, December 11, 1866. Cf. Alice N. Hays, David Starr Jordan: A Bibliography of His Writings 1871-1931, Stanford, Calif. 1952, 4.
9David Starr Jordan, A Knight of the Order of Poets, in The Story of the Innumerable Company and Other Sketches, San Francisco 1896, 205- 44.
10Alice N. Hays, note 8 supra, 4.
11Id. at 3.
12David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357. In 1896, Jordan substitutes "modern civilization" for "modern science, modern religion, modern freedom" and deletes the reference to the German people and their English-speaking cousins; Jordan, note 9 supra, 207.
13David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357.
14See Gerhard Casper, Inaugural Address, note 1 supra; also Gerhard Casper, Invectives, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 14, March 10, 1993.
15See Friedrich Nietzsche, Unfashionable Observations, The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche vol. 2, translated, with an Afterword, by Richard T. Gray, Stanford, Calif. 1995.
16David Starr Jordan, note 9 supra, 244.
17David Starr Jordan id. at 235. Cf. Jordan, note 8 supra, 376.
18Ulrich von Hutten, note 6 supra; David Friedrich Strauss, Ulrich von Hutten 2. Teil, Leipzig 1858, 176.
19David Starr Jordan, note 1 supra.
20David Starr Jordan, The Care and Culture of Men, A Series of Addresses on the Higher Education, San Francisco 1896, 41.
21Id. at 53.
22Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Bloomington, Indiana 1970-77, 211. I was referred to this account of Jordan's Indiana days by Myles Brand, President of Indiana University.
24David Starr Jordan, note 20 supra, 184.
25David Starr Jordan, The Days of a Man, Volume One 1851-1899, Yonkers-on-Hudson 1922, 113.
26David Starr Jordan, note 21 supra, 111.
27Letter from Thomas Ehrlich to Gerhard Casper, November 6, 1992.
28David Starr Jordan, note 9 supra, 242.
29David Starr Jordan, note 25 supra, 362.
30David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357. Hutten himself did display a bit of "modern" scientific spirit in his book about syphilis; see Gerhard Casper, Invectives, note 14 supra. He addressed the theory that syphilis was God's punishment for moral depravity. Hutten displayed his impatience with theologians who pretend to know God's will and firmly came down on the side of natural causes. I am indebted to Carlos A. Camargo, M.D., for having referred me to Hutten's text from 1519, an English translation of which appeared in 1540.
31David Starr Jordan, note 25 supra, 420.
32For Jane Stanford's views, see Gunther W. Nagel, Jane Stanford, Stanford, Calif. 1975, 134-44.
33Warren J. Samuels, The Resignation of Frank A. Fetter from Stanford University, The History of Economics Society Bulletin vol. VI, issue 2, 16 (1985).
34Edgar Eugene Robinson and Paul Carroll Edwards (eds.), The Memoirs of Ray Lyman Wilbur, 1875-1949, Stanford, Calif. 1960, 99.
35Quoted in Warren J. Samuels, note 33 supra, 20.
36Id. at 21.
37B. Q. Morgan, note 1 supra, 23.
38The Stanford Illustrated Review, June 1932, 395.
39Edgar Eugene Robinson and Paul Carroll Edwards (eds.), note 34 supra, 100.
40Letter from George E. Crothers, Stanford Alumni Review, February 1947.
42John Bartlett (Justin Kaplan, general ed.), Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Sixteenth Edition, Boston, Toronto, London 1992, 312.
43Letter from David Starr Jordan to George E. Crothers, August 10, 1907 (Stanford University Archives).
44David Starr Jordan, note 21 supra, 263.
45Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 105.
46Letter from George E. Crothers to David Starr Jordan, August 27, 1907 (Stanford University Archives).
47Edward McNall Burns, David Starr Jordan: Prophet of Freedom, Stanford, Calif. 1953, 168.
49Stanford University: The Founding Grant with Amendments, Legislation, and Court Decrees, Stanford, Calif. 1987, 22.
50Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 159
51David Starr Jordan, The Days of a Man, Volume Two 1900-1921, Yonkers- on-Hudson 1922, 455.
52Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 183-84.
53Letter from Bernard Bienenfeld to David Starr Jordan, March 29, 1917 (Stanford University Archives).
54Letter from David Starr Jordan to Lee Slater Overman, December 23, 1918 (Stanford University Archives).
55David Starr Jordan, note 51 supra, 735.
56See Dorothy Driscoll, An Unjust Attack on Dr. Jordan, The Stanford Illustrated Review, June 1918, 331, 354.
57Letter from David Starr Jordan to Lee Slater Overman, note 54 supra.
58Letter from David Starr Jordan to Ray Lyman Wilbur, September 9, 1918 (Stanford University Archives).
59The Daily Palo Alto, May 7, 1918 (Stanford University Archives).
60David Starr Jordan, note 1 supra.
61Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 7, 1995.
62Norris E. James (ed.), Fifty Years on the Quad, Stanford, Calif. 1938.
63Program of the Stanford Associates dinner commemorating the university's fiftieth anniversary, October 1, 1941 (Stanford University Archives).
64Raymond B. Fosdick, Let the Winds of Freedom Blow, Talk given at the Stanford Associates dinner commemorating the university's fiftieth anniversary, October 1, 1941 (Stanford University Archives).