proof isn't in the provenance
your December/01 issue, one of your correspondents who addressed
the subject of college rankings referred to them as absurdities.
In my 40-plus years as a college teacher of history, I have also
found them to be irrelevant. Citing a few among many examples,
I can verify this contention.
first history department I joined after receiving my Ph.D. at
Chicago was populated by Berkeley, Chicago, Harvard, Princeton,
Yale, and Wisconsin graduates. The most dynamic, productive colleague,
who was elected chair before he turned 40, received his doctorate
from the University of Missouri. The current president of the
American Historical Association, who attended none of the aforementioned
institutions, was my advisee at the University of Oklahoma, class
of 1958. My doctoral students also included a young man who played
football before graduating from Baylor and received his Ph.D.
from Tulane University. His major scholarly accomplishment is
a three-volume history of the Jacobin clubs in the French Revolution.
Jacques Godechot, then holding the chair on the history of this
event at the Sorbonne, greeted the first volume as the authoritative
treatment of the subject historians had awaited for generations.
three of these scholars were enthusiastic, intelligent, and industrious.
These were the attributes that counted, not the provenance of
A. Schmitt, AM'43, PhD'53