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1007389

Nicholas Murray Butler

 

“The imperative need . . . in our own great and sometimes unwieldy democracy,

is a higher standard of popular intelligence and a higher public morality.”

Nicholas Murray Butler, 1862-1947.  American philosopher, educator, and diplomat.  Recipient, 1931 Nobel Peace Prize; President of Columbia University, 1902-1945; President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1925-1945.  Autographed Sentiment Signed, Nicholas Murray Butler, one page, 5˝” x 8˝”, on stationery of Columbia College, University Faculty of Philosophy, New York City, New York, January 27, 1896. 

This is a strong, but perhaps not an altogether unexpected, statement from Butler the educator.  He writes forthrightly about what he sees as the general public’s insufficient levels of intelligence and morality.  Responding to a student’s letter, Butler says, in full:  “The imperative need of the time in every country of the civilized world, but especially in our own great and sometimes unwieldy democracy, is a higher standard of popular intelligence and a higher public morality.  No single force can contribute so much to these ends as public education; and every worker in that cause, however humble or however inconspicuous, is a benefactor of his time and of his race.” 

Butler was the 12th and longest-serving President of Columbia University.  He shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize with Jane Addams, receiving it for his efforts to strengthen international law and the International Court at the Hague.  As President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he used his contacts with European leaders.  By supporting French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, he fostered the Briand-Kellogg Pact, which forbade wars of aggression, in 1928.

This letter has never been on the market before.  It comes from a large collection of letters, notes, and signatures assembled by a professor of penmanship at the State Normal School at Emporia, Kansas, now Emporia State University, who had his students write to prominent men and women to request a handwritten letter expressing a reminiscence, a favorite sentiment, or a word of advice.

The letter has two horizontal mailing folds, neither of which affects the signature, and a collector’s pencil note in the lower left corner.  It is slightly toned, and there are mounting traces on the back.  Overall it is in fine condition. 

Unframed. 

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