Science As Service: Establishing and Reformulating Land-Grant Universities, 1865-1930

Science As Service: Establishing and Reformulating Land-Grant Universities, 1865-1930

Science as Service: Establishing and Reformulating American Land-Grant Universities, 1865-1930 is the first of a two volume pair that traces the foundation and evolution of America’s land-grant institutions. In this expertly curated collection of essays, Alan I Marcus has assembled a tough-minded account of the successes and set-backs of these institutions during the first 65 years of their existence. In myriad scenes, vignettes, and episodes from the history of land-grant colleges, these essays demonstrate the defining characteristic of these institutions: their willingness to proclaim and pursue science in the service of the publics and students they served.

The Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862 created of a series of institutions­—at least one in every state and territory—with now familiar names: Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University, University of California, University of Arizona, and Purdue University to name a few. These schools opened educational opportunities and pathways to a significant fraction of the American public and provided leadership, key contributions, and breadth to produce the United States’ global edge in science, technical innovation, and agriculture.

In no minor achievement, Marcus has edited an admirably diverse range of topics, covered in great detail by authorities in their fields, into one precise volume with a clear thesis. Science as Service offers the expert knowledge of each of its contributors, yet in a lucid and luminous way that makes it accessible to the lay reader.

Science as Service provides an essential body of literature for understanding the transformations of the land-grant colleges established by the Morrill Act in 1862 as well as the considerable impact they had on the history of the United States. Historians of science, technology, and agriculture, along with rural sociologists, public decision and policy makers, educators, and higher education administrators will find this an essential addition their book collections.


"Science as Service is nothing less than a remarkable collection of first-rate articles on topics at once wonderfully diverse and intellectually complementary to one another. Editor Marcus surely deserves enormous credit for transforming so many conference papers into a most readable volume. . . . Individually and collectively, the essays greatly enlarge our knowledge of and appreciation for the impact of land-grant institutions on American society."—Howard P. Segal, University of Maine, author of Future Imperfect: The Mixed Blessings of Technology in America and Utopias: A Brief History from Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities

"This collection of essays is more than the sum of its parts . . . It has a thesis that is clearly argued by the contributors.  There is no ambivalence in the argument. . . . All of the essays [are] engaging, and . . . scholars from many disciplines will find all or parts of it informative and useful, particularly historians of agriculture, science, technology, and education. . . Science as Service should have a long shelf life and inform scores of scholars about the nature and development of the land-grant system for decades to come."—R. Douglas Hurt, Purdue University, author of African American Life in the Rural South, 1900-1950 and The Big Empty: The Great Plains in the Twentieth Century

[SERIES] NEXUS:  New Histories of Science, Technology, the Environment, Agriculture, and MedicineA BOOK SERIES

Alan I Marcus is author or coauthor of several publications, including The Future Is Now: Science and Technology Policy Within the United States Since 1950, Building Western Civilization: From the Advent of Writing to the Age of SteamCancer From Beef: The DES Controversy, Federal Food Regulation and Consumer Confidence in Modern America, and Technology in America: A Brief History.