A NOTE ON THE TEXT
For over a decade, between other writing and teaching assignments, Milton Mayer worked intermittently on a memoir of his friend and associate Robert Maynard Hutchins. He had his subject's full cooperation and approval for the use of documents published and unpublished. By 1983 he had amassed over twelve hundred pages of rough copy. These Mayer set about to shape and revise with editorial help. By 1985 he had a draft of some nine hundred typescript pages. In spite of serious illness, the remaining year of his life was devoted to additional cuts and revisions that he did not live to complete.
At the time of his death in April 1986, Mayer left his memoir in a form close to what is offered here. The editor, who had been working closely with him on the manuscript, has endeavored with Mrs. Mayer's help to complete the necessary reductions essential to bring the book to press. He has added nothing other than grammatical linkages required for coherence or continuity, and has striven to keep intact Mayer's style and liveliness.
Because he was a participant in many events, and a keen observer of countless more, Mayer is a valuable primary source of information about Hutchins. His authority is frequently personal: his witness to events early and late; his knowledge based on long friendship; his acquaintance with many in the Hutchins circles; not least his ear for talk, whether by Hutchins or those around Hutchins. He had a retentive memory, and a good writer's sense for scene and drama. The Chicago background, from precinct and police court to City Hall and college campus, Mayer knew thoroughly; he was native to it. The Hutchins foreground he saw and heard close up. Mayer conveys, with vivid immediacy, the Hutchins voice and verbal style, the cut of his manner, the different kinds of excite-
ment Hutchins could generate, and a sense of how it felt (early and late) to be within the radius of that powerful presence.
The effect is a counterpoint of views: Hutchins as he appeared to various others, Mayer's perception of his friend, and Hutchins' own view of himself. The combination allows Mayer to be as critical of the man he admired as the man himself was. The composite portrait becomes complicated in a fascinating way, and we see Hutchins at crucial phases in the development of his private-become-public persona.
In the working draft left at his death, Mayer kept the formal paraphernalia of scholarship to the severest minimum, seeking to incorporate necessary citations unobtrusively, even casually, into the text. At the request of the University of California Press, the editor has provided somewhat more detailed documentation in the notes that follow. These notes, where possible, identify the specific sources Mayer drew upon when quoting Hutchins or others, and clarify dates that Mayer omitted or left ambiguous. The information has been taken from Mayer's extensive notes and files, and from marked and annotated volumes and off-prints, transcripts, and periodicals in his library. For quotations left undocumented the reader must assume the authority of Mayer's reconstruction from notes or memory, and my failure to locate a published version or other form of record.
On subjects he thought important, Hutchins repeated the same views many times, in many places, and in similar if not always identical words. (In Mayer's laconic phrase Hutchins gave "eleven speeches eleven hundred times.") Except for a few selected instances, there is no cross-reference between occasions on which Hutchins addressed the same or closely related subjects, nor any effort to cite Mayer's previous use of part of the material he presents here.
Mayer's only recorded interviews with Hutchins were held at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Santa Barbara, October 2-4, 1973 (transcripts are in Mayer's files). Extensive conversations with Hutchins were held, Mayer said, "throughout 1969 and 1970." Of these, there is no summary or list. Mayer's earliest interviews with Hutchins, dating back to the 1930s, became the basis for articles about Hutchins, Chicago, and American education, such as "Rapidly Aging Young Man" for Forum and Century in 1933, and "Hutchins of Chicago," published in two parts, for Harper's in 1939.
The major repository for the Hutchins papers is the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. These records contain the originals of most of the Hutchins references cited in this book. The Regenstein Library, Department of Collections, has also been designated as the repository for the papers of Milton Mayer. These will include all of the materials—notes,
transcripts, letters, photocopies, documents, and drafts—Mayer accumulated in writing this volume.
The Hutchins Library at Berea College, and the Oberlin College Library, hold Hutchins family records, correspondence, and photographs. The Hutchins papers at Yale are held at the Law School Library, the University Library, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Archives of the Fund for the Republic are in the Mudd Library at Princeton University. Archives of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions are deposited with the library of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The many Hutchins friends, family, and colleagues Mayer consulted, and the names of others who helped him with this book, are entered in the list of acknowledgments that Milton Mayer carefully prepared before his death.
The editor wishes to thank George Anastaplo of Loyola University (Chicago) for help with photographs and elusive citations; William J. McClung, Editorial Director of the University of California Press for his thoughtful guidance; editors Douglas Abrams Arava, Mark Pentecost, and copyeditor Tony Hicks of the Press for their care and vigilance; and especially Professor Richard Haven, a former fellow editor on the Massachusetts Review and my colleague at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), for his counsel and generous hours of assistance during what he had expected would be vacation time.
John H. Hicks