The Land Grant University: A Historical Bibliography


Cross, Coy F., II

Justin Smith Morrill: Father of the Land-Grant Colleges

East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1999

A rather brief (147 pages of text), but competent biography of the man best known as the father of the land grant university system in America. That element in Justin Smith Morrill's life receives sound treatment in Chapter 5, "Morrill's Monument: The Land-Grant College Act." Biographer Coy F. Cross II refutes those who have argued that others actually wrote the Morrill Act, giving clear ownership of the act to Morrill, although, of course, others had voiced similar proposals.

Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Justin S. Morrill

Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899

Speeches compiled from the congressional record.

The Land-Grant Tradition

Washington: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 1994

Includes a useful chronology, as well as the text of the Morrill Act and amendments.

Parker, William Belmont

The Life and Public Services of Justin Smith Morrill

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924

This generally adulatory biography covers the entirety of Morrill's public career, which lasted until his death in 1899.

Songe, Alice H.

The Land-Grant Idea in American Higher Education: A Guide to Information Sources

New York: K.G. Saur, 1980


Nevins, Allan

The Origins of the Land-Grant Colleges and State Universities

Washington: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1962

Concise treatment, with rhetorical flourish, by a great American historian.

Ross, Earle D.

Democracy’s College: The Land-Grant Movement in the Formative Stage

Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1942

This is still the classic historical work, composed at a time when name changes seemed to be indicating, to some detractors, a shift in the historical mission of the land-grant colleges.

Anderson, G. Lester

Land-Grant Universities and Their Continuing Challenge

East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1976

See especially the essay by Maxwell H. Goldberg, "Liberal Learning and the Land-Grant System," pp. 132-59, which includes the concept of tension and a dialectic between the liberal arts and the practical and professional fields, leading to the model of cooperation by unlike schools to address societal issues.

James, Edmund J.

The Origin of the Land Grant Act of 1862

Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, University Studies 4, 1910

Intended to bring to light the Illinois origins of the main tenets of the Morrill Act, this bulletin is particularly valuable for primary documents explicating the views of Turner on industrial education, including his peculiar conception of "liberal" education.

Hunter, William C.

Beacon Across the Prairie: North Dakota’s Land-Grant College

Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1961


Colman, Gould P.

Education & Agriculture: A History of the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University

Ithaca: Cornell University, 1963


John, Walton C., Ed.

Land-Grant College Education, 1910 to 1920, Part 1: History and Educational Objectives

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education Bulletin No. 30,  1924

A review of legislation and mission of the land-grant colleges; the introductory bulletin to a series of five that comprises the various branches of knowledge as treated in the land-grant institutions. (See entry for Part 2, on the liberal arts, below.)

John, Walton C., Ed.

Land-Grant College Education, 1910 to 1920, Part IV: Engineering and Mechanic Arts

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education Bulletin No. 37, 1925

See especially pp. 1- 7, George F. Zook, "The Liberal Arts in Relation to the Land-Grant Colleges." This essay develops the role of the liberal arts as general education for "cultural appreciation and citizenship education."

True, Alfred Charles

A History of Agricultural Education in the United States, 1785-1925

U.S. Dept. Ag., Misc. Pub. 36 (1929

Although not exclusively concerned with the land-grant universities, True's compendium lays emphasis on them, sketching their origins and context, detailing their development in the individual states.

Waugh, Frank A

The Agricultural College: A Study in Organization and Management and Especially in Problems of Teaching

New York: Orange Judd Co., 1916

An extended essay, with especially notable sections on the curriculum and on methods of teaching.


Shrine to Justin Smith Morrill / History RFD