Ohio History Journal





RAILROAD, 1845-1883: A CASE


ECONOMICS. By John Pixton. The

Pennsylvania State University Studies

No. 17. (University Park: The Penn-

sylvania State University Press, 1966.

94p.; map, appendices, and bibliogra-

phical essay. $1.00.)

When spread out in detail on the pages

of history, the difficulties which faced the

builders of Ohio's early railroads seem

completely overwhelming. First place

among the difficulties probably goes to


The routes most in harmony with the

promoters' resources were not necessarily

chosen. The cost estimates often fell woe-

fully short of the mark. Available funds

seldom allowed for substantial construction

or appropriate rolling stock or adequate

shops, stations, and warehouses. Connect-

ing railroads failed to furnish the traffic

on which income estimates had been based.

The frustrations, in a word, were many!

The history of the Marietta and Cin-

cinnati Railroad, which Mr. Pixton ably

gives us, has as its hero a man who quickly

stood out from among the other railroad

men who were associated with him. Wil-

liam P. Cutler gave the best years of his

life, no small part of his resources, and all

his boundless energy and zeal over to

building and operating a railroad that

really did not come into its own until half

a century after he had helped to organize


Two logical reasons for building this

road made it seem like a certain success.

First, Cincinnati "clearly" needed a direct

line to the East, and also the Baltimore

and Ohio Railroad equally as "clearly"

needed a direct line to Cincinnati, still

Queen City of the West. But logic failed

before the difficulties confronted by inex-

perience, and misfortune added to the

railroad men's share of woe. Disastrously

heavy rains washed out track and trestles;

large amounts of scarce capital were

poured into an unsuccessful attempt to

build a link to the Pennsylvania Railroad

by way of Wheeling; and the panic of 1857

took a heavy toll. The chief misfortunes,

however, sprang from what Mr. Pixton

calls "implacable economic developments,"

namely, "the rise to economic precedence

of northern Ohio and the [subsequent]

eclipse of Cincinnati and St. Louis by


Mr. Pixton's book shows due regard for

economic factors and other aspects of Ohio

history pertinent to his subject. He but-

tressess his work with several useful ap-

pendices and a good bibliographical essay.

The number of typographical errors, how-

ever, seems excessive; an illustration that

is inexcusable is the appearance of "guage"

for "gauge" three times in one paragraph

(p. 79). The map contains at least one

error, and the writing is occasionally un-

clear, Nevertheless, the story of this pio-

neer railroad and its guiding light is well

told and adds much to an understanding

of Ohio's economic history.


Columbus, Ohio





MARK TWAIN. Edited with an intro-

duction by John Y. Simon. (Carbondale:

Southern Illinois University Press, 1966.

58p.; $4.95.)

In his introduction to this small mono-

graph, Dr. Simon, executive director of

the Grant Association and the editor of

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, analyzes

well the circumstances and conditions

under which Matthew Arnold wrote his

article on Grant's Memoirs. He also as-

signs several reasons for Mark Twain's

rebuttal, one of which was that the latter

was the publisher of the popular Memoirs.

When the treatise by the prominent

Englishman appeared, vivid memories still


BOOK REVIEWS                              179

remained of Grant's race with death to

complete his writings and American

mourning incident to his passing had

scarcely subsided. Thus the time setting

was such that any ideas expressed which

might detract from the victor of Appomat-

tox were sure to create resentment, and

particularly so if written by a foreigner.

Arnold criticized the General for going

"astray" in his use of language and for

comparing unfavorably European soldiers

with American. He stated that Englishmen

regarded Lee, not Grant, as the hero of the

Civil War and explained why some of his

fellow countrymen sympathized with the

South during that great struggle. He took

Americans to task for their high estimate

of themselves.

Yet, this English author bestowed much

praise upon Grant. He was "a man of

sterling good-sense as well as of the firmest

resolution"; he was modest, free from os-

tentation and charitable toward his ene-

mies. Despite his criticism of the grammar

used in some parts of the Memoirs, Arnold

found in them "a language straightforward,

nervous, firm, possessing in general the

high merit of saying clearly in the fewest

possible words what had to be said, and

saying it, frequently, with shrewd and un-

expected turns of expression" (p. 13).

Mark Twain's Rejoinder, given in a

speech before the Army and Navy Club

of Connecticut in 1887, included not only

a defense of Grant's use of grammar but

a sharp attack upon Arnold's alleged de-

linquency in this respect. The reply un-

stintedly praised both the Memoirs and its

author. This little volume, though sur-

charged with an unusual number of sensi-

tive factors, nevertheless, makes interest-

ing reading.


The Ohio State University




Elwyn B. Robinson. (Lincoln: Univer-

sity of Nebraska Press, 1966. xiv??599p.;

maps, illustrations, bibliographical es-

say, and index. $7.95.)

The author is an Ohio-born and Ohio-

trained (Oberlin and Western Reserve) his-

torian, who has spent his professional career

of more than thirty years as a member of

the history department of the University

of North Dakota. Since the population of

the whole state today does not equal that

of the metropolitan area of Dayton, Ohio,

the volume displays a sense of community

and of intimacy which a work dealing with

a more populous state could scarcely do.

Geographers will applaud the author's

efforts to show how the physical environ-

ment, with the long winters, the hot sum-

mers, and, for many years, the engulfing

isolation, made an indelible imprint upon

the people. The pioneer fur trade along

the Missouri River, the organization of

Dakota Territory in 1861, and the boom

following the coming of the railroads in

the 1870's are all a part of the story. The

coming of many thousands of Scandinav-

ians and others of foreign birth is also


Inevitably the plight of the farmer dur-

ing the depression of the 1890's and then

during the 1920's linked large numbers in

the state with the Farmers' Alliance,

Progressivism, Populism, and the Non-

partisan League. Bitter experience had

persuaded the people that they were being

exploited by outside interests. The at-

tempts at an answer, implemented by

means of the Nonpartisan League, are

carefully discussed in two chapters, "The

Great Socialist Experiment" and "A So-

cialist State in the First World War." The

drought and depression of the 1930's and

the vigorous leadership of men such as

William Langer, Gerald P. Nye, and Wil-

liam Lemke are vividly presented.

Cultural factors associated with educa-

tion, medicine, libraries, newspapers, and

churches are also dealt with in consider-

able detail. By 1960, Catholics made up 34

percent, Lutherans 48 percent, and other

denominations only 18 percent of the

church members. North Dakota had be-

come, on a percentage basis, the most

Lutheran state in the nation.

In the development of the North Dakota

character the author finds that ruralism

and the large percentage of immigrants,

as well as geography, were important fac-

tors. In 1920, 20.4 percent of the people

were foreign-born and 86.4 percent were


The book is remarkably free from errors,

but J. Fred Essay (p. 533) should be J.


180                             OHIO HISTORY

Fred Essary. On the whole the volume

contributes significantly to our knowledge

of an important state of the agrarian West.


The Ohio State University




1916-1966. By Carl Wittke. (Cleveland:

John Huntington Art and Polytechnic

Trust and the Cleveland Museum of Art,

1966. xiv+161p.; illustrations and index.


With this volume the Cleveland Museum

of Art joins the surprisingly small list of

American art museums whose histories

have been recorded in book-length studies.

In the past neither art historians nor his-

torians of philanthropy have displayed

much interest in recording the annals of

individual galleries. It is fortunate that the

Cleveland Museum chose an accomplished

social historian, Carl Wittke, to prepare a

monograph which may serve as a model

for other museum histories.

As the title indicates, the book is a

salute to the museum on the fiftieth anni-

versary of its founding. Quite aside from

this happy occasion, the Cleveland Muse-

um deserves a history both for the im-

portance of the treasures it has assembled

and because of its significance as a living

monument to American philanthropy. Al-

though one of the few major art museums

in this or any country which does not

obtain direct support for operating ex-

penses from public funds, the Cleveland

Museum has long been famous for artistic

and educational programs which have

stimulated and attracted broad popular

participation and support.

As a building and collection, the Cleve-

land Museum of Art dates only from 1916,

but the fortunes which created it and the

interest which inspired it reach back to

the 1880's. Dean Wittke begins by sketch-

ing the development of artistic activity in

Cleveland during the nineteenth century

and by outlining the financial and cultural

backgrounds of the founders of the muse-

um. The bulk of his text deals with the

personalities and programs of the three

directors, Frederic Alien Whiting, Wil-

liam Mathewson Milliken, and Sherman

Emery Lee, who guided the institution

through its first half-century. The closing

pages pay tribute to Leonard C. Hanna

whose gifts made the Cleveland Museum

one of the most richly endowed of all

American art museums.

As is to be expected in an anniversary

volume, the tone of the book is respectful.

Controversies and differences of opinion

and policy, however, are not slighted, but

dealt with in a frank and seemly fashion.

The chapter on Museum Management is

particularly informative. The whole book

is a useful addition to the still scanty lit-

erature dealing with the progression of

American cities from commercial and in-

dustrial might to cultural eminence.


The Ohio State University




RACY. By Norman L. Zucker. (Ur-

bana: University of Illinois Press, 1966.

x+186p.; bibliography and index. $5.00.)

This is a good little book. It is not a

biography although Chapter One does

constitute a biographical sketch of the

Senator. Rather, it is a thorough-going

analysis of the Nebraskan liberal's views

on six subjects: the party system, regula-

tion of business, agriculture, labor, con-

servation, and foreign affairs. On all of

these matters the opinions of Norris were

shaped by his unflinching belief in the

ultimate wisdom of the "common man."

He felt any attempt to abridge the freedom

of the people must be resolutely opposed.

The list of the statesman's contributions

to the democratizing of American society

is a long one: TVA, the Twentieth Amend-

ment, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, and uni-

cameralism in Nebraska. He fought for

public ownership of public utilities and

railroad companies, for public regulation

of the business community, and for the

conservation of natural resources. He was

not out to "get" the special interest groups,

but instead he sought to guarantee to the

people rights, privileges, and opportunities

which were naturally theirs. Few public

figures in our history have touched the

lives of so many Americans in so many

places for so many years.

Perhaps Norris was not an intellectual

giant, and occasionally he may have either


BOOK REVIEWS                              181

acted right for the wrong reasons or acted

wrong for no good reasons. And maybe

his nineteenth-century philosophy, which

stressed the simple virtues, became out-

dated in the mid-twentieth century. Yet,

his public life remains a bright beacon to

those who might falter in their democratic

faith and serves to remind us that demo-

cratic government can work even in this

present day of doubt.

Professor Zucker, who teaches political

science in Tufts University, has put to-

gether a most useful account of the "Gen-

tle Knight's" political philosophy. It is

admiring in tone, but certainly not un-

critical. In fact, one can confidently expect

to learn, at the close of each chapter, that

Norris made at least one mistake in every-

thing he undertook. The literary style

leaves a bit to be desired; but as a pene-

trating study of the legislator's thought,

this probably is the best book yet available.


Marietta College