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Andrew D. White At Michigan

Andrew Dickson White
The Michigan Alumnus 245

Andrew D. White At Michigan

ANDREW D. WHITE, LL.D. (Hon.) 1867

Professor of History and English Literature, 1857-1863, and Professor of History 1863-1867.

IT MAY not be generally known that one of the 
liveliest and best accounts of the early days at the
 University of Michigan is to be found in the
 Autobiography of Andrew D. White (New York: The 
Century Company, 1904, 1905). Since he was with 
out doubt one of the most gifted men who ever occu
pied a chair at Michigan, it is no wonder that the 
two chapters of Andrew D. White's book which are
 devoted to this institution, "Life at the University of
 Michigan, 1857-64" (Chapter XV) and "University 
Life in the West, 1857-64" (Chapter XVI), present 
in broad, telling strokes a lifelike picture of those 
days, when Dr. Tappan was President, such men as
 Frieze, Cooley. Campbell, and Brunnow were White's
 colleagues, and the student body, though small, in
cluded many who were to make great names for them
selves in the impending Civil War, in public life, 
 and in education. 

The Epic Days

Dr. White gives in some detail an account of the 
historical studies, which he inaugurated here. Of
 Henry Simmons Frieze, of whom he was very fond, he 
declares that in Germany he would have been a sec
ond Beethoven. There are little word-pictures of 
Brunnow, Cooley and Campbell, and an amusing 
account of President Tappan s diplomacy in dealing
 with the student-engineered disappearance of the
 College bell. 

Dr. Tappan on Extemporaneous Speaking

One of Dr. White's duties was to lecture to the 
seniors and the law students on the "Development of 
Civilization during the Middle Ages." Since he elected
 to do without manuscript or even notes, he was somewhat apprehensive of stumbling, and confessed as
 much to President Tappan. Said Dr. Tappan, "Let
 me, as an old hand, tell you one thing: never stop 
dead; keep saying something." Recently when a University officer was chatting with Mr. Arthur T. Vanderbilt, President of the American Bar Association, 
 Mr. Vanderbilt recalled a time when, as he was plead
ing a case, everything seemed to "go blank." Fortu
nately he remembered Dr. Tappan's advice, which 
he had read in the White Autobiography, and "kept 
saying something."