From Margaret Mead and Zora Neale Hurston to Lionel Trilling and Lou Gehrig, Columbia University has been home to some of the most important historians, scientists, critics, artists, physicians, and social scientists of the twentieth century. (It can also boast a hall-of-fame athlete.) In Living Legacies at Columbia, contributors with close personal ties to their subjects capture Columbia's rich intellectual history. Essays span the birth of genetics and modern anthropology, constitutionalism from John Jay to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Virginia Apgar's test, Lou Gehrig's swing, journalism education, black power, public health, the development of Asian studies, the Great Books Movement, gender studies, human rights, and numerous other realms of teaching and discovery. They include Eric Foner on historian Richard Hoftstader, Isaac Levi and Sidney Hook on John Dewey, David Rosand on art historian Meyer Schapiro, John Hollander on critic Mark Van Doren, Donald Keene on Asian studies, Jacques Barzun on history, Eric Kandel on geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan, and Rosalind Rosenberg on Franz Boas and his three most famous pupils: Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Much more than an institutional history, Living Legacies captures the spirit of a great university through the stories of gifted men and women who have worked, taught, and studied at Columbia. It includes stories of struggle and breakthrough, searching and discovery, tradition and transformation.