Education for Citizenship
A Foundation's Experience
This book has been written and published in accordance with the
strong obligation felt by the trustees of the Emil Schwarzhaupt
Foundation to report to the field on what it did with the funds at its
disposal and on what results were observed. Accordingly, this account:
(1) describes the reationale on the basis of which the grant program was
undertaken, (2) indicates something of how the Foundationís business
was conducted and what it learned about its own operations and (3)
describes in some detail the principal projects funded in order to
allow the reader to see more clearly the basis for the conclusions
arrived at about the various projects and the reasons for the variety
of results reported. If the book has value for foundation trustees and
staff, for those concerned with education for citizenship broadly
understood and for practitioners in the schools, in social group work
or community organization, it does not stem from the discovery of new
principles but rather from the opportunity to observe their operation
in a variety of unusual contexts.
to the Web Version of Education for Citizenship
The purpose of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, set forth in the last will and testament of its founder, and the program developed for it were fitting expressions of the character of Emil Schwarzhaupt. He had always contributed generously during his lifetime in support of a variety of charitable organizations, for which he also provided in his will. But for his final gift, his residuary estate, he chose an acknowledgment of his deep gratitude and sense of obligation to his adopted and beloved country, which had opened up to him vast opportunities to employ his many talents.
Born in a small village in Germany in 1892, Emil Schwarzhaupt was one of those rare individuals who was beloved and admired by everyone with whom he came in contact. He had warmth and an outgoing and enthusiastic personality and was sincerely interested in his fellowmen. He had an extraordinarily incisive mind and was a person of the highest integrity in business and in his personal relationships. He emigrated to the United States in 1910 at the age of eighteen and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where he had some remote family ties. His first and only experience as an employee was with Liquor Dealers Supply Company in Chicago, headed by the late Henry Klein.
Mr. Schwarzhaupt learned every aspect of the liquor business as it was then being conducted prior to the prohibition amendment to the Constitution, and he learned his lessons well. In 1915, by accident, he encountered an old friend, Leo Gerngross (the first president of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Inc., after the death of Emil Schwarzhaupt), and convinced him to lend him money to ac-quire whiskey warehouse receipts. Mr. and Mrs. Gerngross lent Mr. Schwarzhaupt a substantial part of their savings, and, thereafter, Mr. Schwarzhaupt, having left the employ of Liquor Dealers Supply Company, began trading in such receipts on a very profitable basis. Before very long, Leo Gerngross joined him in the enterprise, and they became not only partners in business but also intimate and lifelong friends. Their close relationship was widely admired by both business associates and personal acquaintances.
The partnership of Schwarzhaupt & Co., of which Mr. Schwarzhaupt and Mr. Gerngross were partners, flourished and became so successful that subsequent to the repeal of the prohibition amendment in 1933, they acquired the Bernheim Distilling Company in Louisville, Kentucky, and were granted the first license in the state to distill whiskeys. Bernheim marketed I. W. Harper, Old Charter and Belmont, as well as other brands.
Among other things, Emil Schwarzhaupt was a man of vision with a deep sense of history. It was his conviction that it should be mandatory for every citizen of the United States to show his or her interest in government by registering and voting, and, in order to vote intelligently, to be well informed on the issues. In this vision, he was far ahead of his times. It was his opinion that democracy not only provided people with many privileges but also with obligations. Another of his principles was expressed in his will:
All moneys, securities or other assets or property shall be expended and disbursed by the Foundation for the purposes of said Foundation within the period of twenty-five years from and after the date of my death. My reason for imposing the restrictions and conditions in connection with the period of disbursement of said moneys, securities or other assets or property, as well as the purposes for which the same may be used, is because of my conviction that in the long run society is benefited by having each generation solve its own problems and provide the necessary funds for so doing, and that endowments, in order to be responsive to the ideals, wishes and needs of each generation, should be created by such generation.
The Foundation's board of trustees has been guided in determining the areas of contributions out of the assets of the Foundation by the founder's strong convictions on citizenship privileges and obligations. In Mr. Schwarzhaupt's will, in which he bequeathed to the Foundation his entire residuary estate, he stated his intent to promote the "upbuilding and betterment of American citizenship."
The breadth of concern and feeling embodied in these words are merely indicative of the character of Mr. Schwarzhaupt's will, which extended to some twenty-nine pages. Indeed, its impact was such that Dr. Louis Mann, rabbi of Chicago's Sinai Congregation (of which Mr. Schwarzhaupt was a member while a resident of Chicago until 1928) took specific note in a sermon praising the will for the humanitarian and ecumenical concern that it expressed. He said:
Twenty-nine pages that revealed a universal religious spirit, a Jew in the prophetic sense, whose solicitude included all and excluded none! Emil Schwarzhaupt achieved much in his short pilgrimage on earth. Because his last will and testament reflected the greatness of his spirit, he will continue to live. The Talmud says: "The righteous are alive even after death; the wicked are dead even while they are alive!" Emil Schwarzhaupt lives!
And, indeed, his spirit still lives on through the work of the Foundation which began its twenty-five years of corporate life with Emil Schwarzhaupt's death on March 30, 1950.
Adolph Hirsch, President
Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Inc.
In establishing the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Inc., the founder summarized his intent in the following words:
To promote the well-being of mankind, including within such purposes the upbuilding and betterment of American citizenship and increasing among all American citizens, and especially among the foreign-born, the knowledge of the history of the United States government and the meaning of the obligations and privileges of citizenship in the United States of America.
That the purpose expressed by Mr. Schwarzhaupt was an important one could not, of course, be reasonably gainsaid. The basic problem had been stated by Charles E. Merriam in 1934:
... the tempo of the present era, the importance and number of the decisions to be made, the speed with which adjustments must be carried through, the universality and elaborateness of education-these have never been surpassed or equaled in any period of history; and they impose an exceptional burden upon the present. We now come into times when in-competence in government and people will be written large in the ghastly tragedy possible only in a highly organized technical civilization.1
As a guide to action, however, the trustees were aware that there was a broad range of possible interpretations of Mr. Schwarzhaupt's statement of purpose.2
It might, for example, include in the notion of "citizenship," active participation in those associations and movements which De Toqueville noted as characteristic elements in American democracy "which improve citizenship and carry into the life of the citizen the ideals embodied in our institutions and in our laws." Or it might be restricted to improving the ability of the electorate to vote intelligently. Or it might encompass efforts to promote patriotism.
Recognizing that the statement of purpose was very general, Emil Schwarzhaupt had offered a number of specific suggestions: possible distribution by the federal government of appropriate materials on American citizenship to immigrants, endowment of a chair devoted to the study of American civilization and institutions, establishment of fellowships at several universities, and the award of annual prizes for contributions to the upbuilding and betterment of American citizenship. He noted, however, that these were to be considered as advisory only and were "in no wise to be binding upon the board of trustees...."
The trustees concluded, after much discussion, that it would be inappropriate to treat these suggestions as controlling. For example, huge quantities of materials had been or were being distributed to the foreign-born by the U.S. government and various patriotic societies. The proposed chair already existed. And, in any case, the funds available to the Foundation proved to be materially less than had originally been contemplated, far less than would be necessary to implement the suggested activities. (The sum of grants eventually amounted to nearly $3,500,000.)
One immediate conclusion, however, could be drawn from the text of Mr. Schwarzhaupt's will and from the articles of incorporation of the Foundation. The object of the Foundation did contemplate a change in behavior of American citizens (that is, in their ways of acting, thinking and feeling) in a direction considered to be desirable, namely, the upbuilding and betterment of American citizenship. In other words, to implement the Foundation's purpose required changes to be achieved through education of some kind. But again, the trustees were faced with myriad choices--education of what kind, at what level, in what mode, for whom? Obviously, only radically restricted choices could be made, if for no other reason than that available financial resources were severely limited. Moreover, to duplicate any of the many existing programs in the field seemed unjustifiable.
If, then, education were to be the arena of activity, where should the thrust be directed? Should it be through the formal structure of elementary or secondary education, adult education, or teacher training? Or should the emphasis be given to the work of organizations concerned with making effective in American life the intent and spirit of our society as embodied in our basic documents and institutions? Within the range of organizational efforts, again, a great variety of possibilities could be explored: to increase registration and voting (especially among the virtually disenfranchised), to aid groups striving to realize the civil rights of minorities or to improve relations among different racial and religious groups.
Confronted with such a confusion of possibilities, the trustees of the Foundation decided to seek counsel. Professor Louis Wirth of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago was invited to undertake an inquiry into the range of categories subsumed under the term "citizenship education" and to communicate his recommendations to the trustees. Based upon discussion of the findings, the trustees could then adopt terms of reference which would guide them in selecting promising applications for consideration and decision.
Implicit in this conclusion was the decision that the Foundation would not undertake direct activities to achieve its ends. Rather, it was decided that an advisor should be employed to consider applications for grants and make recommendations to the trustees for their review and decision. The Foundation subsequently invited me to assume this task on a part-time basis (concurrently with other employment).
In this account of the Foundation's activities, attention will be given to: (1) the efforts undertaken by the University of Chicago at the request of the trustees to develop a rationale for the grant program of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, a rationale intended to reflect the donor's purpose, the needs of the field and the practical limitations of the resources available to the Foundation; (2) how the Foundation conducted its business; (3) a description of the principal projects supported by the Foundation and the results achieved; (4) what was learned by the Foundation about its experience as a grantor; and (5) what was learned as a consequence of the work of the several grantees. For this account, I have drawn upon a variety of materials. Some grantees prepared reports which were published. In some cases, substantial reports were prepared by competent scholars but issued only in mimeographed form. In three cases, substantive studies were conducted by independent research groups. In other cases, materials dealing with a grant project were included in books or articles published in other contexts. For most projects, however, the materials consist of memoranda or typed reports collected by the Foundation for its files or loaned by grantees to assist in the completion of this manuscript. But for some projects, very little material was available even though the grantees had made a commitment to produce a final report "suitable for publication." The value of this report does not rest upon a claim of having discovered new principles. Rather, I believe it to be valuable because of the fact that the effectiveness of certain principles can be observed in an unusual variety of contexts, especially in citizen organizations and, to a lesser degree, in social group work.
Many have contributed to the preparation of this book. Most of them are recognized through bibliographical reference. I would like in addition to recognize those who contributed specifically to the preparation of the manuscript itself. First mention must be given to Ralph W. Tyler, trustee of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation beginning in 1957, who provided invaluable substantive assistance and criticism of the draft manuscript. His contribution was especially helpful because his participation in the program of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation had begun with the establishment of the Committee on Education for American Citizenship at the University of Chicago in 1951. Other trustees who read and commented on the manuscript included Adolph Hirsch, Bernard Goldfluss and Sidney Becker. (For the list of trustees, see Appendix A.)
Thanks are also due to the many persons who read portions of the manuscript and gave me the benefit of their information and insight. Among them were Septima Clark, Myles Horton, D'Arcy McNickle, Joan Ablon, Pedro Garcia, Sol Tax, Dr. George Walter, Edward Chambers, Marjorie Buckholz, Fred Ross, Bernice Robinson, Sol Markoff, Dan Dodson, Reverend Arthur M. Brazier and Nicholas Von Hoffman. Invaluable editorial assistance was provided by Ruth Grodzins and Eveline Kanes.
The grant-making period of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation extended only over a decade and ended a little over a decade ago. In the past ten years the significance of some of the results has become somewhat clearer. To try to identify what was learned by a very small foundation that may have some meaning for the improvement of civic competence in our time is the goal of this book.
Santa Cruz, California
1. Charles E. Merriam, Civic Education in the United States, Part 6, Report of the Commission on the Social Studies, American Historical Association (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934), p. 1.
2. When Adolph Hirsch and Leo Gerngross (who was one of the original trustees) asked him for more specific guidance, he replied that if he had known more specifically what should be done, he would have set it down.