World War I -- Life Histories/Section 001/Charles Riborg Mann

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Many memorandums were transferred between Mann and F.P. Keppel, Dean of the University of Columbia. The above image is one of many letters that discussed the Committee on Education and Special Training.[1]

This page is associated with ENGL 105I – Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is a part of the ENGL 105I project on World War I -- Life Histories.

Overview[edit]

Charles Riborg Mann worked as a physicist and engineer in the early twentieth century and was a strong advocate for effective education.[2] He was appointed to serve as a civilian advisory board member on the War Department Committee on Education and Training during World War I.[3] He implemented many guidelines and statutes that were applied to war institutions.[4]

Biography[edit]

Charles Riborg Mann, the son of Charles Holbrook and Clausine Borchsenius, was born in the small town of Orange, New Jersey on July 12, 1869.[5] Although there is little known about his childhood and youth, historians have been able to trace the educational journey that influenced his passion and desire to advocate for educational rights. In 1890 and 1891, Mann received his Bachelors and Masters degrees, respectively, from the University of Columbia.[6] Soon after, in 1895, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin, paving the way to his future professions as an engineer and physicist.[7] Deciding to put his educational endeavors on hold until 1918, in 1896, Mann married Adrienne Amalie Graf and had two children, Riborg Graf and Adrienne.[8] Mann continued to pursue his educational endeavors after his marriage and the birth of his two children, receiving his Sc.D. from Lafayette College in 1918 and his LL.D. from Lawrence College and Temple University in 1933.[9]

With his education-filled past and integrated profession as a physicist and an engineer, Charles Riborg Mann was a strong believer in effective education. A New Jersey native, Mann’s past experiences as a research assistant, associate in physics, and instructor and associate professor at the University of Chicago shaped his beliefs for the future.[10] The peak of his interest concerning the effectiveness and affluence of education ignited in the 1914-1918 period when Mann was appointed to serve as a civilian advisor in the United States War Department’s Committee on Education and Special Training.[11] This was a pivotal period for Mann’s influence, as he was also appointed to be an investigator in communication and engineering education for the Teaching Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.[12]

The Committee on Education and Special Training[edit]

The United States War Department initiated the Committee on Education and Special Training in order to convert traditional institutions into military institutions during the 1917-1918 period.[13] In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson rejected the U.S. policy of neutrality and declared war on Germany, publicly announcing the entry of the U.S. into World War I. Upon U.S. entry, the committee was initiated.[14]

Many institutions, including Dartmouth College pictured above, were converted by the Committee on Education and Special Training.[15]

The resulting institutions devoted their time to educating young men on the aspects of war and the necessary technical skills that were required and desperately needed on the front.[16] The selected institutions were requested to abandon their regular courses and assume courses that were focused solely on war work and educational topics that were crucial during wartime.[17] Specifically, this committee was proposed in order to determine the needs of the war divisions in context of technically trained men, select the courses that were to be taught at the selected institutions, appropriate funds to these courses and, also, to aid in the selection of enlisted men to be detailed to take the approved training.[18] The responsibilities of the committee, as well as the opinions expressed by personnel employed by the committee, were outlined and discussed through numerous memorandums transferred within the organization, as well as with other government officials.[19]


Personnel[edit]

The Committee on Education and Special Training consisted of many prominent academics and scholars who could adequately supply the necessary knowledge and skills to the institutional programs.[20] Appointed by Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the following men accompanied Mann on the advisory board:[21]

  • Lieut. Col. Robert I. Rees – U.S.A. of the General Staff
  • Major Grenville Clark – Adjutant General’s Department
  • Dr. James R. Angell – University of Chicago
  • James P. Monroe – Federal Board for Vocational Training
  • J.W. Dietz – President of the National Association of Corporation Schools

These men worked in cooperation with one another, as well as with the War Department, in order to pass statutes and guidelines that were to be followed by war work and training institutions.[22] According to the U.S. War Department, “the members appointed by the Secretary of War to serve on the Committee were selected because of the particular conditions that necessitated the appointment of the committee.”[23] Each of the appointed individuals had something to bring to the table and something unique to contribute to the cause, as well as specific knowledge that they had mastered. As specifically stated by the War Department Committee on Education and Special Training, the appointments of these individuals “…felt [as if] the entire educational field [had] been covered.”[24] With the appointment of Mann, the committee was able to represent engineering schools, while with the appointments of Angell and Dietz, the academic colleges and universities and the schools conducted by industrial concerns were represented respectively.[25]

Objectives[edit]

The main objective of the committee was to convert public institutions into war work and training institutions that were easily accessible to U.S. World War I draftees.[26] With easily accessible institutions, more draftees were able to receive an education and proper training that was not offered by traditional college coursework and academic degree requirements.[27] As published in many magazines, newspapers, government documents, and letters of correspondence, the Committee on Education and Special Training had a specific objective outlined: “…to mobilize the country’s schools and colleges behind the Army.”[28] Specifically, the committee wanted to, “…encourage and arrange for the technical education of men needed by the several branches of the Army.”[29] The involvement of the U.S. in World War I provided an opportunity for the front to see soldiers trained in war specialties; therefore, the committee focused on providing specialty training.[30] It was evident that there was a need for trained engineers; therefore, the appointment of Mann to the advisory board was crucial to the success of such training.[31]

Institutions devoted their time to training individuals in specialties that were needed on the front.[32]

Through the initiation of these institutions, the War Department hoped to create a regime of well-educated, well-trained and supportive reserve corpsmen.[33] The mobilization of schools and colleges helped to attain this.[34] These institutions not only acted as organizations of advocacy, but also provided constant reminders to the American population that well-educated individuals were always needed on the front.[35]

In order to avoid confusion as to the ethos of the committee, the War Department mass-produced bulletins explaining the initiation process and the purpose.[36] These bulletins were also used as a persuasive technique in order to entice men to join the cause and enroll in these institutions.[37] The brochures included a removable application that allowed individuals to assess their interest in the institutions and provide demographic information that was utilized by the advisory board to assess the type of individual that they were attracting.[38] As reported by the United States War Department, the bulletins included the following information concerning the functions of the committee:[39]

CommitteeGraph.jpg
Mann's Belief on the Committee Objectives[edit]

Although there is little written proof of Mann’s intentions and beliefs, many of the memorandums transferred between Mann and F.P. Keppel, Dean of the University of Columbia, hint that Mann was a strong advocate for the Committee on Education and Special Training and wholeheartedly believed in the cause.[40] Initially, Mann was not eager to join the committee due to personal educational obligations, but Mann eventually agreed to the appointment as an advisory board member.[41] Also stated through the memorandums of Mann and Keppel, Mann relayed his belief that a unitary system was needed in order to ensure that reserve corpsmen were regulated by the same conditions.[42] From this statement, we can see that Mann not only believed in the enlistment process (at least partially), but also believed in formal education of those were enlisted. This can be extended further, as Mann was an academic as well as a scholar. With this in mind, Mann personally knew the importance of education and did not want young men to miss out on the opportunity. The initiation of these institutions allowed men to not only train to fight for their country, but also to continue their educational journey that would prepare them for their post-war lives. Ultimately, Mann was an excellent candidate for the advisory board as a need for higher education in science and engineering education was desperately needed on the front – with his qualifications, Mann was a critical component in regards to meeting these requirements.[43]

Age Limitations and Educational Rights[edit]

The committee circular included information on the Students' Army Training Corps.[44]

Due to the Selective Service Act of 1917 as initiated by President Woodrow Wilson, the Committee on Education and Special Training had to take into consideration the age restrictions and limitations of their institutions.[45] Through multiple memorandums transferred between Mann and his fellow advisory board members, as well as Keppel, the true intent of the institutions was to enlist young men of 18 to 21 years of age, but as the war continued to progress, the need to alter the standards and neglect the limitations became apparent as younger boys were sent to the lines.[46] Many popular magazines and newspapers predicted this transformation, as exemplified in a 1918 edition of The Concord Daily Tribune.[47] Although the Tribune acknowledged that only men of college rank were eligible for enlistment, they predicted that “…arrangements [would] be made for high school students of proper ages.”[48] Following this prediction, they advised high school students to “…enroll in a college preparatory department which [had] a unit of the Students’ Army Training Corps.”[49]

As predicted by the statement in the Concord Daily article, the Committee on Education and Special Training initiated training steps that included those who were not necessarily of age, but were subject to draft.[50] The four training steps, as outlined in the correspondence between the advisory board members, as well as the brochure, included the following steps:[51]

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.50.32 PM.png

This progression of courses not only related to the progression of age as the boys matured, but also provided the younger men with educational opportunities that they would otherwise miss out on if they had immediately gone to war or if they had started at a higher level.

Ultimately, the courses offered through these institutions were a combination of purely military training and usual academic and technical subjects.[52] Typically, eleven hours per week were devoted to military drill while forty-two hours per week were devoted to academic subjects such as “…mathematics, language, history, physical sciences, economics…military law, sanitation and hygiene.”[53] Alternative special studies were approved by the War Department depending on the individual’s specialty.[54] Mathematical and physical science courses were stressed throughout a majority of the institutions as there was a dire need for skilled technicians and educated men in these areas.[55] Again, the need for such training highlighted the importance of Mann’s involvement on the advisory board.

The Committee on Education and Special Training believed that training for the war should be the top priority of the institutions and made sure that distractions were eliminated.[56]

The Committee on Education and Special Training continued to implement guidelines throughout its educational, wartime reign. At one point, the War Department, along with the Committee, decided to forbid long trips for collegiate athletic teams, deeming that close matches were encouraged, but long distances were not ideal for the war effort.[57] The advisory board believed that their purpose was supreme, and because of this, they believed that anything inconsistent with the soldier’s course of study was irrelevant and irrational. This sentiment can be seen in a 1918 article produced by The New York Times, explicitly stating that “…athletic sports…involving extended trips and specialized training, [were] inconsistent with the soldiers’ program of drill and study.”[58]


Mann's Belief's on Age Limitations and Educational Rights[edit]

Mann’s involvement with the Committee on Education and Special Training explained his stance on other implications that surrounded the context of the draft. In accordance to the objectives of the committee as well as Mann’s initial reaction toward his appointment as previously referred to, it is evident that Mann believed in the enlistment process, but did not believe in draftees giving up their educational rights. Through the creation of the institutions, Mann was able to exercise his belief in education while also contributing to the war effort. These statements also express the idea that Mann believed in age restrictions with regard to enlistment, as the military institutions created different limitations and conditions for individuals of different ages. As the war progressed, younger boys were deemed soldiers, relinquishing their educational rights – Mann did not agree with this. Although these beliefs are not explicitly stated through the direct words of Charles Riborg Mann, his involvement with the Committee on Education and Special Training allows us to connect the objectives of the committee with his personal beliefs on controversial issues.

See Also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  1. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 08 October 1917. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  2. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  3. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  4. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  5. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  6. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  7. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  8. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  9. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  10. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  11. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  12. “Profile Detail – Charles Riborg Mann”. Marquis Who’s Who. Marquis Who’s Who LLC, 2015. Web. 15 February, 2015.
  13. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  14. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  15. Asch, Joseph. “Dartmouth 1918: Not Far From Today.” DartBlog. Dartmouth’s Most Influential Daily, 4 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
  16. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  17. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  18. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  19. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 17 January 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  20. Plans to Mobilize Schools to Aid War: Committee Named to Arrange for Technical Education of Men for the Army. (1918, February 17).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0DE7DE113FE433A25754C1A9649C946996D6CF
  21. Plans to Mobilize Schools to Aid War: Committee Named to Arrange for Technical Education of Men for the Army. (1918, February 17).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0DE7DE113FE433A25754C1A9649C946996D6CF
  22. Plans to Mobilize Schools to Aid War: Committee Named to Arrange for Technical Education of Men for the Army. (1918, February 17).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0DE7DE113FE433A25754C1A9649C946996D6CF
  23. United States War Department Committee on Education and Special Training Advisory Board. Committee on Education and Special Training: A Review of Its Work During 1918. Washington D.C.: Washington, 1919. Print.
  24. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  25. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  26. Status of Students. (1918, August 30).The Concord Daily Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62006957/
  27. Plans to Mobilize Schools to Aid War: Committee Named to Arrange for Technical Education of Men for the Army. (1918, February 17).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0DE7DE113FE433A25754C1A9649C946996D6CF
  28. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  29. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  30. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  31. “The War Department Committee on Education and Special Training.” Science 47.1208 (1918): 186-187. Web.
  32. Maine Recruits Brought to Brunswick for Training. 1917. Special Collections and Archives, Bowdoin College Library. Bowdoin. Web. 15 Mar. 2015
  33. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  34. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  35. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  36. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  37. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  38. Shearer, Benjamin F. “An Experiment in Military and Civilian Education: The Students’ Army Training Corps at the University of Illinois.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 72.3 (1979): 213-224. Print.
  39. United States War Department Committee on Education and Special Training Advisory Board. Committee on Education and Special Training: A Review of Its Work During 1918. Washington D.C.: Washington, 1919. Print.
  40. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 08 October 1917. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  41. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 08 October 1917. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  42. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 08 October 1917. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  43. Mann, Charles Riborg. Letter to F.P. Keppel. 08 October 1917. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015.
  44. Students' Army Training Corps Description in Circular, Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill Libraries. Personal photograph by author. 2015.
  45. The Advisory Board. Letter to The Committee on Education and Special Training. 20 February 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015
  46. The Advisory Board. Letter to The Committee on Education and Special Training. 20 February 1918. Box 1, Folder 3. 1048 Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wilson Library/Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC. 11 February 2015
  47. Status of Students. (1918, August 30).The Concord Daily Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62006957/
  48. Status of Students. (1918, August 30).The Concord Daily Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62006957/
  49. Status of Students. (1918, August 30).The Concord Daily Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62006957/
  50. United States. War Department Committee on Education and Special Training. The Students’ Army Training Corps: Descriptive Circular. Washington: GPO, 1918. Print.
  51. United States. War Department Committee on Education and Special Training. The Students’ Army Training Corps: Descriptive Circular. Washington: GPO, 1918. Print.
  52. United States. War Department Committee on Education and Special Training. The Students’ Army Training Corps: Descriptive Circular. Washington: GPO, 1918. Print.
  53. United States. War Department Committee on Education and Special Training. The Students’ Army Training Corps: Descriptive Circular. Washington: GPO, 1918. Print.
  54. United States. War Department Committee on Education and Special Training. The Students’ Army Training Corps: Descriptive Circular. Washington: GPO, 1918. Print.
  55. Plans to Mobilize Schools to Aid War: Committee Named to Arrange for Technical Education of Men for the Army. (1918, February 17).The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0DE7DE113FE433A25754C1A9649C946996D6CF
  56. Forbid Long Trips for College Teams: War Officials Insist Specialized Training Must Be Dropped During the War. (1918, September 15). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9505EFDF123FE432A25756C1A96F9C946996D6CF.
  57. Forbid Long Trips for College Teams: War Officials Insist Specialized Training Must Be Dropped During the War. (1918, September 15). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9505EFDF123FE432A25756C1A96F9C946996D6CF.
  58. Forbid Long Trips for College Teams: War Officials Insist Specialized Training Must Be Dropped During the War. (1918, September 15). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9505EFDF123FE432A25756C1A96F9C946996D6CF.