LECTURER AND CONSULTANT ON SOVIET GEOGRAPHY
DR. JOHN A. MORRISON
14 June 1949
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&$12 Drummond Ave. Chevy Chase, Md.
Dr. Raymond. Crist Universidad del Cauca Popayan, C olumbi a
Dear Ray Crist,
Nov; that everybody else has had a chance to write yon, it's high time the culprit himself addressed himself to the absent brother in a distant land I
As you perhaps know, Baker wanted me-to take on a full teaching load beginning last February with a regular professorial appointment. This seemed to be Dean Pyle1s idea also.-But not having tausht for almost nine years and not knowing much about the U. of Md., I felt it best to have a trial marriageto give me a chance to make up my mind about the University and the latter a chance to decide if I was a good risk. So it was agreed that I give one
course in the Department--Soviet Lands---and a series of 16 weekly
lectures on the USSR in the evening which would be open to the public. Even sch, I found myself hard, put to it to get my lectures ready, it seems that both the geography of the Soviet Union and he lecturer have undergone considerable changes during the last ine 3^earsl
Dean Pyle indicated that he would like to have me pull a stroke oar in getting the'Institute of World Economics and Public Affairs going, but nothing was said at that time about the headship of the Department, although Baker had remarked that he wished he could be relieved of all the administrative headaches. It wasn't until I took DeWitt Poole, the Executive-Secretary of the then as yet unannounced National Committee for Free Europe,around to see Pyle and President By/rd, that "the latter suddenly announced that he wanted me to take over the headship of the department. I was somewhat surprised, as I had not met the President before. I had taken Poole around to discuss the possibility of an arrangement whereby the Committee would send qualified emigre* professors to the University with the Committee providing part of their salaries.
Having already agreed to p-ive half my time to the Committee (most of it during the summer), I was somewhat dubious about taking on such a responsibility in addition to playing a part in setting up the Institute. After considerable time to think it over, I decided to'accept. I have become increasingly^ convince^ that of the 1ve'universities in the National Capital area, only Maryland has the chance of becoming first rank. And the advantages of being close to Uashington, so considerable in any branch of academic life, are especially compelling in the field of Russian studies. In order to do my job for the Committee, act as head 0^ the ^ept., and do what seems necessary in connection with the Institute, we felt that I could not rive more than one course, at least during the first-semester. .
As regards the Committee, I note that in his letter to yon, Baker relates that I was offered aHXXEx"the exedutive position". This is not quite accurate: the chairman is former Ambassador Grew and DeWitt Poole is the executive-secretary. My role is more humble: consisting primarily of finding useful work for the emigre's from behind the iron curtain (not Russians) so that they car-be kept alive, not only physically, but intellectually and spiritual ly, against the time when changes in the political regimes of their native lands may make it possible for them to return.
I note also that Baker is concerned that I will leave much of the administrative detail in the Department to him. This I _most emphatically shall nSt ac%. From my observations, much of what Baker does^could. be turned over to a competent secretary. One thing I learned while in government service, and that was to delegate. I have told O.E. that it was my intention that he be given every possible chance to help finish up the Atlas and to do some research. He need not:worry about being stuck with administrative detail.
Of course, I will need a lot of advice and guidance from all of you. But with your help, I am sure we can together build up a first-rank Department of Geography. I think the possibilities are almost unlimited.
I understand that Van Royen was much disappointed that he was not named as Baker's successor. As a matter chf fact, 1 did not accept until I had been assured that he had previous!?/- beenj told that he wo^ld not be named in any case. So far as I know, he does not harbor any grudge toward me, and I hope that after due consideration, he will decide to sta.y on. I d.o not think the Department can afford to lose a man of such attainments. I hope to have dinner with him soon and really have a good talk.
Charlie^of course, I have know since Chicago days and I am sure that after you and I have bent elbows over some good beer a couple of times together we will feel that we have been colleagues for years! I am looking forward eagerly to many long and good talks with you about your work "down below", the Qepartment, the University, and the world in general.
I am particularly anxious to have a happy family in the JDepart-ment---a "happy ship" as they say in the Navy. If they have the faculty club operating by fall, I hope we can have staff luncheons at fairly frequent integvji^s.
You need have no Hssii that because I am a Chicago product^ I will try to run the Department a la# H.H. Barrows I On the other hand, I know how much time can be wasted in committee meetings. I shall have to feel my way, "play it by ear", as Chip B0hlerl would say. But I assure you that no decisions regarding indviduals wichl fee taken without full discussion with the individual and that no decision regarding,the whole Department will be taken.without full and free discBssion,and majority decision.
There are many, many things I want to discuss with you, but they can wait until you get back! In the meantime I trust that you will have an interesting and profitable summer in C lumbia."
With all best wished, Faithfully jouvs,
Universidad del Cauca Popaiyan, Colombia
June 28, 1949
Dr. John A. Morrison 4612 Drumaiond Avenue Chevy Chase, Maryland
Dear Dr. Morrison:
I was delighted to receive your long and hearty letter and pleased with the glimpses it gives me of your method of approach. I am looking forward to the prospect of talking over with you, both formally and informally, so many matters concerning our respective fields of endeavor, "tiae Department, the University and the world in general" as you suggest. I am particularly interested in the possibility you mention of the faculty club being opened in the fall. That has been one of the most serious lacks on campus. And if there is no beer there, there will always be plenty on tap at 7607 Hammond Avenue.
For my part, I have been very happy and proud in my decision of three years ago to join Professor'Paker's Department -as I have often told him and in my assitoiations at the University of Maryland, arid I agree with you that the possibilities for continued growth of the outstanding department wnich he has in so short a time built up, are almost unlimited, in view of the University*s strategic location, no less tnan because of the forward and constructing outlooic of the administration. Both you and the University are/congratulated upon this newest appointment, whicn is a distinction as well as a challenge.
Professor Baker will perhaps have passed on to you a memo wnich I recently sent him concerning the possible availability of Professor Waioel, who has for tne past several years been with the Conseiho Nacional ue Geografia in Braxil. ohoulu there be any gap in the Department, this woula be a magnificent opportunity, wxiich you might be interested in investigating.
I shall enclose a copy of the brief note of June 13, which I wrote you before receiving yours of June 14, containing your home address, and wnien I sent you in care of the University, I have recently learned that you were absent from the campus at that time, conducting a seminar at Laice Forest College, and since the year wets closed and almost everybouy else away, it migut. conceivably have been mislaid.
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My work here continues to be intensely interesting. I have recently been making a series^field trips in the station *agon with my students. The region provides a laboratory of fant^astic interest and variety.
I want you to know that I subscribe to your program for departmental rule by $he democratic process, and that I am with you heartily in your wish for "a happy ship".
Raymond E. Crist