20 September

The number of lists I'll use in the creation of a single master list has been determined, totaling 40. Given the origin of some of the lists I discovered recently, the importance of what I call the Columbia Crowd to the entire concept of "great books" should be noted. Only with the large number of lists published from 1998 has their influence begun to wane. The last Columbia-related list comes from the final edition of Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan, in 1997. The first Columbia-related list used in this project comes from Will Durant, in 1930; but an earlier version of Classics of the Western World was published in 1927. So, for sixty years, scholars associated with the original "great books" program fashioned their own lists, distinct from the classroom syllabi. A list of these men, and their connections to Columbia:

John Erskine, professor, 1909-37, established the "great books" courses;

Will Durant, student, early 1910s-1917--unclear what connection he maintained with the university or the "great books" courses;

Mark Van Doren, student and professor, 1914-59;

Clifton Fadiman, student, 1920-25;

Mortimer J Adler, student and professor, early 1920s-1930;

Robert B Downs, student, 1926-29; while the influence of the "great books" movement on his own list is obvious enough, Downs was a student at Columbia's once-renown, now-defunct library-science program; so, as with Durant, his connection with the "great books" courses is unclear;

[Robert Hutchins brought Adler to the University of Chicago in '30; Adler stayed there for decades, perhaps one of the most controversial of all professors, even by Chicago's standards;]

Allan Willard Brown, student and administrator, 1940s;

Mark Van Doren, student, 1946-1955, and professor, 1955-59; he left Columbia during the "quiz show" scandal, and eventually was hired by Adler to work on the Encyclopædia Britannica; Adler's work at the Britannica was no less controversial than his academic career.