Dr. MacCracken died in 1919. He was succeeded as Chancellor by Elmer Ellsworth Brown, former U.S. Commissioner of Education in the Department of Interior. Having had little contact with the University prior to accepting, Brown enjoyed the advantage of ignorance and therefore had no preconceived opinions to impose. He sought the views of the faculty and asked the Bureau of Education to examine the various schools of the University -- a move that his predecessor might have declared unthinkable.


2Things had finally begun to move at the Hall of Fame but elections were still running fare ahead of emplacement of busts. Then there arrive a dynamo named Robert Underwood Johnson, former editor of Century Magazine. If ever a man matched his job perfectly, it was he as Director of the Hall of Fame. Johnson was one of the "great publicists" whom MacCracken had had in mind. He created "Glad Tidings" and published them widely. Like his predecessor, Johnson had the presence and dignity of a patriarch, and in academic robes for ceremony, erect and white-bearded, he walked right out of the Book of Genesis.


He either endorsed or explained virtually everything MacCracken had done; and when he disagreed with the Chancellor's premises, he did so with tact. Above all, things began to move. The director himself darted here and there, in and out of cities and their clubs. In 1922 he wrote:


I find that there are seventeen members of the Hall of Fame identified with Boston, of whom as yet we have not the prospect of a bust. . . . I think it would be worthwhile to take a few days off and go up to the Hub of the Universe and see if I cannot stir up the Brahmins to cooperation. Of these seventeen there are four busts available but as yet no donors.


Like many other people of accomplishment, he could and did vary his expressed feelings while keeping his proper bearing.




Good Humor, Seldom Overdone