Leonard Liggio: A Snapshot, Part 3

This is the third in a three part series about Leonard Liggio’s life and influences, Read Part 1, & Part 2.

In late summer 1958, Murray and I were invited to be guests at the first MPS general meeting in the US, held at Princeton University Graduate College. Since I was the youngest guest, Jasper Crane, a vice president of Dupont and organizer of the MPS meeting, and his wife, a Dupont heiress, invited me to sit with them at the opening dinner. Jasper Crane’s brother, Edward Crane, was the publisher of Van Nostrand in Princeton which was the publisher of the Volker Fund Series in the Humane Studies, including Mises, Kirzner, Rickett, etc. The 1958, Princeton MPS meeting was an occasion to widen my contacts. The MPS meeting demonstrated the cosmopolitanism of Classical Liberalism.

In June 1959, I was invited to attend the Volker Fund seminar in political economy, which was directed by Professor Clarence Philbrook (treasurer of the MPS) at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. These seminars lasted for almost two weeks with three lecturers. At Chapel Hill, F. A. Hayek lectured from the manuscript of the Constitution of Liberty and when University of Chicago Press published the next year, the Volker Fund sent each participant a copy hot off the press. The second lecturer was Professor Harrell de Graff, American economic historian at Cornell University. They did not have a senior third lecturer, so it was split between two younger professors: James Buchanan of University of Virginia on Contract Theory and Unanimity; and H. Gregg Lewis of University of Chicago, a labor economist.  I was the only graduate student there. Israel Kirzner attended this summer seminar. Each year, the Volker Fund held three summer seminars on political economy; Chapel Hill  with Clarence Philbrook; Wabash College with Benjamin Rogge at which Milton Friedman delivered the manuscript of Capitalism and Freedom; and Claremont Mens’ College in California with Arthur Kemp (later treasurer of MPS) at which Mises, Frank Knight, Felix Morley, David McCord Wright, and Bruno Leoni lectured (Freedom and the Law was recorded there).

I was appointed to a post-doctoral fellowship in European Economic History at New York University. It was a rich scholarly program with visiting faculty: Howard Adelson (chairman of the CUNY Graduate History Department) on early medieval coinage; Raymond de Roover on medieval letters of exchange and interest; Herbert Heaton on the roll of textile industry in early Industrial Revolution; Forrest McDonald on the economic issues in the debate on the US Constitution; Ludwig von Mises on methodology of social sciences; F. A. Hayek on Industrial Revolution and the Historians; Milton Friedman on US monetary history; Murray N. Rothbard on US monetary history, esp. from his book, America’s Great Depression; Israel Kirzner on economic theory, from Economic Point of View.

After the Chapel Hill seminar I had more contact with the William Volker Fund. F. A. Harper had already left the Foundation for Economic Education to join the Volker Fund where he worked on the project for the Institute for Humane Studies in which he included me. I also began to discuss history with Kenneth S. Templeton of the Volker Fund when he came to NYC. Ken had been a classmate and friend of Forrest McDonald when they were graduate students at odds with the leftwing American history faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Among the historians with whom Ken Templeton worked were UC Santa Barbara historians, Donald Dozer and Philip Wayne Powell, who with Volker Fund support wrote the Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations with the Hispanic World (Basic Books, 1971) which introduced me to the work of the American History  Association President, Lewis Hanke, Bartolome de Las Casas (U of Penn Press, 1952) and the Ghent historian, Charles Verlinden (The Beginnings of Modern Colonization (Cornell U. P., 1979)). In the summer of 1960, Ken pressed me to accept appointment to the history faculty of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. I had to teach five three hours a week (15 hours) classes of Western Civilization. I left after one year, and Joe Peden was able to take the history position at Iona College.

I was appointed to a position as analyst or reader for the William Volker Fund. The senior analysts were Murray Rothbard who did economics and philosophy and Frank S. Meyer who did political science and sociology. I did American and European history.

The analysts read journal articles and books to discover any remnant of classical liberals in academia. If the article looked promising, we would send a report and copy of the article to the William Volker Fund. Its staff would follow up with contact or a visit. He or she might be invited to one of the summer seminars, and might apply for a grant for leave to write a book. The Volker Fund method was established by Herb Cornuelle, who was succeeded at Volker Fund by his brother, Richard Cornuelle. Herb had been seconded to assist Leonard Read at FEE and at the first MPS meeting which Volker helped to fund.

When the Volker Fund’s staff was disbanded in Spring 1962, Pierre F. Goodrich arranged for appointment of F. A. Harper as professor of moral sciences at Wabash College, Indiana.

As Mr. Pierre Goodrich was very involved in the conception and founding of the Institute for Humane Studies, he was seeking to give it a base where Ben Rogge was the dean. Harper immediately organized a conference for the new Liberty Fund, Inc. at Wabash for the last few days of December, 1962. I took the Broadway Limited sleeper to Chicago to do research at the Newbury Library and attend the American History Association meeting at the Conrad Hilton Hotel. I took the Illinois Central RR to West Lafayette where I was met by Harper’s student assistan, Jim Bond (later Law Dean at Puget Sound University and University of Seattle).

The LF seminar was “On Power” with readings from Book of Samuel, Lord Acton, and de Jouvenal. I remained in Crawfordville several days to meet with Dr. Harper and Pierre Goodrich about the future of Institute for Humane Studies. Harper returned to CA in 1963.

After the Volker Fund was disbanded, Ken Templeton became the vice-president for research and education at the Eli Lilly Endowment and I did research for him. I was a research fellow of the Foundation for Foreign Affairs. Murray and I were given a grant to prepare a book on American colonial history and the American Revolution/Constitution.  Conceived in Liberty was published during the Bi-Centennial in 1976.

In the summer of 1966, I attended the IHS seminar at Appleton, Wisconsin organized by the IHS chairman of academic council (of which I was member) A. Neil McLeod, who had been a Ph. D. student of F. A. Harper at Cornell University. Speakers included Henry Manne, Harold Demsetz, Louis M. Spadaro, Sylvester Petro and Ben Rogge (Pierre F. Goodrich attended as did Fr. James Sadowsky, S. J. of Fordham University. Pierre Goodrich expressed strong concern about the threat of inflation as President Johnson was hiding the costs of  the Vietnam war by printing money.)

I was appointed to the history faculty of the City College of New York (CUNY) in 1968, by two European refugee historians (Thomas Goldstein (Austria) and Herbert Stauss (Bavaria)) to teach American history (Yhey knew I worked on Conceived in Liberty) because they trusted my European history credentials. Soon I was teaching Modern European history. In using Hayek’s Capitalism and the Historians as a textbook, I told the students that Hayek was a radical opposing feudalism and mercantilism. There were other European scholars in the CCNY history faculty of which the department chairmen were Howard Adelson (Byzantine gold coinage & medieval Christian imagery);  and Herbert Gutman (Black Freedmen’s Strong Families favorably reviewed by Thomas Sowell in Fortune).

There were a few occasions at which I met with Mises in his last years. Murray and Joey Rothbard would have the Mises’ to dinner on occasion. The last time was a few days after Christmas in December, 1972. Mises was in good form and talked about German history, Bismarck, etc. Mises died at the end of September 1973, and I drove the Rothbards to the cemetery in Hawthorne, New York where Mises was buried.

I presented a paper at a NEH conference on Racism at Tuskegee Institute on “The English Origins of Early American Racism.” It was published in the Radical History Review. It had gained interest from Forrest McDonald and Eugene Genovese with whom I was in correspondence. I had been directing the IHS programs in History, and in Social Theory (these were alongside IHS programs in Law, in Economics, and in Private Education. In 1973, I organized for IHS a seminar on US economic history at Cornell University with Forrest McDonald and Murray Rothbard as the lecturers to young faculty and graduate  students. On the return, I drove Ken Templeton and R. J. Smith to Woodstock, NY to call on Mrs. Frank Meyer following his death, and before her death.

In the summer of 1974, I was a Liberty Fund fellow at IHS in Menlo Park, CA to prepare a research agenda on economic history for IHS. John Blundell had come to IHS for the summer from England after attending the first Austrian Economics conference at South Royalton, VT. In November, 1974  I organized a week-end series of lectures by Max Hartwell (visiting at University of Virginia) on the Industrial Revolution at Fordham Lincoln Center with the cooperation of the graduate business Dean, Louis M. Spadaro (who did his Ph. D. at NYU with Mises).

In April 1975, I was assigned by Liberty Fund to meet Professor and Mrs. Hayek at JFK (Professor Ludwig Lachman, then visiting professor at NYU, accompanied me in order to speak in German with Mrs. Hayek). Hayek spoke at NYU and in Washington he appeared on Meet The Press, having won the 1974 Nobel Prize. He went to California as Liberty Fund scholar at IHS which overlapped with the LF summer seminar in economic history which I directed. After Hayek’s departure, Professor Gunter Smolders of the University of Cologne was the visiting scholar. In addition to the young historians, the economists included: Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Genie and Gary Short, Richard Ebeling and Sudha Shenoy. Again, in the summer of 1976, I was director of the LF summer seminar in diplomatic history. In 1977, I was moving to San Francisco to join the CATO Institute, and the LF summer seminar was directed by the new president of IHS, Louis M. Spadaro, the retired dean of the Fordham University Graduate School of Business, and former chairman of the Fordham Economics Department where Jerry O’Driscoll and Mario Rizzo were students.

In November, 1976 a Libertarian Scholars’ Conference was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC through the generosity of the Liberty Fund  (In 1975, it was held at Princeton University, and earlier at the Williams College Club in NYC). I had written an extensive review in the Libertarian Review of Books of Robert Nisbet’s The Twilight of Authority, which I consider his best book, and at the conference I presented an analysis and Nisbet commented. (I had corresponded with Nisbet when he had written an important article in the Wall Street Journal on US presidency becoming like Roman imperialism; the WSJ published my response noting that Nisbet’s critique paralleled that of Robert A. Taft.)

In 1977, I directed a long planned IHS conference at Fordham Lincoln Center on The Politicization of Society (later published by Liberty Fund) which was a discussion by scholars of each’s previously published essay, in which Robert Nisbet, John Lukacs, Giovanni Sartori, Jonathan Hughes, Murray Rothbard, among others,  participated.

In January, 1973 Howard Adelson was deposed as chairman of the CCNY history department by the left and I was immediately not reappointed by the acting chair who was a labor historian, who felt I did not limit myself to one field. Immediately, the executive committee of the history department reversed the decision as they highly appreciated my scholarship. I happened to be at the Columbia University faculty club for a Legal and Political Thought seminar, when the senior CCNY history faculty was hosting a dinner for the future chairman of the CCNY history department, Herbert Gutman of University of Rochester. The new CCNY president was a physicist from University of Rochester (CCNY had the Science Ph. D. school of CUNY), and he selected Gutman. In the club lobby I greeted a couple of my colleagues, when Gutman asked who I was, and when told, he greeted me on behalf of Eugene Genovese (who told Gutman that I was a very valuable historian on the CCNY faculty). It made some colleagues unhappy, especially as Gutman put me on committees alongside the more senior historians, including the committee to revise long standing history requirements, chaired by the graduate dean, Oscar Zeichner, historian of Conn. Federalists.

Herbert Gutman’s important book, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, was highly praised as showing that neither slavery nor freedom destroyed the Black family

(Thomas Sowell in a review in Fortune Magazine, noted that Gutman ended with the 1925 census, and said the destruction of the Black family was due to the New Deal welfare system). Gutman was chairman of the NY Council for the Humanities and recommended me to the Rockefeller Foundation to be director of a proposed Center for Cultural Diversity. It was a consequence of Michael Novak as director of Humanities at Rockefeller Foundation following his working with R. Sargent Shriver’s 1972 vice-presidential campaign and Novak’s The Un-Meltable Ethnics. The Center for Cultural Diversity would work with scholars on research and curriculum development in the City University of New York on European-American Ethnic histories.

After the 1969 minority student take-over of CCNY, new Departments were created: Black Studies, Puerto Rican Studies, Jewish Studies, and Asian Studies. The new Open Admissions did not mean more Black and Puerto Rican students, but less Jewish students. In addition to more Asian students in the sciences, there was a flood of white ethnic New Yorkers who had thought CCNY too hard when it had had mostly Jewish students (Jews had moved from NY to suburbs or preferred to leave NYC homes to enroll in the many new universities created in upstate New York by governor N. Rockefeller).

(An hypothesis: the publication of Kevin Phillip’s Emerging Republican Majority (1969) focused on Northern ethnic Democrats and Southern Democrats. Kevin Phillips grew up in the same north Bronx congressional district as I did, but he lived in an apartment house and not a private home as did the majority of voters (making them Republicans). He worked for Republican Congressman Paul Fino (1952-68) who was not opposed to the New Deal. Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 strong election caused a focus on the 2nd wave of white ethnic former Democrat voters who began voting Republican (the 1st was after the 1945 Yalta Betrayal by FDR). The Democrats did pick up on it by focusing on the second/third generation of ethnics, often suburban voters, while the Ford White House looked to the 1940s game plan of foreign language-speaking first generation voters.

The loss by Ford to Carter in 1976 in Ohio by 20,000 votes may be so explained. Similarly, the loss by Conservative Party Senator James Buckley to Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in NY. Moynihan had written the classic book on ethnicity in New York, with Nathan Glazer, Beyond the Melting Pot (1963). With Carter in the White House, Rockefeller Foundation did not renew the project and, advised by Senator Moynihan, made the grant to Harvard (where he had been a professor) for an encyclopedia of US ethnicity (Harvard U. P. 1980) edited by Stephen Thernstrom and Oscar Handlin.)

Michael Novak (who I did not know at the time) was succeeded at Rockefeller by Joel Colton, a professor of French History at Duke University and author of the biography of French premier, Leon Blum. More importantly he was co-author with Robert R. Palmer of Modern Europe, the most recommended survey textbook (no longer used due to its high quality). Since I had been a member of the Society for French Historical Studies since 1960, when I was introduced by Fordham professors, A. Paul Levack, John Olin and Msgr. Joseph Moody (later professor of modern European history at Catholic University of America), Joel Colton knew I was a known scholar.

At the 1960 Society for French Historical Studies conference at University of Rochester, there was a major session on the French Revolution featuring Peter Gay (Columbia, then Yale University) with a radical or Jacobin position; Robert R. Palmer (Princeton, then Yale University and author of Catholics and Unbelievers in 18th Century France (Cornell, 1939)) representing his two volumes, The Age of the Democratic Revolutions (Princeton, 1957); and Crane Brinton (Harvard) representing Voltairian Skepticism. A. Paul Levack had been the first student at Harvard of Crane Brinton. In September 1993, I enrolled in a weekly Folger Library seminar on the “Orthodox Sources of Unbelief in Early Modern Europe” presented by Alan C. Kors (University of Pennsylvania) who had been the last student of Crane Brinton. (Lenore Ealy and John Pocock (Johns Hopkins) also participated each week.)

My studies of US foreign policy involved the domestic political influences of European ethnic groups on decision-making, especially in World War I, World War II, and the Cold War which involved Lutheran, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox as well as Jewish Americans. There were many faculty who wished to teach such courses, or to conduct research for their courses for which I held conferences and workshops. A German linguist came to me to help him find Jewish old age homes to conduct research on Yiddish, a medieval form of German. I worked with Fr. Tomaso Silvano who headed the journal and center for Migration Studies in Staten Island; he later became the secretary of the Vatican Council on Migrants, and now heads the Vatican UN office in Geneva, Switzerland. The office of the Center for Cultural Diversity was located on West 42nd  Street between CUNY Graduate Center (across from NY Public Library) and the Rockefeller Foundation on Avenue of the Americas.

While I was directing the 1976 LF summer seminar at IHS in Menlo Park, CA, I was invited by Liberty Fund to join Ed McLean (Wabash College), Bill Dennis (Denison University) & Charles King (Pomona College, CA) to spend a week in Santa Fe, New Mexico to observe the Socratic Seminar techniques at the Great Books curriculum at St. John’s College in Santa Fe (affiliated with the historic Great Books college, St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD) Ed, Bill, Charles and I were to back up Ben Rogge who had been the sole LF discussion leader, now that LF had expanded its colloquia programs.

In the summer of 1977, I joined the new staff of the CATO Institute on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, and was the editor of the bibliographical quarterly journal, Literature of Liberty. The first issue was January 1978, with a picture of George Mason (1726-1792) on the cover. The lead essays were Forrest McDonald, “A Founding Father’s Library,” and Murray N. Rothbard, “Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution” which were kindly provided by the Liberty Fund who assisted in the planning stages of Literature of Liberty.  Among the notable essays were John Gray on Hayek, Norman Barry on Spontaneous Order, and Robert Nisbet on the Idea of Progress (leading to his book: History of the Idea of Progress (Basic Books, 1980)).

In late 1978, Kenneth S. Templeton left IHS to be executive director under President Neal McLeod at the Liberty Fund. I left CATO to replace him at IHS.  A future report…

This is the third in a three part series about Leonard Liggio’s life and influences, Read Part 1, & Part 2.This was originally published here.

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