Germany‖ and the treatment she had received there and the superior attitude of German scholars and officials.16 Likewise, for all his talk of the German seminar system and his praise of the German university, Herbert Baxter Adams did not and did not intend to introduce that system as such into Johns Hopkins, nor did he hold German historical methods in awe. As early as 1887 he wrote to Frederic Bancroft. ―I have long cherished the notion that our American students devote too exclusive attention to Germany in their foreign study,‖ explaining that only an older brother‘s hesitations about French morals had prevented him from following his original plan to study in Paris.17 Although the inspiration for a format in which students rather than professors presented their work certainly came from his German experience, he had no illusion that he could replicate the experience of a German seminar in Baltimore, nor did he consider such an end even desirable: ―The severe method of the German Seminary will never do here where the instructors are young and not as well able to criticize the work as the man who wrote the paper, except as to literary form,‖ he is reported to have said in the Hopkins Seminar. ―Criticism here is private between pupil and instructor and we all take pains to profit by such criticism. Americans have better notions of refined criticism than the Germans, whose method is brutal. Criticism, not trampling, is valuable.‖ 18
Not only was the pioneering generation not prepared to replicate German
scholarly methods, as James Sheehan has noted, but ―German influence
American history did not produce much American interest
history. American historians turned to Germany in order to discover the intellectual tools and institutional basis with which to create their own
, vol.1, May 8, 1884, 3.