The People's Colleges

The People's Colleges

A History of the New York State Extension Service in Cornell University and the State, 1876-1948
Foreword by Helene R. Dillard
Preface by Scott J. Peters

"One of the most important lessons Smith teaches us in this book is that the satisfactions of democratic living are not experienced and achieved when experts, however well meaning, do things for people. Nor are they achieved though work that is coerced or scripted, that offers no real rewards, or is experienced as duty-bound drudgery. They're achieved through hard work, for sure—gritty, difficult, and at times full of conflict and disagreement. But work that is also joyful, artistic, productive, improvisational, and spirited, the expression of a free people engaged in the pursuit of public and private happiness."—from the new Preface

The People's Colleges, first published in 1949, records the story of Cornell University's success in the field of extramural education. From four state colleges of the University—the New York State College of Agriculture, the New York State College of Home Economics, the New York State Veterinary College, and the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations—professors went out to the people of New York State with the best that the university had to offer. Ruby Green Smith tells the dramatic story of the grown of the Extension Service in scope, flexibility, and specialization through 1948, when it enrolled more than 200,000 students.

This comprehensive history features chapters on specific programs, including the County Farm Bureaus and 4-H Clubs as well as those associated with the colleges within Cornell listed above; key figures in the extension movement, including John Henry Comstock, Anna Botsford Comstock, Liberty Hyde Bailey, and Martha Van Rensselaer; and programs associated with the Extension Service, such as publications, scholarship funds, and the honorary fraternity Epsilon Sigma Phi.

The Fall Creek Books edition of The People's Colleges includes a new preface by Scott J. Peters, a professor of education at Cornell and Syracuse University, and a new foreword by Helene R. Dillard, Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, which together reflect on the achievements of both Ruby Green Smith and of her subjects.