A new MIT Press book by Julius A. Stratton and Loretta H. Mannix provides a rare glimpse into the earliest days of MIT. Titled "Mind and Hand: The Birth of MIT," the book delves into the ideas about science and education that shaped MIT and defined its mission--from the new science of the Enlightenment era and the ideals of representative democracy spurred by the Industrial Revolution to new theories on the nature and role of higher education in 19th-century America. MIT emerged in midcentury as an experiment in scientific and technical education, with its origins in the tension between these old and new ideas, the book records.
Stratton, a former MIT student, faculty member, provost and chancellor, served as Institute president from 1959 to 1966. Mannix, Stratton's administrative assistant at MIT, continued the project after Stratton's death. The book was completed by Philip N. Alexander from the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 8, 2005 (download PDF).