Profile Major Works Resources

Edmund J. James, 1855-1925.

American historicist economist and the first professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania..

A native of Jackson, Illinois.  After obtaining his undergraduate education at Northwestern and Harvard, Edmund J. James pursued graduate studies at the University of Halle in Germany in 1875, where he came under the influence of Johannes Conrad and the German Historical School.  After obtaining his Ph.D at Halle in in 1877, James returned to the US.  Like many of the "new generation", James found the old American universities were uninterested in the German-trained crop.  James ended up teaching high school in Illinois for a while. 

In 1883, James was appointed professor of public finance and administration at the newly-opened Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the first business school in the United States. He doubled the appointment with professor of political and social science in Penn's Department of Philosophy.  James threw himself into developing Wharton as a professional school, a task in which he was assisted by his old Halle classmate Simon Nelson Patten (who arrived at Penn in 1888).  James developed a four-year curriculum for Wharton in 1894.

E. J. James was a founding member of the American Economic Association, but soon balked at its dominance by Hopkins.  James and Patten went on to found the American Academy of Political Social Science (AAPSS), in 1889, with James as its first president and chief editor of its Annals. 

In early 1896, pressured out of Penn, James moved to the University of Chicago as professor in public administration and head of the Chicago extension lectures. 

Edmund J. James thereafter became president of Northwestern and in 1906, James became president of the University of Illinois. 



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Major Works of Edmund J. James

  • "The Political Economy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania", 1885, Wharton School Annals, p.52
  • Outline of a Proposed School of Political and Social Science, 1885 [bk]
  • "Review of Newcomb's Political Economy", 1885 Science (Nov 27) p.470
  • "Reply to Newcomb & Franklin",  1885, Science, (Dec 11), p.517
  • "The Silver Problem II", 1886, Science (Mar 19), p.266
  • "The Relation of the Modern Municipality to the Gas Supply", 1886, Pub AEA (Mar-Jul),  p.47 [js]
  • The Gas Question in Philadelphia, 1886
  • "Review of H.C. Adams's Outline of Lectures", 1887, PSQ (Mar), p.186 [js]
  • "The Railway Question. The report of the committee on transportation of the American Economic Association", 1887, Pub AEA (Jul), p.236 [js]
  • Chairs of Pedagogics in Our Universities, 1887
  • "Some Considerations on the Legal-Tender Decisions",  1888, Pub AEA (Mar), p.49 [js]
  • "Schools of Finance and Economy", 1890, Address to ABA p.9 [copy]
  •  "Review of Sax's Grundlegung der Theoretischen Staatswirthschaft", 1890, PSQ (Mar), p.166 [js]
  • "The Canal and the Railway", 1890, Pub AEA (May-Jul), p.273 [js]
  • Education of Business Men in Europe, 1893 [bk]
  • The Federal Constitution of Germany, with a historical introduction, 1890 [bk]
  • "The Relation of the Modern Municipality to the Gas Supply", 1896, Pub AEA [bk]
  • Elements of a Model Charter for American Cities, 1896 [bk]
  • "The Place of the Political and Social Sciences in Modern Education, and their bearing on the training for citizenship in a free state", 1898, Pub AAPSS, p.47
  • Commercial Education, 1899 [bk]
  • "The Growth of Great Cities in Area and Population: A statistical study", 1899, AAPSS, p.1
  • Municipal Administration in Germany, 1901 [bk]
  • "The Problem of Commercial Education", 1902,Pub of Michigan PSA p.7
  • The Immigrant Jew in America 1906 with Patten and others, [bk]
  • The Origin of the Land Grant Act of 1862 (the so-called Morrill Act), 1910 [bk]



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Resources on Edmund J. James

  • Simon Newcomb & Fabian Franklin: "Letters on E.J. James's Review of Newcomb", 1885, Science (Dec 4), p.495
  • Note on E.J. James's departure for Chicago, 1896, AAPSS (Jan), p.78
  • "Editorial - on resignation of Edmund J. James from AAPSS", by Roland P. Falkner, 1901, AAPSS (Mar)  p.107 [js]
  • Penn Graduate Oberver, 1941 p.210
  • Sixteen Years at the University of Illinois: A Statistical Study of the Administration of President Edmund J. James, [bk]
  • Wikipedia


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