Wisconsin History Day By Day


Related Web Sites:
Sifting and Winnowing

Sifting and Winnowing: Academic Freedom and Ely Trial

Freedom Under Fire


Read More About It

"Academic Freedom on Trial: 100-years of Sifting and Winnowing at the University of Wisconsin"

"Little Stories of the First Century of a Great University, 1848-49 to 1948-49" edited by Robert Foss

"The University of Wisconsin: One-Hundred and Twenty-five Years" by Allan Bogue and Robert Taylor


Vocabulary:

accusations
proclamation
trammel
inquiry
sifting
winnowing


Interesting Fact:

The Ely case was the subject of a television program in 1964, "Profiles of Courage," starring Ed Asner, Dan O'Herlihy, Leonard Nimoy and Marsha Hunt.


Study Questions:

  • What does sifting and winnowing mean?
  • What did Wells accuse Ely of doing?
  • There is a plaque with the sifting and winnowing proclamation. Where is it located?


    Search these newspaper databases for additional stories about Richard Ely:

  • Newspapers on BadgerLink
  • Wisconsin Historical Society


    U.S. historical events that occurred on September 18:

    1793: President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.
    1970: Rock star Jimi Hendrix died.



  • September 18

    September 18, 1894: The University Regents issued a report which exonerated Prof. Richard T. Ely from accusations by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Oliver Wells. The report included the famous proclamation: "Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found."


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