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Thomas Wheatland

The Frankfurt School's first years on Morningside Heights progressed very smoothly. Based on the group's activities and accomplishments, it is clear that its members had not misrepresented themselves to Columbia's sociologists and administrators. The emphasis that had been placed on scientific social research had not been an empty marketing scheme. Members of the Institute for Social Research were throughout the 1930s. This was never more true than during the first five years on Morningside Heights. Although members of the Horkheimer Circle later played up stories of their anonymity and isolation at Columbia, evidence that suggests that such claims were greatly exaggerated. heavily engaged in social research

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Thomas Wheatland

Oddly enough, the Frankfurt School’s relationship to Columbia University

has been somewhat neglected by its many historians. It is not

hard to understand why the Horkheimer circle would have desired

to settle at Columbia, but it is peculiar that the Frankfurt School

would have received an invitation from Columbia. After all, why

would Columbia University’s conservative president, Nicholas Murray

Butler, and its sociology department extend an invitation to a

group of predominantly German-speaking social philosophers with

strong links to the Marxian left?