Buy your copy now!


CLICK HERE to order your copy of Postwar Cornell online.  The book is also on sale in Ithaca at The History Center in Tompkins County, and in person or online through The Cornell Store. The price is only $24.95 plus shipping.

Brad Edmondson‘s 2015 book brings to life the crisis that re-made American higher education in the years after World War II. Enrollment at Cornell University increased 40 percent between May and October 1946, and most of the new students were war veterans.  Postwar Cornell takes readers on “a marvelous journey back in time,” according to foreword author Isaac Kramnick, “to the era when present-day Cornell was born.”

The book combines the first-person recollections of 67 Cornell alumni with contemporary letters, articles, and diary entries from 1944 to 1952. The material is grouped by themes and narration is kept to a minimum, allowing the story to be told in the voices of those who lived it.  Click on the links below to learn about:

  • Vetsburg, the housing complex for married students that was also known as Fertile Valley;
  • Teachers, like Nobelist Richard Feynman and novelist Vladimir Nabokov;
  • Women students, who lived with a curfew that locked them into their dorms at night, but were allowed to compete equally in the classrooms;
  • The Cold War on campus, with Communists both real and imaginary; and,
  • Bohemians, who thought nothing of cutting classes but were passionate about sex, drugs, and jazz.
  • The cover shot, an elm-lined Central Avenue in 1946, is one of several hundred compelling images drawn from the Cornell University Archives and personal collections.

Postwar Cornell is the final project supervised by John Marcham (1927-2014), a War veteran who was a Cornell undergraduate from 1946 to 1950 before editing Cornell Alumni Magazine for 30 years.  It was a labor of love for John, and that shows on every page.  The book also provided the research for Class of the Century, a documentary film by Brian Frey.


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