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This book is a case study of a unique educational institution. For 130 years, the growth and development of Baruch College has paralleled and reflected changes in New York City. Berrol shows how the school, which was started in 1847 as a Free Academy to provide training for the clerks and professionals needed in a growing mercantile city, survived through several stages of development to emerge as an independent college in 1968. She contends that this survival is due, in small measure, to the college's ability to meet the needs of New York City as it grew from mid-19th century commercial prominence to its current position as this nation's corporate and financial headquarters. Most of the book is devoted to the twentieth century, when the school fought for recognition from its parent--the City College of New York. In large part precipitated by the demands of Blacks and Hispanics for increased educational opportunity, it was separated from City in 1968 and renamed Baruch College. By using data and insights from urban and ethnic studies, Berrol demonstrates how Baruch College mirrored the changing ethnicity and ecomy of New York City and fulfilled its role as the gatekeeper to the middle class. Additionally, the book provides a window through which to view the history of New York City as a whole. Getting Down to Business will be a useful adjunct for courses in urban and business history and the history of higher education.
SELMA C. BERROL is Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She is the author of Immigrants at School: New York, 1898-1914 and has contributed articles to American Jewish Archives, Journal of Ethnic Studies, and a chapter to History of Childhood in America (Greenwood Press, 1985).