Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE - The Challenge of Facts and other Essays
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PREFACE - William Graham Sumner, The Challenge of Facts and other Essays 
The Challenge of Facts and other Essays, ed. Albert Galloway Keller (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1914).
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Of the essays collected in this volume the following are, so far as I know, now printed for the first time: the title-essay, “A Parable,” “Advancing Social and Political Organization in the United States,” the “Memorial Day Address,” the “Introductory Lecture to Courses in Political and Social Science,” and “The Predicament of Sociological Study.” The titles of the first and last of these are not the ones which stood on the manuscripts. The first was called “Socialism,” but I have taken the liberty of renaming it in order to give both to it and to this volume a more distinctive title. The last was headed “Sociology” and required to be distinguished from the essay on Sociology in “War and Other Essays.” The long essay on “Organization in the United States” is a find which should rejoice at least those former students of Sumner who pursued the study of American history with him. I should add to this list of new material the Memorial Addresses, which were included at request; that of Mr. Baldwin, however, has already been published among the records of the Yale class of 1885.
The presence of new Sumner essays in this volume, as in preceding ones, bears witness to the author's habit of withholding his writings from publication. Though I knew of this tendency I have been astonished at the amount, and also at the degree of elaboration, of the written manuscript found among his literary effects. Manuscripts were written and re-written, and then laid aside, apparently with no thought of publication. Meanwhile the eager mind of the author pressed on to other ranges, and time had its way with the work of his hand. Often it is from yellowing sheets that we have been able to present what here appears in print for the first time.
Perhaps Sumner would have made changes in these unpublished essays before they were allowed to fill the printed page; he may have had some conviction, in his scrupulous self-criticism, as to their state of incompleteness. But I have no apology for publishing them. They can stand for themselves. Now that the emending hand is still, there is no longer any hope of alteration except of inessential detail, and so no valid reason for longer withholding such a rare and characteristic product.
In spite of the fact, then, that some of the essays in this volume have not received the author's final touches in preparation for publication, and that certain of them are preserved only in newspaper reports of lectures, which may or may not have been written up from manuscript, the editor has been very chary about making any changes except those which were obviously necessary. Even where some slight repetition appears in bringing together utterances that were not designed to be together, I have thought it best to leave things as they stand. Where the only report was clearly a garbled one, as in that of an address on “The True Aim of Life,” given in 1880 before the Seniors of Yale College, I have, with great regret, discarded the production altogether. Many also of Professor Sumner's best addresses seem to have been almost extemporaneous; nothing remains of these except small packets of slips with items of a more or less cryptic nature set down upon them. In a few instances I am convinced that Sumner later changed his position as to certain points; but I could scarcely try to alter such things. From his later writings it is easy to see what he came to believe. In general I have omitted much which would find a more appropriate place in a Life and Letters; and it is my conviction that such an enterprise should be sometime undertaken. If well done it could not but inure to the strengthening of hearts.
The dating of several of these essays is next to impossible. Sometimes the only clue to the time when they were written lies in the handwriting or the style. I judge, on these criteria, that the title-essay and “A Parable” belong to the eighties, and that the essay on “The Predicament of Sociological Study” is rather late—within a few years, one way or the other, of 1900.
The present intention of the publishers and editor is to bring out one more volume, which will include essays of a more technical character and will contain a full bibliography of Sumner's writings, in so far as such can now be assembled. This volume will probably be delayed for several years, in order to close the series definitively.
September 17, 1914