If our story has a hero it was certainly Veblen. But there was also a collective hero: this generation of American mathematicians who, at the very beginning of their careers, experienced the influx of Europeans and who reacted to this influx with so much grace and so much cordiality.
—Lipman Bers 19881
With this eminent group among us, there inevitably arises a sense of increased duty toward our own promising younger American mathematicians.… with the attendant probability that some of them will be forced to become “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” I believe we have reached a point of saturation, where we must definitely avoid this danger.
—George D. Birkhoff 19382
We must not ...