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Published: May 8, 2011

Lawrence A. Cremin (1925–1990)

American educator, historian and president of Teachers College, Columbia University, from 1974 to 1984. One of the leading historians in the field of American education, Cremin won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize in history for his massive, three-volume history entitled American Education, published, respectively, in 1970, 1979 and 1987. Volume I was entitled The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783; volume II, The National Experience, 1783–1876; and volume III, The Metropolitan Experience, 1876–1980. The most comprehensive history of American education ever written, Cremin’s work was based on his own broad definition of the concept of education, which he called “the deliberate, systemative, and sustained effort to transmit, evoke or acquire knowledge, values, attitudes, skills and sensibilities, as well as any learning that results from that effort, direct or indirect, intended or unintended.”
Among his 16 other important works were The American Common School (1951); The Republic and the School: Horace Mann on the Education of Free Men (1957); The Transformation of the School (1961); The Genius of American Education (1965); Public Education (1976); and Traditions of American Education (1977). Born in New York City, Cremin attended Townsend Harris High School and City College of New York and earned his Ph.D. at Columbia. He taught at Harvard and Stanford Universities before coming to Teachers College.
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