Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 1976 Issue »

    The History of the History of American Education, 1900-1976

    The Uses of the Past

    Sol Cohen
    Most recent histories of American education begin with an attack that enumerates the ways in which Ellwood P. Cubberley and other traditional historians of the early twentieth century stymied the development of the field. Indeed, these works suggest that the tradition of Cubberley and company was the only obstacle to good history of education until the pathbreaking contributions of Bernard Bailyn and Lawrence Cremin in the early 1960s. In this article, Sol Cohen argues that a rich and controversial chapter in the history of the history of education has been forgotten in the zeal to get on with the "new" history. He contends that historians need to come to terms with the struggles, primarily in the 1930s and 1940s, between those who would make the field purely "functional"—addressed to teacher training and to contemporary social problems—and those who would make it an academic discipline. After tracing the development and context of those struggles, Cohen concludes by noting certain dangerous continuities between the past and the present in the craft of history of education and cautions that progress can be made only by acknowledging and understanding that past.

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    Fall 1976 Issue


    The History of the History of American Education, 1900-1976
    The Uses of the Past
    Sol Cohen
    The Role of Education in American History
    A Memorandum for the Committee Advising the Fund for the Advancement of Education in Regard to This Subject
    Richard J. Storr
    Ways of Seeing
    An Essay on the History of Compulsory Schooling
    David B. Tyack
    Conflict and Consensus Revisited
    Notes toward a Reinterpretation of American Educational History
    Carl F. Kaestle
    From Religion to Politics
    Debates and Confrontations over American College Governance in the Mid-Eighteenth Century
    Jurgen Herbst
    Education for Freedom
    Children's Fiction in Jacksonian America
    Anne Scott MacLeod
    Before Home Start
    Notes toward a History of Parent Education in America, 1897-1929
    Steven L. Schlossman
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