Today in History: Lawrence Cremin Is Born

| October 31, 2018


“Lawrence Cremin was truly a giant among us. A man of boundless energy, consistently high competence, lively spirit, twinkling eye, and great personal warmth and generosity, Cremin was a gifted scholar, teacher, administrator, and educational statesman. He could be courtly and gracious, wise and empathetic, or witty and fun, depending on the occasion. He could turn from one task to another with keen concentration and attend to a myriad of details without loss of humor or patience. Whether delivering a lecture, telling a story, writing a letter, giving a toast, or playing a tune on the piano, he performed with exceptional skill, verve, and life. He had many talents and many interests, and, to those of us who were his students and colleagues, he was a loyal and much loved mentor and friend.”
— from “Lawrence A. Cremin: A Biographical Memoir”, by Ellen Condliffe Lagemann & Patricia A. Graham, Teachers College Record Volume 96 Number 1, 1994, p. 102-113

Pulitzer-prize winning education historian and the seventh president of Teachers College, Columbia University, Lawrence Cremin (Ph.D, 1949) was born on October 31st, 1925 in Manhattan. He attended Townsend Harris School in Queens; earned a BA and MA from City College of New York; and a Ph’D from Columbia University in 1951, with a dissertation entitled, The American Common School. Cremin was appointed the Frederick A. P. Barnard Professor of Education and also became a member of Columbia’s history department in 1961. He married Charlotte Raup, the daughter of educational psychologist Robert Bruce Raup of Teachers College, and economist Clara Eliot of Barnard College. Cremin directed the Teachers College’s Institute of Philosophy and Politics of Education from 1965-1974 and served as our college’s 7th president from 1974 -1984. After this time he returned to teaching and research. He died on September 4, 1990, having suffered a sudden heart attack on the corner of 120th and Amsterdam.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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  • Portrait of Lawrence Cremin, by Everett Raymond Kinstler. Historical Portraiture Collection. Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Special News Slide. Courtesy of EdLab Studios.


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