Lawrence A. Cremin (1925-90)
AHA Staff, November 1990
Lawrence A. Cremin, 64, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who spent 23 years writing a definitive trilogy on American public education, died September 4.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1981 for American Education: The National Experience, 1783–1876, the second volume of a three-volume history of U.S. schools from colonial times through 1980. The final volume, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876–1980, was published in 1988. His 1962 book, The Transformation of the School, won the prestigious Bancroft Prize for American history.
His most recent work, published last spring, was Popular Education and Its Discontents, which offered philosophical answers to the question of how U.S. schools developed as they did. He argued that the current school crisis stems not so much from the mediocrity of schools or educators, but from outside forces that are overburdening schools with more and more demands.
At the time of his death he was working on a biography of educational pioneer John Dewey.
Dr. Cremin was a native and resident of New York City and served in the Army Air Force during World War II. He was a 1946 graduate of City College of New York and received master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.
Dr. Cremin was president of Columbia University's Teachers College from 1974 to 1984 and was the Frederick A. P. Barnard Professor of Education at the college.
Since 1985, he was president of the Spencer Foundation, whose major priority is educational research. He was a member of the foundation's board of directors since 1973.
Dr. Cremin was a founding member of the National Academy of Education and served as its president from 1969 to 1973. He also was a past president of the Society for History Education, the AHA, and the National Society of College Teachers of Education.
Survivors include his wife, Charlotte, of New York City; and two children.