Harold Taylor and Sarah Lawrence College

A Life of Social and Educational Activism

Edited by Craig Kridel
Foreword by Leon Botstein

Subjects: Biography, New York/regional, Education, General Interest
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438490632, 272 pages, November 2022
Expected to ship: 2022-11-01

The engaging memoir of a college president and public intellectual who became one of America's leading mid-twentieth-century social and educational activists.


Harold Taylor and Sarah Lawrence College is the posthumous memoir of Harold Taylor (1914–1993) told through thoughtful and entertaining accounts of his many interactions with leading cultural and political figures of his time. Taylor distinguished himself as a spokesperson for progressive education and educational experimentation during the 1950s and would emerge in the 1960s as one of the country's leading public intellectuals and campus speakers, addressing issues related to student activism, peace education, and international studies. Written with insight and wit and carefully edited and reconstructed, Harold Taylor and Sarah Lawrence College will inspire college students, professors, and administrators to reconsider the most fundamental purposes of higher education and social and educational change.

Craig Kridel is E. S. Gambrell Professor Emeritus of Educational Studies and Curator Emeritus of the Museum of Education at the University of South Carolina. His many books include Stories of the Eight-Year Study: Reexamining Secondary Education in America (with Robert V. Bullough Jr.), also published by SUNY Press.


"This delightful book resurrects for a new generation of readers the sharp eye, keen wit, and good humor that made Harold Taylor one of the bright lights of American higher education in the mid-twentieth century." — John R. Thelin, University of Kentucky

"Imagine being close friends with both John Dewey and Duke Ellington, being accused of communist activity, being an unofficial advisor to Adlai Stevenson, and being president of Sarah Lawrence College. Harold Taylor is such a man, and his expansive life of intrigue and intellect is on full display in a new memoir brought together—posthumously—by educational historian Craig Kridel. The memoir is vivid, beautifully-written, humbling, timely, and provides a window into the life of one of the nation's most interesting leaders and thinkers." — Marybeth Gasman, Rutgers University

"This beautiful, intellectual autobiography not only helps readers to know Taylor's professional persona, but to understand how he grappled with significant issues that still define higher education today: academic freedom, free speech, privacy, patriotism, and how to serve as a public intellectual." — Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center

"Seeing Harold Taylor strolling about campus with his large English sheepdog and tiny cairn terrier whilst smoking his pipe is one of my favorite memories, and reading this book took me back to the wonderful feeling of being young again and learning in the stimulating progressive environment of Sarah Lawrence." — Harriet Pogul Wohlgemuth, Sarah Lawrence alumnae