Our History

The International Society for Educational biography began in the fall of 1982 with a memo sent by L. Glenn Smith.

In the fall of 1982, a newsletter, Vitae Scholasticae: The Bulletin of Educational Biography, Vol. 1, No. 1, was sent to persons interested in educational biography by L. Glenn Smith, Editor, and Patti S. Cale, Managing Editor. The need for organization and a publication was explained as follows:

Educationists have long had an interest in biography. The practice of illuminating pedagogical thought and practice by including biographical accounts of important theoreticians and practitioners goes back to at least 1847 when Karl von Raumer brought out his influential Gesciiichte der Pad@ogik vom Wiederaufbluhen klassisclier Studium his auf unsere Zeit.

During the past two decades, many educational specialists have neglected the historic underpinnings of pedagogical theory, perhaps because contemporary issues are so distressingly acute. Yet, even during a period when students of the humanistic and cultural foundations of education have tended to ignore anything predating 1830 as too remote to deserve attention, issues continue to revolve around individual personalities; Cyril Burt, Arthur Jensen, Marva Collins, Jean Piaget, A.S. Neill, Paulo Freire, and other figures assert their varying claims for attention. And many educators still believe that students can profit from knowing about Socrates, Rousseau, Montessori, and Dewey.

Some specialists in anthropology and literature have begun directing more attention to biography, both as a research technique and as an area of specialization (Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 March 1982). Indeed, the field of biography is currently represented by two journals, a research center, and an institute. While these are of potential interest to educational researchers, their foci remove them from the central issues of pedagogical inquiry. The journal Prometei is published in the Soviet Union and emphasizes figures in Soviet history. Biography, produced at the University of Hawaii's Biographical Research Center (established 1978), is a scholarly journal with a literary orientation. The Institute for Modern Biography, at Griffith University, Brisbane, specializes in significant Australians.