A Guide to the Harold Rugg Oral History Collection, 1951-1965
Harold Rugg (1886-1960) was a professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University and a well-known figure in the Progressive Education Movement. Rugg was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1886. He attended Dartmouth College, receiving an undergraduate (1908) and a graduate degree (1909) in civil engineering. He worked briefly as a civil engineer before teaching civil engineering at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. While teaching he became interested in the process of learning, subsequently earning a doctorate from the University of Illinois (1915). He worked for five years at the University of Chicago, before switching to Columbia University. Rugg taught at Columbia until his retirement in 1951.
While at Columbia, Rugg produced the first series of school textbooks, which ran from 1929 until the 1940s. Rugg helped create the model of textbook series used in schools and over the next 15 years sold 5 million books. While his textbooks were his most lasting contribution to the field of education, they were also the center of the largest controversy in Rugg’s life. Rugg’s textbooks were accused of containing anti-American and socialist ideas. The National Association of Manufacturers and the American Legion led censorship efforts to ban Rugg’s textbooks. In the years before his retirement in 1951, Rugg published several works on educating teachers. Furthermore, Rugg was a founding member of the National Council for the Social Studies. After his death in 1960, Rugg’s last work Imagination, an exploration of creative thought, was published incomplete in 1963.
Harold Rugg’s Oral History Collection (1951-1965) consists of eight reel-to-reel tapes with CD listening copies. The tapes contain several discussions and lectures at the New York Geriatric Society (1956-1957) as well as speeches at Rugg’s retirement banquet (1951), including Rugg’s own speech. In the lectures Rugg discusses his last book Imagination, as well comments on his youth and his involvement in the textbook controversy. The collection also contains tapes made by his brother Earle Rugg and George Kay reading from Rugg’s notes in his study in 1965. A tape listening guide with more in detail information has been placed with the CD listening copies.
Some sound materials are restricted. Contact repository for more information.
Harold Rugg Oral History Collection, 1951-1965, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Megan Mummey, October 2009.
Detailed Description of the Papers