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Lawrence A. Cremin Papers, 1932-2007 [Bulk Dates: 1939-1990]

Summary Information

At a Glance

Title:Lawrence A. Cremin Papers, 1932-2007 [Bulk Dates: 1939-1990]
Physical description:52.5 linear ft. (39 record cartons, 2 manuscript boxes, and 2 flat boxes)
Language(s):In English


The collection is organized in six series: Series I: Personal, Series II: Journals, Series III: Teachers College, Series IV: Manuscripts and Publishing, Series V: Spencer Foundation, and Series VI: Books. Materials within each series are arranged in chronological order.


Scope and Content

The Lawrence A. Cremin Papers document the personal life and career of Lawrence Arthur Cremin, educational historian and seventh president of Teachers College, Columbia University (1974-1984).

The first series of the collection contains materials from Cremin’s personal life. It includes photographs, Cremin’s coursework from the City College of New York and Teachers College, Columbia University, and records of his service in the Army Air Forces during World War II. The series also includes Cremin’s personal correspondence. A small amount of Cremin family materials are present in the series as well: family photographs; a folder of personal correspondence belonging to Charlotte Raup Cremin, Lawrence Cremin’s wife; and a scrapbook presented to R. Bruce Raup, Charlotte’s father and Lawrence’s colleague, on the occasion of his retirement from Teachers College in 1953.

Series II contains journals documenting Cremin’s research, teaching, and administrative work at Teachers College. Cremin wrote in these journals regularly (though infrequently) throughout his life. They provide insight into the methods by which Cremin carried out his work as a scholar, educator, and administrator.

Series III, the most extensive in the collection, contains materials documenting Cremin’s long and multifaceted career at Teachers College. Course syllabi, lecture notes, and a dozen recorded lectures on audiocassettes document his teaching work. Correspondence, meeting minutes, and other administrative records document his work as an academic administrator and president of Teachers College. Correspondence and other materials related to Cremin’s professional service, both to the university and to external educational and philanthropic organizations, are also included in the series. Cremin was a frequent lecturer, especially after his appointment to the Teachers College presidency, and materials from those efforts are present in this series as well. Finally, awards and honors presented to Cremin in recognition of his accomplishments in scholarship, education, and academic administration are also included in this series.

Series IV contains manuscripts, printed ephemera, and correspondence related to Cremin’s scholarly works and the publishing process. Though Cremin was an acclaimed educational historian whose work received honors including the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes, the collection does not contain exhaustive evidence of his research or writing process.

Series V contains records associated with the Spencer Foundation, a granting organization for educational research. Cremin assumed the presidency of the foundation in 1983, though he had been associated with it in various capacities since the 1970s.

Series VI contains annotated published works by Lawrence Cremin and others, including a copy of John Dewey's "Experience and Nature" which belonged to R. Bruce Raup, Cremin’s father-in-law. The series also includes a full print run of the Teachers College Classics in Education series. These books are not annotated.

Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Minutes and correspondence of the Teachers College Board of Trustees are closed to researchers until 2034, in accordance with Columbia University policy. One folder of correspondence in Box 10 is closed to researchers until 2042. Other materials with privacy concerns, such as student records, personnel records, and letters of recommendation, are closed to researchers until 75 years after their date of creation.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

If you would like to use any audiovisual materials in this collection, please contact the library to discuss access options. Original media cannot be played back for preservation purposes, and must be digitized before use.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lawrence A. Cremin Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by Celeste Brewer, 2017.

Finding aid written by Celeste Brewer, 2017.

The Lawrence A. Cremin Papers were assembled from materials donated to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library by the Cremin family, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, and the Teachers College Library. Despite the different sources of acquisition, all materials (or nearly all) appear to have been created or gathered by Lawrence A. Cremin, and to have been used by Cremin as a single collection of records, during his lifetime. Thus, the decision was made to process the collection as Lawrence A. Cremin’s personal papers, rather than an artificial aggregation of materials about or related to Lawrence A. Cremin.

Materials donated by Teachers College were retained in the physical order in which they arrived at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Materials donated by the Cremin family and Ellen Condliffe Lagemann were not in a regular order, and were physically arranged in roughly chronological order. All collection materials were intellectually arranged in chronological order. Acid-free folders were supplied when the original folders were damaged or did not exist. Shipping boxes were replaced with record cartons.

Books which Cremin had personally annotated or were out of print—including the full print run of the Teachers College Classics in Education Series, which Cremin edited—were retained. Un-annotated books and those that are widely available were removed from the collection. Duplicate publications were also removed.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion January 11, 2017

Finding aid written in English.

    2017-01-11 xml document instance created by Celeste Brewer.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Minutes (administrative records)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Publications (documents)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
College presidents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Teachers College--Faculty.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cremin, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1990PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Education--United States--History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National Academy of Education.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Raup, R. Bruce (Robert Bruce), 1888-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Spencer Foundation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Lawrence Arthur Cremin was an educational historian and the seventh president of Teachers College, Columbia University. He was born in New York City on October 31, 1925, and graduated from Townsend Harris High School. He then enrolled in the City College of New York, though he was called to active military duty before completing his degree. Cremin served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1944-1945, stationed at Cochran Field, Georgia, for the duration of his service. After the war, Cremin completed his undergraduate work at the City College of New York in 1946, and an MA (1947) and PhD (1949) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Upon graduating, Lawrence Cremin joined the faculty of Teachers College, where he remained employed until his death. His work on the history of American education won several honors, including the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes. In addition to publishing his own work, Cremin edited the Teachers College Classics in Education Series for Teachers College Press, a 52-volume series which was published between 1957 and 1987. Cremin was appointed the Frederick A. P. Barnard Professor of Education in 1961. He also served as director of Teachers College’s Division of Philosophy, Social Sciences, and Education from 1958 until 1965, and director of its Institute of Philosophy and Politics of Education from 1965 until 1974.

Cremin was appointed president of Teachers College in 1974. He led the school through the difficult years of the New York City fiscal crisis and the corresponding budgetary shortfalls at Teachers College. After his tenure as president, he returned to teaching and writing at Teachers College, and served as president of the Spencer Foundation from 1985 to 1990.

Lawrence Cremin grew up in a close-knit family. His parents, Arthur and Tillie Cremin, ran the New York Schools of Music. He had one sister, June Cremin Immerman. Cremin married Charlotte Raup—the daughter of R. Bruce Raup, philosophy of education professor at Teachers College, and Clara Eliot Raup, a professor of economics and statistics at Barnard College—in 1956. Charlotte and Lawrence Cremin had two children, David and Joanne.

Lawrence Cremin died in New York City on September 4, 1990.