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At a Glance
The papers were retained in the physical order in which they arrived. This collection is arranged in three series.
The Bradley Commission on History in Schools Records contain the commission's administrative records and materials related to the process of creating and sharing guidelines for elementary and secondary school history education in the United States from 1982-1992. Many of these materials were created by Elaine Wrisley Reed, administrative director, Kenneth Jackson, chair, and the sixteen members of the commission. They include files related to the planning, staffing, and funding of the commission as well as correspondence and meeting minutes. The papers also contain surveys the commission drafted and distributed to teachers to collect data for the project. Teachers were surveyed on the history requirements at their school, the obstacles they faced, and recommendations to improve their field. The results of those surveys and the commission's conclusions are documented with drafts and final versions of two publications, as well as videos and other materials from two associated conferences.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Bradley Commission on History in Schools Records; 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
This collection was processed by Rachel Klepper. Finding aid written by Rachel Klepper in September 2018.
The papers were retained in the physical order in which they arrived and unfoldered materials were provided with folders and titles. Duplicate publications were removed.
2018-10-02 XML document instance created by Celeste Brewer.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Bradley Commission on History in Schools was created in 1987 in response to the perceived inadequacy of historical education in American elementary and secondary classrooms. Elaine Wrisley Reed, a teacher and curriculum specialist, and Joe Ribar, a non-profit consultant, initiated the planning process and joined with the Educational Excellence Network of Teachers College, Columbia University to receive funding from the Bradley Foundation, a conservative organization based in Milwaukee. The commission was led by Columbia University History professor Kenneth T. Jackson, and was comprised of sixteen history scholars and elementary and secondary school teachers who examined social studies and history curricula in the United States and the requirements for high school graduation in each state. The inclusion of classroom teachers on the commission was at the urging of Jackson's wife, Barbara Jackson, a teacher. The two of them co-wrote a chapter of the Bradley Commission publication, "Historical Literacy: The Case for American Education." The commission did not issue a specified curriculum, but rather published a set of guidelines emphasizing the importance of history education for democratic citizenship and for personal and intellectual growth. They recommended that all states require history coursework as a prerequisite for high school graduation and that elementary and middle school social studies curricula be primarily focused on history. They also recommended that history education include United States, Western, and World history, and that it be based around broad themes rather than facts and dates. The commission's report was endorsed by the Organization of History Teachers, the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians.