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47 Harry Allen Overstreet

Page history last edited by MIrcar1234 11 years, 9 months ago

Born: October 25, 1875 - August 17, 1970



Personal Data

Married: Elsie L. Burr on May 18, 1907 & then Bonaro Wilkinson on August, 1932

Children: 3




1899, Bachelor of Arts, University of California. (It took Overstreet five years to complete his BA due to job and family obligations)

1901, Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford, 1901




1901-11               Instructor & Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of                                                                  California, Berkeley, CA


1911-39               Professor & Head of the Department of Philosophy, College of the City of New         

                                  York, New York, New York


1924-28               Lecturer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


1939-70               Professor Emeritus, College of the City of New York


1939-40               Lecturer, New School for Social Research, New York, New York


                              1948-49                   Director, Leadership School, Town Hall, New York



Awards and Honors

1940-43, President of the American Association for Adult Education

America’s Town Meeting of the Air, Trustee

Beta Theta Pi

Carnot Medal for Excellence, intercollegiate debater

Pi Beta Kappa

Mills Traveling Fellowship, University of Oxford

Trustee at New School, Finch Junior College

Trustee for Philosophical Association



Membership-Professional Organizations




1925                     Influencing Human Behavior

1927                     About Ourselves: Psychology for Normal People

1931                     The Enduring Quest

1933                     We Move in a New Direction

1934                     A Guide to Civilized Leisure

1937                     A Declaration of Interdependence

1938*                    Town Meeting Comes to Town

1939                     Let Me Think

1940*                    Leaders for Adult Education

1941                     Our Free Minds

1949                     The Mature Minds

1952                     The Great Enterprise: Relating Ourselves to the World

1954*                    The Mind Alive

1956*                    The Mind Goes Forth

1963*                    The Iron Curtain: Where Freedom’s Offensive Begins

1964*                    The Strange Tactics of Extremism

1969*                    The FBI in our Open Society



Professional Interest Areas





Liberal Idealism

Adult Education


The Victory of Capitalism over Communism



Major Contributions to Adult Education

Bridged the gap between separate concepts, insight, and research in Adult Education. Established the idea that it is important to pursue lifelong learning also problem solving is paramount in learning because it applies to life’s problems as well as societies.

Incorporating education into the Industrial World as well as helped establish a definition of an Adult Mind. As an educator he believed it was essential to reach the general public with knowledge that would enable them to lead more productive and fulfilling lives lives. He believed that adult education held out great promise that mature citizens could effectively improve their minds and could significantly improve social conditions. He also believed in democratic traditions and values and strongly emphasized the need for citizens to step up to their responsibilities with regard to civil rights and community development.



Additional Resources


“Changing Demands on Evening School,” Michigan Education Journal, 23 (December 1945):195.

“The American College Course,” Educational Review, February 1904, 168-178.

Overstreet, Harry A, “Armed to the Brain,” Journal of Adult Education, 13, No. 3 (June 1941): 229-235.

“Education for the New Age,” Progressive Education, 6 (January 1929): 61-65.

“When the College Professor Looks at Life,” Journal of Adult Education, 1 (June 1929): 254-256.

“Capturing the Depression of the Mind,” Journal of Adult Education, 4 (January 1932): 1-4.

“Youth Incorporated for Education,” Journal of Adult Education, 6 (October 1934): 431-435.

Overstreet, Harry A. “Adults Must Go To School,” New York State Education, 28 (February 1941): 343-344.

“Mature Mind,” National Education Association Journal, 38 (December 1949): 649-650.



Harry Overstreet describes how Socrates has influenced his thinking, leading to the beliefs that truth must be sought out (rather than accepted) and that knowledge about the world can never be exhausted, and forming the foundation for his tolerant acceptance of his fellow human beings.

Listen to the essay

Also in 60 and over, Educational Professions, Publishing and Writing Professions








  1. ^ (18 August 1970). Prof. Harry A. Overstreet Dies; Author and Lecturer Was 94; Psychology Chairman at City College, 1911-36, Wrote for the Layman, The New York Times
  2. ^ (11 September 1985). Bonaro W. Overstreet, Author, Is Dead at 82, The New York Times
  3. ^ Shook, John R., ed. Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Volume 1, p. 1851 (2005)
  4. http://philosopedia.org/index.php/Harry_Overstreet
  5. https://wikis.uit.tufts.edu/confluence/display/MurrowCollection/O










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