Biographies: Philander Priestly Claxton (United States, 1862-1957)

Figure 1.--This 1921 photograph shows a boy named Edwards with P.P. Claxton, U.S. Commission of Education. I think the photograph was taken in Washington D.C. just before Claxton reigned when the Republican Harding Afministration began.

Philander Priestly Claxton (1862-1957) was a noted American educator. He has been described as the Horace Mann of the South. Unlike the North, the South did not develop an important public school system before the Civil War. And even after the War, the Southern states were slow to support public education. Claxton born furing the Civil War, was the leading southern Educator in the late-19th and early-20th century. Faced by legislators and voters hesitant to adequately find schools, he constantly pointed out the cost of iliteracy and the importance of public education in a democratic society. He played a major role in improving the education of southern teachers. He was the first important Federal Commissioner of Education (1913?-21). He continued his campaign, pointing out the cost of not investing in education. Spealing at a conference on adult education in 1914, he estimated the cost of adult iliteracy at $500 million. [New York Times, June 17, 1914.] He also promoted vocational education and plans for rehabilitating World War I veterans.


"$500,000,000 a year cost of illiteracy ...," New York Times (June 17, 1914).


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Created: 5:57 PM 6/5/2010
Last updated: 5:57 PM 6/5/2010