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Editor's note.

On September 20, 1982, L. Glenn Smith wrote a memorandum to colleagues, proposing an educational biography conference at Iowa State University, where he taught. Smith explained, "I hope to find money here at Iowa State to publish the conference papers--either in a proceedings or in the first issue of a new journal (proposed name: Vitae Scholasticae: The Bulletin of Educational Biography)." He noted that, given sufficient interest, the first meeting of the conference would be held in Spring 1983 and "would also serve as a platform for launching a Society for Educational Biography." (1)

Smith's memorandum, provided by Martha Tevis, (a founding member and current secretary of the International Society for Educational Biography), offers insight into the initial purpose of the organization and its journal, Vitae Scholasticae, which was launched in 1983. From the beginning, Smith envisioned a variety of scholarly approaches to the study of educators' lives, including "translation; autobiography/reminiscence; living figures/interview; neglected people; various geographic areas or time periods....; critiques of past work; and biographies that need to be written." He noted, referring to the first conference meeting, "A separate session on methodological considerations can be organized, but I hope most presentations will include some attention to this." (2)

In the first article of this 30th anniversary issue of Vitae Scholasticae, former International Society for Educational Biography (ISEB) President Lucy E. Bailey writes that, over the years, scholars have "used these generative spaces [in ISEB and Vitae Scholasticae] to explore diverse interactions among lives and education that have expanded the contours of educational research." Bailey's essay primarily focuses on auto/biographical research and its current and future possibilities. One example of the genre of auto/biographical research can be seen in the next article by Joel Hardman, titled "Bad Teacher Under Reflection." Using narrative inquiry, Hardman analyzes his experience teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to high school students. In the subsequent article, Drew Moser depicts Ernest Boyer, who served as U. S. Commissioner of Education and President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Moser's focus on Boyer's early life reflects Smith's desire that Vitae Scholasticae portray educators' lives in "time periods."

The book reviews in this issue present stories of people whose lives were educative. They include "biographies that need to be written" as well as life narratives of "neglected people." Allison Karmel Thomason offers an example of the first category in her review of Jeffrey Abt's book, American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute. As the founder of one of the premier academic institutions in the United States--the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago--Breasted's biography makes an important contribution to the history of higher education. In the second review, Sarah Morice-Brubaker addresses Catherine Brekus' book, Sarah Osborn's World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America. Osborn, a teacher who became an evangelical leader, had been included in the category of "neglected people" until Brekus' exhaustive research changed that. Another woman's life story is reviewed by Amy Freshwater in Soundings, Hali Felt's biography of Marie Tharp. Although Tharp's name is also not a household word, she performed an important educative function by mapping the ocean floor and sharing her knowledge through mentoring students.

This anniversary issue of Vitae Scholasticae celebrates the 30-year staying power of an organization and a journal, as well as a vision that is still relevant today. We hope these articles inspire readers to continue to "expand the contours of educational research," thereby stimulating the growth and significance of ISEB and Vitae.


(1) L. Glenn Smith memorandum, September 20, 1982.

(2) L. Glenn Smith memorandum, September 20, 1982.
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Author:Morice, Linda
Publication:Vitae Scholasticae
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 22, 2013
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