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Editor's note.

Nigel Hamilton, author of How To Do Biography: A Primer, wrote, "You wish to be a biographer? Find the line. It is the line not of least resistance, but of the most resistance: the one you draw in order to link the salient features of your subject's life-work, from genesis to fulfillment--or backward, if you so choose." (1) This issue of Vitae Scholasticae presents the essays of authors who have drawn the line to depict subjects whose life-work occurred in a variety of places, times, and contexts.

Louis M. Smith's engaging essay is set in England in 1987. In "Adventuring as Biographers: A Chronicle of a Difficult Ten-Day Week," he takes readers on a whirlwind trip to London and Cambridge where he and his wife, the late Marilyn Smith, searched for documents on their biographical subject's early life. A longtime biographer of Nora Barlow (a granddaughter of Charles Darwin and founder of the Darwin industry), author Smith shares "Lessons Learned" that are valuable for both novice and seasoned biographers who engage in field work.

In "Joseph Kinmont Hart and Reed College: Academic Freedom and the First World War," authors Deron Boyles and Kenneth J. Potts link the salient features of their biographical subject with his life-work in teaching, writing, and community organizing. They present Hart's life trajectory from genesis to fulfillment, with some intermittent setbacks--as, for example, when he is fired from two higher education institutions. The authors commend Hart's commitment to free speech and intellectual honesty in the face of hostility and professional risk.

The authors of the next article, Chara Haeussler Bohan and Lauren Yarnell Bradshaw, portray the career of an Atlanta school superintendent in "The Challenge to Create a 'Community of Believers': Civil Rights Superintendent Alonzo Crim and Atlanta's School Desegregation Compromise." Crim held the top job in the city's public school system in the post-Brown years when massive numbers of white residents moved to the suburbs to avoid school desegregation. As Bohan and Bradshaw discuss each step of Crim's career, they find commonality in his commitment to all children, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

In addition to the three essays, readers will appreciate an interview with Martha Tevis, longtime secretary and founding member of the International Society for Educational Biography (ISEB), who recollects on the 31-year timeline of the organization and its journal, Vitae Scholasticae. The interview was conducted at the society's annual meeting in Toronto in April 2014.

This issue concludes with two book reviews, both of which advance Vitae Scholasticae's mandate to explore the lives of educators or those whose lives are educative. Thalia Mulvihill discusses Wayne J. Urban's edited volume, Leaders in the Historical Study of American Education, (2) featuring a series of memoirs of distinguished scholars of educational history. Sarah McNair Vosmeier reviews Susan Reynolds Williams' book, Alice Morse Earle and the Domestic History of Early America. (3) Earle was a historian who educated people about colonial New England, with particular emphasis on family life.

In closing, I want to extend sincere thanks to Laurel Puchner, who has concluded her work as assistant editor of Vitae Scholasticae. Since assuming the position in 2009, she has made many important contributions to the journal and to ISEB, including being co-editor of a book written to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of ISEB titled Life Stories: Exploring Issues in Educational History Through Biography, (4) We are delighted that she is continuing her association with Vitae by serving on the Editorial Advisory Board. Effective September 1, the new assistant editor will be Alison Reeves, a Vitae Scholaticae author and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Thank you for your continued support of the journal. We hope the contents of this issue will provide you with insight as you draw the line in your own biographical work.


(1) Nigel Hamilton, How To Do Biography: A Primer. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 215.

(2) Wayne J. Urban, ed. Leaders in the Historical Study of American Education. (Rotterdam: Sense, 2011).

(3) Susan Reynolds Williams, Alice Morse Earle and the Domestic History of Early America. (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013).

(4) Linda C. Morice and Laurel Puchner, eds. Life Stories: Exploring Issues in Educational History Through Biography. (Charlotte, NC: Information Age, 2013).
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Author:Morice, Linda
Publication:Vitae Scholasticae
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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