THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ADULT EDUCATION MOVEMENT: THE DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE DEMOCRATIC IDEAL, 1924-1933
John R. Rachal
"It is almost a tautology to state that libraries have always been centers of adult education. It has been true of ancient, medieval, and American colonial libraries no less than modern ones. In fact, it may even be more true of earlier libraries than modern ones in that earlier libraries tended to serve a more adult, often scholarly, clientele. The term "adult education" itself was not used, but the fact that adult education, through reading and scholarship, was a major library function throughout the long history of libraries is beyond argument.
Yet, the point at which American libraries and specifically the professional organization of American librarians, the American Library Association, became "officially" involved in adult education--designated as such--can be quite clearly pinpointed: the first week of July 1924. Knowles (1980) has observed that the term "adult education" was virtually unheard of in the United States prior to 1924, and, in apparent confirmation, the Bulletin of the American Library Association has no references to adult education in the 1923 volume but no less than eight in the 1924 volume. In fact, however, as Monroe (1963) has noted, Carl Milam had used the term as early as 1920 in the Library Journal, and Charles Eliot, president of Harvard, had used it in 1921 in the Bulletin of the ALA. Such exceptional early uses, however, suggest the essential truth of Knowles' assertion.
This paper examines both the role of the American Library Association (ALA) from 1924 to 1933 in what had come to be called "adult education" and the interaction and cross-fertilization of influences between the ALA and the American Association of Adult Education (AAAE). Integral to the overall thesis is the view that the two groups saw cultural and intellectual growth--or at least "the diffusion of knowledge," in William Learned's (1924) phrase-both as ends in themselves and as a necessary bulwark against antidemocratic impulses.
At the 1924 ALA Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, Judson T. Jennings in his President's Address observed that "the third enterprise that I think we should undertake is an active participation in the movement for adult education" (1924, p. 153). A significant portion of this speech was devoted to adult education. Denying that "formal classes will ever reach large numbers of adults," Jennings declaimed that "the library is logically ordained as the direct and primary agency for adult education" since "the fundamental tool of education is the book." We must, he continued, persuade students that "it [education] is something that lasts through life" and that "the librarian, a specialist in books," should "become the chief factor and agent in adult education" (pp. 153-154).
In the third general session, devoted to the topic "The Library and Adult Education," Alexander Meiklejohn (1924), a forceful advocate of liberal adult education, continued Jennings' theme. He exhorted librarians to be the promoters of lifelong learning since they are at "the strategic point":
. . . [T]he most striking and universal characteristic of the graduate of the American College, is that he does not read books. He has read his books. He has been educated. . . . In my opinion that [reading] is the only fundamental method of instruction; I should, of course, add discussion, but I should make even that secondary. (p. 184)
The ALA Executive Board was already persuaded. Due to a lack of attention to the "general reader. . . pursu[ing] a serious course of study either for a definite purpose or to enlarge his general education. . . and also because of the general public interest in the present world movement for adult education" (Adult Education Commission, 1924, p. 123), the Board appointed a Commission on the Library and Adult Education at the 1924 Conference, with ALA President Jennings as chairman of a seven-person committee. Its charge was "to study the adult education movement and the work of libraries for adults and for older boys and girls out of school, and to report its findings and recommendations to the Council" (Adult Education Commission, 1924, p. 123). The Commission met three times at Saratoga and received $18,000 from the Carnegie Corporation for its work and final report to be presented in 1926.
The ALA's interest did not occur ex nihilo. Although pre-1924 usage of the term "adult education" was rare, the education of adult immigrants had been underway for some time and had become increasingly organized. The National Education Association established a Department of Adult Education in 1924, the same year the Commission formed. Jennings (1924) referred to the British Adult Education Committee, and an editor of the Bulletin of the ALA in 1924 noted "at home and abroad, attention is being directed to adult education from every angle" (Editor, p. 114). The editor cited the World Association for Adult Education, the Workers' Educational Association, the Workers' Educational Bureau of America, and the Adult Education Association, Inc., as special adult education organizations, in addition to broader organizations such as the American Federation of Labor, the National University Extension Association, and the National Conference of Social Work, all of which devoted part of their annual programs to the subject. Librarians themselves had undertaken adult education activities without the label as early as 1920, including Americanization of the foreign born, vocational learning, literacy training, and guided reading, as contributors to a symposium in the Library Journal (1924) were quick to point out. Such activities, and the resulting discussion and controversy, were among the early rumblings which heralded the general session on adult education at the 1924 ALA Conference. Despite such occasional library involvement, the Bulletin editor feared that libraries would be relegated to a peripheral role in adult education and "wonder[ed] whether our librarians are going to take a position of leadership in it now, or wait for others, possibly not so responsibly placed, to direct a way in which we merely follow" (Editor, 1924, p. 114). Carnegie financial support, through the keen interest of the Corporation's new president, Frederick Keppel, stimulated ALA interest and allowed it to take a leadership role.
To many concerned with adult education in the twenties, including librarians, the term itself connoted (if not denoted) intellectual growth and cultural enlightenment, either as their own ends or as servants in _he cause of democracy. William Learned, staff member of the Carnegie Foundation and author of the seminal book The American Public Library and the Diffusion of Knowledge (1924), had prophesied that the city library had the potential to "be an institution of astonishing power--a genuine community university bringing intelligence systematically and persuasively to bear on all adult affairs." If properly organized nationwide, "it would immediately take its place as the chief instrument of our common intellectual and cultural progress" (p. 56). Such themes naturally resonated with many librarians, all the more when books and reading were the vehicles to such lofty goals, as Meiklejohn had told them. Meiklejohn had also tapped the education and democracy theme, enunciated by Dewey eight years earlier in Democracy and Education and by Thomas Jefferson well before that. Meiklejohn's (1924) speech at the 1924 ALA Conference had fittingly fallen on July 4th, and he told them:
Democracy is education. . . . In so far as we can educate the people, in so far as we can bring people to understanding of themselves and of their world we can have a democracy. In so far as we cannot do that we have got to have control by the few. (p. 183)
This Jeffersonian echo of an educated and even enlightened populace as the only sure guardian of democratic government was remarkably persistent and tenacious in the twenties. The depredations of the Kaiser had been frightening, and so the Great War had been fought, in Wilson's phrase, "to make the world safe for democracy" (despite an amazing abrogation of American civil liberties during the War). If that were not enough, the close of the War was followed by a major red scare, and, once again, democracy seemed imperiled. Education, and particularly adult education, became in part an ideological weapon-a good in itself, but also a good soldier in the defense of democratic values. Jennings (1925) quoted the normally taciturn candidate Calvin Coolidge's 1924 remark, "we cannot abandon our education at the school house door; we must keep it up through life," as he warmed to his theme at the 1925 ALA Conference: "The success of a democracy depends upon an educated and intelligent citizenship" (pp. 121-122).
Within a short time the view that "adult education" and "democracy" were symbiotically linked had become sufficiently commonplace as to suggest a fixed orthodoxy. Ontario Minister of Education, Canon Cody (1927), in a welcoming speech to the annual ALA conference, reiterated the theme:
The education of the adult must play a great and growing part in any democracy. . . . If our educational system directly or indirectly made no provision for the education of the adult, it would be in large measure defective. (p. 262)
A year later Charles Compton (1928), one of numerous librarian contributors to the Journal of Adult Education (JAE), recommended Everett Dean Martin's The Meaning of a Liberal Education to his audience and offered, in his peroration to a long speech, three rhetorical questions: "What is the outlook for adult education in the library? . . . What is the outlook for the library? . . . What is the outlook for democracy?" (p. 326). Nor had the theme abated by the coming of the Depression: John Finley (1931), associate editor of the New York Times, averred in the pages of JAE that "adult education today--insurance through life against intellectual unemployment--is the hope of a continuing democracy" (p. 334). And AAAE President James Russell, who collected quotes on adult education, shared two of the most graphic:
"The next battle in the campaign of democracy is going to rage around the question of the possibility and advisability of general education for the majority of grown-ups" and, even more tersely, "Democracy can last on just one condition: getting everybody educated" (Cartwright, 1931, p. 363).
The librarian's role in adult education was, and remained, ill-defined, and librarians' responses ranged from skeptical to enthusiastic. But at least one new role was attributable to the adult education movement: the readers' adviser, "a new sort of public servant," said Charles Belden (1926, p. 275), president of ALA in 1925-26, vice-president of AAAE in 1930-31, and member of the first editorial board of JAE in 1929. Belden saw the library as "everyman's university"; Canon Cody (1927, p. 262), called it "a great popular university." (Alvin S. Johnson, 1938, extended that theme with his book, The Public Library: A People's University). Morse Cartwright (1927), executive director of AAAE and co-editor of JAE, highlighted the connection between the library and adult education in his address to the annual ALA Conference, when he declared that the library was "the natural, ordained-by-Providence and-Andrew-Carnegie educational guidance agency for the adults of a community" (p. 321).
This centrality of the library role in adult education did not, however, receive universal approbation among librarians. Presumably the readers' advisers, who owed their jobs to the adult education movement, were content. After four years of library involvement in adult education, Mary Frankhausen (1928) noted in allegorical prose:
Some there were who turned aside and refused to admit him [the new infant, adult education] to the family circle, claiming that he was a changeling, a product of reincarnation, an old man long familiar to them, by some strange process of library science given new birth. (p. 490)
A year later, Charles Compton, as chair of the ALA Activities Committee, invited ALA members to comment on the whole range of Association activities. Several responses were published in the Report of the Activities Committee (1930) with names deleted, and some were clearly hostile toward adult education. One correspondent stated that "both the library training and the adult education activities are 'through' and should be discontinued" (p. 664). Another lamented the ALA's allegedly excessive dependence on external funding, especially the Carnegie Corporation: "The tendency in accepting such gifts is to follow the wish of the donor as evidenced in this widespread study on adult education" (p. 665). Another opined the lack of an American focus: "Our so-called professional education requirements and our adult education movement are based upon an old English culture to the neglect of our American cultural requirements, so a tremendous effort has so far brought forth negligible results" (p. 674), while a fourth wished for a "respectable" (undefined) definition of adult education and regretted "the time now wasted in preparing lists of 'best books'" (p. 675). In contrast, however, two correspondents felt that the quarterly ALA periodical Adult Education and the Library (begun in 1925 and incorporated in 1931 into the Bulletin) was "extremely valuable" and "very helpful and stimulating" (p. 615), while a third correspondent said that "the outstanding work. . . is your program for adult education" (p. 616). The Activities Committee commented that "the adult education program of the ALA has caused a great deal of discussion and much difference of opinion. . . but show[s] a preponderance of favorable opinion" (p. 615), only to observe 44 pages later that "the members of the Association apparently are pretty evenly divided as to the value of the adult education program to the ALA" (p. 659).
Central to the conflicting attitudes was the ambiguity of the term "adult education" itself. Adult education advocates were often seeking legitimacy for the term, occasionally even despairing over its use themselves, while devoutly advocating adult education activities. Jennie Flexner, readers' adviser at the New York Public Library and staunch adult education proponent, regretted the use of the term because of its remedial and reform implications, preferring to think of education as growth (Adult Education Round Table, 1934). Philip Youtz (1929) of the People's Institute in New York was even more dogmatic and defensive. Discussing in the JAE the Reader's Round Table, a collaboration between the Institute and the New York Public Libraries, he asserted:
There is still a superstition that adult education is intended for the uneducated. . . . The only people who can or want to be educated are those who are already educated. . . . The purpose of adult education is to prevent adult starvation, not to compensate for lack of schooling in youth, a thing which is quite impossible and hence futile. (p. 162)
Even without the remedial connotations, honest disagreement abounded over what adult education meant and over the appropriateness of library involvement in various activities. By 1930 the Reading With a Purpose program had come under considerable fire, and many librarians sniffed at the idea of the library being a forum for discussion groups, as Frederick Keppel of the Carnegie Foundation had urged since 1926. Even the role of the readers' adviser could be questioned if the adviser was viewed as "telling" people what to read. And finally, skeptics argued that "adult education" was simply a faddish and unsatisfactory label for what had been going on for years. In short, library adult education was criticized for being too ambiguous, too gimmicky, too commercial, too activist, too demeaning, and too expensive.
In 1925 the ALA's Commission on the Library and Adult Education issued its Provisional Report, and in 1926 it published Libraries and Adult Education, the fifth in the Carnegie-supported Studies in Adult Education series. It viewed the library role in adult education to be threefold: (a) Consulting and advisory service to individual learners, (b) providing information about adult education opportunities outside the library, and (c) supplying books and other printed materials for other organizations' adult education activities. Supplementary recommendations dealt with the need for concerted effort among librarians and educators to interest the general populace in reading and books; the need for more "'humanized,' readable books" (1926, p. 10); better coordination of library adult education services; larger and better central lending collections; and adequate funding to meet these needs. The Commission, acknowledging the vagueness of the term "adult education," stated that it was not merely Americanization, vocational training, or literacy work, but rather it was based on "the great truth that education is a lifelong process" and that "adult education is a spiritual ideal, taking form in a practical purpose" (p. 13). The Commission also recommended, among other things, the establishment of a permanent ALA Adult Education Board, an "experimental study" of adult reading habits, the hastening of publication of new courses in the Reading With a Purpose series, and "most important, . . . a program of education that will arouse librarians, library trustees, educational authorities, and appropriating bodies to the possibilities of the library as an agent in adult education" (p. 107).
While many of the Commission's findings and recommendations were modest and uncontroversial, the last two were grating to the skeptics, as evidenced by their letters to Compton in 1929. The ALA had begun to publish the Reading With a Purpose courses in 1925, with an initial grant of $9,000 from the Carnegie Corporation. Each "course" was a short volume introducing a specific subject with specifically recommended books and commentary on that subject. The first one was Biology, soon followed by English Literature, Alexander Meiklejohn's Philosophy, and Everett Martin's Psychology. The series offered a new issue almost once a month, and libraries were encouraged to subscribe in quantity. By 1928 a half-million courses had been sold (with another quarter-million by the end of 1930), and by 1931 a total of 54 courses had been prepared. Other topics included foreign languages, classics, good English, history, mental hygiene, and journalism. In 1929 the series began to include "practical" courses, and by October 1931 the Universal Braille Institute of America had published the entire series in Braille.
These courses were widely advertised and had a considerable popularity but they were nettlesome to some of Compton's correspondents. One complained:
[T]he issue of more of the superficial Reading With a Purpose courses should be stopped. They are doing more harm than good to the cause of librarianship . . . [and libraries] are beginning to feel a little foolish about continuing to peddle them. Of course they sell, in huge quantities. . . . (Activities Committee, 1930, pp. 664-665)
An equally common complaint, however, was that the courses were too "academic" or "difficult." Others noted wide variations in quality among the courses. The complaints, perhaps coupled with a Depression frugality, apparently were effective; ALA terminated its funding for the program in 1930 (Financial Reports, 1930; 1931).
The Commission's last and "most important" recommendation--"a program of education that will arouse librarians. . . to the possibilities of the library as an agent of adult education" (1926, p. 107)--generally aroused the ire of those who tended to see adult education as an imposition, a fad, or social work. When Canon Cody (1927), a nonlibrarian himself, had told the first general session at the annual ALA Conference that the librarian was no longer "the jealous guardian of sacred treasures almost too sacred to be touched by the hand of the vulgar" but rather "the enthusiast inflamed with missionary zeal" (p. 262) to get those treasures into the hands and minds of the public, the critics' muttering must have been audible. In its very first issue, the T AE contained an article with the provocative title, "Is Adult Education a Fad? A Symposium on Recent Trends in Librarianship." The article was prompted by a letter in the December 15, 1928 Library Journal by one of the leading skeptics, John Cotton Dana, librarian of the Newark Public Library. The JAE reprinted Dana's letter and solicited the views of other librarians. Dana had observed that "we librarians have been much concerned over a new phrase 'adult education.' I regret to say we have been moved to worship the phrase." Critical of the missionary zeal mentality, Dana lambasted the "quasi-religious frenzy" of the "whole adult education fad" and noted that librarians had neither the time nor the funds to become guides or teachers ("Symposium," 1929, pp. 57-58). Predictably enough, the JAE editors found several librarians with more congenial views.
With the 1926 publication of Libraries and Adult Education, the ALA disbanded the Commission and established a permanent Board on the Library and Adult Education to continue the study of this area, to publish bulletins, to promote experiments, to study reading habits, and to establish cooperative relations with other agencies. The first official recognition from the American Association of Adult Education came when its executive director, Morse Cartwright, addressed the ALA Round Table on Adult Education at the 1927 Conference on the topic, "Community Organization in Adult Education." The relations between the organizations were warm and cordial because of, or perhaps despite, their common interests. A year later in his second Annual Report, Cartwright praised
the participation of the libraries in adult education activity [which] forms a most important section of the American adult education movement. It has been a pleasure to note a steady increase in the already great interest manifested by the librarians on earlier occasions. . . . The Association's [AAAE] contacts with all of this work have been close, stimulating, highly agreeable, and mutually helpful. (Board on the Library and Adult Education, 1928, p. 198)
The two-year old Board on the Library and Adult Education (1928) reciprocated in its report to the Council of the ALA with a laudatory section devoted exclusively to the AAAE:
This report would be incomplete without a reference to the American Association for Adult Education and the consideration it has consistently given American libraries since the beginning. . . . This organization has brought together many minds which have a common interest in the development of adult education. It is rarely that so many men and women of ability give the benefit of their efforts to an association which requires time outside their usual activities. . . . Librarians themselves could not have labored more effectively for a greater appreciation of the possibilities of books, reading, and library service in the educational advancement of the country. (pp. 197-198)
In the third Annual Report, Cartwright (1929) noted in the JAE that "in continuation of the Association's policy of close cooperation with the American Library Association" (p. 338), the two organizations had collaborated on Gray and Munroe's The Reading Interests and Habits of Adults (1929). Like the previous title in the Studies in Adult Education series, Libraries and Adult Education, the green, hardback cover was embossed with the title and an Aladdin-style lamp, a common symbol in the pages of the JAE. The 'interest in reading habits was very much in step with the role of the JAE, "the open forum of the AAAE which invites constructive criticism of its aims and methods of assisting adult learners in securing opportunity for advancement in character, culture, citizenship, and vocational efficiency" in the words of AAAE President James Russell (1929, p. 82).
In the fifth Annual Report, Cartwright (1931) observed that "close cooperation with library organizations and with the American Library Association in particular has been a marked feature of the Association's program during the five years of its existence" (p. 375). He noted when he attended the ALA's Board on the Library and Adult Education Conference in 1930, "steps were taken toward correlating [the library program] more closely with the program of this association" (p. 375). For his part, F. K. W. Drury (1931), Executive Assistant in Adult Education for the ALA, reported on "close contact" with AAAE, "both privately and in its annual conferences and in its Journal of Adult Education" (p. 34). The "close contact" was all the more natural since Cartwright, as Stubblefield (1988) has noted, had come to the Carnegie Corporation in 1924 and had served as Keppel's Administrative assistant. Thus, there was conviction mixed with personal appreciation in Cartwright's (1928) encomium to Carnegie and Keppel as the two men to whom "directly, [AAAE] owes its inception" (p. 93). The link between books, reading, and libraries on the one hand, and adult education on the other, was profoundly important to Cartwright's advocacy of a liberal education, and the linkage was perhaps no more clearly stated than in his assertion that "indirectly, the American Association [AAAE] owes its foundation to the library movement in the United States" (p. 93).
The two organizations' ties were not only philosophical, they were economic. A joint ALA-AAAE committee in 1930 made recommendations (subsequently approved) to expend $10,000 on four separate projects. The Carnegie Corporation, which approved the expenditures, was interested in both libraries and adult education as means "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding among the people of the United States," as promulgated in the Corporation's Charter (Learned, 1924, p. 3). Keppel was an active participant in the activities of both organizations, an occasional contributor to both the JAE and the Bulletin of the American Library Association, and the author of Education for Adults and Other Essays (1926). Total Carnegie income to the AAAE for fiscal year 1928 exceeded $54,000, or all but $2,246.27 of the total AAAE income (Cartwright, 1929). Exclusive of endowments, Carnegie income to ALA for calendar year 1928 was $100,000 (Financial Reports, 1929). Until Keppel's retirement as president in 1941, the Carnegie Corporation was something like a generous grandfather to two siblings of similar interests and disposition.
It is, of course, in the journals of the two organizations where their alliance is most visible. The ALA celebrated its silver anniversary in 1926, the year AAAE was born, and it was in the 20th year of its Bulletin. The Bulletin and the ALA's attention to adult education--the 1924 Commission, the 1926 Board, the quarterly Adult Education and the Library, the Adult Education Round Table at the conferences, the Reading With a Purpose Program, the Readers' Adviser and other services, and, in general, an emphasis on adult education so widespread that it provoked some hostility--was reciprocated by AAAE from the beginning and by its Journal in 1929. Charles Belden was a member of the 1924 ALA Commission on the Library and Adult Education, ALA president in 1925-26, a frequent advocate of adult education at ALA conferences, and thus an obvious choice as one of the five members of JAE's original Editorial Board. Another librarian, Linda Eastman of the Cleveland Public Library, was an associate editor.
But it is more in the theme and tenor of the early JAE articles and the frequency of librarian contributions that the linkage of adult education, the library, an informed citizenry, and democratic ideals is most visible. Besides the previously mentioned article "Is Adult Education a Fad? A Symposium on Recent Trends in Librarianship" in JAE's first issue, that same issue contained "What They Read" by Ruth Munroe, co-author of the ALA-AAAE sponsored book, The Reading Interests and Habits of Adults. The democracy and liberty theme was the subject of Everett Martin's "Liberating Liberty" and Glenn Frank's "On the Firing Line of Democracy." The first issue--and subsequent issues--announced ALA meetings and reviewed several significant books: An Outline of Aesthetics (authored by People's Institute lecturers), Mortimer Adler's Dialectic, and The American Renaissance, along with a book on vocational education and the Danish Folk School. The second issue contained Emma Felsenthal's "First Books in Many Subjects," an ALAsponsored reading list compiled under the supervision of the ALA Board on the Library and Adult Education. This list of "allegedly readable books," in the cautious words of the JAE editors, was an annotated list covering topics from astronomy, baseball, and carpentry to U.S. history, weather, and zoology. The second issue also contained an article subtitled "Experimenting with the Library as an Education Center." In sum, the 1929 volume of the JAE contained five articles and a book review by librarians or about libraries in its second issue, in addition to the Symposium article of seven librarians in the first issue. The second volume year contained five more articles. Not surprisingly, the editors of the ALA Bulletin in 1931 described the JAE as "a very meaty periodical" and "an important aid to the librarian interested in adult education" with "special articles on library work and problems [which] make the appeal doubly important" (Selected References, 1931, p. 169). In 1933 Jennie Flexner chastised librarians for "not reading the Journal of Adult Education and other [emphasis added] library literature" (Adult Education Round Table, 1933, p. 621).
Following a "background" period beginning around 1920, the ten years from 1924 through 1933 mark a first phase of "formal" library adult education in the United States. Despite its novelty and the accompanying skepticism among many librarians, library adult education started forcefully in 1924 and sustained its momentum until the early 1930s when ALA emphasis on adult education subsided somewhat. Reports of the ALA show that adult education disbursements actually peaked in 1928 at $23,680, and did not begin a major slide until 1931; however, they were no longer listed in 1933 (Financial Reports, 1929-1935). In 1934 a renewal began (Monroe, 1963) with the appointment of John M. Chancellor as ALA Assistant in Adult Education, the revival of the ALA Reader's Round Table, Cartwright's ten-year review of adult education which first appeared in 1934 and gave a central role to libraries, and a general increase in library adult education publications, including a chapter in the first Handbook of Adult Education. Library adult education continued to wax and wane although it was generally on the "defensive" in the period 1920-1955, according to Monroe (1963), despite the "halcyon" years in the second half of the 1920s. But some of the themes, such as the library role in promoting a democratic ideal, and some of the controversies, such as what kinds of adult education were appropriate functions of a library, recurred in coming decades. However, it is important to stress that library and ALA interest in adult education was reciprocated by AAAE's interest in libraries as adult education agencies. Cartwright was not alone in seeing their role as central.
The librarians' formal and public embrace of adult education in 1924 and the alliance soon established between ALA and AAAE was so natural as to seem almost inevitable. Americanization of the foreign born, vocational education, and literacy work were taking place in some libraries before 1924, and, of course, such activities were major thrusts of adult educators--however labeled--outside the libraries. But the dominant themes of American adult education literature in the second half of the twenties were intellectual cultural enrichment and social melioration. Social melioration encompassed Americanization, vocational education, and literacy, but both society and the individual were viewed as beneficiaries through an educated citizenry actively engaged in participative democracy. These themes were often tinctured with elements of moral uplift and evangelical fervor. Many--though certainly not all--librarians and adult educators could rally to such impulses. Few at this early stage would have identified themselves professionally as adult educators; rather, they were involved in different forms of adult education and committed to them in their variegated roles as librarians, adult education directors, institute directors, sociologists, physicists, literary editors, businessmen, clergymen, authors, and professors of Latin, English, history, psychology, education, and economics (all contributors to the first volume of JAE). Such a confluence of common interest, further solidified by Carnegie financial support, bound those librarians and others who were engaged in adult education--and, of course, the ALA and the AAAE--into a Gideon's army laden with trumpets and lamps. But unlike the Old Testament's Gideon, whose nocturnal victory over the Midianites was total, this modern army's campaign against ignorance and philistinism had some notable victories, but the final result was, and remains, inconclusive.
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