Professor R. Freeman Butts.

Disquieting Encounter

In 1972, A young Dr. Donald Warren presented his paper "Detheologizing Illich" at his first American Educational Studies Association conference. He noticed two prestigious education scholars in the audience: Drs. Maxine Greene and R. Freeman Butts, and their presence unnerved him. When Warren concluded his presentation, Butts raised his hand to ask if this young professor was actually suggesting that Ivan Illich mistheologized education. Warren remembers gulping and answering "yes" with hopes that he didn’t negatively seal his fate in this community of scholars. On the contrary, Warren’s progressive ideas presented in 1972 formed a lifelong friendship between the three scholars. Furthermore, Butts acted as a professional mentor for Warren, who is now Dean Emeritus at Indiana University’s School of Education.




Career Snapshot

R. Freeman Butts dedicated his life to the teaching, history, and philosophy of Education. Butts spent the majority of his career at Teachers College, where he and his counterparts George S. Counts and William H. Kirkpatrick were integral members of the Foundations Department. The three focused their efforts on creating an inclusive study of education, understanding culture and human behavior. Butts went on to study education in Australia on a Fulbright grant, which influenced him to become the Director of the Teachers for East Africa Project and Associate Dean for International Studies at Teachers College. Once retired from Teachers College, Butts continued his passion for education as a Visiting Scholar and Professor at San Jose State University, Stanford, and the Hoover Institution. Butts remained a fervent advocate of public education and believed in its continuous improvement. He was critical of scholars and practitioners who ignored race and gender issues in public education.


International Recognition

In 1993, Warren was three years into his tenure as the Dean of the School of Education at Indiana University. While he was co-orchestrating the grand opening of the Wendell W. Wright Education building, the University Trustees challenged the School to include influential, leading scholars in the field of Education in the celebration. Butts, after 18 years of retirement, was recognized by the School as a preeminent scholar of importance through an honorary doctorate. IU’s recognition meant a great deal to Butts, and he continued his relationship with the School as a member of its National Board of Visitors. He also returned to Bloomington as a leadership advisor on a yearly basis for a number of years.


IU Libraries R. Freeman Butts Special Collection

As Butts downsized his personal library, he asked the IU Libraries to preserve and circulate the books that had informed his scholarship throughout his 60 years in the profession. Many books in the collection include Butts’ own notes and annotations. This special collection, housed in the Education Library and the ALF contributes to the IU Libraries’ reputation as a premier research institution. In addition, the IU Libraries also owns a number of Butts’ personal publications. Butts’ professional papers are preserved at the Hoover Institution.

Special thanks to Dean Emeritus Donald Warren and Dr. Keith Barton for contributing institutional memory about this special collection.


The Collection

A Basic History of the United States


Charles A. Beard

A Cultural History of Western Education


R. Freeman Butts

A History of Education in American Culture


R. Freeman Butts, Lawrence A. Cremin

A History of Teachers College, Columbia University


Lawrence A. Cremin

A Nation at Risk


National Commission on Excellence in Education

A Study of State Legal Standards for the Provisions of Public Education


The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Academic Freedom in Our Time


Robert M. MacIver

American Education; The Colonial Experience, 1607-1783


Lawrence Cremin

American Education; The Metropolitan Experience, 1876-1980


Lawrence Cremin

American Education; The National Experience, 1783-1876


Lawrence Cremin

American Higher Education


Richard Hofstadter, Wilson Smith

American Issues: Religions, Education, and the First Amendment: The Appeal to History


R. Freeman Butts

American Pragmatism and Education


John L. Childs

American Writings on Popular Education; the Nineteenth Century


Rush Welter

An Introduction to Education in Modern America


Gordon C. Lee

Building Rationales for Citizenship Education


James P. Shaver

Choice with Equity


Paul T. Hill

Civic Education


Richard Niemi, Jane Junn

Civic Education in Ten Countries


Judith Torney, A.N. Oppenheim, Russell Farnen

Civic Education: Its Limits and Conditions


Susan Douglas Franzosa

College: The Undergraduate Experience in America


Ernest L. Boyer

Community and Class in American Education, 1865-1918


Patricia Albjerg Graham

Comparative Method in Education


George Z. Bereday

Creative Philanthropy: Carnegie Corporation and Africa 1953-1973


E. Jefferson Murphy

Crusade Against Ignorance


Thomas Jefferson, Edited by Gordon C. Lee

Cultural Literacy


E.D. Hirsch Jr.

Culture and Education in America


Harold Rugg

Curriculum as a Political Problem


Tomas Englund

Defining the Social Studies


Robert D. Barr

Democracy and the Curriculum


Harold Rugg

Desiderius Erasmus Concerning the Aim and Method of Education


William Harrison Woodward

Education and American Civilization


George S. Counts

Education and Democratic Citizenship in America


Norman H. Nie, Jane Junn, Kenneth Stehlik-Barry

Education and Morals


John L. Childs

Education and Social Integration


William O. Stanley

Education for Responsible Citizenship


Frank Brown

Education in the Forming of American Society


Bernard Bailyn

Education, Freedom, and Possibility


Maxine Greene

Educational Wastelands


Arthur E. Bestor

Emile: or Education


J.J. Rousseau

Essays on Education in the Early Republic


Frederick Rudolph

Expressions on Education


American Statesman and Publicisits, US Bureau of Education

General Education in a Free Society


James Bryant Conant

High School


Ernest L. Boyer

Higher Education in Transition


John S. Brubacher

Historical Inquiry in Education


John Hardin Best

Historia de la Educacion en la Cultura Norteamericana


R. Freeman Butts

How Children Understand War and Peace


Ariram Raviv, Louis Oppenheimer, Daniel Bar-Tal

In God We Trust


Norman Cousins

Inequality; A Reassessment of the Effect on Family and Schooling in America


Christopher Jencks

International Dimensions in the Social Studies


James M. Becker, Howard D. Mehlinger, Editors

It Takes a Village


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Japanese Education Today


Cynthia Hearn Dorfman

Liberal Purposes


William A. Galston

Looking at History


O.L. Davis Jr.

Mandate for Change: The Impact of Law on Educational Innovation


Joel F. Henning, Charles White, Michael Sorgen, Leigh Stelzer

On the Early Education of the Citizen-Orator



Philosophy of Education


William Heard Kilpatrick

Places for Learning, Places for Joy


Theodore R. Sizer

Political Education in the American Democracy


Robert E. Cleary

Political Socialization


Richard Dawson, Kenneth Langton

Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America


Rush Welter

Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking


William James

Private Power for the Public Good


Ellen Condliffe Lagemann

Progressive Education: From Arcady to Academe


Patricia Albjerg Graham

Project Citizen and the Civic Development of Adolescent Students in Indiana, Latvia, and Lithuania


Thomas S. Vontz, Kim K. Metcalf, John J. Patrick

Public Education in America


George Bereday, Luigi Volpicelli

Public Policymaking in a Democratic Society


Larry N. Gerston

Realms of Meaning


Philip H. Phenix

Religion and the State


Leo Pfeffer

Religion, the State, and Education


James E. Wood Jr.

Revisionists Respond to Ravitch


Walter Feinberg, Harvey Kantor, Michael Katz, Paul Violas

Roots of Crisis


Clarene J. Karier

Shaping the American Educational State 1900 to the Present


Clarene J. Karier

Social Studies Reform


Hazel Whitman Hertzberg

Socialization to Politics


Jack Dennis

Teaching About the Constitution in U.S. Secondary Schools


Howard D. Mehlinger

Teaching Public Issues in the High School


Donald Oliver

The American Common School


Lawrence A. Cremin

The American Legacy of Learning


John Hardin Best, Robert T. Sidwell

The American Teacher


Willard S. Elsbree

The American Tradition in Religion and Education


R. Freeman Butts

The Civic Imperative


Richard Pratte

The Civic Mission in Educational Reform


R. Freeman Butts

The Civil Rights of Students


David Schimmel, Louis Fischer

The Closing of the American Mind


Allan Bloom

The College Charts Its Course


R. Freeman Butts

The Debate in the United States Over Immigration


Peter Duignan, Lewis H. Gann

The Development of Political Attitudes in Children


Robert Hess, Judith Torney

The Dimensions of American Education


Theodore Rawson Crane

The Education of Americans: A Documentary History


Daniel Calhoun

The Education of the West


R. Freeman Butts

The Genius of American Education


Lawrence A. Cremin

The Great School Wars


Diana Ravitch

The Growth of American Thought


Merle Curti

The Idea of a University


John Henry, Cardinal Newman

The Interim Presidency: Guidlines for University and College Governing Boards


E.K. Fretwell Jr.

The Making of Citizens


Charles E. Merriam

The Original Intention of "An Established Religion"


R. Freeman Butts

The Paideia Proposal


Mortimer J. Adler

The Perpetual Dream


Gerald Grant, David Riesman

The Philosophy of John Dewey


Paul Arthur Schilpp

The Reform of Secondary Education


Charles F. Kettering

The Republic and the School


Horace Mann

The Rights of Parents in the Education of their Children


David Schimmel, Louis Fischer

The Rights of Students


Alan Levine

The Roots of American Loyalty


Merle Curti

The Schools, the Courts, and the Public Interest


John C. Hogan

The Seven Liberal Arts, A Study in Mediaeval Culture


Paul Abelson

The Thirteenth Man


Terrel Bell

The Training of the Urban Working Class


Paul C. Violas

The Transformation of the School


Lawrence A. Cremin

The Troubled Crusade


Diane Ravitch

The Wonderful World of Ellwood Patterson Cubberley


Lawrence A. Cremin

The World We Created at Hamilton High


Gerald Grant

Theories of Education in Early America 1655-1819


Wilson Smith

To Wash an Aethiop White


Charles H. Lyons

Traditions of American Education


Lawrence A. Cremin

Turning Points in American Educational History


David B. Tyack

Unconditional Democracy Education and Politics in Occupied Japan


Toshio Nishi

Understanding History of Education


Robert R. Sherman, Joseph Kirschner

What do our 17-year-olds know?


Diane Ravitch

What is the Nature of Man?


Kenneth Boulding



"The Butts Collection is not merely a set of books, significant as they are. The individual items contain margin notes, continuations of arguments and conversations that faculty, students, and other researchers can now join."

- Dean Emeritus Donald Warren

Curriculum Vitae of R. Freeman Butts