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Irving Adler - What We Want of Our Schools manuscript

Identifier: Mss003

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises one typewritten manuscript, corrected.


  • 1957

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright has been retained by the author.

Biographical Note

Irving Adler was an author, teacher, and activist born in New York in 1913. He is most well-known for his career teaching science and math, as well as his career as an author of science fiction books for children. Adler was involved in various social and political activities, focusing his efforts on civil rights and liberties, which included his participation in civil rights groups and participating in the 1963 March on Washington. Adler was also an active member of the New York Teachers’ Union, where he played a role in the Supreme Court Case Adler v. Board of Education, participating as a plaintiff in the case regarding whether loyalty investigations should be permitted for federal employees. The outcome of the case upheld the restriction of employment of federal employees in cases where they deemed teachers as belonging to “subversive organizations”, known as the “Feinberg Law”. The plaintiffs won a suit deeming the Feinberg Law as unconstitutional in the New York Supreme Court, but lost their case at the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in 1952. In 1954, Adler was dismissed from his job at the New York City schools for refusing to answer questions regarding his political affiliations by the New York Superintendent of Schools. In 1967, the Supreme Court reversed its 1952 decision in the case Keyishian v. Board of Regents, where teachers who were fired due to the Feinberg Law sued for reinstatement, including Irving Adler who was reinstated to his job at the city schools. He went on to publish many books after leaving New York and moving to Vermont, where he published multiple works on mathematics and science, including a workbook titled The Giant Golden Book of Mathematics, which sold over 28 million copies worldwide. His book, What We Want of Our Schools (1957), is a critique of the educational system and the limitations of using I.Q. scores to assess learning. Adler passed away in 2012 in Bennington, Vermont.

The information in this note is from the following sources:

“Irving Adler.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 23, 2020.

Vile, John R. Adler v. Board of Education. Accessed January 11, 2021.


1 folder


The collection comprises one typewritten manuscript, corrected.

Physical Location

Mezz (R80, D1, S1); shared w/#1,4,5,7,8


Donated by the author.

Related Material

Additional information about Irving Adler and his work can be found in Children's Literature Research Collections under the following heading:

Irving Adler Papers (CLRC-92)

Ruth Adler Papers (CLRC-93)

Irving Adler - What We Want of Our Schools manuscript
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