Counts, George S. (George Sylvester), (1889-1974.) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
George Sylvester Counts was born on a farm near Baldwin City, Kansas, on December 9, 1889. His BA from Baker University (1911) in classical studies included the study of history, philosophy, and the natural sciences. He then taught for two years in two high schools in Kansas and in 1913 went to the University of Chicago (1913-1916) where he was awarded a Ph.D. magna cum laude, in education and social sciences. Thereafter, he embarked upon a teaching career that took him to various American colleges and universities including Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Teachers College, Columbia University (1927-1955). Upon his retirement from Columbia, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Colorado, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, and finally came to Southern Illinois University as Visiting Distinguished Professor in the College of Education (1962-1974).
George S. Counts wrote numerous books, monographs, and hundreds of articles on education and social affairs. The New Russian Primer (1931) was selected by the Book of the Month Club and The Challenge of Soviet Education, was given the Liberty and Justice Award by the American Library Association, "adjudged the most distinguished book of 1957 in contemporary problems and affairs." Some of his other books include The Principles of Education (1924), The Soviet Challenge to America (1931), A Ford Crosses Soviet Russia (1931), The Social Foundation of Education (1934), The Prospects of American Democracy (1938), The Country of the Blind (1949), Education and American Civilization (1952), and Education and the Foundations of Human Freedom (1963). These books reflected his concern for the problems of the relation of education to society and civilization. Counts was active in several professional and political organizations such as the American Federation of Teachers (President, 1939-1942); the American Liberal Party of New York State; the American Historical Association, where he became a close colleague of Charles A. Beard; the National Academy of Education; and the American Civil Liberties Union.
George Counts died on November 10, 1974, in Belleville, Illinois.