Patricia Graham
Harvard University
Charles Warren Professor of the History of American Education, Emerita

Year Elected


Membership status

Patricia Albjerg Graham is the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Education Emerita at Harvard University. She received her B.S. “with highest distinction” in 1955 and her M.S. in 1957 from Purdue University and her PhD in 1964 from Columbia University. She has also received 17 honorary doctorates. She began teaching at Deep Creek High School in the Dismal Swamp in Virginia in 1955, subsequently in Norfolk, Virginia, and then in New York City, concluding as head of the history department and a guidance counselor. Subsequently she taught at Indiana University and Northern Michigan University. She then taught at Barnard College, Columbia University from 1965 to 1974 before moving to Harvard University as Dean, Radcliffe Institute and Professor. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter named her director of the National Institute of Education in the Department of Health Education and Welfare before she returned to Harvard in 1979. She became dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1982 and served in that capacity until 1991 when she also became president of the Spencer Foundation in Chicago until 2000. She retired from Harvard in 2001. In addition, she has served on several non-profit boards and three corporate boards in the US, Russia, and Hungary. She was president of the National Academy of Education, chair of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching board, vice-chair of the Central European University board in Budapest, vice-president of the American Historical Association, vice-president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and president of the History of Education Society. She has published four books, collaborated as co-author on several others, and written numerous articles, including “Women in Academe” in Science in 1970; “Expansion and Exclusion: A History of Women in American Higher Education in Signs in 1978; and “Schools: Cacophony about Practice, Silence about Purpose,” Daedalus in 1984. Graham was born in Lafayette, Indiana on February 9, 1935, married Loren R. Graham in 1955. They have a daughter, Marguerite Graham Peterson. The Grahams reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts and from 1972 to 2020 spent their summers at their lighthouse on an island Lake Superior.

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