William Torrey Harris

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William Torrey Harris

William Torrey Harris (10 September 18355 November 1909) was an American educator, and lexicographer. He was the US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, and was the editor-in-chief of Webster's New International Dictionary (1909).


  • Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.
    • source: The Philosophy of Education (His 1889 book)
  • The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.
    • source: The Philosophy of Education (His 1889 book)

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