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Professional

Education

 

1907    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ

 

1908    Master of Arts (M.A.)

Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ

 

1917    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Columbia University, New York, NY

Major: Philosophy
Date of Commencement Ceremony: June 6, 1917

 

1930    Honorary Ph.D.

Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

 

1968    Honorary Ph.D.

Long Island University

 

1974    Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

University of Southern California

 

1975    Honorary Ph.D.

Pepperdine University

 

1979    Honorary Ph.D.

Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ

 

Professional Experience

 

1907                The New York Evening Journal

Crime Reporter

 

1907 - 1911     Seton Hall, South Orange, NJ

Seminarian, Librarian, and Instructor of Latin, French, and Geometry

 

1910 - 1912     Newark Public Schools, Newark, NJ

Substitute Teacher

 

1912 - 1913     Ferrer Modern School, New York, NY

Teacher

 

1914 - 1919     New York City Board of Education

Lecturer

 

1914 - 1921     Labor Temple, New York, NY

Lecturer

 

1917 - 1918     Columbia University, New York, NY

Instructor of Philosophy, Extension Teaching

 

1918                University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Lecturer

 

1918                University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Lecturer

 

1921 - 1927     Labor Temple School, New York, NY

Director and Lecturer

 

1923                Kansas City Academy, Kansas City, KS

Lecturer

 

1927                The Francis Bacon Award for Humanizing Knowledge

Juror

For outstanding works of non-fiction that carry on the conscious adventure of humanizing knowledge. Sponsored by The Forum magazine and book publisher Simon and Schuster.

 

1927                New York World Telegram (Scripps-Howard News Service), New York, NY

Reporter

Durant was contracted specifically to write a series of articles on the infamous Snyder/Gray murder trials.

 

1927                Cosmos Syndicate, New York, NY

Feature Writer

Durant was contracted to write a series of 50 articles titled The Story of Civilization.

 

1928                Scripps-Howard News Service, New York, NY

Reporter

Durant was contracted specifically to write a series of six articles about the 1928 political conventions.

 

1930 - 1934     Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Director of Alumni Reading Course - School of Extension Teaching and Adult Education

In a 1929 magazine article, Dr. Durant claimed he could make any adult a philosopher and scholar with seven hours a week over a four year period. Dr. D. Walter Morton, director of the Syracuse Extension School, invited Dr. Durant to test his claim as a faculty member of Syracuse University. Classes began in January of 1931 with a curated list of 80-90 books personally selected by Dr. Durant.

 

1935                University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Instructor

June 24-August 5, 1935

Course One: "Introduction to Philosophy"

Course Two: "The Greater Philosophers"

 

1938                University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Instructor

June 27-August 8, 1938

Course One: "Introduction to Philosophy"

Course Two: "The Greater Philosophers"

"There were two of us teaching [philosophy] at UCLA that summer. The other professor was Will Durant. I met him at a reception given for the summer session faculty. He discovered that I had been a graduate student at Columbia, as he had been, and said that we should get together and talk about Columbia and other matters. We never did. He was lionized among the movie set, and I never saw him after that reception." - Philosopher Edward W. Strong, later chancellor of the University of California at Berkley

 

Of interest to note, sometime between 1943-1944 Will Durant was invited to teach at Harvard by William Ernest Hocking, who gave him the option of teaching philosophy or history; Durant turned down the offer owing to his busy writing schedule.

 

1964                The Fall of the Roman Empire (Film)

Consultant

American epic film produced by Samuel Bronston, directed by Anthony Mann, and starring Sophia Loren and Alec Guinness, among others. Will Durant was engaged as a historical consultant to advise on period detail and plot. He also wrote the voice over that starts film and contributed a a prologue, primarily taken from Caesar and Christ, for the movie's souvenir program.

 

Professional Associations

 

1910                Social Science Club of Newark, NJ

Founding Member

Regional club formed by lovers of literature and ideas. Meetings were held at local libraries and bookstores during which members would read a prepared paper as the cue for a general discussion.

 

1918                The League of Free Nations Association

Member

Originally named the Committee on American Policy in International Relations, the League of Free Nations Association (later rebranded as the Foreign Policy Association) was formed in 1918 by 41 progressive-minded activists and prominent intellectuals (including Columbia University faculty Will Durant, Charles Beard, and later John Dewey) to support US President Woodrow Wilson's efforts to achieve a just peace, with his famous speech and proposal of the Fourteen Points, which included the idea of a world organization, later to be called the League of Nations. The organization included future influential Americans from both sides of the political spectrum, including John Foster Dulles and Eleanor Roosevelt.

 

1919                The Committee of Forty-Eight

Founding Member

The Committee of Forty-Eight was an American liberal political association established in 1919 in the hope of creating a new political party for social reform to stand in opposition to the increasingly conservative Republican and Democratic parties. Named in recognition of the 48 states of the US to signify the desire to construct a broad national movement, the moderate progressives of the Committee of Forty-Eight attempted without success to form such a third party with sympathetic activists from the labor movement in 1920. The group (commonly known as "The Forty-Eighters") then became one of the key constituents in the Conference for Progressive Political Action in 1922, a movement culminating in the independent candidacy of Robert M. La Follette Sr. for President of the United States in 1924.

 

1926                American Association for Adult Education

Member

The American Association for Adult Education (A.A.A.E.) was founded in 1926 as an organization to promote continuing education and education for adults. The Association was absorbed by the Adult Education Association of the U.S.A. (A.E.A.) in 1951.

 

1927                The Town Hall Club of New York

Committee Member

The Town Hall Club was incorporated for the purposes of developing a finer citizenship, furthering the cause of good government, improving social conditions, and promoting literature and the arts; they established and maintained club rooms, a library, and other facilities which provided a center for men and women who desired to cooperate in the accomplishment of the club's purposes.

 

1928                Sacco-Vanzetti National League

Executive Committee Member

The Sacco-Vanzetti National League was originally organized under the name Citizens National Committee. Their purpose was to prevent the execution and draw national attention to the case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti - Italian-born American anarchists who were controversially convicted of murdering two people during a 1920 armed robbery. After Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in 1927, the group changed its name to the Sacco-Vanzetti National League to keep the memory of the men alive.

 

1929                All-World Gandhi Fellowship

Vice President

Organization dedicated to winning friends for India through love, respect, and appreciation of her cultures, religions, and philosophies as well as educating the public on the conditions in India at the time.

 

1930                The American Eugenics Society

Member

The American Eugenics Society (AES) was established in the United States by Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Henry Crampton, Irving Fisher, and Henry F. Osborn in 1926 to promote eugenics education programs for the public. The AES described eugenics as the study of improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes of people. The AES aided smaller eugenic efforts such as the Galton Society in New York, New York, and the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, and it influenced eugenic policy set by the US Supreme Court in cases including Buck v. Bell (1927) and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). The AES was renamed the Society for the Study of Social Biology in 1972.

 

1932                National Home Library Foundation

Advisor

The National Home Library Foundation was established in 1932 with the purpose of promoting reading, education, and culture; the organization accomplished its aims through printed announcements, radio broadcasts, lectures, exhibits, public meetings, classes, and conferences.

 

1933                National Committee to Aid Victims of German Fascism

Member

The National Committee to Aid Victims of German Fascism was organized by Workers International Relief, an adjunct to the international Communist Party, following the rise to power of Adolf Hitler in Germany. The goal was to raise enough funds to save the maximum amount of persecuted individuals in Nazi Germany.

 

1934                The American Library of Nazi-Banned Books

Advisory Board Member

The American Library of Nazi-Banned Books was inaugurated with fanfare before a crowd of 500 guests in December 1934 at the Brooklyn Jewish Center of New York. The Library was a response to the Nazi bookfires of May 1933. It was officially opened by Albert Einstein, who hoped that this American library might snatch some of the banned literary works from oblivion.The Library was openly modelled on the so-called "Library of the Burned Books" in Paris, which had been opened by German exiles in May 1934.

 

1938                Friends of Democracy, Inc.

Member

Friends of Democracy, Inc. (FOD) was organized in Kansas City, Missouri by Unitarian minister Leon M. Birkhead in 1937. The group presented itself as "a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-profit, anti-totalitarian propaganda agency." The group moved to New York City in 1938 where they had an active branch. The group compiled files on over 800 pro NAZI Germany organizations in America. The group published journals entitled The Propaganda Battlefront and Democracy’s Battle.

 

1940                The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies

Committee Member

The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) was an American political action group formed as the Germans launched their long-anticipated Western Offensive. It became the leading voice supporting efforts to aid the Allies which, with the fall of France (June 1940), meant advocating a pro-British policy to oppose Axis (meaning primarily German) aggression. It took the President Roosevelt's line that suppling American military equipment and supplies to Britain was the best way to keep the United States out of the European war.

 

1941                Committee for Inter-American Cooperation

Committee Member

Organization created with the purpose of fostering closer cultural, political and economic relations between the U.S. and Latin America and countering the effects of fascist propaganda and infiltration in the Americas.

 

1944                The Mobilization for Spiritual Ideals

Governing Board Member

More popularly known as Spiritual Mobilization, the organization was dedicated to spreading libertarian anti-tax, noninterventionist, and free market ideals through its 17,000 clerical representatives. Its publication "Faith and Freedom" featured the writings of a number of libertarian advocates.

 

1944                Independent Voters' Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt

Committee Member

"The Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt" was formed to support Franklin Delano Roosevelt's controversial run for a fourth term as president of the United States. After the 1944 election, the group reconstituted itself as the "Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions" with an ongoing mission to extend democracy in the US and abroad, promote worldwide peace through the UN, and provide support for policies that would lead to full employment and a "decent standard of living for all." It had subcommittees for theater, radio, literature, film, art, science and technology, music, education, medicine and journalism. In 1946 it had a broad-based membership of New Deal supporters although Communists had played a significant covert role in creating and running the organization.

 

1945                Declaration of Interdependence, Inc.

President

On April 8, 1944 American philosopher and historian Will Durant was approached by two leaders of the Jewish and Christian faiths, Meyer David and Dr. Christian Richard about starting "a movement, to raise moral standards." He suggested instead that they start a movement against racial intolerance and outlined his ideas for a "Declaration of Interdependence." The movement for the declaration, Declaration of INTERdependence, Inc., was launched at a gala dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on March 22, 1945 attended by over 400 people including Thomas Mann and Bette Davis. The Declaration was read into the Congressional Record on October 1, 1945 by Ellis E. Patterson.

 

1958                Pythagorean Philosophical Society International

Member

The Pythagorean Philosophical Society International was established in 1955 in Athens, Greece to promote, facilitate and increase cultural interchange among organizations devoted to Pythagorean philosophy and disseminate Pythagorean teachings and their practical achievements.

 

1959                The National Institute of Arts and Letters

Member

The American Social Science Association founded the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1898 to promote literature and fine arts in the United States. The Academy of Arts and Letters, founded in 1904 as a division of the Institute, merged with its parent organization in 1976 to become the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. The academy honors 250 architects, composers, artists and writers. Its members are elected for life.