Coe, George Albert, 1862-1951

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George Albert Coe was born in Mendon, New York on March 26, 1862. He received degrees from the University of Rochester and Boston University. He was a prominent author and professor in the fields of psychology of religion, philosophy and religious education at the University of Southern California, University of Berlin, Northwestern University, Yale University, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University. Coe was chairman of the Committee on Militarism in Education and Honorary President of the Religious Education Association. Coe died on November 9, 1951.

From the description of George Albert Coe papers, 1893-1952 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702165171

  • 1862 Mar 26: Born in Mendon, N.Y., son of a clergyman
  • 1884: B.A., University of Rochester
  • 1887: S.T.B., Boston University
  • 1888: M.A., University of Rochester
  • 1888 Sep 3: Married Sadie E. Knowland; she later became a professor at the Northwestern University School of Music and died in 1905.
  • 1888 - 1890 : Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California
  • 1890 - 1891 : At University of Berlin as Jacob Sleeper Fellow of Boston University
  • 1891: Ph.D., Boston University
  • 1891 - 1909 : Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University
  • 1909: LL.D., University of Rochester
  • 1909 - 1910 : Instructor in Religious Education, Yale
  • 1909 - 1922 : Professor of Religious Education and Psychology of Religion at Union Theological Seminary; organized and supervised the Union School of Religion, an experimental and demonstration Sunday School.
  • 1922 - 1927 : Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • 1951 Nov 9: Died (Biographical Material, Box 7, Folder 58)

George Albert Coe has been called one of the three foremost pioneers in the field of psychology of religion along with William James and Edwin D. Starbuck. Coe served for many years as chairman of the Committee on Militarism in Education and was Honorary President of the Religious Education Association. He was a prolific writer throughout his life, producing noteworthy articles through his eighth decade. In one of the many tributes which appeared after Coe's death, Stewart G. Cole wrote: "He enlisted his germinal mind and his social passion in rethinking religion in terms of the needs of man's experience, the growth of human personality and the social issues affecting the well-being of every individual." (Cole, Stewart G., "A Tribute", Religious Education, March-April, 1952, p. 88.)

From the guide to the George Albert Coe Papers, 1883-1952, (Yale University Divinity School Library)

George Albert Coe was born in Monroe County, New York, on March 26, 1862, the son of Reverend George W. and Harriet Van Voorhis Coe. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor of arts degree in 1884 and a master of arts degree in 1888. Coe took both his bachelor of sacred theology (1887) and his Ph.D. (1891) from Boston University. Coe studied from 1890 to 1891 at the University of Berlin. He was a distinguished scholar in the field of religious education, particularly the psychological interpretation of religion.

Coe taught at the University of Southern California during the period 1888-1890. From 1891 to 1909, Coe taught at Northwestern University. While at Northwestern he held positions as acting professor of moral and intellectual philosophy (1891-1893), John Evans Professor of moral and intellectual philosophy (1893-1909), and honorary professor of philosophy and psychology of religion (1905-1951). Coe left Northwestern to join the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary in 1909. He remained at Union as professor of religious education until 1922. Later that year he occupied the chair of religious education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University. Coe retired from teaching in 1927. Recognizing his accomplishments in the field of religious education, both the University of Rochester (1909) and Northwestern University (1927) awarded Coe honorary doctorates.

Coe was a distinguished scholar in the field of religious education, particularly the psychological interpretation of religion. He authored eleven books and scores of articles in his field. Coe was a founder of the Religious Education Association of America and served as that organization’s president in 1909-1910. He also held memberships in the American Philosophical Association and the American Psychological Association.

Coe married Sadie E. Knowland on September 3, 1888. She also served on the faculty of Northwestern University: as an instructor (1898-1901) and professor (1902-1905) of piano and music history. Mrs. Coe died on August 24, 1905. The couple had no children. Coe died in Claremont, California on November 9, 1951; he had never remarried. A special memorial edition of Religious Education (March-April, 1952), Vol. 47, No. 2, includes brief biographical sketches of Coe, tributes, a list of his publications, and selections from his writings.

From the guide to the George A. Coe (1862-1951) Papers, 1904-1974, (Northwestern University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Religious Education Association. Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1988. Yake University Divinity School Library
creatorOf George A. Coe (1862-1951) Papers, 1904-1974 Northwestern University Archives
referencedIn Religious Education Association. Religious Education Association records, 1902-1988 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Religious Education Association. Religious Education Association records, Addendum A, 1982-2003 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Fahs, Sophia Lyon, 1876-1978. Papers, 1903-1990 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
creatorOf Committee on Militarism in Education (U.S.). Records, 1925-1940. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
creatorOf George Albert Coe Papers, 1883-1952 Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Coe, George Albert, 1862-1951. George Albert Coe papers, 1893-1952 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn MacLean, Angus Hector, 1892-1969. Papers, 1927-1969 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966. William Ernest Hocking Papers, 1860-1979 Houghton Library
referencedIn Brownlee, Frederick Leslie, 1883-1962. Papers. 1883-1962. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Papers, 1880-1990. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1982 Yake University Divinity School Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Psychology, Religious
Theologians--Illinois--Evanston
Religious education--United States
Religious education
Occupation
Authors
Educators
Activity

Person

Birth 1862

Death 1951

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