Summer 1985 // Volume 23 // Number 2 // Tools of the Trade // 2TOT2

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A. B. Graham - Country Schoolmaster and Extension Pioneer


Jean Scheel
Assistant Director Emeritus
Extension Service
Oregon State University - Corvallis

A. B. Graham-Country Schoolmasterand Extension Pioneer. Virginia E. and Robert W. McCormick. Worthington, Ohio: Cottonwood Publications, 1984. 216 pp. $15.00. Available from: Cottonwood Publications, P. 0. Box 264, Worthington, Ohio 43085. $15.00 plus $1.75 mailing charge (Ohio residents add $.83 Ohio sales tax).

This is an interesting and easy-to-read book. It's the biography of a man who spent an enthusiastic lifetime developing a new and significant kind of educational enterprise. Old-timers in Extension Service work will be nostalgic with memories it brings of similar happenings in other places in America. Newcomers in adult and continuing education will discover insights about the dynamics of a developing and changing organization and the conflicts of individual philosophies that often are involved. A. B. Graham was an educator among technologists, and others have found themselves in that role.

The book's jacket says: "At seventeen he began teaching in a one-room school within walking distance of his home. Fifty-three years later he retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a nationally known educator who had worked in all fortyeight states." It's necessary to add only that the story begins in Ohio.

The authors have done their research well and present impressive evidence of facts underlying their statements and conclusions, but the book isn't pedantic. The people in its pages are human and easy to identify with. So also are the situations involved.

The rural America described in the book at the time Graham's work began is a far cry from the countryside of today, yet that was only one lifetime ago. Graham was still active in Extension when I started. No doubt the same type of characters today are shaping a vastly different tomorrow. This book gives insights about why and how they're effective. I recommend it highly.