Courtesy of the University of Texas, Benson Latin American Collection | Texas Archival Resources
Edmund W. Gordon (b. 1921) is an African-American intellectual and professor with a career spanning over 70 years. As a leading psychologist and expert in education access for minority and disadvantaged students, Gordon’s contributions include nearly 200 publications and the distinction of professor emeritus at both Yale University and Columbia University.
Born and raised in Goldsboro, a small, segregated town in North Carolina, Gordon’s father was a Jamaican-born physician and his mother a schoolteacher. He attended Howard University, where he earned a degree in zoology in 1942, and social ethics in 1945. While a student at Howard, Gordon came to know philosopher Alain Locke, who encouraged his intellectual pursuits.
Gordon was first ordained as a deacon in the Presbyterian Church as an adolescent. Upon his graduation from Howard University, he was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and served as a field missionary for a small congregation in Omaha, Nebraska. It was in Omaha that he first met his wife, Dr. Susan G. Gordon (1924-2016). Returning to the east coast, Gordon earned a Master’s degree in social psychology from The American University in 1950 and Ph.D. in child development and guidance from Columbia Teachers College in 1957. As a graduate student in New York, Gordon came know and received mentorship from W.E.B. Du Bois.
Before transitioning from clinical practice to academe, Gordon, along with his wife Susan, established the Harriett Tubman Clinic for Children in Harlem, New York. In 1959, Gordon accepted his first teaching position in academic psychology at Yeshiva University. He would then go on to teach at Columbia University, Yale University, City University of New York’s City College of New York, and serve as scholar in residence at the State University of New York’s Rockland Community College.
Over the course of his career, Gordon has remained active in professional organizations and the scholarly community. He has held elected positions in numerous organizations including American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Education, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gordon has also provided guiding leadership for Head Start, the U.S. Office of Education, the American Educational Research Association, the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americans and Caribbean, the Educational Testing Service, and the College Board. Honorary degrees from Yale University, Yeshiva University, Brown University, Bank Street College, Mount Holyoke College, and Howard University are amongst the many recognitions Gordon has received throughout his career.
In the 1990s, Gordon established Gordon and Gordon Associates in Human Development along with his wife, Susan. Together, through Gordon and Gordon, the Drs. Gordon consulted and provided educational expertise across the country.
In addition to scholarly contributions, Gordon has also been civically involved in his home community of Rockland County, New York, through involvement with organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Rockland Local Organizing Committee (RLOC). In 2000, the Drs. Gordon founded CEJJES Institute in Pomona, New York, as a social justice and research foundation for disenfranchised and minority communities.
In 2014, The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the naming of the Black and Latino Studies Building to the Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon & Charles W. and Frances B. White Building (Gordon-White Building) at The University of Texas at Austin.
Arizona State University, Inside the Academy feature on Edmund W. Gordon.
Gross, Jane. “Studying Race, Privilege And Intellectual Levels.” New York Times, 8 January 2003.
The Edmund W. Gordon Papers consist of documents, print publications, and audio files. File names in the collection honor original naming conventions assigned by Dr. Gordon to the greatest degree possible. As such, chronological and alphabetical arrangement are used interchangeably throughout the collection.
Professional and Civic Activity, 1940-2009, includes files from Gordon’s professional and civic work over the course of his life:
- Presbyterian Church and Sermons, 1940-2006
- Research and Education Files, 1950-2007
- Psychology Files, c. 1954-2003
- Conferences and Meetings, 1957-2007
- New York: Rockland County, 1957-2003
- Correspondence, 1958-2009
- People Files, 1959-2009
- New York: Education, 1961-1990
- Colleges and Universities, 1964-2004
- Head Start, 1965-1997
- American Educational Research Association (AERA), 1970-2008
- The College Board, 1971-2006
University Positions and Teaching, 1951-2009, includes files from Gordon’s professional university appointments and material from his teaching career:
- Yeshiva University, 1951-1968
- Teachers College, 1962-2009
- Yale University, 1977-2006
- City College of New York (CUNY) and City College of New York (CCNY), 1980-1996
- Teaching, 1958-2004
Personal and Civic Activity, 1955-2008, includes files documenting Gordon’s personal life, professional consulting, and foundation work. Material, such as correspondence, labeled “personal” by Gordon is included:
- Personal Files, 1965-2007
- Calendars and Agendas, 1955-2004
- Gordon and Gordon Associates in Human Development, 1990-2003
- CEJJES Institute, 2000-2008
2) Publications and Print Material, 1933-2010, contains Gordon’s writings, drafts, and published material in addition to newsletters, books, bound publications, magazines, and newspapers that Gordon collected. Journals and documentation related to The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the Journal of Negro Education, which Gordon served as editor, are included.
- Edmund W. Gordon Authored, 1948-2010
- Notes and Notebooks, c. 1965-1996
- Proposals and Reports, 1951-2008
- Print Material, 1933-2007
3) Dr. Susan Gordon, 1946-1997, contains subject files belonging to Dr. Susan G. Gordon.
4) Audio Files, 1958-1996, contain digitized recordings of audio from the Gordon Papers, originally in cassette tape format.
Standard copyright restrictions apply.
|Gordon, Edmund W.|
|Gordon, Susan G.|
|African American Psychologists.|
|Teachers College (New York, NY)|
|City College (New York, NY)|
|Rockland County (NY)|
Edmund W. Gordon Papers, Sc MG 316, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. *Information regarding this collection and donation to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture can be found in Box 36.
“Letter from Edmund W. Gordon to MLK,” September 27, 1967. The King Center Digital Archive.
Cite as: Edmund W. Gordon Papers, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
Collection processed by Rachel E. Winston (2015-2018), Angela Perkins (2016-2017), David Johnson (2017), and Selena Aleman (2017-2018).
Box and Folder Inventory