Henry Richardson Linville

Henry Richardson LinvilleHenry Richardson Linville

Born in 1866, Henry Richardson Linville grew up in St. Joseph, Mo., and earned his Ph.D at Harvard before moving to the city and becoming a biology teacher at Jamaica HS. That’s when the newly formed Teachers Union chose Linville as its head.

He had achieved acclaim by helping to start and becoming the first editor of the magazine The American Teacher. It wasn’t long before Linville and the union were fighting a campaign of repression waged on teachers who opposed America’s involvement in World War I.

A dedicated fighter for academic freedom and free speech, years later Linville found himself caught in the crossfire of the classic "liberal dilemma." The Teachers Union of the 1930s was a factional donnybrook. Finding itself unable to conduct any business and convinced that the communists were using endless debate to sabotage the union, Linville and the leadership sought to have the union "reorganized," free of communist "domination."

When the move failed, Linville — along with most of the union’s officers and several hundred members — walked out and founded a new union, the Teachers Guild. Linville became the guild’s executive director, a post he held until his death in an automobile accident in 1941.

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