College Archives

SG5 Claudia Lewis Papers (1920-1996)

Biographical Note

Claudia Lewis was born in 1907. She received her BA from Reed College. She came to Bank Street in 1932 as a student in the Cooperative School for Teachers. After completing the Cooperative School program, Lewis taught at various progressive schools in the New York area.

In 1938 she established a nursery school at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee which she directed and where she taught until 1941. She received a Master's Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1943 and returned to Bank Street to join the faculty of the Cooperative School, where she taught Children's Literature and Creative Writing for Children. She also served as an advisor and worked with Barbara Biber in research.

Lewis received a PhD from Columbia University Teachers College in 1959. She published many books for adults and children as well as numerous articles and book reviews.

Scope and Content Note

Records from the files of Claudia Lewis, Research Associate, faculty member and student advisor. Papers in this collection center on Lewis's research, primarily her major research interest in children's literature and teacher education.


Select a series below for further information.

  • SERIES A - Correspondence (1946-1992)

    Includes correspondence with publishers regarding royalties and contracts and correspondence with students and admirers of her publications. A small amount of general correspondence is also included. Arrangement is chronological.

  • SERIES B - Lectures, Conferences and Publications (1938-1996)

    Contains examples of Claudia Lewis's writings and publications, including Little Golden Books, magazine articles and critical writings on Maurice Sendak. Also included are talks and speeches and some conference materials from the Lucy Sprague Mitchell Memorial Language Conference, Infancy Institute and Vassar Conference.

  • SERIES C - Faculty Affairs (1944-1974)

    Includes advisors' meeting minutes from 1950-1953 as well as notes on meetings between Lewis and other Bank Street Staff, including Lucy Sprague Mitchell and Barbara Biber, regarding plans for research and publications.

  • SERIES D - Course Work/Student Papers (1945-1994)

    Includes lecture notes and materials for courses taught at Bank Street, as well as other colleges and universities. This series also contains notes on Bank Street conference groups, advisement materials and examples of student writing.

  • SERIES E - Race Attitude Study

    Contains papers from a project conducted by Lewis and Barbara Biber. The study consisted of a test given to elementary students in Harlem to determine the importance of race in children's perceptions of their teachers. Records include a preliminary report by Lewis, observation notes, testing data and a working bibliography. (Project results were published by Lewis and Biber in the Journal of Experimental Education (20) September 1951, pp. 97-104)

  • SERIES F - Study of Illustrations and Stories (1947-1953)

    Contains meeting minutes, planning and research notes, and notes from interviews with teachers. The intent of this study was to examine children's attitudes towards illustrations in books, focusing on their perceptions of pictures and their responses to story lines. Researchers interviewed nursery school teachers for their impressions and observations.

  • SERIES G - Cartoon Situations Test (1949-1962)

    Includes guides and manuals for researchers, as well as Lewis's notes and reports on cartoon responses. This study, conducted between 1951 and 1956, was intended to design a test to help predict psychologically qualified candidates for teacher training. Candidates for admission to Bank Street were shown seven cartoons representing children, parents, and teachers in humorous situations. Candidates wrote their responses and reactions to the cartoons. Admitted students were later evaluated as student teachers. Project results were published in the Journal of Projective Techniques Vol. 21, No. 2, 1957.

  • SERIES H - Stories Study (1952-1964)

    Includes observations of children listening to a story once, as well as reactions of children after a second reading; verbatim interviews with fifteen children retelling the story; and structured interviews with teachers. Also included are correspondence, planning notes, report minutes, guides, forms, and working notes on the research. The intent of the Stories Study (research conducted 1953-1954) was to study the impact of stories and illustrations on nursery school children in terms of emotional response.

  • SERIES I - Next Steps in Teacher Education (1956-1959)

    Contains observations of teachers conducted by Lee Hawkins. Also included is a project report and descriptive article by Claudia Lewis.

  • SERIES J - Advisement Study (1965-1966)

    This was a survey of the graduate advisement program at Bank Street conducted by Claudia Lewis. Records include solicited responses from former students on the advisement program and interviews with current teaching faculty. Also included are results of the survey which were analyzed and written up in the Study of the Graduate Program (1966), part of the institutional self-evaluation funded by the Ford Foundation.

  • SERIES K - A Study of Two Classrooms (1944-1947)

    This study examined the atmosphere of two first-grade classrooms, looking specifically at how children respond to the freedoms they are given. This series contains observation notes from both classrooms, notes on how to analyze and report the data, and a report draft.

  • SERIES L - Parent Teacher Interaction Study (1960-1961)

    Contains interviews with parents about their attitudes towards school.

  • SERIES M - Cowichan Indian Study (1954-1968)

    Includes research, notes, photographs and correspondence relating to Lewis' dissertation on the Cowichan Indians, "A study of the impact of modern life on a Canadian Indian Band." Some materials from her further study of and interaction with the Cowichan are also included.

  • SERIES N - Children's Writings and Language Records (1922-1974)

    This series includes children's stories from students at City and Country School and Bank Street School among others, as well as language records collected by Claudia Lewis and Lucy Sprague Mitchell.

  • SERIES O - Other Studies (1950-1953)

    Includes notes, photographs and correspondence from a study of Doukhobor family life sponsored by Doukhobor Research Committee at the University of British Columbia, as well as materials from the Children's Play Ideas study.

  • SERIES P - Nursery and Elementary School Teaching Materials (1932-1988)

    This series consists primarily of notes, observations and articles from Lewis's work at the Highlander Folk School which served as the basis for her book Children of the Cumberland. This series also includes notes and observations from Mt. Kemble School, Woodward School and Harriet Johnson Nursery School.

  • SERIES Q - Personal and Biographical Materials (1946-1992)

    Includes biographical information as well as a small collection of news clippings kept by Claudia Lewis.

  • SERIES R - Audio-visual Materials

    Contains recordings of advisor meetings and discussions on teaching philosophy and curriculum at Bank Street. Formats include Gray Audographs and various sizes of recorded sound reels. Access restricted.