The Sidwell Community and many others were profoundly saddened by the loss of Earl Harrison last November. His death was followed by an enormous outpouring of grief and sorrow as well as by many, many commemorative statements. We would like to honor him in a different way. On behalf of the Retired/Former Faculty and Staff, we wish to express our affection and esteem by having Earl "speak" to us one more time as we follow him through pictures of the light and serious moments of his life. We offer our sincerest sympathy to Jean, Colin, Dana, and the other members of his family.
Meeting for Worship
"It's like a live nerve that grows. You begin to get a sense of the fabric of imagination,
of rest, of serenity, of "where will I be in the future?" If we can open up those
questions during these essential, narcissistic, impressionistic years, that
might take our graduates even further than a superior, formal education."
- (Interview in Spring '98, Sidwell Friends Alumni Magazine)
"The doctrine that each person has a creative center is commonplace, but few schools anywhere in the world employ a corporate living silence to dramatize the power of this idea. Anyone may speak. Every voice will be honored. We learn from the frontier of
silent worship, from listening, from the ministry of shared discovery offered by classmates and colleagues. We experience a spiritual democracy."
- (2nd International Congress on Quaker Education, June 1997)
"My prayer for each of you is that you will make your life commitments
on the basis of who you are and not on the basis of external voices.
Be patient with yourselves during the searching years it usually takes to find your own path to an integrated and expressive life. It won't be easy. There are no shortcuts."
(Remarks to 1998 Sidwell graduates)
"Quaker values should be caught, not taught."
(A frequent remark by Earl when speaking to faculty and students)
"The belief that divinity exists in each human soul dominates the Quaker
movement and it is the bedrock of Quaker education. Despite the inevitable compromises and flaws found in every Friends school, Quaker
education still seeks to draw out, nurture, and protect the dignity of human
"I believe one of the callings of Friends schools is not only a healing mission
because of the hurts in our society, but to sustain joyful, efficacious schools
in which children are cherished and learning is exciting."
(Interview in Spring, 1998 Sidwell Friends Alumni Magazine)
"There are no shortcuts to building a high performance school. . .
and no shortcuts to building an integrated purposeful life."
(Commencement Address, Sidwell Friends, 1998)
"In the early years of induction of children from families of diverse backgrounds, there was an unstated assumption that they would fit into the ethos of the Waspish upper-class setting. We did not have an appreciation for the uniqueness of different cultures and that the blend of values was going to far transcend what we had had before. A homogeneous school cannot prepare students for tomorrow in a heterogeneous society."
("A Conversation with Earl Harrison," Fall 1997, Friends Council Chronicles Newsletter)
"Let us remember the terrible irony of our rebuilt school (Sept. 1981). The men who
actually erected the new structures have not been thanked by us, and here they will
always remain nameless. How will we recall their sweat and the risks they assumed? In the rebuilt house of learning, how can we best dignify their labor?"
"The morally progressive Friends school will also expose its students, through its
invisible curriculum, to a vision of an emergent, non-violent and just society?
It is a protected, humane environment, an alternative and new village, encouraging young people to see and feel the possibilities of an expanded Peaceable Kingdom."
("Changes in Friends schools in the U.S." 1997