Collection inventory

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George F. Aker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Finding aid created by: PH
Date: Jul 1990

Biographical History

George F. Aker was born June 2, 1927, the son of George Mosier and Vera Aker, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He married Patricia Lou Lawson in 1946 and was the father of four children: Linda Lou, Kathy Ann, Jon Kent, and Susan Nanette. Aker earned a B.S. in 1950 from Purdue University and both an M.S. in 1958 and Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Wisconsin. He held faculty positions at the universities of Missouri, Wisconsin and Chicago. In 1963 he joined the faculty of the Florida State University at Tallahassee. At the time of his death in 1987 he was a professor of adult education and director of the Division of Educational Management Systems at F.S.U.

An activist in national adult education organizations, Aker was a member of the Adult Education Association of the U.S.A. and its president from 1969-1970. He also served on the board of directors for the National Association of Public School Adult Education from 1963-1970. An author and editor of several books on the field of adult education, including the Handbook of Adult Education (1970), Aker also wrote numerous research papers, journal articles and training guides. George Aker's major professional interests were in the development of graduate study and research programs in adult education, and in psychological research to improve the efficiency of adult learning, especially among the disadvantaged and in third world countries. In addition, Aker pursued an interest in new systems of non-formal education as well as in the coordination of adult education with community services and the development of educational technologies for older persons.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George F. Aker Papers consist primarily of correspondence with some printed material, reflecting this educator's professional career. The papers are organized under the various associations and institutions with which Aker was affiliated. Arranged alphabetically, they appear as follows.

Within each division there may be several sub-divisions, which appear alphabetically.

The collection is predominantly correspondence, which has been arranged chronologically within each organizational division. A Selected Index to Correspondence appears at the end of the inventory. This alphabetically arranged index indicates the various sub-divisions under which selected correspondents' letters are located, but does not provide access to other materials within the collection with which these individuals may have been associated. Among those selected for inclusion in the index are: persons important to the field of adult education; students and colleagues of Aker; nationally-recognized political figures; and/or persons whose papers are part of the adult and continuing education collections at Syracuse University. The latter are indicated by an asterisk preceding the name of the individual and include Charters, Alexander N.; Hendrickson, Andrew; Houle, Cyril O,; Jacques, Joseph L.; Kempfer, Homer; Knowles, Malcolm S.; Liveright, A.A.; Sharer, Robert E.; Sheats, Paul H,; and Stensland, Per G.

The Adult Education Association of the U.S.A. files date from 1957-1975. The period between 1969-1970 is particularly well represented, as during this time George Aker was president of AEA-USA. Within this division are the correspondence and printed material of the AEA's commissions, including the Commission of Professors of Adult Education, and various other committees, councils, and sections. Correspondence, chapter outlines and drafts for the Handbook of Adult Education (1970), of which Aker was the editor, are also included.

A file for the Canadian Association for Adult Education dates from 1964-1970. Included is some correspondence, general organizational information, and publication lists as well as background material and minutes of this organization's 1970 annual meeting.

The Florida Adult Education Association file contains correspondence and printed material from 1958-1970. The printed material includes meeting reports and minutes, constitutions, and the 1966-1967 Yearbook and Membership Directory.

The largest division in the collection is for Florida State University, the files of which range from 1958-1985. Incoming and outgoing correspondence is chronologically arranged but not interfiled. In addition to those individuals already mentioned as important to the collection, there are many other colleagues with whom Aker worked daily and whose contributions are noteworthy, some of whose papers are part of the adult and continuing education collections at Syracuse University (the latter are indicated by an asterisk preceding the name of the individual):

In addition, there are files for the Division of Educational Management Systems which Aker directed following the consolidation of the Department for Adult and Continuing Education and other educational departments within the university. The Institute on Education for Older Citizens (co-directed with Andrew Hendrickson) and the National Institute for Resource Development and Utilization in Adult Basic Education - Phase III are also major sub-divisions under Florida State University. Completing these organizational records are site visitation reports for the Career Opportunities Program, conferences and meetings files, newspaper clippings, and an Information File which includes material on adult education grouped by subject.

There is one file for the Illinois Adult Education Association dating from the 1950s-1960s. This file contains a copy of the constitution and bylaws as well as a readings list and speech from the 1963 annual meeting.

The National Association for Public School Adult Education covers the period 1963-1970. It includes files for Aker's tenure as a member of its board of directors and his involvement with the Professional Development Committee. As is true of the collection in general, these files contain mostly correspondence, but there is some printed material, primarily in the form of budgets, minutes and reports.

The National Seminar on Adult Education Research is the final division in the collection. It covers the annual seminar from 1961-1968, with each file devoted to a particular year. Included in the files may be any combination of correspondence and printed material such as reports, rosters and general seminar information.

Arrangement of the Collection

The following is an outline of the arrangement of the collection. A more detailed listing of the collection contents, with specific references to location, appears below.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

In particular, see also the following:

Persons in this collection whose papers are also held by Special Collections Research Center are indicated in the Selected Index to Correspondence by an asterisk.

Subject Headings


Adam, Félix, 1922-
Aker, George F.
Allen, Sam Roy.
Ast, Ray J.
Axford, Roger W.
Boone, Edgar John, 1930-
Charters, Alexander N.
Fling, James H.
Hendrickson, Andrew, b. 1899.
Houle, Cyril Orvin, 1913-
Jacques, Joseph L.
Johnson, Eugene I.
Kidd, J. R. (James Robbins), 1915-1982.
Knowles, Malcolm Shepherd, 1913-
Kreitlow, Burton W.
Long, Huey B.
Luke, Robert A.
McClusky, Howard Yale.
Pagano, Jules.
Sharer, Robert E., 1900-
Snyder, Robert E.
Thiede, Wilson.

Corporate Bodies

Adult Education Association.
Canadian Association for Adult Education.
Florida Adult Education Association.
Florida State University.
Illinois Adult Education Association.
Institute on Education for Older Persons (Florida State University)
National Association for Public School Adult Education.
National Seminar on Adult Education Research (U.S.)


Adult education -- Research.
Adult education -- United States.
Educators -- United States.
Older people -- Education.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George F. Aker Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George F. Aker, 1976-1986

Table of Contents

Adult Education Association of the U.S.A.

Canadian Association for Adult Education

Florida Adult Education Association

Florida State University

Illinois Adult Education Association

National Association for Public School Adult Education

National Seminar on Adult Education Research

Selected index to correspondence


Selected index to correspondence

An asterisk beside a name indicates that Special Collections Research Center also has that person's papers. In each case, the name is given first and then the folder title(s) and dates where their correspondence can be found. For example, the first index item "Abolfotouh, Mahin - Florida State University / Correspondence : 1967 Oct. 19 (box 5)" indicates that correspondence with Mahin Abolfotouh may be found in the Florida State University / Correspondence folder in box 5, under the date of October 19, 1967.