Agnes de lima

Agnes de Lima (1887–1974) was an American journalist and writer on education.


Agnes de Lima was born in Holywood, New Jersey, in 1887. She grew up in Larchmont, New York, and New York City. Her family was a successful banking family with conservative values.

In 1904 de Lima entered Vassar College, a liberal arts school, and majored in English. It was here where she became aware of the liberal reformist thinking of the Progressive Era. While in Vassar, she drifted away from her family’s conservative values and became active in many reform movements such as education and feminism.

After graduating, she worked as a writer for the Russell Sage Foundation and the Bureau of Municipal Research. She also continued her education and received a master’s degree from the New York School of Social Work in 1912.

In 1918, de Lima became the lead writer on education for The New Republic and Nation journal. She wrote many articles on Progressive education. In 1924 she collected these articles into a book titled Our Enemy the Child. This book described the Progressive classroom and has since been cited by many scholars in educational history.

De Lima continued to collaborate with Progressive schools and their teachers and publish more books. In 1939 she produced A School for the World of Tomorrow, Democracy’s High School in 1941, South of the Rio Grande: An Experiment in International Understanding in 1942, and The Little Red Schoolhouse in 1942.

De Lima took the position of director of public relations for the New School for Social Research in New York City from 1940 to 1960. She retired in 1960 and lived in Greenwich Village until her death in 1974.


  • Agnes de Lima. In James Guthrie, Editor in Chief, Encyclopedia of Education (pp. 553-554). New York: Thomson Gale (2003).

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