The Problematic Legacy of Judge John Handley: R. Gray Williams, The General Education Board, and Progressive Education in Winchester, Virginia, 1895-1924

Jan 01, 2008 | by
  • Description

When the John Handley School opened in Winchester, Virginia in the fall of 1923, the impressive structure and its carefully landscaped grounds were the culmination of a process that began in 1895 with the death of Judge John Handley of Scranton, Pennsylvania, a man who had never lived in the city that was to benefit from his fortune. For reasons known only to himself, Handley left the city of Winchester funds to erect a library and, somewhat more vaguely, to build schools for the education of its poor children. His bequest set in motion a long process of institution building that involved law suits, wrangling over the terms of the bequest, and public controversy that involved the executors of Handley's estate in Pennsylvania; Winchester's mayor and city council; the city council's independent agent, the Handley Board of Trustees; the Winchester School Board; residents of the city; and the General Education Board, a philanthropic organization based in New York City, to whom the Handley trustees turned for advice and assistance in making its vision of education for Winchester's children a reality.