Teacher, writer. Born– November 7, 1889, Centre. Parents– Samuel Robert and Ann Virginia (Watson) Lester. Married–Memory Lee Aldridge, January 30, 1915. Education– Birmingham Southern College, B.A., 1908; Vanderbilt University, B.A., 1911; University of Michigan, 1911-1912; Columbia University, M.A., 1917. Teacher, assistant principal, athletic director, high school, Covington, Tenn.; taught Greek and Latin, Birmingham Southern College, 1912-1916; library staff, Columbia University; superintendent of schools in Mayfield, Ky., and Covington, Tenn.; taught English and director of extension, Columbia University; assistant to the president, then secretary, Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1926-1954; secretary, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1926-1954; wrote some 35 pamphlets for the Carnegie Corporation. Retired in 1954 and moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., where he became executive director of the Southern Fellowship Fund of the Council of Southern Universities until his death on February 21, 1968. Honors– Awarded several honorary degrees, including Birmingham Southern College, Litt.D., 1911; University of Alabama, L.H.D., 1962. Died February 21, 1969.


National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 55.


Agricultural Adjustment Programs and the Negro. New York; International Microfilm Press, 1945.

The Corporation; a Digest of Its Financial Record, 1911-1936. Carnegie Corporation, 1936.

Corporation Grants for Education of the Negro. s.n., 1941.

The Diffusion of Knowledge; a List of Books. Philadelphia; W.F. Fell Co., 1935.

Doctoral Dissertations. Chapel Hill, N.C.; Council of Southern Universities, 1958.

Forty Years of Carnegie Giving. New York; C. Scribner’s Sons, 1941.

Getting and Forgetting an Education, Commencement Address. Albuquerque; University of New Mexico, 1936.

A Summing Up, 1954-1964. Chapel Hill, N.C.; Council of Southern Universities, 1964.

A Thirty Year Catalog of Grants. Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1942.