"Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information."
John Erskine (1896–1954)
LittD 1929 (hon.)
In the early decades of the last century, Erskine's conception of a General Honors course in classic texts spawned the Colloquium on Important Books and later Humanities A. Though he never taught in a freshman core course, Erskine's influence on general education courses extended beyond the College to affect all of American education. Erskine published his first poem at the age of 21, but his literary career didn't take off until the publication of the novel The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1925). He also published important essays, criticism, and two volumes of autobiography. An accomplished composer and musician, Erskine served as the first president of the Juilliard School of Music from 1928 to 1937, was a director of the Metropolitan Opera Association, and wrote several books on music.