Famous 19th Century Educators

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Famous As: President of India (1962-67)
Birthdate: September 5, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Thiruttani, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: April 17, 1975

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India and served from 1962 to 1967. He is regarded as one of India’s most eminent scholars and wrote extensively on Indian philosophy and religion. Lifelong he defended Hindu traditions and culture against criticism from the West. September 5, his birthday, is observed as Teachers Day in India, in his honour.

 2 Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
Died: November 14, 1915
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery but rose to be an advisor to many U.S. presidents and also became the director of the Tuskegee Institute. His Atlanta Compromise, initially accepted and later rejected by black leaders, urged the blacks to work for their freedom through education and not revolt.

 3 John Dewey

John Dewey
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States
Died: June 1, 1952

A staunch advocate of progressive education and liberalism, the American philosopher and psychologist was the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. John Dewey’s famous writings included The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology and Human Nature and Conduct. According to him, passion for knowledge and intellectual curiosity were central to a teacher. He called himself a democratic socialist.

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 4 Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule
Famous As: Social Reformer, Poet
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

 5 Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: April 14, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Agawam, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 20, 1936

 6 Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori
Famous As: Founder of the Montessori method of education
Birthdate: August 1, 1870
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chiaravalle, Italy
Died: April 30, 1952

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator and physician best known for developing the Montessori method of education, a student-friendly method, which is being used in several public and private schools around the world. In 2020, she was nominated by Time magazine as one of their Top 100 Women of the year.

 7 Helen Keller

Helen Keller
Famous As: Author, First Deafblind Person to Earn a B.A. Degree
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

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 8 Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: September 14, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corning, New York, United States
Died: September 6, 1966

Margaret Sanger was an American writer and sex educator. She is credited with popularizing the term birth control. A birth control activist, Sanger established the first birth control clinic in America. She also set up organizations that later became the well-known non-profit organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also played a key role in legalizing contraception in the US.

 9 Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
Famous As: Composer, Pianist and Teacher of the Romantic Era
Birthdate: October 22, 1811
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Raiding, Austria
Died: July 31, 1886

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.

 10 James Naismith

James Naismith
Famous As: Inventer of Basketball
Birthdate: November 6, 1861
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Almonte, Mississippi Mills, Canada
Died: November 28, 1939
Canadian-American physician and coach James Naismith is considered as the inventor of basketball. He authored the first basksetball rule book and established the University of Kansas basketball team. He served as the Kansas Jayhawks athletic director and coach, and trained legends such as Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith.

 11 Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: September 13, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leopoldstadt, Vienna, Austria
Died: July 13, 1951
Austrian-born composer Arnold Schoenberg was part of the German Expressionist Movement and led the Second Viennese School. Being Jewish, he was banned by the Nazis and later became an American citizen. Known for his twelve-tone technique, he coined the term developing variation and formed motifs without a centralized melodic idea.

 12 Ali Kemal

Ali Kemal
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: September 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fatih, Turkey
Died: November 6, 1922

 13 Emily Davison

Emily Davison
Famous As: Suffragist, Activist
Birthdate: October 11, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 8, 1913

Activist Emily Davison is remembered for her relentless fight for women’s suffrage. As part of her protest, at the 1913 Epsom Derby, she went in front of King George V’s horse, to attach suffragette flags to it, and was tragically trampled to death. Some regard her as a martyr for women’s causes.

 14 Joshua Chamberlain

Joshua Chamberlain
Famous As: Educator & War Hero
Birthdate: September 8, 1828
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brewer
Died: February 24, 1914

 15 Friedrich Froebel

Friedrich Froebel
Famous As: Pedagogue
Birthdate: April 21, 1782
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oberweißbach, Germany
Died: June 21, 1852

 16 Apolinario Mabini

Apolinario Mabini
Famous As: Revolutionary leader
Birthdate: July 23, 1864
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Talaga, Philippines
Died: May 13, 1903

 17 Adam Weishaupt

Adam Weishaupt
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 6, 1748
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ingolstadt, Germany
Died: November 18, 1830
On a night in 1776, deep within a forest near Ingolstadt, German law professor Adam Weishaupt and four others formed a secret society known as the Illuminati, which was supposed to be a parallel to religion. Since then, many conspiracy theories have held the society responsible for unexplained global events. 

 18 Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayesville, South Carolina, United States
Died: May 18, 1955

 19 Anna Leonowens

Anna Leonowens
Famous As: Writer, Educator
Birthdate: November 5, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, India
Died: January 19, 1915

Indian-born British author Anna Leonowens is best remembered for her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court, which related her experience as a governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam. The musical The King and I and the novel Anna and the King of Siam were inspired by her life.

 20 Pierre de Coubertin

Pierre de Coubertin
Famous As: Father of the Modern Olympic Games
Birthdate: January 1, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris
Died: September 2, 1937

Pierre de Coubertin was a French historian and educator. Credited with founding the International Olympic Committee, Coubertin is often referred to as the father of the modern Olympic Games. Also an important contributor to the sport of rugby union, Coubertin was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007. 

 21 Janusz Korczak

Janusz Korczak
Famous As: Former educator, children's author, pedagogue
Birthdate: July 22, 1878
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 7, 1942

A reputed Polish doctor, Henryk Goldszmit was better known by his pseudonym, Janusz Korczak, which he used to write several children’s books. Apart from working as a pediatrician and a military doctor, he also owned a Jewish orphanage and stayed with the children while the Germans deported him and other staff to Treblinka.

 22 Edward Thorndike

Edward Thorndike
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: August 31, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Williamsburg, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 9, 1949

 23 Felix Frankfurter

Felix Frankfurter
Famous As: Judge
Birthdate: November 15, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria-Hungary small (now Austria)
Died: February 22, 1965

 24 Emma Willard

Emma Willard
Famous As: American activist
Birthdate: February 23, 1787
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 15, 1870

 25 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
Famous As: Founder of Aligarh Muslim University
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.

 26 Carlos P. Garcia

Carlos P. Garcia
Famous As: Former President
Birthdate: November 4, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Talibon, Philippines
Died: June 14, 1971

 27 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Famous As: Educator & Social Reformer He is Considered the "Father of Bengali prose"
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Birsingha, West Bengal, India
Died: July 29, 1891

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an Indian social reformer and educator. He is best remembered for his efforts to modernize and simplify Bengali prose for which he is widely regarded as the father of Bengali prose. As a social reformer, Vidyasagar played a crucial role in enacting the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, which legalized the remarriage of Hindu widows in India. 

 28 James Murray

James Murray
Famous As: Lexicographer
Birthdate: February 7, 1837
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denholm, Scotland
Died: July 26, 1915

James Murray was a Scottish philologist and lexicographer. He is best remembered as the main editor of the famous Oxford English Dictionary from 1879 until his demise in 1915. Murray's contribution to the dictionary and his collaboration with lexicographical researcher William Chester Minor inspired the 2019 film The Professor and the Madman, where the former was portrayed by Mel Gibson.

 29 Deborah Sampson

Deborah Sampson
Famous As: Military woman
Birthdate: December 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plympton, Massachusetts, USA
Died: April 29, 1827

 30 Daniel Hale Williams

Daniel Hale Williams
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: January 18, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 4, 1931

Daniel Hale Williams was a general surgeon known for performing the first documented, successful pericardium surgery in the US in 1893. Born to interracial parents, he faced numerous struggles in his journey to become a physician. He later founded the first non-segregated hospital in the United States, Chicago's Provident Hospital. He also founded a nursing school for African Americans. 

 31 Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral
Famous As: Chilean poet
Birthdate: April 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vicuña, Chile
Died: January 10, 1957

Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet and educator Lucila Godoy Alcayaga was better known by her pseudonym, Gabriela Mistral. The suicide of her first love inspired her poem Dolor. Her diplomatic assignments later took her to places such as Madrid and Lisbon. She is remembered for her emotional verses and her feminism.

 32 Mary Harris Jones

Mary Harris Jones
Famous As: Labor and Community Organizer, Schoolteacher
Birthdate: May 1, 1837
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1930

After losing her husband and children in a yellow fever epidemic and her dress shop in the great Chicago fire, schoolteacher and dressmaker Mary Harris Jones became an activist, earning the nickname Mother Jones. A prominent unionist for coal miners and other workers, she also co-founded the Social Democratic Party.

 33 Selma Lagerlöf

Selma Lagerlöf
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mårbacka, Sweden
Died: March 16, 1940

Selma Lagerlöf was a Swedish teacher and author. In 1909, Lagerlöf became the first woman to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1914, she became the first woman to be elected as a member by the Swedish Academy. In 1991, Selma Lagerlöf was depicted on a Swedish banknote, becoming the first woman to enjoy this honor, albiet posthumously.

 34 W. C. Handy

W. C. Handy
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: November 16, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Florence, Alabama, United States
Died: March 28, 1958

 35 Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi

Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 10, 1804
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: February 18, 1851

Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi was a German mathematician best remembered for his contributions to differential equations, dynamics, number theory, determinants, and elliptic functions. He is the first Jewish mathematician to work as a professor at a German university. Jacobi has a crater on the Moon named after him in recognition of his contribution to science.

 36 John McCrae

John McCrae
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 30, 1872
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Died: January 28, 1918

Best known for his iconic war poems such as In Flanders Fields, Canadian poet John McCrae was also an army physician. He was the first Canadian to serve as a consulting surgeon for the British Army and had earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Army.

 37 Cesar Franck

Cesar Franck
Famous As: Composer, Pianist, Organist
Birthdate: December 10, 1822
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium
Died: November 8, 1890

Cesar Franck was a Belgian-born French Romantic composer, organist, pianist, and music teacher. Franck, who worked in Paris, is credited with popularizing new instruments made by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll all over France. From 1858 until his death in 1890, Franck also served as an organist at the Basilica of Saint Clotilde in Paris. Franck also taught future composers like Vincent d'Indy.

 38 Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot
Famous As: Forestry scientist
Birthdate: August 11, 1865
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Simsbury, Connecticut, United States
Died: October 4, 1946

 39 Max Bruch

Max Bruch
Famous As: Former Romantic Composer and Conductor recognized for his famous masterpiece Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Birthdate: January 6, 1838
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: October 2, 1920

Max Bruch composed his first song at 9 for his mother’s birthday and then earned a scholarship after creating a symphony at the tender age of 14. He worked extensively with the choral societies of Germany and is remembered for his iconic Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.

 40 Rebecca Latimer Felton

Rebecca Latimer Felton
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 10, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Decatur, Georgia, U.S.
Died: January 24, 1930

 41 Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: May 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: January 2, 1972

 42 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

 43 Madan Mohan Malaviya

Madan Mohan Malaviya
Famous As: Politician & Educationist
Birthdate: December 25, 1861
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Allahabad, India
Died: November 12, 1946

Madan Mohan Malaviya was an Indian educational reformer and politician. He is best remembered for playing an important role in India's freedom struggle. He served as the president of the Indian National Congress on three occasions and founded a political party named Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. He also co-founded Central Hindu College and worked towards promoting modern education in India.

 44 Carl Czerny

Carl Czerny
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 21, 1791
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 15, 1857

Carl Czerny was an Austrian composer, pianist, and teacher of Czech origin.  Born into a musical family, he started playing the piano as a toddler and began composing at the age of seven. He was prolific in his music production and composed over a thousand works, with his music spanning the late Classical and early Romantic eras.  

 45 Egerton Ryerson

Egerton Ryerson
Famous As: Educator, minister known for Championing free schooling in Canada, influence in the design of the Canadian Indian residential school system
Birthdate: March 24, 1803
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walsh, Canada
Died: February 19, 1882

 46 Theodor Heuss

Theodor Heuss
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 31, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brackenheim, Germany
Died: December 12, 1963

Apart from being the first president of West Germany, Theodor Heuss, the Free Democratic Party leader, also framed the new constitution of West Germany after World War II. Previously, he was a political journalist and was targeted by Hitler. Even his books were burned for being against German interests.

 47 Gilbert N. Lewis

Gilbert N. Lewis
Famous As: Physical chemist
Birthdate: October 23, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Weymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 23, 1946

 48 William G. Morgan

William G. Morgan
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: January 23, 1870
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States
Died: December 27, 1942

 49 Charles Freer Andrews

Charles Freer Andrews
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: February 12, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: April 5, 1940

Charles Freer Andrews was a Christian missionary and Anglican priest. He was also an educator and social reformer. A close friend of Indian freedom fighters Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, he supported the Indian struggle for independence. Gandhi fondly called him Deenabandhu, or "Friend of the Poor". Even today, Andrews is widely respected in India. 

 50 Mykola Leontovych

Mykola Leontovych
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: December 13, 1877
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Monastyrysche, Ukraine
Died: January 23, 1921