Born in 1931, I grew up in New York’s Greenwich Village during the frothy ‘30s and ‘40s.
My family, never far from its Russian/Jewish roots, was, like that of most of my friends, artistically inclined, secular, and politically on the humanistic left.
Before my birth, my father had been a consultant to the Jewish land settlement movement in Soviet Russia through the “Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.”
My mother had been a preschool teacher trained in the Dewey tradition. I was therefore destined to experience several remarkable progressive schools including Bank Street kindergarten, City and Country, the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Elisabeth Irwin High School.
Then came the not particularly progressive Cornell University where I majored in English. I received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia’s Teachers College, a return to the Deweyan world.
During high school and college I worked at several remarkable summer camps.
Given this history, it is hardly surprising that my career has concerned children in schools, communities and institutions. For fifteen years my office was in a Vermont forest where kids and parents would come for a day or so to think through personal or family issues.
On retirement in 1995, I began annual visits to Haiti and Russia where I got to know young people who were surviving without family help.
I have written several books and have taught at Harvard, Boston College, Boston University and Montreal’s Concordia University. I was the founding dean of Goddard College’s individualized master’s degree program.
Recently, I did a study of my family’s history. I am also writing about and for children.
Mary Field Belenky, a developmental psychologist, and I have been married for sixty years. We have two children, Alice Armen and Michael Belenky, and five grandchildren, Sofia, Max, Ella, Oliver, and Simon.
Mary and I now live in Kendal at Hanover, New Hampshire, a Quakerish retirement community.
I find photography a very compatible means of communication.
And writing, too. Especially adventure stories.