STARR, Mark (1894-1985)


Mark Starr was born on 27 April 1894 in the village of Shoscombe near Bath in Somerset, the second son of William Starr, a coal-miner, and his wife Susan (née Padfield), formerly a domestic servant. Mark Starr had three brothers and three sisters. From 1899 Mark attended St Julian's National School, Shoscombe, an Anglican elementary school, until he left to start work in 1907.

Although Mark Starr attended a Church of England school, the Starr family were staunch Nonconformists, his father being a leading figure in the local Free Methodist chapel. In spite of having no formal education, Mark Starr's father taught himself to read and write and became the superintendent of the Free Methodist Sunday School in Shoscombe. Mark himself became a teacher in the Sunday School before growing doubt about religion caused him to break with the creed of his father. This was not a sudden process but the product of a sustained intellectual search among the popular classics of his age. Writing in 1960, Starr described how the works of Thomas Huxley, John Ruskin, Robert Blatchford and later Karl Marx caused him to reconstruct his view of the world in a humanistic and materialistic fashion. It was a process of reassessment that was also assisted by the debate within the ranks of the Edwardian Nonconformist churches between those such as the Revd R. J. Campbell who argued that the chapels should project a social dimension to their ministry, and those who wished to stick to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible and an individualistic notion of salvation. As was often the case in the Edwardian era, Starr came into conflict with the more conservative elements in the chapel when he tried to propagate Campbell's ideas through his Sunday School class.

Although Starr's view of the world was being reshaped by the various intellectual forces that played on him, the most formative experience was that of work. At the age of thirteen Mark Starr took a job as a mortar boy and hod-carrier for a local builder. He earned 4s for a fifty-six and a half hour week. Later he went to work in Writhlington pit, where his father worked as a hitcher, the working man in charge of the cage at the bottom of the shaft. Conditions in the narrow Somersetshire seams were bad. His first job as a carting boy involved hauling trams full of coal using the gus and crook, a process that he felt reduced him to the level of a beast of burden: 'Wearing the "Gus and crook" in a coal mine marked the class struggle on my body and it was hence easy to accept in my mind' [Starr, 20 Feb 1960].

Mark Starr's rejection of religion as a solution to the ills of humanity was marked by a growing interest in the labour movement. His uncle was a leading figure in the Radstock lodge of the Miners' Federation and Mark Starr became active himself. He was now a regular reader of the Clarion and he joined the local branch of the Independent Labour Party. He helped to organise public meetings for the ILP, including one addressed by Margaret Bondfield.

In 1912 Mark Starr went to work alongside his elder brother Fred at Mynachdy, a coal mine near Ynysybwl in South Wales. He subsequently worked at several pits in the Rhondda and Aberdare valleys. He served on the lodge committee for Penrhiwceiber and while there came under the influence of the bold political spirits of the Unofficial Reform Committee, the militant leadership of the rank and file movement in the South Wales coalfield. It was not, however, as a political or trade union activist that Mark Starr was to make his contribution to the labour movement, but as an organiser and promoter of workers' education. Starr's intellectual potential was noticed by John Thomas, the first full-time district secretary of the Workers' Educational Association in South Wales. Thomas ran a class in Industrial History in Ynysybwl and Starr was one of Thomas's brightest pupils. Later Starr was to denounce the WEA version of workers' education, but he was never as vitriolic a critic as other advocates of the rival independent workers' education movement. His early experiences with Thomas no doubt softened his views.

John Thomas provided Mark Starr with a favourable testimonial when in 1915 he applied for a scholarship from the Rhondda No. I District of the South Wales Miners' Federation to the Central Labour College (CLC) in London. Starr gained the scholarship after submitting an essay on the Osborne judgment.

Starr went to the CLC just as it was passing through one of its periodic crises and his education was disrupted following the temporary closure of the college in 1916 when the teaching staff were made liable for military service. Yet in spite of this short stay at a 'barely functioning' institution [Starr (1983) interview], the experience was a profound one for Starr. Writing in 1916, Starr gave eloquent testimony to the impact of the college on his development. Before he came to London the economics of Marx were unknown to him, as were concepts such as the labour theory of value and the class struggle. The 'mind clearing logic of Dietzgen' and the valuable books of Kerr and Co. of Chicago were 'undiscovered continents of enlightenment' [Plebs (Aug 1916) 155]. In the same article he recalled that his period as a student with the CLC had given:

point and purpose to my views of life and furnished me with a guiding thread whereby the complete development of society—that tangled skein—can be understood. Light has shone in dark places. Contradictions are understood and reconciled. The new can be seen evolving from the old: the solution is contained in the problem [ibid., 156].

While at the CLC Starr took some classes in the East End of London at Walthamstow and wrote articles for the labour press; his skills in both activities were soon widely recognised.

In common with many other former Labour College students, he found that victimisation dogged him on his return to the coalfield in 1916, and his time was almost entirely devoted to the 'Social Science' classes being run by the Aberdare District Miners' Federation. Along with another former CLC student, Wil John Edwards, who took a class in Marxist economics, Mark Starr taught a course of twenty classes in Industrial History. These classes became the basis of a series of articles in the Merthyr Pioneer, the leading Socialist journal in South Wales at the time. The classes and the articles provoked an immense response and they were reprinted by the Plebs League as A Worker looks at History in November 1917. It soon became a best seller among the students of the growing number of classes in the movement for independent working-class education.

The book today finds little favour with labour historians. It provides a rather mechanical view of history, and a belief in the working out of an inexorable historical process. There is an absence, too, of accounts of the experience of ordinary working people in history, and it is seen, with some justice, as merely a Marxist mirror image of kings' and bishops' history. Yet such judgements fail to appreciate what an important document Starr's book was in the context of the late war years. At a time of rapid and dramatic change, when working-class and Socialist movements appeared to be on the edge of major gains at home and abroad, Starr's book seemed to offer coherence to what was happening. The dismissal, in the early part of the book, of 'Great Men' and theistic interpretations of history was equally significant in giving young labour activists a new view of the world that provided a deep sense of purpose in an age of revolutionary change. Issued at a time when a final titanic struggle with capitalism appeared imminent, the book exuded the confident militancy of the period:

In every country Capitalism begets its grave diggers. In its endeavour to increase its profits it will] force the workers to take up a militant attitude upon the industrial, political and educational fields and progress will be accelerated until the workers of the world will unite and their emancipation be accomplished. To the Day! [Starr (1917) 158-9].

Even at this time there were local labour activists such as Ernrys Hughes, son-in-law and later biographer of Keir Hardie, who felt that Starr was wasting his time, as the workers should only be concerned with the 'necessities of the moment' [Pioneer [Merthyr] 13 Apr 1918]. The criticism gave Starr a chance to explain his purpose. For Starr, the workers needed a new view of history that shattered the 'as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be' [ibid.]. He also began to develop another major theme in his work, a belief that it was essential to provide antidotes to false historical interpretations that ascribed social advance to 'Great Men', or racial superiority or, in the 1920s and 1930s, to Freudian and other purely psychological explanations of human behaviour. Starr's writing and educational work was disrupted in the summer of 1918 when he was called up for military service. At first he tried to evade enlistment; when he was apprehended he refused to serve and was brought before a court martial. Starr stated clearly at his trial that his objection to fighting was not based on religious scruples but on political convictions.

His defence consisted of a lecture on the imperialist nature of the war and of his desire, as he put it, 'not to blow heads off but to put new ideas into them' [ibid., 7 Sep 1918]. The court martial responded to this peroration by sending Starr to Wormwood Scrubs.

While in prison Mark Starr was sent, by one of his sisters, a copy of the New Testament in Esperanto. It was to be the start of a commitment to this international language that was to match in passion his commitment to workers' education. Concern about his son's well-being in prison caused Mark's father to write to his MP, the Liberal Sir John Barlow, whose good offices secured Mark's transfer to farm work in Northumberland, Here Starr met up with Plebs League activists in the north-east coalfields, including Will Lawther and Ebby Edwards.

Following his release, Mark Starr returned to South Wales where he was able to secure a further scholarship from the Aberdare District of the SWMF for one year at the CLC. He returned to South Wales for a brief period in 1921 as full-time tutor in Industrial History and Economics for the National Union of Railwaymen, based in Cardiff. Later that year he became one of the first full-time organisers of the newly formed National Council of Labour Colleges. The NCLC had been established to co-ordinate the disparate and disorganised elements within the movement for independent working-class education. This was something long advocated by Starr and indeed it was a proposal from Starr at the annual conference of the Plebs League, shortly after the reopening of the CLC, which initiated the process that resulted in the formation of the NCLC [Plebs (Mar 1917) 39-40; Millar (1979) 21].

Starr always displayed a great interest in the organisational and pedagogical aspects of the independent working-class education movement. In 1917 Starr had written of the need for a co-ordinating agency for educational classes. In the same year he published guidelines on the running of 'Social Science' classes, which dealt not just with content but also different teaching techniques. He was anxious that tutors should not dominate a 'mostly tongue-tied audience' [Plebs (Oct 1917) 201]. In May 1918 Starr proposed the establishment of a summer school at a meeting of South Wales class groups, a proposal rejected as too idyllic for the time.

Starr's desire to promote workers' education caused him to adopt an attitude towards educational agencies outside the working-class movement that was far more pragmatic than was generally accepted within the Plebs League and the NCLC. As early as 1917 Starr called into question the official dogma of the independent movement of total isolation from state provision.

He advocated what might be termed academic entryism: using state, local authority and WEA classes as vehicles for working-class teaching of the NCLC kind. Circumstances, said Starr, should dictate how local Plebs groups should act, 'expediency and opportunism are to be attacked only when they are based upon false fundamental principles' [ibid. (Nov 1917) 221-2]. Starr followed his own advice and took a London County Council class in Esperanto from 1923 to 1927.

Starr now became the full-time NCLC organiser for the eastern counties of England. This was an arduous task involving long journeys to small class groups organised by the building workers' union. He was based in London and was an active member of the Plebs League, the main propaganda organisation for independent working-class education. Starr represented the League on the executive committee of the NCLC. The Plebs League was still responsible for the publication of the magazine and the Plebs textbooks. Organisationally it was dominated by the Horrabins with whom Starr became closely connected in the early 1920s. J. F. Horrabin, journalist and cartoonist, edited the Plebs magazine, his wife Winifred was national secretary of the Plebs League and his sister Kathleen acted as a clerk in the Plebs office. Starr, who assisted J. F. Horrabin in the production of the magazine, contributing many articles and reviews, became more closely associated with the Horrabins when, in July 1921, he married Kathleen. Starr used his position to press for better teaching methods within the Labour College movement. He encouraged classes to use discussion methods and visual aids. He wrote about the need for local class groups to use the local press to publicise their activities, and he suggested that the NCLC ought to consider radio as a means of disseminating its form of workers' education.

Along with the Horrabins, Starr joined the Communist Party of Great Britain following its foundation, but found it uncongenial and soon left. Although a Marxist, he was too independent of mind and spirit to accept the discipline required of CP members. He visited the Soviet Union in 1926 to attend an Esperanto conference in Leningrad: it was an experience that served to reinforce his reservations about the Russian regime. He joined the Labour Party after leaving the CP and stood as the Labour candidate for the Wimbledon constituency in the general elections of 1923 and 1924, making little impact on the solid Tory majority, though he obtained 6717 votes in 1923 (30 per cent) and 7386 in 1924 (26 per cent). Mark Starr, however, was never particularly interested in a political career and his energies continued to be directed towards teaching and writing.

In 1925 the NCLC published Starr's A Worker looks at Economics, which attempted to explain in clear everyday language the basic Marxist critique of the capitalist system. It never quite had the impact of A Worker looks at History, a second edition of which was brought out the same year. This new edition was a much more polished piece of work with an improved flowing style and a better presentation. Yet the new edition lacked the excitement and the expectancy of the 1917 book. The imminent triumph of the working class was replaced by an uncertainty about the future; hope was shadowed by doubt. The fear of yet another war, with workers slaughtering each other under banners of their masters, had replaced the confidence of the first edition. The changes reflected a change in Starr himself. A student or the international labour movement, his passion for Esperanto gave him contacts throughout Europe and the rest of the world. These contacts, however, also taught him that national, racial, religious and linguistic prejudices still placed enormous obstacles in the way of international working-class solidarity.

From the time of his first period at the CLC, Starr had become interested in the way that these forces of prejudice were reinforced by national educational systems. Chauvinistic interpretations of history, imperial glorification and racial stereotyping infested the classrooms of the world. Through his contacts with the Esperanto movement and the Teachers' Labour League, Starr collected the evidence to prove his point. Starr's Lies and Hate in Education (1929) was his most remarkable book, a withering indictment of the way that governments sought to use education to maintain the status quo by filling the minds of the rising generation with capitalist distortion and nationalistic myths.

By the time that Lies and Hate was published Starr had already left Britain for the USA and a new career in American workers' education. The reasons for his departure were personal. Although the NCLC was in many ways Starr's brain-child, the development of the organisation had been mainly in the hands of its formidable general secretary, J. P. M. Millar. There were serious tensions in the relationship between Starr and Millar. Starr admired Millar's organisational talent, but felt that these skills often triumphed over improvements in the educational service offered by the NCLC: 'The man [Millar] was a mechanic—reliability in accounts came first, before everything' [Starr (1983) interview]. Millar sustained a relentless campaign to win trade union affiliations and finance for the NCLC, but in the process became locked into conflicts with the WEA and anyone else Millar believed was threatening the success of the NCLC as the sole provider of workers' education to the British labour movement. Starr felt these tactics alienated many from the Labour Colleges and killed enthusiasm for the cause.

Following the General Strike, in which Starr played an important role by carrying proofs of the British Worker by road from London to the printers in Manchester, the Plebs League sank into deep financial trouble. In 1927 the NCLC absorbed the Plebs League and its publishing activities. A power struggle between Millar (and his wife Christine, who ran the NCLC postal courses) and the Horrabins, which had begun in the early 1920s, was now resolved in Millar's favour. Starr was seen by Millar not only as an ally of the Horrabins but more particularly as a rival for his own job as general secretary [Millar (1979) 90 and interview with Millar, April 1973]. Starr realised that his position within the NCLC was now very difficult and as his relationship with his first wife Kathleen was also deteriorating (the marriage was later dissolved), an offer of a temporary teaching post at Brookwood College in New York State seemed very attractive. This was the oldest and most radical residential institution in American workers' education [Starr (1934) 198]. Starr left Britain in the summer of 1928, announcing that he wished to study a capitalist society that appeared to have arrived on a plateau of permanent prosperity. His temporary appointment at Brookwood was made permanent.

Starr remained at Brookwood College until 1935, when he became educational director of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, a post he held until retirement in 1960. He then held a number of advisory posts for the International Labour Organisation in Singapore (1960-1) and East Africa (1961-3). He maintained his passion for Esperanto, being the United Nations representative for the New York-based, Universala Esperanto-Asocio and chairman of the Esperanto Information Center, New York, 1965-72. He taught evening classes in Esperanto for the City of New York until shortly before major heart surgery in 1983. He was vice-president of the American Federation of Teachers, 1940-2, and president of the USA United Nations Association, 1970-1. He took American citizenship in 1937 so that he could take a full part in American political life. He was active in the New York-based American Labor Party until it split, in 1944, into Communist and non-Communist wings. Starr's political views had begun to change before he left Britain, his radical instincts giving way, more and more, to the pragmatic side of his nature. It was a process speeded by conflicts within Brookwood College between those who wished to link the institution closely to the American Communist Party and those such as Starr who wished to maintain its political and organisational independence. Starr disliked the narrowness and sectarianism of American Communists and was vilified by them in return. In 1943, when seeking a senior appointment with the New York City Board of Education, he was accused of being an advocate of extreme left-wing ideas partly on the basis of his authorship of A Worker looks at History. In response he denied that he, any longer, held such revolutionary views stating: 'Judge me by what I think in 1943 not what I wrote in 1917' [Herlands Report (1943) 44]. His reformist credentials were confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a report on Starr to the Board of Education, which then accepted that he was 'certainly no Communist' [ibid., 18].

Shortly after this incident he became a prominent member of the New York-based Liberal Party, effectively a ginger group on the left of the Democratic Party, chairing its Queens County branch from 1945 until 1959. He stood for election to New York City Council in the Queens district on a Liberal ticket in 1945 but without success. His programme of civic improvement, public ownership of utilities and social welfare schemes put him firmly in the reformist camp. Yet, by American standards, Mark Starr remained on the left of the political spectrum, and he continued to acknowledge an intellectual debt to Karl Marx, remaining a critic of the capitalist system until his death. However, as in Britain, it was as a writer and educationist that Starr is remembered in the USA. He wrote innumerable articles and pamphlets. Starr himself had no record of how many, but he authored or co-authored eight major books on workers' education or labour history while he lived in America.

Mark Starr said of his contribution to the labour movements of Britain and the USA that he was no great original thinker but that he was an effective populariser of other people's ideas. With the exception of Lies and Hate, which was in many ways a seminal work, this is a fair assessment. A soft-spoken man with a dry wit and a striking personality, he was aware of the need for organised labour to project a good public image. Yet this commitment to good public relations did not mean that he was willing to sacrifice his idealism. He believed in international co-operation and understanding as a means of avoiding global conflicts. He was a member of the US delegation to the first UNESCO Conference in London in 1945. He believed in mass education and was a director of the American National Educational TV and Radio Center from 1958 to 1961. He continued throughout his life to press unions to broaden the minds of their members:

workers must unite their basic solidarity with a heightened sense of social responsibility to humanity itself, beyond the confines of any trade, professional, tribal or national group [American Teacher (Feb 1973) 17].

Mark Starr had, in 1932, married Helen Grosvenor Norton, a fellow lecturer at Brookwood College. He died on 24 April 1985. He was cremated, in accordance with his wishes, and on 30 May 1985 a memorial service was held at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York. Representatives of the various bodies with which Starr was associated spoke, including the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Helen Starr read one of her late husband's favourite poems, Arthur Dough's 'Say not the struggle nought availeth'. Mrs. Starr died on 25 November 1986. There were two children of the marriage, John who died in infancy, and Emily who survived both parents.

Writings: Mark Starr was a prolific writer of books, pamphlets, articles, editorials and reviews. During his time in Britain, and his early years in America, his principal periodical articles were for Plebs, the organ of the NCLC, and most of these are listed below but he also contributed student pages and book reviews to Plebs. His publications are segregated below into (1) books and pamphlets and (2) articles in Plebs and other periodicals:

(1)  Books: A Worker looks at History (1917; rev. ed. 1927); A Worker looks at Economics (1925); Lies and Hate in Education (1929); with T. B. H. Brameld et al. Workers' Education in the United States (1941); Labor in America (NY, 1944; rev. ed. 1949): House of Labor (1951); with others. Labor and the American Way (NY, 1952; rev. ed. 1965). (ii) Pamphlets: Trade Unionism: past and future (1923; rev. ed. 1926) 40 pp.: with Helen Norton, The Worker as a Consumerhow he is exploited—how he may protect himself (NY, Brookwood Labor College, [1934?]: rev. ed. 1936; 2nd rev. ed. 1938) 26 pp.; The Eye Route: visual aids— means and agencies—for workers' education (NY, ILGWU, 1938) 22 pp.: with Eleanor G. Coit, Workers' Education in the United States (1939) 21 pp.; Education: why and for what? [a lecture] (ILGWU, [1939]) 16 pp.; Workers' Education in Overalls [repr. from Labor Record, 1939] 7 pp.; Consumer Education and Labor [talk] repr. from Labor Record (NY, ILGWU, 1940) 8 pp.; 'That reminds me': training for union service (NY, ILGWU, 1941) 38 pp.: Workers' Education Today (NY, 1941) 48 pp.; Training of Teachers for Adult Education [repr. from Teacher-Education J. (Dee 1943)] 7 pp.; Adult Education faces the Future [1944; repr. from Adult Education Bull. (Dee 1944)] 8 pp.; Cap and Gown meets Overalls [1945: repr. from Guidance, Practical Arts and Vocational Education (Jan. 1945)] 4 pp.: Labor looks at Education [Inglis Lecture at Harvard] (Cambridge, Mass., 1946) 51 pp.; Labour Politics in the USA (Fabian Research Series, no. 133: 1949) 55 pp.; Creeping Socialism vs Capitalism (Union for Democratic Socialism, NY, [1953?]) 32 pp.; Higher Education and Organized Labor (NY, ILGWU, [1955] repr. from Current History (Sep 1955)) [4] pp.

(2) Periodical articles: 'My Year at the CLC', Plebs 8 (Aug 1916) 155-7; 'What is Ahead?', ibid. (Sep 1916) 176-8; 'From College to Colliery', ibid. (Nov 1916) 220-3; 'The League: "Revisionism" needed?' [letter], ibid. 9 (Mar 1917) 39-40: with others, 'Views of our Readers' [Starr on Education Problem], Lahur Leanfr, 17 May 1917; 'An Economic PotPourri', P/eftj-9 (Sep 1917) 176-9; 'How to form a Social Science Class?', ibid. (Oct 1917) 200-3; 'Why not?', ibid. (Nov 1917) 221-3; 'A Talk to Teachers', ibid. (Jan 1918) 271-2; 'A Guildsman's Glossary', ibid. 10 (Jan 1918) 5-7: 'Marx the Man', ibid. (May 1918) 96-9; 'A Would-be Catholic Critic', ibid., 106-8: 'Reconstruction or Patchwork?', ibid. (July 1918) 150~; 'MacDonald and Ourselves', ibid. II (Oct 1919) 137~1; 'Shall you let us down?', ibid. 12 (Aug 1920) 124-5: 'Geography in History' lon Chtn &], Soc. Rev. /S (Jan-Mar 1921) 57-67; 'The Miners' Next Step', Plebs 13 (Mar 1921) 79-80; 'Theory and Practice', ibid. (Dee 1921) 357-9: 'Working-class Education in Britain', Lab. Mon. 2 (Jan 1922) 53-6: 'From Cromwell to Harding', Plebs 14 (July 1922) 198-202 and (Aug 1922) 258-62; 'The Opening-up of China', ibid. (Dee 1922) 441-9: 'The Workings of Modern Capitalism', ibid. 15 (Mar 1923) 75-7; 'The Expansion of Japan', ibid. (APR 1923) 156-61; 'The Trades Union Congress and Workers' Education', Lab. Mon. 5 (Sep 1923) 168-73; 'A Worker looks at Irish History', Plebs 15 (Oct. Nov, Dee 1923) 453-6, 504-6, 549-56 and 16 (Jan, Feb. Mar 1924) 27-31, 68-72, 108-12; 'A Century of Labour II: Stability 1850-1880', ibid./7 (Jan 1925)11-13; 'Capitalism Today', ibid. (Feb l925) 61-4 and ibid. (Mar 1925) 108-12; 'The First NCLC Training Centre', ibid. (Sep 1925) 361-3: 'The "Democratisation of Capital" ', ibid. 18 (Feb 1926) 50-4: 'History and the Workers 1: the history of history and its uses', ibid. (APR 1926) 138~0 and II: 'Getting it over', ibid. (May 1926) 179-82 and III: Its Interpretation', ibid. (Aug 1926) 289-92 and IV: 'The Marxist Approach', ibid. (Sep 1926) 323-6 and V: 'The Elements of Marxism', ibid. (Oct 1926) 367-70 and VI: 'Applied Marxism' ibid. (Nov 1926) 398-401; 'Workers' Education in the United States', ibid. 79 (Oct 1927) 316-21: 'Hate and History: some school textbooks', ibid. 20 (Jan 1928) 17: 'Education by Wireless*, ibid. (May-June) 108-9; 'Organised Labour in Britain and the United States: a comparison', ibid. (Dee 1928)271-5: 'An American Labour College', ibid. 21 (Jan 1929) 16-17; 'Labour Party in USA?: British and American Scenes compared', ibid. (Dee 1929) 270-4; 'Voices of Chicago', ibid. 22 (May 1930) 99-100; 'Fallen Castles in Spain: economic facts behind the Revolution', ibid. 23 (June 1931) 129-31; 'Labour and Land Values: the economics of rent', ibid. (July 1931) 152-4: 'The French Labour Movement' [review], ibid. 24 (May 1932) 107-8; 'Marxism and Trade Unionism', American Socialist Q. 2, no. 2 (Spring 1933) 27-35; 'Workers' Education on Wheels' [on Brookwood), Plebs 26 (Sep 1934) 198-201; 'School, home, work: closing the gap', American Teacher 57 (Feb 1973) 17.

(3) Other: Foreword to Handbook of Trade Union Methods with Special Reference to the Garment Trades (NY, Educational Dept, ILGWU [1937; repr. [1948]] 96 pp.; Foreword to N. Barou, Recent Trends in British Trade Unions and British Trade Union Congress: interim report on post-war reconstruction (NY, League for Industrial Democracy, [1945]) 31 pp.; 'An Adventure in Education', Address by Mark Starr on the occasion of the Testimonial Dinner in his honour on 20 February 1960 [typescript] 8 pp.

Sources: (1) MS: Interviews with Mark and Helen Norton Starr conducted by the author on 5 and 13 September 1983 and in his possession. Details of Mark Starr's family background were confirmed with Mark's daughter, Mrs. Emily Starr Kerley, of Southfield, Michigan, USA, and his nephew, Mr. Alan Starr of Midsomer Norton, near Bath, England, whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged. A significant collection of documents relating to Mark Starr's career in the United Kingdom has been deposited with the Tamiment Library of New York University. Interview with J. P. M. Millar, April 1973. (2) Other: Pioneer [Merthyr], 13 APR and 7 Sep 1918; The Case of Mark Starr: report by William B. Herlands, Commissioner of Investigation to Mayor La Guardia, 8 APR 1943, New York Public Library [for details of the 1943 conflict with the New York Board of Education]; J. H. Roberts, 'The NCLC: an experiment in workers' education' (Edinburgh MA, 1970): Somerset Guardian, 13 Aug 1971; 1. W. Hamilton, 'Education for Revolution: The Plebs League and Labour College Movement' (Dissertation for MA in Labour History, Centre for the Study of Social History, Warwick Univ., 1972) [copies in Warwick Univ. Library and DLB Coil.]; J. P. M. Millar, The Labour College Movement (1979); R. Lewis, 'Leaders and Teachers: the origins and development of the workers' education movement in South Wales, 1906-40' (Wales (Swansea) PhD, 1980); Who's Who in America (1980-1, 2): J. Atkins, Neither Crumbs nor Condescension: The Central Labour College 1909-1915 (Aberdeen, 1981); M. Lawn, 'Mark Starr: Socialist Educator', Llafur 4, no. 2 (1985) 91-6: R. Hauben, 'A Pioneer in Workers' Education: Mark Starr and Workers' Education in Great Britain', ibid., 96-100, 102; R. Lewis, 'Protagonist of Labour: Mark Starr, 1894-1985', ibid. 4, no. 3 (1986) 5-18. NOTE. The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance given by Nancy Daniels of the American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.


See also: Robert Peel Glanville BLATCHFORD; Ebenezer (Ebby) EDWARDS; *James Francis HORRABIN; *Winifred HORRABIN; Sir William LAWTHER.

SOURCE: The Dictionary of Labour Biography, Vol. 9, edited by Joyce M. Bellamy and John Saville. London: Macmillan, 1993.

A collection of Mark Starr's papers can be found at the Tamiment Library, housed in the Bobst Library of New York University.

Mark Starr (1894-1985): Labor Educator & Esperantist
Study Guide

Includes all the following & more:

"Mark Starr: Socialist Educator": Interview with Martin Lawn

"A Pioneer in Workers' Education: Mark Starr and Workers' Education in Great Britain" by Ronda Hauben

"Organized Labor and the Dewey Philosophy" by Mark Starr

"La Filozofio de Jozefo Ditsgen" de Mark Starr

Usona Mozaiko” (1968) de Mark Starr

Mark Starr in East Africa & Bulgaria (News Clippings, 1963)

Esperanto and Labour (by Mark Starr)

The Student Movement vs. . . . Mark Starr? (Kenneth Rexroth)

Esperanto & Laborista Movado / Esperanto & the Labor Movement

Esperanto Study Guide / Esperanto-Gvidilo


Communism and an International Language by Mark Starr

A Worker Looks At History by Mark Starr

A Worker Looks At History

Mark Starr @ Ĝirafo

Mark Starr (1894-1985) « Family Connections

Mark Starr - Vikipedio

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