Coe, George Albert, 1862-1951
- Existence: 1862-1951
George Albert Coe was born in Monroe County, New York, on March 26, 1862, the son of Reverend George W. and Harriet Van Voorhis Coe. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor of arts degree in 1884 and a master of arts degree in 1888. Coe took both his bachelor of sacred theology (1887) and his Ph.D. (1891) from Boston University. Coe studied from 1890 to 1891 at the University of Berlin. He was a distinguished scholar in the field of religious education, particularly the psychological interpretation of religion.
Coe taught at the University of Southern California during the period 1888-1890. From 1891 to 1909, Coe taught at Northwestern University. While at Northwestern he held positions as acting professor of moral and intellectual philosophy (1891-1893), John Evans Professor of moral and intellectual philosophy (1893-1909), and honorary professor of philosophy and psychology of religion (1905-1951). Coe left Northwestern to join the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary in 1909. He remained at Union as professor of religious education until 1922. Later that year he occupied the chair of religious education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University. Coe retired from teaching in 1927. Recognizing his accomplishments in the field of religious education, both the University of Rochester (1909) and Northwestern University (1927) awarded Coe honorary doctorates.
Coe was a distinguished scholar in the field of religious education, particularly the psychological interpretation of religion. He authored eleven books and scores of articles in his field. Coe was a founder of the Religious Education Association of America and served as that organization’s president in 1909-1910. He also held memberships in the American Philosophical Association and the American Psychological Association.
Coe married Sadie E. Knowland on September 3, 1888. She also served on the faculty of Northwestern University: as an instructor (1898-1901) and professor (1902-1905) of piano and music history. Mrs. Coe died on August 24, 1905. The couple had no children. Coe died in Claremont, California on November 9, 1951; he had never remarried. A special memorial edition of Religious Education (March-April, 1952), Vol. 47, No. 2, includes brief biographical sketches of Coe, tributes, a list of his publications, and selections from his writings.