Born in Boston, this publisher, counselor, historian, political activist, outdoorsman and craftsman lived in Brookline, MA, for more than 50 years. Mr. Sargent's early education included private tutors under the direction of his father's progressive program. He later attended both public and private schools, then pursued advanced education at American and European universities. His areas of study ranged from history, politics, philosophy, sociology and languages to art, music and architecture. He also studied economics at Black Mountain College in North Carolina.
Beginning in 1951, Mr. Sargent continued the work begun by his father, esteemed educational and social critic Porter Edward Sargent, on The Handbook of Private Schools (which he guided through 24 annual editions), the Guide to Summer Camps and Summer Schools (which he presided over for 13 biennial editions) and Schools Abroad of Interest to Americans (of which he oversaw three editions). Mr. Sargent did much to modernize the Handbook during his tenure; the format in use today owes quite a bit to his modifications. Mr. Sargent should also be credited for significantly strengthening the Guide, as he kept the book on a biennial publication schedule. Schools Abroad had merely been a section of the Handbook prior to Mr. Sargent's time in office. He made the decision to publish the book as a separate volume in the late 1950s, and it continues to be a valuable reference for all those interested in international education.
The Special Education Series, established by Mr. Sargent in 1955, was one of the first avenues for information on the care and treatment of special-needs children. The series featured seven texts by authorities on special needs, as well as the widely consulted reference The Directory for Exceptional Children, which Mr. Sargent guided through its first seven editions.
His thorough knowledge of private and special education made him a particularly astute advisor. During his career, he counseled hundreds of parents on the selection of suitable schools for their children.
Among Mr. Sargent's many interests were choral singing; antiques and craftsmanship; sailing, mountaineering and skiing; and travel and immersion in different cultures. He was also known as a deeply committed activist and proponent of civil resistance; he dedicated himself to the extension of democratic ways and strongly opposed special privilege and authoritarian/totalitarian philosophies. Mr. Sargent's belief in nonviolence led to his status as a conscientious objector during World War II. At that time, he alternatively served as a hospital aide, a willing subject for medical experimentation and a worker in New Hampshire's Forestry Service.
As a logical extension of his social beliefs, Mr. Sargent began Extending Horizons Books, a series pertaining to social science and contemporary affairs that traces its origins to the 1955 publication of Petr Kropotkin's Mutual Aid. Authors published through this series have ranged from noted educators to lesser-known writers who were given a first opportunity to express their viewpoints.
Mr. Sargent died on August 12, 1975.