Felix Adler (ăd´lər), 1851–1933, American educator and leader in social welfare, founder of the Ethical Culture movement, b. Germany. He was brought to the United States as a small child, was graduated from Columbia in 1870, and afterward studied in Germany. In 1876 he established the New York Society for Ethical Culture and, in connection with the Ethical Culture School, the first free kindergarten in New York City. Adler organized the Workingmen's Lyceum, helped to establish the Workingmen's School and the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, and founded (1883) the first child study society in the United States. He was a member (1885) of New York state's first tenement house commission and served for many years as chairman of the National Child Labor Committee. He became professor of political and social ethics at Columbia in 1902 and was Roosevelt professor (1908–9) at the Univ. of Berlin and Hibbert lecturer (1923) at Oxford. Among his books are Creed and Deed (1877), An Ethical Philosophy of Life (1918), and The Reconstruction of the Spiritual Ideal (1924).
See H. J. Bridges, Humanity on Trial (1971).