American historian and essayist Will Durant was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. He earned his undergraduate degree at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917 from Columbia University. While teaching at the libertarian Ferrer Modern School in New York, he had as a pupil a young woman named Ada Kaufman, whom he later called Ariel. She became his wife---and his coauthor. In 1917 Durant published his first work, his doctoral dissertation, Philosophy and the Social Problem . In 1926 he published another work, The Story of Philosophy. The following year, he began writing the comprehensive history of civilization on which he was to spend much of the next 30 years of his life, the massive Story of Civilization. By the time the seventh volume was published in 1961, Ariel Durant's diligent assistance on the project had earned her title-page recognition as coauthor. The Durants made several world tours to visit the countries they treated in their history and received countless honorary degrees. In 1968 they received the Pulitzer Prize for Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth and final volume of their story. Explaining why they stopped at this point in history, they wrote: "We find ourselves exhausted on reaching the French Revolution. We know that this event did not end history, but it ends us." The Durants brought popular history to the intelligent lay reader, a fact that Orville Prescott noted:"To introduce and to popularize is not less worthy an enterprise than to unearth some hitherto unknown facts or to present some new and controversial theory. Many professional historians believe that it is, and some have looked down their noses at the Durants. The truth is that the art of history includes both kinds of writing and needs both. The scholar who delves into obscure archives is essential; without him ignorance would prevail. But the writer who can make history available to the general reader is necessary too.