John Erskine (October 5, 1879 – June 2, 1951) was a U.S. educator and author, born in New York City and raised in Weehawken, New Jersey. He graduated from Columbia University (A.M., 1901; Ph. D., 1903).
Professor Erskine was an English professor at Columbia from 1909 and 1937, and Amherst. He instituted Columbia College's General Honors Course, a two-year undergraduate seminar that would later help inspire "Masterworks of Western Literature," now known commonly as "Literature Humanities," the second component of Columbia College's Core Curriculum. This course taught the classics in translation instead of the original Latin or Greek. This course would later go on to inspire the Great Books movement, centered around the Great Books of the Western World.
In 1946 he served as the first chairman of the American Writers Association.