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Mario Andrew Pei

educator , linguist.

Mario Andrew Pei, Italian educator, linguist. Recipient Peace Treaty Contest award Ziff-Davis Company, 1945; George Washington Honor medal Freedom Foundation, 1957; Cavaliere ufficiale Order Merit Italian Republic, 1958; Oscar award for literature Unico National, 1959; David McKay Humanities award Brigham Young U., 1970.


Pei, Mario Andrew was born on February 16, 1901 in Rome, Italy. Son of Francesco and Luisa (Ferri) Pei.


Came to the United States, 1908, naturalized, 1925. Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude, College City New York, 1925. Doctor of Philosophy., Columbia, 1932.

Doctor of Humane Letters, Fort Lauderdale U., 1973.


Private tutor, 1920-1921. Instructor Regis High School, New York City, 1921-1922, Franklin School, New York City, 1922-1923, College City New York, also Townsend Harris High School, New York City, 1923-1937. Member of faculty Columbia, 1937-1970, professor romance philology, 1952-1970.

Retired Linguistic consultant Army Language School, 1960. Visiting Andrew Mellon professor romance langs. U. Pittsburgh, 1962-1963.

Visiting professor romance philology Rutgers University, 1963-1964. Visiting Professor of English and linguistics Seton Hall U., 1970-1972. Visiting lecturer Brigham Young U., 1970, 72.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization lecturer universities Lisbon and Coimbra (Portugal), 1961.


  • Author: The Language of the Eighth-Century Texts in Northern France, 1932. The World’s Chief Languages 1943. The American Road to Peace, 1945.

    The Story of Language, 1949. The Story of English, 1953. The Italian Language, 2d edition., 1955.

    All About Language, 1954. French Precursors of the Chanson de Roland, 1948. Swords of Anjou, 1953.

    (with R. Gaynor) Dictionary of Linguistics, 1953. Sparrows of Paris, 1958. The Consumers Manifesto, 1960.

    Talking Your Way Around the World, 1961. Language for Everybody, 1958. One Language for the World, 1958.

    Getting Along in (French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian), 1957-1959. The Families of Words, 1962. Voices of Man, 1962

  • The Book of Place Names, 1959.

    Our Names, 1960

  • Invitation to Linguistics, 1965. Glossary of Linguistic Terminology, 1966. The American Heritage, 1965.

    How to Learn Languages, 1966. The Many Hues of English, 1967. Language Today, 1967.

    The Story of the English Language, 1967. What’s in a Word? 1968. The America We Lost, 1968.

    Words in Sheep’s Clothing, 1969. Tales of the Natural and Supernatural, 1971. Double Speak in America, 1973.

    Dictionary of Foreign Terms, 1974. The Story of Latin and the Romance Languages, 1976. Empire Without End, 1976.


Member of faculty Columbia, 1937-1970, professor romance philology, 1952-1970. Member New York County Grand Jury, 1944-1962. Member Modern Language Association, American Association Teachers French, American Association Teachers Spanish, American Association Teachers Italian, International Linguistic Association, American Society Geolinguistics, Phi Beta Kappa.


Married Pearl Glover, June 25, 1924.

Francesco Pei

Luisa (Ferri) Pei

Pearl Glover