Famed educator talking about introducing kindergarten to U. S.


Date Written

Nov. 5, 1871

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was 67 years old when this was written.
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody died 22 years, 1 month, 29 days after writing it.
It was written 151 years, 10 months, 28 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Nov 5 [1871]

My Dear Elizabeth,

I have been away in New York the last month, & only received your letter on my return. Mary would have answered it, but has been taken up fitting away her son, Ben, who is just sailing for Brazil, where he goes as an exploring naturalist—for a year or two! Leaving us with only George who is studying law in Cambridge Law School but who is quite a host I himself—and a sweet musician—I hope sometime you & George will come and see us in our cozy little nook—Foller Street Cambridge.

With respect to kindergarten, I am deeply interested in the genuine kindergarten—which will [?] taking children out of the childish sphere of fancy & affection aims to employ its causal activity from the Mother’s arms till seven years old in a way to teach order/ & to prevent the disorders which necessarily generates disorder evil/ building up the understanding on the bulk of nature--& keeping the heart to the vision of the Father’s face means while—by excusing the social affections according to the laws of kindness—I missed of it in my attempt in 1860 which induced me to go & make a study of it in Europe in Froebel’s own institutions. The results I published in my second Edition of Kindergarten Guide—published by Schermerhorn 14 Bond Street, New York. I wrote much about it in 1868 & 9 in Herald of Health, a most valuable family periodical, published at 13 Laight Street, New York by Wood & Holbrook. I have written articles in newspapers in the Massachusetts Teacher of last July—in the Christian Union of October [?]

Gen. Eaton will bring one a statement of mine in his report first coming to Congress—It is the present aim & work of my life to drive out the pseudo-kindergartens that disgrace the true principle, of Froebel—with the time which is a moral nursery—a primary art and scientific school—though the child only knows he is happy & busy--& the onus of the science & art is in the teacher who offers it to them by perpetual not peremptory but genial suggestion—being thoroughly trained herself in the science & art. Whoever wants to know about kindergarten had better come & learn it in Boston—of Mr. & Mrs. Knege—who begin their normal courts of six months on the 15th of November at 127 Charles Street Boston—Edward Wiebe, a personal pupil of Froebel, has published a manual of the processes called “Paradise of Childhood” which is a needed help to a trained teacher but would not train one (only living experimental teaching can do that). It is published by Milton Bradley who manufactures the kindergarten materials in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Perhaps you may not have seen a pamphlet which I would send you herewith—whose last [?] pages as well as preface is mine.

The education for a kindergartner is the finest possible, finest for the educator of any woman—ensuring her as an adequate mother—& good influence on all children who may last come in contact with her—whether she be a Mother or not—Its [?] effect is also ennobling & intellectualizing-like the exercise of any other Fine Art—of which it is the greatest as to its material & method for it is cooperation with God & Christ—for the regeneration of humanity nothing less—and hence my interest in it.

Moreover it puts at the command of the learner a professor which will I believe in no long time take the highest rank & be a resource for a [?] in the lower sense of that word-

I will enclose Mrs. Knege’s prospectus—perhaps some neighbor or Fannie herself may like to come & as the Knege’s are engaged to remove to New York next winter—it is the last chance in Boston for instruction from one taught by Froebel’s immediate disciples –

With love to George. I am truly yours—

Elis. P. Peabody
Foller Street
Cambridge, Mass.

Scans of Letter