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Elizabeth Peabody

Elizabeth Peabody 1804-1894

In 1859 Peabody learned of Friedrich Froebel's kindergarten work in Germany, and the next year she opened in Boston the nation's first formal kindergarten. She continued it until 1867, when she undertook a tour of European kindergartens to learn more of Froebel's thought. Much of her later writing concerned kindergarten education. Those titles include Moral Culture of Infancy, and Kindergarten Guide (1863), Kindergarten Culture (1870), The Kindergarten in Italy (1872), and Letters to Kindergartners (1886). In 1873 she founded the Kindergarten Messenger, of which she was editor during its two years of publication, and in 1877 she organized the American Froebel Union, of which she was the first president.

Women in American History


In 1859, while teaching at an infant school in Concord, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Peabody heard of the kindergarten movement that had been founded in Germany by Friedrich Froebel. A year later, she opened a kindergarten in Boston, the first English-speaking one of its kind in the United States. Peabody closed her kindergarten seven years later, but after a year in Germany studying Froebel's educational methods, she returned to the United States and opened many public and private kindergartens, beginning a movement that had a sweeping effect on American education.

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