Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Elizabeth Peabody

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Occupation  Teacher Writer/Editor
Name  Elizabeth Peabody

Nieces  Mother Mary Alphonsa
Nephews  Julian Hawthorne
Elizabeth Peabody Elizabeth Palmer Peabody American educator Britannicacom

Born  May 16, 1804 (1804-05-16) Billerica, Massachusetts, USA
Education  Tutored in Greek by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Parent(s)  Nathaniel Peabody, Elizabeth "Eliza" Palmer
Died  January 3, 1894, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
Siblings  Sophia Hawthorne, Mary Tyler Peabody Mann
Books  AEsthetic papers, Record of a school, Lectures in the training schools f
Similar People  Mary Tyler Peabody Mann, Sophia Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mother Mary Alphonsa

Boston Literature and Elizabeth Peabody's Bookstore

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (May 16, 1804 – January 3, 1894) was an American educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.


Elizabeth Peabody Elizabeth Peabody

Peabody also served as the translator for the first English version of a Buddhist scripture which was published in 1844.

Early years

Elizabeth Peabody Elizabeth Palmer Peabody

Peabody was born in Billerica, Massachusetts on May 16, 1804. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Peabody, a physician, and Elizabeth ("Eliza") Palmer (1778-1853), and spent her early years in Salem.


Elizabeth Peabody Collecting TranscendentalismEarly Collectors and Donors Elizabeth

After 1822, she resided principally in Boston where she engaged in teaching. She also became a writer and a prominent figure in the Transcendental movement. During 1834–1835, she worked as assistant teacher to Amos Bronson Alcott at his experimental Temple School in Boston. After the school closed, Peabody published Record of a School, outlining the plan of the school and Alcott's philosophy of early childhood education, which had drawn on German models.


Elizabeth Peabody Fun Facts Friday Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Man of la Book

She later opened a book store, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody's West Street Bookstore, at her home in Boston (ca.1840-1852).

Elizabeth Peabody Today in History Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Kindergarten TPS

It was there that the "Conversations" were held, organized by Margaret Fuller. The first of these meetings between women was held on November 6, 1839. Topics for these discussions and debates varied but subjects were as diverse as fine arts, history, mythology, literature, and nature. Fuller served as the "nucleus of conversation" and hoped to answer the "great questions" facing women: "What were we born to do? How shall we do it? which so few ever propose to themselves 'till their best years are gone by". Many figures in the woman's rights movement took part, including Sophia Dana Ripley, Caroline Sturgis, and Maria White Lowell.

The 1840 Catalogue of the Foreign Library offered several hundred titles in German, French, Spanish, Italian and English languages, including:

In 1852, the bookstore and library located at 13-15 West Street in Boston closed down. Members of the Transcendentalist movement had begun to disperse since the mid-1840s and income from the bookstore had gradually declined. In 2011, the Boston Landmarks Commission designated the building as a Boston Landmark.

The Dial

For a time, Peabody was the business manager of The Dial, the main publication of the Transcendentalists. In 1843, she noted that the journal's income was not covering the cost of printing and that subscriptions totaled just over two hundred. In 1844 the magazine published Peabody's translation of a portion of the Lotus Sutra from French, which was the first English version of a Buddhist scripture. The publication ceased shortly thereafter in April 1844.


When Peabody opened her kindergarten in 1860, the practice of providing formal schooling for children younger than six was largely confined to Germany. She had a particular interest in the educational methods of Friedrich Fröbel, particularly after meeting one of his students living in the U.S. 1859 named Margarethe Schurz. In 1867, she visited Germany for the purpose of studying Fröbel's teachings more closely. Through her own kindergarten, and as editor of the Kindergarten Messenger (1873–1877), Peabody helped establish kindergarten as an accepted institution in American education. She also wrote numerous books in support of the cause. The extent of her influence is apparent in a statement submitted to Congress on February 12, 1897, in support of free kindergartens:

Diverse activities

With grounding in history and literature and a reading knowledge of ten languages, in 1840 she also opened a bookstore which held Margaret Fuller's "Conversations" and published books from Nathaniel Hawthorne and others in addition to the periodicals The Dial and Æsthetic Papers. She was an advocate of antislavery and of Transcendentalism. Moreover, she also led decades of efforts for the rights of the Paiute Indians.

Personal life

Her sisters were painter Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (wife of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne) and writer Mary Tyler Peabody Mann (wife of educator Horace Mann). Peabody died January 3, 1894, aged 89. She is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

Selected works

Peabody published a number of works, including:

  • Record of a school: exemplifying the general principles of spiritual culture. (Boston: J. Munroe, 1835). About Bronson Alcott's Temple School, Boston.
  • Crimes of the House of Austria (editor; New York, 1852)
  • The Polish-American System of Chronology (Boston, 1852)
  • Kindergarten Culture (1870)
  • Kindergarten in Italy (1872)
  • Reminiscences of Rev. Wm Ellery Channing, D.D. (1880)
  • Letters to Kindergarteners (1886)
  • Last Evening with Allston, and other Papers (1887)
  • Lectures in the Training Schools for Kindergartners (1888)
  • References

    Elizabeth Peabody Wikipedia

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