Locke, Bessie

Locke, Bessie

(1865–1952) educator; born in West Cambridge, Mass. She attended kindergarten, public schools, and studied business at Columbia University. About 1892 she visited a kindergarten in New York City run by a friend for children from the slums. She was so impressed by the progress made by these children in manners and appearance that she organized the East End Kindergarten Union of Brooklyn and then the Brooklyn Free Kindergarten Society, of which whe was a trustee and financial secretary (1896–1923). She also organized at the state and national level the New York Kindergarten Society (1899) and the National Association for the Promotion of Kindergarten Education (1909), which became the National Kindergarten Association (1911) and in which she stayed active until her death. From 1913 to 1919 she helped form a kindergarten division within the United States Bureau of Education and worked for better teacher training courses. From 1917 she published a series of home-education articles that by her death had attained international distribution. She helped open more than 3,000 kindergartens benefiting more than 1.6 million children.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.