Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer
Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer(pē`bädē, –bədē), 1804–94, American educator, lecturer, and reformer, b. Billerica, Mass. The Peabody family moved (c.1809) to Salem, where the father began practicing dentistry. Of the three Peabody sisters, the second, Mary, married Horace MannMann, Horace
, 1796–1859, American educator, b. Franklin, Mass. He received a sparse preliminary schooling, but succeeded in entering Brown in the sophomore class and graduated with honors in 1819.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the youngest, Sophia, married Nathaniel HawthorneHawthorne, Nathaniel,
1804–64, American novelist and short-story writer, b. Salem, Mass., one of the great masters of American fiction. His novels and tales are penetrating explorations of moral and spiritual conflicts.
..... Click the link for more information. . Elizabeth, after a period as governess in Hallowell, Maine, with her sister Mary, established a school for girls in what is now Brookline, Mass. Although she was an inspired teacher, she was a poor businesswoman, and her ventures were short-lived. After giving up this school she wrote a series of history textbooks and became a successful lecturer on history. She assisted Bronson AlcottAlcott, Bronson
, 1799–1888, American educational and social reformer, b. near Wolcott, Conn., as Amos Bronson Alcox. His meager formal education was supplemented by omnivorous reading while he gained a living from farming, working in a clock factory, and as a peddler in
..... Click the link for more information. in his Temple School and created an annotated transcript of conversations regarding his educational theories in Record of a School (1835). Her path crossed those of most of the great New Englanders of her day—EmersonEmerson, Ralph Waldo
, 1803–82, American poet and essayist, b. Boston. Through his essays, poems, and lectures, the "Sage of Concord" established himself as a leading spokesman of transcendentalism and as a major figure in American literature.
..... Click the link for more information. , William Ellery ChanningChanning, William Ellery,
1780–1842, American Unitarian minister and author, b. Newport, R.I. At 23 he was ordained minister of the Federal St. Congregational Church in Boston, where he served until his death.
..... Click the link for more information. , Henry David ThoreauThoreau, Henry David
, 1817–62, American author, naturalist, social activist, and philosopher, b. Concord, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1837. Thoreau is considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature.
..... Click the link for more information. , and many others.
The bookshop Peabody opened in Boston in 1840 was a literary center. Margaret FullerFuller, Margaret,
1810–50, American writer, lecturer, and public intellectual, b. Cambridgeport (now part of Cambridge), Mass. She was one of the most influential personalities in the American literary circles of her day.
..... Click the link for more information. held her conversation classes there, and Elizabeth soon found herself a publisher as well as a bookseller; the transcendental magazine, the Dial, pamphlets of the Anti-Slavery Society, and several of Hawthorne's early works were published by her. Of a projected periodical, Aesthetic Papers, only one number appeared, in 1849. After closing her bookshop she traveled about, lecturing and selling historical charts. An ardent abolitionist, Elizabeth went to Richmond in 1859 to plead unsuccessfully with the governor of Virginia for the life of one of John BrownBrown, John,
1800–1859, American abolitionist, b. Torrington, Conn. He spent his boyhood in Ohio. Before he became prominent in the 1850s, his life had been a succession of business failures in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.
..... Click the link for more information. 's aides at Harpers Ferry. In Boston she opened (1861) one of the first kindergartens in the country. With her sister Mary she wrote Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide (1866). In 1867–68 she studied FroebelFroebel, Friedrich Wilhelm August
, 1782–1852, German educator and founder of the kindergarten system. He had an unhappy childhood and very little formal schooling, learning what he could from wide reading and close observation of nature; he studied for a short time at the
..... Click the link for more information. 's methods in Germany and on her return she established a Froebel Union and opened the first kindergarten training school in the country. From then on kindergarten training was the cause that took her traveling about the country. Two years after her death a Boston settlement, Elizabeth Peabody House, was established as a memorial; it moved to Somerville, Mass., in the 1950s and is still in operation.
See L. H. Tharp, The Peabody Sisters of Salem (1950); study by R. M. Baylor (1965); M. Marshall, The Peabody Sisters (2005).