In the Cause of True Education: Henry Barnard and the 19th Century School Reform

Edith Nye MacMullen, Author
Edith Nye MacMullen, Author Yale University Press $45 (378p) ISBN 978-0-300-04809-4
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Connecticut educator Henry Barnard (1811-1900) was ``an important figure in the phenomenon known as the Common School Reform,'' notes Yale history lecturer MacMullen, yet, as she shows, his attempts to develop informed and cultivated teachers was often at odds with that selfsame constituency, which in the antebellum period was increasingly female. If for some 30 years his preeminence as a historian and as a professional peer of Horace Mann went unchallenged, Bernard ultimately was overtaken by the political ferment of his times and retreated into obscurity. In a respectful, scholarly study, MacMullen, unfortunately, fails to make sufficiently interesting the country's first Commissioner of Education, a once notable reformer whom his biographer characterizes as ``a type more than an individual.'' (Jan.)
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