Mann, Horace, 1796-1859

Alternative names
Birth 1796-05-04
Death 1859-08-02

Biographical notes:

Educator and innovator of the public school system in the United States.

From the description of Letter, 1844, Feb. 26, Boston, [Mass.?] to "My dear sister" [i.e. Mrs. Rebecca Pennelf], Wrentham, Mass. (Fisk University). WorldCat record id: 39863863

American educator and social reformer.

From the description of Autograph entry signed : Salem, Ohio, 1856 Mar. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 639351466

U.S. representative from Massachusetts, reformer, college president, and author.

From the description of Letters of Horace Mann, 1848-1856. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79454304

Educationist, lecturer and politician. First secretary of Massachusetts Board of Education (1837), introduced reform in school systems and established normal schools.

From the description of Letter, 1846. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 41418323

American educator, lawyer, state legislator, U.S. congressman, and college president; resident of Dedham, Boston, and West Newton, Mass., and president of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

From the description of Papers, 1822-1894 (bulk 1822-1838). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70973765

American educator.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : West Newton, to Harper & Brothers, 1853 Aug. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270607878

From the description of Autograph letters signed (2) : West Newton and Yellow Springs, to Horace Greeley, 1853 Aug. 20-1855 Feb. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270608556

Horace Mann was an educator and a statesman who greatly advanced the cause of universal, free, non-sectarian public schools. Mann also advocated temperance, abolition, hospitals for the mentally ill, and women's rights.

From the description of Horace Mann Letter, 1858. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 213372958

Secretary of the Mass. Board of Education (1837-1848); representative in Congress.

Graduate of Brown University (class of 1819).

From the description of Horace Mann family papers, 1829-1856 and n.d. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122632005

Horace Mann, "Father of our Public Schools," was born in Franklin, Massachusetts on May 4, 1796. His family was poor and his father died when Mann was thirteen. Up to the age of fifteen, he never attended school for more than ten weeks in a year. After attending the village school, he went to Williams Academy in Wrentham, Massachusetts, while he earned money braiding straw for the hat factories of Franklin. Mann entered Brown in 1814 but had to leave shortly thereafter due to illness. He re-enrolled at Brown in 1816 and graduated as valedictorian of his class in 1819. His Commencement address was entitled "The Gradual Advancement of the Human Species in Dignity and Happiness."

In 1821, Mann entered the law school of Judge James Gould of Litchfield, Connecticut. He opened his law practice in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1823. In 1830, Mann married Charlotte Messer, daughter of Brown University President Asa Messer. She died two years later. Following Charlotte's death, Mann moved to Boston to practice law with Edward G. Loring. Having been elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1827, Mann was involved with the passage of legislation creating the State Board of Education and the first state insane asylum in the United States.

In 1837, he began his ten year position of Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, during which he promoted common schools and the proper training of teachers. He brought about the establishment of the first state normal school in the United States, which was opened on July 3, 1839 in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 1843, he married Mary T. Peabody, one of "Peabody sisters of Salem." In 1848, he was elected to the House of Representatives to fill the term of John Quincy Adams, who had died in office. Antioch College, a new non-sectarian, coeducational college in Yellow Springs, Ohio appointed Mann president in 1853. He continued as president until 1859, when he delivered his last baccalaureate address, which included the often quoted words, "I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words; be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." He died in Yellow Springs on August 2, 1859. Two years later his body was removed to the Mann lot in the North Burial Ground in Providence, Rhode Island.

(Much of this biography was taken from the Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell)

From the guide to the Horace Mann family papers, Mann (Horace) family papers, (bulk 1829-1856), 1819-1856, (John Hay Library Special Collections)


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