Mann, Horace

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Mann, Horace

Horace Mann (măn), 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. He studied law, was admitted (1823) to the Massachusetts bar, and practiced in Dedham, Mass., and in Boston. He entered the state legislature in 1827, became speaker of the senate (1835), and was made secretary of the newly created (1837) state board of education at a time when the public school system was in very bad condition. Within his 12-year period of service, public interest was aroused, a movement for better teaching and better-paid teachers was instigated, school problems and statistics were brought to light and discussed, training schools for teachers were established, and schoolhouses and equipment were immeasurably improved. In 1843, Mann studied educational conditions abroad, and in 1848 he was elected to Congress as an antislavery Whig. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Massachusetts in 1852. In 1853 he became the first president of Antioch College, where he also taught philosophy and theology. He died there, having achieved considerable success in demonstrating the practicality of coeducation and in raising the academic standards of the college. His second wife was Mary T. Peabody, sister of Elizabeth Peabody.

Bibliography

See M. T. P. Mann et al., ed., The Life and Works of Horace Mann (5 vol., 1891); biographies by J. Messerli (1972) and R. B. Downs (1974); B. A. Hinsdale, Horace Mann and the Common School Revival in the United States (1937); Selective and Critical Bibliography of Horace Mann (comp. by the Federal Writers' Project of Massachusetts, 1937).

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