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Harrison, Elizabeth (1849-1927) Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Publications

Manuscripts/Typescripts

A Course for Mothers Given by the Chicago Kindergarten College

Journals/Notebooks/Scrapbooks

Miscellaneous records and related materials

Oversized materials, 1890-1925

Ledgers of the Chicago Kindergarten College



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Harrison, Elizabeth (1849-1927) Papers, 1849-1927 | National Louis University Archives and Special Collections

By Mark Burnette; Revised by M.Ryan 2015, 2017

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Collection Overview

Title: Harrison, Elizabeth (1849-1927) Papers, 1849-1927View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1880-1927

ID: 12/001

Primary Creator: Harrison, Elizabeth (1849-1927)

Other Creators: Crouse, Mrs. John Nathan (Rumah)

Extent: 7.0 Linear Feet

Subjects: College presidents, Harrison, Elizabeth, 1849-1927, Kindergarten, Teachers, Teachers colleges

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Elizabeth Harrison Papers consist of Correspondence; Publications (Pamphlets/Articles/ Addresses); Manuscripts; “A Course for Mothers Given by the Chicago Kindergarten College” (1891); Journals, Notebooks and Scrapbooks; and Miscellaneous items (documents pertaining to the Chicago Kindergarten Club, the Chicago Kindergarten Training School and the Kindergarten College, personal papers of Elizabeth Harrison, and writings by Mrs. J.N. Crouse, Susan Blow, and William T. Harris).  Within each category, materials are organized chronologically.

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Harrison was born in Athens, Kentucky, September 1, 1849. At an early age, her family moved to Midway, Kentucky, and in 1856 to Davenport, Iowa. From her childhood, she suffered from poor health: chronic asthma and bronchitis, and in later years from recurring pneumonia.

In Davenport, she attended public schools and graduated from the local high school, whose faculty and administration were populated by the “Acht und Verzigers,” Germans who immigrated following the 1848 revolution in Germany.  However, her father’s business reversals prevented her from attending college, and she devoted the next years of her life to caring for her sisters’ children in Marshalltown, Iowa.

In the summer of 1879, Harrison visited a high school classmate living in Chicago who persuaded her to attend the kindergarten training class organized by Alice Putnam.  Putnam had opened the first kindergarten in Chicago in 1874 and began offering courses in her Kindergarten Training School at the Loring School on Prairie Avenue, Chicago, in 1879 (the following year Putnam founded the Chicago Froebel Association). Harrison returned to Chicago in September 1879 to attend Putnam’s Training School, completed the 36-week training course, and received both a diploma and a certificate to train kindergarten teachers.

In 1881-82 Harrison attended Susan Blow’s school in St. Louis, the first public kindergarten in the United States, which opened in 1873.  In order to pay for her attendance at Blow’s school, Harrison opened a summer kindergarten in Marshalltown, Iowa, and in six months Harrison completed the two-year program.  The following year she returned to the Loring School but almost immediately traveled to New York to study with Maria Boelte and her husband John Kraus.  In 1854-56 Boelte had studied with Frau Louise Froebel, the widow of Frederich Froebel (1782-1852, founder of the kindergarten movement in Germany).  Thus, within three years, Harrison had studied with the pioneers of the kindergarten education movement in the United States.

After returning to Chicago in 1883, Harrison and Putnam organized the Chicago Kindergarten Club, which initially attracted 30 members. The following year, Harrison began offering mothers’ classes to educate parents about the kindergarten, and in the fall of 1885 or 1886—National-Louis University and its predecessor colleges traditionally have traced their origins to the latter date, but the sources are contradictory—Miss Harrison’s Training Class (or School) opened with five students and two mothers.

By 1887, there were 48 kindergartens in Chicago and its suburbs (private, church, settlement house, and the first in a public school) and four kindergarten training schools. Harrison soon met Mrs. John N. (Rumah) Crouse—wife of a prominent Chicago dentist, founder and president (1877-1907) of the Women’s Baptist Home Missionary Society in Chicago, and mother of one of Harrison’s kindergarten students—and the two women began planning an expanded curriculum.  By 1889 they had opened the Chicago Kindergarten Training School in the Chicago Art Institute, at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. Although they shared many of the responsibilities of operating the school, Harrison focused on teaching and publicizing the kindergarten programs while Mrs. Crouse attended to the financial management, publicity, student recruitment, facilities management, and fund raising for the school. 

Eighteen eighty-seven also saw the first of several literary schools, focusing on various historical literary figures, sponsored by the Chicago Kindergarten Club and the Chicago Kindergarten Training School. These began to attract the notice of the local Chicago newspapers.  In 1889, Harrison began to offer courses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for kindergarten teachers and mothers, and in 1890 she traveled to Germany to meet with Baroness Bertha von Marenholtz-Bulow and Henrietta Breyman Schrader, a niece of Froebel, and visited the Schrader Kindergarten Training School.

Harrison played a major role in the kindergarten exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  By then, there were 100 kindergartens in the Chicago area, and Chicago Kindergarten College students were supervising 50 of them. In 1894 Harrison organized the first national Mother’s Convocation in Chicago, forerunner of the Parent and Teachers Association (PTA), which drew 1,200 attendees. She was becoming a national figure.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were more then 5,000 public school kindergartens in the U.S. and more than 200 kindergarten training schools, and Chicago Kindergarten College alumni were holding positions of influence in the state and local Normal Schools, which were beginning to graduate kindergarten teachers.

Harrison was a founding member of the International Kindergarten Union in 1892, and in later years charted a moderate course between the conservative (strictly Froebelian) wing of the kindergarten movement, represented by Susan Blow, and the more liberal wing associated with John Dewey.

In 1912-13 Harrison visited Rome to observe the school of Maria Montessori, and in 1914 her study of the Montessori Method was published by the U.S. Bureau of Education. The following year the National Kindergarten College, successor to the Chicago Kindergarten College, began offering classes in the Montessori Method. 

In 1917, a Children’s School was opened under the supervision of Clara Belle Baker, the younger sister of Edna Dean Baker, who had become Associate President of the National Kindergarten and Elementary College and would succeed Elizabeth Harrison as its president in 1920.

Following a heart attack in 1919, Elizabeth Harrison retired as president of the National Kindergarten and Elementary College in 1920. She spent the remaining years of her life principally in San Antonio, Texas, occasionally traveling to other parts of the U.S.  Until the end of her life she revised her memoir, Sketches Along Life’s Road, which was eventually published in 1930, three years after her death on October 31, 1927.

Subject/Index Terms

College presidents
Harrison, Elizabeth, 1849-1927
Kindergarten
Teachers
Teachers colleges

Administrative Information

Repository: National Louis University Archives and Special Collections

Processing Information: Described at the folder level.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Publications],
[Series 3: Manuscripts/Typescripts],
[Series 4: A Course for Mothers Given by the Chicago Kindergarten College],
[Series 5: Journals/Notebooks/Scrapbooks],
[Series 6: Miscellaneous records and related materials],
[Series 7: Oversized materials, 1890-1925],
[Series 8: Ledgers of the Chicago Kindergarten College],
[All]

Series 2: PublicationsView associated digital content.
Box 3: Children's Stories/Pamphlets/Articles/Addresses
Folder 1: Elizabeth Harrison, A List of Books for Children, n.p.., 1889View associated digital content.
Folder 2: Elizabeth Harrison, Suggestions for Summer Reading, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, n.d. [After 1890 as Harrison's Study of Child Nature is listed] (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., [After 1890]View associated digital content.
Folder 3: Elizabeth Harrison, "The Kindergarten, Its Importance as a Life Foundation Cannot be Overestimated," Chicago Kindergarten College, n.d.., [1891 to 1911]
Folder 4: Elizabeth Harrison, The Root of the Temperance Question From a Kindergarten Standpoint, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1891 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press).  Also an 1890 [?] version published by The Chicago Kindergarten Training School., 1890; 1891View associated digital content.
Folder 5: Elizabeth Harrison, A Study of Child Nature From a Kindergarten Standpoint, Chicago:  n.p. (Title page, Contents and Introduction)., 1891View associated digital content.
Folder 6: Elizabeth Harrison, The Kindergarten as an Influence in Modern Civilization ("Opening Lecture before the Mother's Department of the Chicago Kindergarten College, October 1st, 1891"), Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, n.d., 4 copies., 1891-10-01View associated digital content.
Folder 7: Elizabeth Harrison, The Legend of the Christ Child:  A Story for Christmas Eve / Adapted from the German by Elizabeth Harrison ("Presented to the Members of the Mother's Department of the Chicago Kindergarten College, Art Institute, Chicago, Christmas, 1893), Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, copyright 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press); also copies from 1890 (Chicago Kindergarten Training School) and 1891(Chicago Kindergarten College)., 1890; 1891; 1893-12View associated digital content.
Folder 8: Elizabeth Harrison, A List of Toys Suggested by the Mothers in the Second and Third Year's Course of Study, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press), 2 copies., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 9: Elizabeth Harrison, Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  Story of a Raindrop, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 10: Elizabeth Harrison, Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  Science Lessons, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893
Related Material: See Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  Story of a Raindrop for digital versions of this series.
Folder 11: Elizabeth Harrison, Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  The Caterpillar and Butterfly, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893
Related Material: See Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  Story of a Raindrop for digital versions of this series.
Folder 12: Elizabeth Harrison, Kindergarten Talks and Tales: Story of Friedrich Froebel, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 ("Kindergarten Talks and Tales") (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press).  And an earlier version, Chicago:  Chicago Printing Co., 1889., 1889; 1893
Related Material: See Kindergarten Talks and Tales:  Story of a Raindrop for digital versions of this series.
Folder 13: Elizabeth Harrison, Relationship Between the Kindergarten and Great Literature / Number One / Homer, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press), 3 copies., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 14: Elizabeth Harrison, Relationship Between the Kindergarten and Great Literature / Number Two / Dante, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 15: Elizabeth Harrison, Relationship Between the Kindergarten and Great Literature / Number Three / Shakespeare, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 16: Elizabeth Harrison, Story of Christopher Columbus for Little Children, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 17: Elizabeth Harrison, Toys and their Place in the Education of the Child / From / "Study of Child Nature," Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press), 4 copies., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 18: Elizabeth Harrison, Christmas-Tide, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1893 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1893View associated digital content.
Folder 19: Elizabeth Harrison, The Vision of Dante / A Story for Little Children and a Talk to their Mothers, Second Ed., Illustrated by Walter Crane, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1894 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press); First Ed. copyright Elizabeth Harrison, 1892., 1892; 1894View associated digital content.
Folder 20: Elizabeth Harrison, "In Storyland, A Digest of Miss Elizabeth Harrison's Book of Stories for Children," apparent reprint (After 1895, refers to 5th edition), 12 copies., [After 1895]View associated digital content.
Folder 21: Elizabeth Harrison, Questions on a Study of Child-Nature / Arranged by the Woman's Council and Mothers' Circles of Akron, Ohio, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, copyright The Mothers' Circle Committee, 1897 (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press)., 1897View associated digital content.
Folder 22: Elizabeth Harrison, Shop Windows, (Address delivered before the Mothers' Department of the Chicago Kindergarten College, December 12, 1900), Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, n.d. (R.R. Donnelley, Lakeside Press) 5 copies., 1900-12-12View associated digital content.
Folder 23: Elizabeth Harrison, "The Scope and Results of Mothers' Classes," Proceedings of the National Educational Association, 1903, pp. 400-404., 1903View associated digital content.
Folder 24: Elizabeth Harrison, "Some Evolutions in the Kindergarten Work" (An address delivered before the International Kindergarten Union, at Pittsburgh, Pa.), Kindergarten Review,  November 1903, pp. 175-182., 1903-11View associated digital content.
Folder 25: Elizabeth Harrison, Organized Hand Work For Public Schools from First to Eighth Grades, No. 1 - Bead Stringing, Chicago:  Chicago Kindergarten College, 1904., 1904View associated digital content.
Folder 26: Elizabeth Harrison, How Little Cedric became a Knight, Chicago:  A. Flanagan Co., 1905 (Little Classic Series)., 1905View associated digital content.
Folder 27: Elizabeth Harrison, The Stone Cutter, A Japanese Legend, Chicago:  Central Publishing Co., 1906 ("With Musical Accompaniment Arranged by Francis M. Arnold," though none in the book), 6 copies., 1906View associated digital content.
Folder 28: Elizabeth Harrison, "How Shall We Best Conserve our Nation's Moral Forces?" ("An Address Delivered Before the National Congress of Mothers in Denver, June 12, 1910"), reprinted from Child Welfare Magazine, October 1910., 1910-06-12View associated digital content.
Folder 29: "The Open Door," Address by Elizabeth Harrison, President of the National Kindergarten College (formerly the Chicago Kindergarten College), before the International Kindergarten Union., [ca. 1912 to 1917]
Folder 30: Elizabeth Harrison, The Montessori Method and the Kindergarten, Washington, D.C.:  Government Printing Office, 1914 (U.S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1919, No. 28), 1914View associated digital content.
Folder 31: Elizabeth Harrison, "Kindergarten Methods in the Home," The Continent, July 30, 1914, p. 1063., 1914-07-30
Folder 32: Elizabeth Harrison, Legend of the Christ Child (sheet music, arranged for piano by Francis M. Arnold), Evanston:  National College of Education, n.d. (1930 edition or later; originally published in 1916), 11 pp., [After 1930]
Folder 33: Elizabeth Harrison, How are We Educating our Young Girls? ("From the introduction to 'When Children Err,' by Elizabeth Harrison, President, National Kindergarten and Elementary College"), n.d., [ca. 1917-1920]View associated digital content.
Box 4: Pamphlets/Articles/Addresses
Folder 1: Color in Song and Prose Collected by the Class of 1905 of The Chicago Kindergarten College (3 copies)., 1905
Folder 2: Child-Garden of Story, Song, and Play, Vol. V, No. 3 (February 1897)  Published by Andrea Hofer Proudfoot, 1400 Auditorium, Chicago., 1897-02
Folder 3: Kindergarten Journal, Spring 1910 (1 copy)., 1910
Related Materials: See Image Library for scans of the Kindergarten Journal
Folder 4: Kindergarten Journal, Summer 1910 (2 copies)., 1910
Related Materials: See Image Library for scans of the Kindergarten Journal
Folder 5: Kindergarten Journal, Vol. 1 no. 3, Autumn 1910 (3 copies)., 1910
Related Materials: See Image Library for scans of the Kindergarten Journal
Folder 6: Kindergarten Journal, Vol. 6 no. 1, Winter 1910-11 (4 copies)., 1910 to 1911
Related Materials: See Image Library for scans of the Kindergarten Journal
Folder 7: Kindergarten Journal, Vol. 7 no. 2, Summer 1911 (1 copy)., 1911
Related Materials: See Image Library for scans of the Kindergarten Journal

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Publications],
[Series 3: Manuscripts/Typescripts],
[Series 4: A Course for Mothers Given by the Chicago Kindergarten College],
[Series 5: Journals/Notebooks/Scrapbooks],
[Series 6: Miscellaneous records and related materials],
[Series 7: Oversized materials, 1890-1925],
[Series 8: Ledgers of the Chicago Kindergarten College],
[All]

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