… and its affiliates have started arriving. So far, got 3 John C. Wrights. one Michael Flynn, which I will eagerly read over the course of the remainder of this decade (hey, reality check) – and: Henry Barnard. I may be the first person since his biographer Robert B. Downs’ immediate family and friends to be excited to see this book.
Henry Barnard was the first US Commissioner of Education, March 11, 1867–1870.
This nice cloth-bound book was published in 1977, and added to the Emmanuel College library in Franklin Springs, Georgia, where, judging by the pristine card pocket with places for due date to be stamped, it sat undisturbed for decades. Dewey decimal key on the spine.
Had to give it a quick perusal. Has a chapter on European Influences, which names some names I haven’t investigated yet. French names.
Let me say this about that: if I have to read a bunch of French educational theorists and philosophers on top of all the Germans I’ve plowing through, a double plenary indulgence will not be nearly enough compensation. OK, alright – the briefest examination of conscience makes clear that my sins do warrant this, and worse.
I’ve been a bad, bad, boy. Sure hope both my loyal readers appreciate all the work I’m doing here – for them.
Kidding aside, Barnard was an admirer of Victor Cousin, a French philosopher and educational theorist who said, among other things:
All men have an equal right to the free development of their faculties; they have an equal right to the impartial protection of the state; but it is not true, it is against all the laws of reason and equity, it is against the eternal nature of things.
The beautiful cannot be the way to what is useful, or to what is good, or to what is holy; it leads only to itself.
Which reminds me of our buddy William Torrey Harris (it seems American educational reformers, like serial killers, typically go by 3 names):
“The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places … It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.”
If we’re looking for somebody who emphasizes the 3 Rs, this may not be the place.
Anyway, more as soon as I get a minute to, you know, actually READ the book.