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Alcott

school, boston, mind and philosopher

ALCOTT, Amos Bronson, Ameri can philosopher and educator: b. Wolcott, Conn., 29 Nov. 1799; d. 4 March 1888. In 1823 'he set up an infant school, teaching it by con versation; and it gained much local fame. In 1828 he removed to Boston, and till 1836 con ducted a school of the same sort, exciting wide attention by his genius for teaching, his revolu tionary methods, and his exaggerated respect for the infant mind. His system was dis favored by most people, and in 1836 he removed to Concord, Mass., thenceforth expounding re form views on all human subjects, society and theology, diet and education, politics, morals and metaphysics. He became an admired pub lic lecturer in the great days of the lecture plat form. In 1842 he visited England, where a Pestalozzian school near London had been named Alcott House. He returned with two English friends, one of which, Charles Lane, bought an estate in the town of Harvard, Mass, for a communistic settlement, and the others joined him; but it failed. Mr. Alcott lived in Boston for a while, but finally returned to Con cord, where he spent the remainder of his life as a ((peripatetic philosopher," as justly said: giving talks in different towns and cities on all human subjects when invited— first at random, but latterly formal, with printed topics and regular places and periods. The conversation

was nominally open, and questions in order; but it was soon found better to let it be a mono logue by Mr. Alcott, who was put out by inter ruptions and could not argue. The company lost nothing; for though entirely unsystematic, and having no set philosophy which could have been developed into a school, he was fertile in ideas of deep spiritual insight and noble loftiness and many leaders of thought, as Emerson, ac knowledged him as a source of some of their best inspirations. In this characteristic of in tellectual scrappiness, yet great molding in fluence, he may be compared with Coleridge and St. Simon. He was a leader among the Tran scendentalists; and that he was an ardent Abolitionist goes without saying. His grounds in Concord represented his independence of mind and whimsicality; they were fenced by himself with gnarled pine boughs of endless diversity of form, apparently picked up as he walked. He contributed 'Orphic to the Dial, of Boston (1839-42), and published many scattered papers; (1868); 'Con cord Da s,> recollections of that place (1872); (Table Talk> (1877) ; (Sonnets and (1877).