Anna Brackett
Hegelian Philosophy of Education

Kate Lindemann's 

Women Philosophers


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Anna Brackett was a philosopher, translator and educator. She was also a feminist.


1836 Anna Callendar Brackett was the oldest of five children born to Caroline L and Samuel E Brackett. Her father was a merchant in the dry goods business. The family had enough income resources to employ an maid from Ireland.

Anna had a good formal education. She attended an elite private school in Boston and then went to the state normal school at Framingham, Massachusetts. After graduation she taught at Framingham for awhile.

1861 Anna Brackett took a job teaching in Charleston, South Carolina. When the Civil Was started she left this job and went through St. Louis to Boston. While in St. Louis she became acquainted with the St. Louis Hegelians.

1863 She made history when was appointed principal of the St. Louis Normal School, a first for a woman in the United States.

1864 Anna Brackett begins presenting to the board of education her idea that a normal school is not 'just another high school'. She wanted to professionalize teaching . During her tenure she worked to ensure that students being prepared for teaching (mostly women) would have exposure to 'higher education' and liberal studies during their preparation for teaching. In her vision, a Normal school was not to be just a place to learn techniques.

1867 She made two proposals to the Board of education. First that there should be an age requirement for entrance to the normal school. Second, she proposed that there should be an entrance examination before admittance to the St. Louis Normal School.

1868 In her annual report to the Board, Bracket criticizes an over reliance on empirical methods, eg. Object Lessons which she, herself, had used in the early 60's. She disagreed with some of the ardent followers of Petalozzi and like Susan Blow wanted to develop thinking skills - the ability to work with concepts in those would would be teachers.

Also in this year William Torrey Harris (leader of the St. Louis Hegelians) was appointed Superintendent of Schools in St. Louis. Bracket now has an ally.

1871 - Anna Brackett's proposed age requirement for admission was adopted. In this year she addressed the St. Louis Woman's club about Margaret Fuller. The paper was published in the Radical in that same year.

1872 - The Board accepted and adopted an entrance exam for the normal school was adopted. but in this year Anna Brackett and Ida Eliot, her domestic partner, moved to New York City. Brackett had resigned as principal of the Normal school when changes were made in the curriculum that went against her beliefs. Louis Soldan became the new head of the school and a few years later the Normal school was subsumed under the St. Louis High School system.

- She published The Education of American Girls . This publication led to a position as the New York editor of New England Journal of Education

- She and Ida Eliot opened a private school for girls. Although small it was a great success. It academic standards were so high, that graduates were admitted to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie directly from the school. No qualifying examination was required.

1873 Anna Brackett and Eliot adopt a 3 year old girl, Hope, who was a protege of Ida Eliot's. They later adopted a second girl named Bertha who was born in 1875.

1911 Anna Brackett died. Read the complete obituary as carried in the New York Times at Anna Brackett Obituary

Sources: Dorothy G. Rogers America's First Women Philosophers: Transplanting Hegel, 1860-1925 (Continuum Studies in American Philosophy)

Writings of Anna Brackett

1869. "Address on the Normal School" Journal of Education. 1:10:130.

1870 "Examinations" Journal of Education 2:5:81.

--- "Analysis of an Article on Hegel" Journal of Speculative Philosophy. 5: 38 -48.

1871 "How not to do it, illustrated in the art of questioning" Journal of Education.

---- "Woman's Work" St. Louis Ladies' Magazine, 1: 3: 150.

1872 "Margaret Fuller Ossoli" The Radical, 9:354.

---- "The American Normal School" Proceedings of the National Educational Association, 181 -9.

---- "The Normal School Journal of Education, 3:7:7.

------ Pedagogics as a System trans. of this work by Karl Rosenkranz. St. Louis: R.P. Dudley.

1872 - 1874. "Rosenkrantz' Pedagogik als System". trans. Journal of Speculative Philosophy. vols 6 -8.

1873 "Our Girls" Harper's. 47: 700 - 704.

1874 Education of American Girls New York: Putnam.

----- "Vera's Criticism of Trendelenburg" Journal of Speculative Philosophy 8:275.

1875 "The Other Side" New England Journal of Education. April: 181.

---- "Recitation versus Lecture". New England Journal of Education, April: 181.

----- "Doctors and Teachers, the relation of the medical and educational professions". New England Journal of Education. August: 73

---- "What is to be Done with It?" New England Journal of Education. December: 21.

1875 - 1878 "Rozenkranz on Goether's Faust" trans. in Journal of Speculative Philosophy. vols 9 -12.

1876 Poetry for Home and Schools New York, Putnam.

---- "Educations at Vassar College". Harper's. 52:346.

---- "Practical versus Theoretical". New England Journal of Education. February:54; February:78.

1877 "The Normal School is Losing Favor" New England Journal of Education. February:54; February:78.

---- "Sins of Omission". New England Journal of Education. March: 414.

---- "Liberal Education for Women"> Harper's. 54: 346.

---- "Mechanism in America". New England Journal of Education. April: 163

--- "Girls in Boston Latin School". New England Journal of Education. February"83.

---- "Rosenkranz's Pedagogics as a System". Journal of Speculative Philosophy. 12:67; 12:297.

1878 The Science of Education. St. Louis: Gi. I. Jones.

1880. "Co-education of the sexes in college" Education 1:156.

---- "Education of the Indians". Harper's 61: 697.

---- "The Indian and the Negro", Harper's 61: 627.

--- "Rosenkranz's Pedagogies as a System" Journal of Speculative Philosophy 14: 191.

1881 "Rosenkranz's Pedagogies as a System" Journal of Speculative Philosophy 15:35.

1883. "Translation as Art" Book Buyer. 16:97.

1888. "The Technique of Education in France" Nation. 46:502.

---- "New Education". New England Journal of Education. April: 243.

1890. "The Relation of School and Hume" The Christina Union, July.

1892. The Technique of Rest New York: Harper.

---- "Private School for Girls" Harper's 84:943.

1893. trans. The Philosophy of Education by Karl Rosenkrannz. New York: Appleton.

---- Woman and the higher education New York, Harper.

I wish to acknowledge Dorothy Roger's book,America's First Women Philosophers for much of this information. 

This page was updated January 10, 2015

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