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The Transatlantic Kindergarten

The kindergarten-as institution, as educational philosophy, and as social reform movement-is certainly among the most important contributions of Germany to the world. At first, however, Germany proved an inhospitable environment for this new institution, which was founded by the educator and philosopher Friedrich Frobel around 1840. After the failure of the 1848 Revolutions, several German governments banned the kindergarten, alleging that it was a hotbed of subversion. German revolutionaries who were forced into exile introduced the kindergarten to America. Conservative governments considered the kindergarten subversive because of its links to the era's movements for women's rights. In an era when convention limited middle-class women to the domestic sphere, the kindergarten provided them with a rare opportunity, not only for professional work, but also for involvement in social reform in the fields of education, child welfare, and urban reform. Through three generations, American and German w
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About the Author

Ann Taylor Allen is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Louisville. During a career of forty years, she taught students of different age groups, backgrounds, and interests, developing her department's first course on women's history in the early 1970s. Her books include Feminism and Motherhood in Western Europe, 1890-1970: The Maternal Dilemma and Women in Twentieth-Century Europe.


"[A] valuable work of both new research and synthesis that culminates decades of labor."--James C. Alsbisetti, History of Education Quarterly

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