The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XXIII. Education
§ 32. The American Journal of Education
This was followed by The American Journal of Education (1826–30), making its appeal to the cultured classes and aiming to inform them on the subject of education and to persuade them of its fundamental importance. In the broadest social sense, not in the narrow technical one, it aimed to be educative. It proposed to diffuse enlarged and liberal views of education, to lay emphasis on physical education, moral education, domestic education, and personal education. Above all it considered the subject of “female education to be unspeakably important.” The Journal was continued in The American Annals of Education (1831–39), the editors of which were William C. Woodbridge and A. Bronson Alcott. Alcott’s other contribution to educational literature, The Records of a School, aroused to violent reaction the conservatives of his time, for in it were set forth educational doctrines which were not only radical after the type of Pestalozzi but revolutionary in the sense of the “modern schools” of Ferrer and other more recent radicals. From Alcott’s school Louisa M. Alcott is said to have chosen the characters for some of her stories for the young. The Journal and the Annals were as worthy educational publications as any that we have in our own time, and appealed to the interests of the entire educated class instead of to the teaching profession, which indeed can hardly be said to have existed then.
Similar to these, in content at least, was the first educational periodical of the Middle West, The Western Literary Magazine and Institute of Instruction, published in Cincinnati (1835–39). The quality of this journal is a surprising comment on the high character of the interests of the frontier region. Its efforts were largely directed toward the development of free public schools and the higher education of women.
These were succeeded by a number of other magazines whose interests were localized in particular states, whose appeal was to the teaching profession alone, and whose objects were merely the development of a particular school system and of the technique of teaching. By the close of this period practically every state had one or more such publication. Only one of these, the first and the most influential, need be mentioned. This was The Common School Journal of Massachusetts, founded and for ten years edited by Horace Mann. It became the channel of official report and leadership, the source of professional training and stimulation, and the chief means by which Mann carried on his prolonged struggle for the reform and betterment of popular education. Yet this journal, like all of its type, was distinctly below the grade of the group of magazines first mentioned.
In magnitude, scope, and quality, however, all were outclassed by one great publication, Henry Barnard’s American Journal of Education (1856–82). No other educational periodical so voluminous and exhaustive has issued from either private or public sources. It will ever constitute a mine of information concerning this and earlier periods in both Europe and America. Through this and his other publications, as well as through his position as first Commissioner of Education at the head of the National Bureau (founded 1867), Barnard exerted widespread íinfluence on the developing educational interests of America. So valuable are the volumes of this magazine that when in subsequent years it was proposed to destroy the plates from which they were printed, a private subscription by appreciative friends of education in England saved them.