ABSTRACT

Previously unattributed items by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody appear in the Boston Observer, Christian Register, and Western Messenger in 1835. One side of Peabody revealed in these articles is of the experimental educator who not only was embroiled in the drama over Bronson Alcott’s teaching at the Temple School but apparently had stirred up a small controversy of her own the year prior to the publication of Conversations with Children on the Gospels (1836–37). There might be nothing quite remarkable about these transcripts except for the fact that, in one of her dialogues with her students, Peabody tells a graphically violent story about infanticide among Cuba’s enslaved population, comments that she later attempts to defend. Another side of Peabody that these writings reveal is the portrait of a young religious author inspired to write her own devotional literature. This takes the form of an early correspondence with William Ellery Channing. And there is even another side to Peabody represented in these writings. It is that of a moral instructor imparting her wisdom on the formation of moral character. Taken together, these publications are a significant addition to our knowledge of Peabody at a critical time in the transcendentalist period of her life.

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