Friedrich Froebel

Letters to the Friend of Children and Humanity

translated by Johannes Froebel-Parker, from the German "Mein Lieber Herr Froebel!, Briefe an der Kinder und Menschenfreund"
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Lünen, Westphalia, April 18, 1851

Worthy Mr. Froebel!

My most heartfelt wishes for your birthday. Quite unexpectedly I received many gifts myself for my birthday and for Christmas. At the moment there are only 32 children in Kindergarten, 18 came in between Christmas and Easter. I hope more will come in at Easter.

I had the opportunity here to learn more for my training, little baskets, weaving and cutting out bookmarks and figures. I also learned how to cut out little dolls. Marie Christ could do this so well which really pleased me. The children also like this a lot.

Dear Mr. Froebel, it is now two years in process, and one can see daily how the children progressively sprout forth. Oh, it is a such a wonderful profession. We go outside quite frequently to find little flowers and sing: "We would all like to become etc." The children were very pleased with the portrait, but they said it would be nice if Uncle Froebel came to them in person. We still do not have a garden as there is not a nice place for one. There are many gardens along the water, and that is certainly dangerous.

Dear Mr. Froebel, I would be most pleased if you would write a few lines back to me. I ask you not to be upset with me. Many regards from the children in the Kindergarten, and thousands from me.

Your thankful pupil,
Gretchen Bielefeldt

This letter was answered with a picture of Marienthal sent from Keilhau with a merchant from Lippstadt.

Lünen, Westphalia, April 19, 1852

Most worthy Mr. Froebel!

Although I have not yet received an answer to my last letter, I hope you will not hold it against me that I send you a few lines in honor of your birthday. First of all my heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of your birthday. I hope you truly enjoy the day. Oh, were that I could be there too! The children would also like to go to you in order to congratulate you and to present to you their little creations. At the moment this is, however, not possible. For that reason, we are sending them to you. The napkin ring was made by a five year old girl. The woven things are from a number of children. The little basket was made by me. I hope that it brings you joy.

The Kindergarten is again well attended, 42 children are enrolled. Before Christmas many thought it would close its doors, because people did not want to pay in full and there were so few children participating. This would have been terrible.

Are you currently offering a course for young ladies? Oh, it is such a wonderful profession, and it is more beautiful every day. Dear Mr. Froebel, I would be most appreciative if you would drop a friendly line to let me know if this has arrived or not.

I remain your loving pupil,

Gretchen Bielefeldt, from Hamburg, participated in one training course and became a Kindergarten teacher in Lünen, Westphalia in Germany

read the German text in "Mein Lieber Herr Froebel!, Briefe an der Kinder und Menschenfreund" Berlin (DDR): Verlag Volk und Wissen, 1990

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