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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Hamburg April 19, 1852

My fatherly friend

First of all I would like to extend my most heartfelt and sincere wishes for your birthday: may you return to many more to all of our joy.

It has been a really, really long time since I have heard from you, moreover seen you, as I have heard of you from others from time to time. It seemed too much to expect a letter from your hand given the immense correspondence you must deal with. For this reason I did not even come to the idea. Then I heard from Mr. H. HOFFMANN, that your hesitation may have had a another cause: that you might think my train of thought were no longer in congruence with yours.

You can well imagine how painful that was for me, because it has always been a point of pride to me that in Keilhau and later in my kindergarten you were content with me. I would not deny that my feelings about religion and life have changed somewhat; that is quite natural. I came from a tiny and provincial village where one heard nothing about the chaos of life. I learned to see things in another way, because I did away with old prejudices. I do not believe that this would be a reason for you to be cross with me, especially because of your tolerance with which you view each individual. Secondly the result of such tolerance is so positive.

Without false pride I can say that kindergarten is flowering and flourishing. I had just told Frau Dormitzer, that I would have no peace, that I must ask our dear, old Froebel about it and ask him to address himself to it.

Now I would like to ask you something more. For over a year I have had a nice young lady in my kindergarten. She understands all the practical tasks, but would like to go to you for a quarter year. I would like to ask you when this would be most convenient for you and how much it would cost, etc.

Furthermore I would to ask if you might have a diligent kindergarten teacher for a Citizensí Kindergarten? Finally receive my and Frau Dormitzerís regards for you and our dear Luise.

I am a little late telling you that I am a happy bride. You joked with me about it two years ago; my husband is here with me now for just 3 weeks.

With the hope of receiving a few lines from your own hand in the near future I remain your
Anna Hesse
Kindergarten Teacher
First Citizensí Kindergarten


Anna Hesse participated in the Keilhau Course in 1846, and also in the Childrens' Festival (Kinder Fest) in Quetz 1847. She was a kindergarten teacher in Annaburg near Torgau from 1846; then from 1851 in the First Citizens' Kindergarten in Hamburg. She was also in Gotha for a short time.

In letter from Marie Christ in Luenen to Froebel dated March 16, 1848 - Dear Anna [HESSE] is doing well, as she is happy in her profession as I am. Is not that a wonderful feeling, dear Mr. Froebel, that all your daughters are so happy?

In a letter from Allwina Middendorf (Froebelís goddaughter) in Keilhau to Froebel, dated April 8, 1851 - With joy during my last trip to Hamburg I was able to visit a number of kindergartens . I felt the best at Anna Hesseís and Luise Hertleinís, because they are both so dedicated to their professions. I do not want to detract from the diligence of the others, but to my mind they are to swept up by the comings and goings of daily Hamburg life, and can not find their rest. I do not want to make even the slightest accusation to them, because even I have felt how difficult it is not to lose the rudder in such a storm which is unknown to us in our fair valleys. I am personally convinced that any young lady who gets sucked into this strudel cannot find quiet for herself nor return to dry land without a strong and sure hand.

other documents
  • An extension of her contract "to continue the direction of the First Civic Kindergarten" which is dated 1st October, 1850 and signed H.A. Meyerl, President
  • An acknowledgement of her resignation signed S. Dormitier Hamburg 23rd April, 1856
  • And another signed H. Hoffman, President of the Board of Combined Hamburg Kindergarten, signed 30th April, 1856

DOENAU, F. A. W, Two Wells. Pub. Vacc. Matriculated at the Univ. of Berlin in 1848; studied four years; passed tentamen philosophicum et medicum in 1852; was then appointed Asst. Surg. in the 7th Reg. of Prussian Artillery; left the service in 1855, and for South Australia in 1856, in charge of 300 immigrants. Has been practising in S. Australia since 1857;

Anna Doenau's (nee Hesse) obituary in the local newspaper in 1912 (she was 83) stated that she was born in Annaberg. She raised her 9 children of whom 6 survived to live more than 70 years.

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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