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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Schnepfenthal, October 26, 1840

Is it not true, my deeply esteemed cousin? You have directed yourself to a very bad correspondent. I am almost ashamed to write to you, because I have let it go so long. Yes, this shame has held me back for such a long time that it has become even later. I am not sure how to say that I am sorry. I feel my wrong even more deeply in that I am so moved by your grand endeavor. The thought has often oppressed me, that it was really superfluous to send us the request, because it goes without question that we are happily dedicating our entire soul to it. My good husband, who sends you his best regards, and I have signed up for a share of stock. We wish with all our heart that you will be able to collect enough to bring your great work to fruition.

It would cause me great pleasure if I were to have the opportunity to travel to your beautiful region and see your noble work with my own eyes. May God grant his richest blessings to this hope. My limited time was shortened even more this summer through a series of circumstances which accumulated. They caused me uneasiness and tension. This is the main reason for my delayed answer. Dear cousin, I beg you to not be cross with me. Remain convinced of the inner esteem which I have always felt for you and with which I remain with great admiration your,

Thusnelda Salzmann

Note: Thusnelda nee Lenz wrote three letters to Froebel from Schnepfenthal. Wife of the institute director, Carl Salzmann, who was son of Christian Gotthilf Salzmann (1744 - 1811). She was distantly related to Froebel, and hence the term "cousin" (Vetter). She further supported the kindergarten. translated by Johannes Froebel Parker

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

Christian Gotthilf Salzmann (born at Sömmerda near Erfurt, 1 June, 1744; died at Schnepfenthal 31 Oct, 1811) founded a school in 1784 at Schnepfenthal in the Duchy of Gotha. It was intentionally established in a rural environment. In contrast to the severe discipline of many schools, children were trained in a friendly and gentle manner, instruction was made attractive, study as easy and pleasant as possible. The standard in forming the course of study was the practical and useful. Languages were taught more by practice and speaking than by the learning of grammatical rules. Special attention was also given to the more practical studies; arithmetic, geometry, geography, drawing, and natural science. Special stress was laid on physical development.

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