|Anna Callender Brackett|
|Born||Jan 1, 1836
|Died||March 18, 1911
Summit, New Jersey
|Parents||Samuel E. Brackett
Caroline L. Brackett
Anna Brackett (1836-1911) was a female philosopher known for being a translator, feminist, and an educator. She is known for being one of the most important educators among women, but her philosophical achievements are oftentimes overlooked. She translated Karl Rosenkranz's Pedagogics as a System and wrote The Education of American Girls, a response to arguments against the coeducation of males and females.
Anna Callendar Brackett was born in 1836 to Samuel and Caroline Brackett and the oldest of five children. She attended a private school in Boston and then state school in Framingham, Massachusetts. In 1861, Anna started teaching in Charleston, South Carolina. At the start of the Civil War, she left for St. Louis where she met with the St. Louis Hegelians.
One of her biggest accomplishments came in 1863 when she became the principal of the St. Louis Normal School, the first female principal of a teacher's college in the United States. During her tenure, Brackett worked to ensure female students had access to higher education and liberal studies as preparation for professional teaching. She made two proposals to the Board of Education that were eventually adopted. The first proposal was an age requirement for entrance to the school. Second, there should be an entrance exam for admission to the St. Louis Normal School. In 1872 Anna Brackett resigned as principal after there were changes in the curriculum that went against her beliefs. She moved to New York City with her domestic partner, Ida Eliot. The pair adopted their first daughter, Hope, in 1873 and their second daughter, Bertha, in 1875. In New York, Brackett started The Brackett School for Girls, located at 9 West 39th Street. Among her pupils was Ruth Sawyer, in whose Newbery Award-winning semi-autobiographical children's novel, Roller Skates, Brackett is remembered fondly as an imposing but beloved educator. Anna Brackett retired from teaching in 1894 and passed away in 1911.
In 1874, Brackett published The Education of American Girls, an essay that applied Rosenkranz's theory of education to girls. In this essay, Brackett observes that a young woman must be guided through two steps of the learning process, the "perceptive stage" and "conceptual stage." In her opinion, no girl can excel in life without attaining both of these steps. Her thoughts were that an education which merely stops at the conceptual stage is not adequate. If undereducated and untrained in abstract thinking, women are at risk to becoming arbitrary if they were to become active in public affairs. Brackett made the point that if women are confined only to the family circle and taking care of the home, they will not be able to fully develop morally and intellectually. This would cause girls to lose their chance at asserting their independence or compete with others and gain the confidence needed to be successful in the public realm. Men, however, automatically enter into the public realm where they become independent persons, separate from the family. Brackett makes the argument that without being able to grow outside their homes, women face two dangers. The first danger is they grow to be ineffective in the public realm and perpetuate the stereotype of the "incompetent woman." The second danger is to a woman's well-being, risking becoming vulnerable to exploitation by men. This essay was the foundation to Brackett's belief that coeducation is important and necessary in the American education system.
- Rogers, Dorothy G. (2005). America's First Women Philosophers: Transplanting Hegel, 1860-1925. Continuum. ISBN 978-1-84714-300-6.