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    Friedrich Froebel. Mutter - Und Kose-Lieder. Dichtung und Bilder zur edlen Pflege des Kindheitlebens. Ein Familienbuch. Blankenburg bei Rudolfstadt: Die Anstalt zur Pflege des Beschäftigungstriebes der Kindheit und Jugend, [1844]. First edition of one of the landmark books in the History of Education, intended to be as much a book for mothers as for teachers, showing the significance of the kindergarten and its claim for being the cornerstone upon which all primary child rearing should rest. Folio. Full red morocco, elaborately decorated in gilt, spine with five bands and spine compartments elaborately decorated in gilt, spine lettered in gilt; rubbed and worn, somewhat scuffed, joints just starting, corners bumped and rubbed, head and tail of spine pushed. Original green printed wrappers bound-in; rubbed and scratched, some chipping and staining. Stains to textblock affecting first few leaves, scattered foxing and soiling throughout. Good.

    "In 1837 Froebel was back in the district where he was born and opened his first infant school at Blankenburg. It was here that he instituted his Kindergarten. He published, at his own expense, the charming Fondling Songs for Mothers with the motto 'Come, let us bring life to our children!' Froebel's basic principle was to teach children by means of instructive games. Each child had his own chair and its own acknowledged place at the common play-table. Thus interest was immediately aroused by participation in a game, sometimes re-enforced by supplying the child with a variety of familiar objects - balls of colored wool, matchsticks, wooden bricks, strips of colored paper, etc. - with which they were encouraged to make patterns and constructions to their own design. The attention awakened by these activities was enlarged by persuading them to answer a series of questions carefully framed to rationalize these pursuits and relate them to their everyday lives."

    All this is outlined in our book, with music, songs and games added. Especially important is coordinating songs with a series of finger movement games, often pictured at the top of each page and quite separate from what is otherwise being illustrated. In 1851 the Prussian Government suppressed the Kindergartens which Froebel had created in increasing numbers, as 'atheistic and demagogic', and the unavailing fight against this obscurantism undermined his health. He died very suddenly in 1852: the year in which the Oxford Dictionary records the acceptance of Kindergarten as an English word. "Froebel made his Mutter und Kose-Lieder the foundation of his lectures to Kindergarten teachers on his theory, and over and over again he repeated: I have here laid down the fundamental ideas of my educational theory; whoever has grasped the pivot idea of this book understands what I am aiming at. But how many do understand it? Learned men have too great a contempt for the book to give it more than cursory attention; and the majority of mothers only see in it an ordinary picture-book with little songs. No doubt there are finer pictures and better verses to be had than mine, but of what use are they if wanting in any educational power? Only a small minority of people get from my book a real understanding of my educational theory in all its fullness, but if only mothers and teachers would follow its guidance they would at last see, in spite of all opposition, that I am right. This book is the starting point of a natural system of education for the first years of life, for it teaches the way in which the germs of human dispositions must be nourished and fostered, if they are to attain complete and healthy development." - See: Papers on Froebel... republished from The American Journal of Education, Henry Barnard, editor, Hartford, Barnard, 1890, page 227. Printing and The Mind of Man, 317.

    Provenance: from the distinguished library of historical children's books formed by Viennese collector Dr. Johanna Monschein (with ownership stamp), though not included in her 1979 exhibition catalog at the National Library of Austria.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
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