PERSONAL: Male; married. Education: Emory University, Ph.D. (American history).
ADDRESSES: Office—Humanities Department, Colby-Sawyer College, 100 Main St., New London, NH 03257. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, assistant professor of humanities.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians.
AWARDS, HONORS: John H. Dunning Prize.
The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf andBlind Person to Learn Language, Harvard University Press, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: In The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language, Ernest Freeberg examines the education of seven-yearold Laura Bridgman by educational reformer Samuel Gridley Howe. Howe was director of the first institution for the education of the blind in America.
Howe belonged to a circle of New England reformers which included Horace Mann, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. What bound these men together was their deeply felt belief in the value of doing good works: working for the abolition of slavery, helping the poor, and caring for the infirm. As Natalie Angier wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "old Calvinist theories of the inevitability of suffering and of original sin were giving way to theories of the essential beauty and perfectibility of every human being."
In educating young Laura, who had lost her sight and hearing from scarlet fever, Howe hoped to prove that, as Freeberg wrote, "a child's love of learning was not the creation of outside forces of punishment and reward, but was an internal urge so strong that, with the enlightened help of a wide educator, it could overcome the most unfavorable of external circumstances."
Howe also hoped to prove that, if given no guidance about religious matters, Laura would naturally come to believe in a rational and benevolent God, much like the one Howe himself worshipped. But upon his return from a sixteen-month trip to Europe, Howe discovered that Laura had become a Baptist, a choice that bothered him. As Laura grew older, Howe had little to do with her, seemingly losing interest in an experiment that had failed.
"Freeberg places the poignant relationship in the context of their times," Daniel Walker Howe wrote in the Harvard University Press Online, "showing the significance that the scientific community attached to Laura's education, as well as why the general public took such a keen interest in her case."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Freeberg, Ernest, The Education of Laura Bridgman:First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.
Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Patricia A. Beaber, review of The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language, p. B6.
New Yorker, July 2, 2001, Louis Menad, review of TheEducation of Laura Bridgman, p. 81.
New York Times, May 21, 2001, Richard Bernstein, review of The Education of Laura Bridgman, p. B6.
New York Times Book Review, May 27, 2001, Natalie Angier, review of The Education of Laura Bridgman, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, May, 2001, review of The Education of Laura Bridgman.
Harvard University Press Online,http://www.hup.harvard.edu/ (December, 2, 2001), Daniel Walker Howe, reviews of The Education of Laura Bridgman.
Houston Chronicle Online,http://www.chron.com/ (December 2, 2001), Renata Golden, review of The Education of Laura Bridgman.*
"Freeberg, Ernest." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/freeberg-ernest
"Freeberg, Ernest." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved September 23, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/freeberg-ernest
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.