Lévi Alvarès, David

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LÉVI ALVARÈS, DAVID (1794–1870), French pedagogue. A member of a well-known Jewish family of Bordeaux, Lévi Alvarès began his teaching career in private schools, but in 1820 he opened his own institution for girls, under the name "Maternal education courses." His method was based on a weekly session of two hours, in which he personally tested and instructed each grade of pupils in the presence of their mothers (to ensure regular study and their moral upbringing). In addition, his pupils had to work with his textbooks, of which he published more than 60, some of them going into many editions, mainly in history, grammar, and geography. He also taught by correspondence, and he sent several of his assistants to found similar courses in Lyons, Rouen, and Bordeaux. He published a pedagogical journal, La Mére-Institutrice (1834–45), and Plaisir et travail (1845–65). In 1833 he unsuccessfully attempted to organize a course for student girl-teachers. His pedagogical activity was praised by Parliament (1836). He retired in 1868, but his eldest son theodore (1821–1912), who had assisted him since 1841, continued his work till 1891. His second son, eugÈne (1825–1899), was a general in the French army while the third, albert (1837–1897), was an engineer and general secretary of Madrid–Saragossa–Alicante railway. Lévi Alvarès contributed to the Jewish-Portuguese community of Paris Hymnes sacrées à l'usage des Israélites français composés sur les airs hébraïques-portugais les plus connus (1825, many subsequent editions), a collection of French songs in verse based on traditional Hebrew melodies.


Education des Femmes: A Biography of D. Lévi Alvarès (1909).

[Moshe Catane]

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