Mann, Mary Peabody (1806–1887)

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Mann, Mary Peabody (1806–1887)

American educator . Born Mary Tyler Peabody in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, on November 16, 1806; died on February 11, 1887; daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1778–1853); sister of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809–1871) and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804–1894); aunt of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1851–1926); married Horace Mann, in 1843 (died 1859); children: Horace Mann, Jr.(b. 1844); George Combe Mann (b. 1845); Benjamin Pickman Mann (b. 1848).

One of the notable Peabody sisters, Mary Peabody replaced her sister Elizabeth Palmer Peabody in a teaching position in Maine, then joined Elizabeth to open a dame school in Boston the following year. While there, Mary met Horace Mann and began to assist him with his educational research. The two were married in 1843. After the marriage, wrote Louise Hall Tharp in The Peabody Sisters of Salem, Mary came into her own. "Elizabeth had always assumed leadership; life had been made easy for Sophia, the youngest, the prettiest—the gifted daughter. Mary had been the forgotten middle sister to whom everyone turned for help or sympathy and then promptly forgot." The Manns moved to Antioch College in Ohio, when Horace Mann was appointed the school's president in 1853. Following his death, Mary rejoined her sister Elizabeth in Boston and helped promote the new kindergarten movement in 1859. Having dabbled with poetry throughout much of her life, Mary wrote her first novel at age 80.


Edgerly, Lois Stiles, Give Her This Day. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House, 1990.

Tharp, Louise Hall. The Peabody Sisters of Salem. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1950.

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Mann, Mary Peabody (1806–1887)

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