Horace Mann
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Horace Mann (1796 - 1859)

Horace Mann
Born in Franklin, Norfolk County, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 12 Sep 1830 in Dedham, Massachusettsmap
Husband of — married 1 May 1843 in Boston, Massachusettsmap
Father of
Died at age 63 in Yellow Springs, Greene County, Ohiomap
Profile last modified | Created 9 Oct 2009
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Horace Mann is Notable.


Horace Mann, United States Congressman from Massachusetts in 1848.

Horace Mann was born on May 4, 1796 in Franklin Massachusetts where he grew up. [1]

At the age of 20, Horace enrolled at Brown University. After only 3 years he graduated as valedictorian of his class in 1819. Mann was a tutor of Latin and Greek and served as a librarian at Brown University. He was appointed secretary of the new board of education in Massachusetts in 1837, which started his work that got him in the foremost ranks in American educationists. He founded and edited The Common School Journal which targeted the problems of the public schools. This journal lead to the revolution of the common school system in Massachusetts.

From 1853 to 1859, he served as president of the newly established Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. He also taught political economy, intellectual and moral philosophy, and natural theology.

He died on August 2, 1859 in Yellow Springs Ohio apparently of typhoid.

The father of American public education, Horace Mann said, "Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge."

He grew up without much money or schooling, and what he did learn, he learned on his own at his local library, which had been founded by Benjamin Franklin. He was accepted into Brown University and graduated in three years, valedictorian of his class.

He was elected to the state legislature in 1827, and 10 years later, when Massachusetts created the first board of education in the country, he was appointed secretary. Up to this point, he hadn't had any particular interest in education, but when he took the post he dedicated himself to it wholeheartedly. He personally inspected every school in the state, gave numerous lectures, and published annual reports advocating the benefits of a common school education for both the student and the state. He spearheaded the Common School Movement, which ensured all children could receive a basic education funded by taxes.

He was elected to the United States Congress in 1848 aftter the death of John Quincy Adams, and in his first speech, he spoke out against slavery. He wrote in a letter later that year: "I think the country is to experience serious times. Interference with slavery will excite civil commotion in the South. But it is best to interfere. Now is the time to see whether the Union is a rope of sand or a band of steel."

When he left politics, he moved to Ohio to accept a position as president of Antioch College. "I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words," he told one graduating class: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

From Mann Memorial; Cambridge or Wrentham Branch, Pg. 27:

(19.) Horace Mann LL.D. 6 (Thomas 5, Nathan 4, Thomas 3, Samuel 2, William 1), statesman and educational philosopher, was born in Franklin, Mass., May 4, 1796. He was graduated at Brown University, and commenced the study of law. Elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1827. His first speech was in favor of religeous liberty; his second a plea for railways. He was the founder of the State Lunatic Asylum, and an advocate of temperance. He removed to Boston, and about 1836 was President of State Senate. He edited the Revised Statutes of the State, and was for eleven years Secretary of the Board of Education. For many years he devoted his full time to the cause of education, introduced normal schools, paid committees, etc. In 1843 he visited the educational establishments in Europe, and his report was reprinted both in England and America. He was an incessant worker, and conducted a large correspondence. He was elected to Congress in 1848, as successor to John Quincy Adams, and opposed the extension of slavery. At the close of his congressional term he accepted the presidency of Antioch College, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he labored successfully until his death, Aug. 2, 1859. For a more particular account, see "Life of Horace Mann," by his widow, Mrs. Mary Mann.+ He married first, Sept. 29, 1830, Charlotte, daughter of President Messer of Brown University. She died without children, Aug. 1, 1832. He married second, Miss Mary T. Peabody (who still survives), May 1, 1843, by whom he had children:
i. Horace (7), b. Feb. 25, 1844; grad. Lawrence Scientific School; naturalist; d. Nov. 11, 1869.
ii. George Coombe (7), LL.B., b. Dec. 27, 1845; grad. Har. Univ. 1867; teacher in Jamaica Plain district, Boston. He m. Aug. 22, 1877, Esther Lombard. Child: (1.) Horace (8), b. Oct. 20, 1881.
iii. Benjamin Pickman (7), b. April 30, 1848; grad. Har. Univ. 1870; m. July 12, 1878, Louisa Van de Sande. He is in the Agricultural Department, Washington, D.C.; entomologist.
+ "Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Mass., on the 4th of May, 1796. His father, Mr. Thomas Mann, was a farmer; his mother, Miss Stanley, was a woman of good intellect and fine moral sense. Horace Mann's parents had not the means to give him early advantages; but they inspired in him an adoration of learning; and late in life he enjoyed some small opportunities of acquisition, of which he made the most. His naturally logical mind served him in his self-education, and the mere dry bones were but a trifling element in his development. He said of himself in a letter to a friend:
'My teachers were very good people, but they were very poor teachers. Looking back to the school days of my mates and myself, I cannot adopt the line of Virgil, 'O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint!' [2]
I deny the bona. With the infinite universe all around us, all ready to be daguerreotyped upon our souls, we were never placed at the right focus to receive its glorious images. With all our senses and our faculties glowing and receptive, how little were we taught! or rather how much obstruction was thrust in between us and nature's teachings. Of all our faculties, the memory for words was the only one specially appealed to. All ideas outside of the book were contraband articles, which the teacher confiscated or rather flung overboard.'
These few words are a key to his character and life-work. That others should be put 'at the right focus' was the aim of his life. He studied law at the Litchfield School, and entered upon a great career, but he turned aside from it to devote himself to education; and after remodeling the original common school laws of Massachusetts, he accepted the presidency of Antioch College, where unsectarianism and co-education were the basal principles. His training in the Legislature of his native State, where he held the highest position, gave him a great advantage in training young men for life. A sketch of his uneventful life - uneventful except to himself - may be found in Livingston's Magazine of eminent Americans, which carries him to the period when he left his native state for Ohio. His congressional life is embodied in a volume of his speeches, and his educational essays have been published in two volumes since his death.
Mary Mann."

This profile is a collaborative work-in-progress. Can you contribute information or sources?


  • Mann Memorial. A Record of the Mann Family in America. Genealogy of the Descendants of Richard Man of Scituate, Mass., by George S. Mann, Press of David Clapp & Son, Boston, 1884. Horace Mann is Record #19, Cambridge or Wrentham Branch, Pgs. 27, 28.[3]
  • Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biography: Edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1888. Horace Mann, Vol. IV, Pg. 190.[4]
  • Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915: Horace Mann, 04 May 1796, Franklin, Norfolk County[5]
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988: Marriage, Mr. Horace Mann, Esquire and Charlotte Messer, 12 Sep 1830, Dedham[6]
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988: Marriage, Horace Mann and Mary T. Peabody, 4 Apr 1843, Boston[7]
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #664; Horace Mann, North Burial Ground, Providence RI, Plot: BB-00510

See also:

  • Library of Congress: Pictures: Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait. [8]
  • Add sources here.


  1. Profile created by Chris Whitten, 9 Oct 2009. Added information from Sharon, Massachusetts, history and genealogy researcher Nick Dann, 11 Feb 2018.
  2. From, O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint, agricolas, translated from Latin means "The farmers would count themselves lucky, if they only knew how good they had it." (Virgil, The Georgics, book 2, verse 458)
  3. Mann Memorial: Horace Mann, Record #19
  4. Appletons' Cyclopedia: Horace Mann.
  5. FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VQDS-XVM : 10 February 2018), Horace Mann, 04 May 1796; citing Franklin, Norfolk, Massachusetts,; FHL microfilm 0962324 IT 1
  6. Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). Also, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FH9X-9M1 : 13 July 2016), Horace Mann and Charlotte Messer, 12 Sep 1830; citing Marriage Notice, Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States, , town clerk offices, Massachusetts; FHL microfilm 593,353.
  7. Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). Also, (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FH8V-YHC : 13 July 2016), Horace Mann and Mary Tyler Peabody, 01 May 1843; citing Marriage, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States, , town clerk offices, Massachusetts; FHL microfilm 818,095
  8. Library of Congress: Horace Mann Portrait.

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He became president of Antioch College for 6 years.
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Horace Mann
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reference to Horace Mann in So Car

Series: S165005 Year: 1847 Item: 00068 Page: 000 Record 154 of 235 records SUMMER, HENRY, MEMBER OF A SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO PREPARE A PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE THE FREE SCHOOL FUND, DETAILED REPORT TO THE COMMITTEE CONCERNING THE FREE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND NEEDED ALTERATIONS. (26 PAGES) ________________________________________ Series: S165005 Year: 1847 Item: 00068 Page: 000

Date: 11/27/1847




Topics: Free Schools; Teacher

posted by Carol Kennedy

www.phd.antioch.edu www.nd.edu "Life of Horace Mann" "Great American Educators"