From George B. Bartlett's, Concord: Historic, Literary and Picturesque.
The history of the Concord School of Philosophy, though brief, is interesting, and dates back further than the year of its opening. So long ago as 1842, when Mr. Alcott, (then living at the Hosmer Cottage, where his daughter May was born), visited England, he began to collect books for the library of a school of the First Philosophy, to be established in some part of New England. For this purpose, Mr. James Pierrpont Greaves, the English friend and disciple of Pestalozzi, who died in March, 1842, bequeathed a collection of curious volumes, which Mr. Alcott and an English friend, Charles Lane, brought over from London and deposited in Concord. For many years, they have stood on the shelves in the Orchard House, and they are now destined to form a part of the library of the Concord School.
In pursuance of his long cherished plan, Mr. Alcott in 1878 arranged with his neighbor, Mr. F.B. Sanborn, to make a beginning, and early in the year 1879 a Faculty of Philosophy was organized informally at Concord, with members residing, some in that town, some in the vicinity of Boston, and others at the West. In course of the spring, the Dean of this Faculty, Mr. A. Bronson Alcott, and the Secretary, Mr. Sanborn, issued a circular calling the School together for a session for five weeks in July and August.
...[T]he persons named below gave Lectures or Conversations on the following topics -- occupying for each exercise a period of above two hours on the average: --
Mr. Alcott...The Powers of the Person in the descending scale...The same in the ascending scale...Incarnation...The Powers of Personality in detail...The Origin of Evil...the Lapse into Evil...The Return from the Lapse...Eternal Life...
....The courses of lectures...were distinctly philosophical, while the single lectures and pairs were either literary or general in their character. The conversations accompanying or following the lectures took a wide range, and were carried on by the students, the Faculty, and by invited guests....The whole number of persons, (students, invited guests and visitors,) who attended one or more sessions of the School, was nearly four hundred, of whom about one-fourth were residents of Concord. Others came from [22 states are named]. The average attendance of students was about 40; of the students and Faculty about 45; but at Mr. Emerson's lecture 160 were present and at several of the others sessions more than 70. The receipts from fees and single tickets paid all the expenses of the School, without leaving a surplus; thus showing that the scale of tuition and expense adopted was a reasonable one. This will therefore be continued in the coming years.
...This School is the last enterprise of a general character in which Mr. Emerson engaged, and derived a portion of its interest from his connection with it. This connection was not very close, however, since its opening was delayed until those later years of his life when he withdrew from an active part even in conversation; but he was fully cognizant of its aims, and in the most friendly relation to its founders, the chief of whom was Mr. Alcott.....
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