Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name


Department (Legacy)

Department of Education


Neef, Joseph, 1770-1854; Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich, 1746-1827


In the early nineteenth century the Pestalossian system of education became very popular in Europe, and, aided by the necessity of something positive to take the place of the decayed and formalistic systems then prevalent, the movement spread rapidly. With its spread to America an old Napoleonic soldier, Joseph Neef, was eminently associated; but because this land was not yet ready for the seed he had to sow, his influence was little felt, and he himself was forgotten. At present only a few of the professional educators of the country even know his name. A distinction which attaches to his name is that he was the first real contributor to pedagogical literature in America. His book, Sketch of a plan and method of Education, founded on an analysis of the Human Faculties and Natural Reason, suitable for the Offspring of a Free People, and for all Rational Beings, by Joseph Neef (formerly a coadjutor to Pestalossi at his school near Berne, Switzerland) was printed in Philadelphia in 1806. Christopher Dook's Schul-Ordnung, while somewhat older than Neef's book, was written in German, and was not translated until years afterward. Neef's book was written in English.