A muscular christian in a secular world

Desjardins, Mark Denis, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wagoner, Jr., Jennings L., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bredo, Eric, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, James, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Warren, Heather, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

The history of the private secondary boarding school in America is a fertile and expansive topic. A thorough examination of this subject would involve including such institutions as military academy's, country day schools, academies, church-affiliated, and non-sectarian boarding schools. In addition, each one of these categories can be further broken down into single sex and coeducational schools. For the purpose of this study, I have chosen to focus on the rise of the church-affiliated boarding school and in particular, Endicott Peabody's, Groton School.

The overarching goal of this study is to deepen our understanding of Peabody ideals of a properly educated student and the ways in which his ideas were challenged, shaped and redefined during his fifty-six year tenure as the school's headmaster. This study also considers the views of individuals who remained directly opposed to Peabody's beliefs. Finally, consideration is given to how major historical movements marking the period between the Civil War and the end of World War One impacted Groton's development.

Although Peabody made no significant contributions in regard to advancing educational theory, it can be argued that in some small measure he has touched the, lives of many Americans. Groton School graduates, for instance, have assumed such positions as the presidency of the United States, foreign ambassadors, novelists, educators, and artists. Indeed, Peabody's dream was to build a school that produced a cadre of morally and ethically sound politicians. This study, then, examines the extent to which Peabody's vision was realized.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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