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Library of Congress Hall of Educators and Horace Mann – Pic of the Week

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Mural over an arched doorway depicting two women in white gowns holding a banner that says "Give instruction unto those who cannot procure it for themselves."
[North Corridor, Great Hall. Mural in arched panel by Charles Sprague Pearce. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.] Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer. Pearce, Charles Sprague, 1851-1914, artist.
October 5th is World Teachers’ Day, an annual commemoration of the signing of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Labor Organization (ILO).  In honor of today, we bring you an interesting tie-in among education, the Library, and Congress.

Decorative tile mosaic with the word "Education" in the center of a square
Education mosaic in the North Corridor of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. [Photo by Donna Sokol]
In the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, the North Corridor is dedicated to family and education. On the vaulted ceilings of this hall are the names of prominent educators and philosophers whose ideas shaped the American system of early and special education. Commemorated in mosaic are the surnames of (in order of appearance) Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel; Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi; John Amos Comenius; Roger Ascham; Samuel Gridley Howe; Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet; Horace Mann; Thomas Arnold; and Herbert Spencer.

Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right
[Horace Mann, head-and-shoulders portrait, three-quarters to right] Brady, Mathew B., photographer.
Horace Mann was a lawyer and served in the Massachusetts State Legislature and Senate before serving as secretary of the newly created Massachusetts Board of Education.  During his time on the Board, he became an advocate for free, public education provided by trained professionals.  He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1848 and, in his first speech, took a stance against slavery.

Thoughts from His Writings highlights Mann’s more pithy quotes about education.  My favorite: “Had I the power I would scatter libraries over the whole land as the sower sows his wheatfield.”

Tile mosaic depicting a scroll with the word "Mann" in the center of a wreath
Mann mosaic in the North Corridor of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

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