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Katharine Taylor and the Shady Hill School, 1915-1949

Sandra Ramsey Loehr, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study is a narrative history with a biographical focus that traces the evolution of the Shady Hill School from a neighborhood cooperative school to a thriving independent school with a national reputation for innovative curriculum, excellent classroom teaching, and a distinctive teacher training program. Three theses guide the narrative: (1) Katharine Taylor's leadership, her personal characteristics and her vision of school as a unified community of teachers and learners were primary forces in the transformation of the Shady Hill School. (2) Katharine Taylor's commitment to faculty development and her corresponding interest in teacher education programs were crucial factors in the evolution of the Shady Hill School; moreover, these commitments and interests were important factors in the development of Taylor's personal identity. (3) Katharine Taylor's personal values, motivations and professional concerns indicate the influence of her formative life experiences within the progressive social and educational reform networks in Chicago during the early years of the twentieth century. The study contributes to research in the field of American educational history with respect to the following issues: first, the study adds to the documentation of the diversity of educational experiments in the progressive era of American education; second, it illustrates how examining the social, political and philosophical influences upon individuals associated with the development of schools adds to our understanding of reactions to conventional pedagogy in the progressive era; third, the study calls attention to the relevance of Taylor's ideas, leadership style and innovate programs for educational policy and practice today. These issues are introduced in the first chapter of the study and they are developed in chapters two through four; then the major points of the study are reviewed in the last chapter for the purpose of recommending directions for further research based on the conclusions of this study.

Subject Area

Education history|Education|Teacher education|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Loehr, Sandra Ramsey, "Katharine Taylor and the Shady Hill School, 1915-1949" (1989). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9011761.