The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 22/3/2024


Paperfolding in Education in the USA 1852 onwards

This page is being used to collect information about the history of paperfolding in the USA between the death of Froebel in 1852 and 1970, however, it should not be considered as being a complete history of the subject between these dates. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

It is always worth remembering that although the trajectory of the development of paperfolding sometimes differed between England and the USA, the common language, and the fact that books were commonly published and/or sold in both countries, ensured that information about paperfolding designs and ideas was continuously shared between them.


1851 to 1859

In 1851 Margarethe Meyer, sister of Bertha Ronge, met Carl Schurz, another political exile, in London. They married and emigrated to the USA in 1852. In 1856 Margarethe Schurz opened the first kindergarten to be established in the USA. The children who attended were German-speaking and lessons were conducted in that language. In 1859, Margarethe introduced Elizabeth Peabody, who subsequently set up the first English-speaking kindergarten in the USA, to Froebel's ideas .

Adolf Douai, who had served three years in prison for his political activism, also emigrated to the USA at this time. Later, in Boston, he established a German workingmen's club which in 1859 sponsored a three-classroom school featuring the first American Kindergarten' (Wikipedia).



According to 'Manuel Theorique de la Reform Educative de Frederic Froebel' by Edward Raoux the kindergartens open in the USA by 1862 were:



Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide by Mrs Horace Mann and Elizabeth P Peabody, 1863



Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869



The Kindergarten by Dr Adolf Douai, 1871



The Kindergarten Guide

Part 2 of 'The Kindergarten Guide', the part that deals with kindergarten occupations, including those making use of paperfolding, by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, was published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882. It contains chapters on Paper-Interlacing, Mat-Weaving, Paper Folding, Paper-Cutting and Mounting and Cardboard Modelling, and is by far the most comprehensive af the guides to Froebel's occupations that were published in the USA.



Primary Methods by W N Hailmann, 1887



Royal Gifts for the Kindergarten by Frances Post Van Norstrand and Alice H Putnam, 1888



Education of Head and Hand by Gabriel Bamberger, 1891



The Republic of Childhood: Part 2 Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896


The Kindergarten System Explained by Ada S Ballin and Elinor A Welldon, 1896