Sphere of Influence

For those of you eager to read more about Charlotte Mason, here is something that will interest you.  I just read a fascinating chapter on Mason in a hard-to-find book.  I must say that I am not endorsing this book, only chapter 7 ("Knowledge as the Necessary Food of the Mind" Charlotte Mason's Philosophy of Education pp. 105-125), written by Stephanie Spencer.  The book is Women, Education, and Agency, 1600-2000.  Consider this in regard to Mason's sphere of influence:
28. In 1936 a "gathering" of 400 teachers, pupils, and parents was held at Ambleside.  The event was widely reported and it was noted that 40,000 children were studying with Mason's methods.  The Schoolmistress 29 April 1936 reported that it was "surely the biggest school in the world, and it literally does cover the whole world, House of Education students may be found today in Africa (south, east, west, and Uganda), Australia, Canada, India and Ceylon, New Zealand, USA, and South America, China, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Egypt, Japan, Newfoundland, Sumatra, Madagascar, Malacca, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Portugal, and Rumania (sic).  (Spencer, 2010)

The chapter is full of titillating goodies such as her networking prowess and her rather combative letters to The Times. Ms. Spencer mentions the fact that much of her correspondence was destroyed rather mysteriously and what we have left is basically only works of admiration.  I agree with the author's conclusion:
What she could not foresee was that her biographers' understandable admiration for their mentor resulted in a legacy which, while worthy, has not yet been examined or researched in the detail which it undoubltedly deserves." (Spencer, 2010)
This is changing with the digitization of the archives and the continued research by many today.  If you're interested in one woman's take on a historical look at Mason and her influence, you'll want to read this.


  1. That is most interesting!
    How did you find that book?

  2. CM does have a fascinating take on the education of the whole person! Stopping by from the Homeschool Blogger group. Have a great weekend.

  3. Fascinating! How did you find this book? Dropping by from Homeschool Bloggers Haven group. Love your site and became your latest follower.

  4. Bonnie and Maureen,
    I looked this book up after someone at the Charlotte Mason conference last October referred to it as published research on Mason.

  5. Scathing letters to 'The Times' and mysteriously destroyed correspondence - how intriguing. Just who was the real Miss Mason?

    I haven't made the time to really look through and do those digital files justice.

  6. hmmm... very interesting. it always astounds me how much Ms.Mason accomplished in her lifetime! and I'm sure I haven't even heard the half of it!


    thanks for submitting this to the CM blog carnival