Saturday, August 8, 2009

Henriette Campan

(1735 - 1822)
French Educationalist

Henriette opened a "pension" (1794) at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in France, and soon had 20 students, one of them the daughter of US Ambassador James Monroe (later US President). A year later (1795), she moved to a new location, though still in Saint Germain, and called her pension "Institution Nationale de Saint Germain". Emperor Napoleon sent his sister Caroline to her school (1798) - thus making it the most exclusive school in France.

The number of pupils at Henriette's school grew to 100; they wore uniforms of black and white, with color sashes depicting their grade - green for beginners and white for seniors. The girls took classes in writing, grammar, history, geography, drawing, singing, dancing and music. Older pupils were taught English, Italian and German. Her own daughters were taught to make their own clothes and learn household accounting. The girls were taught by those who were the most distinguished in their professions or arts.

Plans for schools under the patronage of the Emperor Napoleon were discussed (1805), and were to be for girls of modest families. The first "Maison Imperiale Napoleon" was established (1807) with Henriette was Superintendante, having given up her own pension at Saint Germain. However, most of the 300 girls were from high-ranking army, navy and diplomatic families - the more modest families not being interested in free education. A second Maison for another 300 girls was established (1809).

Henriette published a number of books on education, the most important being "De L'Education" (pub. 1824).

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