|10-05-2009, 09:14 AM||#1|
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Fisher, Dorothy Canfield: The Bent Twig. V1. 5 Oct 2009
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (February 17, 1879 – November 9, 1958) was an educational reformer, social activist, and best-selling American author in the early decades of the Twentieth century. She was named by Eleanor Roosevelt one of the ten most influential women in the United States. Dorothy Canfield brought the Montessori method of child rearing to the United States, presided over the country's first adult education program, and shaped literary tastes by serving as a member of the Book-of-the-Month Club selection committee from 1925 to 1951.
Her best-known work today is probably Understood Betsy, a children's book about a little orphaned girl who is sent to live with her cousins in Vermont. Though the book can be read purely for pleasure, it also describes a schoolhouse which is run much in the style of the Montessori method, for which Canfield was one of the first and most vocal advocates.
Like most happy childhoods, Sylvia’s early years lay back of her in a long, cheerful procession of featureless days, the outlines of which were blurred into one shimmering glow by the very radiance of their sunshine. Here and there she remembered patches, sensations, pictures, scents: Mother holding baby sister up for her to kiss, and the fragrance of the baby powder—the pine-trees near the house chanting loudly in an autumn wind—her father’s alert face, intent on the toy water-wheel he was setting for her in the little creek in their field—the beautiful sheen of the pink silk dress Aunt Victoria had sent her—the look of her mother’s steady, grave eyes when she was so sick—the leathery smell of the books in the University Library one day when she followed her father there—the sound of the rain pattering on the low, slanting roof of her bedroom—these were the occasional clearly outlined, bright-colored illuminations wrought on the burnished gold of her sunny little life. But from her seventh birthday her memories began to have perspective, continuity. She remembered an occasional whole scene, a whole afternoon, just as it happened.
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