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Hi folks... In addition to being an unschooling mom and sometime Conference
Diva, I am a Director of Religious Education at a Unitarian Universalist
church. I am planning a program for church, and wanted to talk about Charles
Follen, who was a Unitarian minister and is credited with (at least publicly)
bringing the tradition of Christmas trees to the US. You can find this story
here: _The Follens and the Christmas Tree | Follen Church Society_

In looking for information, I found this tidbit:

By 1834 Follen, who was coming up for the equivalent of tenure at Harvard,
was a confirmed and uncompromising abolitionist. "But radical abolitionism did
not sit well with most Northerners, even with the Boston Unitarian
establishment, whose members were offended by what they regarded as its vulgar style
as well as its constant insistence that abolition be total and immediate."
Harvard did not renew Follen's contract in 1835. Fortunately, his admirers
found him a salaried position directing the education of two children whose
rich merchant father had died in Boston.
Unfortunately, Follen proved to be a radical in education too. He believed
that education, instead of drilling lessons by rote, should draw out the
character and energies already present in a child's young soul. These progressive
ideas, Nissenbaum relates, represented "the kind of approach that struck many
people (including many Unitarians) as leading inevitably to an
indiscriminate parental indulgence of children in their immature desires and whims."
As his detractors apparently maneuvered against him, the abolitionist
educator and staunch Unitarian stuck to his principles - and lost his job only
weeks before Christmas of 1835.
"Through these trying hours, as always," writes Nissenbaum, "Follen
maintained his characteristically calm, patient demeanor, but he did not retreat a
single inch. He was a man of extraordinary principle and tenacity."

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