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EDITOR OF THE FIRST SERIES OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION,
BOSTON, 1826 to 1829
The following are a few particulars of the professional life of Mr. William Russell,--the editor of the first periodical published in the English language, devoted exclusively to the advancement of Education, and for nearly forty years an active teacher and laborer in the educational field.
Mr. Russell was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and was educated at the Latin school, and the university of that city. During his course of study in the latter of these institutions, the “ First Philosophy Class," -embracing the subjects of intellectual philosophy, logic and rhetoric, -was, fortunately for Mr. Russell, in his subsequent life as a teacher, under the care of Professor George Jardine, author of the “Outlines of Philosophical Education.” That eminent and revered instructor, by his zeal and eloquence on his favorite theme, the philosophy of human culture, awakened a lively sympathy with his views, in the minds of his students. After fifty years noble service, he still retained a warm feeling for whatever concerned the subject of education; as he manifested in his cordial expressions of pleasure on the establishment of the American Journal of Education, in the city of Boston, in the year 1826.
An incipient pulmonary affection made it advisable for Mr. Russell, immediately on completing his college course, to leave his native land, for a residence in a warmer climate. He came, accordingly, to the State of Georgia, in the year 1817; and, deeming it unadvisable, at so early a stage of life, to accept the offered situation of “rector" of an academy, commenced the business of instruction, as a private tutor, in the family of a distinguished Georgian statesman.
In this occupation, he passed, advantageously to his health, a few of the earlier years of his life as a teacher. He subsequently revisited Scotland ; but, at the solicitation of his southern friends, returned in the year following to the State of Georgia, and for two years, took charge of the Chatham Academy, in the city of Savannah. His marriage connection with a lady from the state of Connecticut, creating a preference for a family residence in the city of New Haven, he taught there for some years, the New Township Academy, and the Hopkins Grammar School,--the preparatory classical seminary connected with Yale College.
The peculiar form of illness, to which Mr. Russell is liable in cold latitudes, having returned, a less sedentary mode of teaching became desirable for him; and with a view to the benefit of such a change, he commenced the instruction of classes in elocution, in connection with the Theological Seminary at Andover, the University at Cambridge, the Public Latin School, and Chauncy Hall School, in the city of Boston. Soon after this change of occupation, he was invited to take the editorial charge of the American Journal of Education, published in Boston, first by Mr. Thomas B. Wait, in 1826, next by Mr. S. G. Goodrich, and subsequently by Messrs. Carter & Hendee. Mr. Russell continued to conduct this periodical for nearly three years from the date of its publication.
The early direction given to Mr. Russell's studies and pursuits by the influence of Professor Jardine, led him to take a deep interest in the general subject of modes of education, in their adaptation to the development of mind and character. This circumstance subsequently proved a useful preparation for the business of conducting an educational journal at a time when, as yet, no publication of that description existed in our own country or in England; although the light shed on the whole subject of education by the labors of Pestalozzi, had excited, throughout Europe and America, a fresh interest on all the great questions involved in the various departments of physical, intellectual, and moral culture.
The only Journals then devoted to the subject of education, were those of Germany, France, and, perhaps, one or two other countries on the continent of Europe. The necessity of important changes in the plan and character of education, was beginning to be deeply felt in England. But this feeling bad hitherto been expressed only in detached suggestions from the minds of individuals, in occasional pamphlets, or similar forms of publication. In the United States, the condition of matters was much the same as in England; although, in some instances, the degree of attention excited on the subject, was both stronger and more definite.
Warren Colburn's invaluable contribution to the improvement of education, in the publication of his Intellectual Arithmetic, had virtually introduced the spirit of Pestalozzi's methods of instruction into the schools of New England; and much had been effected by the diffusion of liberal views on the whole subject of education, by Mr. James G. Carter, through his numerous and able editorial articles in the United States Literary Gazette.