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Religion, Art, and MoneyEpiscopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression$
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Peter W. Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626970

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626970.001.0001

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The Gospel of Education

The Gospel of Education

(p.151) Chapter Five The Gospel of Education
Religion, Art, and Money

Peter W. Williams

University of North Carolina Press

The men who were leaders in the board school movement during its golden age—roughly the Civil War to the Great Depression—saw their goals as community rather than alienation, and as selfless service to a society that they denounced for its arrant materialism. Headmasters of prep schools were frequently priests of the Episcopal Church who saw their mission as the shaping of new generations of leaders who embodied all of the qualities they associated with the “Christian gentleman.” Although Episcopalians did not invent the private boarding school in the United States, their relationship with it has been intimate. Episcopalians were not the first religious community to be involved in the shaping of an urban elite, although arguable they were the first to do so on a national scale. Church and school became closely allied as parts of the nexus of institutions that were developing among a nascent upper class, largely nouveaux riches. But the founding headmasters of these schools were profoundly ambivalent about their roles as gatekeepers for a sector of American society whose values and practices they often found odious. The boarding schools would adapt and thrive, but the church would not be able to sustain that tension indefinitely.

Keywords:   boarding school, Henry Augustus Coit, Round Hill, Flushing Institute, Endicott Peabody, Groton School

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