Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Edith R. Mosher

 

Edith R. Mosher, born on a farm near Centerville, Michigan, is the daughter of Josephus and Lida Stebbins Mosher. When a child she attended the district schools and, later, moved to the village of Centerville, where she graduated from the High School at the age of 16; she then entered the state normal school, where she took the literary and scientific course and graduated at the age of 18, with a life certificate to teach in the state of Michigan, and immediately began teaching in the public schools. While teaching in the kindergarten and primary grade in Grand Rapids, she studied kindergarten methods with the late Mrs. Lucretia Willard Treat Having had considerable instruction in drawing at the State Normal School, and having a natural, ready talent for it, she was constantly called upon to do blackboard decorating, and to illustrate science lessons, throughout the school building. In connection with this work, she became impressed with the necessity for finding easy, accurate illustrations of the everyday blossoms and leaves of our trees, which so readily lend themselves to board illustrating and interesting science lessons, and began to realize the vast importance of the forest as a great educational influence upon the growth and upbuilding of humanity. From her somewhat varied experience in the different grades, she grew profoundly conscious of the significance of the early impressions upon the plastic mind of the child, and knowing how children love nature, she believed that it should be the constant study of the teacher to bring into the schoolroom as much of nature and nature suggestions as can be appreciated, thus to fill child life with pure wholesome thought from the overflowing well-spirit of nature, and ideally mold child character.

It was while standing before a blackboard in the schools of Grand Rapids, preparing a science lesson suggested by a small peach branch, which one of the pupils had brought, with only the scientifically accurate, but unattractive outlines from a book on botany and some pictured cards, that there came over her a startling realization of the entire lack of any book really useful to teachers in this kind of instruction, which she believed to be fundamental, and she registered a vow to supply this need in the form of a series of books to be used in the school room. With this object in view she resigned and went to Washington, D. C, to obtain a position in the government, and there carry on her work with the better facilities offered by the Congressional Library. In Washington, she again took up literary work in the George Washington University, and has continued to carry on studies along educational lines, taking a summer course at Harvard University in 1909.

In the meantime the "Tree- Study" books planned in the Grand Rapids school room were growing. A transfer had been obtained to the Forest Service as the best place to perfect this work, which was followed by special permission from the Forester, Mr. Gifford Pinchot, to attend the Yale University Summer School, which is not a co-educational institution.

The work of compiling and illustrating the first book on "Fruit and Nut-Bearing Trees" was finished in 1907, and was followed in 1909 by "Our Oaks and Maples," and "Our Cone-Bearing Trees." The urgent demand of the publisher and others interested in the work resulted in five more of the series in 1910, under the titles of "Fruit Studies;" "Our Queenly Maples;" "Our Kingly Oaks;" Studies of Nut- Bearing Trees;" "Studies of Evergreens;" a book entitled "Twenty Forest Trees," is now being prepared.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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