Whither Peabody and Sanborn?

April 24, 2024

Once upon a time, Concord citizens concluded that Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Franklin Benjamin Sanborn embodied principles and lived lives worthy of their names on our middle schools. 

Indeed, the CMS Student Handbook 2023/2024 cites Peabody as having “lived a life filled with accomplishments in education and literature.” She “was a close friend of Emerson, Hawthorne, Horace Mann, and the Alcotts … (and) frequently taught at Alcott’s Concord School of Philosophy.” 

The Handbook states that Sanborn, a “distinguished” citizen of Concord, was a “strong supporter of the abolitionist movement to end slavery and helped to improve conditions for the blind, the mentally ill, the poor, and those in prisons.” He helped found a school for the deaf and was a “prolific journalist and author.” 

Should we desire to apply a person’s name/names to the new middle school, what is missing from the combined ideals and accomplishments of Peabody and Sanborn that we would cast their names aside or replace them? Peabody-Sanborn Middle School works for me. Or, simply, Concord Middle School.

Art Schwope

Holden Wood Road