Reframing and Recontextualizing Maria Montessori’s 1915 California Visit




Maria Montessori, Montessori Method of education, Pana-Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco), Panama-California Exposition (San Diego), Adelia Mcalpin Pyle, Helen Parkhurst


Maria Montessori’s visit to California in 1915—her second visit to the United States—coincided with multiple events in the region: San Francisco’s Panama–Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), San Diego’s Panama–California Exposition (PCE), and the National Education Association of the United States (NEA) annual meeting in Oakland. Her visit also came at a time when the American Montessori movement was splintering, and the academic elite increasingly criticized her educational model. These circumstances made Montessori’s visit to California a potentially valuable opportunity to rekindle interest in Montessori education across the United States. Discussions of Montessori’s visit in 1915 have been framed around her training course and demonstration school at the PPIE. Based on information from primary sources (e.g., newspapers and archival materials), some of which have been overlooked, this article asserts that her visit to California had broader implications. While her eight months in California did have a positive impact on the growth of the Montessori movement, Montessori’s engagement with mainstream education had limited impact and it gave way to waning interest in Montessori education in the United States.


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Newspaper Articles Note: This list includes newspaper articles with unknown authorship. They have been assigned an alphanumeric identifier, based on the publication name, which have been referenced in-text.

Glendale Evening News (GEN)

GEN1. Exposition notes. (1915, May 27).

L’Italia (ITA)

ITA1. All’esposizione fu iniziato ieri il corso educativo della Dottoressa Montessori. (1915, August 5). 4.

ITA2. Il congresso Montessori a Oakland: Il metodo educativo della Dr. Montessori discusso ed esaltato dagli insegnanti Americani. (1915, August 30). 4.

ITA3. La D.ssa Montessori nella nostra città. (1915, April 26). 5.

ITA4. La Dr. Montessori a San Francisco: L’illustre pedagogista iniziera’ oggi il corso delle sue lezioni all’esposizione. (1915, August 2). 4.

ITA5. Maria Montessori a New York: Essa rimarrà in America 4 mesi e verrà direttamente in California. (1915, April 21). L’Italia, 1.

ITA6. Maria Montessori a San Francisco. (1915, April 25). 4.

ITA7. Maria Montessori festeggiata a Los Angeles. (1915, May 24). 8.

ITA8. La partenza di Maria Montessori. (1915, December 3). 4.

ITA9. La prima lezione della Montessori alle maestre. (1915, August 6). 4.

ITA10. La scuola Montessori. (1915, August 6). 4.

Los Angeles Express (LAE)

LAE1. Addresses teachers. (1915, July 13). 8. https://

LAE2. Dr. Montessori reaches L.A. (1915, April 30). 8.

LAE3. Dr. Montessori to address U.S.C. body. (1915, May 20). 7.

LAE4. Dr. Montessori to talk. (1915, May 25). 6.

LAE5. Pasadena women to honor Dr. Montessori. (1915, May 4). 2.

Los Angeles Herald (LAH)

LAH1. Americans are given praise by educator. (1915, April 30). 1.

LAH2. Child educator to be greeted by all L.A. (1915, April 27). 20.

LAH3. Dr. Montessori to open class here. (1915, May 25). 13.

LAH4. Dr. Montessori to speak at U. of S.C. (1915, May 20). 1.

LAH5. Mme. Montessori invited. (1915 March 4). 1.

LAH6. Mme. Montessori to teach in Calif. (1915, April 20). 7.

LAH7. Montessori ends her work in L.A. (1915, June 24). 5.

LAH8. Montessori holds first class here. (1915, May 10). 1.

Los Angeles Record (LAR)

LAR1. Educator to San Diego. (1915, March 23). 8.

LAR2. Montessori, educator, is due tomorrow. (1915, April 27). 1.

Los Angeles Times (LAT)

LAT1. The city and environs: Events briefly told; new college society. (1915, May 21). I–10.

LAT2. Dr. Montessori coming: Noted educator to hold her third international training school in this city in May. (1915a, March 9). I–10.

LAT3. Dr. Montessori coming. (1915b, March 14). I–12.

LAT4. Expected today. (1915, April 28). II–8. https://

LAT5. Girls may rue war husbands; heroes in trenches may not be fireside dears; day to come, says Britisher, when women repent; Pasadena visitor said last goodby to father. (1915, May 10). II–6.

LAT6. Montessori lectures. (1915, May 25). II–1.

LAT7. Noted educator at U.S.C.: Mme. Montessori will address Scholarship Society and persons prominent in school circles. (1915, May 21). II–3.

LAT8. Teaching plans of Montessori; goes to San Diego to talk over arrangements at the fair. (1915, May 3). II–6. docview/160166572 LAT9. Women’s work, women’s clubs. (1915, May 14). II–6.

New York Times (NYT)

NYT1. Carnival days make Rome gay. (1914, February 22). C2.

NYT2. Dr. Maria Montessori at exposition. (1915, July 22). 18.

NYT3. Mme. Montessori at Exposition. (1914, August 3). 8.

New York Tribune (NYTrib)

NYTrib1. Dr. Montessori arrives: Italian educator to demonstrate methods on coast. (1915, April 20). 14.

NYTrib2. Spain recalls Montessori: Has $75,000 offer to install system, she sends word. (1915, December 18). 5.

Oregon Daily Journal (ODJ)

ODJ1. Dr. Montessori is not to come here. (1915, December 1). 9.

ODJ2. Famous educator will soon come to this coast: Effort being made to secure Dr. Montessori for Portland. (1915, April 25). 7.

Sacramento Star (SS) SS1. Montessori grieved. (1915, December 6). 3.

Sacramento Union (SU)

SU1. Educators gather at Bay for international session. (1915, August 15). 8.

San Diego Evening Tribune (SDET)

SDET1. City schools are praised. (1915, May 4). 1.

SDET2. Dr. Montessori gives lecture. (1915, July 2). 10.

SDET3. Dr. Montessori will lecture for adults. (1915, July 3). 8.

SDET4. Invitation accepted by Madame Montessori. (1915, March 22). 6.

SDET5. Italian woman speaks Monday. (1915, July 9). 9.

SDET6. Mme. Montessori here to consider school. (1915, May 3). 6, 7.

SDET7. Montessori class at normal ends. (1915, August 11). 8.

SDET8. Montessori to teach 25 San Diego children. (1915, June 26). 4.

SDET9. Summer school to open Monday. (1915, June 30). 10.

SDET10. Tomorrow at the exposition; education day. (1915, July 10). 9.

San Diego Union (SDU)

SDU1. Dr. Montessori heard by 400 pupils, tutors. (1915, July 20). 9.

SDU2. Dr. Montessori speaks at fair; keep child’s mind free, hearers told. (1915, July 13). 1, 4.

SDU3. Gleaned on prado and isthmus. (1915, May 2). 10.

SDU4. Lecture course register open. (1915, July 6). 5.

SDU5. Montessori class planned, $1000 voted for building; founder of system sees fair. (1915, May 3). 1, 3.

SDU6. Montessori method to be shown at fair. (1916, June 3). 5.

SDU7. Normalites hear Italian educator. (1915, July 2). 6.

San Francisco Call and Post (SFCP)

SFCP1. Chinese girl, protegee of Mrs. Gould, to teach Montessori in Orient. (1915, August 28). 4.

SFCP2. Dr. Montessori women’s guest at Jewel City. (1915, April 26). 8.

SFCP3. Mme. Montessori to be fair guest. (1915, April 24). 11.

SFCP4. Montessori child education method is opened at exposition today; kiddies trained at fair under new system. (1915, August 2). 1.

SFCP5. Mrs. Gould and her sister, Mrs. Wong, to teach in China; rail magnate’s wife to introduce Montessori system in the Orient. (1915, November 1). 3.

SFCP6. Mrs. Gould sails tomorrow to begin life work in China; sisters, long separated, now plan to devote years to Oriental race. (1915, November 5). 5.

San Francisco Chronicle (SFC)

SFC1. Dr. Montessori will give twelve lectures: Going to Wisconsin after her work at exposition. (1915, October 19). 5.

SFC2. Education by suggestion will be aim of Montessori class at fair: Individuality of the child will be developed by famous teacher. (1915, August 5). 11.

SFC3. First Montessori lecture. (1915, August 6). 5.

SFC4. Four Montessori schools to start. (1915, May 1). 1.

SFC5. Great educator here for visit. (1915, April 26). 4.

SFC6. Mme. Montessori to arrive here today. (1915, April 25). 33.

SFC7. Montessori classes to open at exposition. (1915, July 30). 11.

San Francisco Examiner (SFE)

SFE1. Dr. Montessori due here on Sunday next. (1915, July 30). 9.

Stevens Point Journal (SPJ)

SPJ1. Dr. Montessori accepts Stevens Point invitation. (1915, October 9). 1.

SPJ2. Dr. Montessori will teach in Stevens Point? (1915, October 6). 1.

SPJ3. Going to California: Miss Helen Parkhurst of normal to assist Dr. Montessori. (1915, May 26). 1.

SPJ4. Madam Montessori returning to Italy: Announcement of the cancelling of Madam Montessori’s engagement made by local bureau. (1915, December 8). 1.

SPJ5. Montessori to teach: Famous woman educator will give course at normal. (1915, October 28). 2.

The Sun (NYSun)

NYSun1. Dr. Maria Montessori here: Teacher of “sense system” to instruct in California. (1915, April 20). 3.

Washington Evening Star (WES)

WES1. Go to greet Dr. Montessori: Capital educators will welcome teacher back to United States. (1915, April 20). 20.

WES2. To lecture at G.W.U.: Montessori method to be topic of Dr. Harriet E. Hunt. (1915, February 9). 7.

Whittier News (WN)

WN1. Attend address. (1915, May 21). 3.

WN2. Dr. Montessori explains her system: Mind development for child is keynote; local people in audience. (1915, May 22). 1.




How to Cite

Parham, J. (2023). Reframing and Recontextualizing Maria Montessori’s 1915 California Visit. Journal of Montessori Research, 9(2).