West Newton English and Classical School

West Newton English and Classical School, also known as the Allen School, was a model school in West Newton, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1854 by Nathaniel Topliff Allen with the encouragement of Horace Mann.[1]

Nathaniel Topliff Allen Homestead, where the West Newton English and Classical School was located beginning 1854.

The school was unusual at the time in that it had a racially integrated, co-educational student body. It offered a kindergarten program based upon the principles of Froebel's Kindergarten System, and included gymnastics in its curriculum, both of which were, in America, educational innovations.[1] The school's coursework included reading, spelling, arithmetic, geography, geology, and bookkeeping. Daily journals kept by students were critiqued every two weeks.[1] The school also taught art, music, dancing and ethics. Students attended lectures by guest speakers such as Theodore Parker, William Lloyd Garrison, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.[2] Many of Allen's relatives, including his uncles, brothers, cousins, nieces, and three daughters, lived and taught at the school, and provided lodging in their homes for students.[2]

Over the course of its 50 years in existence, more than 5,000 students attended the school.[2] Students came from all over the world, and many graduates, both men and women, went on to have careers in medicine, law, government, and education.[1]

Notable alumniEdit

Notable staffEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Newton, MA – Allen Family". Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Nathaniel T. Allen Biography and Photographs, 1845–1938". Massachusetts History. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Vernon L. Farmer; Evelyn Shepherd Wynn (2012). Voices of Historical and Contemporary Black American Pioneers. ABC-CLIO. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-313-39224-5. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  4. ^ Henry Louis Gates; Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (March 23, 2004). African American Lives. Oxford University Press. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-0-19-988286-1. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "Obituary for Elizabeth Piper Ensley (Aged 62)". The New York Age. March 15, 1919. p. 2. Retrieved March 4, 2020.

Coordinates: 42°21′1″N 71°13′43″W / 42.35028°N 71.22861°W / 42.35028; -71.22861