At the Institute conferences we have the Eve Anderson Nature Study Tea and the Eve Anderson Nature Study Lecture. Why? Who is Eve Anderson and why are these two events named in her honour? To answer these questions, first, let me tell you how I met Eve and give you a bit of a description of her. Second, what role did she play in the Mason movement in the US? And finally, why did the Institute name a lecture and social gathering at our conferences in her honour?
To my best recollection Eve and I first met through something we no longer do—hand written letters. The first letter I still have is dated 23 May 1997. She discusses in this letter her planned activities for her trip to the states. Rosemary Moore, who had sought Eve’s help on starting a PNEU type school in the states, was the first to invite Eve to come to the states. Eve assisted Rosemary Moore in setting up a school here like her PNEU school in Windsor, England. She went on from there to help other schools by visiting classrooms, training teachers, informing parents about Charlotte Mason, and to generally act as a “consultant” to help schools understand more about Mason. She generally stayed a month and travelled from school to school. I wrote her apparently in May 1997 and invited her to visit Andy and me in Roanoke, VA which was where we were living at the time. Eve planned her flight for the following October on her US visit to schools by arriving first at Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, where I picked her up and drove her to Roanoke. She stayed with us for two nights. Andy drove her to Charlotte, NC where she then flew on to, I believe, Atlanta or Dallas.
I don’t mean this to stereotype Brits, there’s one in my family, but Eve was the quintessential Brit—no nonsense, straight to the point, that’s how it is and get on with it without any fuss—kind of person. We loved her and enjoyed her visits with us. The October 1997 visit was the first of several visits. Below is a picture of Eve, Andy, Corban and Anna in 1999 at the Charlotte Mason conference held at the Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside, UK by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and Elaine Cooper.
Eve loved nature and when she stayed with us she enjoyed walking and seeing the natural environment she was in. She stayed with us in South Carolina where we lived when I became an assistant professor of education. She loved viewing the North Carolina mountains which could be seen beyond the lake that was across the road in front of our house. We enjoyed outdoor picnics sometimes just so she could enjoy the view.
Eve was a lovely person, always interested in nature and people. She enjoyed her dog, Jim and frequently in her letters mentions taking him for walks. She loved the school, Eton End, (https://www.etonend.org) where she was headmistress for 28 years and where she had many friends. Her love of nature inspired many of us to rekindle our interest in nature which had slowly died since our childhoods. She took her nature notebook with her everywhere and I have included some samples from it here.
Eve was an important link following the publication of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book For the Children’s Sake. As a former student at Mason’s House of Education which by Eve’s time was called the Charlotte Mason College, she was the last remaining Mason trained teacher running a PNEU school when she retired from Eton End. Thus, by coming to the states she provided a vital link between Charlotte Mason and the schools and parents here in the states trying to implement Mason’s work. Her role was crucial. It was also sacrificial. In her retirement she could have done other fun things rather than spend her time here helping schools. But isn’t curious to watch how God provides the support we need in the most unexpected ways. Eve was one of those ways and she chose to help and thus she provided a link that helped to carry the educational theories and practices of Mason into the US which is still slowly and steadily growing today.
Because she played such a vital link that carried Mason’s ideas into homes and schools here in the US, the Institute chose to name our Thursday afternoon lecture in her honour. And, to further honour her, the Institute decided to make that yearly lecture about nature study, her beloved subject. To Eve we give our thanks for supporting so many of us as we deepened our understanding of Mason’s methods.
This past spring while speaking with one of our friends out west about the western CMI conference, I mentioned that maybe we should name the Thursday afternoon lecture after something or someone more western. To my surprise the response was no, we want the Eve Anderson Tea and Nature Study Lecture. I was thrilled to further the memory of a person who has had such a profound effect on the Mason movement in the US and Canada. Eve Anderson was a Charlotte Mason trained teacher and she ran a PNEU school for years. What a joy and privilege to know and work with someone who cared enough for the Mason movement in North America, to share her knowledge and experience with us.
We look forward to many more years of the Eve Anderson Teas and Nature Study Lectures.
We are indebted to the Armitt Trust for providing the pictures of Eve Anderson's Nature Notebook.
Come join us in 2018 at Roanoke College, Salem, VA and University of Redlands, Redlands, CA for our next CMI Charlotte Mason Education Conferences. The dates are:
Roanoke College, Salem, VA - 13, 14, 15, and 16 June 2018
University of Redlands, CA - 25, 26, 27, and 28 July 2018
And—be on the look out. There may be one coming closer to you!
© 2017 Charlotte Mason Institute