James Pierrepont Greaves, 1777 - 1842

James Pierrepont Greaves, born on 1 February 1777 and therefore one of the oldest of the Transcendentalists, was an English mystic, educator, and reformer whose ideas were influenced by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Jakob Böhme, and Amos Bronson Alcott.  In 1817 Greaves joined Pestalozzi for four years at his experimental school in Yverdun and in 1825 founded the London Infant School Society.  His book Letters of Pestalozzi on the Education of Infancy (1830) promoted Pestalozzian theories and practices and influenced Alcott's own educational philosophy.  In 1838 Greaves, along with English reformers William Oldham, Henry Gardner Wright, and Charles Lane, established Alcott House in Ham County, Surrey, a school modeled directly on Alcott's Temple School in Boston.  Like Alcott, these men sought to instill self-culture and God-like spirituality in their young pupils and, as part of their larger reform efforts, supported vegetarianism, water drinking, celibacy, and hydrotherapy.