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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

J. Marc Jantzen

First Committee Member

Roger L. Reimer

Second Committee Member

Roland N. [?]

Third Committee Member

Juanita G. Castro

Fourth Committee Member

Christian H. Maynard


PROBLEM: The problem of the study is to make use of the biography of Oscar Letson Matthews to furnish insight into an understanding of moral values in American education in the mid-nineteenth century.

PURPOSE: Oscar Matthews was a Disciple of Christ moral educator who in 1860 influenced the formation of Hesperian College in Woodland, California. He taught elementary school in Colorado pioneer mining communities during 1873 and 1878. The purpose of this study is to determine if Matthews' practice of individual morality and its impact on his social setting may offer insight into how to inject individual morality in twentieth century education.

PROCEDURES: In order to investigate the influences of Matthews' individual morality on moral education two prominent nineteenth century moral educators were presented as moral educator models . These were Alexander Campbell, preacher-teacher-farmer, and James A. Garfield, preacher-teacher-politician. The patterns of Matthews ' life were investigated to determine which moral educator model best describes the activities of Matthews.

FINDINGS: The research indicates that Matthews compares in his practice of individual morality with the preacher-teacher -politician model. Matthews practiced individual morality by following his convictions in spite of differing public opinion in Woodland , Ouray, and Leadville which led to personal sacrifice.

APPLICATIONS: The findings on Matthews may provide a moral education example for public school teachers in the twentieth century. Teachers through the practice of ethics and personal moral values can provide a model for student observation. It may be desirable for teachers to include in their preparatory studies a firm religious base in sacred history. A religious base aids teachers in providing a moral education for students. Educators need to demonstrate a care for human beings and life in order to inject morality into education .