Do you remember...
Miss Frances and the Ding Dong School?
Frances Rappaport Horwich was born in Ottawa, Ohio on July 16, 1907.
Long before there was a Miss Barbara and Romper Room, there was Miss Frances.
She became 'Miss Francis' every Monday through Friday on TV's Ding Dong School. It was one of the first educational shows for kids and Miss Frances used a style later used by Mr. Rogers and others.
Dr. Frances Horwich was head of the Education Department at Roosevelt College in Chicago. The show ran from 12/22/1952 - 12/28/1956 and was syndicated on NBC.
The opening sequence showed a hand ringing a bell. Producer Reinald Werrenrath's three year old daughter gets credit for naming the school, Ding Dong.
There is an Ohio Historical marker in Ottawa, where Frances was born. The front side of the marker reads:
Frances Rappaport Horwich was born in Ottawa on July 16, 1907, the daughter of Sam Rappaport, an Austrian immigrant who operated a general store, and Rosa Gratz Rappaport, a Russian immigrant. The youngest of six children, she attended the Ottawa elementary school and graduated from Ottawa High School in 1924.
After high school, she attended the University of Chicago where she earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and taught first grade for three years. "Miss Frances," as she was called, then earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1933 and a Ph.D. in 1942 from Northwestern University.
From 1942 to 1952, she was involved in teaching and education development. The basic education she received in the Ottawa schools enabled her to achieve great skills and abilities.
and the back side reads:
[continued from other side] Frances Rappaport Horwich is best known for the creation and development of an educational television program for pre-school children known as the Ding Dong School, which began in Chicago in 1952 and moved to New York City. The television program was aired on NBC through the 1950s and early 1960s and was watched by millions of children each morning.
The program began with "Miss Frances" ringing an old fashion school bell followed by instruction and training. The show's great success was honored with the George Foster Peabody Award earned in April 1953.
Miss Frances went on to become NBC's supervisor of children's programs, served educationally on the Association of Nursery Education and the American Education Fellowship boards, and was a member of the National Education Association.
Frances Rappaport Horwich died on July 21, 2001, in Arizona.
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