If ever there was an opportunity, in the history of American education, to create “a school in which all good things come together,” it seemed to exist in Chicago in 1898. At least it seemed so to Colonel Francis W. Parker who, in that year, described his hopes for just such a school. Colonel Parker had, during the preceding twenty years, earned national recognition for his reforms in elementary education and teacher training in the Quincy, Massachusetts, public schools and the Cook County and Chicago normal schools. Sympathetic professional colleagues applauded his pedagogical innovations and looked to him for continued leadership in the “new education” movement. Others, however, judged his revolutionary ideas quite differently. Certain influential Chicago laymen, advocates of “economy and efficiency” in the public schools, regularly denounced both Parker and his practices and sought repeatedly for his dismissal. His national reputation, it appeared, was more secure than the future of “the work,” as he called it, to which he had dedicated himself. It was this mixture of commendation and condemnation, the chronic threat to his work coupled with his near-religious commitment to carry it forward, that prompted him to write of his hopes and fears to Mrs. Emmons Blaine.