Before the hatching of Big Bird from Sesame Street and
before the dawning of a beautiful day in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood;
there was the clanging of Miss Frances's school bell!
Frances Rappaport Horwich, or Miss Frances, was born
in Ottawa, Ohio in 1907, the daughter of Austrian and
Horwich earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1929
from the University of Chicago. With that, her teaching career
began in a first grade class in Illinois.
Next a master's degree in education at Columbia
University and a doctorate at Northwestern University,
all while holding various supervisory roles in nursery
schools and kindergartens.
The National Broadcast Company in Chicago,
had Frances's name on a short list of teachers to
host a new TV show that was planned as a
televised nursery school with the pupils participating
from their homes.
The program began with "Miss Frances" ringing an
old school bell, this ringing bell gave the show it's
name: "Ding Dong School"!
The camera angles were adjusted to the point
of view of a small child.
No one was prepared for the flood of positive telephone
calls the station received or for the amount of viewer
mail praising the program.
Frances Horwich won the George Foster Peabody Award
in 1952 and because of the show's rising popularity
it was broadcast nationally on the NBC network the
During personal appearances, crowds to see
Miss France were larger than those for many
Hollywood film stars of the time.
Writing numerous children's educational books,
Frances Horwich went on to become NBC's supervisor
of children's programs, served on the Association
of Nursery Education and the American Education
Fellowship boards, and was a member of the
National Education Association.
A ringing endorsement for a young lady from Ottawa, Ohio.