A biography

Ángel Carlo Bassi 


He was born on Sept. 28, 1868, the son of Uberto Bacci and Sabina Pennacchi, natives of San Romano di Garfagnana, Lucca, Italy. As a child he began in the practice of teaching by acting as an ad-honorem monitor in the school he attended, No. 1 from Tandil, a beautiful mountain town in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where the family had settled.  

Being still a teenager, he entered practice later as a helper, 

and later, in 1882, as a subpreceptor of a rural school headed by his fellow Fidel Rossi, in the party of Rauch, Bs. province. Aires. A few years later, with more experience, he returned to Tandil, to fill a vacant load in the School of Men. 

In 1885 he returned to collaborate with Fidel Rossi who had been famous director of the Graduate School of Pergamino, province of Bs. Aires. And it was in this city where he perfected his knowledge with a course for untitled lecturer that he brought to a successful completion by making examination in the city of La Plata. 

In 1887 he moved on to Paraná in whose famous school he received the title of Professor Normal with the first rankings of his course. From this time as a student, arose his friendship with Victor Mercante that he would maintain throughout the years and his adherence to positivism, inculcated for Pedro Scalabrini. 

In 1891, with his flamboyant title of Normal Professor, he assumed the load of director in School No. 1 in San Vicente, province of Buenos Aires and shortly to arrive embarked on the creation of the adult night school. 

There, in San Vicente he met Emilia Durione Sesia, with whom he contracted a union in 1891. Of this marriage were born: José Humberto, María Sabina, Emilia Dominga, Julia Clementina, Angela Elsa y Lidia Matilde Bassi. 

Changes in his life brought him his first child, his first publication The School Museum of San Vicente (1892), and his first renunciation of teaching in order to engage in business activities near his father-in-law. 

But it was difficult for him to stay away from his vocation, as Bernabé Lainez, Director of Schools of the Province of Buenos Aires, offered him the charge of District Secretary Subinspector. From that function he propitiated the creation of the School Library and Museum, educational walks, literary-musical acts, the celebration of homeland solemnities, and the creation of free preparatory courses for untitled teachers. 

When he wasé designated School Board attaché in 1893, he had already won two prizes in pedagogical competitions celebrated in Entre Rios and edited in the Journal of Education a Report of the School Delegate and Secretary Subinspector of the San Vicente District. 

In 1894, in the province of Corriente, Dr. J. Alfredo Ferreira, newly designated Director General of Schools, summoned to a large group of young pedagogues. He did not know Bassi personally, but had read his award-winning works, for what he designated him director of the Popular School of Esquina. Out of this fruitful experience arose another from the friendships our biografiado would maintain over the years. 

In the face of that establishment, he first obtained funds to provide it with its own building and later turned it into an experimental one, collecting his experience in "The Experimental School of Esquina," published in 1898, a work that merited a second edition in 1906. 

When in 1898 J. Alfredo Ferreira was designated Minister of Revenue and Public Education, he promoted to Prof. Bassi to the post of Director General of Schools.  

During its administration the number of school inscriptos rose to 9,455 as 97 schools were created, its operation reorganized and numerous buildings were raised. Hernán F. Gómez in his work " Common Education among Argentines," qualifies this administration as that golden age of the correntina school. 

After sharing the Buenos Aires Pedagogical Congress in 1901, he declined to his charge for health reasons and returned to San Vicente, where he partnered with his father-in-law and tried for the second time to devote himself to business again. 

But in 1904 Dr. Manuel B. Bahía appointed him secretary of the General Directorate of Schools of the Province of Buenos Aires. It was then that in 1906 he published "Outline on the Causes of the Decadence of the Primary School and the Means of Resurrecting Them." 

He traveled to Europe in 1911, where he shared the International Congress of Paidología in Brussels, actively intervening in the proceedings and succeeding in the use of the Castilian language in the deliberations. He traveled through many countries of the old world, spilling his experiences into a series of articles that appeared in La Nacion de Buenos Aires. On his return he gave up as Secretary of the Directorate of Schools, to take charge of various chairs in the Normal School and the Misses' Lyceum of La Plata, attached to the University. 

In 1914 he settled with his family in the town of Lomas of Zamora, and for 17 productive years he occupied the direction of the Normal School,creating national and international prestige. 

 It is during this long period of constant work that the following initiatives are recorded: creation of the Pro Normal School - predecessor of the Cooperator Association - which presided over the distinguished neighbor Manuel A. la Portela, duplication of normal courses, installation of the school in the new building (Beruti Street, Banfield) with managements pro own building, formation of a library of 4.000 volumes, creation of the physics and chemistry cabinets, map room, formation of the natural history museum, acquisition of a piano, instructional excursions, cinemátográficas sessions, classroom light projections, etc. 

Also imposing themselves in that era: handicrafts, free gymnastics, chatter about hygiene and manners, publication of educational works, administration of texts on credit and with rebates, coffee service with milk for 500 pupils, and the compulsory wearing of white aprons inside the school. 

Despite the little time he took away, his literary vocation did not abandon him, and during that time, "Government, Administration and Hygiene of the Home," "Interpretation, Scope and Applications of Pestalozzian Principles," "Methodology of Intuitive Teaching," "1er Year Pedagogy Course for the Normal Schools of the Argentine Republic," and "Treatise on School Discipline" were published. 

After of this intense activity, he decided to retire in 1931 to devote himself fully to conveying his experiences, thoughts and ideologies. He published "Historical Science and Philosophy of History" (Spirit and Method of his Teaching) declared for the University Council of Nicaragua as ... "única of its kind in the Spanish language" and adopted as a text in that nation. He also received the Grand Diploma of Honor of the Pedagogical Section in the American Works Competition celebrated in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1938. 

"Principles of General Methodology or Notions of Scientific and Pedagogical Logic" was published in 1939 and in 1941 appeared Notions of School Discipline. In 1942 he published "The Tyrant Rosas" (historical judgment based in revolutionary precedents, democratic principles and norms of political morality) polemical work in which he severely prosecutes the personality and work of the government of the Restorer. J. A. Ferreira appeared in 1943, to popularize the work of that friend with whom he collaborated in the Correntine stage of his life.  

In 1948 the Athenaeum of Science and Art of Mexico designated him an honorary member for his work as a publicist, and in 1957 designated him an academician by number of the Argentine Academy of Education. 

In the stately casona of Italy 58 street that sheltered his family, his books and works of art for 45 years, he passed away in Lomas of Zamora- Buenos Aires on January 8 from 1959 at the age of 90, surrounded by children, grandchildren, friends and followers of his principles who visited him assiduously. 

He was a contributor in La Prensa, La Nazione, La Razón and La Vanguardia in Buenos Aires; "Rivista Pedagogica" and "La Scuola Moderna" in Madrid, "Rivista Pedagogica" in Rome, "Nuova Era" in Ecuador and numerous newspapers in the interior of the country. 

At his death he carried published 29 books and had prepared 19 more for publication. Of his work comes off an unbreakable adherence to principles from positivism and to Augustus Comte whose work he recorded in minute form. 

His library is located in the Lomas National University of Zamora.