Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Massachusetts on May 4, 1796. Because his family was poor when he was a child, he earned his school books by braiding straw. During his teens he never had more than 6 weeks of schooling a year because he had to work. The town library he used was founded by Benjamin Franklin. He graduated from Brown University as Valedictorian in 1819. A lawyer active in Massachusetts government, Mann is best remembered as an American education reformer. His second wife, Mary Tyler Peabody, was the sister to Nathaniel Hawthorn's wife, Sophia Peabody. He died August 2, 1859.