6 Old School Books

Members of the college community know the importance of education. In our early childhood we began attending school and learning our ABC’s and 123’s. Reflection tells us that we are only one generation, of many before us, that has begun this journey at a young age. Study of the by-gone textbooks in the Leap Collection reveals what our American forbearers thought to be important, how they went about teaching their children, and suggests the social and cultural perspectives that they brought to an understanding of literature, history, and geography.

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Language is the first subject taught in order to succeed with all others. The School Reader, written by Charles W. Sanders, is a basic textbook for young learners that provides lessons in reading and spelling. An English book for older students titled The English Reader, by Lindley Murray, consists of lessons in reading aloud that stress distinctness, proper loudness of voice, propriety of pronunciation, manner of reading verse, degree of slowness, emphasis, tone, and pauses.

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Another popular subject is History. A History of the United States, written by J. Olney, expounds upon the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, the English settlement of America, the Declaration of Independence, the Federal Constitution, and events that occurred between the ratification of The Constitution in 1788 and 1837, the date of publication for this text. A second history book, titled History of the United States from the Earliest Discoveries to the Present Time, by Marcus Willson, consists of voyages and discoveries, early settlements and colonial history, the American Revolution, the United States Presidents from 1789 to 1845, and more. Geography was also regularly taught during the nineteenth century. A Compendium of Geography, by The Reverend John C. Rudd, is a schoolbook that covers the geography of the world and of the Holy Scriptures, and introduces students to the study of astronomy.

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A few unique pamphlets are also included in this case. The Collingswood School No. 1 News pamphlets contain news about the school, events happening around the area, fictional stories, jokes, and poems all written by the students. The jokes told by students are quite entertaining.

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The School Texts

Murray, Lindley. The English Reader; Or, Pieces in Prose and Verse, from the Best Writers; Designed to Assist Young Persons to Read with Propriety and Effect; Improve their Language and Sentiments: And to Include the Most Important Principles of Piety and Virtue. With a Few Preliminary Observations on the Principles of Good Reading. Elizabeth Town, NJ: T.O. Sayre, 1828.

Olney, J. A History of the United States. New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1837.

Rudd, John C. A Compendium of Geography. Trenton: D. & E. Fenton, 1819.

Sanders, Charles W. The School Reader. Philadelphia: Sower, Barnes & Co., 1858.

Willson, Marcus. History of the United States from the Earliest Discoveries to the Present Time. New York: Ivison & Phinney, 1856.