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Friday, September 05, 2014

Back to School

Now is the time for children to head back to school, so I pulled a few school-related items from the files.

This photo, although unidentified, seems to be some sort of school/class photograph including the young Abie Rosenbach (the future Dr. R). He is seated at the far left of the front row with arms crossed.

Unidentified photograph. Philadelphia, 1880-1885?. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 2006.1110

This is Dr. R's graduating class from Central Manual Training School. Again he appears at the left, this time in the second row.
Central Manual Training School, class of 1894.  Philadelphia, 1894. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 2006.2442

Switching gears from our founder to our favorite book, here is St. Joseph's School, which Leopold Bloom walks by on the morning of June 16, 1904, en route to the butcher shop: He passed Saint Joseph's National School. Brats' clamour. Windows open. Fresh air helps memory. Or a lilt. Ahbeesee defeegee kelomen opeecue rustyouvee doubleyou. Boys are they? Yes. Inishturk. Inishark. Inishboffin. At their joggerfry. Mine. Slieve Bloom.

Phil Phillips, St. Joseph's School. Dublin, 1950. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Gift of Sayre P. Sheldon and Lady Richard Davies. 2006.0004.053  

The photo itself was taken in 1950 by Phil Phillips, a Harvard archaeology professor  who went to Dublin to photograph sites from Ulysses.

Our current exhibition Bescribbled, Nibbled, and Dog-Eared includes examples of primers and other instructional books used in schools. The exhibition showcases Dr. Rosenbach collection of early American children's books, which focused on pre-1830 works. A later item from our collection, which is not in the exhibition, is the fascinating Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children, published in North Carolina in 1863

Miss M. B. Moore, Geographical reader for the Dixie children. Raleigh, N.C.: Branson, Farrar, & Co, 1863. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia A 863g

Every nation wants to teach its children about its history and the Confederates were no exception. Here is a portion of the description of the "Southern Confederacy" from the Geographical Reader:

3. This is a great country! The Yankees thought to starve us out when they sent their ships to guard our seaport towns. But we have learned to make many things; to do without many others; and above all to trust in the smiles of the God of battles. We had few guns, little ammunition, and not much of anything but food, cotton and tobacco; but the people helped themselves and God helped the people. We were considered an indolent, weak people, but our enemies have found us strong, because we had justice on our side.

        4. The Southern people are noted for being high minded and courteous. A stranger seldom lacks friends in this country. Much of the field work is done by slaves. These are generally well used and often have as much pocket money as their mistresses. They are contented and happy, and many of them are christians. The sin of the South lies not in holding slaves, but they are sometimes mistreated. Let all the little boys and girls remember that slaves are human, and that God will hold them to account for treating them with injustice.

        5. The Southern Confederacy is at present a sad county; but President Davis is a good and wise man, and many of the generals and other officers in the army, are pious. Then there are many good praying people in the land; so we may hope that our cause will prosper. "When the righteous are in authority, the nation rejoiceth;but when the wicked bear rule the nation mourneth." Then remember, little boys, when you are men, never to vote for a bad man to govern the country.

You can see more and read the full text thanks to the Documenting the American South project at UNC. 

Finally, what is a blog post without a good Cruikshank illustration or two. Our first illustration depicts male and female students in a ragged school ( a charity school for poor children).

George Cruikshank,The Ragged School. London, 1846. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 1954.1880.2554

This cartoon depicts two ragged pupils who do not look especially studious. The boy on the left is holding what may be a battledore, a type of simple cardboard book for teaching letters and other very basic lessons. You can see a real example of a battledore in the Bescribbled exhibition.
George Cruikshank. London, 1846. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 1954.1880.2572

And last, but not least, here is a pair of illustrations depicting an ebullient group of students returning home from school (at left) and a dejected group returning to school (on the right).

George Cruikshank, Schoolboys Going Home and Boys Returning to School. Illustrations for Peter Parley's Tales about Christmas. London: Tegg, 1839. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. 1954.1880.3193 and 3190

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.

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