Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Booker T. Washington’s Logical Successor

From February 19, 1911

BOOKER T. WASHINGTONS LOGICAL SUCCESSOR

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON’S LOGICAL SUCCESSOR: An Elevator Man Who Plans to Carry the Tuskegee Plan Into Oklahoma. Described as Possessor of “a Black Man’s Skull Filled with a White Man’s Brains.” (PDF)

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson named the second week in February as Black History Week. Eventually the whole month became Black History Month. So it’s fitting that we have this article this week, even though it was publishing before any of that happened, to teach us a little bit about black history that we might not already know.

Booker T. Washington is a familiar name. I remember learning about him and his 1895 speech on race relations that brought him to prominence. He was born into slavery, and later became an educator and black leader. His autobiography, Up From Slavery is available as a free download from Google Books.

But until I read this article, I wasn’t familiar with Willis Nathan Huggins, here proclaimed as Booker T. Washington’s logical successor, even though he was only working as a hotel elevator operator:

Employed as night elevator man in one of the smaller but best-known hotels of Washington, D. C., is a negro whose self-education and mental development is such that many white persons of position and influence at the Capital look upon him as the logical successor of Booker T. Washington in the uplifting of the negro race. Black in color as the proverbial “ace of spades,” and having all the facial characteristics of the true African negro, those who have become interested in him and have studied him describe him as possessing “a black man’s skull filled with a white man’s brains.”

Uh… I think that was meant as a compliment, but yikes.

Huggins eventually moved to New York, where he became a teacher and an activist in the New Negro Movement. He went on to write several books on black history.

Huggins remained a teacher in New York City until December of 1940, when he went missing. His body was found in the Hudson River the following summer. Police ruled his death a suicide, although some were suspicious he was murdered over bad business deals.

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Written by David

February 16th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

How The Brains Of Animals Work

From February 12, 1911

HOW THE BRAINS OF ANIMALS WORK

HOW THE BRAINS OF ANIMALS WORK (PDF)

The 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica marked the beginning of its transition from a British to American publication. It came out in several volumes between 1910 and 1911. The New York Times asked noted zoologist Ray Lankester to select some excerpts from the encyclopedia.

Here, he has selected excerpts from the entry for The Intelligence of Animals. Since the 1911 edition of the encyclopedia is now public domain, you can read the full entry as it originally appeared in print. And for comparison, here is the Wikipedia entry on Animal Intelligence.

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Written by David

February 11th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Education,Science

Why Don’t College Women Marry? Only One-Third Of Wellesley Graduates Wed

From January 22, 1911

WHY DONT COLLEGE WOMEN MARRY? ONLY ONE-THIRD OF WELLESLEY GRADUATES WED

WHY DON’T COLLEGE WOMEN MARRY? ONLY ONE-THIRD OF WELLESLEY GRADUATES WED: Interesting Facts Gathered from the Records of Other Institutions, Together with Some Analysis of Them. (PDF)

Oh, sure. I could make the obvious joke about Wellesley girls not getting married because they’re all lesbians. But instead I’ll just point you to the 2001 Rolling Stone article by Jay Dixit called The Highly-Charged Erotic Life of the Wellesley Girl and you can make your own jokes.

True, 90 years passed between the two articles, and the atmosphere at Wellesley was probably quite a bit different back then, but Dixit’s article is a more interesting look at the school than this one. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Sandra North explains the process: “For a while, someone might go around telling people she’s asexual, saying, `I’m not attracted to anyone,’ which sometimes is a cover for starting to become attracted to women.” If she develops a crush on somebody, she might check the woman’s “résumé,” the electronic profile on Wellesley’s e-mail system. “That’s actually a pretty big part of Wellesley’s sex culture,” says Sandra. “That’s where a lot of flirtation goes on.” It can also act as an informal registry of who’s straight and who’s gay or experimenting. “One girl wrote on her resume, ‘I am now open to dating women. If you want to talk to me, here’s my extension,’” Sandra explains.

It helps that dating women is so convenient. “You just run upstairs and there’s your girlfriend,” says Jess. “Here, you can practically have an apartment set up with your girlfriend. At most coed places, a girl would probably have trouble getting a room with her boyfriend.”

And the atmosphere is so open that even the more conservative groups on campus tend to be socially liberal. Sarah Spurgeon, a member of the Wellesley Republicans, says, “I don’t care what someone does in their bedroom or whom they marry, and I also think women should be able to play like men do in the battle of the sexes. It is simply a matter of personal freedom.” Heather Gay says, “It’s an environment where being a lesbian is considered almost cool.” Growing up, Heather was always embarrassed about her name. “But once I came out at Wellesley, it became a big joke,” she recalls. “We’d have posters advertising the Café Hoop that would say BE GAY and just have a big picture of my face.”

That’s a good one to add to your Instapaper reading list.

cc: longform.org

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Written by David

January 21st, 2011 at 9:30 am

Answers To Queries Asked By Readers Of The Times

From January 22, 1911

ANSWERS TO QUERIES ASKED BY READERS OF THE TIMES

ANSWERS TO QUERIES ASKED BY READERS OF THE TIMES (PDF)

The New York Times has a history of answering reader questions in columns like Science Q&A and the F.Y.I. feature of the NY/Region section (available in two paperback compilations called The Curious New Yorker and Only In New York).

This article is one early example of a column that ran at least as far back as 1908, often under the name “Queries From The Curious And Answers To Them.”

Here are the rules for submitting a question to the “Queries” column:

This department does not pretend to be infallible. It will endeavor, however, to answer questions sent to it by Times readers to the best of its ability, reserving the right to ignore all that are trifling, or of concern only to the questioner.

To receive attention, every query must bear the name and address of the person sending it. This does not necessarily mean it will be published; only the initials will be used if the questioner so desires. No attention will be paid to queries in which this rule is not followed.

Hundreds of letters are received by this department every week, and it is obviously impossible to answer the writers intelligently through the mails. This is done only in exceptional cases.

Questions concerning the correctness of English sentences will NOT be answered for the reason that the proper reference books are available for the public generally.

Questions as to the value of coins and stamps will invariably be ignored.

And here is a sample question and answer from this week’s column:

Have our scientists ever definitely proved the theory that there are canals on the planet Mars? I am led to ask this question for the reason that I read an article on the subject recently in which the writer, supposedly a man well informed on the subject, appeared to accept the theory as a fact. For my own part, I have always supposed that it was a question admitting of much doubt and one that must forever remain unsettled.

Although the “Canals of Mrs” have long been a subject of discussion among astronomers, it would be incorrect to suppose that there has been any consensus of opinion that these canals actually exist. In fact the most distinguished astronomers look on them as purely mythical and certainly no one has ever come forward with any proof that the marks seen on the planet with powerful telescopes are actually inland waterways…

For a broader look at the column, here’s a sampling of questions asked of the Times over a four year period:

“Kindly let me know whether a Hebrew or a Catholic can be nominated for the Presidency of the United States.”

“Who deserves the credit of being called the discoverer of the art of photography? When and where were the first pictures made?”

“Where is the body of Christopher Columbus buried? Is its present resting place the original grave or was it transferred?”

“Is there any way by which we can determine approximately how old the earth is? I have read and heard the most divergent statements on this question, and am wondering if any one has ever reached what might be called even a fairly accurate conclusion.”

“Is the plural of money ‘monies’ or ‘moneys,’ or is either correct?”

“Has any one — scientist or philosopher — ever attempted to calculate the number of hairs on the human head? We are told by the Good Book that every hair on the head is numbered, but for my part I have never seen any figures on the subject. Can The Times gratify my curiosity?

“We expect to go to Los Angeles or San Francisco, Cal., to live for one year, beginning next month. Would you kindly tell us whether or not it would be advisable to take a set of furs there? In other words, is it cold enough there during the Winter to make furs a necessity?”

“Who was the first Poet Laureate of England, and how did the creation of the title come about?”

“How many pounds in the average bale of cotton?”

“Has a foreigner the right to own real estate in the State of New York?”

“Are Japanese who are born in this country American citizens?”

“Which city in the United States was the first to adopt electricity for street lighting?”

“Please publish the names of the President, of the Vice President, and of the Cabinet.”

“Are there any classes in drawing for adults in the public High Schools evenings?”

“What day did Nov. 13, 1875 fall on?”

“When was the obelisk on Central Park brought to New York, and on what ship? What is the significance of an obelisk?”

“Which is correct: ‘Two teaspoonfuls is the same as one,’ or ‘Two teaspoonfuls are the same as one’?”

“In order to settle a dispute, please tell me what is the height of the Singer Building and the Eiffel Tower?”

“Where can I take a swim near Twenty-eighth Street and the East River?”

“Is it true that there are places in the world where rain never falls? I have traveled rather extensively in various parts of it, but must say that I have never discovered a place where the drouth was perpetual.”

“Please tell me the name of the city in which we live. I have always supposed that it was simply New York, but find that some of my friends think it is New York City in the strict sense.”

For the answers to these and many other questions, download this 6.5MB PDF in which I’ve compiled a sample of “Query” columns from 1908-1912.

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Written by David

January 20th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

$163,197,125 Given In 1910 For Philanthropy

From January 1, 1911

163,197,125 GIVEN IN 1910 FOR PHILANTHROPY

$163,197,125 GIVEN IN 1910 FOR PHILANTHROPY (PDF)

1910 had some generous donors, including David Rankin, Jr., who this article describes as “giver of the year.” The 75 year old bachelor donated $3 million — his entire life savings — to a school in his name. It wasn’t the highest amount given by a millionaire, but it was everything he had.

2010 was no slouch, either. This year Bill Gates and Warren Buffet asked their fellow billionaires to pledge at least half their net worth to charity. Some who have agreed to do so include George Lucas, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Today is the last day you can make a donation to a non-profit and have it be tax deductible for 2010. If you haven’t already done so, and you want to actually see your donation make a difference, check out DonorsChoose.org where you can read about schools in need of help, and pick a specific classroom with a specific project that you want to see funded.

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Written by David

December 31st, 2010 at 10:30 am

New York’s Fine New Library Nearly Completed

From December 11, 1910

NEW YORKS FINE NEW LIBRARY NEARLY COMPLETED

NEW YORK’S FINE NEW LIBRARY NEARLY COMPLETED: Will Be Ready Before the Contract Time, and Needs Only the Interior Furnishings (PDF)

Because I’ve done so much research for this website in the microforms room of this building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, I was especially delighted to come across this article. It’s interesting to see the famous reading room totally empty of furniture.

After ten years of actual construction and an expenditure of upward of $9,000,000, New York’s new public library has been completed.

It is not to be opened for use until May of next year because the furniture has to be installed, and that cannot be done before the middle of April. But the last stroke of the builder’s hammer has already fallen. Bag and baggage, the building himself has been turned out, and at present the mechanical equipment of the structure, such as printing presses, type-setting machines, and book stacks are being installed.

But for the lack of furniture the building could be thrown open in a month.

Before the main branch of the New York Public Library was built, the entire block was occupied by the Croton Reservoir, a tall above-ground reservoir in the middle of the city. People could go for a stroll on top of the surrounding wall. The reservoir was torn down around 1900, and the library was built in its place.

In the article, a representative from the architectural firm which designed the building looks forward to today:

A century hence… the classic perfection herein attained by the artisans of the Hayden ateliers will have rendered this work, then softened with the passing of time, an antique that will be much appreciated.

He was specifically referring to a wood carving inside the building, but the same could have been said of the building itself. Unfortunately, the building has softened a bit too much with the passing of time, and has needed renovation. The interior restoration has already been finished, and the exterior renovation is currently underway. I assume it will be finished in time for the building’s centennial next year.

The main branch of the NYPL (now officially named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

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Written by David

December 10th, 2010 at 9:00 am

America’s Great Scientists Rapidly Decreasing

From November 20, 1910

AMERICAS GREAT SCIENTISTS RAPIDLY DECREASING

AMERICA’S GREAT SCIENTISTS RAPIDLY DECREASING: Dr. James McKeen Catell of Columbia Says There Are Fewer Men of Distinction in Scientific Lines Than There Were Seven Years Ago. (PDF)

The point of this article is that the number of scientists in the country decreased over seven years from 1903 to 1910, and appeared to be an ongoing trend. That’s sad, and I wish the country today were more science-minded. I think too little value is placed on science education these days.

But mainly I want to point out that awesome drawing representing a scientist.

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Written by David

November 19th, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Education,Science

New Meeting House For Society Of Ethical Culture

From October 16, 1910

NEW MEETING HOUSE FOR SOCIETY OF ETHICAL CULTURE

NEW MEETING HOUSE FOR SOCIETY OF ETHICAL CULTURE: Unusual and Interesting Features About the Edifice That Will Be Dedicated Next Sunday. Simplicity the Keynote — The Seats are Arranged Radially Around Slightly Elevated Platform. (PDF)

Over the previous two weeks, the Sunday Magazine had published several articles about religion. First, they had a front-page story in which Thomas Edison declares there is no soul or afterlife. The following week, they published articles in which experts claim that there surely is an afterlife. This week, they approach the topic from a different vantage, announcing the opening of a new meeting house for the Society of Ethical Culture, a non-theistic congregation led by Felix Adler.

For the unfamiliar, here is some of what Felix Adler has to say about ethical culture:

“Moral training is necessary for every one; religious training is another matter. Not every one is born with a religious nature; there can be unreligious persons just as there are unmusical persons.

“It is a gift, given to many and omitted almost entirely in the case of others.

“Very great harm is done by trying to force religion on people who are not by nature religious. They are not attuned to it, they do not grasp the real significance of it, and they inevitably degrade it. Much of the tragedy of history has arisen from no other cause than insistence in forcing religion on persons irreligious by temperament, and their consequent misconception of it.

“Therefore, in my own training of children I assume with regard to religion the attitude of ‘You may take it or leave it.’ A child of religious temperament may be trained in religious thought, but others may need only moral training, and would be better for not having the religious side forced on them.”

Today, the Society of Ethical Culture continues to have regular Sunday services for the unreligious community, and houses the Fieldston School, a notable private school whose alumni include Diane Arbus, Sofia Coppola, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Walter Koenig.

The article describes the building’s architecture, including its auditorium, which is used today not just for the Society’s services, but for other community events, too. I attended a Lydia Kavina theremin concert there in 2000, and a panel discussion on civil liberties after 9/11 moderated by Phil Donahue in 2002. You can find a calendar of events at the Society’s website

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Written by David

October 15th, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Education,Religion

When Future Historian Comes To 1910

From August 7, 1910

WHEN FUTURE HISTORIAN COMES TO 1910

WHEN FUTURE HISTORIAN COMES TO 1910: Will He Look Us Up with Interest, or Pass Us by with a Grunt (PDF)

Back in 1910 the New York Times Sunday Magazine had a regular weekly column in which two characters known as the Office Radical and the Office Philosopher debate two sides of an issue. I’ve read a few of their debates while doing research for this blog, but I haven’t published any of their columns here so far. But this one was too good to pass up.

In this week’s column, they debate whether or not anything interesting has happened in 1910 that would be worth future historians looking at, especially as compared to all the interesting stuff their own historians have to look back on.

The Office Radical is sure that “some future historian will be ransacking the newspaper files and official records of 1910 the same way our present-day historians are ransacking those of, say, 1859 or 1770.”

The Office Philosopher says, “I’ll bet you 10 to 6 he doesn’t look at them for anything but Peary and the airships.”

I read this as I sat in the microforms room of the New York Public Library, doing research for this blog. I’d been researching the other 1910 articles I’ve posted over the last couple months, on topics that do indeed include Robert Peary and airships. And when I saw this discussion my eyes got wide and I thought, “They’re talking about me!”

I felt like Bastian in The NeverEnding Story when he realizes that the book he’s reading is talking specifically about him. Maybe this means I should write a post in which I wonder if future historians will ever look back at blogs of today with the same fascination I have in looking at newspapers of 1910.

So, obviously, I side with the Radical on this one.

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Written by David

August 6th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Why Some Children Are Always Lazy

From July 24, 1910

WHY SOME CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS LAZY

WHY SOME CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS LAZY: Experts Have Made a Study of This Familiar Weakness in Childhood and Suggest a Cure (PDF)

Maybe your child isn’t deliberately lazy. He might just be defective. Keeping in mind that a healthy child takes 8 years to complete 8 school grades, you can use this handy guide to see how long it might take your child to finish school, depending on what kind of defect your child has:

Defective vision: 8 years
Defective teeth: 8.5 years
Defective breathing: 8.6 years
Hypertrophied tonsils: 8.7 years
Adenoids: 9.1 years
Enlarged glands: 9.2 years

Woe is the child with enlarged glands and defective teeth. Luckily, these defects can all be counteracted with proper nutrition. This scientific study is based on a sample size of 27 children.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Education,Science

Women Triumph In National Educational Association

From July 17, 1910

WOMEN TRIUMPH IN NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION

WOMEN TRIUMPH IN NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION: Mrs. Eliza Flagg Young Placed at the Head of the Organization Heretofore Controlled by Men (PDF)

I don’t want to gloss over the main point of this article, which is that Eliza “Ella” Flagg Young became the first female head of the NEA, so take a moment to let her great accomplishment settle in. Now there’s something else I found while researching this article that I want to discuss.

For some reason, Eliza Flagg Young comes up in several articles on-line about homeopathy. This excerpt at homeopathic.com quotes from a book called The Consumer’s Guide to Homeopathy by Dana Ullman, who also runs the site and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. He wrote:

Eliza Flagg Young, MD, a nineteenth century physician, once said, “Every woman is born a doctor. Men have to study to become one.” Although this may be a controversial statement, what isn’t controversial is that women tend to be the primary health care providers in most families. In the vast majority of homes women are responsible for watching over the health needs of the children, and by their shopping and cooking, they are responsible for fulfilling the nutritional needs of the family.

Because homeopathic medicines are considerably more amenable to home care than are conventional drugs, it is predictable that American women have had a history of interest in homeopathy.

Eliza Flagg Young, MD? Was the first female head of the NEA, who dedicated her life to education, also a physician? That seemed unlikely, so I researched further. In fact, Eliza Flagg Young did receive a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1900, but it was a Ph.D in education, not a medical degree.

I found the quote correctly attributed to “Dr.” Ella Flagg Young, as that was her title, in several places including medical books. But I only see the false attribution of an “MD” degree on homeopathy sites. I’m not sure if the error predates Ullman, or if he made the illogical jump himself.

Coincidentally, while researching another article I posted this week about a movement to get kids to stop kissing, I came across a relevant quote by Flagg Young in an Ohio newspaper. Here is the quote (emphasis mine):

The rumor that a campaign was to be instituted in the public schools of Chicago to enroll pupils and teachers in the new organization was met with a denial by Supt. Ella Flagg Young, says the Chicago Inter-Ocean.

“I think more harm is done by directing children’s attention to disease than can be offset by the new ideas advanced by kissing,” she said last night. “As to the merits of the scheme to stop the practice of kissing, I cannot say. I am not a doctor.

Is it really possible that a homeopathic expert didn’t check his facts? That he made an assumption unsupported by evidence? That he found a connection where there is none? That seems so unlike homeopathy.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 10:15 am

Posted in Education,Science

Out Of Door Schools Are Growing In Popularity

From July 17, 1910

OUT OF DOOR SCHOOLS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY

OUT OF DOOR SCHOOLS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY: Germany Adopted Them with Unusual Results and New York, Boston and Other Cities Are Experimenting Along the Same Lines (PDF)

For some reason, it seems to have been difficult for poor people to spend time outdoors:

One of the most perplexing problems that parents or teachers used to face is that of the delicate school child. Some little girl had scarlet fever. She was quite well, but had been left pale and anaemic. The doctor sagely said that she should be kept in the open air. She, on the other hand, did not care to lose a year in her standing at school, and perhaps she could ill-afford to do so. Or, again, a boy whose parents were delicate began to show signs that he might have inherited some tendency to disease. Again the mandate, “Open air”; and the parents, if they were poor, were likely to reply, “Yes, but how?”

With the rich this situation was always easily handled. There are schools which make a specialty of outdoor exercise, or a child may be taken out of the classroom and sent to the country with a tutor. Neither education nor health suffers in such case, but with the poor it has been a very different matter. Their children have barely time to go through the elementary schools before they must go to work, and, in fact, only a minority of them accomplish even this; and even if it was readily decided that health is the first consideration, the only fresh air available was to be found in the streets or in parks where the all of the “gang” may come upon the child at any moment.

The solution: outdoor schools!

The ideal open air school is one situated either in the woods or in some park large enough to be a satisfactory imitation… In New York, so far, there has been no such school camp, but at the present time twenty classrooms are being remodeled so that they may be used for open air classes, while on the famous out-of-commission ferryboats anchored off hospital piers there have been ungraded schools for some time. The remodeled classrooms consist of three walls and some shade. Except in rainy weather the children are as much outdoors as though they were on a veranda. The children who need it are given a rest hour and made to lie down and sleep in the middle of the day. It is a good idea, only a trifle less good than the really truly out-of-doors school.

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Education

Odd Rentals That Are Paid For Famous Properties

From July 17, 1910

ODD RENTALS THAT ARE PAID FOR FAMOUS PROPERTIES

ODD RENTALS THAT ARE PAID FOR FAMOUS PROPERTIES: A Rose Pays for a Church, a Clover Blossom for a School, Fish for a Clubhouse and Flags for Great Ducal Estates (PDF)

This article is all about weird things that are paid for rent of a building, usually by a group or organization. Just before the article was written, Flint Union School in Michigan made a great deal with the landowner: a 99-year lease in exchange for a single clover blossom each year. This means the lease should have just expired last year, but I can’t find any information about this school and whether or not it still exists, let alone whether they’ve had a rent hike since then (a condition of the lease was that using the land for anything other than school purposes would terminate the lease).

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Written by David

July 16th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Education,Life

“Little Mothers” Write Playlets With Helpful Plots

From July 10, 1910

LITTLE MOTHERS WRITE PLAYLETS WITH HELPFUL PLOTS

“LITTLE MOTHERS” WRITE PLAYLETS WITH HELPFUL PLOTS: The Authors Are Only Twelve Years Old but They Have Grown Up Ideas About Keeping Babies Well (PDF)

The Little Mothers’ League was a club for girls in public school that taught them how to properly care for babies. Started in 1910 by Sara Josephine Baker, the idea wasn’t as much to prepare them to be parents themselves, but to give them the means to help their parents by taking care of their siblings. By teaching these kids, the Board of Health could get information about good habits and hygiene to parents who were too busy to seek out information themselves.

The article reprints several short plays that were written by members of the Little Mothers’ League to illustrate what they’ve learned. Here is one of them:

The first play was written by “E. K.” of Public School 22 and deals with the dangers following the common belief that a breath of fresh air will kill the baby.

Acted by two girls and a baby in a dark, uncomfortable room, with the windows shut up as tightly as possible.

Miss Smith — (Coming into Mrs. Jones’s, as usual.) — Good morning, Mrs. Jones. Why does your baby cry so heartily?

Mrs. Jones, (somewhat terrified,) — She seems to have some fever, and I do not know what to do to her.

Miss Smith — Well, why do you not go to see a doctor about it? (Looking at the windows and at the baby’s wrappings.) I know what it is. She feels too warm. You need to open the windows and take some of her wrappings off her. Then you will see how more comfortable she will feel, and she will also begin to play around on the floor.

Mrs. Jones, (takes some of the wrappings off the baby and opens the windows. Then, seeing how the baby stops crying and beings to play around on the floor, she says) — Miss Smith, I thank you very much for your kind advice, and I would like to know where you have learned all of these useful things.

Miss Smith — (Showing her badge to Mrs. Jones,) — Why, Mrs. Jones, I am a member of the Little Mothers’ League, and this is where I learn all of these very useful things.

The other plays printed in the article teach “the horrors of grocery milk”, that you should listen to your doctor instead of your neighbors, and that pineapple is not good food for babies:

Mother — Baby wants something to eat.

Child — (Mother) What?

Mother — I guess a piece of pineapple.

Child — Mother, what, pineapple for a baby?

Mother — What’s the matter?

Child — You do not mean pineapple for a baby, do you?

Mother — Yes, I think baby will like a piece very much.

Child — No matter if the baby will like it or not it is not healthy for babies.

Mother — Who told you that?

Child — I belong to Little Mothers’ League. They teach us how babies ought to be kept.

Mother — You did not tell me that. I would have stopped giving it to the baby a long time ago.

This should really be an Off Broadway production.

2 comments

Written by David

July 9th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Education,Life,Theater

Good School Lunches For Three Cents Prove A Success

From July 3, 1910

GOOD SCHOOL LUNCHES FOR THREE CENTS PROVE A SUCCESS

GOOD SCHOOL LUNCHES FOR THREE CENTS PROVE A SUCCESS: And for a Penny More Dessert Is Supplied — That Is the Interesting Result of Experiments by the School Lunch Committee (PDF)

It’s nice to read an account of a School Lunch Committee that cares about affordable nutrition in schools where poor children are often malnourished.

For a child who is really very ill-nourished one meal a day is not the solution of all its troubles, but it goes a good way toward helping. Moreover, the luncheons are planned so carefully that for each 3 cents the child gets almost half the number of calories that scientists have declared necessary for a day’s nourishment. So the one meal does a good deal. There was some talk when the subject of this experiment was first broached to the effect that it was unnecessary, that no children went to school complaining of hunger. It was the old trouble of confusing hunger with malnutrition. But now, armed with facts and figures, the committee is ready to prove its case. And then they will doubtless ask, “What are you going to do about it?”

Everybody knows that children who have not a fair start in life are likely at some time in some way to become a charge to the State. Fortunately only a small proportion of them ever come to this, for if it were the rule there would be no money for anything but caring for invalids and paupers; still, whenever a child is neglected the State runs the chance of having some day to pay for it.

On all sides we hear about race suicide, and we have it drilled into our ears that the nation whose birth rate declines is well started on the road that leads to degeneration. To all of this everybody is constantly saying “Amen” with pious fervor. Meanwhile what children there are in the country may die from malnutrition without anybody becoming particularly excited over the fact.

The country wants children; the country must have children; and then when children do come the country does not seem to feel that it is its business to keep them alive…

It would really seem to an impartial observer from Mars or some other logically minded planet that we ought either to take care of the children when they are here or else drown them as soon as they are born.

Jamie Oliver would be proud.

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Written by David

July 2nd, 2010 at 9:15 am

Sunday Schools That Teach Children Anarchy

From May 8, 1910

SUNDAY SCHOOLS THAT TEACH CHILDREN ANARCHY

SUNDAY SCHOOLS THAT TEACH CHILDREN ANARCHY: A Thousand Young Persons Are Being Trained in New York to Be Successors of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkmann (PDF)

I saw this headline and I thought it was just some overblown sensationalism. But then I read the article, and it turns out they’re literally talking about anarchist-run schools. In particular, they point out the a particular Sunday School on Avenue A, run by Alexander Berkmann, a “leading member of the anarchist movement in the 20th century” (quoting Wikipedia).

I scoffed at first because I typically think of schools as places with strict rules to follow. How could anarchists run a school? But the more I read, the more the school sounded pretty good. It’s just on Sunday, so the students presumably attended a normal school during the week, and it seems like it probably provided thought provoking counterpoint. Here is some of what Berkmann told the Times about the curriculum:

The pupil of the Anarchist Sunday school is taught to reason. The teacher only serves to direct their attention to a problem.

“One child,” said Berkmann, “wanted to know whether he should pray. ‘My mother wants me to pray,’ said the child, ‘but my father says that it is not necessary.'”

“Did you answer the problem?” he was asked.

“No,” he said. “I try to keep back my own views and develop the mentality of the children that they may form their own opinions and arrive at their own conclusions. The question was answered by a little girl, who said, ‘Praying is good because it relieves the soul.'”

Another attempt of a Sunday school pupil along this line was made when a youngster requested to know if it was possible for people to know what God wants them to do.

These occasional inquiries as to the spiritual life have generally ended in the Anarchist Sunday schools with the proposition that some of the remarkable things in life can be understood and that there are questions which never can be settled. The mental attitude of the children might be put in this way: We are not certain whether there are grounds for the belief that we should pray.

That, of course, leaves the question well in the field of agnosticism. The teacher of anarchy does not, with the children, declare that there is no God. Nor does he say that there is a God. The Sunday school class goes frequently to the Museum of Natural History, to Central Park, to the Zoological Gardens, and other places where, with the teacher, nature is studied.

That sounds pretty good to me. At least until the part later where Berkmann speaks against having laws. But in general, I like that the students were being taught to think for themselves and not just blindly follow authority on at least one day a week.

Wikipedia has more to say about the anarchist schools here.

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Written by David

May 7th, 2010 at 9:05 am

Is Coeducation A Falure? Tufts And Pennington Say “Yes”

From May 8, 1910

IS COEDUCATION A FAILURE? TUFTS AND PENNINGTON SAY YES

IS COEDUCATION A FAILURE? TUFTS AND PENNINGTON SAY “YES”: “A Menace to Any College,” Says President Hamilton of the Former — President Read of the Latter Announces a Change (PDF)

[T]he committee said that it had held personal conversation upon the matter with a large number of members of the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Each and every one gave it as his opinion, formed carefully and deliberately after several years’ teaching and observation, that the interests of both men and women would be best served by a segregation of the sexes.”

Tufts remained coed, while Pennington went back to being an all-boys school. It stayed that way until 1972.

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Written by David

May 7th, 2010 at 9:02 am

Posted in Education,Life