By: Walter H. Page
Date: June 1897
Source: Page, Walter H. "The Forgotten Man" speech. Reprinted in Page, Walter H. The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths: Being Essays Towards the Training of the Forgotten Man in the Southern States. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1902, 1–3, 22–35, 47.
About the Author: Walter Hines Page (1855–1918), journalist, author, and diplomat, was born in North Carolina and graduated from Randolph-Macon College. He ran the Raleigh State Chronicle from 1883 to 1887. He left to join The Forum, a New York monthly magazine that he made a great success. In 1899, Page became a partner in the Doubleday, Page and Company publishing house and founded the World's Work magazine in 1900. He was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain in 1913.
Historically, educational development in the South had lagged behind that in the North for several reasons. Strongly individualist in outlook, many southerners resisted taxation, especially for schools. Schooling was not commonly regarded as a function of the state; rather, it was viewed as a luxury to be paid for by individuals who could afford it. Another contributing factor was the rural character of much of the South; sparsely settled...
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"The Little Schoolboy"
By: William Holmes McGuffey
Source: McGuffey, William Holmes. "The Little Schoolboy." In The New McGuffey Second Reader. New York: American Book Company, 1901, 29–31.
About the Author: William Holmes McGuffey (1800–1873) graduated from Washington College, having worked his way through as a schoolmaster. He taught ancient languages and mental philosophy at Miami University in Ohio and later taught at Woodward College and the University of Virginia. McGuffey was also the president of Cincinnati College and Ohio University. He successfully worked to pass the general school law in Ohio. McGuffey is best known as the original author of the McGuffey Reader series and has been called "Schoolmaster to the Nation."
During the first half of the nineteenth century, leaders in the common school movement worked toward a system of schools that was publicly funded and controlled and universally attended. Such schools, common school reformers argued, would unify a diverse population and train loyal citizens with strong American values. Yet education for most people at the time meant character and moral development taught within the context of religion. If the common schools were to be truly "common" to all, the...
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"The Ideal School as Based on Child Study"
By: G. Stanley Hall
Source: Hall, G. Stanley. "The Ideal School as Based on Child Study." National Education Association Journal of Proceedings and Addresses, 1901, 474–483. Reprinted in Calhoun, Daniel, ed. The Educating of Americans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969, 374–378.
About the Author: Granville Stanley Hall (1844–1924) graduated from Williams College and earned the first Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1878. He taught at Johns Hopkins University and then became the president of Clark University in 1889. Under Hall's leadership, Clark became a center of research in child development and child study. Hall founded the Child Study Association of America in 1888 and became the first president of the American Psychological Association in 1889.
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, presented an alternative to the traditionally held belief that humans were created by God at a particular point in time and have not changed significantly since. Rather, Darwin asserted that humans have evolved through a natural process from lower animals. This revolutionary idea led many to view humans as part of the natural, not the supernatural, world and...
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"The Child and the Curriculum"
By: John Dewey
Source: Dewey, John. The Child and the Curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1902. Reprinted in Dworkin, Martin S., ed. Dewey on Education. New York: Teachers College Press, 1959, 92, 94, 101–102, 105–108, 110–111.
About the Author: John Dewey (1859–1952), philosopher and educator, had an enormous impact on education as well as other fields of knowledge. Often considered the leader of the progressive education movement, he established the famous "Laboratory School" while a professor at the University of Chicago. In 1904, he accepted an appointment at Columbia University, where he taught philosophy and education until his retirement in 1939. He continued to speak and publish prolifically until the end of his life.
Dewey's philosophy of education emphasized the motivations and interests of the child, freedom and self-expression, socialization, hands-on activities, useful curriculum, and learning how to think rather than what to think. He developed his philosophy in the context of nineteenth and early twentieth century educational norms, emphasizing memorization and rigid methods. Dewey criticized the method of imposing organized subject matter on young...
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The Elective System in Higher Education
"The Elective System at Harvard"
By: Charles S. Moore
Date: June 1903
Source: Moore, Charles S. "The Elective System at Harvard." Harvard Graduates Magazine, June 11, 1903, 530–534. Reprinted in American Higher Education: A Documentary History. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1961, 737–741.
About the Author: Charles Moore (1855–1942), journalist and city planner, was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He attended the Kenmore School in Pennsylvania, Phillips Andover Academy, and Harvard College, studying history, political science, and philosophy. In school he edited the student newspaper, and after graduating he worked for various Detroit-area newspapers, purchasing several. In 1888, he became involved in city planning as Senator James McMillan's political secretary. From 1912 to 1919, he was president of the Detroit City Plan and Improvement Commission. In 1910, Moore was appointed by President Taft to the new federal Fine Arts Commission, and worked as its chairman from 1915 until his retirement in 1937.
"Report of the Committee on Improving Instruction in Harvard College"
By: Harvard College Faculty of Arts and Sciences...
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"Industrial Education for the Negro"
By: Booker T. Washington
Date: September 1903
Source: Washington, Booker T. "Industrial Education for the Negro." In The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of Today. New York: J. Pott, 1903, 9–19, 28–29. Available online at ; website home page: http://douglass.speech.nwu.edu (accessed April 5, 2003).
About the Author: Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856–1915), educator, speaker, author, and prominent black leader, was born a slave in Virginia. He worked his way through the Hampton Institute and later taught there before, in 1881, founding the Tuskegee Institute, which became one of the leading schools for African Americans. Washington's autobiography, Up From Slavery, was influential worldwide.
During the twelve-year period of Reconstruction following the Civil War (1861–1865), large social, economic, and political gains were made for southern blacks. Afterwards, though, they faced steadily worsening conditions, including Jim Crow laws supporting segregation and the rise of white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Black leaders looked for a way to improve conditions and secure full civil rights for...
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"The True Character of the New York Public Schools"
By: Adele Marie Shaw
Date: December 1903
Source: Shaw, Adele Marie. "The True Character of the New York Public Schools." The World's Work 7, no. 2, December 1903, 4204–4221.
About the Author: Adele Marie Shaw (1865?–1941) graduated from Smith College and taught in a girls' high school in Brooklyn, New York. She was hired as a special correspondent from 1903 to 1904 by The World's Work magazine to study conditions in public schools. Shaw was also the author of many articles in a variety of popular magazines.
Although Americans had put great faith in the public schools, by 1890 serious problems had emerged. Rural schools were largely underequipped, dilapidated, and taught by underprepared teachers. Urban schools were crowded, poorly maintained, and struggling to cope with problems presented by large numbers of immigrant students. It was in this context that Joseph Mayer Rice undertook a study of American public schools and published his findings in a series of articles in The Forum from October 1892 to June 1893. The articles resulted in a public uproar and a stream of angry denials on the part of the education profession. While visiting schools
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Charter and By-Laws
By: General Education Board
Source: General Education Board. Charter and By-Laws. New York, 1938, 1–5. Reprinted in Readings In American Educational History. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951, 569–571.
About the Author: John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), founder of the General Education Board, began his career as a bookkeeper after taking a short business course. In 1863, he started an oil refinery business with two partners but bought out the other partners in 1865. He organized the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and, by buying out other companies, came to control most of the oil refining in the United States. In 1896, Rockefeller turned his attention to giving away the bulk of his enormous fortune.
By the end of the nineteenth century, education in the South was much in need of development and reform, though this was far from being a new state of affairs. Education in the South had for more than a century lagged behind that in the North for a number of reasons. Taxation for the public support of schools was a difficult idea to sell to southerners steeped in a tradition of individualism and a belief that schooling was for those who could pay for it out of their own pockets. The...
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"The Talented Tenth"
By: W.E.B. Du Bois
Source: Du Bois, W.E.B. "The Talented Tenth." In The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of Today. New York: J. Pott, 1903, 33–34, 45–48, 51–55, 73–75. Available online at http://douglassarchives.org/dubo_b05.htm; website home page: http://douglassarchives.org (accessed April 5, 2003).
About the Author: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963), the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, taught at Atlanta University, Wilberforce, and the University of Pennsylvania. He helped found the NAACP and was editor of the organization's magazine, Crisis, from 1910 to 1934. Du Bois was an influential black leader and educator, and the author of many books and articles.
After the Civil War (1861–1865), the Reconstruction period resulted in federal legislation aimed at ensuring equal rights for blacks and assisting them to make the transition from slavery to citizenship. Part of this effort was the 1865 act establishing the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen's Bureau, for the...
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By: Clarence S. Darrow
Source: Darrow, Clarence S. Farmington. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1904. Reprinted in Fuess, Claude M. and Emory S. Basford, eds. Unseen Harvests. New York: Macmillan, 1947, 43–45, 47.
About the Author: Clarence Seward Darrow (1857–1938) was well known for his defense of labor organizations and for his skill as a criminal lawyer. He became famous in the "Scopes Monkey Trial," when he defended high school teacher John T. Scopes, who had violated Tennessee's ban on teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. Darrow was born in Kinsman, Ohio, in 1857 and died in Chicago in 1938.
First published in 1904, Farmington is Darrow's autobiography and recounts his youth in Ohio. In "The School Readers," Darrow provides an example of what generations of schoolchildren experienced as they learned to read.
Ever since the colonial schoolroom, American children had their reading lessons mixed with moral precepts. At first these lessons were based on the Bible. The New England Primer of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries began with "In Adam's Fall/We Sinned All." By Darrow's time they had moved on to teach general moral values such as thrift and...
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Letter of Gift to the Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
By: Andrew Carnegie
Date: April 16, 1905
Source: Carnegie, Andrew. Letter of Gift to the Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. April 16, 1905. Reprinted in The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. First Annual Report of the President and Treasurer, 1906, 7–8.
About the Author: Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) was born into a poor family in Scotland and received no formal schooling. He emigrated to the United States in 1848 and later was a telegrapher during the Civil War (1861–1865). A shrewd businessman, Carnegie started the Carnegie Steel Company and amassed an immense fortune. After his retirement in the early 1900s, he began to engage in large-scale philanthropy.
When Andrew Carnegie became a Cornell University trustee in 1890, he found to his surprise that professors were paid very little, about as much as a low-level office worker, and certainly not enough to save for retirement. After his retirement, when he began the process of giving away most of his enormous fortune, much of it for education and libraries, he wanted to do something to assist college professors. He reasoned that the low pay and lack of pension would persuade many talented people to avoid...
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"The Certification of Teachers"
By: Ellwood P. Cubberley
Source: Cubberley, Ellwood P. "The Certification of Teachers." The Fifth Yearbook of the National Society for the Scientific Study of Education, Part II, 1906, 73–77.
About the Author: Ellwood Patterson Cubberley (1868–1941) graduated from Indiana University and earned an M.A. and a Ph.D from Columbia University. He taught at Vincennes University before serving as its president from 1893 to 1896. Cubberley was a superintendent of schools before accepting a position at Stanford University, where he taught education. He served as dean of the Stanford School of Education from 1917 until his retirement in 1933. Cubberley was a speaker and an author of many books.
Historically, schoolteachers have enjoyed little status and prestige in the United States. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, expectations were low and teachers were paid accordingly. Initially, most teachers were men who often regarded teaching as a mere steppingstone on the way to better professions. On the other hand, men considered unfit for other jobs could find work as schoolmasters. For women, who made up the majority of the profession by 1870, teaching was frequently a temporary situation...
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"The Public School and the Immigrant Child"
By: Jane Addams
Source: Addams, Jane. "The Public School and the Immigrant Child." National Education Association, Journal of Proceedings and Addresses, 1908.
About the Author: Jane Addams (1860–1935), an advocate of progressive education, founded Hull House, the most famous of the American settlement houses aimed at improving the lives of urban immigrants. She worked toward the reform of the public schools, ending child labor, and international peace. She was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Addams was the author of many books and articles and was a popular speaker.
Immigrants arriving in the United States prior to the 1880s were likely to be from northern Europe and therefore similar in appearance, culture, language, and religion to the majority group. Beginning in the 1880s, new waves of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe left their homelands for the United States. These newcomers were more likely to be Catholic, illiterate, and non-English-speaking. Also, whereas the German, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants of years past had moved inland to start farms, the new immigrants clustered in insular urban ghettos made up of residents from the same European...
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Stubborn Fool: A Narrative
By: Estelle Aubrey Brown
Source: Brown, Estelle Aubrey. Stubborn Fool: A Narrative. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1952.
About the Author: Estelle Aubrey Brown (1877–1958) began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse at the age of sixteen. She saved her earnings in order to further her education during vacations. After passing a civil service exam in 1902, she accepted the offer of a position at the Crow Creek Indian school in South Dakota. She went on to work at various Indian schools for the next sixteen years.
The U.S. Congress began allocating funds to build schools for Native Americans in 1877, and in 1891, school attendance for American Indians was made compulsory. By 1907, over half of Native American children were enrolled in schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
The assumption of many white Americans during the 1900s was that Native American culture was "savage," "uncivilized," and generally inferior to white culture. Schools were an important tool used to assimilate Native Americans and help the "benighted children of the red men … speedily emerge from the ignorance of centuries." According to a former Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1881, Native...
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