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Education > History of Education

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The Little White Schoolhouse

Ellis F. Hartford

Few institutions have been held in such fond regard and recalled in such nostalgic terms as the little red schoolhouse. It ranks with the old oaken bucket, the little brown church in the vale, and the pictures of the old home place that millions of people have carried in that "inward eye" mentioned by Wordsworth on that long-past spring day. But the Kentucky common schoolhouses were not painted red as were those of New England; they were mostly white, if not of unpainted log construction.

It was not the simple little boxlike schoolhouse itself that earned all that fond affection. What happened on the way to and from school, on the playground, and within the school walls are all treasured in the memory banks of former pupils in much the same manner as families recall their happy evenings around the fireside or those trips to grandmother's house for Thanksgiving.

But the little white schoolhouse is gone, along with the simple agrarian way of life that characterized the people of the neighborhood to which it belonged. To ensure that this era of education is not forgotten Ellis F. Hartford has presented the history of one-room schoolhouses in the Commonwealth, showing what has been lost in the passing of this institution of the values that best characterized its time and place. Americans might well seek some of the same strengths and values in their diverse communities that were enjoyed by our ancestors of the old rural-agrarian way of life. We might also strive to obtain schools that fit and belong to their respective communities as did the little white schoolhouse.

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Medieval Education

Ronald Begley

This volume offers original studies on the subject of medieval education, not only in the formal academicsense typical of schools and universities but also in a broader cultural sense that includes law, liturgy, and the new religious orders of the high Middle Ages. Its essays explore the transmission of knowledge during the middle ages in various kinds of educational communities, including schools, scriptoria, universities, and workshops.

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Mere Equals

The Paradox of Educated Women in the Early American Republic

by Lucia McMahon

In Mere Equals, Lucia McMahon narrates a story about how a generation of young women who enjoyed access to new educational opportunities made sense of their individual and social identities in an American nation marked by stark political inequality between the sexes. McMahon's archival research into the private documents of middling and well-to-do Americans in northern states illuminates educated women's experiences with particular life stages and relationship arcs: friendship, family, courtship, marriage, and motherhood. In their personal and social relationships, educated women attempted to live as the "mere equals" of men. Their often frustrated efforts reveal how early national Americans grappled with the competing issues of women's intellectual equality and sexual difference.

In the new nation, a pioneering society, pushing westward and unmooring itself from established institutions, often enlisted women's labor outside the home and in areas that we would deem public. Yet, as a matter of law, women lacked most rights of citizenship and this subordination was authorized by an ideology of sexual difference. What women and men said about education, how they valued it, and how they used it to place themselves and others within social hierarchies is a highly useful way to understand the ongoing negotiation between equality and difference. In public documents, "difference" overwhelmed "equality," because the formal exclusion of women from political activity and from economic parity required justification. McMahon tracks the ways in which this public disparity took hold in private communications. By the 1830s, separate and gendered spheres were firmly in place. This was the social and political heritage with which women's rights activists would contend for the rest of the century.

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Mobility, Elites and Education in French Society of the Second Empire

Based on a unique historical source, this book examines the social origins, career expectations, and first jobs of 28,000 students in the “elitist” French secondary schools of the 1860s. Using sophisticated statistical analysis as well as conventional historical sources, the work concludes that schooling reached a wider audience than has been so far believed and that substantial social mobility occurred within the school system, but that family background, rather than educational factors, directed students’ career aspirations and achievements. It also argues that although education expanded in urban, industrialized areas, mobility did not increase in these areas. A final chapter reconsiders nineteenth–century thought concerning education in the light of findings about the social effects of schools.

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The Modern School Movement

Anarchism and Education in the United States

Paul Avrich

In this comprehensive study of the Modern School movement, Paul Avrich narrates its history, analyzes its successes and failures, and assesses its place in American life. In doing so, he shows how the radical experimentation in art and communal living as well as in education during this period set the precedent for much of the artistic, social, and educational ferment of the 1960's and I970's.

Originally published in 1980.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Native Students at Work

American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute's Outing Program, 1900-1945

Kevin Whalen. Foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Native Students at Work tells the stories of Native people from around the American Southwest who participated in labor programs at Sherman Institute, a federal Indian boarding school in Riverside, California. The school placed young Native men and women in and around Los Angeles as domestic workers, farmhands, and factory laborers. For the first time, historian Kevin Whalen reveals the challenges these students faced as they left their homes for boarding schools and then endured an "outing program" that aimed to strip them of their identities and cultures by sending them to live and work among non-Native people. Tracing their journeys, Whalen shows how male students faced low pay and grueling conditions on industrial farms near the edge of the city, yet still made more money than they could near their reservations. Similarly, many young women serving as domestic workers in Los Angeles made the best of their situations by tapping into the city’s indigenous social networks and even enrolling in its public schools. As Whalen reveals, despite cruel working conditions and poor treatment, Native people used the outing program to their advantage whenever they could, forming urban indigenous communities and sharing money and knowledge gained in the city with those back home. �

A mostly overlooked chapter in Native American and labor histories, Native Students at Work deepens our understanding of the boarding school experience and sheds further light on Native American participation in the workforce.

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The New Southern University

Academic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC

Charles J. Holden

Established in 1789, the University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in the nation. UNC’s reputation as one of the South’s leading institutions has drawn some of the nation’s leading educators and helped it become a model of the modern American university. However, the school’s location in the country’s most conservative region presented certain challenges during the early 1900s, as new ideas of academic freedom and liberalism began to pervade its educational philosophy. This innovative generation of professors defined themselves as truth-seekers whose work had the potential to enact positive social change; they believed it was their right to choose and cultivate their own curriculum and research in their efforts to cultivate intellectual and social advancement. In To Carry the Truth: Academic Freedom at UNC, 1920–1941, Charles J. Holden examines the growth of UNC during the formative years between the World Wars, focusing on how the principle of academic freedom led to UNC’s role as an advocate for change in the South.

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The Ohio State University in the Sixties

The Unraveling of the Old Order

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At 5:30 p.m. on May 6, 1970, an embattled Ohio State University President Novice G. Fawcett took the unprecedented step of closing down the university. Despite the presence of more than 1,500 armed highway patrol officers, Ohio National Guardsmen, deputy sheriffs, and Columbus city police, university and state officials feared they could not maintain order in the face of growing student protests. Students, faculty, and staff were ordered to leave; administrative offices, classrooms, and laboratories were closed. The campus was sealed off. Never in the first one hundred years of the university’s existence had such a drastic step been necessary. Just a year earlier the campus seemed immune to such disruptions. President Nixon considered it safe enough to plan an address at commencement. Yet a year later the campus erupted into a spasm of violent protest exceeding even that of traditional hot spots like Berkeley and Wisconsin. How could conditions have changed so dramatically in just a few short months? Using contemporary news stories, long-overlooked archival materials, and first-person interviews, The Ohio State University in the Sixties explores how these tensions built up over years, why they converged when they did, and how they forever changed the university.

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On the Horseshoe

A Guide to the Historic Campus of the University of South Carolina

Elizabeth Cassidy West

Founded in 1801 as South Carolina College, the University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest public colleges. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia and bound by Sumter, Pendleton, Bull, and Greene Streets, this historic landscape, known today as the Horseshoe, has both endured and prospered through more than two centuries of South Carolina’s often-turbulent history In On the Horseshoe: A Guide to the Historic Campus of the University of South Carolina, Elizabeth Cassidy West and Katharine Thompson Allen offer a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the historic Horseshoe. So much more than just a walking tour of Carolina’s historic original campus, On the Horseshoe features a wealth of archival photographs and drawings dating back to the nineteenth century and also provides a close look at the Horseshoe’s structures as well as the men and women who lived, worked, and studied in them. A numbered map with corresponding descriptions locates more than two dozen structures on the original campus and includes the history of each one, the important events that took place there, and its current use. An accompanying Web site (www.sc.edu/history/horseshoe) provides additional information and images for those who wish to further their knowledge of the university’s history. Walter Edgar, Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at USC, provides a foreword.

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Ontario Boys

Masculinity and the Idea of Boyhood in Postwar Ontario, 1945–1960

Ontario Boys explores the preoccupation with boyhood in Ontario during the immediate postwar period, 1945–1960. It argues that a traditional version of boyhood was being rejuvenated in response to a population fraught with uncertainty, and suffering from insecurity, instability, and gender anxiety brought on by depression-era and wartime disruptions in marital, familial, and labour relations, as well as mass migration, rapid postwar economic changes, the emergence of the Cold War, and the looming threat of atomic annihilation. In this sociopolitical and cultural context, concerned adults began to cast the fate of the postwar world onto children, in particular boys.

In the decade and a half immediately following World War II, the version of boyhood that became the ideal was one that stressed selflessness, togetherness, honesty, fearlessness, frank determination, and emotional toughness. It was thought that investing boys with this version of masculinity was essential if they were to grow into the kind of citizens capable of governing, protecting, and defending the nation, and, of course, maintaining and regulating the social order.

Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Ontario Boys demonstrates that, although girls were expected and encouraged to internalize a “special kind” of citizenship, as caregivers and educators of children and nurturers of men, the gendered content and language employed indicated that active public citizenship and democracy was intended for boys. An “appropriate” boyhood in the postwar period became, if nothing else, a metaphor for the survival of the nation.

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