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56 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION For the browser the most interesting reading will be the Prefatory Note, the all-too-brief statements prefacing each of the major divisions of the book, and the many notes of biographical or bibliographical interest accompanying the separate entries. These latter resemble the dictionary in that as one reads on one finds the subject frequently changing; but each note contains some concrete fact worth recording. The book as it stands is just to its title: it is a bibliography. But the prefaces and the explanatory notes makes one hope that Mr. Currier will not stop here in his Whittier scholarship. A biography should be written on the basis of this accumulated detail; for Mr. Currier's style promises a lively and interesting presentation. A superficial observation on both these University Press books (which also applies to many others) is that they are too big. The margins are wide and the binding heavy. Perhaps if there had been economy here the books could have been priced lower, and might find a wider circulation. T. K. B., Jr. Education in Pennsylvania 1801-1835 and its Debt to Roberts Vaux, by Joseph J. McCadden. With a Foreword by Edward H. Reisner. Philadelphia , University of Pennsylvania Press, 1937. xviii+372 pp. Illustrated . $3.50. ' I 'HIS BOOK, like Friend Anthony Benezet, reviewed above, concerns a Quaker vitally interested in the cause of education. Indeed, Roberts Vaux in a measure made Anthony Benezet his hero, and published a brief memoir of him in 1817. The author is already known to readers of the Bulletin through an anniversary article printed in vol. 25, No. 1 (1936), entitled Roberts Vaux, 1836-1936. Both books illustrate the fact that biography is often primarily interesting for the larger movements of history or thought in which the subject took part. The history of education, like the history of penal reform, might sound a bit dull; but when made a vital and personal matter in the lives of Benezet and Vaux, or of Elizabeth Fry, such movements acquire new and compelling interest. Dr. Reisner, in his foreword, calls attention to what he calls the "literary strategy" of the book—first to exhibit the various movements in the direction of better educational opportunities for the masses, and then to show the influence of Roberts Vaux in the movements. Vaux was in most of them, and in a leading role. Penn's colony had not lived up to the promise of Quaker educational policy in Vaux's day: there were no public schools for the poor, though private, charitable institutions provided some free instruction, and there were some reading rooms and libraries. About 1820 the Lancasterian system of education began to attract attention in Philadelphia—the system whereby one trained teacher instructed a few selected pupils who in turn instructed younger or more backward ones, originated by Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838) in England, and adopted extensively in the Americas. BOOK REVIEWS57 In 1821 "an act for the more convenient education of the poor gratis" in certain counties was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature. The so-called "infant-school movement" dealt also largely with children of the poor, with a predominant purpose of keeping very young children out of mischief ; a private school for this purpose was set up in 1827 ; the legislature took the matter up the following year, but did nothing decisive until 1834. The movement for uniting education in manual arts and agriculture with intellectual training took its inspiration from the achievements of the Swiss Fellenberg (1771-1844) at Hofwyl, near Berne. From 1831 on there were experiments in Pennsylvania, and the general plan became part of the State school law of 1834. The movement for universal free education was late in gathering headway: taxpayers resisted the burden, rich communities objected to paying for the country districts, political and religious manipulation was feared, and often parents themselves objected, since they wished their children to stay at home and work. After much campaigning and lobbying, the Free School Law of 1834 was passed; under its provisions schools were to be free, supported by public means, and governed or administered with a considerable amount of local independence...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 56-57
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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