For those of you interested in one room schoolhouses and early education...
I had popped in to my local library to get some light reading, and I noticed the "Free to the Public" cart in the entrance. Among the dog-eared magazines, books detailing 1970s and 80s self-help fads, and other similar things destined to be recycled for pulp, were two books in old faded bindings...
Two early school texts:
A.M. Fish, Robinson's Progressive Practical Arithmetic (1877)
Seymore Eaton, One Hundred Lessons in Business (1887)
Great additions to my collection of early school texts.
Both give great insights into the social history of the late 19th century.
Robinson's, aimed as a single text answer for grammar and high school students, not only includes all the expected addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions...but also such gems as dealing with currency (US, Canadian, and English), gold, stocks, interest, taxes, and discount. More over, how can you not love a text which refers to the section of numerous demonstration problems in the back as: "promiscuous examples." ;-)
The lessons in business not only include such practical tips as how to write business letters and promissory notes, do accounts, and price goods...but also give great insight into business culture of the time. Consider the following:
Things for Letter Writers to Remember:
No gentleman or lady ever writes an anonymous letter.
Do not fill your letters with apologies or mere repetitions.
Avoid writing in pencil, or with other than black or blue-black ink.
In acknowledging the receipt of a business letter give the date of it.
In business correspondence it is better not to write on both sides of the page.
Every business man should keep an exact copy of all business letters which he dispatches.
Letters about one's own affairs, requiring an answer, should always enclose a stamp, to pay return postage.
All letters that are to be answered should be answered promptly. Business letters should be answered the day that they are received.
Never write a letter when you are laboring under great excitement; for you will almost certainly write things that you will repent the next day.
....and what it tells us of the similarities and differeences of social custom.
PS: I just tripped across a priceless feature in Robinson's. :D
Student writing in the rear fly leaf....including limericks, and a few naughty jokes!
(Example: "Question: What was Adam's favorite part of the garden of Eden? Answer: Eve's pea patch.")