At home, in school and at work we learn by reading as well as by doing. These instructional books engage the user’s eyes, mind, and hands. From worn classroom books to at-home DIY manuals, books take on the role of teacher.
Daisy Lowengrund, Portfolio of Colored Paper Cut-outs (ca. 1885).Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bendiner.
The page on the left has variations of folded forms. The shape on the right is created using one form repeated.
James Andrews, Lessons in Flower Painting (London, ca.1836).
Each hand-colored plate is paired with a version ready to be colored. Paint your own flowers!
Sir Richard Phillips, An Easy Grammar of Geography (Philadelphia, 1812).
The wheel is attached to the page with a small piece of thread. Called a “volvelle,” it calculates time and place.
Mrs. Lovechild, The Mother’s Remarks (London, 1799). Gift of Michael Zinman.
The Childs Pictorial Geometry (Hartford, 1841). Michael Zinman Collection of Early American Children’s Books.
On each page a boy and a girl discuss their surroundings in terms of geometry. Notice the geometric symbol at the top each page. The presence of the girl throughout the book is significant because girls were not depicted as active learners of math or science very often.
George W. Fitch, Colton and Fitch’s Introductory School Geography (New York, 1856). Heirs of Paul D. I. and Anna S. Maier.
Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker (New York, ca.1856). Davida T. Deutsch Women’s History Fund.
Complete System of Practical Penmanship (Cincinnati, 1841).
McAllister Comic Valentine Collection
These “Comic valentines” give a sarcastic and often unpleasant view of life in the mid-19th century school room. These valentines were bought at a shop and given to students or teachers, probably by the students!