Skip to main content

Schools for New Citizens (1941)

Article written by Viola Paradise appearing in Survey Graphic, 1941. “September . . . a new school term. Not only for America’s millions of school children, but for some two and a half million adults, as well. Under the sponsorship of local school boards, WPA, settlements, unions, churches, they study subjects ranging from simple English to international relations, from Diesel-engine operators to dietetics.”Continue Reading »

Because A Father Cared (1960)

Article by Margaret McDonald, appearing in The Rotarian, 1956. “But when this fine couple — this Rotary couple, as you would call them — found that their pretty little girl would never develop mentally, they felt that their heartache was unique, and they soon discovered that few can fathom the grief of those whose loved ones are condemned to the land of the living dead.”Continue Reading »

The Challenge of the Depression

Written by Julia Wright Merrill, Executive Assistant, Library Extension Board. “The work of the library, unlike that of many business organizations, grows rather than diminishes in times of depression. Do not trustees have a responsibility for wise spending of the funds available and for an effort to secure an adequate appropriation for the coming year?”Continue Reading »

Good Citizenship: The Purpose of Education (1930)

Article by Eleanor Roosevelt, appearing in Pictorial Review, 1930. “But there still remains a vast amount to be done before we accomplish our first objective—informed and intelligent citizens, and, secondly, bring about the realization that we are all responsible for the trend of thought and the action of our times.”Continue Reading »

WPA Travelling Libraries

The depression came and county libraries were sorely stricken financially. Rescuing funds from the Federal government through relief agencies came in the nick of time. Numerous employees were being furloughed, others were having their salaries cut for the third or fourth time, book repair and book purchases had ceased, many buildings were sadly in need of repair and service was cut to the bone in the summer of 1933.Continue Reading »

Book Relief in Mississippi

Article by Beatrice Sawyer Rossell, Editor, Bulletin of the American Library Association, appearing in The Survey, 1935. “‘The people are book hungry,’ said one of the librarians who has a reading-room in her home. ‘A little boy knocked at my door at six o’clock in the morning to borrow The Dutch Twins. I passed a house the other day where a little girl was sitting on the porch reading aloud to her family of five people, not one of whom could read. An old man who was once a school teacher and a young girl who loves reading are each walking miles carrying books to share with people who otherwise would be without them.'”Continue Reading »

Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Lincoln University in Pennsylvania was founded in 1854 by John Miller Dickey, a Presbyterian minister and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson. It claims the title of the first degree-awarding school of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States.Continue Reading »

Schools for a Minority

Article written by Gould Beech, appearing in Survey Graphic, 1939. “…it was ‘too great a compliment to attribute to the Negro child the ability to gain equal education for one dollar to every seven spent on the education of the white child…’ And yet even against such handicaps, the Negro race has advanced in little more than three generations from 80 percent illiterate to better than 80 percent literate—a heartening measure of capacity to make bricks with such straw as there is.Continue Reading »

Towne, Laura Matilda

In 1861, the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina fell to the Union army. Faced with defeat, the entire white population fled, leaving their homes, belongings, and ten thousand slaves. Towne arrived on the Sea Islands in April 1862, one of the first Northern women to go south to work during the Civil War. She participated in the Port Royal Experiment, the first large-scale government effort to help former slaves. The teachers who went south sought not only to teach the freedmen how to read and write, but hoped to help them develop socially and morally. They saw themselves as missionaries who would “bring the light of God’s truth” to people they assumed were in need of such enlightenment.Continue Reading »

Apology For Going To College (1905)

At times Helen Keller found her college experience frustrating and exhausting, but she gloried in the knowledge she gained. Perhaps even more satisfying to Keller were the new social roles claimed by college-educated women. In this excerpt, Keller discusses the benefits of attending college—an opportunity that had only recently become available to women.Continue Reading »

View graphic version