Family law, 1901

  • Story in 2 Story Eq., Sec. 1341, further says: “although in general, parents are intrusted with the custody of the persons and the education of their children, yet this is done upon the natural presumption that the children will be properly cared for and will be brought up with a due education in literature, morals and religion and that they will be treated with kindness and affection. But whenever this presumption is removed, whenever, for example, it is found that a father is guilty of gross ill treatment or cruelty toward his infant children, or that he is in constant habits of drunkenness or blasphemy, or that he possesses atheistical or irreligious principles or that his domestic associations are such as to tend to the corruption and contamination of his children, or that he otherwise acts in a manner in jurious to the morals or interests of his children, in every such case the courts or equity will interfere and deprive him of his children and appoint a suitable person to act as guardian and to take care of them and superintend their education.””

Wisconsin, 1901

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RESTLESS, mischievous, wild, disobedient boys …

Boys and toysFound in a 1901 Good Housekeeping. I don’t include it all here, and some of it is clearly out of date, but most of the principles are, I think, sound.  I especially love the method the police man’s widow uses with her 3 sons- what a woman!  I’d love to know who she was and how her boys turned out and if her descendants know how she used to knit together a wonderful relationship with her boys.


By  Mrs M.E.R. Alger, Attendance Officer, New York City Schools, Former Manager of the Truant School

Refractory Boys 

RESTLESS, mischievous, wild, disobedient boys ; what shall we do with them ? How can they be best trained and brought up to be come honorable men? What a problem ! How difficult, and yet how easy ! This very day a man was summoned to the truant school who said to me, “Mrs. Alger, what shall I do with my devil of a boy?” “He is not a devil,” I replied, “he is only a boy, and a small one at that, and you are responsible for him in the law of God and man. What have you ever done to keep him from doing wrong?” And then came the same everlasting reply : “I have no time.” “It’s time you should take care of your boy, keep him from evil associates, and guard him from harm,” I added. Then came the story of the hard worked foreman r e t u r n i n g after his day’s labor, wearied in mind and body, to his tenement home. “I can’t bother with the lad,” was his excuse. “Where is the boy when you come home?” was my query. “In the street,” he re- plied. “What does he do there?”  I asked. “Skylark, peg stones, play ball, I suppose,” was the answer. “The boy should be with you,” I declared ; “his mother has gone, and a little interest on your part would save the lad, whilst if you let him go, he will surely turn out badly.

Small boys associate with older boys, and the evil influence of the grown lad usually brings the younger boy in a police cell. You can put it down as an axiom, based upon an intimate knowledge of refractory youth, that truant boys are not criminals; but all criminals were once truants.

I appeal especially to the fathers of such boys, for I know from experience how a little interest on their part aids and helps a lad to success. Ah, if you only knew how eagerly your boys would await your home-coming, if they could count on even a half hour of your time in the evening! Remember that your boys have been at school all clay laboring over their studies as you have labored over your work, and if they could only look forward to aid and sympathy in their home-coming, there would be no fascination in the street for them.

Boys cannot be driven, neither can men. Mothers should know this. The boy wants help in his work, in his play, and in his troubles; he needs someone older than himself to be interested in all that he does….

…Boys are more restless and independent and need the most careful guidance. They must be kept busy and interested. Don’t expect them to sit for any length of time; keep them busy; help them go over their school work; tell them how you remember the hard work you had to do when you were at school, and how probably your teacher was not half as nice and good as theirs. Read the newspapers to them; discuss any interesting happening of the day, and note discussion, especially the news of the world’s doings, in the daily papers. Send them to bed with the feeling that their father amounts to some thing in their young lives and is a true friend and companion. Just here I may say I know a police man’s widow who puts on the boxing gloves with her three boys, the oldest only thirteen, for a few minutes just be fore they go to bed. I said to these boys, “I think your mother must be very nice.” They replied, “She’s bully, you bet!” Of how many fathers could the same be said? Such boys are safe. They do not care to go forth, seeking company in the street in the evening. This is the fatal time of day, when the older lads, who have been working and are at leisure, influence the younger boys….


… It is far better, in my opinion, for a boy to be too familiar with his father than to be afraid of him. I would very much rather hear a boy call his father “dad,” than to be always “at attention” and say “sir” to him in reply to every question.

The father of three boys, all sturdy, restless fellows, said to me, “My boys set me crazy, they are so wild and noisy. I did not act so when I was a youth.” I found that he had a dear old grandmother who listened to his trials and told him stories in the evening, and I find in all such cases there was someone older, a big sister, grandmother, grandfather, or someone, who was the comrade.

I have yet to meet a boy, and I know a large number, who, no matter how bad his record has been, if taken in the proper way, will not do the right thing; and not one who, if rightly appealed to, will not be willing to do something for an older person….Boys must be made to feel that they are necessary and a help to someone.


Do not expect your son to keep per fectly quiet for any length of time. You could not do it when you were a boy. Do not expect your son to confide and trust in you if you do not meet him half way. Remember there is no one on earth who has a keener sense of right and wrong than your boy. Remember also that naughty, mischievous boys are usually very clever and have the making of smart, reliable men. Always keep your promises. If you threaten to punish a boy the next time he offends or disobeys, be sure you do it.

Remember your wife has had the care of the children all day. Few men realize the responsibility and unceasing labor in the care of children, the long, weary hours with the babies, the constant attention, the everlasting patience necessary. Help her in the evening with the boys. I am a firm believer in “early to bed” for children.

Do not spoil your children with luxuries. Plain food, plain clothes, are what they should have. Silk dresses, diamond rings, trips to the theater and opera in the evening, take the zest away from your daughters when they become young women. Visits to your club, and the keeping of late hours, do not tend to make your sons either healthy or wise. They will know all about life before they are grown up. Keep both your daughters and sons amused and interested in childish things as long as possible; time enough care of life later on.

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Sloyd, a Pedagogy and Philosophy of Handicraft

sloyd work

“Otto Salomon, in his book on the Theory of Educational Sloyd, thus explains it:”

“Sloyd is a system of Educational Handwork. In Sweden the term Sloyd embraces many useful forms of handcraft, such as: work in wood, (carpentry, carving, fret work, and turnery); in metal, (brass, iron, and wire); leather; cardboard, and such occupations as brush making, coarse painting, straw plaiting, basket making, and book binding.”
“The term Sloyd, in England, is generally understood to mean a system of Handwork in Wood. Why do we not then call it Carpentry? Because it differs from it in several essential features. There is no division of labour in Sloyd. Carpentry is a trade, and the principles which underlie it are entirely utilitarian, whereas Sloyd is solely a means of Formative Education.”
“Its purpose is not to turn out Carpenters, but to develop the mental, moral, and physical powers of children; and it is the most effective instrument yet devised for securing this development.”
“It gives a taste for rough labour as distinguished from clerkly accomplishments; it cultivates manual dexterity, self-reliance, accuracy, carefulness, patience, perseverance, and especially does it train the faculty of attention and develop the powers of concentration.”
“The methods employed in Sloyd are such as are best fitted to secure these ends.”
“The objects which the child makes are equally useful with those of the carpenter; but, unlike the work of the carpenter, the value of the child’s work does not exist in them, but in the child that made them.”

“The Sloyd system of Woodwork is developed through a series of objects technically termed Models. These begin with some exceedingly simple objects, such as printers, letter openers, labels, and the like. In the typical Sloyd course for boys at Nāās, there are fifty such Models, and thirty in the course for girls. They are so arranged that each represents some slight advance upon the one that preceded it in the course, – either some new tool, or some new use of a tool previously employed, being introduced in the making of it.

The utmost importance is attached to having each object, when made, the work of one individual pupil. Division of labor is rigorously excluded from the system; so much so, that whenever it is necessary for the . teacher to show the pupil how any particular part of the work is to be done, he is to show this, not by doing a portion of the pupil’s work for him, but by giving the demonstration upon another piece of wood. Self-reliance is one of the points of character to be developed by the system, and so the Sloyd model when completed must be, from beginning to end, the individual work of the pupil who made it.”

GENERAL PRINCIPLES RELATING TO THE SERIES OF MODELS. Salomon gives the following ten points on the choice of the model:
  1. 1. All objects of luxury—knick-knacks —should be excluded.
  2. 2. All Models should be serviceable in the house.
  3. 3. They should be capable of being finished by the children without help.
  4. 4. The Models should be of wood, and only wood should be worked in, as a rule.
  5. 5. The objects should not be polished or stained.
  6. 6. The objects made should be such as to require as little wood as possible.
  7. 7. The children should be taught to work in harder and softer kinds of wood.
  8. 8. Turnery and carving should be used very little.
  9. 9. Objects chosen should be such as will develop the sense of form.
  10. 10. All the exercises (embraced by the particular kind of Sloyd in question) which the child is capable of making, should be properly graduated and included in the series in due proportions.
Mr. Salomon also gives the following eight principles on the arrangement of the series of Models:
  1. 1. The series should proceed from the easier to the more difficult, and from the simpler to the more complex.
  2. 2. A refreshing variety must be afforded.
  3. 3. In the early part of the series, the models should be capable of being quickly and easily made, and should be so progressively arranged that, later on, the objects arrived at should require more time and skill, and yet be capable of being done without help.
  4. 4. In the production of the early models, few tools should be required, but as the series progresses, new tools and manipulations should be introduced.
  5. 5. That every model should be so placed in the series, that the necessary qualifications for doing it exactly are found in the child, who therefore does not need the help of the teacher.
  6. 6. The models must be so arranged that the pupils can always make not only a serviceable, but an exact copy.
  7. 7. That the knife–as the fundamental tool—be used frequently, especially at the beginning.
  8. 8. That generally in the early models the softest wood should not be used.

from Public Documents of the State of Wisconsin: Being the Reports of the Various State Officers, Departments and Institutions, Wisconsin

When the craft and pedagogy of sloyd was introduced in England, teachers were chary of giving small children sharp knives, and so the plan of paper sloyd was introduced.  Paper sloyd required the same attention and care of minute details, measuring accurately, cutting and folding with the utmost care.  Paper sloyd is what Miss Mason used for handicrafts for the youngest forms.

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Guess Which Ad?

I was admiring the picture below- love the vintage colour and frothy skirted dress- when I got to the bottom of the ad and had to laugh. What an incongruous image. I wonder how much this ad sold?

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Bolshevistic propaganda in Schools

practical Politics 1921 LHJ“Find out how the county commissioners spend the county taxes. Make a point of discovering how many citizens in your town have no water meters and pay a nominal water tax while they use enough to turn the machinery of an industrial plant. You will be astonished to learn how much sly waste there is of public utilities. Keep in behind the mayor and council. Always call for an auditing of the tax books.

Endeavor to defeat the school board that was in before you had the ballot. Nine times out of ten the members of it are unfitted to have control of the schools and of the destinies of your children. It is wiser to keep out of office, but in the case of the schools you might get yourself elected to the board of trustees. Make sure that the teachers believe firmly in the Constitution and even the by-laws of this country. We are reaping the tares now sowed for a quarter of a century by scholarly radicals who held and still hold positions in our colleges and universities.

Examine the accomplished young man who applies for the office of superintendent of your public schools and find out whether he is one of these tares. They are always missionaries of their own doctrines, always gifted with a nobler use of words than an honest man has, very popular with their students, and invariably the most dangerous men in the community.

Require him to recite two creeds before you employ him to teach your sons and daughters: the Apostles Creed and the Creed of Americanism. This kind of citizenship will not win publicity for you nor even a state wide reputation, but it will insure the moral health of this nation in the next generation.
…It is not so difficult now to become famous. Some of the most infamous propagandists manage it successfully. Watch these voluntary missionaries Distrust any man, however distinguished he is, who talks with tear drowning eloquence of ‘the brotherhood of man.'”


Ms Harris has much more to say in her article advising women on how to use their newly acquired voting privileges.

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