Boston: Prang & Co., 1863. First edition. These are the first two volumes in a set of six. OCLC records seven institutions with at least parts of the set: the Morgan Library, Library of Congress, Winterthur Museum, University of Florida, Cincinnati PL, Library Co. of Philadelphia, and Penn State. Not all of these institutions have full sets, and at least one of the libraries (LOC) holds a copy that lacks leaves. Black leaves illustrated throughout with line drawings in white. These drawings were meant to be copied onto a blackboard by students. Back covers with L. Prang & Co. ads. Some chipping and soiling to wrappers. Pencil markings on a couple pages in volume one. Otherwise clean throughout. A very good set of uncommon and fragile educational booklets. Publisher’s green paper wrappers. Two volumes, 4 x 6. 16; 16 pp. Item #17243
Copying drawings onto a blackboard was a common educational method at the time. The practice tested students’ abstract thinking skills and their hand-eye coordination. Froebel, for example, believed that a student’s ability to translate an image they saw into an image they could represent through art was crucial to mental development.
The present booklets teach drawing skills by encouraging students to break down complex images into a series of interlocking shapes that could be easily drawn, and the simple line drawings in these booklets allow students to ignore difficult details and focus on the broad strokes of the drawing. However, the drawings increase in complexity from the beginning to the end of the booklets. The first drawings in volume two consist of simple squares and triangles and escalate to detailed drawings of fruit, flowers, insects, and a detailed scene that includes a telescope and a globe.