History of American Education
The Kenneth Spencer Research Library's collections support research into the history of American education. Notable collections include the Children's Books Collection, whose 7,000 volumes include numerous educational titles; the Charles and E. Jennifer Monaghan Collection, which focuses on the history of reading in the United States from the colonial period to the middle of the twentieth century; and the approximately 1,500 volumes comprising the Carl N. and Dorothy H. Shull Collection of Hymnals and Music Books.
These collections complement and extend related holdings in other Spencer Library departments. The Kansas Collection holds books and archival collections related to education in the state of Kansas and the surrounding region. The University Archives holds the records of the University of Kansas from its origins to the present, including the official papers of the chancellors, records of student and faculty activities, and university publications.
A collection of over 7,000 Children's Books, which includes numerous educational titles.
The Children's Books Collection contains many educational works, including an extraordinary collection of the many editions of the New England Primer.
For a broader description of the Children's Books Collection, please see the entry listed under Nineteenth- and Twentieth- Century Literary Collections.
A collection consisting of approximately 2,300 volumes focusing on the teaching of reading and writing in Colonial America and the United States up to the middle of the twentieth century.
With its focus on the teaching of reading and writing in Colonial America and the United States, the Charles and E. Jennifer Monaghan Collection complements and extends the Spencer Research Library's already substantial holdings in this field. The collection's approximately 2,300 volumes allow the researcher to trace the history of American reading practices from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
Genres of books present include:
- hornbooks and primers from the colonial period
- whole word and phonetic readers from the great period of experimentation in introductory reading instruction (ca. 1826-1883)
- "sentence" and "story method" readers popular between the 1880s and 1920s
- basal and graded readers, such as the influential basal series published Scott, Foresman and Company, which includes the Dick and Jane books
The collection was donated as a gift over several years by Charles and E. Jennifer Monaghan. Spencer's online exhibition "Young American Readers" features volumes from the collection.
A collection of approximately 1,500 hymnals and music books, dating from the early seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
The Carl N. and Dorothy H. Shull Collection of Hymnals and Music Books consists of about 1,500 titles ranging in date from the early seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The collection is strong in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German-American imprints, and hymnals of various congregations (notably Mennonite, Brethren, Lutheran, Methodist, Methodist Episcopal, Reformed, and Presbyterian). A significant number of books, many oblong, were designed for singing school use.
The Shulls continue to add to this collection as well as to the Spencer Research Library's Children's Books Collection.
For additional information about Special Collections materials pertaining to the history of education, please contact:
Special Collections Librarian