It's never safe to draw assumptions even when there's been books written on a subject, journal articles covering the history of the subject and people in the know believing they know what they know.
I needed yet another copy of Solomon Barter's opus: Woodwork (aka: Manual Instruction: Woodwork, AKA, The English Sloyd), which book I addressed a while back in this self same blog. Why another copy, the third one no less? I've toyed with a reprint for some time, hemming and hawing over the book. It does have good stuff in it. Barter was, as with many of his Sloydish contemporaries, fairly rigid in his approach to teaching youngsters to become upstanding citizens through handwork.
He follows a structured approach first introduced in the Sloyd system which won wide approval throughout Europe and eventually was adapted to the needs of Great Britain by some such as Barter. For some time now I figured that Barter's book was intended for the instructor, largely because that's what he said in his introduction and that's what he says in the content.
So, here I have the 1905 edition, 4th, Revised, with a Price Award slapped inside the front cover. A Prize Award given for Book Keeping to Mr. Halfpenny, a name custom made for a book keeper.
True to the spirit of Sloyd and the expansion of young minds, those whipper snappers had to learn something about everything when they went to the Commercial School.
For me, the question remains, to reprint Barter and Solomon or not to? While they're not my cuppa, there is a lot of good stuff in there worthy of preservation so, at some point I'll getterdone. There's a ton of halftone glass negative photographs in Barter of the sort which give me headaches, but, being the intrepid sort that I am, or masochist take your pick, sometime in 2012 Sloyd will find it's way back to the light.
Maybe it's time to resurrect the Prize Book labels too? Of course today schools seem to want to award a winning award to each and every child who participates which would make things difficult, but still, perhaps.
Purely by chance, I've had a string of conversations with people regarding the question of reprinting various titles, of finding various titles as gifts and of providing some reference information for to a public library that was researching nineteenth century apprenticeship for a high school project.
Alert: this is not a bombastic lambasting (never thought of that one before, but it does sound bombastic, doesn't it?) of certain Lost Arts Press titles. It's just that these are the books that some of these various people referenced in their questions to me.
My answers ranged from the politically correct to the historically correct, a situation which gives me hives. Librarians don't like PC, we like our information to be accurate and if it's not accurate, we like to be clear in why we don't know what we don't know about what we don't know.
At least, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, New England Regional Office, Regional Report 75-2, Steven R. Erlanger.
While digging through untold acres of books, sifting through the detritus of years of collecting and realizing that I have bought more than I remember every buying, I find myself coming across items I remember buying but forgot buying. It's like a flea market in my basement.
This one came up in a box of ephemera. Apparently there were census takers wondering the streets of Boston just before the Revolution, collecting data for this bit of research. That alone is incredible, much less their capacity to forsee how their collected data would compare to workers across the centuries. Truly amazing.
I must return to throwing crumpled up bits of postit notes to Louie Louie, the new feline type kitten, silver mackeral tabby, who insists on my doing so such that he may chase these bits, kill them and bury them in his water bowl.