Culture in Great Lakes History – Writers – Folklore – Schoolbooks – Literature



Cultural topics in Great Lakes history. Free online works on Public Schools, Higher Ed, Schoolbooks, Dancing, Folklore, Writing, Literature

Find the Directory for 90+ pages in this collection at History of the Great Lakes States.


The Columbian Orator: Containing a Variety of Original and Selected Pieces …

Together with Rules; Calculated to Improve Youth and Others in the Ornamental and Useful Art of Eloquence

Bingham, Caleb, ed.
Boston: Frost 1832

“First appearing in 1797, The Columbian Orator, a collection of political essays, poems, and dialogues, was widely used in American schoolrooms in the first quarter of the 19th century to teach reading and speaking. Many of the speeches included in the anthology celebrated “republican” virtues and promoted patriotism, and this was typical of many readers of that period. The Columbian Orator is an example of progymnasmata, containing examples for students to copy and imitate.”
– Wikipedia entry for ‘Columbian Orator

The American Drawing-Book: Manual for the Amateur, and Basis of Study for the Professional Artist…

especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction

Chapman, John Gadsby
NY: Redfield 1847

One source indicates this was the first American instructional manual for art.

“The Literary Spirit Among the Early Ohio Valley Settlers”

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol V, 1918-19, 143-57

Esarey, Logan
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association

The author delves into popular tastes in writing and oration on the frontier at the beginning of the 19th century, with many extended quotations to illustrate his points.

The Miami Years 1809-1959

Havighurst, Walter
NY: Putnam 1959

History of Miami University, Ohio

Also see our collections of Popular Cultural History Articles: Clothes – Food – Recreation and Cultural History Articles – Literature, Music & Fine Arts

A Complete Practical Guide To The Art Of Dancing, containing descriptions of all fashionable and approved dances…

full directions for calling the figures, the amount of music required, hints of etiquette, the toilet, etc. Illustrated

Hillgrove, Thomas
NY: Dick & Fitzgerald 1863

“Historical Values in the Mid-Century Literature of the Middle West”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Library 1929 117-125

Hirsch, Arthur H.
Springfield: Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library

Page Directory of 90+ subject pages at History of the Great Lakes States

Sand in the Bag, and other Folk Stories of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois

Jagendorf, M. A.
Vanguard 1952       

A collection of folktales about the legendary heroes and heroines of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

History and Management of Land Grants for Education in the Northwest Territory (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin): Papers for the American Historical Association

Knight, George W.
NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1885

The Ordinance of 1785, establishing the groundwork for surveying and sale of public lands in the Northwest territory, contained a clause for schools that stated, “there shall be reserved from sale the lot No. 16 of every township for the maintenance of public schools within the said township.” As townships would ideally consist of 36 sections of one square mile each, this would result in 1/36th of public land being set aside to support schools. Subsequent laws after the adoption of the Constitution confirmed this arrangement and expanded upon it, with Indiana, Illinois and Michigan setting aside an additional section in each township for support of a “seminary of learning”.

Part 1 of this book covers the federal legislation for endowing public land to support educational institutions in the Northwest Territory, as well as State legislation on the same matter for each of the five States created there. The focus of Part 2 is on the implementation of the legislation and management of the land grants, with each state covered separately. At the end of the book the author concludes with an evaluation of the extent to which each state managed this endowment effectively to maximize support of its schools.

See our book and article collection on Education of Girls & Women in the 19th Century U.S.

Dramatic Life as I Found it: a Record of Personal Experience…

with an account of the rise and progress of the drama in the West and South, with anecdotes and biographical sketches of the principal actors and actresses who have at times appeared upon the stage in the Mississippi Valley

Ludlow, N. M.
St. Louis: G. I. Jones 1880

For more about 19th century theatre and entertainment, see:
– Cody, Mrs. Louisa (Frederici) and Cooper, C. R., Memories of Buffalo Bill in Century Past Biographies: C
;
– Ringling, Alfred, Life Story of the Ringling Brothers in Biographies & Memoirs in Wisconsin History;
Kellogg, Clara, Memoirs of an American Prima Donna in Century Past Biographies: I, J, K & L;
Daly, Joseph Francis, Life of Augustin Daly in Century Past Biographies: D, E & F;
Barnum, P. T., Struggles and Triumphs: or, Forty years’ Recollections of P.T. Barnum in Century Past Biographies: A & B;
Sherman, Robert L, The Chicago Stage; its Records and Achievements in Illinois Cultural History;
Strang, Lewis C., Famous Actresses of the Day in America in Century Past Collective Biography Q – Z;
Carson, William G. , The Theatre on the Frontier; the Early Years of the St. Louis Stage in Illinois Cultural History

McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Second Reader: containing Progressive Lessons in Reading and Spelling. Revised and Improved

McGuffey, William H., LL. D.
Cincinnati: Winthrop & Smith 1848

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers, including grade levels 1-6, widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling. It is estimated that at least 120 million copies of McGuffey’s Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary.”
– Wikipedia entry for ‘McGuffey Readers’

Books and articles about everyday life, women, ethnic groups, social issues etc. at Social history topics in the early Great Lakes region

“Cultural Mediation, Cultural Exchange, and the Invention of the Ohio Frontier”

Ohio History Vol. 105, Winter-Spring 1996, 72-91

Nelson, Larry L.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

The author discusses how Indian tribes and Americans in Ohio country in the 1770s to 1790s gradually adopted many of the cultural characteristics of the other. Some examples of Indians adopting new practices from British or Americans were: log homes built in the European style, large farms with dairy cattle, whole villages switching from barter to cash economies (using the British pound), wearing of American or British clothes, and using English names.

He also discusses the role that ‘cultural mediators’ played in assisting the two cultures to communicate and interact, and of furthering the ‘cultural exchange’ above. These people were always bi-lingual, sometimes of mixed race, who followed occupations such as traders that involved regular interaction with both Indians and whites.

The Payson, Dunton, & Scribner Manual of Penmanship

Payson, J. W.
NY: Potter, Ainsworth 1873

The Rhetorical Reader, consisting of instructions for regulating the voice, with a rhetorical notation…

illustrating inflection, emphasis and modulation; and a course of rhetorical exercises. Designed for the use of academies and high-schools

Porter, Ebenezer
NY: Newman 1848

Reading textbooks in the 19th century emphasized oral reading, or “elocution”, especially at the advanced levels. This was a widely-used reader at the advanced level in mid-19th century America.

Ray’s Arithmetic, Second Book. Intellectual Arithmetic, by Induction and Analysis

Ray, Joseph, M.D.
Cincinnati: Wilson, Hinkle 1860

A widely-used Arithmetic textbook in the mid-19th century.

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40 subjects, plus online map & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Book-keeping by Single and Double Entry: Simplified and Arranged…

According to the Present Practice of Well Regulated Counting Houses in the United States

Shea, John H.
Baltimore: Shea 1845

The Educational Significance of the early Federal Land Ordinances

Taylor, Howard Cromwell
NY: Columbia University 1922

PhD dissertation in the Philosophy department of Columbia U.

The Ohio Valley Press Before the War of 1812-15

Thwaites, Reuben G.
Worcester, Mass: Davis Press, 1909

This is a paper of about 50 pages describing some of the early newspapers, with an appendix that contains a detailed list of all the newspapers in the Ohio Valley during the time-period that the author could identify, with dates of publication. The author was the Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society and for a number of years, a newspaper editor in Madison, Wisconsin.

For online collections of historical Ohio newspapers, see: Ohio History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers
For online collections of historical newspapers from throughout the U.S., see: Section 071.1 United States in Newspapers: Free Online Collections

Please visit our Century Past Free Online Library, with thousands of books to read online or download

Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley; Historical and Biographical Sketches

Venable, William H.
Cincinnati: Clarke 1891

The book takes a wide view of the subject, embracing schools and education, newspapers, literary periodicals and books, societies of various kinds, science and the professions, publishing enterprises, the pulpit and the bar, political oratory and orators, annalists, travelers and missionaries, teachers and men of letters. The numerous sketches of men and women abound in fact, incident, and anecdote.
– Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide (1902)

This book covers writers and written works in the region of the Northwest Territory and Kentucky during the era from the last quarter of the 18th century through about 1850, with an emphasis on those in Cincinnati. Chapter headings are below. See the Table of Contents for a comprehensive list of topics covered.

– Some Early Travelers and Annalists (Describes numerous works, including those by explorers, frontiersmen and soldiers in the region as early as 1750) – The Pioneer Press and its Product – Book Making – Book Selling – Early Periodical Literature of the Ohio Valley – Libraries – The Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio (includes Kentucky and Ohio libraries) – Backwoods Colleges, Schools and Teachers – The Voice of the Preacher and the Clash of Creeds – Political Oratory and Orators – the Lecture – Planting of Literary Institutions at Vincennes, Indiana – Libraries, Schools and the Press – Pioneer Poets and Story Writers – Dr. Daniel Drake, the Franklin of Cincinnati – Timothy Flint, Missionary, Geographer, Editor, Novelist and Poet – Judge James Hall, Soldier, Jurist, Author, Editor – George Dennison Prentice, Journalist, Poet and Wit – Edward Deering Mansfield, Publicist and Author – William Davis Gallagher, Poet, Editor and Government Official – Amelia B. Welby – Alice Cary

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

Mike Fink

York, Carol Beach
Troll Associates 1980       

Relates the extraordinary deeds of the frontiersman who became king of the keelboatmen on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

You can find more works like these at our other ‘Cultural History’ pages.

Illinois Cultural History

Indiana Cultural History

Michigan Cultural History

Ohio Cultural History

Wisconsin Cultural History


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