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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The advertising section of the Almanac reveals that C. W.
Yellowby of Parsons Female Seminary at Webberville had bought
a piano from Albert Weber in New York. Yellowby liked the
piano fine but had failed to order a piano stool and "such a thing
can not be bought here."
When Melinda Rankin reported on Texas in 1850, she deplored
the scarcity of teachers and the deficiencies in the textbooks and
advocated the choice of the Eclectic Educational Series as a "real
service to the cause of education itself."22 At the time she wrote,
there were in the state 360 teachers in 349 schools and 137 teachers
in 97 academies, or 497 teachers for 446 institutions, meaning that
most of the schools were one-teacher institutions. Other than per-
sonal collections of books there were twelve libraries with a total
of 4,230 volumes, the libraries being located in one college, five
Sunday schools, three schools, and three public libraries. Enroll-
ment of 7,949 children in school in 1850 meant that one child in
five or six was getting an education. In the years following 1850
a number of factors stimulated interest in schools: a reaction
against propaganda taught in the Northern schools, the desire of
private school people to keep the money at home that was being
spent sending Texas students to other states, the conviction that
education in general had been a failure, and the possibility of
securing a combination project of building railroads and support-
ing public schools. The result of the interest was the passage of the
school law of 1854, which established the permanent school fund
and provided for the organization of common schools. Actually
little was done under the law and of the 124 counties organized
in 1861, only twelve filed a school report.28
In addition to these common or "Old Field" schools, by 186o
nine educational associations had been incorporated and 117 edu-
cational institutions had been chartered, including seven univer-
sities, forty academies, thirty colleges, twenty-seven institutes, and
two seminaries. The girls' schools were prepared to train in de-
portment and the refinements of life. Despite pretentious names,
the work was chiefly elementary. These schools had granted two
22Melinda Rankin, Texas in z85o (Boston, 1850), 62-63.
2sFrederic Eby, The Development of Education in Texas (New York, 1925),
112-113, 126-130.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 30, 2016.

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