Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 24)

And now we're blazing forward into "The Home and School Book" section of 1929's The New Human Interest Library. This section should be full of interesting artwork, as it promises information about phonics, art education, music education, algebra, etiquette and much more.

First up, though, is an introductory section, meant to be inspirational, about educator Mother Stoner1 and her famous daughter.

So you don't have to squint, that caption states:
This little girl is learning to read by means of an illustrated chart and the portable typewriter. Mother Stoner is pointing to the big, plain letters on the card.
Mother Stoner is Winifred Sackville Stoner2 (1870-1931). She was a turn-of-the century educator who advocated putting the F-U-N in learning, using toys and, as you can see, typewriters as part of the educational process for children. Mother Stoner was also a supporter of Esperanto.

Her are excerpts of an essay that she wrote, which is included in this section of The New Human Interest Library:
Mothers and teachers of the preschool age, YOU are the most important people in the world, as upon you depends the laying of foundation stones upon which is to be built the future citizenship of the world. ... Every home where there is a child, should be a child home, a home with pictures, books, and furniture, to please children as well as adults. And every home should supply children with the toys or tools that help to develop character and give information that the child needs. ... High class music houses will suggest the best that can be given to them in the musical line. No jazz should be heard in any home where there is a child.3 Art dealers can supply you with high-class pictures, copies of the great masters. ... Teach kiddies that books are friends. We do not tear our friends to pieces and naturally we are kind to our books. ... A child should never be allowed to tear a book and neither should he be permitted to use crayons and paints to paint walls and furniture. ... I use Hy-San Colors instead of ordinary crayons so that very young babies can play with crayons without fear of being poisoned. ... The nursery walls should be painted a pale green, blue, yellow or pink rather than staring white. ... Treat your child as an intelligent being instead of an animated vegetable.4 ... Let him have some aim in life from the day of his birth. Tie a red balloon (for a few minutes each day) first on the wrist of his right hand and then on his left wrist. ... Then talk to him about the balloon. Call it red, round, pretty light.5 Thus give baby his first talking lesson in plain English rather than in the OOTSIE-TOOTSIE TONGUE.
Meanwhile, Mother Stoner's daughter, perhaps the child pictured in the above photo, was Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr. (1902-1983). Junior was a child prodigy and perhaps Mother Stoner's greatest accomplishment. She was reading and writing by age 3, speaking up to a dozen languages by age 10, and showing great skill with the violin and at chess. She was also a poet who gave us "The History of The U.S," which is famous for its opening line of "In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue..."

After an amazing first two decades, however, Junior's life became, it seems, very sad. Straight from Wikipedia:
"In 1921, at age 19, she married a 35-year-old French count, Charles de Bruche, who was supposedly killed in a car accident in Mexico City in 1922. However, de Bruche reappeared in 1930, and Stoner appealed for an annulment of the marriage. She apparently already knew before the faked death that her husband's actual name was Charles Clinton Philip Bruch, a penniless imposter with a criminal record who was a known con man and wiretapper. He also went by the name 'Count Helmholtz.' She then married Louis Hyman, but that marriage fell apart and ended in divorce. Reports surfaced of an engagement to Bainbridge Colby, a former US Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, who was then 58 years old to her 24. She later described him as 'my mental mate.'

"In 1931, she wed E. W. Harrison, but they divorced in 1933 amid Stoner's plans to wed for a fourth time.

"Between the 1930s and her death in 1983, she rarely stepped into the spotlight."
If child prodigy + multiple-marriage heartbreak + half-century as a recluse isn't a formula for a tearjerker, Oscar-winning biopic, I don't know what is.

1. Not to be confused with the Stoner Mom, Kathryn VanEaton, who launched her website for responsible parenting and cannabis use in 2014.
2. Not to be confused with the scheming Sackville-Baggins family.
3. Wait. What?? I was so ready to like Mother Stoner. We need to get her in a room with Stoner Mom and have them smoke weed and listen to some great jazz.
4. So, VeggieTales is probably out.
5. This will also teach your baby the crucial early lesson of how to identify Pennywise.

No comments:

Post a Comment