NY State College of Agriculture
Veitch Memorial Silver Medal
The Nature Study Idea
Home Nature Study Course
Cornell Rural School Leaflet
Junior Naturalist Monthly
Rural School Wood Mount
Junior Extension Group
Nature Society Gavel and Scroll
Comstock Wood Engraving
Handbook of Nature Study
Syllabus of Lectures
Education of Women
Commission on Country Life
NATURE STUDY AND RURAL EDUCATION
When the depression of 1893 drove large numbers of families off the farms to look for factory work, the Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor in New York City organized a Committee for the Promotion of Agriculture. The Committee believed that nature study, intended to heighten appreciation of the countryside and to increase knowledge of the natural processes on which successful farming depended, would strengthen the interest of rural children in farming. Cornell received state funds to teach nature study in New York’s rural schools. Liberty Hyde Bailey, who believed that children should grow up appreciating nature, assumed responsibility for the new program and immediately appointed Anna Botsford Comstock, a member of the committee, to run it. They began publishing the Home Nature Study Course and Bailey wrote the first leaflet: “How a Squash Plant Gets Out of the Seed. ” Cornell offered a summer Nature Study School in 1897. John W. Spencer joined Bailey and Comstock to organize thousands of children into Junior Naturalist Clubs and to help publish the Junior Naturalist Monthly, beginning in 1899.
Bailey also wrote a series of graded texts dealing with plants and nature, books that would interest people of any age. He followed his Lessons with Plants (1898) with an elementary school book in 1890, a beginner’s book in 1908, and a secondary school text in 1913. In 1903, Bailey published The Nature-Study Idea.
|This exhibition is made possible through a generous gift in memory of Lelah A. Cole.
© 2004 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections.