Home -> Samuel Levinson -> What We Saw at Madame World's Fair - The Palace of Education

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Western Facade, Palace of Education, Looking across Fine Arts Lagoon.
Western Facade, Palace of Education, Looking across Fine Arts Lagoon.

The Palace of Education

Dear Cousins:

The Palace of Education has a most beautiful entrance, which is as it should be, because education is the most necessary thing in the world. Father says that we do not at all realize our blessings because things are made so easy for us. He says that he and Mr. Abraham Lincoln did not have things so easy.

But it could not have been so bad, because see what splendid men they both grew up! We found so many things of interest that we could not begin to tell you about them. But the thing which most interested us was the vocational schools which Massachusetts was showing.

Their motto, "Earning while learning," does seem so sensible. They explain that there will always be some children who will have to help support themselves, and so Massachusetts, like Sentimental Tommy, has found a way.

The children go to school one week, and work in a factory the next week, turn and turn about. Massachusetts has a large number of factories and so can make an arrangement of this sort, but she believes that other communities have some industries which could furnish work for children.

Another school idea appealed to us more: We do not like to think of other little children having to work when we have so many good times, and we hope that there will be found a way, very soon, so that they need not do it.

But the idea is this, and it also belongs to Massachusetts: They build a schoolhouse in the center of say twenty-five miles of country. They put teachers there, but no pupils. The whole radius of twenty-five miles is the school. If a boy over fourteen, who has attended regular school up to that time, wishes to start a business, so that he can both earn and learn, whether it is chicken-raising, carpentering, fruit-growing, dairying, anything which he can do in the country, he becomes a pupil in the school, and is entitled to one visit a week from a teacher, who will not only show him how to do the work, but will instruct him how to market his wares. He is expected to keep along in regular school work as well, so that when he is twenty-one he will have a business, and some money in the bank. Father said that was real common sense applied. There are also schools in home-making, where any girl from seven to seventy years of age can learn all about housekeeping, and taking care of children. We saw some lovely leather bags made by the high school pupils of Minneapolis, which father said were worthy of skilled workmen.

We have not yet decided upon a life work, but we are going to learn to make gingerbread and jam, currant jam.

Your loving cousins,

Jane and Ellen.

Girl with Bread

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