Education and Art in 19th Century

By Matt K. and Lauren A.


The Common School Period

19th century education was nicknamed “The Common School Period” because of how it went from totally private to open to the common people. Schools were a lot different. Like in the 19th century, they were taught in one classroom and kids of all ages and grades were taught together. In 1833, the first textbook was written by Rev. William McGuffey for children. His other books emphasized good behavior and had lessons for students to live by.

African-American Education

It was very hard for African-American people to get education because it was against the laws to do so. In the North, there were schools for black children, but they were segregated and received poor schooling material. They did, however, learn one way or another. Some listened under the school houses, others traded people in return for lessons. A few African-Americans managed to achieve some academic education in classes conducted secretly under the disguise of trade schools for learning such skills as sewing, cooking, and carpentry.

What School Was Like

Schools also branched out on subjects. Some schools now taught knitting, sewing, cooking, and carpentry. They also had to memorize verses and dates in history and then recite them in class. They also didn’t go to school in the spring and fall because those were planting, plowing, and harvesting times. The kids would help on the farms then go to school in the winter and summer.


The Urbanization of Art

The nineteenth century was a rather busy time in the world. The newly formed United States was just one of the British settlements that began developing in this century, with many others springing up on other continents. Invention and discovery swelled and resulted in the urbanization that took place. With everything that was going on in the world, it makes sense that so many different types of art were gaining momentum. Three of the major art movements of the nineteenth century were Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Impressionism.

Alice Cordelia Morse

Alice C. Morse was an active and prominent designer in New York during the late nineteenth century when the Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts movements transformed the field of decorative arts and created new working opportunities for women artists. Female decorative artists were the embodiment of these movements. They worked to benefit others and to support themselves as artists.

Alfred Steiglitz

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1864, and schooled as an engineer in Germany, Alfred Stieglitz returned to New York in 1890 determined to prove that photography was a medium as capable of artistic expression as painting or sculpture. As the editor of Camera Notes, the journal of the Camera Club of New York—an association of amateur photography enthusiasts—Stieglitz espoused his belief in the aesthetic potential of the medium and published work by photographers who shared his conviction.

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