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Collection Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

Education and Health in Ephemera

"The first gymnacyclidium for ladies and gentlemen ..." [New York, N.Y. : Pearsall Brothers, 1869]

Ephemera with education themes include 1838 speeches on the importance of education and in support of an education lottery in Alton, Illinois, and a number of nineteenth-century Yale University commencement programs and other student leaflets. The fund-raising leaflet, "Education Among the Freedmen," published by the Pennsylvania Freedmen's Relief Association, is illustrated by an engraving of "Sea-Island School, No. 1.--St. Helena Island [South Carolina]. Established April, 1862," showing teachers and students relaxing. Noting that fifty dollars would support one teacher for a month, the committee appeals to ministers of every denomination and individuals and clubs in every community to contribute money or volunteer time to the efforts of the Association to send teachers to South Carolina and other southern states. Another leaflet published in Boston in June 1863, reprints May 1863 letters from teachers at St. Helena Island describing their young students as "the prettiest little things you ever saw, with solemn little faces, and eyes like stars." Vacations were a hardship to these children, who were so anxious to improve their reading and writing that they begged not to "be punished so again." Voluntary contributions from various organizations aided fourteen hundred teachers in providing education for 150,000 freedmen.

The beginnings of collegiate intermural sports in Massachusetts is captured in the 1859 "Amherst Express. Extra." that covers contests between Williams and Amherst colleges in baseball and chess. Obviously gloating over Amherst's victories both in, "Muscle and Mind!!," the reporter offers the hope that such encounters will excite a deeper interest "in those amusements, which, while they serve as a relaxation from study, strengthen and develop body and mind." Instruction of quite another sort is described in an 1869 advertisement of "The First Gymnacyclidium for Ladies and Gentlemen," in the Apollo Building, on the corner of 28th and Broadway in New York City. Billed as the Grand Velocipede Academy, containing over 8,000 square feet for riding, with galleries seating 1,500 people, the proprietors offer lessons in bicycle exercise, competitive races, and expert exhibitions and amusements. Other advertisements offer a variety of goods and services including patent remedies for pain and a litany of common complaints, groceries and dry goods, meat packing, wool carding, shingle making, gold and silver plating, and real estate, especially western farm land being sold by railroads and other entrepreneurs.