New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1848. Item #419
8vo. 220 x 150 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches). Frontispiece, 383 pp., followed by 16 pp of advertisements. Bound in publisher's brown cloth, blindstamped with title in gilt on spine. Corners and edges rubbed, 2 cm chip at head of spine. Lightly foxed. Hundreds of black and white illustrations throughout depicting everything from suggested floorplans to library organization and equipment.
Presentation copy inscribed by the author to D. P. Thompson, Esq. on the front free endpaper. Thompson served as Vermont's Secretary of State and wrote a number of books in the 1840s and 50s including The Green Mountain Boys: A historical tale of the early settlement of Vermont.
Henry Barnard (1811 - 1900) served as the first U.S. commissioner of education from 1867 to 1870. During his lifetime, Barnard was a prolific publisher of schoolhouse designs, some his own , but most credited to other architects.
He was an early advocate for improved conditions in U.S. public schools, urging a centralized system of oversight for educators and the environments in which children learn. During his lifetime he supported evening schools for working children and segregated schools. In this book, Barnard suggests separate entrances for boys and girls to "prevent much confusion, rudeness, and impropriety" and explores the "evils" of backless seats on posture, particularly female students with "delicate constitutions."
Barbara Wriston, "The Use of Architectural Handbooks In The Design Of School Houses from 1840 to 1860," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 22 No. 3, Oct., 1963; American National Biography - online.