Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/424

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410
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
CORRESPONDENCE.



AN AUTHOR'S PROTEST.

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

MY attention has just been called to the notice you have given, in the May number of The Popular Science Monthly, of the second volume of the report upon which I am engaged (see pages 131 and 132 of the May number). I am gratified by the approval expressed of the "report proper," "five hundred pages of well-digested matter," etc., as that is in an especial sense my own work; but it seems to me the writer would have been more just if he had stated that the work was avowedly largely a work of reference, and also that every device had been availed of to facilitate such reference.

This book is made for the use of educators and teachers, and its purpose is to record what has already been done in this country in introducing "Manual Training in Public Schools," and also to furnish those considering the wisdom of making any changes in this direction, with the experience, opinions, and plans of educators who have seriously considered or undertaken the work. All the literature on these topics is ephemeral and not within reach of the ordinary teacher nor to be found in ordinary libraries. It largely consists of speeches, papers, addresses, and local reports. The movement is a live one, progressing by rapid strides, and the material grows rapidly. My purpose has been to get together and put in the hands of the teachers all the material and the latest material possible. Now, the work of planning, collating, preparing, arranging, proof-reading and indexing this big book falls upon myself alone, with aid, part of the time, of a single copyist. As fast as the matter is proof-read it is stereotyped; so the only way in which I could add later matter was to turn the "Introduction" into an extra appendix. I know, as well as the wise reviewer, that if 1 could have had all the material in those appendices spread before me in clean printed pages as he finds it in this volume, I also could have made a smaller and a better-proportioned book; but my aim was to be of most use to the educators and teachers, and my reward has been, much as it may surprise our critical friend, to meet with the hearty approval of all classes of educators, including the Presidents of Yale, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, Tulane; the superintendents of education throughout the country, educational authorities like Newell and MacAlister, and countless teachers; while the National Education Association in convention at Saratoga last summer took occasion to pass a special resolution of approval.

Now to consider the special features criticised for a moment. The contemptuous treatment given to my first volume by The Popular Science Monthly, and especially by the New York Nation and the Evening Post, was such as to lead me to think that it might be well for me to put on record the approving judgment of such educational and literary authorities as the veteran educators Henry Barnard and George Bancroft, the poet Whittier for his appreciation of Philbrick, and John Sparkes, the head of the Kensington Art Schools. The press of the United States and also of Great Britain and France gave generous and intelligent approval of the first volume of this report; but in the Cosmos Club, of this city, of which I chance to be one of the founder members. The Popular Science Monthly, and the twin sheets over which Mr. Godkin presides, are largely read; and, of course, my standing, in the opinion of those who accept these as divine oracles, suffered! I proposed that this abuse — for the Nation-Post article was largely abuse — should be offset, so that in case any of the Cosmos followers of Godkin chanced to open my second volume, they might find that there were other views!

Your reviewer criticises the fact that the tributes were paid to Philbrick, Smith, and Perkins; but surely, if anywhere it was proper to have printed tributes to these three great teachers, it was in this report, the first volume of which was but a record of their great experiment, as this second volume is a history of what has been the immediate outcome of their endeavor. I should have felt condemned had I failed to pay such poor tribute to them as was in my power. Those three citizens did more for their country than hundreds of ordinary citizens are enabled to do.

One hundred pages of the "Introduction" it was plainly stated were made use of as an extra "appendix," since that part of the book is printed last; but your reviewer suppresses that fact, and implies that this "Introduction" is all a mere mass of useless verbiage.

It is the easiest of all things to sneer, as your reviewer has done; but is it very manly in a journal, professing to be respectable and scientific, to treat a serious work in such a flippant vein? If other books are reviewed with as little of the spirit of fairness, or with the effect of so plainly seeking to belittle them, as is shown by the treatment accorded to this volume, I shall hardly look to the Monthly as giving any very valuable information about the works it assumes to notice. I have thought it due to the work to write this much of protest against the attitude assumed toward it by the writer in the Monthly; but