Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vintage English text book 1936

I love vintage books. A friend of mine (thanks Chris Otto) gave me this book published in 1936 by the American Book Company. The retail price was 59 cents. It was written by W. Wilbur Hatfield et al. This book is  packed with awesome black and white illustrations, exercises, activities and readings.

One activity is a courtesy test for boys and girls (What do you say when two of you come to a door at the same time? When you leave a party? When you have to cough or sneeze?).

There's a section on using the telephone, which includes learning what to say when Central answers. One child played the telephone operator (Central) and the other the caller. 
Mary (takes the receiver from the hook and listens)
Central. Number, please
Mary. Walnut 7642.
Mrs. Smith. This is Mrs. Smith speaking.
Mary. This is Mary Jones, Mrs. Smith. I am Jane's classmate. We are afraid she is ill.
Mrs. Smith. Jane has a slight cold, but I think she will be able to go to school tomorrow.
Mary. I am glad her cold isn't bad.
Mrs. Smith. Thank you for asking about Jane. I'll tell her you called.
Mary. Good-by, Mrs. Smith
 Mrs. Smith. Good-by, Mary.

Children learned How to use the encyclopedia (no Web then), how to write a letter and address an envelope, how to be a good citizen, how to make a moving-picture machine along with a ton of other stuff.

Do you remember your first school book. I remember Dick, Jane and Spot. Now that's one book I would love to have.


  1. Cool book. I remember Dick, Jane & Spot too. I'm glad they use more interesting books now to teach reading.

  2. Telephone manners are no longer taught in school, and that's a darn shame. Plenty of parents don't teach it either. My husband and I DID teach our daughters how to properly say hello and identify yourself when calling someone's house, but plenty of their friends call our house and say:

    "Yeah, who's this?"

    Actually, some adults could use lessons too.

  3. I LOVE old books! I used to have a book called the Goop Book which was all about children and manners - I especially remember the story about the boy who picked his nose. I still have a few old books from when I was little, namely, Ferdinand (amazing pictures), Guy Fawkes, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, as well as many other adult books I've bought at antique book barns and such. I love books.

    And speaking of manners, remember at Christmas when you had to write thank-you notes to everyone who gave a gift? Kids today don't even know what one is. Why, I remember when...hmmm, maybe I should stop now before I start sounding like all those old folks the kids now probably think I look like.

  4. Lovely post!

    My husband and I are about the same age. He learned to read with Dick and Jane in Arkansas and I learned to in England. Quite a surprise to me when I learned that...

    I remember getting our first phone and having to practice answering it with my Mum.