McGuffey's Eclectic Reader and Emmons County Schools

Most of the schools in Emmons County purchased the wide-spread series of books, the McGuffey's Readers for different age levels. The Second Eclectic Reader, published in 1879, featured 71 stories, poems, and songs, along with illustrations. The stories carried vocabulary words with pronunciations, before every story. They were often moral lessons: a little girl is careless with her toys, and her dog eats her doll! Another boy, with a widowed mother, ran errands to get some pennies, and bought boot blacking to shine shoes, giving his mother all his earnings.

There are songs about busy bees, clouds, squirrels, foxes, and a variety of other animals. One poem was:

The Song of the Bee
"Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
This is the song of the bee.
His legs are of yellow;
A jolly, good fellow,
And yet a great worker is he.
(There are five more stanzas!)

The Winona Times reported that the Winona School Board purchased McGuffey's Readers, geography books, and maps in 1892. Jack Waldron, "Top" Lee, and William Patterson, of Patterson Loans and Real Estate, all served as School Board Presidents from 1891 through the middle 1890s.

The above was written and provided by Mary E. Corcoran.
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