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Daguerreotype of Northeast from the United States Mint at Chestnut and Juniper Streets Mechanical Drawing: Three Spirals, Thomas Eakins
CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
THE NEIGHBORHOOD
EAKINS AND THE CIVIL WAR
This was part of the Jacksonian Era and the belief that if we were to succeed as a democratic republic, everyone had to have equal opportunities and that we had to have a wise and educated citizenry. In Pennsylvania and other states there was a call to create public education systems. The crown jewel of this movement in Philadelphia is the creation of Central High School in 1838. WALTER LICHT, Ph.D.
Historian, University of Pennsylvania
The educational systems he went through focused on useful skills such as surveying, geography, mathematics, sciences. All of these skills were applicable to the industries that Americans were building in the 19th century... that means only 25% of Eakins' courses were traditional humanities. Seventy-five percent of the courses he took were involved in mathematical and technical skills like surveying, bookkeeping, mechanical drawing -- skills that were called "immediate applicant advantage." The art curriculum was drafted during the years of the Art Crusade in the United States when artists and educators justified artistic education by saying it would further the progress of the nation. Good draftsmen would be able to lay out more efficient crops, would aid in surveying -- an important activity in the 19th century. AMY B. WERBEL, Ph.D.
Art Historian, St. Michael's College
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