New England States
Six states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. — Swinton’s Geography, 1882
In geography they had studied the New England states , and they answered questions so well that Laura set them to learn the Middle Atlantic states. – These Happy Golden Years, Chapter 2, “First Day of School”
Most likely, the introductory geography book used by Laura’s students in the Brewster (fictional Bouchie) school was William Swinton’s Introductory Geography in Readings and Recitations (New York: Ivison, Blakeman and Company), 1882. This was the series ordered used by the Kingsbury County school township board committee on school books, who had spent almost $200 ordering spellers, readers, grammar and composition, geography, and history books to be sold at George Bradley’s drug store and made available for purchase. While it doesn’t seem as if text book purchases were required, Bradley offered a reduced rate if older texts were traded in at time of purchase. Swinton’s Introductory Geography would thus cost thirty-three cents instead of fifty-five.
Pages 34-40 of Swinton’s Introductory Geography covers the New England States, and the lesson is followed by one on the Middle Atlantic States. The lesson begins with a full-page map of the region (shown at right), followed by a series of questions the students should be able to answer about said map, including name and location of rivers, mountain ranges, islands, capes, bays, sounds, lakes. State capitals and major cities should also be learned. This was followed by reading lessons about the major industries of the area, and a brief history – that New England was named by Captain John Smith after “Old England” back home.
The following were recitation questions such as those Martha and Charles would have had to answer:
1. What is New England?
2. By whom was its coast first explored?
3. How many states does it include?
4. What is the climate of New England?
5. What does the face of the country look like?
6. What is the highest mountain in New England?
7. What are the most noted rivers?
8. What are the principal kinds of businesses carried on in New England?
9. What is the principal manufacture?
10. In which state is dairying a great business?
11. Where are ship-building and the fisheries important?
12. What are the principal exports of New England?
13. What is the largest city in each state?
New England states (THGY 2), see also geography