Divided Play

Divided Play

Charles W. Sanders, Sanders’ Bilder-Fibel=Sanders’ Pictorial Primer. New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago: American Book Co., 1846.

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This pictorial primer features German and English texts on facing pages with identical illustrations, and was published simultaneously in three cities having prominent German-speaking communities. Antebellum images of playgrounds are fairly rare, and in this case, the sexes were clearly separated by a wall. The English text explains the gendered world of the school yard: “See the boys and girls at play. …Some [boys] play at ball; some train with their guns and swords. The girls roll their hoops or ride in the swing. Some jump the rope and some play with their dolls.”

Adopted by Babette and Daniel Gehnrich

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