About: Educating the Youth of Pennsylvania
In 1749, Benjamin Franklin published his educational call to arms, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. In it, Franklin set forth a radically new template for educating students, one that stressed social utility, secular independence, and an English language-based curriculum. This slim pamphlet led to the creation of the University of Pennsylvania, the fourth oldest institution of higher education in North America.
But what were schools like in the early Delaware Valley? Who received an education, how, and where? Who were the teachers, and what was taught? Drawing on the collections of the University of Pennsylvania Library, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and other Philadelphia-area libraries, museums, and schools, the 2006 exhibition in the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt Library surveyed the educational landscape of the period and investigated the importance, originality, and ongoing relevance of Franklin’s vision. It included original documents, printed books, and artifacts, as well as photographs of surviving school buildings. It also included a series of public programs on the history and present state of education in America.
"The Good Education of Youth": Worlds of Learning in the Age of Franklin, edited by John Pollock,
is a series of scholary essays and a printed catalog of the 2006 exhibition co-published by
the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and Oak Knoll Press.