What to Drive on Your Next Day Trip

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An elegant, low-slung coach drawn by a matched pair of stylish young gentlemen for an afternoon ride through the park?  This enormous plate (24 x 29 cm.) comes from Les enfans parisiens: Jeux, exercice et amusements (Paris: Aubert & cie, ca. 1850].

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If you have to have fresh air no matter what the weather, this is the sleigh for you.  Graf Franz von Pocci designed this sleek, minimal vehicle for an illustration to a poem in his Lustige gesellschaft: Bilderbuch von Fr. Pocci (Munich: Braun & Schneider, 1867).

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Something with more power?  These simian charioteers were dreamed up by Jacobus Wilhelmus Adrianus Hilverdink for Jan Schnkman’s Het nieuwe apenspel (Amsterdam: G. Theodore Bom, 1862).

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There’s always the reliable old bicycle.  It’s not fast or flashy, but it can take you where you want to go.  Florence Upton drew this image of a little girl polishing up her big brother’s bike for her mother’s Little Hearts (London, Manchester, New York: George Routledge and Sons, Limited, 1897), several years before she scored an enormous hit with the Golliwog series.

All these pictures of vehicles were chosen to illustrate the theme of transportation in the nineteenth-century volumes of the Cotsen catalogue.

Paying for Private School Tuition in the 1730s

The Princeton class of 2019 has just graduated and cleared out of the dorms.  Next year’s crop of applicants for spots in the class of 2023 will be touring campus all summer. Parents’ nagging worries about the high costs for tuition and board are nothing new, however.  An imaginary case spun out of some advertisements in children’s books for private girls’ schools in the eighteenth century is an interesting way to put it all into perspective.

Suppose you are a merchant who traded in the Baltic region.   You have recently lost your wife, and as you must be away on business for long periods of time, there is no one to supervise your lovely daughter Pamela’s education.  There are no reliable female relatives with whom she could live, so a suitable boarding school must be found.

Copies of Gay’s Fables Epitomiz’d  (London: B. Creak, at the Red Bible near St. Paul’s [1733]) had advertisement for one such school in High  Wickham, Buckinghamshire.  The curriculum focused on what were considered accomplishments, or skills and attainments that were supposed to make girls attractive to eligible young men of means in need of wives.   Instruction in English and plain sewing, plus cutlery, and linens, were included in the basic quarterly charge of three pounds and fifteen shillings.  Pamela’s father would have to pay separate charges for laundry, board and instruction in fine needlework.  French, dancing, music, and writing lessons were all electives, so to speak  extra and it looks as if Papa had to pay the invoices of the different teachers directly.  Or perhaps the mistress of the school received the funds from parents and paid them on a quarterly basis, multiplied by the number of pupils for each teacher.If Pamela’s papa decides nothing is too good for his charming girl and signed her up for everything, then he would owe Mrs. Bellamy about ten pounds per quarter. This seems laughably low to us, but run the amount of forty pounds through a historic currency converter and the amount had about  the same purchasing power as $8200.00  in today’s currency.   Mrs. Bellamy was still a bargain, compared to a private high school…  But no matter how you cut it, the price of a silver spoon has inflated dramatically over two hundred and eighty six years…

If a book seems like a strange place to advertise an educational institution, there was method in the apparent madness.  Gay’s Fables Epitomiz’d was intended to be used in schools and its author was Daniel Bellamy the elder, the husband of Martha Bellamy, head of the school above.  Bellamy’s sister Hannah Wood was also a school mistress and sometimes Martha and Hannah joined forces and ran advertisements for their academies in other works produced by Daniel, like Dramatic Pieces and other Miscellaneous Works, which featured plays he wrote for the young ladies to perform at school.  This is not as cynical and calculating as it may seem at first, because Daniel Bellamy was a devout Christian with a genuine interest in education who used his literary gifts to write a number of excellent works for young readers, which were also  nicely illustrated with engravings.  He is an interesting, but little known pioneer in the history of English-language children’s books whose long career overlapped with those of the better-known Thomas Boreman, Mary Cooper, and John Newbery.