Selections from Eunice Waller’s album of kindergarten occupations
Individual leaves from a young girl's album of paper weaving, paper folding and lacing. Produced by Eunice Waller in East Rutherford, NY around 1905, it's an example of how kindergarten evolved in the United States. Froebel's original kindergarten was based on his conviction that children learn best through play and exploration, and that they should be given opportunities to be active, to create things, and to interact with nature. He also believed that it was important to educate the whole child, including their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.
Milton Bradley published the first American book on the kindergarten, The Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, in the 1860s. In the decades that followed, he published numerous books on the Gifts and Occupations, as well as activity kits sold as recreations and a booming business supplying “kindergarten material,” including paper weaving kits, blocks, and sewing cards to school--the kinds of material used in these examples.
Albums of Froebel Gifts are rare, desirable, and usually prohibitively expensive. Finding an album that's been broken up has the silver lining of being able to make original examples of kindergarten work accessible to more collectors, and so the leaves are being offered individually. Each has work on both sides and the choice is left to the buyer which side to display. Some stand on their own as visual artworks and the paper folding examples are particularly nice to manually investigate--fold, unfold, etc.