White's New Course in Art Instruction for Elementary Schools drawing workbooks for Year 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (6 volumes, unused)
Approx. 7.75 x 11 inches each. Covers are very fragile and chipping around the edges. Covers of Numbers 4 and 6 are reattached Japanese paper along the inside of the spines. 36 pages in each volume with many blank pages intended for student work. The primary series were sold individually for grades 1-3, and years 4-9 were sold as an inclusive set. This is a complete run of the elementary set in unused condition, Very Good, with the exclusion of the wraps.
In the corresponding series of outlines for teachers (scarce in print, but accessible online), White’s New Course is introduced as the "ideas of many, who, starting at widely separated points and working individually along different lines, arrived almost simultaneously at the same conclusions." Indeed, the long-running series went through many sets of authors. This edition has no stated author, but is attributed to Massachusetts Normal Art School graduates Nathaniel Berry, Elizabeth Perry, and Jessie Prince under the guidance of Henry Turner Bailey.
This series competed publicly and contentiously with Louis Prang's Course in Form Study and Drawing, by John S. Clark, Mary Dana Hicks, and Walter S. Perry, which was designed to enable generalist teachers to serve as art instructors. Bailey, who was the Massachusetts Board of Education state agent for the promotion of industrial drawing, had more rigorous ambitions for art instruction and believed that the task should fall to specialist teachers. He championed drawing from observation and derided systems that relied on copying and guide points.
White’s New Course aligned with Bailey’s attitudes toward art. It “requires the pupil to do his own thinking” and “endeavors to lay the foundation for a broad art culture,” providing space for error and interpretation that essentially prioritized artistic expression over accurate drawing. As a result, the examples in these workbooks are concentrated within single pages, interspersed with blank pages for the student’s work. This design allows the student to reference—but not directly copy—the work, thereby developing their own aesthetic sense.
White's New Course in Art Instruction Outline for 6th-8th Year Grades, with Suggestions to Teachers (American Book Company, 1892)
Stankiewicz, Mary Ann. "Drawing Book Wars." Visual Arts Research, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall 1986), pp. 59-72