The Floyd Family Collection was established in 1979 with the donation of 121 Indiana public school textbooks by William Floyd, a retired school superintendent residing in West Lafayette, and his wife, Cletis, who retired from school teaching when she married--a custom at the time. Containing primarily public school textbooks published or used in Indiana from 1840 to around 1940, the collection reflects a period of tremendous change in American social history. In Mr. Floyd's view, during the 100-year focus period, textbooks acted as a mainstay for transmitting cultural beliefs. Through the study of the texts published for and used by young Hoosiers, researchers may learn not only about what was taught or how it was taught but also find the means to study moral and ethical subtexts.
The collection contains textbooks on many subjects no longer taught in present-day schools as well as textbooks on traditional subjects such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Besides textbooks, the collection contains textbook publisher's catalogs, teachers' editions of textbooks, books used to supplement literature courses, and similar materials.
The number of titles has grown to over 1,800 examples. The growth of the collection has been dramatic, with more than half of it coming as gifts from the Floyds and their family. Other interested individuals, particularly retired schoolteachers and ISU alumni, and institutions, such as the Indianapolis-Marion County Library and the Lilly Library of Indiana University, have made significant contributions of books to the collection.
The entire collection has been cataloged in the online public access catalog (OPAC). A keyword phrase search on "Floyd Family Collection" will retrieve all currently cataloged titles. Combining terms will narrow down results. In addition, PDF catalogs of all textbooks are now available. Anyone who downloads the PDF catalog should be aware that it is out of date and that the online cataloging may differ from it in its details or correct errors.
The Cunningham, Floyd Family, and Walker collections are collectively referred to as "Classics in American Education." Although emphases among the three collections vary somewhat, they all have in common a focus on American themes--beliefs, practices, texts. Taken together, the three collections provide a significant base for advanced study and research in American education.