Indiana State University Library

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Photograph of some of the monographs found in the Cunningham Collection

Cunningham Collection

In recognition of the service of Arthur Cunningham, first library director from 1891 to 1928 at what became Indiana State University, his third wife and widow, Bess Rippeth Cunningham made a donation in 1956 to establish the Cunningham Collection. The theme was originally envisioned as Monuments of American Education. Important editions of the works of American educators and educational psychologists such as Dewey, Barnard, Hall, James, Mann, and Thorndike were sought. The collection also came to include editions of early educational journals, notable nineteenth-century textbooks, books on practice, and even some early children's books. Originally containing about 300 volumes, the collection has expanded to approximately 1,000 volumes. Textbooks are no longer being added to the holdings, and those already housed in the collection will be transferred eventually either to the Floyd Family Collection or to the Walker Collection.

All except a few yet-to-be-cataloged titles in this collection are listed in FusionPlus Advanced. A keyword phrase search on "Cunningham Collection" will retrieve the entire cataloged collection. Combining this phrase with other terms will narrow the results.

General Rules for Country Schools, published in 1800, is an example of a very early book on practice, written by James Fleming, a country school teacher. In addition to rules in prose, it contains numerous verse exhortations to good behavior, providing both to the teacher and the student rules to live by. Modern readers may still sympathize with some of its injunctions!

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. The Cunningham Collection is the cornerstone, or original, collection in this triad.

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