Classics of American Education Collections

Education square

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.

Special Collections receives the official records or publications of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE). It is the permanent home of the Archives of the National Kindergarten Association.

The 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 Collection includes important editions of the works of American educators and educational psychologists such as Dewey, Barnard, Hall, James, Mann, and Thorndike. 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.

The Floyd Family Collection: The Floyd Family Collection consists of public school textbooks published or used in Indiana from 1840 to about 1940. Related materials, such as publisher’s catalogs, teachers’ editions, and books used to supplement literature courses are also included. Through the study of the texts published during this 100-year focus period, 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 was established by William Floyd, a retired school superintendent from West Lafayette, Indiana, and his wife, Cletis, who also worked in education.

The Walker Collection: In 1980, Dr. Benjamin Walker, a member of the ISU faculty, made a donation of 300 early American textbooks, many of them from New England, thus establishing the collection bearing his name. The core of the collection, containing primarily nineteenth-century textbooks, provides examples of seminal school textbooks which influenced the direction both of textbook writing and of teaching in the United States for scores of years.