Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 6:4 (Fall 1986). Copyright © 1986 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


In Andrew Guilliford's view, many scholars have portrayed the history of American country schools in too narrow a fashionpresenting them as either pedagogical disasters or as images of the nation's success. Thus, the purpose of Guilliford's quite readable book, America's Country Schools, is to present a balanced interpretation of the historic educational setting, reconciling the beneficial elements of traditional education with some of its well-founded criticisms. Although his primary contribution to the literature is a large pictorial collection, Guilliford cites a wealth of scholarly works in his historical review. He takes into account the quality of curricula and teachers, the type of available supplies, the architecture of various buildings, and the schools' relative benefit to the communities they served.