The title of this post is one of my newest vocabulary words. I don’t believe I’d heard it before earlier this week when I cataloged a pamphlet from our Pamphlet Volume collection: The Sloyd of America by Gustaf Larsson.
“Sloyd” is a Swedish system of manual training that focuses particularly on learning through wood carving, or — in the words of the inscription on the pamphlet’s title page — “Sloyd is tool work so arranged and employed as to stimulate and promote vigorous, intelligent self-activity for a purpose which the worker recognizes as good.”
It seems that between 1888 and 1890 a Mrs. Quincy A. Shaw was conducting “private experimental work” in some Boston public schools into the value of Sloyd. Larsson’s pamphlet, with its many plates illustrating the products and plans illustrating an ideal classroom layout, is the result of Shaw’s experiments.
Larsson carried out a teacher training course in the philosophy and methods of Sloyd there in Boston. At the time of the pamphlet, nearly 200 teachers had completed the course, “most of whom are now giving sloyd training to large numbers of children, as well as to adults, in public and private schools in widely distant parts of the United States.”