From Origin to Modernity: A Brief History of American School Design

  • Joseph da Silva


To make legible the norms of nineteenth century American schooling, this chapter outlines the history of the school design nexus, carefully locating its nineteenth century politics and considering the kind of student its different configurations anticipate. It unpacks this history across four sections in nineteenth century school design. It explores the first known structure used for knowledge transfer in America; the theological school design of early Puritan settlers; America’s first public schools; the traditionalist (Enlightenment-inspired) school design; and the school designs inspired by advances in science, mathematics, and technology and increasingly predicated upon efficiency and vocational training, and tracing its legacies up to the early twentieth century.


  1. Adams, C. F. (1879). The New Departure in the Common Schools of Quincy and Other Papaers on Educational Topics. Boston: Estes and Lauriat.Google Scholar
  2. Barnard, H. (1839). First Annual Report, Connecticut Common School Journal, Case, Tiffany & Burnham.Google Scholar
  3. Barnard, H. (1860). School Architecture or, Contributions to the Improvement of School-Houses in the United States. New York: Barnes & Burr.Google Scholar
  4. Blatner, L. B. (1948). Trends in Materials and Design. Review of Educational Research, 18. Retrieved from 5 Nov 2013.
  5. Bobbitt, J. F. (1912). The Elimination of Waste in Education. The Elementary School Teacher, 12, 259–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bobbitt, J. F. (1918). The Curriculum. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  7. Bode, B. H. (1927). Modern Educational Theories. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Brubaker, C. W. (1998). Planning and Designing Schools. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  9. Burnham, W. H. (1883). A Scheme of Classification for Child-Study. The Pedagogical Seminary 2(2), 1892. Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  10. Button, H. W., & Provenzo, E. F. (1989). History of Educational Culture in America (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Charters, W. (1923). Curriculum Construction. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  12. Cooledge, H. N. (1964). Samuel Sloan and the “Philadelphia Plan”. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 23, 151–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cremin, L. A. (1970). American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  14. Cremin, L. A. (1988). American Education: The Metropolitan Experience 1876–1980. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  15. Cutler, W. W. (1989). Cathedral of Culture: The Schoolhouse in American Thought and Practice Since 1820. History of Education Quarterly. Retrieved from 8 Nov 2013.
  16. Dewey, J. (1902). The Child and the Curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Foner, E. (1995). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gelernter, M. (1999). A History of America Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological Context. New York: University Press of New York.Google Scholar
  20. Gould, S. J. (1996). The Mismeasure of Man. New York: WW Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  21. Graves, B. E. (1993). School Ways: The Planning and Design of America’s Schools (C. A. Pearson, Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  22. Greenough, H. (1843). American Architecture. United States Magazine and Democratic Review, 13, 206–210.Google Scholar
  23. Gutman, M. (2008). United States School Buildings and Architecture. Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society. Retrieved from 10 Nov 2013.
  24. Hall, G. S. (1883). The Contents of the Mind of Children. Princeton, NJ: The Princeton Review.Google Scholar
  25. Hansen, D. T. (2002). Dewey’s Conception of An Environment for Teaching and Learning. Curriculum Inquiry, 32, 267–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hearn, F. (2003). Ideas that Shaped Buildings. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Janowitz, M. (1975). Sociological Theory and Social Control. American Journal of Sociology, 81(1), 82–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kliebard, H. (1986). The Struggle for the American Curriculum: 1893–1958. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Kowalski, T. J. (2002). Planning and Managing Facilities (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  30. Kruft, H. W. (1994). A History of Architectural Theory From Vitruvius to Present. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  31. Krugg, E. (1969). The Shaping of the American High School, 1880–1920. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  32. Mann, H. (1842). Sixth Annual Report as Secretary of Education of the Board of Education of Massachusetts. Boston: State of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  33. Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McClintock, J., & McClintock, R. (1970). Henry Barnard’s School Architecture. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  35. Monk, D. M. (2006). An Assessment of the Quality and Educational Adequacy of Educational Facilities and Their Perceived Impact on the Learning Environment as Reported by Middle School Administrators and Teachers in Humble Independent School District in the Humble Texas. Texas A&M University.Google Scholar
  36. Morrison, S. E. (1936). The Founding of Harvard College. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Nye MacMullen, E. (1991). In the Case of True Education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Orwell, G. (1949). Nineteen Eighty Four. London: Secker and Warburg.Google Scholar
  39. Paraskeva, J. (2011). Conflicts in Curriculum Theory. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pinar, W., Slattery, P., & Taubman, P. (1995). Understanding Curriculum. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  41. Prosser, C. (1940). What High Schools Ought to Teach: The Report of a Special Committee on Secondary School Curriculum. American Council on Education.Google Scholar
  42. Rice, J. M. (1893). The Public-School System of the United States. New York: Arno Press.Google Scholar
  43. Rice, J. M. (1912). Scientific Management in Education. New York: Publishers Printing Company.Google Scholar
  44. Roethlisberger, F. L. (1941). Management and Morale. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ross, E. A. (1901). Social Control. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. Ruskin, J. (1849). The Seven Lamps of Architecture. London: Smith, Elder and.Google Scholar
  47. Schubert, W. H. (1984). Curriculum Books. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  48. Schubert, W. H. (1986). Curriculum: Perspective, Paradigm and Possibility. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  49. Sloan, S. (1861). Villas and Cottages. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott &.Google Scholar
  50. Sloane, E. (1972). The Little Red Schoolhouse. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company.Google Scholar
  51. Steiner, B. C., & Camp, D. (1919). Life of Henry Barnard: The First United States Commissioner of Education, 1867–1870. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  52. Stillman, R. J. (2010). Public Administration Concept and Cases (9th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  53. Tanner, C. K., & Lackney, J. A. (2006). Educational Facility Planning. Boston: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  54. Thomas, G. E. (2006). From Our House to the “Big House”: Architectural Design as Visible Metaphor in the School Buildings of Philadelphia. Journal of Planning History, 5(3), 218–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tyack, D. B. (1990). The One Best System. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Tyack, D., & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering Toward Utopia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  58. Upton, D. (1996). Lancasterian Schools, Republican Citizenship, and the Spatial Imagination in Early Nineteenth Century. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 55(3), 238–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Urban, W., & Wagner, J. (2014). American Education (5th ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. Vincent, G. (1896). The Province of Sociology. The American Journal of Sociology, 1(4), 473–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Viollet-le-Duc, E. E. (1863). Entretiens sur L’architecture (Vols. 1–2). Paris. Translated by Henry Van Brunt as Discourses on Architecture, Boston. 1875.Google Scholar
  62. Ward, L. F. (1883). Dynamic Sociology (Vols. 1–2). New York: D. Appleton and Company.Google Scholar
  63. Ward, L. F. (1893). The Psychic Factors of Civilization. Boston: Ginn & Company Publishers.Google Scholar
  64. Willis, G., Schubert, W. H., Bullough, R. V., Jr., Kridel, C., & Holton, J. T. (1993). The American Curriculum. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  65. Wriston, B. (1963). The Use of Architectural Handbooks in the Design of Schoolhouses from 1840 to 1860. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 22, 155–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yale College Faculty. (1828). Original Papers in Relation to a Course of Liberal Education. New Haven: Yale University.Google Scholar
  67. Yarnall, J. (2005). Newport Through Its Architecture. London: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  68. Zinn, H. (1980). A People’s History of the United States. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph da Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Bristol Community CollegeTivertonUSA

Personalised recommendations