Library of Horatio Alger

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.
— Annie Dillard

Online education is fully accepted by just about everyone now, but it wasn’t always regarded as an acceptable alternative to face to face classroom instruction. An attempted account of higher education as a supposedly traditional bricks-and-mortar learning had been the victim of an amnesia about the real story of American education.

This was one reason for starting the series on Horatio Alger, reflecting as the books do on the early involvement of the Policy Studies Organization with the American Public University System, which pioneered in enabling American service personnel at overseas bases to continue their education and expanded its outreach to what is now  a vastly varied constituency.  We wanted to show that education other than the bucolic campus centered variety was hardly an innovation. The Horatio Alger heroes often got their educational start with night school and other decidedly non ivy programs.

Indeed, universities like Northeastern and Springfield began as YMCA programs, with no football teams or carillons. Of course, practically every university and especially since the necessities created by the virus, online learning is wholeheartedly established with the Establishment. Academic survival during the onslaught of the virus soon depended on online learning. Horatio Alger’s books have been a fixture in American culture since their first appearance.  The enthusiasts include among a number of groups, two noteworthy organizations.  One is the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, which honors outstanding leadership  in American society and awards millions of dollars every year to promising students. It is one of the largest providers of scholarships in the world. The other is the Horatio Alger Society which includes collectors, libraries, and those interested particularly in the books themselves as well as juvenile fiction in general. Membership is indispensable for those who want to understand the extraordinary publishing phenomenon of the titles. Then of course there are many others interested in the controversial author of the series, because among other things he was a Unitarian minister. His life and legacy have provided fodder for many sermons.

Whatever the reasons for the survival of these books and in the biography of their author, they are certainly proof that American education has produced outstanding achievers without the benefit of colonnaded buildings, hockey rinks, and marching bands. Nothing is wrong with all of that, but Horatio Alger’s heroes remind us that availability is key. Harried mothers with several children to mind, soldiers in far places, the physically challenged and the elderly deserve a chance. That this is important is a reason why these books have survived.

霍雷肖·阿尔杰图书馆

几乎所有人现在都完全接受在线教育,但它曾经并不一直被视为面对面课堂教学的可接受替代方案。在此之前,试图将高等教育描述为所谓的传统实体学习一事是遗忘美国教育真实情况而导致的结果。

这是开始出版霍雷肖·阿尔杰(Horatio Alger)系列丛书的原因之一,反映了政策研究组织与美国公立大学系统(APUS)的早期联系,后者率先使海外基地的美国军队人员能够继续接受教育,并扩大其外展服务,如今,APUS拥有大量不同的支持者。我们想表明,除了以田园风光校园为中心的教育之外,教育几乎不是一项创新。霍雷肖·阿尔杰笔下的男主人公所接受的教育通常始于夜校和其他非常春藤课程。

事实上,像美国东北大学和春田学院这样的院校最初都是作为基督教青年会( YMCA)项目诞生的,当时并没有足球队或钟琴。当然,几乎每所大学,尤其是自新冠病毒而产生的一系列必需情况出现后,都全面建立了在线学习。病毒肆虐期间,学术生存很快依赖于在线学习。霍雷肖·阿尔杰的著作自问世后一直是美国文化中固定的一部分。爱好者包括许多团体,其中两个组织值得注意。一个是Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans,该组织表彰美国社会的杰出领导,每年花费数百万美元为有前景的学生提供奖励。它是世界上最大的奖学金提供者之一。另一个是霍雷肖·阿尔杰学会(Horatio Alger Society),其中包括收藏家、图书馆以及对霍雷肖·阿尔杰著作特别感兴趣以及对青少年小说感兴趣的人士。对于那些想了解书籍的特别出版现象的人来说,会员资格是必不可少的。当然,还有许多其他人对这位具有争议性的丛书作者感兴趣,因为除去其他事物外,他还是一位一神论牧师。他的生活和影响力为许多布道提供了素材。 无论这些书存在的原因是什么,也无论书籍作者的自传中列出的理由是什么,它们无疑证明了美国的教育在没有柱廊建筑、曲棍球场和游行乐队的帮助下培养出了杰出的成就者。所有这一切都没有错,但霍雷肖·阿尔杰笔下的男主人公提醒我们,关键在于可用性。需要照顾几个孩子的忙碌母亲、远方的士兵、残障人士和老人都应该有机会阅读。这很重要,并且是这些书得以存在的原因。

Andy Gordon

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