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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bailey - A Puritan School Day - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Right now Hurricane Harvey has delayed the start of schools, but anybody in a refugee camp or a disaster shelter appreciates the need for children to return to "normal" with schools and storytelling and stuffed animals.  (The 3 Ss?) Back in 2010 I had a house flood, nothing like the scale of the hurricane and not when a whole region was impacted.  Still disasters of whatever scale happen to all of us to change our lives.  I recommend looking at pages I created earlier as I tried, especially in 2010, to put together the best resources for coping with disaster I could find.  (There's first a story about a forest fire which includes a resource possibly missed if you skip it.) As I write this Houston's schools expect to stay closed until at least September 11.

Here in Michigan the Labor Day holiday, aside from celebrating unions and feeling like summer's over, summons up three words: Back to School.

Our legislators even made this a requirement for public schools in 2000, so our tourism didn't suffer from starting earlier.  Yet each year more exceptions are made with this year a record number.  Those same politicians who haven't set foot in a K-12 in years have been increasing the school year for a long time and recently added five days to the school year.  I remember my own daughters howling when they heard about increased school time and they were in school.

It could always be worse.  Let's look back to colonial school days and the Dame School.  We can find a story about it in Carolyn Sherwin Bailey's Tell Me Another Story.  This picture from the Bettman Archives shows several things fitting the story, even the dunce cap, but it omits the spinning wheel and having boys and girls sit separately.

and here's a brief look at some of those illustrations in the New England Primer (there were many editions over the years).
Here's a slightly longer, colorful look at Colonial Schools as written by children, with even an optional quiz to get back in the school mood.  For a variety of reasons, school administrators have been cutting back recess time.  Maybe those old schools weren't too bad, as this Winslow Homer painting of Snap the Whip reminds us.

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key.
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown -
         - Richard Martin -
         - Spirit of Trees -
         - Story-Lovers - is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at and put in in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
       - World of Tales - 
    You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at  
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin -  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a., when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

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