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The Four Faces of The Student

The Student was intended to be used in school rooms; it offered readers nonfiction and fiction with a didactic slant, and pieces on current events. At least in 1853 and 1854, each issue was divided into four sections, each visually different from the others:

“For Children” was meant for the youngest readers of the magazine. An epigram at the top of the section explained that it was intended “To aid the mind’s development, and watch/ The dawn of little thoughts.” The type was the largest in the magazine; and this section had the most leading, which opened it up visually for beginning readers. Style and subject matter, though, were little different from the other pieces intended for children. Usually this section was four or five pages of each issue.

The main section was in the font size usual for 19th-century American children’s magazines. This tended to be the largest section of the magazine, often 11 or 12 pages. It featured essays, articles on natural history, biographies, poems, and pieces explaining current events.

“Youth’s Department” was perhaps intended for preteen readers. It meant, according to its epigram, “To pour the fresh instruction o’er the mind, / To breathe th’ enlivening spirit, to fix / The generous purpose and the noble thought.” While the type was the same size as that in the children’s section, there was less leading, making the section perhaps less visually appealing to younger readers. When it came to subject matter and style, however, there was little difference between this section and the one for children. Often it was 10 or 11 pages.

The last section in each issue seems to have been intended for teachers and parents. With its tiny type size, it probably held little appeal for young readers. Brief paragraphs mentioning news events, announcements of new books published, a column of trivia, and essays for teachers and parents—with, sometimes, a piece of music—filled four or five pages in each issue.

examples of type
Copyright 1999-2017, Pat Pflieger
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