Our latest Project Gutenberg release, courtesy of Distributed Proofreaders, is the 1896 juvenile novel Boys of the Central, by Ida Treadwell Thurston (writing under her initials, perhaps to obscure her gender).
The book follows a class of high school students through their last two years before graduation. Much of the narrative is focused on the conflict between a student-formed “Law and Order” society, and misbehaving students who prefer “fun” over academics.
While much of the narrative is clearly designed to serve as a moral lesson for its readers, and there are some sensationalized incidents (like the rescue of a little girl from a speeding fire-engine), the book also offers some glimpses into the school and everyday life of late-19th-century high schoolers. Much is said of Latin recitations and military-style drilling; there’s also a whole chapter dedicated to a snowball fight.
If you are interested in reading more, the entire book can be found for online viewing or download through Project Gutenberg.
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