Rewards of Merit
by Patricia Fenn & Alfred P. Malpa
"Rewards of merit, tokens of a pupil's progress and a teacher's
esteem, have been an enduring aspect of American education for more
than three hundred years. Most were small pieces of paper--printed
or hand written documents which were the bearers of a potent message.
A child went to school, did well, and was praised by the teacher.
"Merit," "approbation," and "esteem"--these were the words which
appear on countless of these certificates. The phrasing varies,
but it was the message behind the words which mattered to 18th and
19th century children and their parents. Whether given for a month's,
a week's, a day's, or even a single lesson's scholarly accomplishments,
these small documents were valued highly, and retained proudly.
That is why we can examine so many of them today." This description
was taken from the Introduction of the book Rewards of Merit,
written by Patricia�Fenn & Alfred�P.�Malpa, and published by The
Ephemera Society of America.