Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/291

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LITERARY NOTICES.

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sun for every day in the year is accurately marked. These maps, which show every star in these constellations to the fifth magnitude, we understand are the first ever published based on the admirable photometric observations of Professor Pickering, the Director of Harvard Observatory. We regard the idea on which the plan is based as a sound one, and the execution of the work as conformed to it. The arrangement is simple, and the directions, in the table, in the charts, and in the text, are clear and accurate.

The "Quincy Methods" illustrated. Pen-Photographs from the Quincy Schools. By Lelia E. Partridge, New York: E. L. Kellogg & Co. Pp. 660. Price, $1.50.

The educational world was startled a few years ago by the report of the great things that were going on in the schools of Quincy, Massachusetts. A new superintendent had been placed over them—Colonel Francis W. Parker—who had dared to break through the shell of formalism and routine within which they were being fossilized, and to infuse into them life, spontaneity, and real progress. The fame of the schools and of the new system—which was not new, however, to many, but too few, teachers of rare genius for their work—spread widely, and Quincy became a place of frequent resort for persons having at heart the interests of real instruction. Among those who went there was Miss Partridge, who recorded what she saw, and now publishes her record. She takes the reader into the school-room and its different classes, day after day, and exhibits, in her printed account, a transcript, exact as it may be, of what occurred there—illustrating how the teacher started, now this subject, now that, and patiently, and with tact, drew out whatever suggested itself to each of the pupils upon it. As the lessons are advanced, they shape themselves into a kind of system, the operation of which is to awaken the minds of the pupils to self-action and independent thinking. The manner in which these accounts are rendered justifies the secondary title of "Pen-Photographs" which the book bears. The author is careful to remind her fellow-teachers that the example lessons she gives are not to be copied from but are to serve as types, after which teachers must form their own methods according to the bent of their minds and the kind of children they have in charge. The essential features of the Quincy method are flexibility and spontaneity. What is called by that name might, in the hands of a humdrum teacher, become as dead and worthless as any of the stereotyped forms it is intended to supplant. It is its spirit that must be caught, not any of its particular models followed; and the success of its execution will depend most largely upon the power of the teacher to strike out a way of his own.

Mortality Experience of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, from 1846 to 1878. Hartford, Conn. Pp. 91.

A series of thirty-seven tables, showing the mortality results of as many kinds of policies or classes of insured, accompanied by a text explaining the table, and calling attention to the more important of the results.

The Vertebrata of the Tertiary Formations of the West. By Edward D. Cope. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 1,009, with 135 Plates.

This bulky quarto is "Book I" of the fourth volume of the final reports of the Hayden Geological Survey. Its import in paleontological science is of much significance, for it contains a great number of species and genera of vertebrate animals from the fertile tertiary beds of the West, which had not been previously discovered. Some of these fill gaps in the chain of species, and make the connection and the course of development more plain than they were before. The whole collection represents a part only of the results of the researches which the author prosecuted either personally or with the aid of his trained assistants during the exploring seasons of 1872, 1873, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880 and 1881, and to a lesser extent in some of the intervening years not recorded in this list. The regions in which the explorations were conducted cover portions of the States and Territories included between British America on the north, the western boundaries of Minnesota and Missouri on the east, the northern borders of the Indian Territory and Arizona and the middle of New Mexico on the south,