Imatges de pÓgina



tion of the obligation to insure in some way an opportunity to earn a livelihood; but along this line he saw dangers. He would have insisted on caution and on abundant evidence of the bankruptcy of the laissez faire principle before consenting to a new deal.

He gave the whole of his long life to public service. He cherished an ideal in which conservation of character, strengthening of self-di

rection, diversity among individuals, and voluntary association are preferred to authority, coercion, totalitarianism. He was perfectly at home in the atmopshere of a New England town meeting. He was at home also in the broad discussion of national and international problems. In other words this precise moment in the history of these United States is one in which he would have been most useful.

For Joseph Lee's American idealism life was not for the few and the privileged. It was not worth while unless it could be made worth while for all who were willing to play their part.

His country was not a success unless it could bring decent living and fair opportunity to all who had willing hands and active minds.

He carried the instincts of true sportsmanship into life itself with the claim that everyone must have a fair start in the race of life and a fair chance to run it.

But he gave more than good will and money. His unique contribution was a mind that thought through towards the causes that pull men down; that also reached out after the things that could best build them up.

He believed in the conquest of poverty; but not through sentimental palliatives or brainless decrees. He believed that mass poverty could be conquered by reaching down to the roots of things and dealing with basic causes.

His interest was not only in patching together the pieces of broken lives but in preventing the things that do the breaking.

He sought not only to cure life's ills, but to make ordinary life worth living when the ills are cured.

To his mind there appeared to be an unhappy combination of misguided sentiment, racial prejudice and commercial greed that was helping to spread mass poverty from inexhaustible sources in the old world over our new land through unrestricted and inadequately controlled immigration, and with this he contended from the beginning to the end.

Through the Massachusetts Civic League he helped in countless ways to correct and improve the laws of his own state and the methods of their execution.

As a director of education on the school board of Boston he gave some of his best years and the best of his mind in order that public education might be the fitting for life, which is its true purpose.

Life in the impatient vigor of youth was what especially appealed to him. It was he who saw most clearly that this youthful life was being needlessly cramped and driven into unwholesome channels, from lack of the natural and wholesome outlet afforded by the playgrounds which he instituted.

All over the land these playgrounds are giving healthier and better lives to countless numbers. For that alone his country owes him a debt of enduring gratitude.

Whether that debt be remembered or forgotten, his work remains, and he is content, for such was his nature.-RICHARDS M. BRADLEY, Boston, Mass. Reprinted from The Survey by special permission.

Joseph Lee as an Educator Knew Him


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He deliberately and avowedly adopted the word play and the study of play as a scientific method in the interpretation of child nature. He identified play with child nature. Arguments by academic scholars about the validity of details in the descriptions of certain age traits of children and the terms used to name them may be dismissed as immaterial in this discussion. The chief significance of that book was not in the data presented but in the attitudes and method in observation and inference in the study of children and of play.

The attitude and the method wrenched Lee loose from the most deep-seated and disastrous social prejudice in the relations of adults with children. Deep in the social mind was fixed the attitude that play was an activity of little worth and if tolerated at all only as a means of "letting off steam." It was identified with "fooling" and in the school a "product of the imps." This attitude towards play, as a survival of the worst aspects of Puritanism, scholasticism and ascetiscism, was so powerful and subtle in influence in American folk beliefs that sociologists, practical social workers and educators failed to recognize and define it as a problem, trace its social origins and analyze its effects on the lives of young people hence the neglect of play, the wastage of child life, the ignorance of the source of bad habits, delinquency, crime.

In the early years of the "playground" movement begun by the Association in 1906, leaders

in education in angry antagonism to any discussion of play as an educational force insisted eloquently that our need was more "blood and iron" in education, more "real work," more "discipline" in attention to serious duties. Contempt for play was the common attitude of earnest people. Seriousness in social problems was usually correlated with disrespect for play. Only within the last ten years have educators begun to think in terms of a curriculum of activities. Few even yet dare face their contemporaries in scholarship and emphasize the play aspect of each division of that curriculum or interpret child nature in terms of play.

Lee, in his attitude and method of thinking, soared above all these prejudices. He asserted the exact opposite of the traditional beliefs. In thinking about attitudes towards children and play he was a pioneer along with Froebel and George Johnson. He advocated a method of observation and inference which in other fields would be called scientific.

Further he proved the superiority of his intellect and character by his attitude and method. Clear thinking depends on the search for and choice of a word to name a meaning. Lee himself in his introduction referred to his dislike of the word play but insisted there was no other word to explain child nature and he had the courage to choose it.

Again, superiority in thinking is in the ability to see or differentiate a problem as a problem, define it, and by the energy of the creative imagination formulate an hypothesis about it which deductive analysis and reference to facts will prove valid. Lee gave proof of that superiority. He was a pioneer in what is still a poorly developed, but an exceedingly difficult and from the standpoint of child welfare a most profoundly significant phase of science.


As Seen by a Recreation Executive


Superintendent of Playgrounds, Newton, Massachussetts


TOSEPH LEE had ideas. He gave Play its finest interpretation, because, in his practical and common-sense way, he taught our country the full meaning of Froebel's philosophy that the plays of children are the germinal leaves of later life and that through his play the child gets his first grip on moral relations.

In "Who's Who" we find him recorded as "Joseph Lee, social worker." What a debt of gratitude America owes to the social worker, particularly of the type of a generation ago which Joseph Lee represented a man with a wonderful family background, a splendid education in our oldest university, holding many degrees, a man of great wealth, devoting his whole life, all his thoughts and energies and his fortune in the interest of his fellow citizens.

It was my good fortune when I first came to this country in 1893 to meet many such characters and to get in personal touch with several of the outstanding ones. For some time I could not understand these people. In my experience I had never met such people. When I met Joseph Lee I was already considering myself a professional, at least in Health and Physical Education, and, on account of my childhood experiences, I considered myself a professional in Play and Recreation. My first impressions (and first impressions are never dependable) I could not understand. I could not understand how Joseph Lee could talk and move with the authority with which he did. I thought that he was a rank amateur, but it was not long before I recognized the soul of the man, his enthusiasm in giving his all, his keen sense of social and educational values, his perseverance and tenacity, and I soon came to admire and to follow many of his ideas. What probably influenced me greatly was the experience I had in observing him as he personally directed one of the first playgrounds in the early years of this century the Columbus Avenue Playground in Boston. To me he was, even then, a

tall, awkward-looking, untrained leader of activities, but to see his joy and his enthusiasm in getting the boys and girls off the streets and his joy in seeing the playground used and the attendance growing, was an experience I have never forgotten.

His interests in social affairs were many, of course, but his greatest work, to my mind, was done in the interest of children, in the interest of education in general, in juvenile problems, in housing, in sanitation and in municipal affairs generally. Personally, I have always looked upon him, and in my own mind called him "a progressive Puritan," because he applied his old American virtues to the social problems as they appeared with the rapid growth of American cities due to the influx of many foreign races.

Much has been written and more will be written about this leader of our Play Movement in America, and I cannot, in the small space given me, do full justice to a description of the ways in which Joseph Lee has left a better world behind him for American children, particularly for city children and youth. However, there is one lesson which his life has given us recreation executives and others engaged in Play and Recreation. It is easy for us who have had formal education for this work to become professionalized and routined and dogmatic. What I got from Joseph Lee and others associated with him, particularly when he was at his best at our national conventions, was his tremendous enthusiasm. For many years this enthusiasm of his seemed only the spirit of an amateur "riding his hobby," but after a time I became convinced that I could not go far unless I could retain in my own work this enthusiasm which the men with hobbies have in such a pronounced way and which the many social workers have always had. I wish, therefore, to urge all our people engaged professionally in Play and Recreation to remember Joseph



Lee to emulate him, and never to forget that interest is the great educator and greatest motivator we have. It is our responsibility to stimulate constantly our interest in our work and to retain this interest in it. If we are truly interested, we cannot help but be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm has the buoyancy of youth to which youth naturally responds. Without genuine interest and enthusiasm we are but poor leaders. Children and young people, and adults, too, naturally gravitate towards personalities which radiate interest and enthusiasm of the caliber which Joseph Lee had.

We must remember, too, that when the adult "rides his hobby" he is not far different from children and youth who naturally play hard. when they play and whose interest and enthusiasm at the time of indulgence in a hobby is very high, and we must see to it that this indulgence remains true play and re-creation. To my mind it was for this reason that Joseph Lee could never quite subscribe to the attitude of so many of our physical educators when they emphasized the "big-muscle" activities, because the emphasis of physical health was not to him so important as the effect of an activity on mental health, character and social attitudes. There is no doubt in my mind that his criticism, although given constructively, was well deserved, and that physical education is better today than it has ever been be

cause of this. I believe that it even influenced all other education.

I wish that everyone engaged in the administration of physical education and recreation had on his desk Joseph Lee's book "Constructive and Preventive Philanthropy," and also his great work "Play in Education." Since we have become a very sizeable professional group, and since the group leaders in Play and Recreation will continue to grow, let us not forget that we must know more about growth and development of human nature and of child nature. What an amount of reading and study and personal contacts Joseph Lee must have had in his growing years to understand the child as he did!

When he wrote "the boy without a playground is father to the man without a job and the boy with a bad playground is apt to be father to a man with a job that had better be undone," he started the elimination of slums and ugly places in our man-made cities, and let in the sunlight and the grass and flowers. And with that he brought peace and happiness into the lives of millions of American children who were denied the privilege of God's country which his forefathers had enjoyed.

It is for us to bear in mind constantly the ideas and ideals of Joseph Lee and to advance them in our work and in our lives. In this way we shall be helping to build for Joseph Lee a perpetual and living memorial.


Joseph Lee in 1921 suggested that the twelve games which follow be pushed in the cities throughout the country, and asked for comments as to others to be included:

(1) Hop Scotch: Girls especially, 6-11; (2) Hill Dill: Children 6-11 and boys and girls over 14; (3) Three Deep: Everybody from 8 to 50 plus; (4) I Spy: Everybody from 8-25 except boys (alone) over 14; (5) Prisoner's Base: Everybody from 8-25 except boys (alone) over 14; (6) Indoor Ball: Everybody 8-50 plus; (7) Volley Ball: Everybody 8-50 plus; (8) Field Hockey: Boys or girls separately, 8-40 plus; (9) Looby Loo, (10) Farmer in the Dell and (11) Roman Soldiers: Everybody under 8 or over 25; (12) Ring Toss: Everybody.

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