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Hill's Spelling Blocks

Object Name: Picture blocks
Date: 1869
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Medium: Wood, paper
Dimensions: Container (box): 2 1/8 x 5 7/8 x 7 1/2 in. (5.4 x 14.9 x 19.1 cm)
Place made: North America, United States
Description: Set of twelve cube blocks painted red or white with numbers, letters and images painted on each side, each letter has a word that begins with that letter below and the images are labeled such as "Sleigh" and "Omnibus"; paper covered wooden box chromolithographed with two children playing with blocks outdoors; cover printed with text: "HILL'S/ SPELLING/ BLOCKS/ No. 54/ S. L. HILL & SON. BROOKLYN N.Y."
Credit Line: The Liman Collection
Object Number: 2000.726
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Spelling lessons were also ways to impart religious knowledge and patriotism. The images on blocks shifted from biblical ones to objects and scenes of daily life as the secular creed of patriotism superceded religious messages in the publicly-supported schools.


Hofer, Margaret K. "The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games." New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.


"The Games We Played: Victorian Games from the Liman Collection," New-York Historical Society, December 4, 2001-March 24, 2002.