Educational Ephemera: Writing Blanks and Children’s Games

18th and 19th century board games, writing blanks and other items printed for children's entertainment and education from the Bodleian's John Johnson Collection, Harding Collection and Opie Collection.

In the mid-2000s, all 18th and 19th-century board games in the John Johnson Collection (mostly single sheets) and all educational writing blanks from the Johnson, Opie and Harding Collections were digitized, together with other games of the same period, selected for their educational content.

Writing blanks (also known as school pieces) were usually given to children at Christmas. They would fill the space within the printed, and often hand-coloured, borders with a sample of their handwriting. The completed school piece would then be given to parents, relations or friends.

Subjects represented in the games and writing blanks include arithmetic, art, astronomy, geography, history, literature, spelling, and religion.

Digital Bodleian also contains images of 18th century entertainment ephemera from the John Johnson Collection.