Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Louis Bail, The Teacher's Guide , 1868

Finding aid created by
Emma Lawton and Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Louis Bail, The Teacher's Guide
Creator: Bail, Louis
Inclusive dates: 1868
Extent: 1 volume
This volume is an educator's guide to utilizing Louis Bail's drawing charts for educating young students in the art of illustration.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated, 1986. M-2283.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Alternate Format:

The volume has been published.

Preferred Citation:

Louis Bail, The Teacher's Guide , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Louis Bail, a drawing instructor in both Germany and the United States, advocated an educational system predicated on illustration as a way to develop a greater number of skilled laborers. By 1870, he had acquired over 30 years of experience.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume is an educator's guide to utilizing Louis Bail's drawing charts for educating young students in the art of illustration. The Teacher's Guide, a Key to Bail's Drawing Charts is intended to accompany a series of 20 illustrations which comprise a basic education in illustration, from understanding different types of lines to drawing from nature.

Bail wrote a general preface to his text, offering a general introduction to his system and stating his goal to "rid mankind of a large class of loungers" by producing a greater number of skilled laborers. This manuscript draft of the book contains detailed lesson plans, each accompanied by several illustrative pencil drawings providing examples of the desired products of each lesson. The system has specific goals for each grade level, and though the author recommends starting artistic education as early as possible, the book also includes comments on teaching older students.

The back of the volume also contains additional illustrations (labeled "Plate No. 1" through "Plate No. 11," the first ten in ink) and penciled designs that have been drawn or pasted in, but appear unrelated to the Teacher’s Guide.

The skills that Bail recommended for each grade are as follows:

  • 1 (Charts 1-3): Dots, spacing, types of lines (vertical, horizontal, oblique, broken), right angles, triangles, and proper finger, wrist, and hand motions for drawing lines
  • 2 (Charts 4-5): Inch spacing, drawing motions, dividing lines into equal parts, and drawing squares
  • 3 (Charts 6-7): Inch spacing, drawing motions, more complex applications of squares and line division
  • 4 (Charts 8-10): Curved lines and ellipses
  • 5 (Charts 11-13): Applications of curved lines and ellipses
  • 6 (Charts 14-16): Shading, drawing leaves from nature
  • 7 (Charts 17-20): Simple ornamental forms, combination and repetition of curved lines, ellipses, and scrolls, embellished leaves and flowers, drawing from memory, and independent simple designs
  • 8: Geometrical drawing and perspective
  • 9: Drawing from natural objects, beginning with geometric solids and progressing to more complicated models; including shading and designing ornaments.
Subject Terms

    • Drawing--Study and teaching.
    • Education--United States--History--19th century.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Drawing--Study and teaching.
    Genre Terms:
    • Manuals (instructional materials)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Louis Bail, The Teacher's Guide,  1868 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Bail, Louis. The Teacher’s Guide: An Elementary Drawing System. New Haven: Published by the author, 1858.