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The President (100 years ago) on Playgrounds

Letter from President William H. Taft to Luther Halsey Gulick, President, Playground Association of America:

I do not know anything which will contribute more to the strength and morality of that generation of boys and girls compelled to remain part of urban populations in this country than the institution in their cities of playgrounds where their hours of leisure can be occupied by rational and healthful exercise. The advantage is twofold:

In the first place, idleness and confinement in a narrow space in the city, in houses and cellars and unventilated dark rooms is certain to suggest and bring about pernicious occupation and create bad habits. Gambling, drinking, and other forms of vice are promoted in such a restricted mode of life.

In the second place, an opportunity for hard, earnest, and joyous play improves the health, develops the muscles, expands the lungs, and teaches the moral lessons of attention, self-restraint, courage, and patient effort.

I think every city is under the strongest obligation to its people to furnish to the children, from the time they begin to walk until they reach manhood, places within the city walls large enough and laid out in proper form for the playing of all sorts of games which are known to our boys and girls and are like by them.

I sincerely hope that your present convention may be a success, and that the work which you have begun may go on until no city in this country is without suitable playgrounds for the children of those who but for such city assistance in this regard would be without them.

Source: New York Times, original pdf from newspaper here.

One Response

  1. Absolutely wonderful post — thank you President Taft, for seeing the importance of play and time outdoors for our children.

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