Book, 'Fifth Geographical Reader'; 1885; XAH.C.886




Book, 'Fifth Geographical Reader'

About this object

This hardbound textbook, entitled ‘Fifth Geographical Reader’ belonged to Adeline Violet Kerr Taylor when she was 14 years old.

Adeline Violet Kerr Taylor, commonly referred to as Violet, attended a private primary school in Morningside, Auckland, which consisted of only 10 pupils, and later attended Auckland Girls’ High School. In her report on the Kerr Taylor family, Jan Harris writes that Violet would have received a very different education to that of her brothers, Violet would have studied arithmetic instead of mathematics, and sewing, singing, and drawing in place of science. (1) However, Violet’s name can be found written in a number of scientific textbooks in Alberton’s library, including elementary botany, inorganic chemistry, elementary chemistry, and physics.

During the 19th century, educating girls was seen by many parents to be fruitless. This was because women were expected to marry, have children, and run a household, all of which did not need formal education. It was common for girls to attend primary school in order to obtain a basic knowledge of reading, writing, and maths, but they were less likely to attend secondary school. (2) However, Violet came from a well-off family, and subsequently received a higher education that most other girls of her era.

(1) Jan Harris, ‘Alberton and Its Family,’ 1999
(2) Anne Else, ‘Gender Inequalities – Education,’ Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, URL:, accessed 6 May 2014

For more information about the Kerr Taylor family and Alberton, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials



17.8 x 11.5cm

Date Made


Place Made

London, England


William Blackwood and Sons

Publication Date


Publication Place

London, England

Credit Line

Collection of Alberton, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from
Alberton   Alberton

Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.