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Template:Notability Calvin Milton Woodward (August 25, 1837 – January 12, 1915) was born at Fitchburg, Massachusetts to Isaac Burnap Woodward and Eliza W. (Wetherbee) Woodward. He graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in 1860.

His first job was to serve as principal of Brown High School in Newburyport, Massachusetts. During the Civil War he enlisted and was promoted to Captain of the 48th Massachusetts Volunteers. He was stationed during his year of duty (1862–1863) in Louisiana. Following his year of service he returned to being principal of Brown High School. He married Fanny Stone Balch on September 30, 1863.

At the close of the Civil War, Woodward accepted a position as Vice-Principal of Smith Academy in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1870, he became a professor of descriptive geometry at Washington University, a post he held for but one year before becoming Dean of the School of Engineering. It was from this post that Woodward began experimenting with manual skills education. Following an influential demonstration of the Della Vos, or Russian, method of tools instruction at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Woodward began making plans and gathering support for a similar initiative in the US. This culminated in the opening, in 1879, of the St. Louis Manual Training School. During the 1880s, the Manual Training School was the largest and most well-attended public high school in St. Louis.

The manual training system that Woodward introduced was akin to tools training. Students learned how to use tools by shaping wood or metal, but the products they produced had no commercial value. The worth of the instruction lay mostly in mind-hand coordination.

Woodward lectured extensively on manual training and his high school. Yet by the late 1890s, manual training was under greater criticism because of its apparent disconnection to workplace skills. Critics (such as the National Association of Manufacturers) began advocating a system of vocational education that trained students for specific jobs instead of giving students general tools training.


  • History of St. Louis Bridge (1881)
  • The Manual Training School (1887)
  • Manual Training in Education (1890)
  • Rational and Applied Mechanics (1912)

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