A Measuring Rod by Mildred L. Rutherford, 1919

Collections in the Classroom

Grade Level

High, Middle

Time Period

1900-1950: Early 20th Century


Jim Crow, The Lost Cause Myth

Resource Type

Primary Source

Download Collections in the Classroom: A Measuring Rod by Mildred L. Rutherford (pdf)


  • How do we decide what gets taught in school?
  • How do we choose what to believe?


United Daughters of the Confederacy historian, Mildred L. Rutherford wrote A Measuring Rod in 1919 as a way to spread the Lost Cause ideology through textbooks in schools. She developed guidelines for school committees and Boards of Education to use to ensure that they were teaching what the U.D.C. considered the correct history about the American Civil War and about the South’s role in particular. Rutherford published lists of books that were approved and ones that were condemned. These guidelines influenced what was being taught to students for decades and used education as a means to spread the Lost Cause myth.