nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘1900s

early schools – the autograph book

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A tradition in schools before the 1960s was the autograph book. I had one of these books in the 1960s, but although I collected some autographs, it was considered a quaint activity.

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two of Jane Margaret Norman's autograph albums

two of Jane Margaret Norman’s autograph albums

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Both my mother and my aunt had autograph books in the 1940s and 1950s. One of my aunt’s albums was from her students when she taught in a one room school.

I also have my great-grandmother’s autograph album with messages from 1885 to 1914. Her name was Mary Jane (Johnson) Clarke. Her daughters (including my grand-mother) wrote in the album in the later years.

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Mary Jane Johnson Clarke's autograph album

Mary Jane Johnson Clarke’s autograph album from the 1880s

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These books are small, rectangular in shape. The covers are heavy stock paper, sometimes flocked. The older albums have embossed leather covers. The albums range in size from about 3″ by 5″ to 7 3/4″ by 4 3/4″ (the oldest books are the largest). Each page of the book held one autograph: the date, a message, saying or poem, perhaps an address and a signature. Males as well as females wrote in the albums. The albums from the 1940s and 1950s have variously coloured pages in now-faded pink, yellow and blue. The pages in my great-grandmother’s album are beige and white.

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my grandmother's autograph in my great-grandmother's autograph album

my grandmother’s autograph in my great-grandmother’s autograph album

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Some of the messages offer serious advice for a good life:

Life is like a mirror

Reflecting what you do

And when you face it smiling

It smiles right back at you

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Some messages are amusing or even politically incorrect. One from 1947 shows a disturbing flippancy about marital violence:

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When your husband at you flings

Knives and forks and other things

Seek revenge and seek it soon

In the handle of a broom

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Some messages are just funny, and seem almost modern:

Great-Aunt Laura Clark's autograph in my Great-Grandmother's autograph album

Great-Aunt Laura Clarke’s autograph in my Great-Grandmother’s autograph album in 1909

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Since my focus in my ‘old schools’ project will be on the school in the context of the landscape, I was pleased to find one or two messages about landscape!

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When hills and dales divide us

And distance is our lot

Just cultivate the little flower

That is called forget-me-not

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And:

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I’m glad the sky is painted blue

And the earth is painted green

And such a lot of nice fresh air

Is sandwiched in between

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June 8 2016 'the autograph' Jane Tims

June 8 2016 ‘the autograph’ Jane Tims  (Is she writing the autograph for her friend or her doll?)

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Did you ever have an autograph album? Do you remember any of the verses people wrote?

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Copyright 2016  JaneTims

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

early schools – school gardens

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It’s gardening time in New Brunswick. While I tend my little tomato plants, I wonder if one room schools in the early 1900s kept school gardens.

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Mill Road School, Gagetown 2

Was there once a school garden in the yard of this one room school near Gagetown, New Brunswick?

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In the province of Nova Scotia, some schools had gardens. My aunt, Dr. Jane Norman, in her history of Nova Scotia’s schools, tells about the Travelling Teachers program and the ‘Garden Score Card’ (Jane Norman, Loran Arthur DeWolfe and The Reform of Education in Nova Scotia 1891-1959. Truro, Nova Scotia: Atlantic Early Learning Productions, 1989). The Travelling Teachers operated from 1918-1920, bringing knowledge and help to schools in their districts about rural science, including home-making, healthy living and gardening.

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In 1918-19, to encourage gardening as part of the school program, the Rural Science Department of the Nova Scotia Normal College (where teachers were trained) donated $10.00 to each Travelling Teachers’ school district. School children and schools who obtained the highest scores on the ‘Garden Score Card’ shared the money as follows:

  • three school children with the highest scores won prizes of $2.50, $1.50 and $1.00
  • three schools with the highest scores won prizes of  $2.50, $1.50 and $1.00

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The ‘Garden Score Card’ rated the school gardens and the efforts of the children with the following criteria:

  1. Condition of Garden:
    1. Planting and arrangement of plants (5)
    2. Thinning, training, regularity in row (5)
    3. Cultivation and freedom from weeds (10)
    4. Freedom from diseases and insect pests (10)
    5. General neatness of paths, labels, stakes, etc. (5)
    6. Consideration of adverse conditions, if any (5)
  2. Range of variety in flowers and vegetables (10)
  3. Amount and quality of bloom (flowers) and crop (vegetables) (15)
  4. Amount and value of canning or sales (20)
  5. Showing made at exhibition (15) Total Points (100)

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The school children in my drawing are working hard, but based on the ‘Garden Score Card’, they would not have received a prize for their gardening! No stakes, no labels, no regularity in the row.

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June 2 2016 'useful knowledge' Jane Tims

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How would your gardening efforts be scored??? I would not make good marks on any criterion!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

one room school houses – hiding in the landscape

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Last Friday, we took a drive along the west side of Grand Lake, in the Youngs Cove area of Queens County, New Brunswick. We were searching for old one room school houses. As far as I know, there is no list for these buildings in Queens County, New Brunswick, although a list does exist for nearby Kings County.

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I had seen one old school in the Whites Cove area, so we began there. This school was operated as a local craft store for a few years but is now a private cottage. The one room school is in good shape, painted bright red. The round plaque in the gable of the roof says 1837. The building had two front doors – one for boys and one for girls.

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white's cove school house 5

Whites Cove school house

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We then continued toward Chipman, taking old roads when possible. I know that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, each small community (each Parish) had its own school, so we watched for the tell-tale design of the one room school house – a small, rectangular, one-storey building with a steep-sloped roof and rather high side walls. Each school had two or three tall rectangular windows on each side and one or two front doors. Some New Brunswick schools had a small anteroom or vestibule on the front. The bell-tower common on school houses in the United States was not typical of one room schools in New Brunswick.

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We followed the road along the shoreline of the peninsulas extending into Grand Lake. In particular, we were watching for the older homes that show what the community may have looked like a hundred years ago.

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As we came over a hill, we first saw the Rees school house. It had some of the characteristics I describe above. However, I am new to one room school hunting, so I was not really certain this little building had once been a school. And then my husband pointed to the sign on the small road opposite the building – School House Lane. The school house was being used as a cottage and was in poor condition with broken windows and a crumbled brick chimney. But I was happy to see the original stone foundation, a straight roof line, a large flat stone as a threshold, original clapboard on the front of the building, and evidence of the original vestibule.

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rees school 1

Rees school house

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Thrilled by our discovery, we continued to the next community and followed a side road. Almost immediately, we saw the Cumberland Bay School, announced by a sign above the door. It was a typical school house design, built on a hill. There was a rock foundation (with some brick) and a straight roof. The building was in good shape with evidence of regular maintenance and use, perhaps as a hall. A cold wind was howling and I felt sorry for the kids who must have come to school in all kinds of bitter weather.

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cumberland bay school 4

Cumberland Bay school house

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After seeing three school houses, we felt like pros. We took the next road along the shore, toward Cox Point, and found a school house outside the community of Range. It was set back from the road, used in conjunction with a family cottage. The roof was straight, the side windows were intact  and the shingles were in good repair.

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Range school 3

Range school house

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I was delighted with our drive – we had discovered three school houses we did not know about! I also got a feel for some of the characteristics of these buildings and how they fit into the local landscape.

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Old Schools in Youngs Cove area 2016

a map showing the old school houses we found … you can see a pattern emerging … I expect there were once school houses in some of the other communities indicated on the map

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Why am I interested in this topic? My interests in landscape, the environment and history all come into play. I am also beginning to think about my next poetry project and have decided to explore the idea of school houses in the landscape.

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To do this project, I will think about the setting of the school house in the community and how topography (hills and lakes and rivers), vegetation (fields and forests, orchards and big old swinging-trees) and other built landscape (bridges, churches, stores and farms) would have influenced the students, teachers and members of the community.  Visits to old schools, some talk with people who remember attending these old school houses and reading at the Provincial Archives would give me lots of material for my writing.

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Do you have examples of old one room school houses in your area? Did you attend school in a one room school house? I would love to hear your stories!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

please affix a 1 cent stamp

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Among my many genealogy projects is the study of a stack of 174 post cards sent to my Grandmother (Katie Clark) from 1906 to 1910.  The post cards are a record of her travels to the United States where she was studying to become a nurse.  To see more about this project, see https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/a-stack-of-post-cards/

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The stamps used to post the cards make an interesting study.  In the early 1900s, it cost 1 cent to send a post card in both the United States and Canada.  The postage requirements are printed in the upper right hand corner of this undated post card.

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Since the post cards were mailed in both Canada and the United States, I have examples of stamps from both countries.  The numbers in brackets (below) indicate the number of stamps I have of the type for a given year.

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Canada

Green, Edward VII, perforated, 1 cent, 1906 (2), 1907 (7), 1908 (9), 1909 (8), 1910 (41), unknown date (10) (Note: King George V came to the throne in May 10, 1910, but stamps with his image were not issued until 1911)

Green, Cartier and Champlain, perforated, 1 cent, 1908 (1), unknown date (1)

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Very occasionally, people used a 2 cent stamp to mail a post card.

Red, Edward VII, perforated, 2 cent, unknown date (2)

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USA

Green, Franklin front-facing, perforated, 1 cent, 1906 (4), 1907 (5), 1908 (9), 1910 (3), unknown date (4)

Green, Franklin left-facing, perforated, 1908 (1), 1909 (9), 1910 (4)

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In the collection is one USA example of a 2 cent stamp.

Red, Washington, perforated, 2 cents, 1907 (1), 1909 (1)

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One card of the collection was mailed in 1913 to my Great-Grandmother, Mary Jane, Katie’s mother.

Green, Washington, perforated, 1 cent, 1913 (1)

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Since Katie also received two post cards from Mexico, two of the stamps are from that country.  They depict the scene on the Mexican coat of arms, an eagle holding a snake in its mouth.

Mexico

Green, Eagle Eating Snake, perforated, 2 cents, 1908 (2)

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When I was young, I collected stamps for a short time, sorting through cloth pouches of bulk stamps from all over the world.  Philately, the study of stamps, is not really one of my interests, but I did enjoy making a study of the stamps on my Grandmother’s post cards, mailed over one hundred years ago to help people keep in touch – the modern equivalent of a text message or e-mail.

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

March 4, 2015 at 7:37 am

Great Grand Aunt Sadie – dressmaker

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As I learn about my family history, I am drawn to the stories of the individuals I encounter.  One of the people important in my great-grandmother Ella’s life was her sister Sadie.  Sadie was born on December 11, 1863 in Pennsylvania, the fifth child of eight children.  She was called after her mother, Sarah Ann (Kresge).  Sadie’s father was Josiah Hawk, a shoemaker who died when Sadie was a little over a year old and Ella was six.  For a little more about Josiah, see  https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/occupation-shoemaker/

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As far as I know, Sadie remained unmarried throughout her life.  This meant that she had to support herself. Few opportunities were available to women in the late 1800s, but Sadie stayed connected to her family and earned her way as a seamstress. The 1910 US Census shows Sadie as a dressmaker living with her mother, a landlady.

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Sadie Hawk (1863-1921)

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By looking at the US Census for 1870, 1900, 1910, and 1920, as well as the City Directories for Scranton, I can account for Sadie most years.

In the 1870 census, when she was six and a half, she lived with her mother in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  That year, her mother married Joshua Popplewell, a machinist living in Scranton.

I have not located Sadie in the 1880 Census due to the commonness of her name.

From 1888 until her death in 1921, Sadie lived in Scranton.  Her addresses included 330 Lackawanna Avenue (1896 – 1900), 16-18 Williams Building (1905 and 1906), 101 Spruce Street (1907 to 1916), and 116 Mulberry Street (1917 to 1921).  I have looked at these addresses on Street View (Google Earth) and the houses where Sadie lived are all gone, replaced by parking lots and modern businesses.

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Sadie made her home with her mother Sallie Popplewell from 1907 until Sallie’s death in 1910 or 1911, and with sister Ella, my great-grandmother, from 1910 to 1921.

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Sadie Hawk

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Sadie died at 2 PM on March 26, 1921.  In her will, Sadie described Ella (my great-grandmother) as her “beloved sister”.

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When I was a teenager, my Aunt Jane told me about Sadie and gave me Sadie’s locket.

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Aunt Sadie's locket (front)

Aunt Sadie’s locket (front)

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Her initials are beautifully engraved on the back – S A H –  Sarah Ann Hawk …  the sweet-faced woman in the photos above.

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Aunt Sadie's locket (back)

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Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 25, 2014 at 6:54 am

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