Unseen For 115 Years – Photographs of New York City School Life & Kids
Children arriving late “A Minute After Nine” New York City schools September 1902 photo: Florence Maynard
Our previous story on Why People Disbelieve the Newspapers led to browsing other issues of World’s Work magazine.
Inside the covers are a treasure trove of interesting articles and photographs that generally have remained hidden since their original publication.
From the October 1902 World’s Work was “A Day’s Work in A New York Public School” by William McAndrew . There are some great photographs by Florence Maynard taken to accompany the article.
So what was a day’s work in a New York City public school like?
3,000 children were crowded into one typical school. 40 or more students in a class. Supplies were in short order. Free space to play was non-existent. Children of different intellect, culture and background were taught civics, patriotism and the 3 R’s. There was one language you were expected to learn- English.
But if you think the article has a negative take-away, you would be mistaken. McAndrew extols the schools, students, teachers, administrators, and the education system despite the shortcomings.
Look into the faces of these New York City schoolchildren of a century ago. What do you see?
Here are the photos with short excerpts from the article.
“Saluting The Flag” New York City schools September 1902 photo: Florence Maynard
Three thousand throats do service to the cause of patriotism. Shrill little trebles, very new and fresh, basses not yet sure of the dignity of a changed register, besides all the voices between, unite to shout out the national anthem, or some other song required by law. The school rises to its feet. Every hand comes to the position of salute and then extends upward and outward towards the banner while the voices declare in unison: ” I pledge allegiance to my Flag.”
“Well-doers waiting for the principal’s commendation.” New York City schools September 1902 photo: Florence Maynard
A pretty morning ceremony is the procession of candidates to the office of the principal for daily commendation one or two children from each room, bearing their trophies of penmanship or ciphering with them. Each has his card of introduction, properly endorsed, accrediting him to the court of the Great Potentate. It reads:
To The Principal. Sept. 30, 1902.
This will introduce to you Johnny Johnson From Room 32 whom I recommend for compliment for great improvement in behaving himself.
“A treaty of peace.” photo: Florence Maynard
“Staying after school.” photo: Florence Maynard
“The Geography Club cutting up illustrated magazines” New York City schools September 1902, photo: Florence Maynard
There is no limit to the benefits the public schools derives from private benefactions. Taxation can never supply enough income to permit the school authorities to equip the buildings as any generous lover of children would wish. To erect a safe, well-lighted structure, architecturally artistic, is the limit of the city’s ability. The inner walls must be bare. Casts and pictures, if they come at all, must be the gift of some intelligent citizens who recognize the subtle and silent teaching done by good art in the places where our children spend a good part of the most susceptible period of their lives. Continue reading