Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Going to School, 1820s-30s Style

When we were visiting Monadnock History and Culture Center in Peterborough, NH, last weekend, we checked out the one-room schoolhouse, made of brick. Posed in front are re-enactors Lorraine Walker and Brigham Boice, in the roles of Mrs. Prescott and her son, Augustus Prescott.

Just for contrast, here's a one-room school house in Davisville, very close to Hopkinton, NH, where A Buss from Lafayette  is set. Note the separate entrances for boys and girls. By the way, my 8th grade teacher (the one who met Geronimo as a little girl) started her teaching career at one room school houses very much like this one.

Meanwhile, back at Peterborough, at the Monadnock Center for Culture and History, here are exterior bricks on the outside of the school.  Notice the grafitti, possibly carved by misbehaving students who were sent outside for punishment!

 Here is "Mrs. Prescott" showing us the interior of the school. She told us that the shorter benches in the front were for the youngest kids. Sher added that sometimes students who occupied the back row of benches went directly from there to being teachers, as no formal training was required.
 Here is "Augustus Prescott" modeling a dunce cap for us. This was one of the punishments common in 19th century schools. (At least the dunce cap didn't hurt as much physically as the reticule, featured in A Buss from Lafayette, that was used by teachers to hit unruly children on the hand.)

Here is "Augustus Prescott" showing us a slate board, used by pupils to write classroom exercises.

Here's what Clara says about slate tablets like this one:

"I liked everything about school, right down to the
sound of the pencils scritching on our slate tablets."
- A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen
 The re-enactors at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture said that in the winter, children would bring a potato from home to bake in the stove that heated the classroom. Each potato would be marked with the child's name.

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