Center for Archival Collections

Archival Chronicle

December 2011: Volume 30, Number 3

Teaching School in the 19th Century | Archival Chronicle Index | CAC Homepage

Teaching School, 1870-1930

School Buildings


 Look Left Whitehouse High School, ca. 1911

The new high school building in Whitehouse demonstrated the community's commitment to the education of its youth. At the turn of the 20th century, those students who continued to high school included those interested in pursuing careers in business and in becoming teachers themselves. There was a certain social distinction in being a high school graduate as most students left formal education at the end of eighth grade.

Source:  CAC General Photograph Collection.

Bowling Green High School, 1930  Look Right

Just constructed in 1929, the "New High School" was promoted as an important community landmark.  Bowling Green's first high school was built in 1881 and was used until it was replaced in 1914 by the building currently used as the district's administrative offices. The building seen here served as the high school until 1964, when it was replaced by the current building on Poe Road.  This building then served as the junior high school. 

Source: CAC General Photograph Collection


 Look Left Findlay High School, ca. 1930

Findlay High School was built in 1901.  The principle subjects taught were English, Latin, history, mathematics and science.  This building was razed in the late 1930s.  In its place is the auditorium for Central Middle School.

Source: CAC General Photograph Collection

Teachers' Education, Certification, and Contracs


Teacher's Certificate, 1919.

Esther Weatherbee was granted this certificate to teach by the Holmes County, Ohio Board of School Examiners in 1919, when she was nineteen years old.  Newly married to Herman Weatherbee, Esther had "furnished evidence of good moral character" and successfully passed the Board's written examination.

Source:  Esther Brisbin Collection (MS 98)

Life Teaching Certificate.

Esther's husband died in 1920.  Esther then enrolled at Bowling Green State Normal College, receiving her diploma in elementary education in June 1921.  She married Royal Chamberlin in 1922.  The Life Certificate, awarded in 1924, indicates that she completed the mandatory twenty-four months of teaching after receiving her diploma.

Source:  Esther Brisbin Collection (MS 98)

Notification to Teachers Employed, 1907

Adella Morgan taught school in Wood County for many years.  At left is the notice she received in 1907 telling her to expect a teaching contract for the next year.

Source:  Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 190)

School Days Memories

School Memories Card, 1880s 

As the nineteenth century progressed, parents began to put greater importance on formal education.  Completing each term was often marked as an accomplishment, with a spring program attended by the community.  Teachers often gave their classes a memento of their time together.  Examples are shown here, complete with the teacher's portrait and a complete list of the children who attended the school.  Both cards represent a memento of a one-room country school.

School Memories Card, 1899 (at right) Look Right

Source:  Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 190)


Look Left Report Card, 1875-1876 School Year

Carrie Morgan presented this report card to her parents throughout her third grade year.   Subjects taught at her grade level included reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic, while she could still look forward to geography, grammar, and history in years to come.  Her marks are on a 100-point scale, but we do not know how those scores might have translated to the A-B-C grades we are familiar with today.  There is a column for the class average in each subject area, however.

Source:  Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 1090)

Look Left Fostoria High School Commencement Program, 1876

There were just three members of the class of 1876 when Fostoria held commencement exercises, but the program was not abbreviated.  Underclassmen provided some of the readings, but most of the program was provided by the members of the class.

Fostoria High School Alumni Reunion, 1886

By 1886, Fostoria alumni were already holding reunions.

Source: Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 190)


8th Grade Commencement Exercises Program, 1923
Prairie Depot (Wayne), Ohio Look Right

Ohio established compulsory attendance at school through the eighth grade. Students then chose to begin work or to attend the high school.  Communities held commencement exercises, based on high school graduation ceremonies, to mark the completion of this important milestone. Poetry, book reviews, and essays, usually of the students' own composition, were featured as part of the public program.

Source: Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 190)


Look Left  Graduation invitations

As the years went by, high school graduation became the true marker of a passage to adulthood.  Commencement exercises continued as each year's class was celebrated by its community.  Formal invitations were sent to relatives and friends, and an address by a noted member of the community provided the highlight of the festivities.

Source: Hill/Morgan Family Papers (MS 190)


THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS ISSUE are a small sample of those illustrating the history of education in northwest Ohio.