Since this isn’t the real Sepia Saturday (they’re on break until January), it’s not quite the same, but I wanted to keep up my momentum with the project and post a photo that I love but hasn’t come up for a theme yet. There are SO many, and it’s hard to tell where to start! I’ve been itching to post more of these old school photos, so we’ll start there.
I don’t have the names for all the kids, buy my great great grandma Olga (Powis) Kitko is in that photo, back row, 12th person in from the left. On the far left, standing, is the teacher, Nellie M Askew who saw it fit to label the back of the photo, address it to Olga Powis, “Compliments of your teacher, Nellie M. Askew” – how convenient! The back of the photo is a postcard style back, with a stamp square that indicates it was taken between 1907 and 1929 (NOKO, see here). Olga was born in 1900 and the kids look to be about 7 or 8, so I’d put it around 1908, plus or minus a year or two. The teacher, Nellie, would’ve been 15 if I’m using the date of 1908 which makes me think my date guess might be off. I’d assume she’d have to have been a high school graduate, but it’s possible she was able to teach the younger kids with only an 8th grade education. She’s listed as being a teacher on the 1910 census though. On the 1940 census, she lists her highest grade completed as 8th, so it’s still possible she was teaching at age 15. It’s awfully strange to think about in our time to have a teacher be so young!
Other things that caught my eye about this photo is the muddy school yard that has no grass and those paper garlands hanging in the windows. Then there’s the girls hair and those HUGE bows, the striped tie on the one boy in the front, and the one boy with his hat on at the left. It’s really neat for this photo to survive that long (over 100 years) and give us a glimpse into what a bunch of kids looked like in the early 1900s.