Bart Simpson never saw the inside of this classroom

Old classroom

The folks at the Boston City Archive wonder if you can place this photo. The date will be easy to spot if you see the larger version (and note all the other writing on the blackboards), but where?

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    Well,

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    it's clearly from the end of February, 1904.

    Ouch

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    I would think a religious school based on some of the blackboard content.

    But anyhow, do you see that thing hanging under the blackboard in the center?
    Corporal punishment paddle?

    I'll take a guess

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    The Horace Mann School for the Deaf.

    Specifically, Sally Tripp's classroom.

    Selfish thought...

    I wonder if Sally Tripp is related to the Tripps of Westport, MA, who eventually ended up in Arlington (and, much later, my grandparents.)

    Best cursive writing ever?

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    I am sure that is hyperbole but the cursive writing is almost clear beyond belief. The object hanging under the calendar looks like a thermometer rather than a ruler or other object for spanking or cracking knuckles.

    How did anyone reach the upper blackboards? Must have been a teacher on a ladder. Would that even be allowed today even if a white board? Are blackboards even used in Boston or have they gone the way of plastic white boards. Though I doubt if anyone would complain about loosing the screeching fingernails on slate noise. We already have a replacement for that: bleeding earbuds and cell phone.

    Moving blackboards

    The blackboards ran on tracks - there's one set in front of another, like a storm window. The rear set are fixed at the bottom, and the front set can be slid up and down. My vague memory is that the teacher would have had a kind of billhook that they used to snag a hand-hold on the bottom and pull the moving board down if it was out of arm's reach.

    When I was in college I recall some whiteboards that were set up similarly.

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    We had these when I was in

    We had these when I was in college. I think they may have been counter-weighted so one went up when the other went down (i.e. no billhook needed) but my memory from those years is somewhat vague.

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    I can see hand holds on the

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    I can see hand holds on the upper blackboard, which suggests that it's the kind of blackboard that can slide up and down. They have those in the Science Center at Harvard as well.

    blackboards

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    Blackboards went up and down like windows. You can see the hand grip on one of them.

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    How about St Gregory?

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    A Catholic elementary school, for both boys and girls, built in the mid to late 1800s. (The desks and walls look a bit worn by 1904.)

    I'll guess St. Gregory Grammar School, in Meeting House Hill.

    How about St. Gregory?

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    A Catholic elementary school, for both boys and girls, built in the mid to late 1800s. (The desks and walls look a bit worn by 1904.)

    I'll guess St. Gregory Grammar School, in Meeting House Hill.

    Why does this remind me

    ... of the time that my 10 year old cousin heard someone discussing a party where there were more boys than girls and said "wow, she must have given a lot of bl--j--s!"?

    Because both were randomly inappropriate, perhaps?

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    Hot For Teacher

    Eighty years later, times changed and Van Halen had a big hit song

    Chorus:

    Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
    I'm hot for teacher.
    I got it bad, so bad,
    I'm hot for teacher.

    One kid standing up

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    Why is just that one kid standing up behind the teacher? He looks like he's set apart from the rest of the class.

    Boston?

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    The calendar on the wall is from an insurance business located on Elm Street in Manchester, NH. Doubtful that this is a Boston school.

    The Answer!

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    This is a reading class at the Horace Mann School in 1904!

    We have a batch of images for this collection that are being digitized and will be fully online soon. Stay tuned!

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