Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Every once in a while...

I get a visitor searching for something and am able to actually help with it--just got a call for a picture of what a 1920 classroom would have looked liked.

Probably the easiest way to do this is not to come to Possumblog, but go the the Google or Yahoo Image search function and type in 1920 classroom. That's what I did and came up with some really interesting stuff.

First, there's Miss Amos' class in Wagner, Oklahoma in 1920--petrified kids, rows of iron-legged desks, tall windows, taller ceiling. The kids are wearing sweaters and the sun is low--probably early spring or late fall. In the summertime, everyone's blouse was stuck to them with sweat. In the winter, the heat only got about five chairs back from the stove in the front of the room. The boys on the left had to move out of their desks to get in the frame. No one dared hold his fingers over someone's head to make bunny ears, no one smiled, no one breathed until the photographer man was finished. Miss Amos was strict that way, you know--although some of the older ladies in town reported she had been caught applying rouge to her knees. The girl third from the front on the far right is identified in faint pencil mark simply as "Boots."

The next one is from the late-'20s, and was taken at the St. Augustine parochial school in Ossining, New York. It has the familiar statuary children, and same row of kids who had to move to get into the shot--just this time in uniform. The room is "modern," in that way that the word was used in the late-'20s, usually in conjunction with "sanitary," "scientific," and "cultured." There is "space" between the desks, probably to allow the lower limbs of the children their scientifically-determined amount of room needed to properly develop themselves. The walls are plastered to promote the ease of cleaning required to eliminate the unhealthfulness of germ-caused diphtheria and typhus and tuberculosis and malaria and nocturnal emissions. And their brightness reduced damaging eye strain and retardation.

Finally, here's a 1924 classroom from Walla Walla College. The students, privileged heirs of the scions of Washington State's Seventh Day Adventist society, all congregate in the far back corner of the room--either due to the photographer's inability to judge the view through his lens, or the fact that he had an uncomfortable amount of body odor. Having learned well the ability to sit stone-like from their prior 12 years of elementary and secondary schooling, these future titans of industry and their future wives politely stare at the camera with the stern visages of their elders. College is, after all, a serious business for serious modern scientific men. And women, too, although heaven knows why a woman needs a college degree to keep house. But that's one of the perils of modernism, you know. Thank heavens none of the girls smoke--although is it rumored that Miss Hannah H., aged 19, was removed last semester for having been seen loitering in Walla Walla with a Stutz salesman, who was known to both smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.

Anyway, there you go.

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