458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
TOURING SULLIVAN COUNTY’S MUSEUM
. . . while dusting
The Teacher's Institute
An acquisition recently came in from Winnie Ferguson of Lake Mokoma, whose origins begin in New York. Winnie’s gift to the museum is a 1903 Barnes, New National Third Grade Reader given to her uncle “Master Gerald A. Griswold” (born 8/7/1893, died 5/12/1970) on May 27th of that year. The book has seen quite a bit of use and these editions could be found in many schools throughout this country at the time. The illustrations are wonderful and the mission of each lesson could easily be taught today. Winnie’s recollection begins with the poem found on the first page, as her mother, Analda Rose Fournier Griswold, would “recite to us as she buttoned us up to get us off to school (we walked every single day rain or snow one mile to school).” It goes like this:
“High and low The winter winds blow! They fill the hollow with drifts of snow,
And sweep on the hills a pathway clear; They hurry the children along to school,
And whistle a song for the happy New Year.”
Then on page 59 of the book, this:
“High and low The spring winds blow! They take the kites that the boys have made,
And carry them off high into the air: They snatch the little girls’ hats away,
And toss and tangle their flowing hair.”
The book was first given to Gerald and then Winnie’s father, Ralph John Griswold (born 7/14/1896, died 5/9/1986), as such things were affectionately referred to as “hand-me-downs.” Winnie’s mother Analda was born 2/20/1898 and died 4/4/1997. She taught school herself from 1916 to 1919. Here’s where it gets interesting because this scenario isn’t unusual to the time in any place.
Analda had met and fallen in love with Ralph. “Initially they went to the local town clerk to secure a marriage license on Feb. 24, 1919 – when she told her school superintendent that she and Ralph would be married shortly, he told her she couldn’t do that since married women could not teach in Vermont [where they were living at the time] and he could never get a substitute on such short notice for four months of teaching. So, they turned their marriage license back in to the town clerk. In June, they once again went to the Town Clerk to get a new license, he said okay, pulled open a desk drawer, lifted out the original marriage license, crossed off the February 24th date and over top of it wrote 19th of June.” They were married on the 20th. and Winnie still has that original marriage certificate.
The reason we say that this isn’t unusual is because so many interviews, or tracing of family histories, depict this exact situation. As Winnie also states: “by the law in the State of Vermont where she taught, she had to give up teaching since married women could not teach.” There were many reasons why school districts enacted this particular edict. One such reason is based on the French word “enceinte” meaning pregnancy or “grossesse” meaning pregnant. There is no reliable or accurate French equivalent for the phrase “in the family way” but for these euphemisms you get the idea.
The attitude of the day may seem foreign to us now but for the time is was a very real concern, albeit for the men of the day. This writer is reminded of an ad phrase “We’ve come a long way, Baby!”
Copyright 2012 Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum. All rights reserved.
The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).