U.S. School Clothes: Unidentified Rural School (1934-35)


Figure 1.-- Most of the boys here, who look to be about 6-12 years old, wear overalls to school. This was quite common in rural America until after World War II. One boy in the second row on the extreme right wears short trousers with long cotton beige stockings (obviously with supporters), a short-sleeved white shirt, and a somewhat oversized sweater-vest. Long stockings were still worn in the 1930s, especially in the early 30s.

This rural school was located in Brown County, Indiana. It was located in the southern part of the state, an essentially rural area. We have a photograph from 1934-35. The teacher standing in the rear is Clotha Hillenburg. This looks like a typical small one-room rural school. As a result of the Land Ordinance of 1785 every block of public land had one section (number 16) reserved for public schools. This law was one of the most progressive acts ever passed by Congress. It made land available to individual farmers at low cost. And it was the foundation of the American public school system. Block 16 was used to both locate the school and sold to finance the schools. Thus there were large numbers of small rural schools in America. And a school was in walking distance of most children. These small schools continued to function until after World War II when they were consolidated. Most of the boys here, who look to be about 6-12 years old, wear overalls to school. This was quite common in rural America until after World War II. One boy in the second row on the extreme right wears short trousers with long cotton beige stockings (obviously with supporters), a short-sleeved white shirt, and a somewhat oversized sweater-vest. Long stockings were still worn in the 1930s, especially in the early 30s, but becoming less common. I doubt if the long stockings are being worn here for warmth. Most of the examples we have found are more affluent urban children. The long stockings here are very lightweight, not heavy weiter stoickings. Long stockings were just one of the several appropriate options for younger schoolboys in the 1930s. This boy looks to be about 10 years old. The children are standing in front of their smallish rural school building. Overalls were very common school wear in the midst of the Great Depression. Notice that boys greatly outnumber the girls. I am not sure why that was, perhaps just a statistical accident given the small number of children.

Brown Country

This rural school was located in Brown County, Indiana. It was located in the southern part of the state, an essentially rural area. A reader writes, "The School could have been in Nashville, the principal town in Brown County, which is very rural. I think in 1934 thar Brown County was pretty sparsely populated." The school to HBC looks more like it was a rural school somewhere in the country. I don't think so many boys would have been wearing iveralls if the school was located in the town. Our reader writes, "You could be right, but Nashville was only a village in 1934 and it is still a very small place. Of course now it has a modern school building."

The School

This looks like a typical small one-room rural school, although not a lot of the building can be seen. These were often one-room schools. Some had two rooms. Given the number of the childrem, this surely would have been a one room school. We have a photograph from 1934-35. The teacher standing in the rear is Clotha Hillenburg. We are a little unsure about the name of the school. Our HBC contributorwho sent along the image tells us, "This photograph appeared in a local Brown County newspaper the other day and they called it the Deckard School. I assumed that they would know the name of their own local school. But you could be correct because one of the boys is from the Deckard family. I believe the name 'Primary' may be my own addition and we should probably substitute the word 'Elementary'. Could have been The Deckard Elementary School? Now that I think of it, I don't recall my own elementary school having a family name; it was called Linden School because of the street it was on. Maybe we should just call it Brown County Elementary. It was a rural school of course." While Amerivasn city schools were generally called elementaries, I think these small rural schools were mostly called just schools or had a name based on teir location. It woukld not have been the Brown Country school, because there would have been several of these schools in Brown County. An elenebtary school in America is a primary school, but the term 'primary' school is rarely used.

Rural Schools

As a result of the Land Ordinance of 1785 every block of public land had one section (number 16) reserved for public schools. This law was one of the most progressive acts ever passed by Congress. It made land available to individual farmers at low cost. And it was the foundation of the American public school system. Block 16 was used to both locate the school and sold to finance the schools. Thus there were large numbers of small rural schools in America. And a school was in walking distance of most children. These small schools continued to function until after World War II when they were consolidated. Of course towns sprung up in many areas. Throughout much of the original Northwest, many schools are located on that original block 16. The same basic approach was continued by the Homestead Act (1862).

The Students

Most of the children here look to be about 6-12 years old. Some times in these rural schools you have some teenagers. This was because the academic progran was for children 6-14 years of age (grades 1-8). The students wanting to go on to scecondary school would have to go to town schools. Only a minority did so and this did not change until after World War II. The children might be grouped into a younger and older group. And it is possible that this id the younger group.

Clothing

Most of the boys wear overalls to school. This was quite common in rural America until after World War II. One boy in the second row on the extreme right wears short trousers with long cotton beige stockings (obviously with supporters), a short-sleeved white shirt, and a somewhat oversized sweater-vest. Long stockings were still worn in the 1930s, especially in the early 30s, but becoming less common. A good example is an unidentified city school. Long stockings and short pants were less common in rural schools. I doubt if the long stockings are being worn here for warmth. Most of the examples we have found are more affluent urban children. The long stockings here are very lightweight, not heavy weiter stoickings. Long stockings were just one of the several appropriate options for younger schoolboys in the 1930s. This boy looks to be about 10 years old. (A reader thinks he looks mote like 8-9 years old.) The children are standing in front of their smallish rural school building. Overalls were very common school wear in the midst of the Great Depression.

Gender

Notice that boys greatly outnumber the girls. I am not sure why that was, perhaps just a statistical accident given the small number of children. We note that in many small town in rural areas that before the World War II that many high schools had more girls than boys. Farmers often wanted the older (teenage) boys home to help out on the farm. The make up the school population for younger children, however, is generally avout equal.








HBC--SU






Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]



Navigate the Relate Boys Historical Clothing Style Pages
[First Communion] [Confirmation] [Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Kneepants] [Knickers] [Kneesocks] [Long stockings] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Button-on clothing] [Blazer] [School sandals] [Bangs]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Return to the Main U.S. 1930s individual school page]
[Return to the Main U.S. individual school page]
Return to the [Main U.S. individual school chronology page]
[Return to the Main National School Uniform Page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Germany]
[Ireland] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Singapore] [Scotland]
[Singapore]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[About Us]
[Activities] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Debate] [Economics] [Garment] [Gender] [Hair] [History] [Home trends] [Literary characters]
[School types] [Significance] [Transport and travel [Uniform regulations] [Year level] [Other topics]
[Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to the Historic Boys' School Home]






Created: 6:04 AM 12/22/2004
Last updated: 8:09 PM 3/28/2010