Individual U.S. Schools: Rainey School (1919)


Figure 1.--This class portrait was taken October 3, 1919 at the Rainey School, St. Clair County, Wisconsin. Because of all the sailor suits, we at first thought this was a German school. American boys wore sailor suits in the 1910s, but you never see virtually all of a class wearing them. Not all of the boys are wearing sailor suits, but six are. The boys here are on the upper end of the age range for sailor suits at the time. We have been unable to find more information about the school, but quite a bit of information can be gleaned from the image. The boys to us look to be about 8-9 years old, meaning 3rd-4th graders. They have a male teacher. This, the size of the class (only 8 boys), and the fact that they are all boys means that it was a private school.

This class portrait was taken October 3, 1919 at the Rainey School, St. Clair County, Wisconsin. Because of all the sailor suits, we at first thought this was a German school. American boys wore sailor suits in the 1910s, but you never see virtually all of a class wearing them. Not all of the boys are wearing sailor suits, but six are. The boys here are on the upper end of the age range for sailor suits at the time. We have been unable to find more information about the school, but quite a bit of information can be gleaned from the image. The boys to us look to be about 8-9 years old, meaning 3rd-4th graders. They have a male teacher. This, the size of the class (only 8 boys), and the fact that they are all boys means that it was a private school. It may have been a boarding school, but we are not sure about that. The size of the class and the fact that the location given is a county rather than a city suggests a boarding school. All the sailor suits, especially short pants sailor suits with knee socks suggests that the parents were given a suggested dress code. Most boys at the time would have worn knicker suits and long stockings to school. This shows we think a British influence. Many American private schools at the time were influenced by the British system. Unlike knee pants and knickers which were worn by boys across class and income lines, short pants were most common with boys from affluent families which of course fits in with a private school. Also notice the page boy haircut of one of the boys. You would not have seen this in a public school for boys this age.








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Created: 4:52 AM 10/12/2015
Last updated: 4:52 AM 10/12/2015