U.S. School Clothes: Sunnyside School (Illinois)


Figure 1.-- The Sunnyside School was an elemenarty (primary) school located in Carlinville. We have a portrait of a 5th grade class taken in 1922. The photograph provides some interesting details about period dress. The boys are no longer wearing suits to school. A few boys wear shirts with ties. We no longer see floppy bows, but there may have been a few in the younger grades. The absence of suits is a major change from before World War I and reflects the trend toward casual dress. Put the cursor on the image to see the rest of the class.

The Sunnyside School was an elemenarty (primary) school located in Carlinville (Macoupin County Illinois). We have a portrait of a 5th grade class taken in 1922. The photograph provides some interesting details about period dress. The boys are no longer wearing suits to school. A few boys wear shirts with ties. We no longer see floppy bows, but there may have been a few in the younger grades. The absence of suits is a major change from before World War I and reflects the trend toward casual dress. Mote that, however, that most boys that wear shirts with collar buttons had buttoned them. The first boy in the second rows wears a shirt without collar. Its hard to tell, but this may be the beginning of the "T"-shirt fashion which became popular in America. Two boys wear overalls. We suspect they were farm families. A seated boy in the first row is barefoot (we cannot see if some boys in the other rows are barefoot too). The girls all wear dresses. There is only one African American child in the class. All the other pupils are white. This was a time when many Black families in the South as part of the Great Migration were headed north.

Carlinville

Carlinville was located in Macoupin County, Illinois. This is an area in southwestern Illinois, northeast of St, Louis, Missouri across the Missippi River. Thus Carlinville was near the borderline between the slave and free states before the Civil War. It was the scene of one of the memorable debates between Senate luminary Senator Stephen A. Douglas and the then little-known Abraham Lincoln (August 31,1858). The Lincoln-Douglas debates are probably the most important political debates in Amderican history. The area was largely agricultural. Some farm children attended the school, but most of the students here probaly lived in the town.

The School

The Sunnyside School was an elemenarty (primary) school located in Carlinville. An elementary school was normally a school with grades 1 through 6, meaning ages 6-11 years, although some of the 6th graders would be 12 years old when they finished. Some elementary schools had attached Kinfergartens for 5 year olds. I'm not sure about Sunnyside. Earlier elementary schools might have 7th and 8th graders as well, but by the 1920s junior highs were becoming more common for these children. The Sunnyside School still exists in Carlinville, but is noew an historical site and not an active school.

5th Grade: 1922

We have a portrait of a 5th grade class taken in 1922. The photograph provides some interesting details about period dress. The boys are no longer wearing suits to school. A few boys wear shirts with ties. We no longer see floppy bows, but there may have been a few in the younger grades. The absence of suits is a major change from before World War I and reflects the trend toward casual dress. Mote that, however, that most boys that wear shirts with collar buttons had buttoned them. The first boy in the second rows wears a shirt without collar. Its hard to tell, but this may be the beginning of the "T"-shirt fashion which became popular in America. Two boys wear overalls. We suspect they were farm families. A seated boy in the first row is barefoot (we cannot see if some boys in the other rows are barefoot too). Notice that with the children in front that the boys are wearing long stockings and the girls knee socks. The girls all wear dresses.

Integration

Northern schools were not segregated by race. Before the Civil war some northern communities did not allow black children to attend public schools. But this practiced declined even before the Civil War. There is only one African American child in the class. All the other pupils are white. This was a time when many black families in the South as part of the Great Migration were headed north.








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Created: 11:44 PM 4/24/2005
Last updated: 11:45 PM 4/24/2005