A good idea of fashion trends in America, as children at public schools did not wear uniforms, can be assessed by looking at what the children were wearing to school. Unfortunately many of the available images are not identified or are not dated, despite this, the images are very valuable views of children's fashion trends.
Here is a list of schools alphabetized by school name. Unfortunately for many images we have collected, we do not know the name of the school. We will add images of schools which are identified by name as well as schools about which we have obtained information. Readers are invited to contribute here information and images about their schools and school experiences. We certainly hope if readers find their school listed here that they will provide us some information on it.
The Protestant Episcopal Church established a college at Racine, Wisconsin in 1852--Racine College. There was a grammar school associated with the College and may have even preceeded it. Racine College functioned as a college in the sence of a small university for 40 years in the 19th century. It subsequently became a preparatory school with both secondary and older primary-age boys--the Racine College Grammar School. We are not sure about the nature of the orgiginal grammar school, but by the turn-of-the 20th century it was not a grammar school in the normal sence that the term is used in America--that of a primary school. The Racine school was more like a British grammar school in the sence of a secondary, but with entry at about 11-12 years of age. I am noyt sure what age the Racine College Grammar School accepted, but we see quite young boys as well as younger teenagers. ike the College, the Grammar School was a boarding school. We note boys wearing military uniforms in the early 1900s, but we also see them wearing suits so we are not sure what the dress code was. This prep school finally evolved into a military school. It closed in 19??. The buildings are now used as a community center.
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 bot of information can be gleaned fromythe image. The boys to us look to be anout 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.
Here we have the Reinberg School. It looks to be a standard public elementary (primary) school. Unfirtunately we can not read the first name, something like Jol. We are not sure where the school was located, but we have found a Reinberg school in Chicao. And it was named after a Chicago politician. It was, however, named the Peter A. Reinberg School. It is the only Reinberg school we have been able to find. We have a class portrait of a second grade class in 1937. The children would have been 7-8 years old. The children were dressed variously. Several wear dress shirts with ties, but only one boy wears a suit. A few boys wear casual shits. They are dressed in short and long pants as well as knickers. The girls mostly wear dresses. Several have puff sleeves. One girl wears a blouse and skirt. The boys all have short hair cuts. One girl has Shirley Temple ringlet curls.
Most American towns of any sizehad high (secondary) schools by the early-20th century. Many were very small like this high school in Renfrew, Pennsylvania, we think in the 1910s. The junior class, or 11th grade, had 11 members. They would be mostly 16 year olds. Some of the boys look a little older. Renfrew was a town in westrn Pennsylvanis, but has declined since World War II.
We note the Rice School in Van Buren Township (in west central Monroe County, southern Indiana) in the school year 1897-98. It was a one-room schoolhouse near the turn of the century. Notice the broken transom window over the door with one of the students framed in the opening. The teacher stands in the third row on the right. One of the boys (second row, second from the left) has included his dog in the picture. You can see the dog's front paws and head. Most of the boys seem to wear long pants and jackets but without ties. The older boys and girls stand at the back. The younger ones are sitting in the front row. A few boys wear knee pants with long stockings.
Here is a school photograph from 1939 in Houston, Texas. It must have been Scout day as most of the boys are wearing their Cub Scout uniforms. It was quite common for American schools at the time to have a Scout day each week. It is a little unusual to see American cub scouts wearing the shorts pants uniform. At the time most American Cubs wore a knickers uniform. I was not even sure that there was offical Cub shorts at the time. Two factors here is that the class is in Texas and the weather in Houston can be very hot. Another factor is that River Oaks was a planned upper class neighborhood (current average real estate values
are in excess of a million dollars). Among the alumni of the school is Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. The portrait was taken in Ictober 1939 at the beginning of the school year. The sign indicated that this was Miss Duff's class. The L4 on the board probably means the 4th grade. The children would have been about 9 years of age.
We know very little about this school other than the name, the Roaring Brook School. It is apparently a small rural school, presumably a one-room schoo, in upsate New York. We believe that the school would have taken children from grade 1-8. That would havevmean children from about age 6-13 or perhaps 14. After finishing here, if they continued their education they would hve ebntered a city high school.
We note the Rose Branch School located in the little town of Lamar, in Barton County, Missouri.
It was quite a small school. Many school systems after World War II began doing away with these small chools as more children were bussed. We have only one photograph from the school, taken in 1954. Almost all of the boys wear jeans, a few old-fashioned bib-overalls. About half of the boys are barefoot. We can't tell much about the girls because there are not very many of them and they are in the back row.
Here we see a typical American elementary school. The school was located in Cincinnati, Ohio. We do not have any detailed information about the school. We assume that it was a grade 1 through 6 shool, although we re not sure anout grade 6. There was also a kindergarden. As there was no uniform, the clothes worn by the children at schools like are a good reflection of how children dressed over time in the United States.
Here we have a picture of the 2nd and 3rd grade class taken in Rossville, Georgia. We suspect the name of the school was the Rossville school, but we are not sure. Rossville is a small town located in Walker County, Georgia. It is a largely rural area. The area is best known for the conflict between the Cherokee Indians and the state of Georgia in the early 19th century. This class portrait we have shows many children that look poor. That appear from their look, the old dirty clothing, the dirty feet. Most of the boys come to school barefoot. Several wear overalls.
We know next to nothing about this school. We only know that he name of the school was St. Andrews because of the name on the entrance. And we know that it was erected in 1912. There is no indication where the school was located, but it looks like some where in the northeast or industrial Midwest.
We believe it was a Catholic school because of the name, although there were other possibilities, such as a Lutheran school. It looks like a substantial school. By 1912 the Catholic parishes throughout America were becoming well established. With the exception of the Irish, significant Catholic immigration in American began in the 1870s and by the 1910s the economic scuccess of Catholics in America meant that many mostly urban parishes which could afford to build substantial churches and schools. The portrait is undated, but looks like the mid-1920s. This looks like a class group, perhaps 11-year olds which would mean 6th graders. There is no uniform which parochial schools would later adot, but the boys are all dressed similarly, ties and knickers with long black stockings. We see public schools where boys were dressed similarly, but the school may have had a dress code.
This is a Catholic school where photographs were taken during World War I. There are of course quite a number of St. Anthony schools in America. It appears to be an all boys' school, at least the boys were photographed separately. This was not common at Catholic primary schools which were normally coed. Unfortunately we do not know when these photographs were taken. One photograph was taken in the Spring when the younger boys were doing their First Communion. The older boys may be doing their Confirmation. The second photograph shows the boys patriotically dressed in a variety of military uniforms. We assume that this was taken after America entered the War (April 1917).
Here we have a photograph of classroom (No. 8) at St Catherine's Catholic School in Chicago during1956. I'm not sure if this meant 8th grade. Unlike public schools, many Catholic elementary schools went through 8th grade. The children look like they may be a bit younger, poerhaps 7th graders. Both boys and girls wear smart uniforms. Now almost all Catholic schools, and some public schools, have uniforms like this. It was an innivation after Workd War II. Many Catholic schools adopted these uniforms in the 60s. The boys wear white shirts and ties with dark long pants, probably navy blue. The girls wear white blouses and dark colored sleeveless dressed on top. I suspect that the girls wear tights or white socks as part of the uniform. Often there were strict rules on this. They may be a little spruced up, but we suspect vthat both the parents and school made sure they dressed neatrkly for school.
On this page is a picture of St. James School in the 1940s--presumably a parochial school. The person standing at the left is probably a pupil and not the teacher. It is likely that a nun would have been teaching a parochial school in the 1940s. Nuns are much less common today and there is many more lay staff in modern parochial schools. The class room shows the standard arrangement, with the desks in straight rows facing the front. Of course there is a flag for the compulsory morning pledge of allegiance. (In British, New Zealand, Australian, and many other countries, a flag in the classroom is rare.) The children are separated with boys and girls on different sides. The girls do not wear a uniform, but all wear very proper dresses--no pants or shorts for girls in the 1940s. The boys all wear white or solid color shirts, ties, and dark pants. You can not tell if they wear knickers or slacks. Presumably they are not wearing dungarees. This looks very much like the basic uniform now commonly worn at parochial schools, white or solid color shirts, ties, and dark pants. A public school classroom would have looked very similarly, except the boys would have been less likely to wear white shirts and ties--unless they got dressed up for a photograph. Also flannel shirts and dungarees would have been standard boys' wear. Even the Scouts acknowledged changing fashion trends in the 1940s, first the Scouts and then even the Cubs.
The Saint James School for Boys was located on the main street of the small town of Berlin, Connecticut (some 10 miles south of Hartford). It operated from 1954-78, although its best years were past by the early 1960s. It founder and only headmaster, the late Leonard Francis (1918-1992) who also founded Camp Leo, near Laconia, New Hampshire, from 1946-87, had distinctive ideas on student attire.
We notice the the St. James Catholic School Catholic School in St. Louis, Missouri. Catholic schools in America are often called parochial schools. We do not know a great deal anout the school. One photograph shows the 5th grade, taken in 1919. The children are sitting at their desks in their classroom. The boys wear dark suits with white shirts and ties. These children are about 11 years old, some perhaps as young as 10 years. The boy at the extreme left front seems to be wearing knee pants with long black stockings. Another boy seems to wear above-the-knee knickers with black stockings. Both styles were common in 1919. The girls wear cotton dresses, some of which are white and some of which are of patterned material. We also notice a class doing their First Comunion in 1929.
This may be the same school as described above. It is also located in St. Louis. But there may be more than one St. James in St. Louis. This we do not know yet. Here we have a photo of a kindergarden class from St. James School. The scool is identified as being located in Dogtown, apparently a subburb or district of St. Louis. This photograph was taken in 1955. The children were all dressed in white. I think this might have been a graduarion photograph. It was taken in 1955.
We do not know the name of this primary school, but we know that it was located in St. Joseph, Missouri. St. Joseph is set on the Missour River and played and imprtant role in the settlement of the West. The city know as St. Joe was the jumping off point for the famed Pony Express and an important staging area for the Oregon Trail. Over time the city was largely eclipsed by much larger neraby Kananas City. Their school can be see in the background. It is a a substantial red brick building. We can not make out the slate board that one boy is holding, but the portrait is dated on the back is dated June 1909, meaning the 1908-09 school year. Some 40 children, more girls than boys are lined up in front. This appears to be one very large class because only one teacher is wih them. The children look to be about 10-11 years old, meaning 5th grade. The boys are all wearing suits, both with and without neckwear. The huge floppyboes worn a decasde eraslier were going out of style. The suits are mostly knee pants suits. At the time knickers were replacing knee pants as standard wear for American boys. We think a few boys are wearing knickers--but this is a little difficult to make out. One boy sports a long pants suit. The girls mostly wera dresses, but we see blouses and skirts as well. The all wear long stockings.
This wonderful panoramic class portrait shows a great parochial 1st grade class. We know it is a Catholic school, even though we do not see the nun. We know it is a Catholic school not only because of the name, but there is a shrine at the back of the room. Like public schools, there was a strong patriotic ethos promoted in the school. Notice how the boys are honoring the flag. Inconprehensibly, many modern educators today have the idea that there is something wrong with patriotism and honoring the flag. There were something like 40 children in the class. That is way too large for a 1st grade class, surely the most important grade because it is where most children learn to read. Parochial schools received no state funds and for the most part, Catholic parishes were working-class communities with families with limited incomes. Thus money was always tight. We do not know where the school was located. There have to be quite a number of St. Joseph schools. We would guess it is somewhere in the Northeast or industrial Midwest. The portrait is also undated. We believe it was taken in the 1900s, probably the mid- ton late-00s. It it had been taken earliers we believe there would have been more boys wearing floppy bows. here were no uniform, but notice that all the boys wear white shirts and neckwear.
St. Joseph Hill Academy is a pre K-3 through grade 12 Catholic school operated by the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity. It is located on a 14 acre, park-like campus in the Arrochar section of Staten Island, New York. We do not notice very many Catholic academies. The term academy is generally associated with military schools in America. We see a number of academies in Scitland. The meaning there ios is more like a European colegio meaning a private school providing a comprehensive educational program from pre-school through secondary years. The elementary school provides co-education for approximately 550 students grades pre K-3 to 8. We believe the pre-school and elementary grades are coed mixed boys and girls. The high school has approximately 450 girls. We notice 4 year old pre-kindergarten students at the Academy participating in a charming May celebration during 1959. The boys are elaborately dressed in page outfits. The Academy appears to combine May Day with a Mother's Day celebration, pairing the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditionally done at the beginning of May, with a special tea for their mothers. We also note a formal First Communion at the school in the same year.
Here we have a school from a German community, perhaps in the upper-Mid West. The school was opened in 1876. The 25th anniversity was held in July 1901. We believe it was a kind of reunion as well, although we suspect that most of the 1876 students were still living in the community. There is a script describing all of this. We think we see 'Jugend' (youth), 'St. Martin's S. Schule' (School). (We are not sure why there are two S's.) St. Martin was a popular saint in Germany. A German reader tells us, "Saint Martin is a saint of the Roman Catholic church. It is said that he split his mantle (jacket) by his sword and gave one part to a freezing beggar in about year 340 AD. In Germany, I don`t know about elsewhere in the world), Catholic St. Martin's Day is celebrated in November. Children stroll through villages singing old songs to honor and to remember St. Martin and asking for a gift." Both German Catholics and Protestants emigrated to America, the largest numbers were Protestants (mostly Lutherans called the Reformed Church in Germany). This seems to be a German Catholic community. The school is St. Martin's, Is appears to be a Catholic prochial school. There is a large building in the background. It does not look much like a school. There are no windos. But we think the script does specify Schule. The people infront of the school look to be students currently at the school in 1901 as well as grown up students who may have attended in the 1870s. The cabinet card portrait does not show much detail of the people and their clothing, apparently so as to give a good view of the school. We can see, however, several boys with outfits showing Fauntleroy styling.
Here we see a cabinet card portrait of the 1st and 2nd graders at St. Mary's Catholic School in Avilla, Indiana. They would be 6-8 yeas old. Avilla is located in a farming area of northeastern Indiana, north of Fort Wayne. St. Mary's must have been a small school. This is a rather small group even though it is two grades put together. Catholic schools usually had loarger class sizes than public schools. They were financed by the diocese and parents with no government support which is an expensive proposition. What we do not know is just when the portrait was taken. The mount suggests the 1900s, but as some of the children seem to be wearing knickers, we believe the photograph was probably taken in the very-early the early-1910s. This is a little difficult to figure out because it is difficult to tell if the boys are wearing knee pats or knickers, that is a very helful way of differentiating 1900s and 10s photograohs. We do not see many American boys wearing knickers until about 1908. All the hair bows the girls are wearing suggest the 1910s. Hairs bows were worn in the 1900s, but we mostly see all the girls wearing them in a class during the 1910s. The boys are dressed warmly with suit jackets or sweaters. One boy wears a sailor suit. The girls wear winter coats and hair biows. They all are wearing long stockings.
We notice the St. Nicholas Greek School in Newark, New Jersey. The children are all wearing sailor suits and are pictured in some kind of school exercise, apparentkly as part of the end of the school year. It could be that the children are dressed up special for the event, but probably more likely is that the sailor suits are their school uniform. Parochial schools began to be organized in the mid-19th century after large numbers of Catholics (Irish) began emigrating to America. Greeks came in the later wave of immigration which began to reach large numbers in the 1880s. Children wore sailor suits toi school in the late-19th century, but the sailor suit as a school uniform was not very common. Most parochial schools did not adopt uniforms until after World War II. The children re standing outside Lyric Hall, Plane Street (University Place), where the church was located on the second floor. The photo was taken in 1906.
A Boston physician donated his summer home as the site for a new boys' boarding school near Concord (1856). The goal was to offer a humane but rigorous education St. Paul's remained a boys� school until it became one of the first boarding schools to become coeducational (1971). Unlike most American boarding schools, all of the students board. It was founded in the Episcopal tradition and is afiliated with the Episcopal Church. The school is what Americans call a private prep school and the British call a public school. St. Paul�s offers an educational program for students in grades 9 through 12 planning to attend college. The extensive grounds are managed by the Audobon Society. There are about 500 students and 100 faculty menbers. The students come from many states and a number of foreign countries. The school has a very strong hockey tradition as part of its atletics program.
This oversized school portrait shows a 1933 graduation group from the Catholic boys' school, St. Stanislaus in Meriden, Conncticut. It was a school attached to St. Stanis laus Church. The church and school are still active. Presumably it was a Polish community. the boys are pictured with two priests, presumably the head master and the cass teacher. The Parish built the first Polish Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut (1893). The original church was located on Jefferson Street. A new Church was built (1908). The Parish teaching tradition began with the Society of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr (1891). The School was originally first set up wihin the original Church which had a classroom wing. A modern stand-along school was built (1915). This is the school seen here and continues to be used today. I provided a Kindergarden through 8th grade education. The 8th graders wouldbe 12-13 years old if they began school at 6 years of age and continued on through. And the boy, at least the one beyond the front row lok to that age. We were confused as some of the oys look older than 8th graders. We thought they might be senior high schhool graduates, but as far as we can tell, there were nevr any instructin beyond the 8th grade. For some reason these older boys took longer to graduate. This was a working-class community. Perhaps they had to quit school and work. This was during the Depression, they may have retunedo to school if they couldn' find jobs. The boys were all smatly dressed up in suits fo geir Graduation. The older boys wear long pants suits. Many of the younger boys wear knicker suits, althoh this is more difficult to see.
This large cabinet card portrait shows an 8th grade gradation class with the parish priest. At the time many primary schools went up to the 8th grade. This was especially the case of Catholic parochial schools. There were not that many Catholic high schools at the time. And most Catholics were still working-class families whose children did not go on the secondary school. They children are holding their diplomas and have a stack of them in front. The oportrait is dared 1922. The class is from St. Stanistawa School of South Bend, Indiana. Stanistawa is the Polish form of Stanistlas, a beloved Polish saint. It is obviously a Polish parish. The photo, itself, measures 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. and its mounted onto a cardboard matte (with leaf embossing around photo) making the entire item 13 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. The photographer is also noted on the matte as "E. Grzywienski, 1150 W. Division St., South Bend, Ind." The boys in front all wear knicker suits with long stockings. Presumably the boys in the back who look a little older also probably wear knicker suits, certainly some of them. The girls wear while dresss with white long stocks. Many have huge hir bows. They do not show up very well as thet are worn at the back of the head. All the girls have head bands, something w do not see commonly.
This is the St. Vincent de Paul School, an orphanage/boarding school in Manchester, New Hampshire. Sisters of Providence of Montr�al, Quebec founded a Hospicevfor which they are best known (1892). It was the 83rd institution founded by the Sisters, whose initials at that time were FCSP for Filles de la Charit�, Soeurs de la Providence. The sisters have since shortened their name to Sisters of Providence (SP) with their motherhouse located in Montr�al. The school in Manchester was originally an orphanage. It was established at the request of the Rev. J. A. Chevalier, founding pastor of St-Augustine parish, in commemoration of his 25th anniversary as a priest. Srs Marie Hermas, superior, Marie of Jesus, Marie Christine, Legault, Barrette and Gallant took possession of the house and opened their doors to 12 orphans (7 boys and 5 girls) (1895). The original house was soon too small so Father Chevalier erected a larger building (1893). Between December 1892 and July 1895, the Sisters cared for 291 orphans.The Sisters also visited the poor and the sick in their homes and cared for some elderly boarders. The school was going strong in 1941 when it celebrated its 50th anniversary. The school closed (1958).
Here we have an image from the Saltillo Primary School located in Pennsylvania. The portrait is from the 1908-09 school year. The photograph is not as clear as we would like, but we can make out some of the clothing styles. The boys are dressed up as was common at the time. The boys wear a variety of jackets. A few of the younger boys wear tunic suits. At least one boy wears a sailor suit. One girl wears a sailor dress. Several girls wear pinafores.
Unfortunately we do not know the name of this school. We do know that it was a located in San Francisco. The children are very nicely dressed. It could be a private school, but many private schools at the time were single-gender schools. The one photograph we have was taken in 1929 and looks to be a 1st or perhaps 2nd grade class. There is quite a diversity of dress. Many of the boys wear open sports collars, often with suit jackets. A few boys wear ties. Several boys wear sweaters. The boys are probbly wearing short pants and knickets. The girls wear frocks and other dresses.
Here we have a portrait from a school theatrical at the San Pedro Street Grammar School in 1925. We are not positive where the school was located. We know it was in California. The photograph illustrates a popular theatrical activity--creating freezes. Here the children are doing Greek statues, but of course more modestly clothed than mny such statues. These freezes were done for both school and community theatrical events. The children are identified as Catherine Pandel Brotsis, Xenopon Vourns, and Alexadra Dolks Alexakis. These are all of course Greek names. Presumably the school was in a Greek neigborhood or the children were chosen because of their Greek ancestry.
The Sand Run School was a rural school in Boone County, Kentucky. Boone Country was of course named after Daniel Boone who helped found Kentucky. The portrait we have dates from 1893. The yonger boys are all barefoot. Several wear fancy blouses with large collars. They were very fashionable at the time. Notice that they were made with different colors and patterns ad not white. Mail order catalogs are full of these blouses. One boy wears his blouse with a floppy bow. Notice how the photographer has blaced the boys with fancy blouses front and center. Also notice the range of heawear the boys are wearing. The girls wear dresses, one girl with a checked pinafore. Several girls have fashionable ballon sleeves.
The School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen is a Catholic school located in Baltimore, Mary land. It cares for children frok kindergarden to 8th grade or from 5-14 years of age. Taking children through the 8th grade is common for Catholic schools as there were not normally any Catholic junior high schools. We know nothing about the history of the school. The school website, however, has an archive of First Communion and graduation portraits dating back to 1926. We do not know if this was when the school was actually founded. This archives provides some insights on dress and uniform policies at one specific parochial school. This is useful because we are only beginning to develop information on the parochial school system in America.
Here we have a photograph from the Scroggin School which looks to be a rural school located in Logan Co. Illinois. The source believes that the photograph was taken about 1905. This is possible, but we believe that it may have been taken a few years later. The children are wearing different style clothing. Some boys wear blouses and kneepants. Others wear overalls. We are trying to determine just when overalls became standard for school wear in rural areas. Other images we have found show overalls being worn beginning about 1908-09 which is why we are unsure about the date here. If it rally was taken in 1905, it is the earliest image we have archived showing overalls being commonly worn. You can see from the clothing here that this was a transitional period. With some children wearing blouses and kneepants common in the 1900s and others wearing overalls common in the 1910s. Most of the boys are barefoot, but the girls wear long stocings and shoes. One boy seems to have hurt his foot and has wrapped it in a cloth.
Shady Side Academy is a private boys' preparatory school in Fox Chapel,
Pennsylvania, an upper-class, fashionable suburb of Pittsburgh. A HBC reader writes, "My younger brother went to this boarding school, which is very similar to Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio which I attended. In fact the two schools traditionally compete against each other in football. Shady Side (like Western Reserve) was exclusively a boys' school until the 1960s when it became coeducational. The curriculum, standards of dress, and general strictness of decorum at Shady Side were all very much like those at its rival school, Western Reserve."
Shaw's Bend School was located in Colorado County. Texas. Many of the the pupils are barefoot, but it is dfficult tell how many. Many of the boys have come to school in overalls. Some boys have dressed up and one boy wears a bow tie. Some of the children have come to school on horseback. Many of the boys hold their hats. Notice the different styles, including a straw boater. The clothing is an indicator of family affluence. The barefoot boys in overalls probably came from poor families, perhaps share cropers.
Here is a photo of a highschool theatrical club in Skowhegan, Maine, taken in 1900. It looks as though the children were involved in some sort of minstrel show or musical review because some of the youths are wearing black face with their costumes. We are not entirely sure about the name of the school, but Skowhegan, Maine, probably had only a single high school in 1900.
The Skinner School was located in rural Illinois, perhaps rural Illinois. The photograph was taken in 1885. Unfortunately the image is not very high quality, but it does show the kind of small school many children atended in rural areas. Note tht the boys wear long pants. Boys in an urban school in the 1880s would have more likely worn kneepants.
We note the Skinner Junior High School in Denver, Colorado. A junior high school was a 3 year program (7th-9th grade) after elementary (primary) school preparing children for senior high schools. Most states had junior high schools until after World War II. Afer the War many school districts began expeimenting with varied approached, opening middle schools which often included 6th graders. High schools transitioned to a 4 year program (9th-12th grade). We have little information about the school at this time, but know that it was operating in the 1940s-80s. It seems to have been converted into a middle school, we think in the 1980s.
A class portrait shows a 1st grade class at John Small Elementary School. Elementary is the American term for primary school. Children begin 1st grade at age 6 years. The portrait was taken during the 1946-47 school year. The school was located in Washington, Beaufort County, North Carolina. Washingtom is the countty seat of Beaufort County, an agricultural county. Washington is located on the Pamilco River in eastern part of the state. The building looks like a school built before the War. The school is still operating today, but in a brand new building. The boys wear comfortable T-shirts and open ciollar short sleve shirts. We suspect the portrait was taken in the spring of 1947. One boy wears overalls and two were barefoot. This was common before World war II, but rapidly declining after the War. The same was true of short pants, even for the younger boys. By the end of the decade we see even 1st graders wearing long pants. This varied regionally, shorts continued tgo be worn somewhat more commonly in the southern states. The girls all wore dresses. Notice that the children are wearing leather shies. Sneakers were not considered proper for school.
Here we have a photograph of a small highschool, we believe in upsate New York. Now when high schools often have 1,000-2,000 students it is hard to imagine a scgool with only about 40 students. This could be one class, but we suspect that it is the enire school. Its a bit hard to tell what the boys are wearing as many are in the back row, but several are wearing knickers.
Here we have a wonderful early color photograph at the Southington Elementary School, or so we are guessing. There was probably more than one elementary (primary) school in Southington. Yhe children look yo be about 10-years old. The photograph was taken in 1942. The occassion was was kind of school festival. It may be assiciated with America's entry into World war II. The feastival apparently dealt with nutrition, an important issue on the Home Front. We see a poster. 'Eat Fruit'. The girls all wear prim dresses, most wil baloon sleeves. Some girls wear girlish-style shoes while others wear sturdy oxfords mor like the boys' styles. One girl wears the saddle shoes. As the weather is wrm they all wear anklets. The boys are in the back wering dress shirts with supenders and holding American flags. This with the entry into World War II was a time for patriotic show.
This postcard back photograph shows the Stony Point School in 1915. Some of the boys look to be 16-18 years old. Given the age range, this is clearly a school and not a class portrait. It is presumbly a grade 108 school. The school was thus very small which is usually an indicator of a rural school. The building behind the children, however, does not look like a rural school. Stony Point is a small town bear Cleveland, Ohio. It is interesting because all of the boys wear long pats at a time when virtually all merican boys wore knickers. Virtually all of the other school portraits from the 1910s show most of the boys wearing knickers. This is the only elementary (primary) school we have found where the boys are not wearing knickers. We don't think it is a rural school because only one boy wears overalls. We suspect that the boys come from industrial woeker families. The rther tattered look ofthe clothes mby of the chilkdren are wearing further point to worker families. Only the small size of the school argues against this assessment. The girls wear dresses and long stockings.
We are sure about the name of this school. We know where it was located, but not its name. We are guessing it might be called the Sumner Highway School. It is a wonderful photograph of a sod schoolhouse in Nebraska. The Frontier officially clsed in the 1890s. There were stiil, however, many in the Plains states still living in sod houses. This is a great example of a one-room sod house. It was located in Marquiss district, 5 miles southeast of Broken Bow, Custer County on the Sumner highway. The photograph was taken in 1892. The teacher was 16-year-old Hiva Miller. The school had 14 children and they provide a detailed view of how rural children dressed. The boys wear different types of caps. They wear suits, mostly with long pants. The girls wear dresses and skirts.
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 younbger 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 familirs. 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. icture has some strange detail. 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.
We do not know very little about the Sutton School in Mapplewood, Missouri. It looks to be a primary school. They had a small school band in 1923. The children wore all-white uniforms with capes.
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
[Main country page]
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Lederhosen] [Kneesocks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [School sandals]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Return to the Main U.S. individual alphabetical school page]
[Reyurn to the Main national school uniform page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Germany]
[Ireland] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Singapore] [Scotland]
Navigate the HBC School Section
[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]