** United States orphanages -- individual orphanages

United States Military School: Individual Schools

Figure 1.--The cabinet card portrait here shows a boy at the La Salle Institute, probably about 1910. The uniform shows the West Point influence.

I'm not sure what America's first military school was or when it was founded. It is clear, however, that many American American military schools were founded in the 19th century with a variety of origins. Some were founded by former military personnel. Some were founded by churches. The purpose of these schools varied. Some were designed to prepare boys for the service accademies. This was not, however, why parents sent most boys to these schools. The prevailing purpose was for the discipline enforced at the schools. We have little information on these schools, but have begun to collect some information. Some examples explaining the development of these schools include:

Boys' Institute Seaside Home

Thanks to the sign displayed on the cabinet card here we know who these boys are. They are boys being cared for at the Boys Institute Seashore Home. We have been unable to find much information about the Home, but believe it was an orphanage. The term Home commonly meant orphanage. The Home was established (1873). The late-19th century is when many orphanages were founded in the United States. Pen note on the back states Kennebunkport Maine, but one source insists that it was actually Beachmont, Massachusetts (Revere Beach). The boys are picured in full military uniforms posed in front of the Home. The Home is on stilts and a read sign stated Ocean Ave. The portrait is undated, but the uniforms and mount style suggest the early-1900s. The image is just under 4 �� x 8� on a much larger mount. The boys range in age from young to older teens. This was not usual for orohanages which normally had a wider age range. It is of course possible that these are just the older boys. It is the normal range for military schools. Military schools, however were fee paying institutions for boys from affluent families. Native American schools were run on a quasi-military system. But American orophanages usually were not.

Brooks Military Academy

The Brooks Military Academy was a boys' college preparatory school located in Cleveland Ohio. It was a relatively short lived school, operating 1874-91. The school had different names, including Brooks School, Brooks Academy, and Brooks Academy & Military Institute. The school was founded by wealthy Clevelanders in honor of Reverend Frederick Brooks, the respected rector of St. Paul'S Eposicopal Church. Reverend Brooks had wanted to open a prep school for boys. The school accepted boys and youths from 7-20 years of age. The first headmaster was John S. White, a Harvard graduate. We note a cadet at the school, Frank Stearns in the late 1880s. A reader in 2009 writes, "I'm hoping you can help me find out where I could send what appears to be a 2-year attempt to keep up with the doings of classmates at Brooks Academy for the years of 1877 and 1878. My mother was given a sturdy, bound book of lined pages, with "1877 Class History and Records" on the front. The person who gave it to her was Phoebe Pack, wife of Arthur Pack. She thought my mother could use it for scratch paper. My mother did use some of the pages for a diary, but not many. My dad removed those pages on her death last November. He also wrote some information about Charles Pack, who is listed in this album. I would like to give this to anyone who might be interested in the Brooks School, since we are not related to any of them. My parents were friends of Arthur and Phoebe Pack, but that's all. Here is an example of an entry (in beautiful script, I might add!), about a James T. Robison. 'Robison very early enjoyed the appellation of "Yank." He was elected Secy. and Treas. of the Class. We quote from a letter dated Nov. 4, 1877:-'I don't think I shall devote myself entirely to the Law, but try and mingle business and law together; I expect in a business point. I shall follow packing of pork.' Robison started for California on Aug 30, 1877 and made the trip to San Francisco and return stopping at the principal points of interest...' " Our reader Would like to find a person or agency who would like this album It has many blank pages, but some information on specific people. She would be glad to send it to them completely free.



Howe Military School was founded in 1884. The school was made possible by a bequest of John Badlam Howe, the most prominent citizen of Howe (Lima). On his death in 1883, Mr. Howe left the sum of $10,000 to be used for the founding of a school to train young men for the Episcopal priesthood. The Howe Grammar School opened its doors in September, 1884, with two students, both from Fort Wayne. In 1895 Howe became a military school, although it did not adopt the name Howe Military School until 1940. In 1889, upon the request of Mrs. Howe, all property and money held by the diocese were transferred to the Howe Board of Trustees, appointed by Mrs. Howe. Thus Howe was no longer an Episcopal School; it was a church related school. The military program was instituted in 1895 and, since 1920, Howe has had a High School ROTC Unit sponsored by the Department of the Army. The school has been designated an "Honor Unit with Distinction" by the Department of the Army, which gives us "special" nomination privileges for the country's Military Academies.

Missouri Military Academy

Missouri Military Academy, one of America's leading boys, boarding schools, has served students from all the United States and many other nations since 1889. MMA is progressive and dynamic, rich in its traditions and strong in its values.

Racine College Grammar School

Racine College subsequently became a preparatory school with both secondary and older primary-age boys--the Racine College Grammar School. The grammar school appears to have existed from the earliest years of the College. 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 not sure what age the Racine College Grammar School accepted, but we see quite young boys as well as younger teenagers. Like the College, the Grammar School was a boarding school. We note boys wearing military uniforms in the early 1900s. This prep school finally evolved into a military school. It closed in 19??. The buildings are now used as a community center.

S????????? Military Academy

Here we a small American military academy. We do not know the name of the school, except that it began with an 'S' because each of the kepi caps most of the boys wear have a wreath badge with the letter 'S' inside. The kepi was the Civil War unifirm cap. Some military schools had begun to change by the 1890s, but the kepi was still widely worn. The senior boys who are officers wear helmet like headwear which was popular in the late-19th century. Note the pickle spikes showing a German influence. The German Pickelhaube (pickle hat) was a spiked military helmet worn by the German Army. We also see the younger students and their instructors wearing academic robes. (This was common in private schools both in America and Britain at the time.) Their breast plates are plain brass as are the belt buckles. The Bugler just under the American flag and wears the sleeve stripes of a Bugler. All the boys are in their uniforms and each with their percussion single shot muskets. These muskets are made in sizes for boys to use. The portrait is not dated, but we would guess it was taken in the 1890s, but we are mot entirely sure. This is a large albumen ptint mounted on hard greyish card stock. The image measures about 10 x 14" and overall it measures about 11.5 x 15.75", much lsrger than an ordinary cabinet card which bis one reason we think it dates to the 1890s rather than the 80s.

(La) Salle Institute

We note that the La Salle Institute was active in the early 20th century. We know nothing about the school except that it was located in Troy, New York. The portrait here shows a boy at the school, probably about 1910 (figure 1).


We have found a portrait we think from the 1930s with a boy from the WMA military school. Several military schools used initials on their caps or collars which helps identify the school. We think this is either the Western or Wentworth Military Academy. The boy is unidentified, but we can probably identify eventually identify the school from the uniform. There may be other possibilities. The boy was apparently from Massachusetts, but we can not yet find a WMA military academy there.

Unidentified Naval School

We have no information on this group. The similarity of the uniforms strongly suggest that it was a military school. All we have is a photo postcard which had no writing on the back. The card shows a large group of boys in naval uniforms. We beliebe that it must have been a naval military school. This was not very common. The only naval military school we know of was Culver. We are not sure that the school here was Culver, but it may have been. In contrast to army-type schools, naval military schools were very rare. The style of uniform and the post-card format suggests gto us that the photograph was taken in the early 20th century.


Related Military School Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Return to the Main U.S. military school page]
[Return to the Main military school page]
[England] [France] [Italy] [Germany]

Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers] [Blazer] [School sandals]

Navigate the HBC School Section:
[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: November 27, 1998
Last updated: 7:29 PM 9/26/2018