Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old geography book doodles, Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of my doodles roundup from the Ginn and Company's 1920 edition of "New Geography (Book Two)" by Wallace W. Atwood. (Part 1 is here.)

Obviously, this book had many owners over the years. The name that was scrawled in it the most times is Gertrude Barber, who was a resident of Staunton, Virginia.

On one page, after her name and address, is written:
6B Grammer [sic] School
Thomas Jefferson

Given that she lived in Staunton and that this book probably saw its heaviest use from about 1920 to 1930, that's almost certainly a reference to the former Thomas Jefferson Grammar School in Staunton. According to "Located at the corner of Central and Churchville avenues, the school was one of the city's five grammar and high schools and was the last erected, in 1917. The school cost $70,000, had 16 rooms and accommodated 500 students. Total enrollment of city schools at the time was about 1,800."

Thomas Jefferson Grammar School has long since been converted into the Staunton Public Library.

So we know one of the girls who used this book. We know what building it was used in. And we know that building still stands today.

And we know something about Gertrude's grades, because she scribbled them in the book.

One month, her grades included:

English 76
Spelling 74
History 94
Geography 88
Hygiene 76
Arithmetic 70

It seems history was her best subject, while she had her struggles in spelling, hygiene and arithmetic at times.

But now back to the book's doodles. Were some of these done by Gertrude? We'll never know for sure, but we can imagine...

Of course, writing in books is officially frowned upon in most quarters. But it wasn't always that way. This past Sunday, The New York Times had a great story about the history of marginalia and whether it has a future in the age of digital books.

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your sharing about the geography books from Thomas Jefferson School in Staunton. I am a librarian (and a history major) but did not grow up here so I really enjoy learning bit and pieces of what it used to be like.

    My thanks--and keep up the great family work!

    Heather Walker