Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's back-to-school time with
"The Schoolmarm" (1905 postcard)

I didn't really do any official "Back to School" ephemera posts this month.

(But I did, however, fully update my sprawling Complete Guide to Papergreat's School Days Ephemera, which is a good place to lose yourself for an hour some afternoon, if things are just becoming too ponderous in your cubicle. Go ahead and bookmark it.)

So here, to mark the start of another American school year, is a somewhat creepy postcard from 1905.

This schoolmarm — that word dates to the 1830s, by the way — has quite the bun of hair, quite the pointy chin and quite the skirt, which seems to be defying gravity. Also, a four-inch waist.

The poem, which isn't all the great, implies that violence was her teaching method of choice. Frankly, I'm not sure why she would even need a ruler. If she just stared at you, I think you would shape up and tackle your spelling, geography or arithmetic work.

The illustration is by "R. Hill" and the postcard was published 109 years ago by Edw. Stern & Co. Inc. of Philadelphia, a house that was also known for anonymously publishing L. Frank Baum's The Last Egyptian.

The postcard was addressed to a woman named Martha in East Prospect, York County, Pennsylvania, but apparently never mailed.

Have a great school year!

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