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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Little Red House School: 1935

Little Red House School: 1935

1935. "School in Red House, West Virginia." Epimetheus sat down sullenly and learned about relative pronouns. Medium-format nitrate negative by Elmer Johnson for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Swan sentence . . .

Actually, the word in the sentence on the chalkboard is "swarm" which make the sentence even more nonsensical. Perhaps an exercise in abstract thinking?

The swan wasn't the only ugly thing

For some reason "It was impossible that the two children could keep the ugly swan in their own little cottage" just doesn't resonate. On the other hand, I have no intention of learning all the possible uses for that yardstick so I'll just listen quietly.


The yard stick worked as a pointer and a paddle I am sure of it. Note the KNOB & TUBE wiring on ceiling.


Alas. They are built for right-handers, as all similar desks are. If they moved, I would pull an empty one over and write on it.

Glad it's a nice spring day

I live about thirty miles from where this picture was taken.

And let me tell ya, there's gonna be frozen ink in the inkwells if they don't get some insulation in the roof and walls come December.

Building Codes?

Light bulbs hanging from exposed electrical wiring only inches from wooden beams?


Dear Old Golden Rule Days

Yikes! I had desks exactly like those all 12 years I attended Fairfax County schools. I remember trying to find one not too short, not too tall but just right. I felt like Goldilocks.


That boy never had a lick of sense. Nor his brother, neither. None of them Titan boys ever amounted to a hill of beans.

So that's what they are

"subordinating conjunctions" never had that taught to me.

Oh the horror!!

Two things:
1. I just found out recently from my Aunt that my father, his 5 brothers and 2 sisters (3 sisters attended a new school in town) went to school in a one room school house on my Grandfather's property. Dad said he only made it to the 8th grade as he had to help Grandpa farm. I'm sure his brothers did too. And, yes, they had to walk the mileage in the rain, snow and all types of weather.

2. 1956, First day of a new school. 6 yrs old. First experience with nuns and Catholic school. I had previously attended 2 different public schools in my father's quest for work. Finally, a permanent job in another town. I didn't want to go to school. I was afraid of nuns and didn't know any one. Very shy and emotional, I was escorted to school by my mother. She left me there shaking in my shoes feeling every eye on me. Sister said "this is your desk, sit in it and put your books in the seat below you." The desk was exactly like the ones in the picture here. So, I proceeded to do just that. Leaning over to put my books in the hole, the desk toppled over and took me with it. Laughter errupted all over the room including from the "Sister". I was mortified. All I wanted to do was cry, which I remember doing, and run home. Unfortunately, I had to stay and be the brunt of her teasing and the kids laughter all day and for many weeks after. That was just the first horror that was to happen to me with that nun. I will never forget her and her unkindness for as long as I live. The next year I was to get a desk that was bolted to the floor! And, a sweet, pretty nun! I was so happy!! I hope you don't mind that I shared that. Just seeing those desks brought it all back again.

Fancy Seating!

Though the single-wall construction probably made this a cold grove of academe indeed, the students' desks are far superior to the bolted-down rows of compass-carved wooden and cast iron monstrosities I encountered in the first four elementary schools I attended. I never saw one of these "all-in-one" desks until 7th grade.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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