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Class Struggle: 1940

Class Struggle: 1940

November 1940. "In a one-room schoolhouse in Ledyard, Connecticut. The teacher is Miss Holmes." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.


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Miss Holmes

She must have been related to all three of my wives. I have seen the look on every darn one of them! It surely couldn't have been anything I did --

Miss Holmes is Having None of Your Guff

Oh, DRGW, you wouldn't dare drop any pins in Miss Holmes' room.

In Defense of Miss Holmes

I suspect everyone was on their best behavior for the photographer and this shot implies more than what actually occurred. The boy she's looking at looks well behaved. Although this is only my gut feeling. Miss Holmes could be a tough one.


I remember those types of desks. I was in elementary school 10-12 years later than this photo. The old wooden flip-up desks with inkwells no longer used of course. Chairs attached to the cast iron legs. I believe the school had to sand down the tops every few years to get out the latest carvings of initials.

Nine survive

According to a 1992 NY Times article, nine one-room schoolhouse structures still exist in Ledyard, out of the original 14. Their use was phased out in 1949 when Ledyard Center School opened. Ledyard Center School, incidentally, is now considered obsolete and is about to host its last year as a school.

Good citizen

That boy standing up voted earlier in the day.

Eyes are on the Ruler.

And she probably knows how to use it. Corporal punishment. Boy on the left looks like Schwartz from A Christmas Story.

Evidently a redoubtable woman

and not to be crossed.

Don't mess with Miss!

Even though each new class won't believe it, Miss Holmes has seen it all, and then some.

Boys, that idea of yours for mischief might be great and brand new to you. But for your teacher it's old news, and stale to boot. So don't_even_think_about_it!

OK, Miss Holmes, say "cheese!"

Those boys with their desks right up near Miss Holmes are probably the ones she has judged to be troublemakers. It's possible they happen to be there only because the schoolroom is very crowded but Miss H impresses me as a no-nonsense type. I wonder what they call her when she isn't in earshot.

Eyes Like Daggers

Wow, that is some icy glare. Those tough ol' nuns who taught me got nothing on Miss Holmes. I'll bet you could hear a pin drop in that classroom.

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