Friday, September 21, 2012
This blog entry is written by Hannah Hamilton, a Library volunteer.
The education files contain over three hundred items including lists of colonial schoolmasters, receipts for the tuition of students, hand-made textbooks and diplomas from Union College. The documents date from the late 18th to late 20th century. Click here for a complete list of documents in the collection.
Particularly charming are those documents which are written out in longhand (cursive script). The Toll family was one of the prominent families in the Schenectady area for much of the early history of this country. A number of their family documents pertaining to the education of their children have been preserved and are included in the Education documents (part of the Historic Manuscripts Collection) at the Grems-Doolittle Library. Images of some of these documents may be viewed below.
These files are all particularly interesting due to the strong personality conveyed through the hand-written documents. The modern scholar can sense the amount of attention which students paid to details, and the grueling levels to which they went in order to simply take notes. They also offer a fantastic view of the attitudes which high-society families held towards the education of women. If the handwriting can be labored through, we can gain a better perspective of colonial and ante-bellum education.