Can You Pass the Test? Teacher Certification Exams in Ohio’s Historic Newspapers

In order to teach in Ohio public schools, teachers now and in the past are required to pass formal examinations that measure their competency and academic skills in a variety of areas.  During the early 20th century, the Greenville Journal, published in Darke County, Ohio, printed the questions included on the county examination for teachers seeking elementary school certificates.

Among the topics covered on these tests were: arithmetic, geography, grammar, literature, physiology, and United States history.  A couple of the articles referred to these questions as “Brain Puzzlers”, and I would have to agree—some of them are tough!  Here are just a few examples:

Arithmetic: “A piece of work costs for labor $233.75, the workmen receiving wages at the rate of $1.50 for a day of 9 hours.  What would the same work cost if wages were $1.40 a day of 8 hours?” (October 8, 1908, Image 8, col. 2).

Elementary Agriculture: “Name three kinds of corn and discuss each in such a way that they may be recognized by the description.  What kind of corn is raised chiefly in your section of the state?” (September 18, 1913, Image 1, col. 2).

Literature: “Trace in early American literature some influences of its English origin.” (February 7, 1907, Image 8, col. 2).

Physiology: “How does the knowledge of a scratch on the hand reach the brain?  Would knowledge of an injury to an internal organ locate so accurately the place and nature of the hurt?  Does the brain control the processes of the internal organs?” (January 13, 1916, Image 3, col. 1).

Would you have had what it takes to be a certified teacher in Darke County during the early 1900s?  Take one of these examinations and find out!  You can view them by visiting the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website where select issues from the Greenville Journal are now online.  Either click on the links provided in this post, or you can search for other examinations.  Use the Advanced Search feature to limit your search by newspaper title to the Greenville Journal and search for teacher exam, teacher questions or teacher examination in the “…with all of the words” search box.  If you limit your search to just Ohio papers, you can also find teacher exams from other areas of the state, including Lorain County (Wellington Enterprise, December 16, 1896, Image 4, col. 3) and Washington County (Marietta Daily Leader, February 10, 1901, Image 8, col. 3-4).

The orthography section from the September 1915 teacher county certification exam (Greenville Journal, September 2, 1915, Image 3, col. 4).

The orthography section from the September 1915 teacher county certification exam (Greenville Journal, September 2, 1915, Image 3, col. 4).

The Greenville Journal is just one of Ohio’s most recent additions to Chronicling America.  It joins more than 1,300 other newspapers from all over the nation (that’s over 7.4 million pages!), including over 50 from Ohio, to chronicle United States history from 1836 to 1922.  All papers on the website are freely available and keyword searchable.  In addition to issues from the Greenville Journal (1907-1918), the following Ohio papers are also now online:

Chronicling America is brought to you by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and state projects to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers published between 1836 and 1922.  National Endowment for the Humanities awards support state projects to select and digitize historically significant titles that are aggregated and permanently maintained by the Library of Congress at Chronicling America. As part of the project, the Ohio Historical Society contributed over 200,000 newspaper pages to the project between July 2008 and August 2012 and will contribute an additional 100,000 pages by the end of August 2014.  For more information about this project and resources for searching Chronicling America, please visit the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio Project Wiki or Ohio Digital Newspaper Program Website.

Jenni Salamon, Project Coordinator, NDNP-OH

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More Ohio Newspapers Added to Chronicling America!

The Library of Congress has added another 9,000 pages of historic Ohio newspapers to Chronicling America!

Through efforts by the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio, these papers that were once only available on microfilm are now digitized, full text searchable and freely available on the Library of Congress website.  They are filled to the brim with interesting and unique stories about our state and local history, and below are just a couple stories that I found while perusing some of the newspapers listed above.

A Jail Break in Kalida!

A $125 reward was offered to any person who could arrest and deliver three men who had escaped from the Putnam County Jail on December 1845.  Major Curtis, Nelson Curtis and William Holmes, imprisoned for murder and counterfeit, “made their escape by cutting through a wall two and a half feet thick, besides a two inch plank inside.”

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In the rest of this article, the Sheriff provides physical descriptions of the men and their clothing. Major Curtis is reported to have a “sinister countenance.” (Kalida Venture, December 30, 1845, Image 3, col. 4)

According to a separate article, their “escape was ingeniously planned,” and “the Sheriff is no way to blame—as the cells of the jail are above ground, with single walls, it is almost certain that a desperate villain will get out.” (Kalida Venture, December 30, 1845, Image 3, col. 1, 4).

Ravenna’s Shakespearean Fundraiser

In March 1891, the students of Ravenna High School presented the drama “The Shakespeare Water Cure” in order to raise money to purchase books for their school library.  This comedic performance featured characters from some of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays (Lady Macbeth, Romeo and Shylock, to name a few) gathered together “and engaged in their old tricks and intrigues” (Democratic Press, March 25, 1891, Image 3, col. 4-5).  The event raised $31.20 in net proceeds (approximately $840 in today’s money!) and “the stage of this fine hall was never graced by more talented amateurs” (Democratic Press, April 1, 1891, Image 3, col. 3).

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A review of the students’ performance. (Ravenna Democratic Press, April 1, 1891, Image 3, col. 3)

These stories join countless others from the over seven million newspaper pages and more than 1,200 newspapers from all over the nation, including over 50 from Ohio, that chronicle United States history from 1836 to 1922.

Visit Chronicling America now to search and browse through Ohio’s history as it was told by its local newspapers.  What stories will you find?

Chronicling America is brought to you by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of Congress and state projects to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers published between 1836 and 1922.  National Endowment for the Humanities awards support state projects to select and digitize historically significant titles that are aggregated and permanently maintained by the Library of Congress at Chronicling America. As part of the project, the Ohio Historical Society contributed over 200,000 newspaper pages to the project between July 2008 and August 2012 and will contribute an additional 100,000 pages by the end of August 2014.

Jenni Salamon, Project Coordinator, NDNP-OH

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Still Time to Vote in Ohio Memory Madness

Ohio Memory Madness Final Four voting has begun.

Who’s (I mean “what’s”) still in the running to become the 2014 Ohio Memory Madness Champion?

Defibrillator Prototype from the Dittrick Medical History Center vs. Dan Emmett Violin from the Ohio Historical Society

Dan Emmett Violin

Old Betsy Cannon from the Fort Stephenson Collection vs. Julia Chatfield Sculpture from the Ursulines of Brown County

Old Betsy Cannon
Final Four voting ends tomorrow, April 5 at 5pm, so get your vote in now before you forget (and share with your friends, family, Facebook, etc).

Click here and vote today!

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In April Learn More about Health and Wellness in History

During curators talks in April learn more about the dangers of severe weather, injuries to animals, the affect of the prehistoric diet on teeth and war gardens.

April 5
Blown Away: 40th Anniversary of the Xenia Tornado

On April 4, 1974 a forceful tornado devastated Xenia, Ohio.  Join archivist Tom Rieder to see photographs and other memorabilia documenting the storm’s destruction and the town’s efforts to rebuild.

Photograph tornado damage in Xenia, Ohio, 1974.

Photograph tornado damage in Xenia, Ohio, 1974.

April 12
That’s Gotta Hurt – Trauma and Pathology in Animal Bones

What can scientists learn about the life and health of wild animals by studying their bones? Join natural history curator David Dyer to see actual bone specimens and try to discover what happened to the animals – and if they survived.

April 19
Dental Health of Pre-Columbian Populations in Present-day Ohio

Join archaeology assistant Juli Six to learn about the dental health of Native Americans before European contact. The prehistoric diet caused abscessed teeth, generalized tooth decay, and severe attrition.

Pamphlet from the World War I era encouraging people to garden and preserve vegetables.

Pamphlet from the World War I era encouraging people to garden and preserve vegetables.

April 26
Every Garden a Munitions Plant: War Gardens in World War I and II

During the World Wars people the government encouraged planting gardens to avoid food shortages and promote health. Join curator Lisa Wood to see photographs, posters and other war garden memorabilia.

The curators talks are part of a busy schedule of activities at the History Center in March. Check out our full calendar of programs.

If you go:

Day and Time: Saturdays in March at 2:00 PM

Location: Ohio History Center at I-71 and 17th Ave.

Posted in archaeology, collections, Curators, Curators Talks, Natural History, Programs, World War II | 2 Comments

Birdie Schmidt Larrick: A Columbus Girl’s Unusual Adventures

Printed in the April 15, 1945 issue of the Columbus Citizen are five pictures under the heading “Camera Record of Columbus Girl’s Unusual Adventures.” That Columbus girl was Birdie Schmidt Larrick who during World War II became the only women serving in the Red Cross to have an American bomber named after her.

Birdie Schmidt Larrick, 1944.

Birdie Schmidt Larrick, 1944.

Prior to joining the Red Cross, Birdie graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in speech. Under the pseudonym of Irene Allen, she broadcasted feature news over WFJM in Youngstown, Ohio. In early December 1943 Birdie traveled to the Air Base in Wendling, England as Program Director of the American Red Cross (ARC) Aero Club. Stationed in Wendling was the 392nd Bombardment Group (BG), which moved to the base in August 1943 and was assigned to the 8th Air Force.

As Program Director, and later as Director, Birdie’s responsibilities included managing the Aero Club staff, organizing programs and events for the enlisted men and officers, managing the snack bar

Photograph of Birdie Schmidt Larrick and Helen Malsed. December 1944.

Photograph of Birdie Schmidt Larrick and Helen Malsed, December 1944.

and providing snacks, refreshments, and cigarettes to men returning from tours. Reading the reports Birdie kept for the Red Cross, it’s evident that she carried out each task with the intention to make hard situations feel a little more bearable. In her memoirs, “The Way It Was”, she writes how they used white sheets as tablecloths for a homey effect and made ice cream, just as good as the ice cream at home, with powdered milk and eggs.

White tablecloths and ice cream, although seemingly simple, were ways in which the Red Cross volunteers helped the soldiers morale. Birdie and the other Red Cross girls worked to create a community for the men at the base, and they managed this with few supplies and with some innovation. For example,

Portrait of Birdie Schmidt Larrick by Arthur Olsen, artist of the portrait on the Birdie Schmidt ARC B-24 Liberator.

Portrait of Birdie Schmidt Larrick by Arthur Olsen, artist of the portrait on the Birdie Schmidt ARC B-24 Liberator.

they found ways to heat the Aero Club with heavy pasteboard rings that came wrapped around bombs. More than this, they provided the soldiers with a safe place to talk.

Later the engineers, radio men, and gunners of the crews would come to the club and talk.Talk was not so much about flak and fighters but about the empty barracks in which they’d have to sleep. Sometimes I think that bothered them more than being shot at. What could we or I do? Just listen.[1]

In August 1944 a 392nd BG B-24 Liberator was named the “Birdie Schmidt ARC” after Birdie and a base defense tank was named “Helen’s Happy ARC Warriors,” after Helen Malsed who worked alongside Birdie as Program Director.

Birdie and the Crew at the christening of the “Birdie Schmidt ARC” August 1944. Back row left to right: Lt. Wise, Lt. Hoffman, Lt. Randall, Birdie, Lt. Gorton, Cpl. McNutt, S/Sgt. Goo. Front row left to right: T/Sgt. Boney, S/Sgt. Sanders, S/Sgt. Kamacho, S/Sgt. Dopson.

Birdie and the Crew at the christening of the “Birdie Schmidt ARC” August 1944. Back row left to right: Lt. Wise, Lt. Hoffman, Lt. Randall, Birdie, Lt. Gorton, Cpl. McNutt, S/Sgt. Goo. Front row left to right: T/Sgt. Boney, S/Sgt. Sanders, S/Sgt. Kamacho, S/Sgt. Dopson.

A portrait of Birdie’s face was painted on one side of the bomber and a Red Cross on the other.The bomber became as important as Birdie to the 392nd BG. Birdie writes of how they told her of every bullet hole the plane sustained. The day after it was christened, the Birdie Schmidt ARC flew a mission. Birdie writes in a letter to her parents that “it came back all shot up with a wounded left gunner” and when the crew went on leave after the mission they all “wore their flight jackets with my name plastered all over the back.”

Christening of the “Birdie Schmidt ARC”. Left to right: Birdie, Honorable Frances (mother of Princess Diana) and Mary Roche, their father Lord Fermoy, and Lt. Col. Lorin L. Johnson, the 392nd CO.

Christening of the “Birdie Schmidt ARC”. Left to right: Birdie, Honorable Frances (mother of Princess Diana) and Mary Roche, their father Lord Fermoy, and Lt. Col. Lorin L. Johnson, the 392nd CO.

Unfortunately, the ship went down in February 1945. Birdie herself went on to work for the ARC Cinemobile Unit in 1945 and performed for the 7th Army Special Service Shows in a production of “Charlie’s Aunt” at the Stadt Theater in Heidelberg, Germany. She returned home in November 1945, where she continued acting and later got a Master’s degree in education from the University of Central Florida and became a teacher.

Birdie Schmidt and Helen Malsed along with other actors at the Stadt Theater in Heidelberg, Germany. September, 1945.

Birdie Schmidt and Helen Malsed along with other actors at the Stadt Theater in Heidelberg, Germany. September, 1945.

 

 

Photographs displayed here are only a sample of what can be found in the Birdie Schmidt Larrick Collection. You can find more on Birdie’s unusual adventures on the Ohio Historical Society Online Collections Catalog and at the Ohio History Center.

 

 

Adria Seccareccia, Processing Assistant

Sources:

Birdie Schmidt Larrick Collection, MSS 1528. Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Larrick, Birdie Schmidt. “The Way It Was.” Columbus, Ohio, circa 1990s. Birdie Schmidt Collection, MSS 1528. Box 1, Folder 8. Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Obituary of Birdie Larrick, The Columbus Dispatch, April 2009. Accessed March 21, 2014 http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dispatch/obituary.aspx?n=birdie-larrick&pid=126721376

392nd BG Memorial Association. WWW.B24.NET. Accessed March 21, 2014. http://www.b24.net/index.html

 

[1] Larrick, Birdie Schmidt. “The Way It Was.” Columbus, Ohio, circa 1990s. Birdie Schmidt Collection, MSS 1528. Box 1, Folder 8. Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio. Also found online at http://www.b24.net/stories/birdie.html

[2] Letter, Birdie Schmidt Larrick to Parents, August 13, 1944. Birdie Schmidt Larrick Collection, MSS 1528. Box 1, Folder 3. Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

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Ohio Archives and Libraries Awarded Preservation and Digitization Grants

The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB) announces it has awarded grants to ten institutions to support archival projects. The funded projects include organizing and preserving historical records and cataloging and digitizing records for improved access. Overall OHRAB received thirty applications requesting more than three times as much funding as was available. The grants are funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), an arm of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

• Alliance Historical Society: Alliance Historical Records Preservation and Cataloging Project ($1,769.00)
• Canal Fulton Public Library: Preservation of Canal Fulton Local History Photographs ($800.00)
• Clinton County Records and Archives: Indexing and Rehousing of Probate Records ($1,500.00)
• Hardin County Genealogy Society: Digitization and Storage of Anna Lee Mayhorn Collection ($640.00)
• Historic New Richmond: Preservation and Cataloging of Historic New Richmond’s Archive ($798.00)
• Ohio Genealogical Society: Digitization of the “Ohio Story” Script: Bringing Old Radio Back to Life ($2,000.00)
• Otterbein University: Reclaiming the Presidential Papers, Part I: Walter G. Clippinger Papers Preservation and Indexing Project (1909-1939) ($1,960.00)
• Rocky River Public Library: Rocky River Public Library & Cowan Pottery Museum Records Database Project ($870.00)
• Summit County Historical Society: Captain Simon Perkins, Jr. Quartermaster Papers Preservation and Digitization Project ($1,600.00)
• Warren County Historical Society: Historical Records Preservation and Digitization Project ($1,042.00)

About the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board is the central body for historical records planning in the state. Board members are appointed by the governor and represent Ohio’s public and private archives, records offices, and research institutions. Administrative responsibility for the board rests with the Ohio Historical Society. The board also acts as the state-level review body for grants submitted to the NHPRC, in accordance with that commission’s guidelines.

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Lilly Martin Spencer: Artist and Ohioan

Join curator Emily Lang for a talk on Lilly Martin Spencer on Saturday, March 22 at 2 pm at the Ohio History Center and see some of the artist’s work in person.

During the mid 1800s Lilly Martin Spencer (1822-1902) was one of only a few nationally-known female genre painters.  “Unlike most women artists, she did not hail from a family who provided in-home training in art, though her parents’ radical social views contributed to their willingness to support her unconventional career.”[1]  The path that led to her art career stretched across the Ohio Valley, from Marietta to Cincinnati.

Self portrait of Lilly Martin Spencer.

Self portrait of Lilly Martin Spencer.

Angélique Marie Martin, called Lilly, was born in England in 1822. Her parents were a highly educated, progressive French couple. In 1830, she arrived in the U.S. from her native England to New York before settling three years later in Marietta, Ohio. She was home schooled by her mother who instilled in her that women deserved equal opportunities.  Her mother was a follower of Charles Fourier, a French philosopher whose ideas inspired the creation of Utopia, Ohio. He believed that cooperation was the success of society and that woman played an equal role in this.

Martin started experimenting with art at a young age. She drew portraits and landscapes on the walls of her family’s home in Marietta. Instead of being punished, her parents encouraged her artistic skills. Martin quickly became a fixture in the local art scene. She studied with famed Ohio painters Sala Bosworth and Charles Sullivan. Martin’s earliest work is of the Ohio River and the various economic endeavors of Southeastern Ohio residents. During this period Martin began experimenting with the domestic scenes for which she would later become famous.

Martin began to attract the attention of patrons in Marietta. She was commissioned to paint domestic scenes for housewives of prominent local businessmen. Her first exhibition was held in a church rectory in Marietta. Cincinnati editor Edward Mansfield “discovered” Spencer’s work during this show, encouraging her to move to Cincinnati. It was reported that Nicholas Longworth, noted Cincinnati arts benefactor, saw one of these shows and encourage Martin’s art but discouraged her moving to Cincinnati or exhibiting until she had more practice. Longworth even offered to pay for her to study in Europe. Martin ignored this advice and her parents moved with her to Cincinnati in 1841.

Cincinnati was a cultural and financial hub of the Midwest. Because of its location on the Ohio River and the boarder between slavery and freedom, a unique culture of abolitionism and patronizing the arts emerged. Artists from the Midwest flocked to the city, hoping for commissions from Cincinnati’s most famous art patron, Nicholas Longworth.

"This Little Pig Went to Market" by Lilly Martin Spencer.

“This Little Pig Went to Market” by Lilly Martin Spencer.

Martin quickly settled into life in Cincinnati, studying with James Beard and several other local artists. Martin met Benjamin Rush Spencer, an English tailor living in the city, in 1844. They soon married. Spencer stopped working and never worked for the rest of their marriage. This provided Martin the freedom to pursue her artistic career while he took care of their domestic life.  Martin and Spencer had 13 children, 7 who lived to adulthood.

With Martin being the breadwinner of the family, finances were often strained. In 1848, the family moved to New York City in search of a better art market. Spencer showed at the National Academy of Design and the American Art-Union. She became popular among the prosperous, middle class homes of New York City with her scenes turning increasingly domestic.  As one patron wrote of her work, “despite their comic familiar manner, she has contrived to introduce a moral into every one of her comic pieces.” [2] Martin used her own family as models for her domestic pieces.

"First Stew" by Lilly Martin Spencer.

“First Stew” by Lilly Martin Spencer.

While Martin was a popular artist, she simply could not get the commissions needed to support her growing family. She began to experiment with lithographs, eventually becoming one of the most popular producers in New York City. Unfortunately, due to bad contracts, she was only paid for the sale of the original oil pieces and not the lithograph copies. The family moved to Newark, New Jersey in 1858, constantly searching for cheaper places to live.  During the Civil War, Martin’s pieces became darker and more serious as her world rapidly changed.

After the Civil War, there was a push in the art market to acquire European art, leaving artists like Martin struggling to maintain their livelihood. In 1879, the family moved to a farm in Highland, New York. Her artistic style drastically changed during this period, focusing on rural life and detailed landscapes. Her husband, Benjamin, died in 1890 and she was then forced to sell the family farm. Martin continued to work until the day of her death on May 22, 1902.

Martin was a true visionary and pioneer for women in the arts. With the support of her family, she made artistic decisions for herself, whether it was the content of her pieces or the physical location she placed herself in to create art.

"Shake Hands?" by Lilly Martin Spencer.

“Shake Hands?” by Lilly Martin Spencer.

The Ohio Historical Society is fortunate to have several Lilly Martin Spencer pieces in the permanent collection including “This Little Pig Went to Market”, “First Stew”, and “Shake Hands?”. Recently, her piece entitled, Shake Hands? , was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. As part of the exhibition, Chef Meg Galus of NoMI explains how Lilly Martin Spencer’s piece inspires her.

How does Lilly Martin Spencer inspire you?

Emily Lang, History Curator

Sources:

Ellet, E. F. Women Artists in All Ages and Countries. New York: Harper & Bros., 1859.

Katz, Wendy. “Lilly Martin Spencer and the Art of Refinement.” American Studies 5, no. 37 (2001): 5.

Spencer, Lilly Martin. An Exhibition of Paintings Presented by the Ohio Historical Society: An Exhibit of Paintings and Reproductions of Paintings. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Historical Society, 1959.


[1] Katz, Wendy. “Lilly Martin Spencer and the Art of Refinement.” American Studies 5, no. 37 (2001): 5.

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