Redwood City Grammar School, First Grade, probably
CORRECTION: I have since found a report card dated June 7, 1910, certifying that Dorothy had passed first grade and would be entitled to admission to the second grade. First graders must have been older than six, or the writing on the back of the card misidentified a kindergarten class as a first grade class….
The back of this photograph says that it is the first grade class of my Aunt Dorothy. I have a different picture of the first grade, 1908,
so this is 1906 or 1907. CORRECTION: this is 1909 – 10. Dorothy is the small girl holding the banner, wearing a square neckline.
Dorothy said she liked school, but when she was in first grade, several months into the semester, a new girl joined her class. The new girl shyly came up to the teacher’s desk, and when asked her name, she said, “Dorothy.”
My aunt was outraged.
She managed to contain herself until the new girl was seated at a desk; then she ran up to the teacher, burst into tears, and flung out an accusing finger.
“That little girl stole my name!” she cried.
Seventy years later, when she told me this story, she was still embarrassed. “I was so little,” she said, “I didn’t know more than one person could have the same name.”
A Closer Look at the Students
Because of the limitations of the blog format, the only way I can give you a good view of all the faces in that class picture is by breaking the image into smaller close-ups. (One big 600 dpi image would take a long time to load!) To me the clothes are fascinating, but the faces are really worth looking at. It’s nice to see that not all the children in this rather large class have northern European ancestry. California has always benefitted from a multi-cultural population. But what’s really arresting, to me, is how old and how grave many of these children are. Many look well-cared for. But some are very tiny, some have been ill, some look angry…. (I wish I knew more about that boy in the center of the top row.)
Incidentally, notice how dusty their boots are. There were no paved streets or sidewalks, although there was a boardwalk downtown. I don’t know if the boys were wearing a uniform sweater, or there were just very few styles for sale at the drygoods store.
I have a whole series of class photos from this grammar school to share in the future. It will be interesting to see how many of these children I can recognize as they grow up.
From the top (first, a larger image in each category, then two smaller, detailed ones:)
The Girls, Bottom Right