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This 1906 graduation commemorative souvenir booklet depicts a patriotic scene on its front cover. A man (teacher) in a toga holds a torch in his left hand and a sphere in his right. He stands between classical columns,facing a rising sun as an American flag waves in the upper right. On the upper left, is a photo of Maude Mabel Dunkelberger (1881-1977), the teacher of this class. This booklet was produced by Seibert Publishers in New Philadelphia, Ohio, for the District No. 1 Public School in Cherokee, Iowa. Multi-age schooling was contested by some as too community driven and diverse; detractors complained that one and two room rural schools contributed to the decline of white, Protestant culture. Many progressive reformers spoke in favor of rural schools though so they remained popular as the nation’s student population continued to increase, but eventually fell out of fashion as these schools began to age, and it became more economical to transport students and centralize school services in district schools.
Inside is a thin, almost translucent page with a red stamp that reads “In Memory of days spent together in the school room this token is presented with the compliments of YOUR TEACHER.” The next page appears to be a sewn-in insert listing the school name, district, teacher, and pupils. The following pages contain a poem accompanied by printed illustrations celebrating the hard work of both teacher and her students throughout the year. The last page features a short rhyme about “the flag above the schoolhouse door,” embracing patriotism in the classroom. Finally, the back cover features and illustration of a watermill building.
Maude Dunkelberger lived with her mother and father, Mary and Marshall Tracy, as late as 1910. In 1911, she married Melvin Franklin Casey when she was roughly 29 years old. After getting married, Dunkelberger most likely left her teaching position as she is listed as having no occupation in the 1920 census. Her transition from teacher to housewife reflects a common trend for early female education professionals in many jurisdictions. In fact, many areas implemented marriage bans for female teachers as it was taboo for women to raise children while maintaining a career. It was not until after Dunkelberger’s marriage that these bans became contested and married women entered the profession to a greater extent than was possible before.
United States: Iowa, Cherokee
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
printed (overall production method/technique)
Gift of Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection