Kingsport: School Days

It’s a new semester and to celebrate that I have installed a new exhibit on the main floor of the Kingsport Public Library: classroom portraits from the 1950s through the 1970s. The archives is asking for your help to identify some of the teachers and students, too!

The left case features photographs from Douglass, Washington-Lee, Robert E. Lee, and Andrew Jackson schools.

The left case features photographs from Douglass, Washington-Lee, Robert E. Lee, and Andrew Jackson schools.

Notice that the pictures are numbered. On top of the case there is a box with forms for you to put the names of individuals that you recognize. If you are familiar with picture seven then you would write on line #7, “Jane Smith, Row 1, second from left,” etc.

The rights case features photographs from Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison schools.

The rights case features photographs from Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison schools.

The only two photographs in the exhibit that are completely identified are the last two images from Madison Elementary School. These are from an excellent scrapbook donated to the archives by the┬ániece of Miss Reba Robinette, the school’s only principal. The exhibit also includes information about the history of each school.

I am┬áincluding two of my favorite portraits for your enjoyment. Even if you did not attend Kingsport City Schools as a child, the exhibit is a fun tour of the era’s fashions. You can tell by the way the children are dressed that “School Picture Day” was a big deal to most of the families.
smMadison
Who can resist such an adorable game of peek-a-boo?
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The Washington and Lee classroom portraits are amazing for their display of the children’s self-control and obedience. I am sure Miss Richardson had difficult days, but don’t we all wish kids sat in their desks like that today? Amazing!!

The exhibit will be up for a couple of months but the collections that they represent are still open for research in the meantime: David Peirce Collection (KCMC 258), James Madison Elementary School Scrapbook (KCMC 423), and the Washington and Lee School Portraits, Scrapbooks, and Notebooks (KCMC 322). Many classroom portraits can be viewed online through the Archives Image Database (http://www.kingsportlibrary.org/archives/).

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