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“Students are not to shovel sugar into their cups”

October 28, 2015

For the past several years, the Special Collections department at the McNairy Library and Learning Forum has been digitizing the faculty meeting minutes of the Pennsylvania State Normal School of the Second District (the earlist manifestation of the Millersville University of Pennsylvania).

The project encompasses the faculty minutes from 1871 to the 1950s.

Recently, the first volume was published online in the Keystone Library Network digital collection: [When you navigate to that site, please note that the collection provides a transcription for each page. To access the transcription, the user can either click on the “Text” tab or choose the “View Image & Text” button.]

Covering the years from 1871 to 1878, the minutes provide a snapshot of the concerns and issues related to an early co-educational school. Recurring topics include individualized reports on student progress, regulations, absences, health, the deportment of students, table manners, and the interaction between the sexes (which is strictly regulated).

Below you will find extracts from the minutes of 1871-78. I chose the following passages in order to illustrate not only the mores and concerns of the faculty at that time but also to illustrate the expressive language employed by the participants.

Jan. 10, 1873
Mr. Book sent out of the building for dancing in his room.

Apr. 17, 1873
See that pupils when explaining a prob. on the board assume a graceful posture and that the pointer be held in the hand next the board.

Apr. 27, 1873
Quite a lengthy discussion was entered into on the subject of pronunciation. It was agreed that the German pupils should be corrected.

Jan. 16, 1874
[Suggestion for teachers] To avoid giving too much matter outside of the text-book; the teacher should crystallize his thoughts, put them upon the board, and require their pupils to copy them.

Feb. 26, 1874
Mr. Read expelled for the reason that he accompanied Miss Mattie Barkley to Lancaster after being told not to.

November 27, 1874
It was agreed that the fol. Dining room regulations should be announced:
1. Sections. These shall consist of eight persons except at the head of the table where the no. shall be 9. Pies shall be dis. among the no. 6.
2. Carving. The meat shall be cut in thin slices and across the grain.
3. Passing Things. Each mem of a div. shall be helped to meat before anything else is passed to them. Ladies helped first. When any dish is asked for it shall be passed directly by the person most convenient to it.
4. Bread. When the crusts of bread have not been taken off before bringing it to table, the person passing it shall remove them to the side of the bread on the plate.

Feb. 26, 1875
No spitting on the floor to be allowed.

Apr. 12, 1875
No whispering by teachers or pupils from the time the first signal bell rings until all the pupils are out of the dining room.

Apr. 22, 1875
The chair suggested that the teachers assist him in creating a sentiment against defacing the prop. of the school.

June 3, 1875
[T]eachers having charge of halls should make it a point to visit all their pupils who may need their cheering presence.

June 10, 1875
The pres further remarked that he had ascertained that Misses M. Ball and Updike and Messrs Hayemen and Lark had been having secret meetings at various hours during the day and evening.
Pun[ishment]. The two gentlemen and Miss Updike expelled and Miss Ball on account of her confession recommended to leave school not to return again.

October 28, 1875
The green grocers not permitted to leave the yard after tea without permission.

Feb. 4, 1876
New Regulations. Students are not to shovel sugar into their cups nor use more than 4 teaspoonfuls. Molasses mugs to be kept in saucers when not in use.

Mar. 17, 1876
Miss Hartman stated that some days ago she found Mr. Kauffman and Miss Brice locked in Mrs. Clark’s room…The secretary read a pledge signed by Mr. Kauffman and Miss Brice which was, to effect that if they again violated any of the important regulations of the institution they would be expelled…After some remarks by several mems of the faculty Mr. Westlake moved that Mr. Kauffman and Miss Brice be expelled. The motion was seconded put and unanimously carried…
June 21, 1877
A letter from Mrs. Becca Kaffman [aka, Miss Brice, having since married Mr. Kauffman] was read by the pres. She states that she is trying for a position in the West and…she also asks the pres. to write her a recommendation in which he is not to speak of her repeated and grave violations of the regulations of the institution. The pres. said he would assist her as much as he could without making any sacrifices of principles.

Apr. 27, 1876
No jumping to be done in the front yard.

September 21, 1876
That [the teachers] should take occasion now and then to speak words of kindness and encouragement to the soldiers orphans under our charge and thus make them feel happy and contented.

December 7, 1876
The chair suggested that when the teachers are absent from their classes that they leave them in charge of some competent person…Pupils should clean the boards by moving the erasers downwards.

Jan. 4, 1877
Orphan girls are not to have any more stationary unless they pay cash for it.

Mar. 21, 1877
Students not to get up until 4 o’clock AM.
No jumping in the front yard.

Apr. 26, 1877
Mr. Behimer remarked that some of the students play croquette in Locust Groves. They must discontinue.

May 17, 1877
No carrying of water during study hours.

May 31, 1877
Some of the gentlemen at the lower tables take the ice off of the butter and put it in their water.

October 18, 187[7]
Holiday to gather chestnuts to be restricted to the senior class. Ladies not to go out after tea without special permission. Clock to be turned back ten minutes so as to be with railroad time.

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