School Days. Shoes Optional.

The September issue of Flashbacks looked to the days of Windsor's district schools, when an educated young person (usually a woman) would be put in charge of a small schoolhouse and a dozen or so children from nearby farms and homes. What strikes me about the images in the following gallery, which seem to date from the 1890s, is that they recall group family portraits at least as strongly as traditional class photos. In most cases, the children at a particular district school would come from a relative handful of families. And teachers boarded on a rotating basis with the families of their students. So the relationship, though respectful, must also have been quite familial. While in some photos the facial expressions are quite solemn (due to the need for subjects to remain still for several seconds for a good exposure), overall there is a lot of smiling going on. And a casual attitude towards footwear. Thanks to the Windsor Historical Commission for these lovely images! Susan Phillips

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