Sepia Saturday – Miss Evans’ Girls and Boys

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

The prompt photo of Miss Garland’s girls was taken in 1900. I’m not sure who Miss Garland was or her relationship to these “girls”, but I am pretending that Miss Garland was their teacher.

My grandmother, Eveline Coates Hoskins, was born in 1900 in Mystic, Iowa, and attended East End School. Her teacher for several years was Edna Evans. My grandmother is in the 2nd row, 2nd from right in the photo below. It may have been a chilly day, with the boys – and only the boys – dressed in jackets and hats. Or maybe their mothers dressed them that way to look smart for picture day and not have to worry about wild hair and dirty overalls. The girls all have hair neatly styled in braids and bows.

East End School, Mystic, Iowa 1909
Edna Evans, teacher

The back of the photo has my mother’s handwriting, identifying where her mother is in the picture, and my grandmother’s handwriting, identifying the school and the teacher. I think the third bit of handwriting must be Eveline’s signature as a nine-year-old.

There are two copies of this photograph. Even though I can’t quite figure out who intended to send this second one to whom, it does provide a date.

Here is Edna Evans and her students again. My grandmother Eveline is the 7th student from the left. A tall girl has her arm resting on grandma’s shoulder. A warmer day this time – I hope! – as many of the children have bare feet.

East End School, Mystic, Iowa
Edna Evans teacher. Undated

Again, Grandma identifies the school and the teacher, but not herself, so I did that. And, once again, samples of her handwriting as a child and as an adult.

Is it just me or the poor quality of this photograph that leaves me wondering if these teachers are both Edna Evans. They look a bit different to me, although there is something about the left arm/hand. As I am prone to do, I went looking for information about Edna Evans, but I was left confused, so I won’t take you down that rabbit hole with me today.

Eveline graduated from Mystic High School in 1918. Here she is pictured first left on the top row. Her future sister-in-law, Alice Tingle is next to her.

But before graduation, Eveline had to complete her studies and earn the right to graduate. All of the grades on her report card her senior year are 90 or above, so she was in the clear.

I don’t have any pictures of Eveline and her class mates reclining on a grassy place holding their hats, but I do have the program from the Junior-Senior Reception held May 10, 1918. One of the speakers was … Miss Evans.

In this small community, it seems likely that Miss Evans kept up with this group of students that she had known throughout their public education. The graduating class consisted of eighteen students – fifteen girls and three boys. Most of the boys had likely ended their education after 8th grade to work, often in the coal mines.

I previously shared an autobiography that Eveline wrote as a school assignment in high school. She portrayed herself as having gotten in trouble a few times at school when she was young. I wonder if Miss Evans was her teacher at the time.

Miss Evans may have inspired my grandmother to teach – which she did – at East End School.

Did the graduating class of 1918 considered themselves to be Miss Evans’ girls and boys?

(I found the program for the reception interesting, but I’ll save that for another post.)

3 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Miss Evans’ Girls and Boys

  1. Bravo! Perfect photos for this weekend’s theme and a wonderful story of your grandmother’s school life. I enjoyed her autobiography too. I hope she would be proud that her excellent permanent record is now permanently displayed on the internet.

    It was interesting too, to see that there was one black child in her second class photo. That was not common I think, even in Iowa. I looked up Mystic, Iowa and was surprised at how its population reached nearly 2.,800 in 1920 and has now declined to just 322 citizens a century later. Progress never lasts.

    • The booming business of coal mining brought immigrants to Mystic and the surrounding area, including my grandmother’s English parents. I would have to check the dates, but I remember reading that some black men were recruited as strike busters, although they did not know they were brought in for that purpose until they showed up for work. It is possible that the girl in the photo is from one of those families.

  2. School pictures – ya gotta love ’em. The clothes may change. The hairdos too. But the format is always the same. Line ’em up, have the teacher stand off to the side, and snap the picture. I have class pix from grandparents on down to my kids’ class pictures and except for the fact they now come in color, the kids themselves pretty much look the same. 🙂

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