“Education is Life:” Back to School (Again) with Ohio Memory

Five young students and their teacher at the blackboard in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Ohio, ca. 1906-1908. Via Ohio Memory.


“Education is not preparation for life: Education is life itself.” – John Dewey (1859-1952)


Western Hill High School in Cincinnati, ca. 1935-1943. Via Ohio Memory.

It’s the middle of August and, for kids all across the country, that means the return to books, lectures, and homework. It’s time for school to start!

This is not the first time the Ohio Memory blog has focused on the first day of school. Several years ago, we shared a variety of pictures from Ohio Memory collections, featuring students in and out of the classroom (you can find that blog post here). But Ohio Memory holds so many pictures, and so much information, relating to school that we couldn’t resist sharing a bit more.

On Ohio Memory, you can find a link to past annual reports on Ohio community schools, the most recent being for the 2016-2017 school year. For a variety of other reports – past state school report cards, directories, budgets, and so on – you can use this link. These state government documents will give you a picture of Ohio’s schools, both past and present and, in many cases, a view of Ohio’s educational goals for the future.

Moreland Elementary School students learning about the North Union Shaker colony, 1956. Courtesy of the Shaker Heights Public Library via Ohio Memory.

Speaking of pictures, Ohio Memory has plenty! Though progress and growth has led to the demolition of school buildings across the state, their images live on in Ohio Memory. There’s Genoa School House in Ottowa County, which was razed in 1910; or this Dillonvale High School building, which was built in 1925 after the original building burned down, and was demolished in 2009; or this unidentified one-room schoolhouse, so few of which are still standing. There are also images of buildings that continue to be used, as schools or for other purposes. One example is the John Hay school building, which now houses the Cleveland Early College High School. Another such building is Western Hills High School, seen above, which was built in 1928, expanded in 1938 and still serves as a high school today. Finally, there is Central High School in Columbus; originally a public high school, the building is now the location of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).

If you like seeing images of students, we have those, too, most notably those taken by Albert Ewing in beginning of the 20th century and depicting rural students in southeastern Ohio and central West Virginia. Other photo subjects include: students visiting their school library and utilizing the library card catalog in 1942; students at the Ohio State School for the Blind ; students planting trees in 1968; students dressing as, and learning about, Shakers in 1956; and so many more!

It would not be unheard of if you, or the students in your life, are sad to see August arrive. We understand, and have been there! But we hope you enjoy these images, nonetheless. And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures when the first day of school arrives so you can save your memories, just like we do at Ohio Memory.

Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital Initiatives Librarian at theState Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!


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