Back to School!

Students at Jackson-Milton School in North Jackson, Ohio, ca. 1940.

By this time in August, most schools around Ohio are either back in session or gearing up for the first day of class. What better time to take a look at some of the historical school photographs we have available on Ohio Memory?

We’ve got a wide range of images related to Ohio schools, from elementary schools on up through universities, and from one-room schoolhouses to a photo of the reunion of Perrysburg High School’s Class of 1943. You can see classrooms from Home Ec. to Physics, and student groups like the High Bicycle Club at Oberlin College and the Shaker Heights High School majorettes. We’ve even got Ulysses S. Grant’s boyhood schoolhouse!

Barrett Junior High School class, 1929

The students pictured above attended Barrett Junior High School, a Columbus public school located on the south side of the city. Built in 1924, it originally served as home to South High School before becoming Barrett Junior High. Columbus is also home to Indianola Junior High School, which was the first junior high in the country. In the early part of the 20th century, only seven percent of Columbus’s children actually graduated from high school. Columbus school officials hoped that new schools, consisting of the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades, might better prepare students for the rigors of high school and keep a larger percentage of students enrolled. On July 6, 1909, the Columbus Board of Education formally approved the creation of junior high schools in Columbus, founding IJHS shortly thereafter.

School portrait taken December 4, 1906, by traveling photographer Albert Ewing

We also have a great selection of school group portraits like the one seen here, which provide a fascinating glimpse at schoolchildren of generations past. Many of these were shot by photographer Albert Ewing, who traveled the region surrounding the Ohio-West Virginia line capturing images of daily life. The details in his photographs are well worth exploring–note the young boy who seems far too young to attend school in the front right of the above picture, as well as the boys front and center who appear to be holding the schoolhouse rifle!

Students in Canal Winchester, 1946, proving that recess has always been the most popular period of the day!


Miscellaneous school supplies belonging to Ohio student Katherine Lucile Hageman, ca. 1910, courtesy of the Lorain Public Library via Ohio Memory. Some things never change!


Third-grade students at Mercer Elementary School in Shaker Heights, posing with “computers” that they built following a lecture from a computer expert, 1967. Courtesy of Shaker Heights Public Library via Ohio Memory

To see more of the great images we have related to Ohio schools, visit Ohio Memory today–you might even find photos of schools from your own past!

Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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