Item #17994 Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903. Pennsylvania Orphanage.
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903
Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903

Large Archive of 337 handwritten pages From Pennsylvania Orphanage 1903

Archive

Large archive of 6 handwritten notebooks totaling 337 pages in pen and pencil written by Bessie May Rhoades who was an orphan at the Bethany Orphanage in Womeldorf, Pennsylvania, 1903. During the early 1900s, orphans were often children of neglect and poverty, some who sought out orphanages because the living conditions were an improvement over life at home or on the street. The education provided by these institutions, however austere, gave students opportunities beyond their origins. Notebooks range in size from 10" x 8" to 6" x 9" inches. Soft cover composition books with a range of attractive patriotic covers used at the turn of the century with colored drawings of young boys leading a parade. She has written parts of each composition books and there are blank pages in each one. The first entry in one book, written in Rhoades' practiced cursive, reads " Have you education that which no many can take from you for in the end it shines brighter than rubies and is more precious than fine gold." Five of the handwritten notebooks are composition books filled with high school class work giving an expansive overview of the state of education in 1903-1904, one additional notebook is school bookkeeping log with expenses and vendors. The twentieth century was a pivotal time for child protection laws and state intervention into child welfare including educational reform and adoption. Governmental courts did not begin ruling in child protection cases until 1899. The books contain the subject's class work across a range of studies including Advanced Algebra, Latin, Grammar, United States history, and Greek philosophy. The notebooks show a young orphan girl pursuing her education with dedication. One notebook also contains 8 pages of unsent letters or letter drafts written by Rhoades sharing personal news, one to her brother reading in part "Eight of the other girls and myself are going to Allentown on the 22nd of this month. They are going to have an entertainment in Selena church and we are going to take part in it. We are all very anxious to go." Life at the orphanage appears to have allowed more freedom than restriction for older students readying themselves to graduate and enter the world. The same notebook includes Rhoades' astronomy notes, "The sun and all its planets seem to be composed of the same kind of matter. They are all globular in form. They all have a spinning motion in the same direction. The planets all move around the sun and most of the satellites around their respective planets in the same direction." Another notebook contains 55 pages of algebra mathematical formulas including integer and multi variable equations, all written out in pencil. Some text may be copied from her text books, others include entries that appear to be original, "Summer is past and Autumn is again here. What a change we see in the country around us." The inclusion of the book keeping notebook suggests Rhoades may have taken on some administrative role at the school, her log containing dated entries from February 1903 to December 1904 of vendors with items purchased including "1 wheelbarrow 4.50 2 chest locks 2.70 1 treasure box 3.00...James Hall Cr. By cash on hand 3500.60 Made on hand 3250.40 Store fixtures 320.00." The record tells the story of daily expenses and upkeep for running a school and home for a large number of homeless children. A deeply personal archive detailing life inside an American orphanage during a pivotal moment in the history of child advocacy. Covers are partially or entirely detached with the vast majority of handwritten pages clean. Overall good condition.

Item #17994

Price: $880.00