Sending children off to school today is a vastly different experience than it was in the past. Massachusetts has always been a pioneer in education, but it’s startling to see just how different schools and teaching methods were even half a century ago. Check out these incredible photos from the early 1900s of schools and students in Massachusetts.
1. A schoolhouse in the Savoy Mountains, 1931.
This simple one-room schoolhouse design was much more prevalent during this time.
2. The stove in a one-room schoolhouse. Savoy Mountains area, 1931.
Keeping warm in class wasn't as simple as flipping a switch.
3. New England school teachers on a picnic in Savoy Mountain State Park.
The importance of getting children outdoors was not lost on educators in the early 1900s.
4. A father reading to his children in Williamstown, 1931.
Young children were not as burdened with homework during this time, and were able to spend more time engaging with their family.
5. These boys in 1940 are part of their school's war production program.
Class work is part of their training to be expert tool and die makers.
6. Young girls were also kept busy during school hours during WWII by manufacturing gas masks.
These girls in New Bedford churned out multiple masks per day.
7. A girl scout troop in New Bedford, 1942.
Scouting activities often went hand-in-hand with learning skills that would be useful in school and beyond.
8. A boy scout troop performing a survival stunt in New Bedford.
Boy scouts still learn survival skills today.
9. The daughter of a Portuguese house painter in New Bedford, 1942
Doing homework at the kitchen table is a familiar scene even today.
10. A Portuguese school conducted by the Catholic Church in New Bedford.
No uniforms at this Catholic school.
11. Instructing young students in handwriting and penmanship at a Roman Catholic school in New Bedford, 1942.
This COULD be a scene from today.
12. Geography class in New Bedford, 1942.
The globe looks the same but some of the names have changed.
13. Singing hymns in class was once a fairly common activity. This scene is from a Roman Catholic school in New Bedford, 1942.
Did you sing hymns when you were in school?
14. A business class in the New Bedford high school, 1942.
A business class with no computers!
15. Headed to New Bedford high school in the morning, 1942.
Fraternizing on the steps.
Do you have any memories of school days like this? If you’re interested in other scenes from the past, check out
these rare photos taken in Massachusetts during the Great Depression.