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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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The History of Education in Schenectady, 1661-62 — 1961-62

A Tri-Centennial Project of the Schenectady Public Schools
by Jeanette G. Neisuler

Prepared in cooperation with the Public Information Office, Schenectady Public Schools

108 Union Street, Schenectady, New York

Board of Education, City School District
City of Schenectady, New York, 1964

[This information is from The History of Education in Schenectady, 1661-62 — 1961-62 by Jeanette G. Neisuler (Schenectady: Board of Education, City School District, 1964), and is reproduced here with the permission of the author. It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 370.9747 N41, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

Contents

Preface(i)
Introduction(ii)
Acknowledgements(iii)
Chapter I: Backgrounds and Beginnings(1)
Chapter II: From Revolt to Cityhood: The Late 1700's(15)
Chapter III: Early 19th Century Gropings(28)
Chapter IV: The Lancaster System(38)
Chapter V: 1800-1848: Fire, Change and Growth(50)
Chapter VI: From Brooms to the First Board of Education(65)
Chapter VII: School Bell Rings for Public Education(78)
Chapter VIII: The Howe Era Begins(92)
Chapter IX: Problems of Philosophy and Growth(104)
Chapter X: Superintendent Freeman Sparks Controversy, Advances(116)
Chapter XI: Brubacher's Constructive 'Era of Good Feeling'(122)
Chapter XII: Two Whirlwind Superintendents(148)
Chapter XIII: Junior Highs Open, Vocational Education Enlarged(154)
Chapter XIV: Stoddard Brings 'Informal Education'(167)
Chapter XV: Pillsbury Faces Depression; World War II(176)
Chapter XVI: Fiscal Independence, Elected Board Approved(187)
Chapter XVII: The Present(197)
Bibliography(209)

Preface

Schenectady is a city rich in history. It is also a city which has long recognized the importance of education. The Schenectady Public School System has received innumerable requests for infomation about the history of education in Schenectady. Responding to these requests has been difficult at best, since no suitably organized information was available.

The History of Education in Schenectady was decided upon as a means of meeting this need and was initiated by the Schenectady Public Schools in connection with the 300th anniversary of Schenectady in 1961-62.

In this undertaking, we were most fortunate in securing the services of Mrs. Jeanette G. Neisuler, who worked with the Public Information Office, as well as other offices and individuals, in obtaining data and in preparing the manuscript. Mrs. Neisuler's painstaking research and her warm, lucid writing are evident everywhere in this history. Her broad focus on the educational problems of the past gives valuable insights and perspectives relative to current educational questions. The author has done the people of Schenectady and students of education a great service in the research and writing of this history.

Robert E. Murray
Superintendent
Schenectady Public Schools

Introduction

The History of Education in Schenectady is a relatively brief, informal account of how elementary and secondary education developed in Schenectady.

The narrative opens on the world position of The Netherlands and its educational philosophy at the time of the founding of New Netherlands. This beginning is in keeping with the objective of relating events in Schenectady to those of larger scope, thereby aiding the reader's perspective. Also, the prose and vocabulary of this volume have avoided the complex in order that it may be of use to pupils in our schools.

Mrs. Jeanette G. Neisuler, the author, has produced a highly readable, most illuminating and yet scholarly work. Readers will undoubtedly join those of the school system staff who worked with her in a feeling of deep indebtedness for the contribution she has made to ours understanding of education.

David V. Vrooman
Public Information Office

Acknowledgements

The following committee of professional staff members was responsible for the planning and publication of The History of Education in Schenectady: Robert E. Murray, honorary chairman; Dr. Donald J. Sayles, chairman; David V. Vrooman, co-ordinator, Mrs. Eunice Bishop; Mrs. Irene Elliott, Miss M. Rita Lyons, and Mrs. Carolyn Tarbell.

The assistance of Mrs. Ruth Fenzl and Mrs. Selma Epstein of the business office in making past minutes of the Board of Education and other materials available to Mrs. Neisuler should be noted, as should that of Mrs. Ruth Crouch of the superintendent's office.

The cooperation of the city's history center and of the Schenectady County Historical Society also was important to the research involved.

The recollections of Charles W. Clark, retired director of vocational education, Miss Mae Begley, retired principal of Van Corlaer Junior High School, and others, was most helpful.

The work of Mrs. Grace T. Landers of the Public Information Office and Mrs. Olga Ahnert, typist, in preparing the manuscript is gratefully acknowledged.

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