Saturday, November 1, 2008

School Days - Boire Family Donation

In May The Alice received two donations from the Boire family - Julie Duprey, Cecile Miller, Susan Mercier and Gary Boire donated these pieces to the museum in honor of their parents Orel and Theresa Boire. The student desk and 1927 Dictionary are originally from Chazy Central Rural School, where Orel worked as an electrician and Theresa was a reading volunteer. Orel acquired the objects when the old school was being razed in the 1960s. Julie, Cecile and Susan shared memories of having used the desk to play "school" as children.

The student desk is a solidly built piece of furniture - truly made to last! On a metal handle of the desk drawer below the seat is inscribed, ' "MOULTHROP" MADE BY LANGSLOW FOWLER COMPANY, ROSHESTER, NY'. Samuel Parker Moulthrop was a progressive and effective educator, a devoted Mason, Sunday school teacher, public speaker, Boy Scout Troop leader, and outdoorsman in Rochester, NY in the 1890s and 1900s.

'Colonel' Moulthrop, as he was affectionately called, developed the design for a desk with an adjustable top in 1905, to be used in Washington Grammar School where he served as School Principal. This desk offered more flexibility for the classroom over the previous use of benches, and was also a better seat for the student. The design attracted the interest of the Langslow Fowler Furniture Company, a maker of Arts & Crafts furniture, and they began producing this new style of desk a short time later. Our desk is about the size used by a kindergarten student, has a recessed pencil holder on the desktop and in the drawer, and a little metal holder for the student's name on the back of the chair.

The 'Funk & Wagnall New Standard Dictionary of the English Language' from 1927 is a large, heavy volume that was probably referenced by many students at CCRS during its heyday! "Prepared by More Than Three Hundred and Eighty Specialists and Other Scholars Under the Supervision of Isaac K. Funk, D.D., LL.D., Editor-in-Chief" this volume must have been a wonderful resource. With over 2800 pages the dictionary weighs at least 20 pounds (it would have been the perfect book to be placed under your shorter cousin to boost him or her up at the Thanksgiving table!) With small engravings on most pages, the volume also includes numerous full-page illustrations (some in full color) on such subjects as Aeronautics, Bacteria, Coats of Arms, Fire-fighting Appliances, and Wireless Telephony.

The desk is now right at home in the Childrens Room, and the fully illustrated Dictionary sits on the table in the Lincoln Library. The Board, Docents and Staff at The Alice are very grateful to the Boire siblings for their thoughtful donation.

1 comment:

  1. I just purchased an almost identical desk at my local Salvation Army Thrift store for a song! Thank you for your post! It was the most helpful, as I searched for information about the desk.
    Beth in Syracuse, Ny