Hometown History: Education Through Research

A picture of faculty from Rogers School in Jamestown in the 1930s.

In 1906, a school was built on Sherman Street behind W.C.A. Hospital. It was referred to as the Southside School and was to be an elementary school. Soon the name became the Sherman Street School as the Jamestown schools were changing from the District number to being named for the street on which they were located. In 1928-1929 school year, some names were again changed. The three junior high schools, named Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson were all in operation that year. As they were being built, Washington was referred to as the Buffalo Street School and Lincoln was called the Front Street School. The school at Eighth and Pine was renamed the Samuel G. Love School and the Sherman Street School, which had been used as the temporary Jefferson Junior High School, was renamed the Rovillus R. Rogers School. Both Samuel G. Love and Rovillus R. Rogers had been superintendents of the Jamestown Public Schools. This information can be found in the annual reports of the Jamestown Public Schools, which are in the collection in the Research Center of the Fenton History Center.

A recent donation to the collection of the Fenton History Center included photographs of the faculty of the Rogers School. The nice thing about these is that someone had written on the back of the photographs the names of the people in the picture. But in most cases it was only the last name, sometimes with an initial and a few times with a first name. A couple of the photographs had a date included but most did not. The dated ones were from the 1930s.

It was time to turn to those annual reports of the Jamestown Public Schools. Included in these annual reports are the names of all the teachers by school. Another list in these reports that has been used many times, is the list of graduates by year. Using these lists over the years from 1929 to 1937, many of the teachers could be identified by their full name. But the year of the photograph in some cases remains a mystery. A number of the teachers were there for all the years checked. Others appeared in the same picture with someone who was not there in the same year. This leads me to believe that in some cases teachers who had been there in earlier years were invited back for a reunion of sorts at the end of the school year. That is a guess because of the clothing worn in most of the pictures, which indicates that it was early summer.

One of the teachers had been there all those years but had married in that time. In all the photographs, she is listed by her married name. In the list of teachers, she is listed under her maiden name for some of the years and her married name for the last two school years checked. Only because I was familiar with the married name was I able to verify what her maiden name had been and it matched the earlier teachers list. It is likely that the person who wrote the names on the back remembered only the more recent names. In some cases no name was listed for a person, therefore it is probable that the names were added at a later date when some names were forgotten.

Many of the resources in the Research Center are used every day by the staff and volunteers to add information to something else in the collection. If you have photographs to identify further, we may be able to point you to reference sources that can help.