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Our Lady, Queen of Angels, Old Mission Plaza Church, Los Angeles

The Glory of the Schools of Los Angeles

(Excerpted) We are indebted to Laura Grover Smith for the following very illuminating and inspiring chronicle of the birth and growth of public education in the City of Los Angeles:

The school in the early pueblo of Los Angeles was not regarded as an indispensable thing in a new community, as it was in New England settlements. It was not until the tide of immigration brought eastern men and women from communities where schools had been established, that education by way of schools became important in the little pueblo of Our Lady of the Angels.

Thirty-seven years from the time of the founding of the pueblo, under a Spanish governor, Maxima Pina taught the first school. It lasted a short two years and he received $140 a year.

The next record found allowed the purchase of a bench and table for the use of a school in the pueblo. Doubtless the bench and table were for the school kept by Lucian Valdez from 1827-32. This was the longest school period under Mexican rule. The only paid officials in the pueblo were the secretary of the ayuntamiento, the sindic or tax collector, and the schoolmaster, when there was one.

The schoolmaster’s salary was not to exceed $15 a month, and the chief qualification and requirement was that he should not expect, and certainly must not ask for an increase of salary. In the latter event he was to be dismissed as unfit for the office.

In addition to the long vacations, there were frequent short ones when the teacher would be called to explain. It was apparently quite a satisfactory excuse to say that the scholars had run away! Saints’ days were holidays, and each child’s name saint’s day was invariably celebrated, so schools, to say the least, were intermittently conducted.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.


A Short History of Libraries

This 1827 article on the value and history of libraries appeared in Washington DC’s Freedom’s Journal.  Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks. From the beginning the editors felt, “… that a paper devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge among our brethren, and to their moral and religious improvement, must meet with the cordial approbation of every friend to humanity…“.


Constantine crowned by Constantinople

Constantine crowned by Constantinople

Of the many efforts made by the friends of learning in different parts of the Globe, none have met with more success, nor been attended with more benefits to the community at large, than the establishment, in different cities, towns, and villages, of libraries : whether we consider them as public, social, or private. All nations appear to have been sensible of their value, whether we recall to the reader’s mind, the papyrus of the Egyptians; the parchment of the Romans; the pictures of the Peruvians, or the palm leaves of Sandwich Islanders. Many of the wealthy Romans had private libraries . Libraries were also established by several of the Emperors as Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, Trajan, and others. Even the cruel Domitian sent to foreign courts for the purpose of collecting and enlarging his library . In the reign of Constantine, there were no less than thirty public libraries in Rome. The most magnificent of all, was the Ulpian library, founded by Trajan.

We know little about the middle ages; between the destruction and revival of literature in Europe. It is highly probable, however, that very few were preserved by the rude tribes of Goths and Vandals, who, at that period began to overrun Europe, sparing neither age, sex nor condition. For what value could men, rude and uncultivated “as the beasts that perish” and are not, set upon the classic authors of Greece and Rome? – Plunder was all their aim, and little cared they for the most valuable manuscript of former times.

But former efforts, in former times, when books were scarce and dear, were nothing compared to the great principles now in action by the moderns. It is true, we read of the Alexandrian library, containing at the time of its accidental destruction, five hundred thousand volumes; but whether they were sheets of parchment, each composing a separate volume, is left uncertain. Of the advantages to be derived from the perusal of interesting and instructive books, we need not enlarge: we need not assure those aspiring after knowledge, that the path to Minerva’s Temple, though still with many inequalities in the road, is as open as it ever was, to those self-taught men of this and former ages, who have been the pride, not only of their native countries, but of the age in which they lived.

The extent of a library is indefinite: and rules for its formation must depend chiefly on the purpose for which it is designed. Its real and nominal value consists not in the number of the volumes, but in the goodness of the selection. An ancient sage is said to have possessed only four volumes.

But though, we, who live in the present enlightened era, need not expect such difficulties in the way in procuring books, or acquiring knowledge; we contend, that every facility should be placed before our youth, that the many moments now spent in idleness and dissipation may be employed in storing their minds with all kinds of useful knowledge, and preparing themselves for future usefulness. “Knowledge is power,” we are assured; and I need not inform our readers that were we as a community, to be judged by that standard, we should be exactly in our present condition, were not the present circumstances, beyond our control in a measure, really in the way.



Should the Sexes Study Together? (1868)

My Dear Mrs. Stanton: Allow me to say in reply to the Many queries on the subject of educating the sexes together, and particularly in reference to a desire you expressed to me, when passing some time in your society under the roof of a mutual friend at Peterboro, that the Cornell University should commence its labors with an organization of both sexes, that the Cornell University as I understand it, is neither a college nor a school, but a combination of both: in which every liberal art and science is to be, not exclusively, but universally taught. The mental as well as the physical and material. Indeed, the word University signifies an assemblage of colleges and schools. It is a body selected from the head of these colleges and schools to govern the whole. It is a mistake, then, to call it a “Free Agricultural College.” This is only one of its many departments, of which you can easily satisfy yourself by a careful perusal of a “Report of the committee on organization, presented to the Trustees of the Cornell University, October 21, 1866, by the Hon. Andrew D. White. “That an University founded upon the liberal principles of the Cornell, would be of great service in the cause of woman’s higher education, I admit; but I am not in a position to state whether an association of the sexes, in the pursuit of such education, would be an advantage either to society or the country at large. In the study of poetry, music and dramatic literature, in which I am especially interested, I think it would be an advantage to include the presence and association of the fair sex, whether in the schools or at the public lectures. Indeed, should a professorship of these refining branches of education be established at Cornell University, it would, I think, necessitate the admission of ladies to that especial course.

I have no objection to the development of the mind, to the utmost, in either sex, but in the woman, I would very much prefer that the heart should be thoroughly cultivated. There is, in both sexes, too little stress laid on the education of the heart and the affections, in preparing for a life which is to be spent in personal aggrandizement or in developing the physical resources of a new country. Yet, a cultivation of the moral and intellectual sides of both man and woman’s nature has much to do with the formation of a pure domestic and social life, and of their ultimate rest and happiness.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.


journal box

Create a Genealogy and Family Hope Chest

Yesterday we shared a link to the first post in Lorine Massey’s Genealogy and Family Hope Chest blog series that she published in 2009.

The link was very popular and shared widely on Facebook, but a few people asked about links to the rest of the series.

Here is a quick set of links to each of the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog’s posts on creating a Genealogy and Family Hope Chest.

Be sure to follow Olive Tree Genealogy on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and YouTube for more great stuff.


Adam was first formed, then Eve

A Sermon on Women by a Lay Preacher

“Adam was first formed, then Eve.” 1st Timothy 2:13.

Among those who evince more conceit than good sense, and more effrontery than wisdom, are to be found some who profess to believe that man is endowed with an intellectual capacity superior to that of woman; and contend that, as Adam was first in primogeniture, and constituted lord of this lower world, so was he made superior in intellect to Eve, who, being the second in creation, was also second in mental power. They also attempt to substantiate the claims of man to greater intelligence than woman, on the ground that husbands are commanded to give honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel. And furthermore, that it was owing to the feebler intellect of Eve that Satan, in the great temptation, assailed her, instead of Adam, expecting an easier victory.

Having assumed these facts, most complacently do they fold their arms and, with a compassionate, pitying look on woman, enjoy their fancied superiority! We will now examine these claims, and see if they are tenable.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.

 In the first place, then, we admit, that Adam was first formed, for it is so stated in the text; but we nowhere find it stated in the record that he was formed greater than Eve. Now, concerning the whole creation, wisdom marks its progress at every step, and wisdom we are commanded to follow and embrace. What man, therefore, if he be wise, and desirous of building a house perfect in all its parts, would not first prepare a model or design of such house, in order to obtain a satisfactory and perfect plan, before the erecting of his edifice? So Adam was first formed. The model being approved, Eve was then made after that model; and as no man, in building a model for his house, uses the same valuable materials that he employs in erecting the house itself, so Adam was made of that coarse material called earth, while Eve was not formed until that substance had undergone a powerful change—had become purified, refined, and sublimated—and then, in the perfection of beauty and excellence, was she produced and given unto Adam, “to be an help, meet for him.” Mark the modesty of Eve: she puts in no offensive claim of superiority, on the score of a more refined nature, but seems content to live with Adam as his equal—and for a while, all was harmony in Paradise.