Unfortunately, most records just don't go back that far, and our earliest school yearbook in from 1907.
But I did do some digging, to see just what kind of early records we might have, and found something of interest. In the 1880's the school district published a monthly "Reader" which consisted of writings from the second, third and fourth graders.
"Our Little Folks' Reader is published monthly during the school year, directly from manuscripts furnished by the pupils of the second, third and fourth grades (primary) of the public schools."
"Its aim is to improce the work of the above-mentioned grades in all of the elements of composition applicable to such grades, and to serve, secondarily, as supplementary reading. Enough copies are printed to serve all classes of the above grades."
The two issues that we have in the library are dated June 1887, and December 1888.
Here are some sample stories:
The Old Sly Cat
There was a cat; she was very sly. She would hide and if she saw a mouse, rat or bird, she would make a spring and catch it before you could think. One day the canary bird was let out of her cage, and before we knew what the cat was about, she had killed our pretty bird.
Emma Weber, Second Grade, Ruggles Street.
My brother's birthday is to-day. He is three years old. He is very rough and wild. He is very strong. He can climb pretty well, and he likes to run and jump. His name is Paul. He cries when he sees me go to school, because he wants me to play with him. He is very playful and very fat.
Herman Scherzinger, Second Grade Cherry Street.
Summer before last I went to Michigan. It took us a day and a night to get there. I had to go on the cars until I got to Milwaukee, then I got on the steam-boat. We were crossing the lake in the night. We got to Manistee in the morning. About three o'clock in the afternoon we went on a steam-tug to Hopkin's-peer and then we went in a wagon five miles to Pleasonton.
Swymour W. Cheney, Second Grade, Ruggles Street
Locked In The Postoffice
Last Saturday night I was out riding with a lady, and she wanted me to go and get the mail, which I did. It was dark and I could not find the box. There was a man in the office, and I asked him if he would find the box. He said, "Most certainly;" and he found it, but I could not unlock it. I tried quite a while, but did not succeed. Then I heard them lock the door of the office. I was very much frightened. I went to the door and cried, and a man in the other part of the office asked me what was the matter. I said that I was locked in, and he said, "Don't cry, I will let you out;" and he got my mail and let me out. I was very glad to get out.
Ida Rediker. Third Grade, Cherry Street.
This little reader is the earliest example of material found from out early schools. It prompted me to check the stories, and see just what schools these essays came from, so here is a list of schools.