Looking for Daisy in the Archives of the Saint Paul Public Schools

Lafayette School, 1915. (Photo:  St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press/Minnesota Historical Society)

Lafayette School, 1915. (Photo: St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press/Minnesota Historical Society)

I wanted a class photo, your name on a staff list.
From old city directories I have pieced together
a list of the schools where you taught—
Cleveland, Lafayette, Edison, Ericsson, Drew—
not a one of them standing in the next century.
Old photos at the History Center show their stern facades.
And what of the faces looking at you every morning?

I find a ledger listing the students of Lafayette School in 1901,
maybe some of them yours. The names are Jewish,
Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Austrian, Irish.
Birth countries listed, mostly foreign. Name
and occupation of parent or guardian:
butcher, peddler, shoemaker, cattle dealer,
watchmaker, stone mason, tailor,
rag dealer, pickle factory worker, hat steamer.

One column titled Date of vaccination. *

*Likely for smallpox.

And in the far right hand column,
Reason For Leaving.
Young Brigitte—Too timid.
Fourteen-year-old Ida Effenbein Left to go to work.
Her brother Charles, 13, No good reason.
Ten-year-old Mary Olson, Taken to the Orphan’s Home.
Six-year-old Alfred Greer afraid of measles.
Oliver Gagnier, no age given, whose father, a milkman, Refused
to buy books

Barbara Meckler, 12; Alida St. Aubin, 13; and
Annie Casey, 14; To help at home.
Fifteen-year-old Patrick Flaherty, To run the streets.

Daisy Agnes Wedge, how can you have taught
in Saint Paul schools from 1898 until just after
the second World War, and not leave a trace?

The school also kept records on the staff. In 1901 the average monthly wage of teachers was $63.54. Of the seventeen teachers, all women, twelve were high school graduates and five had also completed normal school. None had a four-year college degree.

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