Tuesday, July 16, 2013

City Schools and Finishing Schools Part 1

There were two kinds of "city" schools during my (Andi's) time. The schools for the regular, public-school children, were pretty much like those of any public school. Some were divided into grades. Some were small and one-room, like country schools. Here is the post about school rules in a one-room schoolhouse.

For this post, I thought I would focus on the schools for the "rich," like the one Andi went to in the city of San Francisco. I hope it answers your question, Bethann.

Often, a well-to-do person opened their home and turned it into a school for young ladies. In San Francisco Smugglers, this is what Mrs. Edith Whitaker did. A young ladies' academy might be in a mansion, like the one shown here. A city school for rich young ladies might be a "day" school (Which I was hoping to attend and spend the nights at Aunt Rebecca's) or a "boarding" school, where students spend the entire term and only return home on  holidays, and where I ended up "stuck."

Sit up straight! No slouching!
A typical day at Miss Whitaker's Academy started early! We had to wake up at 6:00 AM and have morning prayers by 6:30. (I confess that I sometimes fell back to sleep during that time). Then we breakfasted at 7:15--exactly, and don't you dare be late!--and started class by 8:00 AM. Two hours and 45 minutes of classes, and then we got a short recess at 10:45. And I do mean short. Fifteen minutes. Barely enough time to find the washroom. "Luncheon" was served promptly at 12:15, but thankfully we didn't have to go back to afternoon classes until 1:30 PM. Another two hours and 45 minutes until "recreation" at 4:15 PM. That's when I had my horsemanship lessons for about an hour. Then supper at 5:45, and free time until 8:00 PM, when we had to study and do homework. We all gathered for evening prayer and Bible reading at 9:00 PM. Lights out came promptly at 10:00 PM. What a long day!

Speaking of horsemanship lessons, it's "sidesaddle" riding lessons. Very tricky. I finally figured it out after Juan Carlos gave me some tips, but let me tell you! It is no fun! And take a look at that riding habit! By the way, I found out later that Aunt Rebecca had to pay extra for me to take those riding lessons. She was probably glad to do it, seeing as she has never approved of me riding astride. 

Miss Whitaker's Academy for Young Ladies wasn't cheap, that's for sure. Oh, how I wish Mother would have invested the money in more practical things for me . . . like a new saddle blanket. My old one is getting worn. Do you know how many saddle blankets Mother could buy for the price of a year at a rich city school?  

It was $100 to enroll me for just one term. One hundred dollars! I think Aunt Rebecca paid the money, because Mother thought I was a day student, which is only about $10 a term. And that is only the base price--food and basic subjects. Of course, Aunt Rebecca wanted me to be instructed in other subjects too, and each "extra" subject cost money.

-- French class cost $25, and so did Latin, so that's $50 right there!
--Music cost $50, but that only lasted a couple of weeks. The piano and I do not get along.
--Drawing and painting, $50. I needn't say much about that. I spilled the yellow and red paint the second day, and I was withdrawn from the class.

Washing cost extra (Lin Mei probably got stuck with the laundry, and it's a good bet she didn't get to see any of the money). 

Miss Whitaker's Academy began the year on October 15 (fall term) and went through July 15 (a summer term). I only attended most of the winter term and the spring term. That was plenty of school for me! 

In PART 2, you can read about the subjects I had to take, plus a special set of "rules" for young ladies. They are nothing like Mr. Foster's rules at the Fresno Grammar School. 



  1. I am glad I do not have to go to that ;(
    but cool post and poor Andi.

    1. I deleted your other two comments, like you asked. :-)

    2. Thank you, my dad did not want his full name on the blog ,thank you ;-]

    3. That's what I figured when I saw the other "blogger" address. :-) Anonymous works for me! :-)

  2. Yes Shelby, I agree that I am VERY glad that I don't have to go there!!! I DO NOT think that I would enjoy it very much :)
    Thanks for the post, and enjoy camping!!!

  3. Cool :)

    I had forgotten I'd asked

  4. Thank you so much to Bethann for asking this question, and Andi for writing the post! I love these historical posts!

  5. Thank you that was great!! I love Andrea Carter stories!! :)

    1. You said it Jessica!!! :)

  6. write fast i like your storys

    1. :-) Thanks. I'm writing as fast as I can!


Let Andi know what you think!