As the school year winds down, students begin to bring home books and projects they’ve finished during the year. The Yerkes Family, of Harmonville (Plymouth Township) saved many of their school notebooks, and eventually, they found their way to us. Both books shown below belonged to Anna Yerkes. This first one is from when she was a student at Plymouth Boarding School. There is no date, but from the context of the other notebooks in the collection, it is probably from the the latter half of the 1830s. It appears to be a homemade book with sheets of different colors and a cover that might be made from leftover wallpaper.
It contains poems copied in a very neat hand.
While the topic of the poem, “Thoughts on the Grave of the Child” might seem morbid to us. It was an issue that frequently appeared in the nineteenth century. People reflected on mortality frequently, and children were instructed early about the brevity of life.
The second book was created while Anna was a student at Bellmonte Boarding School, which was located” near the Bristol Pike, four miles from Philadelpha” according to an 1853 advertisement in the Quaker journal “The Friend.”
Again we can see a reference to death in the first stanza, as the mother refers to her “narrow bed.”
Did you save all of your school notebooks? Are they as neat as Anna Yerkes’ poems?