Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dunce Cap

Today's picture is from 1905 and it shows a student with the "Dunce Cap". The dunce cap was a form of punishment of making a student wear a silly hat for acting out of line. When I was growing up I can not remember anyone using a dunce cap, but I can remember teachers would spank students in the classroom as needed.


  1. I assume that the book on the floor must belong to the poor dunce...is that a book strap adjacent to it??

  2. Wondering about the white tie, scarf, bandage ? around the teacher's neck!

  3. I started school in 1951 and do remember the talk of the infamous dunce hats.
    The principal was also supposed to have a razer strap belt for bad kids.
    A couple of my teachers use a ping pong paddle to spank misbehaved kids.

  4. I'm trying to figure out the configuration of the seats. The students in the middle seem to be boxed in, while those in the front and back rows only have half a desk.

  5. This is lengthy but I think you will find it interesting. My first and second grade school was a 2 room school house called Capen Elementary in Stoughton, Ma. Built in 1893. The first grade was down stairs and 2nd grade upstairs. When it was built 1st-3rd grade was downstairs and 4th-6th grade was upstairs. Wide pine board floors and cast iron desks with the chairs attached. The desk and chair combo was bolted to the floor. The desks had ink well holders in them. 75 kids had claimed my desk before me since 1893. I was the last kid to use that desk in 1968. How happy that first kid in 1893 must have been with a brand new desk and a brand new state of the art school. Everything was still in great shape 75 years latter when I got there. On top of the roof was a bell tower. The bell was still there and had a rope hanging down so you could ring it. The 2nd graders got to ring the bell because they were the older. I was in the last 2nd grade class to attend that school in 1968 and then they tore it down. I was in the first 3rd grade class to attend the new North Elementary School. Now we had a gym, cafeteria, auditorium, huge playground, and all the latest teaching tools. Everything all shinny and bright. I liked the Capen so much better! That school was like being in a time machine. I still have a big 12 by 18 inch picture of flag day 1968 with all us kids from the 1st and 2nd grade standing on the steps of the Capen waving our flags. A photographer came down and took our picture for the paper. The photographer was a neighbor of ours so he made my mom and dad a big copy of the picture for framing. All us kids were dressed up that day, the boys wore skinny ties and skinny pants (as was the style then) or bow ties and the girls wore dresses and saddle shoes. I'm very lucky to have experienced such a great start in my school experience.


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