JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE: Hunter College Medals #general

Pamela Weisberger <pweisberger@...>

Barbara Mannlein wrote:

<<In 1892, Julia DAVIS, my husband's grandmother, was presented with the
"Prof. Von Swarthout Medal" . In 1895, she was awarded the "Libbie Van
Arsdale Memorial Prize." Both medals were given by what was then known as
the Thomas Hunter Normal School (now Hunter College) in New York City Julia
graduated >from the Normal School in 1898. My mother-in-law ,who passes her
mother's medals on, was not sure for what they were given. She thought that
the Van Arsdale was given for accomplishments in music.>>

A quick search on the ProQuest New York Times Historical database yielded
many articles about this school, founded in 1870, and these
awards--including two in which Barbara's husband's grandmother, Julia Davis,
was mentioned by name.

The article dated February 12, l983 headlined: "Young Women Who Have
Finished Normal College Work" and listed Julia as a "Freshman Normal" who
had obtained a 95 percent average.

And in an article dated June 21, 1895 with the headline:

"Prepared Now to Teach - Young Women Who Have Finished Normal College Work -
Over Three Hundred Graduate," towards the bottom of the left column it

"The Prizes in the academic department were: The Libbie Van Arsdale Prize
for Progress in Music to Julia Davis." It then goes on to list a mulitude
of prizes in Latin, German, French, etc., including monetary awards and
several gold watches!

This is just another oppotunity to remind everyone of the rich resource
scanned and digitized newspapers are for the genealogist. The Normal School
graduated hundreds of young Jewish women over so many years, that it's
likely that many more JewishGenners grandmothers and great-grandmothers'
names appear in articles concerning this school and others, as the names of
graduates were routinely listed in The New York TImes. One charming
headline read: "Want to be Schoolmarms."

As for:

<<I wrote to Hunter College and never even received any answer.>>

I've had great success getting copies of my grandfather's college
transcripts >from both Cooper Union (1912-15) and Brooklyn Polytechnical
Institute (1918-1919). In the case of Cooper Union I visited the
registrar's office in person and was given a form to fill out for a
transcript request, and for Brooklyn Polytech I phoned their registrar's
office, learned that they access these old archives off-site, was told the
fee and information required, and two weeks after mailing in the request I
had my grandfather's entire file. This included not only his grades for
attending night school there, but a high school record for the one year
1911-1912 he spent at Stuyvesant High School (something I was not aware of),
and letters and telegrams >from the W.P.A in 1938 requesting the Polytech
write to confirm that he had graduated >from their institution before they
would appoint him to a job. His transcripts listed several home and business
addresses that were also helpful in furthering my research.

So, is definitely worth trying to obtain these educational records.
Call Hunter College again, and ask to speak to the office that issues
transcripts or has knowledge of where old records are kept. If records >from
the 1890s don't exist, they will tell you, and if these records do exist,
inquire about the fee to get copies and the procedure you need to follow.
Getting to the right person, by phone, is essential. Don't give up!

You should also continue searching through the New York Times database,
using such keywords as: "Julia Davis," "Normal School," along with the names
of the medals she received, and you are sure to turn up much more
information about her. Remember that most public libraries offer access to
these databases free of charge on site, or through remote access with a
card, as do universities. Consult your local branches for details.

Good luck!

Pamela Weisberger
Santa Monica, CA

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