Thursday, April 26, 2007

Headstone rubbing of Master Moody

The grave rubbing shown in this photograph is that of the headstone of Samuel Moody, the first Preceptor of Dummer Charity School. Born in York, Maine in 1725, Moody received his education at Harvard College graduating in 1746. Upon the completion of his studies, Moody returned to York to teach at the local public grammar school. In 1756 he left the public grammar school to form his own school in the community. Moody’s reputation as a charismatic and energetic Latin and Greek scholar attracted the attention of the Trustees of the newly established Dummer Charity School. He was hired as Preceptor and on March 1, 1763, in the newly constructed Red School House, Moody began his first day of teaching at Dummer Charity School with twenty-eight students in attendance. The Red School House still stands today and is located at the entrance of the campus.

Master Moody influenced the lives of five hundred and twenty-six young men during his career at Dummer Charity School, the name changing to Dummer Academy after the school was incorporated in 1782. Many of his young scholars became leading citizens to the New Republic. He was instructor to Senator Rufus King, who was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and original signer of the Constitution. He taught Tobias Lear, who became private secretary to President George Washington as well as, Samuel Osgood, who was appointed as the first Postmaster General under Washington. Master Moody also instructed the naval hero, Commodore Edward Preble, Commander of the USS Constitution, and Samuel Phillips, the founder of Phillips Academy Andover in 1778.

Samuel Moody resigned his position at Dummer Academy 1790 and spent his remaining years traveling and visiting at the homes of friends and former students. Moody died on December 17, 1795 at the home of a former student, Dr. Samuel Tenney of Exeter, New Hampshire at the age of seventy. His was buried in York, Maine. The following is a transcription of his headstone inscription.

Integer vitae scelerisque purus
Here lies the remains
Preceptor of Dummer Academy
(The first Institution of the kind in Mass)
He left no child to mourn his sudden death
(for he died a Bachellor)
Yet his numerous Pupils in the U.S. will ever
retain a lively sense of the Sociability, Industry,
Integrity & Piety he possessed in an uncommon degree
as well as the disinterested, Zealous, faithful & useful
manner his discharged the duties of the Academy
for 30 years.
he died at Exeter 17 Dec 1795
AE 70

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Underwood Standard Typewriter No. 5

This Underwood Standard Typewriter No.5 dating from the late 1920s must weigh at least 25 lbs! It is very heavy! Upon examining the solid metal “instrument of efficiency” I became fascinated by its design and beauty. It seems to capture a time when society was more steady and mechanical. In our faster-than-the-speed-of-light digital generation it is difficult to comprehend what it must have been like before computers, word processing and the email revolution. How did typists managed to produce correspondences, college recommendations and fiscal reports without making a mistake? Try to imagine typing without a delete button or spell check!

Shh! If you listen carefully you can almost hear the steady tap, tap, tap of the striking metal keys! A once familiar sound has faded into infinity!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dedication of 1936 Milestone to Mrs. Carrie G.K. Ambrose

Two years before her death in 1938, the Academy honored Mrs. Carrie G. K Ambrose by dedicating the 1936 Milestone in her name. “Mrs. Ambrose has probably known more boys at the Academy than has any other person. She was herself a student here in the days when a limited number of girls from the vicinity were enrolled. Since her graduation sixty years ago she has reside continuously in the neighborhood and had never failed to attend commencement ceremonies; and it is for her that many returning alumni first inquire on those occasions. The increased contacts with the school resulting from her duties as postmistress of South Byfield and Landlady of Ambrose House have in late years served to deepen the affection with which she is regarded by us all.” (1936 Milestone) Mrs. Ambrose died at her homestead in Byfield on January 6, 1938. “When we heard that she had gone”, wrote the editor of The Archon, “it seemed for a moment as though nothing was left in Byfield but empty space, but it was only for a moment. For where she loved and gave so much, life flows on enriched, because of her. It was only the pause before the turn of the tide”. (The Archon, February 5, 1938)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Diploma of Carrie G. Knight!

This one hundred and twenty-one year old diploma was given to Carrie G. Knight upon graduating from Dummer Academy on June 21, 1876. Signed by Headmaster Ebenezer G. Parsons, and President of the Board of Trustees, Reverend John Pike, the document acknowledges that Carrie G. Knight “has completed the English and Latin Course of Study in Dummer Academy and has sustained an honorable rank for Scholarship and Deportment.” Displayed on a prominent wall in the archives reading room, the framed parchment is a testimony to the young woman’s hard work in completing her four years as one of the first girls to attend Dummer Academy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Carrie G. Knight - Class of 1876

This photograph of Carrie G. Knight was taken at the time of her graduation from Dummer Academy in 1876. Carrie was one of six girls to first enroll at the Academy in 1872 under the direction of Ebenezer and Sarah Parsons. For a period of ten years, 1872 to 1882, neighborhood girls were accepted as day students. After graduating from the Academy, Carrie married classmate Frank M. Ambrose. They lived for many years in the 1695 Ambrose House on Elm Street built on a section of the original Richard Dummer grant. The ancient colonial home later became the site of the South Byfield Post Office with Mrs. Carrie K. Ambrose as Postmistress and is still standing today.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Headmaster Ebenezer G. Parsons and Sarah Parsons

Ebenezer Greenleaf Parsons, at the age of sixty, became the sixteenth Headmaster of Dummer Academy in 1872. In that same year the Trustees of the Academy voted to allow girls to attend classes under the supervision of Ebenezer’s wife Sarah, herself a teacher. For ten years the couple worked together educating their young pupils teaching such courses as Latin Grammar, Arithmetic, Greek Prose Composition and Reading. The names of six girls, Minnie Blake, Susie P. Blake, Carrie G. Knight, Jennie Noyes, Mary W. Small and Alice G. Woodman, appear for the first time in the 1872-1873 school catalogue as attending students. Ten years later, after Parsons’ resignation in 1882, girls were once again not allowed to attend Dummer Academy for another sixteen years, until 1898 under the guidance of Headmaster Perley L. Horne.

*Look for further information on Carrie G. Knight in a future blog posting!