A Brief Photo Essay on the History of Kentucky Education

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Transportation wagon, Fayette county, Josephine Barker Collection, University Archives, University of Kentucky, Special Collections

The “transportation wagon” was a proud symbol of educational progress early in the 20th century, second only to the new and enlarged school buildings they were designed to serve. ” Good roads,” the state’s Rural School Supervisor’s Report declared in 1917, “improve transportation: improved transportation makes possible [the] consolidation of district schools; consolidation invariably improves the schools.” The vehicle pictured here was purchased in 1911 for Greendale (Fayette County), one of the first consolidated high schools in the state. Standing beside Sam Brooks, the driver, is Nannie Faulconer, county superintendent from 1904 to 1921. The legislation which extended “school suffrage” to women was not enacted by the General Assembly until 1912, but women began holding office as county school superintendents in Kentucky before 1900.

On the wagons and school reform in the South, more generally, see William Link, A Hard County and a Lonely Place: Schooling, Society and Reform in Rural Virginia, 1870-1920 (University of North Carolina Press, 1986).

On the superintendency, see David Tyack and Elizabeth Hansot, Managers of Virtue: Public School Leadership in America, 1820-1980 (Basic Books, 1982), and Jackie M. Blount, Destined to Lead the Schools: Women and the Superintendency, 1873-1995 (SUNY Press, 1995).

 

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