Thursday, September 8, 2011

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I've talked a fair amount about how the Manhattan Trade School for Girls would arrange employment for its students, and how the girls and their employers were then encouraged to report back on each other to the school. But how was that reporting done?

The answer comes from the postcard shown above (the two images are just the two sides of the same card), which gives us a peek into the way the school communicated with employers. Out of the 395 student files in my collection, only two of them have a postcard like this one, so the cards were apparently discarded after the information from the employer was transcribed into the girl's record.

The original reports from the girls regarding their work experiences weren't usually kept on file either. I have such original documents from only one student: a dressmaker named Ella Seeber, whose file contains three postcard reports on her work assignments. Again, this information was routinely transcribed into the girls' employment records, and then the cards were apparently tossed away. It's not clear why three of Ella's cards were retained.

Note that the card at the top of the page is nearly 100 years old!

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