Thursday, March 19, 2015

Student of the Week: Madeline Garbarini

For all documents, click to enlarge

Our latest Manhattan Trade School student is Madeline Garbarini, a dressmaking student from Staten Island whose primary card is shown above. I should admit from the outset that her story is not particularly remarkable, but I was drawn to her student record because of her photo, which is one of the most engaging and likable portraits to be found in my report card collection. Let's take a closer look:


Nice haircut and jacket, right? Here are her grades, which were generally solid if unspectacular:


And here is Madeline's work record. The interesting thing here is that she left the school in 1927 but was still taking job referrals from the school in 1937 — another case of the school maintaining a surprisingly long relationship with its students:


And here are the comments regarding Madeline's work experiences:


Here's a transcript of some of the more interesting commentary (as usual, I've spelled out some abbreviated terms and made other small adjustments for the sake of clarity):

Oct. 14, 1927: Working with tailor and do not like it. Rather work on dresses. JBA [job placement secretary at school] called O'Sullivan [the employer], who said she would arrange to have girl do part-time work with tailor and part-time dressmaking.

Dec. 21, 1927: We get an extra dollar if we get to work on time every day. I like this place very much.

Feb. ??, 1929: "Don't like it." AMG [school official] wrote telling girl to come in last [day] of month if still dissatisfied. Dressmaking positions scarce now.

Dec. 14, 1932: Worked two months this fall. Prior to that, I was unemployed for one year. Anxious to get a position as a finisher or [sewing machine] operator.

Feb. 15, 1937: Attending Manhattan Trade evening School, Millinery Dept.

Very interesting to see that Madeline went back to Manhattan Trade to learn millinery. This was during the Great Depression, of course, and she must have been desperate to increase her employment prospects.

That's all I have for Madeline. If you know more about what became of her, please get in touch.

• • • • •

Every now and then, someone will email me out of the blue and say, "I was doing some genealogical research and spotted a family member on your list of report card students. Could I see her student record?"

I receive only two or three of these emails per year. So it was rather amazing when I received two of them, just a few hours apart, this past Tuesday. In both cases, I've emailed the report card scans to the people who got in touch and am hoping they'll agree to do follow-up interviews with me for Permanent Record. Stay tuned.

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