31 March 2009

The girls of 1905

Washington, D.C., circa 1905. "Gunston Hall preparatory dept." Early approaches to prep-school bling. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
Not your average schoolchild of the time; Gunston was an elite institution:

From "Handbook of the Best Private Schools of the United States and Canada" (1915):

Gunston Hall, 1906 Florida Ave., established in 1882, has steadily grown and now has an attendance of one hundred girls coming from prominent families in all parts of the United States. In 1905 the school was moved to its present site in a new building especially planned for its use. Gunston Hall is a boarding and day school and offers a great variety of courses from kindergarten to college preparation. Mrs. Beverly R. Mason, the principal, is assisted by a faculty of twenty-four, about one-half of whom have received college degrees.

This photo is from Shorpy; it enlarges to fullscreen so you can appreciate the blue eyes on miss top row second-from-left.


  1. One hundred girls, 24 teacheres. What a dream ratio for a teacher!

  2. The girl in the middle (in the bottom-row second from the right) is so cute. I wonder what story she has written in her life and what she has looked like with 30 or 40 years of age.

  3. The thing that strikes me about these good looking, rich girls is that they are all dead now.

    You look at their faces when they have their whole lives in front of them. What dreams they must have had.

    But even for the rich and well-educated, it doesn't last very long.

  4. Well written, Sally. I have exactly the same thoughts. But I find it fascinating too, because it gives you a point of view, you not always have. People usually don't think about the reality of death. But it is important to face it, because that will remind you of your ending time and ask you, what do you do with it or what have you done with it?


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