Monday, July 15, 2019

Amanuensis Monday: The Education of Herman Feinstein

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe a newspaper clipping mentioning a great grandfather's schooling. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat has recently been added to the digitized holdings at Born in 1886, my great grandfather Herman Feinstein was 15 years old in 1901.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 17 April 1901, page 9. 
Closing Exercises Held Last Night at Jefferson Building.

The closing exercises of the Jewish Alliance night schools, at the Jefferson school building, at Ninth and Wash streets, were held last night under the direction of Prof. Emil Mayer, the principal. An attractive program was presented. It was opened by a song, “The Flag of the Free,” sung by the school. Recitations were presented by Ida Gellman, Louis Lambrakis, Ralph Goldman, Simon Shipper, Fannie Brenholz, Beckie Herman, Jacob Frelich, Annie Hall, Ike Stern and Mary Fridkin; orations by Sam Shor and Sam Shipper; dialogue by Esther Sherman, Sadie Greenspan, Carrie Dubinsky, Jenny Mason, Herman Feinstein and Jacob Rosenblatt; debate on “Resolved, That education should be compulsory,” by Emil Goldstein on the affirmative and Simon Ludwig on the negative; a song, “The Linden Tree,” by Fannie Brenholz, Rose Alberstein, Jennie Mason and Sam Shor; essay by Harry Singman, and the song, “Good Night,” by the school. A number of prizes were distributed by Rabbi Samuel Sale, and short addresses were made by Rabbis H. J. Messing and Moritz Spitz.

The enrollment for the term, which began in October, was about 350. Six assistant teachers were employed, Misses Sophie Barron, Rose and Minnie Kahn and Fishell, Isaacs and Goldberg. The school is maintained by the Associated Jewish Charities for purpose of affording opportunities for acquiring an education to the younger Jewish element of that locality who are employed in the daytime. It is under the management of a board of directors, the officers of which are Elias Michael, president; Louis Bry, Vice President; Albert Loth, secretary, and Isaac Schwab, treasurer. The next term of the school will begin in the new building that is being erected by the Jewish Charitable and Educational Association at Ninth and Carr streets. The new building is a three-story structure, 150x50 feet in area, and will cost upward of $40,000.


1) Closing exercises doesn't necessarily mean graduation. From the description it appears all students at the night school participated, and there is no indication which students would be returning the following term. From this article I know my great grandfather in 1901 at age 15 had a job during the day and was receiving the equivalent of a secondary education at night. I also have insight into the type of education he was receiving.

2) I wonder if the presentation category of "Dialogue" was similar to the "Dramatic Interpretation" or "Duo Interpretation" categories in modern Speech and Debate competitions.

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