Norwalk High School Class of 1907 Demographics – Education After High School

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Norwalk High School

If the curriculum at Norwalk High School in 1907 was what these days we would call college-prep (and I think that it was), then we should expect that many graduates went on to college. And a good number did, although not all. Who of the Class of 1907 pursued higher education? The answer, in the main, depends on the gender of the graduate.

Of the seventeen women graduates, only two attended a degree-producing college. Another three women studied teaching or nursing at what today we would call technical schools (I realize that today these schools would be colleges, but not then). Women back then were expected to marry and raise families. The glass ceiling was set pretty low when it came to careers in 1907.

On the other hand, a full eighty percent of the ten men who graduated from Norwalk High School that year attended college. Did education guarantee success in life for these men? It seems so. The eight went on to careers in banking, law, industry and government, and all achieved at least some measure of success in their fields. They were the fortunate sons of Norwalk.

In my next two posts, we’ll look at the “who, what, when and where” of the education and lives of these five women and eight men.

But before I close today, I would like to explain how I discovered who went to college, and who did not.

The 1940 Census has been out since 2012, but I have not paid much attention to it, my research nose being firmly planted in the early twentieth century. Frustrated by lack of information from other sources, I had about given up learning who in the Class of 1907 went to college.

Then, while looking for something else (isn’t that always the case), I stumbled across a column for education on a 1940 Census form. There it was: the level of education achieved. How did I miss that all these years? Also on the form is a column for military service, something else I’ve had problems researching.

The answers to our questions are often right under our noses.

 

US Census 1940 - Wyoming - Barton.jpg

 

I couldn’t find a record of the 1940 Census for several of the graduates, and one died in 1936. But those few exceptions were a breeze to research, compared to tackling the entire class. I turned to Newspaper Archive, and in short order ferretted out the answers.

 

 

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