Looking back: KSD, Feb. 25
By JoAnn Hamm and Mary Fran Melton, Jacobs Hall Museum volunteers
In 1874 Kentucky School for the Deaf began publishing a weekly in-house newspaper, the Kentucky Deaf-Mute, to give the male students an opportunity to learn the printing trade. KSD published the newspaper continuously from 1874 to 2004 with only a name change in 1896 – to the Kentucky Standard. From 1883 until 1942 George M. McClure was the editor of the paper. His relationships with students and wide connections with deaf schools throughout the country enabled him to create vignettes of student and staff life that help us understand how Danville touched the lives of students and staff at the school.
Boys, be polite. Give other people half of the walk when you meet them. Look them in the face and speak to them when you pass. Lift your hats when you meet one of the ladies from the Institution on the street. It looks so much nicer than if you let your hat stay on and walk as though you never saw them before in your lives. Don’t let people think that you are a clodhopper.
Our chapel was formally opened last Sunday with a lecture from Mr. Long.
Persons who missed seeing the Aurora Borealis last Saturday evening missed seeing a gloriously beautiful spectacle, indeed.
Our yard, where we were wont to swing in a hammock between two tall pines, is minus a tree now. The tree died last fall and has been dug up by the roots, and will be converted into kindling wood.
Gardener Christman is laying his plans for the spring campaign in the garden. It will not be long before we will have fresh vegetables.
A beautiful aurora borealis was visible for about an hour last Saturday evening from seven to eight o’clock. This is the first one that has been seen as far south as Kentucky since 1872. It was visible from the Atlantic coast, as far west as Iowa, and probably as far south as Alabama. By the superstitious these phenomenon are regarded as portents.
Last week, Col. Long, while riding down a hill on his safety, lost control of it and had a hard fall. He was badly shaken up and got his shins skinned.
A couple of workmen up on the roof of the school building, having gotten up through a trapdoor in the roof, were locked up in the building Thursday and had great difficulty in getting out.
In order to give the older girls a suitable place for recreation the desks have been taken out of their former study hall and the room converted into a sitting and recreation room. A lot of new chairs have been purchased for it, and the girls now have a place where they can rest, play and pull off their “stunts” to much better advantage than has been possible in the past. The study hall has been transferred to one end of the big dining room.
We still have the measles with us, but most of the cases are convalescent. The disease is of a mild type and does not keep the victims in bed long. It makes trouble and work, however, especially for the domestic department staff. There are cases in each of the four buildings used as dormitories, and meals have to be served in each building and in the hospital building besides.
It is expected that the disease will run its course inside of a week or two as there is little material left now for it to feed on.
The mid-term examinations are over with results about as usual. The epidemic of measles has interfered with the test in the primary and to some extent in the intermediate classes.
One thing that has been demonstrated at this examination, as has often been done if the past, is that the pupil who comes late in the fall and the one who overstays leave of absence at Christmas time makes a poor showing compared with those of equal mental ability who return promptly at the opening and do not miss time from school.
A terrible accident occurred at the school Tuesday evening about nine o’clock that resulted in the death of one of our pupils, Cynthia Sowders, of Trosper, Knox County, Ky. When the time came for retiring, the girls in the dormitory with Miss Sowders missed her and a search for her was begun which resulted in the discovery of her body at the southwestern corner of the girls’ building beneath an open fourth floor window out of which she had fallen. The distance from the window to the ground is about seventy feet and when discovered she was dead. Mr. William Zimmerman, Coroner of Boyle County, summoned a jury next morning and after an inquiry, a verdict was returned of accidental death from the fall. Just how the accident happened will probably never be known, for the young woman was alone at the time. The condition of the body when found seems to indicate that she was either dead or in a faint when she fell. It is believed that she had an attack of heart failure, for she had taken a long walk in the afternoon, getting back just before supper; after study hour she danced repeatedly in the girls’ recreation room, and when the signal to retire was given she ran rapidly up the stairs from the first to the fourth floor. The theory is that the heart was thus overtaxed, and feeling faint she raised the window for fresh air, the weather being quite warm, and becoming unconscious fell out. Miss Sowders was eighteen years of age and had been a pupil here for eight and a half years. She was a good student, and a good girl, doing her work faithfully, and such a thing as a reproof from her teachers is not remembered by any of her classmates. She was bright and cheerful, was liked by everyone, and her shocking death has saddened our household inexpressibly. A short funeral service was held in our chapel Thursday morning, after which the remains were taken to her home in Knox County for interment. To her mother and the relatives and friends, our hearts go out in sympathy at the sad bereavement that has come to them.
We no longer fill our ice-house when a cold snap comes; it is cheaper and more satisfactory to purchase the manufactured article as we need it. But if the old custom prevailed we would have had a splendid opportunity to fill the house this week. We have had several days of zero weather and the ice is now seven inches thick.
Danville is experiencing a coal famine, and with zero weather prevailing, there are only three or four days’ supply of coal on hand. Indeed, some of the coal yards are already entirely out, and prices at the other yard are soaring. It is selling at from 23 to 25 cents a bushel. Dealers say it is almost impossible to get coal. Conditions at the mines and especially the car shortage are blamed for this state of affairs. The dealers having the contract to supply this school have kept us well supplied so far, and we are hoping they will be able to continue to do so.
There is grief in the hearts of the small boys at the school, — the burro is dead. She came to us twenty years ago, a diminutive baby burro, a gift from the folks at the Colorado School to our little boys, and has since been a great pet with each succeeding generation of youngsters. She was lazy, docile and good natured, and of course, she had to endure a lot from the thoughtless youngsters. She never in the twenty years injured one of them. When the weather permitted, the yard boys had her hitched to a little cart every afternoon and she hauled away the trash picked up by them. It was great fun for the boys when the leaves were coming down in the fall to stuff the cart full and then climb on and ride to the dump, trying to coax the burro, always in vain however, to hurry on the journey. The cause of death is not known; perhaps as a friend suggests, she was homesick for the Rockies and the society of her own kin.
Elizabeth Hopkins, a sweet little girl of eight years, died Sunday morning of pneumonia, following an attack of measles. This was her second year in school and she was making excellent progress in her studies. She was bright and winning, and drew everyone to her, and her death has filled our household with sadness. Her mother died several months ago. Her father was with her when the end came, and took the body to Crab Orchard for interment. He was devoted to the little girl, and much sympathy is felt for him.
The Danville Fair Grounds, a lovely place just outside the city limits on the Perryville Pike, was sold Monday at public outcry. Dr. John D. Jackson, our School physician, was the purchaser.
Workmen are engaged in tearing down the old Young house on Third Street, close to the school. The site has been purchased by the City Hospital Committee, and, as soon as the demolition of the present building is completed, work on a large modern hospital will begin. The old building was, in its day, one of the finest homes in the city, and has an interesting history. At the time it was built, it was in the center of the fashionable residence district, and many distinguished people were entertained there. The last member of the Young family to occupy it was Mrs. Robert P. Jacobs, whose husband was a son of Mr. John A. Jacobs, for so many years Superintendent of this school. About twenty-five years ago he built the handsome Jacobs residence on Lexington Avenue, and the old house passed out of the possession of the Young family. It had changed hands many times since, its latest owner being Hon. C. C. Bagby who sold it to the hospital committee. It was one of the landmarks of this portion of the city, and will be missed by old graduates of our school when they come back in the future.
Some of the girls went to the Opera House with Mr. Morse and Miss Lea Meredith and we liked the shows. We had not gone up town or to the “movies” for two or three months on account of measles and other diseases.
On Valentine’s Day Miss Barker’s class had a party in their schoolroom. They played Post Office. Henry Grimme was postmaster. The children went to the post office and asked for their mail. The postmaster gave many pretty valentines to them. Miss Joiner, Miss Doneghy and her class came to the party. Each one received a pretty valentine. Josephine and Fannie passed a basket of cakes and candy. All had a very happy time.
We have given Gladys Risley a new nickname. It is “Rajah” because she bosses us girls around and insists upon us obeying her. When the secretary of the Literary Society invited “Rajah” to give us a Declamation on Saturday night, she made a good excuse. She said she couldn’t give a Declamation at that time because she hadn’t a fine dress to wear but she could wait till her mother sends her one. Then she would give us the finest Declamation we had ever seen.
KENTUCKIANS AT AKRON — The rubber shortage has, of course, affected the big tire factories in Akron, Ohio, where a good many of our graduates are employed. Most of these are holdovers from the boom days of 1917-19 when seven or eight hundred deaf workers were employed in the Goodyear Co. alone. These old timers have held their jobs all these years because of merit, practically all of them being members of the “Flying Squadron” which means that they are so well-trained that they can be transferred from one department to another when the need arises. But this is the age of the machine, and so much of the work of tire manufacture is done by these [machines] that, of late years, hours of employment dwindled, in some lines, to a point where the worker’s weekly pay check was discouragingly lean. But the restriction of the rubber supply and the war situation has caused a change in objectives, and the factories have turned to other lines of defense work and the deaf are returning to full time employment.
The deaf of Akron made a shining record of service in world war No. 1 and it appears that they are to be given the opportunity to again demonstrate that deafness is a minor factor where a skilled hand and an intelligent brain are required.
The newly-organized Literary Circle, composed of the deaf residents of Danville, had its first meeting Saturday evening, Jan. 31, in the chapel. Mr. Higgins, the Chairman of the Program Committee, presided. The speakers of the evening and their subjects were: G. M. McClure, “John Marshall, Father of the Supreme Court”; Miss Woolslayer, “The Story of Japan,” and Mr. Balasa, “A Story of Henry Clay.” A near-blizzard was raging outdoors but in spite of this, a good crowd was present and the Circle got off to a favorable start. The meetings are to take place once a month.
THE FOOTBALL UNIFORMS DRIVE PASSES THE $150.00 MARK — After two and one-half months’ work on the drive for new football uniforms, the Athletic Association boys have realized $150.63. Through the generosity of friends, sport fans and “Ol’ Timers” the boys have realized half of the goal set. At a recent meeting the drive committee decided to hold several shows in the chapel to increase the fund. The first showing of movies will be held February 28. Others will be announced later. The committee is also making plans to have a big party in the gym sometime in March. These plans will bring the drive to near its goal. If you “Ol’ Timers” feel like it you may send a donation to THE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, Preston Love, Treasurer. K.S.D., Danville, Ky. Your name will appear in the next issue of The Standard.
Miss Mary Elizabeth Daniel, a graduate of this school and Mr. John Joseph Balasa, educated at the Mt. Airy School, Philadelphia, were married Saturday, February 28th, by Judge Maurice J. Farris, Jr. at his office in the Boyle County court house. A few relatives and close friends witnessed the ceremony. After the wedding the couple left for Cincinnati on a brief wedding trip, but were back Monday morning to resume their duties at this school.
Mrs. Balasa has been officers’ cook (and a good one) for several years past — friend Joseph has drawn a capital prize in the matrimonial lottery. Mr. Balasa is instructor in tailoring in our vocational department, coming to us in 1934. Both are intelligent and popular. The Standard joins their many friends in wishing them the best o’ luck in the coming years.