Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Dear orthography friends,

I attended St. Vincent’s Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana from 1983-1987.  I was in the  119th graduating class.  It closed its doors forever in 1988.  (And, no, I don't think I had anything to do with that!) This week I ran across a history of St. Vincent’s.  Of particular interest to me was a list of courses taught back in the days when dirt roads surrounded the school and the convent, and the nuns had a surrey pulled by a horse and a mule…

“Some of the subjects that had been taught in the old St. Vincent’s were listed on the report card of one student who graduated in 1910 as salutatorian.  Listed were Application, Health, Grammar, Composition, Rhetoric, Algebra, Chemistry, Zoology, Literature, Geometry, Penmanship, Elocution, Piano, Painting, Drawing, French and Fancy Work.  Other subjects available to the students in the early 1900s included Orthography, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography, History, Christian Doctrine, Physiology, Mythology, Botany, Physics, Geology, Astronomy, Bookkeeping, Stenography, Typewriting, Logic, Moral Philosophy, Civil Government, Trigonometry, Latin, Plain sewing and Music – Including Piano, Violin, Guitar.”  (bold and italics mine)

So, the study of orthography was once alive and well at my alma mater.  I feel certain it died long before 1983, but I don't know exactly when.  What a shame that it was abandoned!  And if anyone knows what Application and Fancy Work are, please enlighten me!

Hope you all get some enjoyment from this brief blast to the past. 


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