New York: 1909.
Softcover. Small notebook used as a diary measuring 4" x 6.5". Written on 26 pages with a title handwritten in pencil on the endpaper which reads, "At Hawthorne." Disbound and lacking the boards, toning and thus good only.
A diary kept by a woman who was teaching at The Hawthorne, Jewish Reform School for Boys. The entries are dated January 18 through October 28, 1909. Although the writer is not identified, there is evidence that she was related to Louis Roth, who was a member of the New York Public Service Commission. Many of her entries discuss her issues with the school from disputes with male administrators to health problems of her students. An entry dated January 20th reads, “went home disgusted accomplished nothing…” Another from later in January reads, “hygiene problem at the school is very bad. Diseased boys allowed to continue to stay.” Other subjects that come up are women’s roles and the suffrage movement. In one entry she writes, “…couldn’t sleep. One thing went through my head. Must a woman sacrifice everything for the man she loves without receiving anything in return. Decided to go back to college as soon as Bertha [her daughter] graduates.” Another entry reads, “read on woman suffrage. Went to bed deciding that in spite of loving, one need not marry. There are many fields for women and with some training in any particular field I feel I could make a success.” She talks about giving her boys a “good heart to heart talk” and trying to help “break them of their slang.” She also writes about the school as a façade saying, “people come and look around and of course the place is beautiful in itself and these people are so deceived.”
According to the Jewish Women’s Archive, the Hawthorne School was a “Jewish reformatory for boys that opened in May 1906 in Hawthorne, New York. The school, one of the first such institutions in the country, was built on the “cottage,” or group living plan and was widely acclaimed for its emphasis on rehabilitation, rather than punishment, in the treatment of troubled youngsters.” Historian Albert Fried writes, “The Jewish Protectory and Aid Society, an uptown-sponsored philanthropy, was launched in 1902 and opened the Hawthorne School in Westchester County…its six cottages held nearly two hundred boys, all of them sent there by New York Children’s Court for an indefinite term – until, that is, the School decided to release them….In one year, three thousand Jewish youngsters appeared before Juvenile Court.”
An interesting account of a turn-of-the-century female teacher working at a Jewish reform school for boys.