Sunday, February 07, 2010

Time Traveling Chrispy: In Search of ... Abbie A. Hathaway

From an 1892 report:

[HPL:Life,p.54] "Chester ... & I claimed the proud distinction of being the worst boys in Slater Ave. School ... antinomian in an arogant & sadoniic way - the protest of individuality against capricious ... authority..." ... Approaching Abbie Hathaway, the school principal, he announced boldly that he wished to make the {previously rejected graduation speech} speech, and she acquiesced ... June 1903.
I was rereading "HP Lovecraft: A Life" and began to think of Abbie Hathaway.

So, I plunked myself down in my self-made time machine and pressed the "Da Google" button for late 19th-early 20th century. Oh, how the sparks flew, and so, like an out of control Tardis, I landed slightly off the mark and began to make my way through the maze of relics and scraps of paper detritus left behind by those nobles of Theodore Roosevelt's era.

Alas, 21st century homemade time machines don't work as well as one wishes.

If all the traces I found are coherent, Abie A. Hathaway started her career in or near Cranston about 1874, possible the year she graduated from a teaching institute. This may have been her maiden name, as she is listed once as "Miss". I've never read anywhere where she married, (but there is a mysterios "Abbie Hathaway" in the early 1900's in Massachusetts who may have married a Thayer, a Harvard graduate minister).

Sometime later, and by possibly 1894 she had become principal at Slater Avenue which may have been built in 1890 (see notice above). She was still a principal as late as 1913.

I was unable to find a birth record, or other records in my brief efforts. So one suspects she would have been born about 1853 making her very near 50 at Lovecraft's graduation of 1903, and near 60 in 1913.

{To Kleiner, 16 November 1916} "She is now retired on pension ... I chat pleasantly with her ...", and thus she would have been toward 66 at this time, give or take a year or more.

My eyes fatigued, my Energizer Bunny(TM) lithium batteries nearly at an ebb, I depressed the "back home" button, engaged the special ruby slipper gears, and came home.

And thus. Lovecraftians, concludes my Sunday afternoon time travel trip. Notes below.


Here is what i discovered at:
Published by Rhode Island News Company,
113 and 115 Westminster Street, Providence, R.I.
Grammar, Primary, and Ungraded Schools,
Abbie A. Hathaway
And at
Annual Report of the Board of Education By Rhode Island. Board of Education
Abbie A. Hathaway is listed at Cranston as a "teacher", obviously early in her career.
And again at
for 1876 as a teacher.

Listed as "Miss Abbie A Hathaway" in an 1874 manual as a member of the Rhode Island Institute of Instruction circa 1874 - though the book is quite garbled.

1913 Providence City Manual lists Abbie A. Hathaway, Principal

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