Wednesday, April 07, 2010

More on Abbie A Hathaway and some revelations

As readers of this blog know, Abbie A Hathaway was the long term principal of Slater Avenue School. Originally it was a Primary School, and later it opened into a Grammar School. Through a set of school manuals, I traced back and found that Miss Hathaway's family seemed to have lived at 97 Blackstone Boulevard as early as 1891, and probably much before that. One may assume she lived there for many, many years afterwards, and thus why HPL would sometimes bump into her, as they were somewhat neighbors in her later years.

I can find no evidence she ever married.

Her father, assumed, was a carpenter and the home owner, while his wife was a milliner.

Abbie was the Principal of the 2nd Ward Primary School Slater Avenue Schhol. It was one of three, the others being Mantague Street School and Thayer Street School.

Abbie as principal was headquartered in Room 1, and had grades 5A, 4B, and 4A in 1898-1899. Casually reading the biographies, one presumes she might have taught Lovecraft then.

At this time, students left kindergarten and entered primary school at about 4-1/2. There were 5 years or grades of primary, four years or grades of grammar school and then a four year course of High School. This would all change dramatically for the start of the 1902-1903 year). Therefore we can set up a little chart.

4.5- 5 yrs old, grades 1A, 1B
5.5- 6 yrs old, grades 2A, 2B
6.5- 7 yrs old, grades 3A, 3B
7.5- 8 yrs old, grades 4A, 4B
8.5- 9 yrs old, grades 5A, 5B
(Lovecraft was almost 8 yrs, 1 month old on Monday 12 September 1898)

Lovecraft, due to his precociousness, was advanced to the highest primary grades for monitoring of his progress. The same would happen in 1902-1903 at the higest level of grammar school. He may have been ill in those intervening years, but it seems more an artifact of the Providence school system interfacing with Lovecraft's private tutoring than other reasons.

The assistant at Slater Avenue was Sabrina P. Prouty, headquartered in room 4 and being in charge of grades 3B, 2B, 2A, 1B, and 1 A in 1898.

Sabrina was sister of another teacher, Gertrude P. Prouty (another school) and they both lived at 39E George Street. This location seemed to be a conclave of teachers. Another group of sisters were teachers near here - at 36E George Street - and were Katherine M, Helen J., Lucy L., and M. Eliza Hurley.

Providence was in those lazy days (although it was beginning to burst at the seams) a clositered, calm world where many women still found work and careers through the Normal teaching schools.

A few other tid bits one might consider. One assumes that at this time HPL met his peer Chester Munroe, and his youger brother Harold Munroe (younger by roughtly 2 years). It seems that they also knew Manton Mitchell, the future war hero, who was 2 years old than HPL. Other than that, it's difficult (yet) to reconstruct things precisely.

Back to Katherine M. Hurley, she was lsited in 1898 as a third teacher (and only three are listed in the manual) and supposes she was an assistant as well, and the system probably used newly minted teachers to do fill ins, substitutions, and otherwise to gain experience.

Hurley lived at 39E George Street with (presumably) sisters Helen J., Lucy L., and M. Eliza - all teachers in the school system.

Lovecraft didn't attend a one room school house, but from all appearances the school was rather small by today's standards, and even small compared to its later expansion (by 1902) to accomodate Grammar School.

Records show that Sabrina Prunty and Abbie Hathaway worked together at least as early as 1894 and so probably from when the school was constructed. Prunty was still present in 1902, and perhaps beyond.

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