#ThrowbackThursday 10/6/16: A School for Boys

Welcome back to the second installment of Throwback Thursday, where we examine something from the Harrisburg Telegraph exactly 100 years ago.


Issue of the Harrisburg Telegraph from October 6, 1916 Found at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038411/1916-10-06/ed-1/seq-3/. The article on Burd is on the far left side of the page, and extends most of the way down that side.

October 6th, 1916

On this day a century ago, the Harrisburg Telegraph publish an article about an influential woman of Bedminster, Pennsylvania, a township two-and-a-half hours east of Harrisburg (by modern standards of travel).

The newspaper story begins its account of Lucy M. Burd in this way, “Here is the story of one woman who consecrated her life to God through service to humanity.” Ms. Burd started an industrial school for children who needed a home. She began this process with little money and help from other people. Nevertheless, after being loaned part of a farmhouse and land from the owner, the vacant area developed into a home.

In the first year, maintaining the home for children, mainly boys, was not easy. There were serious financial concerns, and the residents had to learn how to economize in every way possible. For example, the boy in charge of milking the cows determined that they needed to limit the amount of milk they consumed. The boys were all willing to limit their milk intake, but they interestingly did not limit the amount of milk given to the cats. Burd did all she could to provide for those she took in, and they took interest in work around the farm as a way to contribute.

In the second year, there was less financial worry. Lucy M. Burd came to own the farm and its land due to new friend’s contributions, but there were still shortcomings. There still was not enough money for teachers, and the boys would sometimes become very bored. Some of the boys even ran away, but they would always be “anxious to get back, and they would describe their trips with the greatest interest.”

Burd then goes on to explain what being successful means to her. This can be condensed into a quote provided at the end of the newspaper article: “We can be what we will to be. We can do what we will to do.”

I personally find this article to be very interesting, because the work of one woman was appreciated as extraordinary. The article may have not been the most progressive piece ever, but that cannot be expected due to the societal circumstances at the time. The dedication of this woman to taking care of children in need got the attention of people in her own time period, and again now as we view her accomplishments.


More newspaper articles like this from the Harrisburg Telegraph can be found here.

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