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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Following The Lives Of Girls From Their Decades-Old Report Cards

photo
(Courtesy of Paul Lukas)
Here is some of the information reporter Paul Lukas found in a stack of report cards from the 1930s-50s from the long-gone Manhattan Trade School For Girls:

  • The girls’ fathers had occupations which no longer exist in New York — rope grader, farmer, cigar roller, ship polisher
  • African-American and Hispanic girls had black or half black dots on their cards to protect the students, so they would not be referred to an employer who would refuse to hire them.
  • The school was founded by families like the Vanderbilts to give poor, mostly immigrant girls job skills to avoid poverty and dangerous work.

Lukas found the cards by chance and has been following up on the girls’ life stories, including the one who went on to co-found a toy company and design a doll that Caroline Kennedy carried around in the White House.

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