The Quincy School Committee issued this circular on September 1, 1835 with the full title of “Rules and regulations for the public schools in Quincy: also, some remarks on the due observance of the rules, addressed to parents.” On the webpage for the current Quincy School Committee, their mission reads as “the purpose of the School Committee is to establish policies and make decisions on the basis of educational philosophy and goals, the most crucial of these being facilitating the optimal learning experience of the children enrolled in the Quincy Public Schools.” Comparing that with the text of this circular shows that the purpose remains relatively unchanged 187 years later.
The section for teachers covers five points, some of which fall into generalities like start and end times to the day, absences, and tardiness. The fourth point is the most lengthy, and addresses student conduct. In this section, teachers are tasked with trying to keep their students with instructions as follows, “You are also requested to prevent their throwing stones or any other hard substances at each other, or into any of the enclosures about the premises you occupy . . . Allow no quarreling among the scholars at any time - nor any vulgar or profane language . . . Impress upon their minds the importance of correct manners and habits; inspire in them a strict regard for truth, honesty and amiable deportment . . .”
The committee voted that a copy of the circular should be printed and a copy sent to every family in the town. On the back of our copy is a handwritten notation dated September 1835 that reads “to the School Committee, Dorchester” so it’s possible that the circular was sent to other local school committees to serve as a reference. A stamp on the back indicates that the State Library received it as a gift on August 25, 1936, though a search of the 1936 annual report did not provide any additional information about the gift.
If you’d like to mark the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year by checking out some school resources and textbooks from the 1830s, then be sure to visit us from September 1 through October 3 to see these items in person!