Item 20 - For an Odd-Fellow or a Bored Boarding School Girl

For an Odd-Fellow or a Bored Boarding School Girl

“Boarding School Influence” in The Odd-Fellows' Offering, for 1849. New York: Edward Walker, [c1848]. 

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In this image a serene young woman sits quietly with her hands neatly folded as the still point in a storm of disorderly activity -- apparently demonstrating the sedating effect of the boarding school experience.  Around her children romp with newspaper hats and swords, an African American woman serves tea, and older women lean in to gossip over their sewing. In the accompanying text, Violet Vere’s Vacation by Frances S. Osgood, the title character describes her dilemma to a friend:

But if ever, for a moment, I yield to the almost irrepressible impulse which prompts a romp with the children, or any other dereliction from the duty of sitting upright with folded hands and parted hair, she is sure to call me to order with some expression as this: -- “Violet, that is not very lady-like; you are altogether to demonstrative; you did not behave so at Miss Primrose’s establishment!” Ah me! What a desperate inclination I feel to reply – “But, mamma, I am not a lady – I don’t pretend to be a lady – I am only a merry-hearted little girl of sixteen, who has come home to have a good time!”

Adopted by William Wallace in memory of Mary Brown

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