Our local paper, the Elk Rapids News, ran these rules for female teachers in its September 6 edition. They were found in the History Center of Traverse City. Some of them immediately spark my ire, but there is hope. Our country has come such a long way in a few decades. I hope for increased freedom for those in other parts of the world, and can hardly be blamed for thinking it will occur in less than 100 years with free-er countries like ours as a beacon. We certainly don’t get everything right, but as I said – there is hope!
Rules for Teachers (Women) 1908-1909
- You will not marry during the term of your contract.
- You are not to keep company with men.
- You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- You may not loiter down town in ice cream stores.
- You may not travel beyond the city limit unless you have permission from the School Board.
- You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with a man, unless he is your father or brother.
- You may not smoke cigarettes.
- You may not dress in bright colors.
- You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
- You must wear at least two petticoats.
- Your dress must be no shorter than 2 inches above the ankle.
- You must keep the school room neat and clean, must sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water; clean the blackboards at least once a day; and start the fire by 7 a.m. so the classroom will be warm by 8 a.m.