book released about country school
The Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society in Craigmont is proud to announce the release of their new book School Bells and Ink Wells. The book will be available at an open house hosted by the group on May 1st.
The project got off the ground in 2005, when members of the society started sending questionnaires to former students who had attended one of the 36 country schools in Lewis County. Several former teachers were also contacted. The stories in this book are written the way the authors experienced or remembered them 60-80 years ago.
Between 2005 and 2010 it is estimated that over 1,000 letters asking for information, stories and pictures were sent out. During this time, news articles about the school book were published in the Lewis County Herald, Cottonwood Chronicle, Idaho County Free Press, Central Idaho Post, Clearwater Progress, Lewiston Tribune, and the Golden Times section of the Lewiston Tribune. However, no doubt there will be many who did not hear about this book or who did not respond and therefore whose story is not included.
Many hours were spent in the Nez Perce and Lewis County courthouses looking up land records, survey locations, teachers' contracts, county commissioners' records, and trustee ledgers. The files at the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society and other archives were also checked to verify accuracy.
Eyes grew dim reading old newspapers to find articles pertaining to schools as well as snippets from the "40 or 50 or 60 Years Ago" gossip columns, detailing daily life at various schools.
Historical society members with mapping skills did the survey, the physical, and the GPS locations; many former students also helped locate and verify sites.
Many historical photos were loaned or given by their owners to be scanned for the book, and additional photos came from the collection of the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society or from other historical groups.
Anyone who had ever laid eyes on a word processor was put to work typing handwritten copies, extracts from books and newspapers, or they were trapped into doing the dreaded transcribing of oral history tapes.
Each chapter contains the following information: name of school, alternate names, and district number; survey location, GPS coordinates, and physical location; photo of the school if available; general information, stories, and newspaper articles, list of teachers with years taught, list of probable teachers who could not be verified by a contract or from other sources, photos of and newspaper articles about teachers, and teachers' stories; list of students' surnames by year, newspaper articles and students' stories. At the end of each chapter are all available photographs.
One of the last chores was the layout where all the stories, pictures, and other information were merged and formatted into book form. Finally the book was indexed. When all of the previous steps were complete, the book was printed and bound.
The Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society would like to invite everyone to an open house on Sunday, May 1st from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Craigmont Community Hall. There will be displays of country school memorabilia, and books will be available for sale. For more information contact Edith Leachman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-924-5498.
Also, the same day, there will be a barbeque at noon to benefit the Craig Mountain Veterans’ Memorial. This will be held in the city park, weather permitting or in the Legion Hall in case of rain. You may have lunch before the open house and then enjoy dessert while visiting with others who attended a country school.