Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What's in a Name?

A while back, when Gossips recalled the visit to Hudson of Beatrix, the Crown Princess of the Netherlands, in 1959, we learned for whom John L. Edwards Primary School was named. It was Dr. John L. Edwards, whose house at the corner of Prospect and Rossman avenues was the site of the reception for Beatrix which preceded what was probably the biggest parade in Hudson's history. It's still unclear, however, precisely why, a few years later, a school was named for the good doctor.

Recently, Rachel Spath Kappel shared a document found among her grandmother's papers. It's an invitation to attend the graduation exercises, on January 23, 1924, for the "Continuation School" of Hudson Public Schools.

A little research into the history of state education in New York revealed that the Wilmot Law of 1913 required young people between the ages of 14 and 16 who had quit school to go to work to attend part-time continuation schools. In the 1920s and 1930s, all the "big cities" in the state had such programs, and apparently Hudson did, too. 

What's interesting about this document, for those seeking to understand why schools bear the names they do, is the appearance of the name Montgomery C. Smith, then the superintendent of the Hudson Public Schools. It's not known (not by Gossips anyway) if Smith was still the superintendent in 1937 when the school that now bears his name was built, but we do know that when the school was first built it was not called Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School. It was called Chancellor Livingston High School.

Now all that remains is to discover who Charles Williams was.

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