“My great-grandmother and great-great uncle, Laura and John Hassinger, graduated with the Class of 1891,” said Joby Topper, “but I won’t focus on them alone. There were forty-two others in their class.
Serving the under-served:
A case study of the CSNS class of 1891
The 2nd annual Robert and Helen Burgess Terrill Lecture at LHU
March 15, 2012
Lock Haven University will host the 2nd Annual Robert and Helen Burgess Terrill Lecture on Monday, April 2, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in the Wollock Learning Commons on the second floor of Stevenson Library. This year’s presentation is “Serving the Under-served: A Case Study of the Central State Normal School Class of 1891” by Joby Topper.
Topper will examine the Central State Normal School (CSNS) in historical context and affirm the school’s dual function as teacher-training institute and college-prep school for working-class and lower middle-class families in rural Pennsylvania during the late 1880s and early 1890s. An LHU librarian, Topper is a 2010 graduate of the Higher Education master’s program at Penn State, where he specialized in the history of American higher education.
“My great-grandmother and great-great uncle, Laura and John Hassinger, graduated with the Class of 1891,” said Topper, “but I won’t focus on them alone. There were forty-two others in their class. They were sons and daughters of farmers, tradesmen, and small businessmen. Some were educated in remote rural school districts where 8th grade was the peak of most students’ formal education. Principal James Eldon and the Board of Trustees of the Central State Normal School adjusted the school’s mission, curriculum, and tuition in order to accommodate these disadvantaged students. Their normal school diplomas gave them an opportunity to enter the teaching profession or further their education at a college or professional school.”
An exhibit on the library’s second floor complements the April lecture. It is divided into four parts. The “Fire & Flood” case describes the Fire of 1888 and the Flood of 1889, two major disasters that framed the early days of the Class of 1891’s experience at the CSNS. The “Trustees” cabinet focuses on the prominent local citizens who managed the school’s business affairs. The “Faculty & Curriculum” case includes biographies of faculty and a general outline of the curriculum. The “Class of 1891” display-board includes photos, student biographies, and news-clippings that offer a glimpse of student life.
This lecture series is made possible by the generous support of Colonel Robert and Helen Burgess Terrill.
Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.