Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Anniversary Issue: 125 Years. Our Stories. Our School.

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Page 30 of 163

The Class of 1906. Initially, their intention was for the school to operate for two years to prepare their children for boarding schools out East. Mary Blatchford was insistent that it should follow the Quincy Method, a progressive, child-centered approach to education that had been introduced by Francis W. Parker in the Quincy, MA, public school system in 1875. The Quincy Method abolished rote memorization – the long-time basis of American public school education – and offered a new way to approach the education of children. It was a less rigid and formal way of teaching and arranged interrelated subjects around a central core. It emphasized socialized activities and creative self-expression focused on developing each child's individual personality. The method had proven extremely successful in Quincy, where students excelled in reading, writing and spelling. In 1883, Parker came to Chicago to head the Cook County Normal School, and many Chicagoans became acquainted with his methods. With the hope of finding a teacher trained in the Quincy method to head the new school, Blatchford contacted the superintendent of schools in Quincy requesting a recommendation. This led to the hiring of Miss Mabel Slade Vickery, a recent graduate from the Salem Normal School teachers college and current principal at Orange High School in Connecticut. Led by Miss Vickery, Latin's first students – Gilbert Allen, Frank Blatchford, Huntington Blatchford, Harry Bradley, LeGrand Burton, Howard Coonley, Charles Hematin, Henry Porter, Arthur Wilkinson, Frank Wilkinson and Prentiss and Stewart Coonley, who joined the class a few days later – embarked on a curriculum that included Latin, Greek, French, German and English as well as math, science and art. During its first years, Chicago Latin School moved several times. In 1890, General A.C. McClurg invited Miss Vickery to continue the school in his home, first at the Robert Todd Lincoln House on the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Scott Street, and then at 125 Lake Shore Drive, where the McClurg family moved in 1892. When A.C. McClurg left Chicago with his son for an extended stay in Europe in 1894, the school moved again to a small house at the corner of Division and 1899 school calendar. LATI N SCHOOL OF CHI CA GO 29

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