16. Emma Attends Albany Normal March 1872

Emma's mother Mary Ann Austin, 1890 or later.
Emma’s mother Mary Ann Austin, 1890 or later.
In February 1872 Emma Austin, age 21, began her first year at Albany Normal School. She rented a furnished room for a dollar a week. Emma commented on her health, classes, classmates, and places she visited in the many letters she exchanged with her parents.

In the following March 1872 letter to her mother, Emma compared Monticello Academy to Albany Normal; and had some harsh words to say regarding the schooling where she grew up. Apparently, she is waiting for Chester (Mr. B.) to write first.

Emma, Albany to Her Mother, March 1872
My dear Mother,
…I think this school is very good for those who intend to teach. But I think we could learn more in one year at Monticello Academy, than one can here in two. I am going over now what ought to have been taught me at school just as soon as I commenced studying—grammar, geography, arithmetic, etc.

I don’t believe a fourth of the teachers in Sullivan County or any other county for that matter, are qualified to teach…

Aida Austin, Emma's sister.
Aida Austin, Emma’s sister.

I wish Mr. B. had sent a valentine or something so I could have written. It would seem kind of good to hear from him again. Please burn this letter won’t you. I am almost afraid to send this information for fear you will not get it. Emma —The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 162–3.

Composition Corrections, March 1872
Mary Ann taught Emma’s sister Aida, age eleven, at home. In another March 1872 letter to her mother, Emma wrote corrections to Aida’s composition.

Dear Mother,
Friday once more as I have leisure to write to you and Aida and correct that composition…The composition was very good. I don’t think I could have done better myself…I did not see any fault in the connection of the sentences. I made some changes in the last verse, the last two lines.

“You will think of a Mother’s love, And not forget your home.” I changed to, “You’ll not forget a mother’s love or cease to think of home,” because I liked the way it rhymed better…—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 163–4.

(On March 2, 1872, Emma’s cousin George W. Eldred died, when he accidentally fell from a roof and fractured his skull. Chester mentions this in a future letter.)

Albany Normal Posts
Albany Normal School
March 2, 1872
March 1872 Albany Letters 2
March 1872 Albany Letters 3
March 1872 Albany Letters 4
March 1873

Previous Posts
1. Is that the New Teacher?
2. The Math Tutor
3. Chester Beers to Friend Emma, Correspondence Continues
4. What is the News? October 29, 1869
5. The Merry Laugh of the Village School
6. Teaching Advice in a Poem
7. I Would Not Wait for Erie’s Train
8. 1870 Highland
9. Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy
10. February 28, 1870, What Is the News?
11. Who Teaches in the Village, April 1870
12. Fair Hagan’s Pool, June 1870
13. Shades of Night, 1870
14. Deposit, New York, 1871
15. Dear Father, January 1872

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