Baltimore Teachers Training School collection
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence regarding the 1924 merger of the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School with the Maryland State Normal School in, information about student life and activities, and official student records.
- Creation: 1908-1973
- Baltimore Teachers Training School (Baltimore, MD) (Organization)
- Tall, Lida Lee, 1873-1942 (Person)
- Maryland State Normal School (Towson, MD) (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Some materials in this collection may be restricted due to the presence of confidential or sensitive content. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more details regarding access.
Conditions Governing Use
Towson University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections; however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with SCUA to determine if we can provide permission for use.
The Baltimore Teachers’ Training School opened on January 5, 1901 at the corner of Lafayette Square and Greene Street in Baltimore City. It was established by the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners in response to a call for educational reform. Education suffered from a lack of employees, resources, and professionalism from high up administrative levels down to the classroom. Maryland schools’ success rates paled in comparison to other states and this problem created the need to reevaluate teachers’ instruction. Only normal school education guaranteed formal teacher instruction. At the time the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School was established, less than five percent of teachers had normal school training. The others had no formal teaching instruction and their formal education spanned from elementary to college graduate. The late 1800’s and early 1900’s marked a period of educational reform in Maryland. By reform thought, teaching was a profession and required professional training.
In addition to teacher training, critics of the education system called for reform at the administrative level. Toward that end, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners was established in 1898 under the Educational Chapter of the Baltimore City Charter. This move to establish a governing board separated schools from the politics that influenced corrupt appointments to teaching and administrative positions within the city school system. The mayor, Thomas G. Hayes, appointed nine members to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners to oversee hiring and termination of teachers, approve or deny teacher nominations from the Superintendent, remove teachers by order of the Superintendent, determine salaries, and advise building maintenance or development. The Board took control of city schools in 1900 and appointed reformist James Van Sickle as Baltimore City Schools Superintendent.
Educational reform thrived in the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School under its first principal, Sarah C. Brooks. The mandatory one year course for teacher training introduced theory, history of education, and practice teaching. The optional second year allowed teachers to earn salary credit. In 1907, the second year became mandatory for teacher training and was devoted entirely to practice teaching in nearby elementary schools.
Promotional exams assessed teachers’ skills and determined career advancement. Supplemental courses also qualified teachers for promotion. The courses included English Literature and a project that required teachers to choose an opportunity for improvement within the classroom and propose a practical solution. Teachers opposed the supplemental programs and were reluctant to spend outside hours to complete courses they found unnecessary. Teachers raised questions concerning fairness in grading promotional exams. As a result of this dissent and unrest Sarah Brooks resigned as principal at the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School and the Board of School Commissioners removed James Van Sickle from the Superintendent position in 1911.
The Baltimore Teachers’ Training School operated under the same ideals of reform and practice teaching from 1912 to 1924. The school gained national attention for its breakthrough reformist curriculum and set a new standard for professional teacher training in Maryland. By 1924, the Maryland State Board of Education decided to educate all teachers, including Baltimore City teachers, in one place. The Baltimore City Board of Education agreed to merge the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School with the Maryland State Normal School. The benefits of the merger included making the improved curriculum available to all Maryland teachers and forcing the state to fund the city teachers’ educations instead of Baltimore City. All of the students were incorporated into the student body of the Maryland State Normal School which almost doubled the enrollment for the 1924 school year. Select teachers from the Training School were offered one year contracts to join the Normal School staff. Baltimore City was reimbursed for all expenses paid to furnish and supply the Training School. The students and select faculty of the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School then operated under principal Lida Lee Tall as the Maryland State Normal School.
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Language of Materials
The Baltimore Teachers’ Training School opened on January 5, 1901 at the corner of Lafayette Square and Greene Street in Baltimore City. It was established by the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners in response to a call for educational reform. This collection contains correspondence regarding the 1924 merger of the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School with the Maryland State Normal School in, information about student life and activities, and official student records.
Series 1: Correspondence (1923-1926)
This series contains a variety of correspondence including letters, reports, telegrams, and telephone messages regarding the planning, arrangement, and establishment of the 1924 merger between the Maryland State Normal School in Towson, Maryland and the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School in 1924. Correspondence is primarily between Dr. Lida Lee Tall and other individuals such as Dr. J.G. Crabbe, Dr. Don Bliss, Dr. Albert L. Rowland, E. George Payne, John Enright, S. A. Courtis, Ruth C. Sperry, Dr. Henry West, Dr. Albert S. Cook, John H. Roche, Dr. Norman W. Cameron, Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, A.L. Terrell, M.E. Glass, David Weglein, Bertha Levin, C.D. Emmons, Isaac S. Field, W.R. Flowers, Eugene Bishop, James Verney, Baltimore City Board of Directors, A.S. Goldborough, W.C. Bagley, Mrs. William Bauernschmidt, and Governor Albert C. Ritchie. Topics include requests for information from other normal schools that educated city and state teachers; information for students concerned about the merger; acquisition of BTTS student body; how faculty from BTTS were entered into MSNS staff and whether those teachers were to be paid by the state or Baltimore City; statement of when the merger was to take place; arrangement of individual administrative meetings; Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners meetings; and meeting agendas; proposed terms of the merger; contractual conditions for BTTS faculty offered positions at MSNS; final determination of staff who were offered contracts to work at MSNS and those who were reassigned; addition and expansion of facilities as a result of the merger; housing for BTTS students entering MSNS; and cooperation between county students and MSNS faculty with entering BTTS students and faculty; credit transfer from MSNS to Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University; arrangement of transportation for students traveling to MSNS from Baltimore City; curriculum adjustments; arguments against and in support of the merger; exam requirements; supply inventories; development of a new plan for practice teaching; expenses; complete chronological summary of merger between MSNS and BTTS.
Series 2: General Documents (1918-1973)
This series contains various documents relating to the Baltimore Teachers’ Training school activities and faculty including a play program, pamphlets, an alumni circular and newspaper articles. Individuals included in the series are Dr. Lida Lee Tall, Sarah C. Brooks, Norman W. Cameron and Persis K. Miller. Topics include theatrical performance; school songs; alumni reunion; alumni activities; staff biography including death announcements of Norman Cameron and Persis K. Miller; Norman Cameron, Jr.; portrait unveiling of Sarah C. Brooks; progressive teacher training.
Series 3: The Torch (1923-1924)
This series includes “The Torch,” a publication that served as literary magazine, yearbook, and newspaper for the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School.
Topics include student activities; short stories; poetry; school news; class of 1923; class of 1924; publication staff, advertisements, Christmas carols, portraits and lists of faculty and students; commencement; junior classes, sports teams, Halloween, accounts from practice schools; children’s literature; education; dedications; alumni contributions and news; history; editorials; Maryland history; health and sports; kindergarten and primary school literature; progress reports; curriculum growth; school organizations; May Fete; nature study.
Series 4: Student Records (1908-1923) RESTRICTED
This series includes official records for the Baltimore Teachers’ Training School including student records, grades, and library acquisitions. The records also include notes from supervising teachers on performances during practice training.
Cain, Mary Clough. The Historical Development of State Normal Schools for White Teachers in Maryland. New York: Bureau of Publications Teachers’ College Columbia University, 1941.
Gonce, Nancy H. Towson University. Maryland Online Encyclopedia. http://mdoe.org./towson_u.html.
Hall, Clayton Colman. Baltimore: It’s History and It’s People. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1912.
Maryland Department of Education. Education in the States: Historical Development and Outlook. National Education Association of the United States, 1969. (Reprinted by US Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare: Office of Education)
Maryland State Board of Education. The Public School Laws of Maryland as contained in the Maryland Code of Public General Laws of 1912 and the Acts of Assembly of 1912 and 1914. Baltimore: Meyer and Thalheimer, 1914.
Maryland State Teachers Association. Albert Samuel. Cook: A Tribute., 1942.
State Teachers College at Towson. Seventy Five Years of Teacher Education. Towson, Maryland: The Alumni Assoc., 1941.
Genre / Form
- Guide to the Baltimore Teachers' Training School collection
- Hillary Svoboda, Revised by John Esh
- Fall 2009, 2020
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description