Sarah Gillespie Huftalen
portrait was painted by Gary Blomberg, former curator of the former
better far to learn while we are young,
This quote was an entry in Sarah Gillespie Huftalen's diary written on January 1, 1877, when she was just 11 years old. Over the next 75 years, she wrote more than 3,500 manuscript pages documenting daily life as it happened. Born in 1865 near Manchester, Iowa, Sarah was a farm girl who became a respected country school and college teacher. She married a man older than either of her parents, received a college degree later in life, and was committed to both family and career.
Huftalen established the Rural Teachers component of the Iowa State Teachers Association (ISTA) in 1910. The progressive teaching methods devised and documented by Huftalen became part of the teacher's certification curriculum at both Iowa Teaches College in Cedar Falls (now University of Northern Iowa) and Upper Iowa University at Fayette, where she taught. Huftalen was remarkably successful in inspiring farm children, their parents, and the teachers to believe in themselves as worthy of a place in a world that reflected the beauty and dignity of the nation and the world she taught about. One of the scrapbooks she typed and left to the Iowa State Archives in Iowa City records a key concept: "When children are happily busy and interested in a united effort in their studies, projects, and games, one need not worry about the so called problem of discipline. There is none to worry about. With a beautiful yard that all hands help make possible, establishers' interests are akin to ownership. And what child does not but enjoy the sensation of ownership; his very own." You can read more about Sarah Gillespie Huftalen and her teaching methods in Mary Hurlbut Cordier's book "School Women of the Praries and Plaines,"UNM Press, 1992, and "All Will Yet Be Well," University of Iowa Press, Sarah Gillespie Huftalen's diaries edited by Suzanne Bunkers. The entire version of Huftalen's diaries, many notebooks, are located in the State Historical Society's Library archives in Iowa City, Iowa.
McGee - Brick School Foundation is dedicating the finished project to
Sarah Gillespie Huftalen
Frontiers in Education - The One Room School
This video was created by former high school student Caleb Schultz
in 2001 to show the history of the McGee - Brick School House. Schultz
explains why we dedicate the final restored project to
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