Thursday, February 24, 2011

Carlisle Indian School Library

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania existed from 1879 to 1918. It was founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt and it was the first of the off-reservation boarding schools whose goal was to assimilate Native American children into the dominant white culture. Barbara Landis has created an excellent website devoted to the history and other aspects of the School. Landis indicates that "It is our purpose to respectfully honor those students and their descendants who lived the experiment, celebrate with those who prospered from it, and grieve with those whose lives were diminished by it." I became aware of the Carlisle School last Fall at Library History Seminar XII where Bernadette A. Lear presented a paper on the role of the library at the school. The most noted student at the school was Jim Thorp. The Cumberland County Historical Society maintains a large archive of materials related to the school which is described on its website. I feel fortunate to have obtained the postcard above which shows students and staff in the school's library. It was mailed on May 24, 1916.

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