I’ve decided it’s “Back to School Week” at Boston 1775. Every posting (well, ’most every posting) for the next few days will be about schooling in Boston during the Revolutionary era.
In the summer of 1770, the annual committee to inspect Boston’s five public schools counted how many boys were studying at each.
- South Latin School: 119
- North Latin School: 56
- South Writing School: 231
- Queen Street Writing School: 268
- North Writing School: 250
How many teachers were there? Typically, a school had one master and one “usher,” or assistant teacher. In practice, there were variations on this set-up.
- South Latin School: Master John Lovell and his usher (and son), James Lovell
- North Latin School: Master Samuel Hunt
- South Writing School: Master Samuel Holbrook and his usher, whose name is not recorded
- Queen Street Writing School: Master John Proctor and his usher, James Carter
- North Writing School: Master John Tileston and his assistant, sixteen-year-old William Dall
Finally, here’s the total of what the town voted to pay the schoolteachers at the town meeting in March of that year.
- South Latin School: £220 (£120 to Master Lovell and £60 to James Lovell, plus a £40 grant to the younger man “as an encouragement for him to remain and exert himself in the Service of the Town”)
- North Latin School: £100 (Master Hunt had asked for a salary equal to Master Lovell’s, but was denied. Even so, proportional to his student body he was the best paid teacher in town.)
- South Writing School: £150 (£100 to Master Holbrook and £50 to the unnamed usher)
- Queen Street Writing School: £175 (£100 to Master Proctor and £50 to Carter, plus a £25 grant)
- North Writing School: £134 (£100 to Master Tileston and £34 for young William)