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Cowan School

Blanche Knox Parker walked approximately 1 mile to this country school for 1st-5th grades. Students in grades 1-6 could attend this two classroom school.  First through 3rd grades were taught in one room, and 4th through 6th grades in a second classroom.  Each classroom had one teacher who was responsible for teaching all of the children.  

In first grade, Blanche's father's cousin was the teacher.  Blanche remembers being the teacher's pet and falling asleep in her lap. Blanche's second grade teacher was her aunt (father's sister).  This teacher taught Blanche to love reading.

Davidson Public Grade School    

DavidsonSchool.jpg (15589 bytes) Graduation.jpg (384984 bytes)

Photo courtesy of  

Davidson College archives   

Newspaper courtesy of

Blanche Knox Parker

Blanche attended Davidson Public Grade School for 6th through 11th grades.  She graduated in 1934.

Beginning in the 6th grade, Blanche rode a bus to Davidson to attend the public school until her family moved to Davidson a year later. Blanche remembers the change from the country school to Davidson. She says, "We were country, and we knew we were country... They didn't make fun of us, but we felt like our own group." 

When Blanche's family moved to Davidson, she lived across the street from the school.  She would wait until the bell rang to signal school was starting in 5 minutes, and then would run across the street to school.  She was in school from 8:30 am until 1:30 pm.  Blanche and her friends would go to her home during the 15 minute recess. Hear Blanche explain why below:

Blanche remembers that Miss Maude was her favorite teacher.  Miss Maude was demanding and did not put up with students misbehaving.  In fact, one time, Miss Maude told Blanche after she caught her misbehaving, "Be sure your sins will find you out."  Miss Maude was fond of her students, and her students were fond of her as well.  

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Davidson College

Blanche attended Davidson College for one year in 1934.  At the time, women were permitted to take classes at the college for 1-2 years but could not graduate.  Most of the women went on to attend other colleges. 

When asked what it was like to attend Davidson College before it became co-ed, Blanche admitted that attending Davidson was a wonderful opportunity, but there were some students who were unhappy about the female presence on campus. Listen below to hear how one student expressed his unhappiness:

Blanche remembers that some professors treated the women and men equally.

Blanche recalls that she took 18 hours of classes that first semester: including English, Math, Chemistry, and French.  She remembers that women were scattered through the college, and approximately 2-4 women were in her classes with her.  Blanche wanted to attend Davidson for another year, but she was unable to collect $100 for the tuition. 


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The text, video, audio, and website are the result of interviews conducted by Jennifer Frymiare,
Davidson College Class of 2002, in the Fall of 2001.

© 2009 Kristi S. Multhaup, Ph.D. | Davidson College | Davidson, NC 28035 | Phone: 704.894.2008
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