Friday, July 27, 2018

Masson Creates History of Lorain Course – July 28, 1939

Masson at the time of its demolition in Sept. 2013
Although Masson Elementary and Junior High School are no more, and the elementary school that sits on the former Masson property today was named after Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, I still think that Judson Masson deserves to be remembered.

As I noted in my series on "Masson Memories" back in 2012, "For 31 years, Masson was an employee of the Lorain city schools. He was an assistant superintendent of schools, as well as being a former president of the board of trustees of the Lorain Public Library. He had been in the teaching profession for 52 years until his retirement in the summer of 1947.

"His civic accomplishments included having helped organize the Lorain Musical Arts Society and the Lorain Philharmonic Orchestra. He also wrote the first Lorain history book: "Our Town, the Story of Lorain, Ohio," for the public schools.”
Thus, the abandonment of the Masson name by the school board also meant the loss of a school honoring a local teacher. Too bad. 
Anyway, the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on Friday, July 28, 1939, covers the creation of that history of Lorain school course by Judson Masson.
If a course on the history of Lorain is not part of the current Lorain school curriculum, it should be.
New 7-B Course Will Be
Introduced; Designed by Masson

This fall, for the first time in the history of Lorain schools, a course will be introduced into the curriculum dealing entirely with the city of Lorain.
General guidelines of the course were designed by J. S. Masson, assistant superintendent of schools. The general outline topics, including city government, industry, commerce, transportation and communication, history, nationalities, recreation, schools, and churches, have been enlarged by a committee  of teachers.
The course will be offered ti 7-B pupils as a one semester course, substituted for the regular social science course, but plans are in the making to broaden the scope to state and national coverage and continue the second semester.
Chance For Research
Masson said the principal values in the course are creating an interest in the community, recognition of the responsibilities of citizenship, and understanding of local affairs and human relationships.
He ventured the opinion that the opportunities presented for personal research on the part of students, and for field trips and other active participation instead of the more prosaic reading of textbooks will stimulate pupil interest.
Students, he said, can obtain a wealth of information by consulting parent and other adult acquaintances and thus find a definite satisfaction in their work.
No textbook will be used in the course, but several sources of information, including the 60th Anniversary Edition of the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald will be used. The board of education has already ordered 75 copies of the edition for use in the course.

I remember taking that course in seventh grade at Masson Junior High. There was a book by then, and it was well-written and informative.

The Lorain Public Library has several copies on its shelves in the Local History section. The book remains a handy reference.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

I really liked taking Lorain History in 7th grade; I learned so many things I'd never known about my hometown, such as the fact that the little park we'd sometimes drive past downtown was actually the original cemetery. I walked down there one night just about fifty years ago, the first of many visits to that peaceful, historic place.

Rick said...

Interesting. About the time of my years of junior high school in Amherst a teacher named Lorna Middendorf was hired to teach junior high english. At some point she decided that the curriculum was lacking a history of Amherst. I remember that she got her students interested in the project and the students enjoyed interviewing people and searching through the old Amherst records at the town hall. After many months of research, the information was organized into about ten chapters which provided an interesting and informative history of Amherst.

The resulting history was published in 1960 by the Amherst Public Schools under the title "Amherst: Our Town", and was subsequently included in the curriculum for junior high students. The fact that Mrs. Middendorf was born in Lorain and was a product of the Lorain schools leads me to wonder if her exposure to Judson Masson's history during her school years created the desire to write a similar history for Amherst students. If so, Mr. Masson succeeded as an educator.