It’s a two-for-one Back to School Special today!

Jacobs' pencil caseFirst up we have a pencil box from the late 1890s, used by Merle T. Jacobs (1890-1984) as a student in the one-room public school at Browningsville.  (Browningsville is, to many people, one of those “uh, where’s that?” towns, but yes it is in Montgomery County – up near Damascus.)   It is a wood box with a chromolithograph top, made in Germany (clearly for the American market, what with the eagles and shields).  Mr. Jacobs added his name in pencil on the bottom, twice for emphasis.  He grew up to run a truck repair shop in Gaithersburg, as well as serving as the first Chief of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department.  The box was donated by his son, Charles Jacobs.

Thomas Bowie's protractorNext we have a brass protractor used by Thomas Johns Davis Bowie (1834-1921) of Olney, while studying at Benjamin Hallowell’s school for young men in Alexandria, Virginia, probably in the late 1840s.  Hallowell’s was affectionately nicknamed “Brimstone Castle” or “Brimstone Academy” because of the color of the brick building.   (If you happen to live on Brimstone Academy Drive in the Hallowell neighborhood near Olney, don’t worry, it’s not some developer’s devilish joke!)  Mr. Bowie spent his early married life (his first wife was Elizabeth Chew Beatty, whom I mention because Beatty is my middle name) in his hometown of Olney, but moved to Baltimore in the 1870s.  The protractor was donated by Lucy Leigh Bowie, his daughter.

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