This history of the first 125 years of the Springfield Public Schools was put together from a variety of sources and with the help of a number of school employees and patrons.
The bulk of the history, through the Study years, is taken from a manuscript developed in the late 1940's by Helen Laverty. Ms. Laverty was a reporter for the local newspaper who was known by the pen name of Docia Karrel. She was apparently hired by the Board of Education and/or administration at that time to prepare a comprehensive history. Her manuscript was put together after research through newspaper articles and Board of Education minutes. It apparently was never published. The manuscript was located in a file cabinet in the attic of the district's Kraft Administrative Center.
Eleanor Williamson, a retired teacher with an interest in history, took the manuscript and cleaned it up, consolidating into the total a separate chapter on the black community.
Material covering the service of the last three Superintendents was put together by Dick Grosenbaugh, then Director of Community Relations, from newspaper clippings, Board minutes, and reports found in historical files. These included a number of old annual reports developed by the district as well as outside reports done for the district.
Suzanne Grammer, secretary in the Community Relations Office, went through the district's newspaper scrapbook, which goes back to 1925, and indexed many of the articles as a basis for compiling the history .
Information on the involvement of the Parent-Teacher Association in the history of the schools was provided by Jean Gist, an officer of the PTA Council, who gathered the information from a number of local units.
Several reports done by local residents as requirements for educational degrees were also very helpful. The work of Donna Beardsley provided valuable insight into Harry Study and Progressive Education. That done by Peggy Stepp provided a good profile of Jonathan Fairbanks.
Dick Grosenbaugh compiled all of the material into an attractive, readable form. He added quotes from various individuals involved, developed lists of construction work for each period, and provided information on Board of Education members during each period. The items for overall historical perspectives were provided by Jeanne Duffey, Community Relations Director for the Springfield-Greene County Library.
Photographs in the book are those which have been found in district files or which have been donated to the school district by interested patrons.
As you read this history, realize that it is not documented like many research reports and dissertations. It will, from time to time, reflect the opinions of those who put it together. Nevertheless, it is the first comprehensive view of the growth and development of one of the outstanding school districts in Missouri.
It is appropriate that it be presented during the celebration of the first 125 years of public education in Springfield and as the district looks forward to the 21st Century.