In March 2017, the 11th graders at Monadnock Regional High School visited the Historical Society of Cheshire County to view the Society’s exhibit From Peddlers, to Shopkeepers, to Professionals: a history of the Jewish Community in Cheshire County. Students discussed the immigrant experience at the turn of the 20th century and made comparisons to today. They also discussed how national events impacted Cheshire County and vice versa.
A special performance of 1916’s Mrs. Shapiro of Portsmouth, NH, (thanks to Maddie Biel of Strawbery Banke Museum) provided students with a context for understanding 20th century US immigration policy, events surrounding the Great War and its impact on Eastern European families, as well as New Hampshire history.
Students were introduced to early 20th century cursive handwriting, primary vs. secondary sources found in historical organizations, and historical transcription.
After lunch, the Society’s Education Director Jennifer Carroll led students to the Mason Library at Keene State College where they broke into groups to transcribe the 1923 diary of a 13-year old Jewish girl from Keene. A discussion about life in the Monadnock Region almost 100 years ago followed.
The students were quick learners, very engaged with the subject matter, and helped to make a historical document accessible for research and future programming. Thank you to their teacher Jeremy Robinson, to the superintendent of schools Lisa Witte, and the National Historical Publication & Records Commission (National Archives), and the 11th grade students of MRHS!!!