TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

Marie Turner Harvey Papers:
The Work at Porter School, 1912-1930 

Ms Collection H6

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The childhood dream of Marie Louise Turner (1869-1952) to be a teacher became a reality at age 15 when she secured her first teaching position while visiting an aunt in Kansas.  She taught at Pontiac, KS three years, 1884-87, then attended the State Normal School at Emporia for a year.  In 1889 she became primary teacher at Old Orchard, a St Louis suburb, and in 1891 was named Principal of the elementary schools at Clayton, also in St Louis County.  She remained at Clayton until her 1902 marriage to H Clay Harvey, a math professor at the First District Normal School, Kirksville, MO.

Marie returned to teaching as Principal of the Normal School’s Model Rural School in 1910, about the time her marriage fell

apart.  After years of discord, she and Clay separated that fall and were divorced two years later in a bitter, “scandalous”, and very public law suit.  Under the circumstances, the Normal Board felt that neither party should remain on the faculty and both were let go. 

With the strong recommendation and support of Normal President John R Kirk, Marie was immediately hired as the teacher at Porter School, a one-room rural school near Kirksville.  She took the job with the stipulation that she was to have a free hand, and over the next few years turned it into an internationally recognized model of rural education where students received an equal, if not better, education than was offered by many city schools.  She also developed the school as the center of community life with clubs and educational experiences available to adults as well as children.  Educators from all over the world came to observe the work being done at Porter. Mrs Harvey often spoke on her techniques at educational and rural life conferences, and articles about her work at Porter appeared in many professional journals.  The school and its teacher were also the subject of New Schools for Old, a book by Evelyn Dewey published in 1919.

The documents, letters and articles Mrs Harvey donated to Pickler Memorial Library have been supplemented with items collected after her death, most of which were provided by her biographers.

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H6/1   Marie Turner Harvey
  1:1 Personal & Professional Records

◙ Autobiographical Notes (handwritten) ◙ Personal and Professional Record [curriculum vitae], Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, 1930 ◙ Correspondence with NMSTC President Eugene Fair ▪ Copy of statement filed with Dean Eubank ◙ Letterheads, MTH listed as officer ▪ Missouri State Teacher’s Association, Recording Secretary ▪ Missouri Home-Makers Conference, Advisory Board ▪ Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs, Chairman Department of Legislation & Civil Service ▪ Reform ▪ Porter Rural School ◙ Program for Cook County [IL] Public Schools Annual Teachers’ Institute, 1914, MTH listed as instructor

  1:2 Biographies

Marie Turner Harvey: Pioneer Rural Educator by Bessie L. Ray and Ottie M. Greiner, 1948 ▪ condensed version from Nemoscope 6:1 (Fall 1951) ◙ "Marie Turner Harvey and the Rural Life Movement" by Ruth Warner Town in Missouri Historical Review 84:4 (July 1990) [photocopy] ◙ “The Dean Speaks Up” by Adele Starbird, St Louis Star-Times, Jan 15, 1947

  1:3 Death Records

◙ Marie’s Death ▪ Letter to E.E. Swain, Kirksville Daily Express, Apr 22, 1945, re her wishes about her obituary ▪ Death Certificate (certified copy) ▪ Funeral Memorial folder ▪ Obituary ◙ Clay’s Death ▪ Death Certificate ▪ Obituary

  1:4 Articles & Addresses, 1908-30

◙ “School Problems in Adair County”, Adair County Teachers' Association, Oct 24, 1908, Normal School Bulletin 8:3 (Dec 1908) (1c w/ margin notes in her handwriting) ◙ Two addresses at the National Education Association Convention, Columbus, OH, 1930 ▪ “Problems Relating to Rural Schools” ▪ “Is Progressive Education Procedure Practicable in the Small Rural Community?” ◙ “Transformación de una Escuela Rural”.  Boletín de la Unión Panamericana (April 1927) ▪ Correspondence with editor ◙ “Woman’s Relation to the Farm Problem” Journal of Education, 75 (June 20, 1912) ◙ Four-part series on Missouri education printed in Hannibal Courier Post, Nov-Dec [year?] ▪ (1) “Mrs H Clay Harvey Tells Need of Conservation of the Youth” [incomplete] ▪ (2) [missing] ▪ (3) “Fifty Per Cent of Missouri’s Youth Reach Only Fourth Grade” ▪ (4) “Mrs H Clay Harvey Deplores the Poor System of the Rural School” ◙ "The Possibilities of a One-Room School" summary of an address by Marie Turner Harvey published in the 1914 Annual Report of the Missouri State Boardof Agriculture  ▪ Program, Second Annual Missouri Country Life Conference (at which the address was given)

  1:5 White House Conference on Child Health & Protection, 1929

◙ Letter from Anne S Davis, Chairman of the Committee on Vocational Guidance and Child Labor, Nov 21, 1929 ◙ Invitation from President Herbert Hoover ▪ Thank you note from President Hoover

H6/2   Work at Porter School
  2:1 Newspaper & Magazine Articles, 1913-23

◙ "Transformation of a Country School", Fruit Grower and Farmer Magazine, (Apr 1913) “One Man’s Opinion: The Work of a Woman” by John F Case, Missouri Ruralist [clipped w/out date]  ◙ “One School Rebuilds a Community” by Barry H Akers, The Farmer’s Wife (Mar 1920)  ◙ “Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go” by F B Nichols, Missouri Ruralist 13:13 (July 5, 1914) ◙ “I Wish Every Parent Could See This Country School” by Stanley Frost, The National Weekly 71 (May 19, 1923) ◙ “What Women are Doing: Mrs. Harvey Organizes Model One-Room Rural School”, The New York Evening Post (Sept 19, 1912) ◙ “A Teacher and A Big Idea Put a Community on the Map” by Alice Mary Kimball [clipped w/out publication name or date] ◙ “A One-Room School” by Helen Johnson Keyes, The Outlook 107 (May-Aug) 1914 ◙ “A Missouri School” by Marie Turner Harvey, The Grain Growers’ Guide (Jan 5, 1916) ◙ “A One-Room School” by Helen Johnson Keyes, The Outlook 107:4 (May 23, 1914) “The Porter Rural School”, Northeast Missouri State Teachers College [brochure, ca 1914]

  2:2 Correspondence, 1915-36
    Typed copies or abstracts of letters from ◙ Heiji Oikawa, Japan  ◙ Mme H Vanderpyl, Paris, France ◙ Rhoda Robbins, England ◙ E Wood, Honolulu ◙ T Nemoto, Japan ◙ I Aihara ◙ Rhoda Robbins ◙ Hollis Dann ◙ Frank Beach ◙ Elizabeth Alling
  2:3 Miscellaneous

◙ Reference List Showing General Interest in the Experiment ... ◙ Porter School Experiment (Some Reliable References Available) ◙ States where Mrs. Harvey lectured on rural education ◙ Suggesting Porter’s Area of Influence ◙ Stray Thoughts

H6/3   Porter School Records
  3:1 School Documents, 1914-21, 1967

◙ Notice published by the Board of Education restricting the number of visitors to Porter School, 1919 ◙ University of Missouri, College of Agriculture Short Courses, Porter School ▪ 1914 ▪ 1915 ▪ 1916 ◙ Band Concert programs ▪ Porter Community Band, Missouri State Fair, 1920 ▪ Junior Band, State Teachers Association Meeting, Nov 1919 ▪Thank you letters (2) for Teachers Association concert ◙ Commencement programs ▪ 1915 ▪ 1922 ▪ 1967 (final) ◙ Inter-class Exercises programs ▪ 1919 ▪ 1921 ◙ “Community Center Songs” by E J Ward, compliments of Farmers’ Club, Porter Community, 1916  ◙ Song sheet for Citizenship Meeting, Porter Community, 1921

  3:2 Newspaper Articles, 1913-86
    ◙ Untitled article re repair of school house & “bus”, Kirksville Journal, Jan 30, 1913 ◙ Junior Band’s Trip to St Louis, Nov 1919 ▪ “One Man’s Opinion” by John F Case, The Missouri Ruralist [Nov 1919] ▪ “Porter School Band . . .”, The St Louis Times, Nov 10, 1919 ▪ “Porter Junior Band Makes Hit” [clipped w/out paper name or date] ◙ “Has Old Clipping Telling of Transporting Students”, Kirksville Daily Express, May 9, 1948 ◙ “Graduation Ceremonies at Porter”, Kirksville Daily Express, May 19, 1967 ◙ “Porter School and Extension Club Held a Joint Anniversary Celebration”, Kirksville Daily Express, Oct 13, 1986
  3:3 Photographs, 1920-29

For purposes of preservation and ease of access, the photos donated by Mrs Harvey have been combined with photos from other sources in the Porter Community file, Special Collections Photo Archives. That file contains ◙ students in the garden & other outdoor activities, 1928-29 ◙ the school building and teacher’s cottage ◙ the school bus ◙ the morning flag pole ceremony ◙ Porter Community Coalition Band, 1920


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