Motto book page, Farmington State Normal School, 1886


Memorizing mottoes was a long-standing tradition in early American education and was practiced at F.S.N.S. from the 1880s to the 1940s. Each school day opened with Morning Chapel exercises that included a short religious program, school announcements, and the quotation to be memorized by the students.

The students recorded all their daily mottoes in a notebook, known as their "motto book." These quotes or parts of poems were intended to inspire students to work hard, develop a good moral character, be successful students, and be good citizens. This is a page from the 1886-87 motto book of F.S.N.S. student Dora Bither.


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