Public education has been a part of Maine since Euro-American settlement began to stabilize in the early eighteenth century. But not until the end of the nineteenth century was public education really compulsory in Maine.
Young men and women in the 19th century often went away from home -- sometimes for a few months, sometimes for longer periods -- to attend academies, seminaries, or schools run by individuals. While there, they wrote letters home, reporting on boarding arrangements and coursework undertaken, and inquired about the family at home.
Many of the one-room schoolhouses in Otisfield, constructed from 1839 through the early twentieth century, are featured here. The photos, most of which also show teachers and children, were taken between 1898 and 1998.