Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wells, Philip C.||Alexander, Virgil

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Education




The paper is an historical study in which the writer reported the development of the schools in Galena, Illinois regarding local financial support of the schools, educational philosophy, policy for board, teachers and pupils, in chronological arrangement. The study, set against the 390graphic and demographic factors of the community, falls into three main divisions: pre-Civil War, Civil War, and post-Civil war. The pre-Civil War period, 1826-1860, deals with early education including private subscription and parochial or church-related day-schools. The outstanding features of the period, educationally, were the rapid growth of the school population resulting from the mushroom growth of the prosperous leadmining community, and the opening of a high school department offering three years of advanced study. The Civil War period was marked by the rapid decline of Galena's population, which dropped from 12,000 in 1857 to 7,000 in 1870, and an accompanying decline in property values from which it never fully recovered. This rapid decline in the tax base rendered adequate support of education extremely difficult even to the present. For the duration of the war, only routine educational matters were conducted; the war commanded most of the energies of the citizens. The high school department, started in i860, grew slowly through the decade of the war. The post-Civil War period, which encompasses a greater period of tine than the pre-Civil tar and Civil War periods, brought highly significant changes to the educational structure in Galena. In the period from 1870 to 1939, the schools were completely dominated by the Board of Education appointed by the City Council. This bureaucracy controlled every facet of school organization and administration until a courageous superintendent challenged the Board and won control of the schools as the chief administrative officer. In the early 1900’s, there was a surge to improve the quality of the schools by requiring higher qualifications for teachers. Accreditation of schools with various universities and with the North Central Association, if definite standards were maintained, became a practice. Galena High School was accredited by the North Central Association in 1920. The records show radical changes in courses of study. In 1904 the Board of Education offered the first elective course of study which Introduced vocational subjects, a trend that was eventually to lead to the concept of the comprehensive high school. In 1918 the Board adopted the first course of study for grades one through eight. Early Boards of Education were governed by rules, regulations, and policies set down for them by the charter granted to the City Council giving them control of education. In 1901 the Board of Education adopted extensive written policy for all personnel, board, superintendent, teachers, pupils, and janitors, a practice boards after the late 1930’s tended to ignore. Concerning local support of education, the record shows that Galena citizens voted affirmatively on every referendum but one from 1905 to 1964. Their voting record is six for and one against. To clarify the record, it should be noted that the referendum refused in 1959 was approved in 1964. The referendums asked for more funds for either buildings or increased salaries for teachers. The final chapter of the study, Potpourri, deals with items of interest that were not directly involved with other sections of the paper. It reveals that teachers enjoy long tenure in the Galena School system due, probably, to the fact that many are home-town products. Finally, it discusses the per cent of increase in the number of graduates continuing their education and an indication of some of the problems Galena faces, in the near future, in education.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 72 pages




Northern Illinois University

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