Harriette S. Welch Oral History

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Record 3/16
Copyright HSKC and Tyler Campbell
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Date 10/29/1982
Abstract Harriette Staples Welch (born 1900)

Raised and educated at the Chestertown Public School and Washington College, Harriette Welch left Kent County to teach in Florida and New York, but returned to start a private kindergarten in 1943. Her grandmother Brice had a kindergarten in the early 1900s, and instilled in Harriette a belief in the importance of early education to a community during a time when there was no public kindergarten. "I moved all over town, wherever somebody would let me have a place. I started out in the Sophie Fisher which was on the corner of Maple Avenue and Queen Street…and then we moved over across the street…I was there for some years until they sold it and then I went to the Episcopal Church."

Welch, who never married, remembers her time at Washington College clearly. "When I was in college they had a Cotillion Club and it had a dance every month, a formal dance and I mean formal. Boys wore tuxedos…the girls wore evening dress and we never, never, never went outside of the building. [Later] when the '20s came along everybody started walking out because it was just at the beginning when everybody started drinking [after Prohibition]." When World War I began, many of Welch's professors and classmates left to serve in the war. "See in those days we didn't have any girls except some town girls went to college…The only thing I really remember about it was that nearly everybody went…the student body got down to almost nothing."

Welch's father became ill shortly after she graduated from college, and she quickly realized she needed to help support the family. There were few options for young women at that time. "I didn't think of anything but being a teacher. That was all….Some girls went to nursing…but most of us were teachers." She found her vocation in teaching kindergarten at a time when public kindergarten was not available to the children of Kent County.

3 original cassette tapes.
Interview date 10/29/1982
Media Compact Disc
Narrator Welch, Harriette S.
Object ID 2684
Object Name Disc, Compact
Title Harriette S. Welch Oral History
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ Oral histories copyright Historical Society of Kent County. Images copyright Tyler Campbell. Duplication or publication only with permission.

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Last modified on: September 07, 2012