Billy Graham Center

Report of Girl's School, Hamadan, Persian (now Iran)
January - June 1884, by Sarah Belle Sherwood

Report of Girls’ School
Jan’y - July 1884

Report of Girls’ School, January - July 1884

During the past six months our school work has been allowed to go on without interference on the part of the authorities. Morning after morning the same bright pretty faces have gathered in the little school room.

The big girls on the back seat are becoming quite womanly and two of them are so far advanced as to have attained to the dignity of an engagement. One on becoming affianced was withdrawn from the school, the somewhat impenetrable brain of her father not being able to comprehend how any more book learning was necessary for her. Even so they thought in the “old times” in America.

The pupils have studied Armenian, Persian and English and the close of the term shows them able to read in these languages - to answer various questions in Geography, telling the shape of the Earth and its motions, and the proportions of land and water. They can also name and point out on the map the continents, oceans, countries, capes etc. They have done well in Arithmetic and are able to add long columns giving the Armenian, Persian and English names of the figures, and doing it correctly and quickly. They read music and sing by note, and have even learned a round which they greatly enjoy getting off. They have made good progress in Grammar. And they are able to tell in their own language a good many Bible stories from some illustrated cards. The Calisthenics and motion songs are a never failing source of pleasure. Besides, and better than all these things, they have committed to memory various portions of the Bible, mostly the Commandments and some of the Psalms, and they also recite some verses and the Lord’s Prayer in Persian.

We did not have a commencement this year, our room being too small and hot for our audience, but we sent out an invitation, for all who wished to see the pupils and their work to come in during the last three days. A goodly number accepted including some of the influential Jews and a few Mussulmane. [Muslims] They seemed very much interested and pleased. There was quite a display of fancy work and some useful articles which the girls had made; various patterns of crochet edgings, mates, velvet bands embroidered for the head and wrists, braided toilet sets, book marks in Armenian and Persian and two shirts neatly stitched by hand and well made. Prizes were given for excellence in different branches and the children were made happy by the bright picture book, pen knifes or doll which attested their diligence.

One of the pupils has been called away by death, a little girl belonging to an old Armenian family. She and her brother were laid away in the old church yard within a few days of each other. Two other little ones [unclear words] we have left then in their last long sleep; and as their mother’s mourned for them they said, “They were to have gone to your school when they grew large enough.”

The six months opened with 49 names on the Roll and closed with 56 while the average attendance for the last two months was over 50.

In March we began the boarding department of the school. A little room opening into our court was filled up and a competent woman secured, as matron; and soon we had three Armenian girls. Another came but was removed the day after her arrival as her mother could not bare the threats of the priest. In April to our great delight two Jewish girls came and this number was all we could well accommodate. They are bright attractive girls & have improved much during their three months stay. They seem like girls at home in many ways, playing some of the same games and occasionally quarreling in the approved school girl fashion. They appeared to enjoy their life here throughly entered into both work and play with commendable zeal.

So the time has gone leaving this record, and another not less important which is written in Heaven where our prayers and we trust the prayers of many others have been sent. Our greatest desire in regard to our school is that all who come within its walls may grow not only in this worlds wisdom but in the true wisdom whose beginning is the fear of the Lord.

Respectfully submitted,
S. Belle Sherwood

Hamadan, Persia.
July 11, 1884.

[From Collection 39, Box 1, Folder 27.]

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