Rod Library--Special Collections

UNI Classrooms from the Late 1800s to the Early 1900s

This display features 16 photographs of early classrooms on the UNI campus. They range in date from 1891 to 1908, with one in 1930. For the majority of the photos, the building name is not identified. However, the classrooms were most likely located in Old Central Hall, the first building on campus, Old Gilchrist Hall, the second building on campus, or the Auditorium Building (Lang Hall), the third building. The purpose of these classes was to prepare individuals to teach the subject matter in public schools.

These photos and many others are housed in the Rod Library's Special Collections.


History classroom, 1891.

History classroom in 1891.  Notice the hardwood
floors and the hard, wooden benches.

Art classroom, 1893.

Art classroom in 1893.  In this photo each student has
his or her own chair and drawing stand.

Primary methods laboratory, 1891

Primary methods laboratory in 1891.  This class appears to be working with
clay.  Notice that there are very few gentlemen in the room.

Women’s physical culture class, 1891.

Women’s physical culture class in 1891.  They appear to be in the same room
as the following photograph, which was taken six years later.

Physical culture class, 1897.

Physical culture class in 1897. Instruction in the physical cultures consisted
of light gymnastics both with and without dumb-bells and wands.  Although the
class was optional at that time, the UNI Bulletin stated that the more progressive
public schools would expect their teachers to be well versed and practiced in this subject.

Latin class, 1893.

First year class studying Latin in 1893.

Chemical laboratory, 1891.

Chemical laboratory in 1891.

Chemistry classroom, 1908.

Chemistry classroom in 1908.

Physical science laboratory, 1905.

Physical science laboratory in 1905.

Apparatus manufacture physics class in 1891, Old Gilchrist Hall.

Apparatus manufacture physics class in 1891.  Abbott C. Page was the
instructor of this class, which was held in the basement of Old Gilchrist Hall.
This classroom was equipped with wood-working and iron-working tools
that students were expected to use to create apparatus illustrating the
laws of physics.  Notice that two ladies were also taking the course.

1908 Industrial Arts clasroom.

This appears to be an industrial arts classroom of some kind in 1908.
Notice the chips and shavings on the floor in the back by the work
areas and the individual light bulbs hanging over each desk.

Early laboratory.

Undated early laboratory classroom.

Geography Classrooms

1897, classroom.

Notice the door to this 1897 classroom is directly behind the instructor’s desk,
making it difficult for latecomers to enter unnoticed.

Classroom Photograph

Notice the electric lights in the ceiling in this 1908 photo.

Classroom 1908.

1908

Old Gilchrist Hall classroom, 1930.

1930 photograph of classroom in Old Gilchrist Hall.


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu