Manhattan Trade School for girls -addictive reading

Becky McCabe sends a link to the Slate series about histories gleaned from student report cards at the needle trades high school in Manhattan. While only three entries have been posted, the material is riveting and addictive. Says historian and journalist Paul Lukas:

It wasn’t so surprising that Marie had saved her diploma. Manhattan Trade helped arrange employment for her for more than a decade, helped her support her family during hard times, and taught her skills that she used for most of her life and passed on to her daughter. Not bad for a school she attended for only two years.


There is additional material at the author’s site, Permanent Record.

My training ends tomorrow so I will be catching up soon and resume regular posting. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about MTS, it’s fascinating.

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  1. Reader says:

    I skimmed the “Slate” story. The Manhattan Trade School appears to be a different school from the High School of Needle Trades, now called the High School of Fashion Industries, which is on the west side of Manhattan, in Chelsea.

    Again, this is fascinating, and probably few people care, but I think the records should have been shredded, not discarded to be thrown out or made available for anyone to pick up as a souvenir.

  2. Reader says:

    I know the exact location where the “Slate” author found the records. About 40 years ago, I took the admissions test at the old Stuyvesant high school on 15th Street and First Avenue. Stuyvesant is one of three highly selective high schools in New York City. I was admitted, but didn’t attend. That neighborhood has really changed, gone are the numerous small Polish restaurants, where you could get pirogis with sour cream and apple sauce for a couple of bucks.

    That’s enough from me today.

  3. gisela says:

    wow, 1920’s amazing piece of history. i sometimes wish i can transport myself back to those days just to see how those women worked and how production was done back then.

  4. Nancy Russo says:

    I have my mother’s report card from Needle Trades High School, also her older sister’s. Mom was born 1921 and attended Needle Trades because she had to help support her family and she enjoyed dressmaking. I am a Superv with the NYCDoE and have been researching the “old” Snyder designed high schools . The old buildings are magnificant. Would love to learn more about the Needle Trades building.

  5. Linda says:

    My grandmother and my great aunt were both students here. They learned the millinery trade. My aunt told me that she always had a job during the Depression, but felt bad walking by so many others who did not. They were very proud to have gone there.
    I wish the records had been given to a women’s history archive or a NYC archive. I’m glad a few were picked up, as they are a part of history. I think its strange to think they should be shredded- all these women are now deceased! I would love to have this small piece of my relatives! They weren’t one of the lucky few stuffed in the author’s jacket.

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