Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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1806 Letter Asks Teachers for Leniency

Old Salem Examination Book Excerpt, 1806As another school year closes, we found this rather timely letter written by a student on behalf of his classmates at the end of their May 10, 1806 exam.  Echoing the sentiments of generations of students upon the submission of coursework, he wrote to their instructors:

“We hope it may have proved to your satisfaction;
& if you should have observed any faults, we wish
they might be excused.”

Later, the students shed some light on why they might have felt the need to write such a letter as they describe their work (and behavior!) over the past year:

“We likewise embrace this Opportunity to show our gratitude
to you our dear Teachers, whose patience we have very often put to the Test
& have grieved you by our disobedience to your kind admonitions &
advice, in which you certainly have not been wanting, & by not paying a
proper attention to our Studies; but we hope you will forget what has happened
already, since it is our wish to be more obedient to your admonitions in future
& to pay a more strict attention to our Studies”

The four-page letter was bound at the end (pp. 359-362) of a volume of exams from Old Salem Museums & Gardens’ collection of student exercise books.  We recently digitized an additional ten volumes, bringing the total number of volumes in the digital collection to twenty, and we will be adding more in the coming weeks!


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