Digital photography has changed the way we look at history.

Someone has emailed me two old photographs recently of the students at Stanton School.

The older of the two is a sepia tone photo with 45 students posing in front of the door with the name of the school painted above. The date on the slate, held by a girl in the second row, appears to be 1905. The students stare solemnly at the photographer. The details of student life stand out. The boys are all dressed in suit jackets with shirts buttoned at the top. The girls are wearing an array of ruffles.

The teacher in this photo, a young woman, is sporting a magnificent Gibson Girl pompadour. Some of the older girls also have pompadours.

A later black and white photo, taken in 1907, is the same school, though the photographer was closer so the name of the school is not visible. One of the boys in the front row is holding a small slate with the words Stanton School, Oct. 22, 1907, in chalk.

One tiny girl, standing next to the boys in the front row, is wearing a white dress with a ruffled skirt and ruffled petticoat over white stockings and black patent leather Mary Jane shoes. Her light-colored hair is parted in the middle and tied back with two white ribbons. She has been allowed to bring her doll to school for picture day. She has one hand gripping the front of her doll, which also has a white ruffled dress and ribbons tying back light-colored hair.

A young woman, not much older than the older girls, is standing all the way in back in the center of the doorway. She is probably the teacher.

It was tempting to compare the two pictures to see if I could identify students who had aged two years. There were a couple of boys and two or three girls who appeared to be two versions of the same person.

In 1932, when there were 115 rural school districts in Franklin County, Stanton was District 96.

Someone handed me a note at one of the Franklin County history fairs saying the teacher at Stanton in 1948 was Mary Ann Rathmeyer Reed. She taught grades three, four and five.

My friend Phyllis Reed — retired county commissioner — taught grades one, two and three there about that same time. She returned in 1968 and taught grades four and five.

These two ladies are much too young to recognize any students from 1905 and 1907. But I’m including the two photos in the hope someone can add names to the people or some details about Stanton School that we could add to our Meramec Valley Genealogical and Historical Society archive. These young people are someone’s grandparents and great-grandparents.

Pauline Masson can be reached at or 314-805-9800.