As I find interesting photos or whatnot, I’ll put them up!
Hello, all. I am a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin, and I’m writing my dissertation on the Thomasites, the teachers who went to the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. As many of the papers of the Thomasites never ended up in archives, I’m trying to track down descendants of the Thomasites, or anyone who has papers/photos/other information about them. If you have anything to share, please let me know – I really want to be able to tell these people’s stories!
Well the dissertation is finished, and I’m now working on turning it into a book manuscript! As part of this process, I want to include the perspectives of more Filipino students and teachers from the American period. I am planning a research trip to the Philippines for next summer, but if anyone out there knows of any letters, diaries, memoirs, articles, or anything else written by Filipino students or teachers, or any Filipinos connected with the Department of Education in the PI, please let me know! I am hoping that with this next research trip I will be able to make contact with families who have documents from ancestors involved in education from this period, but I’m also sure that there is stuff in archives that I missed the first time around!
Just for fun, here are some photos of girls playing sports in the Philippines in 1912. Many of the schools had indoor baseball (softball), volleyball, and basketball teams for girls by the early 1910s, when many schools in the US still thought girls should sit quietly, or do ridiculous calisthenics, rather than run around playing sports. I love these pictures, especially the last!
Wow, it’s been a long time since I updated this! Quick update: still plugging away at the diss (will defend this spring), and am teaching a class called American Empire, Immigration, and the Creation of Asian Americans this Fall!
Now back to business: I’ve come across a number of references to Filipino students, teachers, and members of the local elite in my sources, and have had a somewhat frustrating time trying to track them down, to find out more about their families, careers, etc. Ancestry has been some help, but I would love more if anyone reading this has suggestions! Here are some of the people/families that I am interested in:
The Acebedo family of Palo, Leyte – this was a large, influential family – one branch of the family, a set of three brothers, Emigdio, Nicanor, and Carlos, were at one point presidente, padre, and maestro, respectively! I’m also interested in Orsiño Acebedo – I’m not sure how he was connected to the family.
I’m also interested in the Biao family and Delfina Noble, who was a teacher and later married Carlos Acebedo.
The Perez family of Binolonan – I’m particularly interested in Joaquina and Quirino Perez, who were teachers in Binalonan and Urdaneta
Elisa Feced of Nueva Caceres – she later married a Mr. Woolley, and seems to have moved to the States
The Romulo family of Camiling – Of course there’s plenty of info about Carlos Romulo, but I’d be interested in learning more about Gregorio, his father
And I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned them in posts before, but if anyone has any sources written by or about Pilar Zamora, Sofia Reyes, or Olivia Salamanca, let me know!
One of the more frustrating aspects of my dissertation is trying to track down primary sources created by Filipino students and teachers during the American colonial period. I know that there are diaries and letters that must survive from this time, but finding them has been incredibly difficult. If anyone has any leads on where I might find such sources, I would be extremely grateful! I know that Olivia Salamanca, one of the original pensionados, wrote a diary (Encarnacion Alzona wrote an article about it), but I have no idea where the diary itself ended up.
One of the most frustrating experiences that faces an historian is finding a reference to documents that make your skin tingle, only to find that the said documents have disappeared into the ether of history. As I’ve already mentioned here, Carter G. Woodson taught for four years in the Philippines. Until recently, I haven’t been able to find any of his personal papers dating before 1912 or so, apart from two letters written after he had left the islands. However, in a dissertation written in 1971 titled Carter G. Woodson: A Biography, Patricia Romero cited several letters that referenced Woodson’s time in the Philippines, and particularly related to an incident in which he came into conflict with a Filipino employee of the civilian government. I want very much to read the letters, to get a better understanding of the incident, and also to see the way in which Woodson was treated and addressed by members of the government in the Philippines. However, according to Dr. Romero, when she looked at the letters they were sitting in a trunk in the basement of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Since then, the ASALH has moved headquarters, and it appears that the letters have either been lost or stolen. I’m still going to use Romero’s dissertation to reference the letters, but I wish there were some way I could find them. It’s so frustrating to think that they might be sitting somewhere and that I can’t get at them. This is an important part of Woodson’s life that has been, for the most part, skimmed over in light of his later achievements. I would love to be able to tell that story.
Hello again. So I’m still trying to track down black teachers in the Philippines, but I am also now trying to find more info on two female teachers, Mary Helen Fee and Adeline Knapp. So far, I haven’t been able to track down archival papers (letters, diaries, etc.) for these woman, but I would love to find their papers somewhere. I would also love to track down any descendants that they may have, to find out more biographical info about them.
I have just found out that there were a handful of black teachers in the Philippines. One was Carter G. Woodson, who later went on to edit the Journal of Negro History. Another was John Henry Manning Butler, who remained in the Philippines until the end of his life, shortly after World War II.
I’ve also read that there was at least one female black teacher, Mary E. Dickerson, but can’t find anything out about her. Hopefully I’ll be able to track her, and the other black teachers, down!
I’ve just found out about more black teachers in the Philippines, thanks to the autobiography of T.G. Steward, a chaplain of the 25th Infantry. He mentioned Fred D. Bonner and Charlotte D. Bonner, of New Haven, who were stationed in Subic, Zambales Province, as well as a Mr. Holder from Kansas City, MO, and a Mr. Hart from somewhere in the U.S. Hopefully I’ll be able to find out more information about these teachers in Washington!
This is a cartoon from Puck – I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pick this cartoon apart.