School Days in Den Haag

17th Edition of the Smile For The Camera - School Days
Hoping to sneak in unnoticed at the last minute, I’m submitting this short photoessay as my contribution to the 17th Edition of the Smile For The Camera carnival, “School Days” hosted by the footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper (1894-1981)
Unidentified print taken c. 1913
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The photographs from my own family collection which I’ve featured on this blog in the past have mostly tended to come from the English side, to the detriment of my mother’s Dutch heritage. Today I thought it would be nice to include a series of group portraits featuring my Oma – in other words, my maternal grandmother – first as a young scholar, then as a student at teacher training college, and finally as a teacher in charge of her own class of young boys and girls.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Class Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper fourth from left in middle row),
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1902-1904
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
My Oma Hendrika Louisa Schipper was born at ‘s Gravenhage on 14 May 1894, the youngest of four children of Jan Schipper (1857-1921) and Hendrika Antonia Annetta Helena de Graaff (1854-1934). They lived in Den Haag (The Hague) where her father was secretary to the Director of the Cabinet of Queen Wilhelmina. The first two class photos were obviously taken at the same school – the windows of the building which forms the backdrop appear to be identical – but probably a couple of years apart. In the first I estimate that she is aged about nine, so it must have been taken around 1902 to 1904. Apart from my grandmother, there are two adults, presumably both teachers, and forty four other children.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Class Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from right in middle row of six girls),
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1905-1908
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The second group shows her three or four years older, so was probably taken between 1905 and 1908. One of the two adults is the same man who was there two years earlier, so he is perhaps a headmaster rather than a class teacher. Several of the boys and girls from the first portrait are clearly identifiable in the second. I only spent a few minutes comparing them, and was able to comfortably correlate three or four, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are far more.

I don’t have records of where she went to primary and secondary school but I know that after completing her ordinary schooling she trained as a teacher. I have photocopies of several documents relating to this part of her education as follows:

1912 – Needlework Examination Results
11 Mar 1912 – Primary School Teacher’s Certificate
18 Nov 1912 – Primary School Teacher’s Certificate
1913 – French Language Exam Results
23 Apr 1913 – Pre-School Teacher’s Certificate
23 Apr 1913 – Examination Results
27 Aug 1913 – Primary School Teacher’s Certificate
16 & 17 Aug 1915 – Examination Results
17 Aug 1915 – Headmistress Certificate

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Group Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from left in back row),
Foto Americaine, Wagenstraat 10, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1915
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The next two photographs are from this period that she was training to be a teacher. I know that because one of them (that shown above) was given to me a few years ago by Martje Knoester, whose mother-in-law trained as a teacher with my grandmother. The postcard style group portrait was taken in the Foto Americaine studio at Wagenstraat 10, Den Haag.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Group Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from left in back row),
Unidentified teacher training school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1913
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The next is a larger group, and judging by the fact that my grandmother looks slightly younger, was possibly taken slightly earlier than the previous one. It has been taken indoors, but it is not clear whether in a studio, at the school where they were studying or another location altogether.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper with her class
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1916-1918
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The final two group photographs show my grandmother as a teacher surrounded by her pupils. The first – I only refer to it as the first because she appears to me slightly younger in this one – is a larger group of twenty four children (ten boys and fourteen girls) aged perhaps 12 or 13 years old. They are arranged standing and sitting on the steps in frontog large wooden double doors in a brick wall, with my grandmother seated on a chair.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper with her class
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1917-1920
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The second appears to be at the same location (although the doors are open) and is probably a year or two later. The class is a slightly smaller one – 22 instead of 24 – composed of slightly younger children, aged about nine or ten. This time there are more boys than girls.

On the 23rd December 1920 Hendrika married my Opa Dirk Smit (1895-1985) in Amsterdam. Their first child (my uncle) only arrived in 1926, so she may have carried on working as a teacher for a few more years – I’m not sure about that. However, there don’t appear to be any more class photos for the period of her life after she was married.

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~ by gluepot on Thursday, September 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “School Days in Den Haag”

  1. >I love the new profile photo. Your daughter created the masterpiece? She must take after her father when it comes to photography and photographs.Now you can go create your trading card like I am nagging everyone else to do! LOL

  2. >Thanks Sheri. She is good isn't she – far more artistic and creative than I am, I'm afraid.I got as far as the comments section on the Trading Card creator, and that's where it ended … sorry.Regards, Brett

  3. Dear Sir,

    You sens a photo off you oma Hendrika schipper to photo americain.
    Photo americaine is going to celebrait 100 aniversery. Because off the 2e world war en the bombardment of wagenstraat,are we not able to find old records. Can we use your photo for exposition off 100 year photo americain

    met vriendelijke groet,

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