Monthly Archives: May 2016

Would You Have Passed 8th Grade?

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

Gillette High School Class of 1916 (Lucas Collection, P74-19/26)

Gillette High School Class of 1916
(Lucas Collection, P74-19/26)

Did you know that students have only been graduating from Wyoming high school since 1879? High school education was not common until the early 20th century. Cheyenne opened the first secondary school in the state in 1874, followed by Buffalo in 1881 and Newcastle 1889. This meant that either the family had to move to town or the child was sent to board with family and friends. It also meant that graduation from 8th grade was similar to graduating from high school today.

Wyoming’s state constitution did include a compulsory education requirement, but it only  that:

…the legislature shall require that every child of sufficient physical and mental ability shall attend a public school during the period between six and eighteen years for a time equivalent to three years, unless educated by other means. (Article VII, Section 9)

In 1907, the Legislature passed an act mandating compulsory education for all students between the ages of six and fourteen years of age equating to 6 months per school session (school year).

By 1916, the number of high schools around the state had grown to 25. Today, there are 141 high schools in Wyoming.

The cover of the Superintendent's record book shows Columbia, the feminine personification of the United States.  (WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools  ledger)

The cover of the Superintendent’s record book shows Columbia, the feminine personification of the United States.
(WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools ledger)

Buried in the Crook County Superintendent of Schools records are copies of questions from the 8th grade examinations given in 1913-1915. These questions give insight not only into the curriculum of the district, but also into the values of the local community, or at least the County Superintendent.

For the years 1912-1915, the superintendent included details about each of the tests include when and where they were given, who administered the test, and the questions included in the test. Unfortunately, no answers are given. The ledger also includes the names of the students and their test scores, though this information is restricted and cannot be released to researchers.  (WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools ledger)

For the years 1912-1915, the superintendent included details about each of the tests include when and where they were given, who administered the test, and the questions included in the test. Unfortunately, no answers are given. The ledger also includes the names of the students and their test scores, though this information is restricted and cannot be released to researchers.
(WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools ledger)

Would you have passed the test? Below are the questions from the test given at 10 schools in Crook County in November 1913.

Physiology and Hygiene

  1. Name the principal organs of digestion.
  2. Name the chief parts of the nervous system. State clearly their use in the system.
  3. Beginning with the right auricle, trace the course of the blood through the circulatory system.
  4. Discuss the importance of ventilation in the home and in the school.
  5. Give three uses of the bones. Name the bones of the hand and the arm.
  6. What are the organs of special sense? How may we increase their usefulness?
  7. What is hygiene? Give several important rules of hygiene.
  8. Why is the use of tobacco more harmful to a boy than to a man?
  9. Give the general effects of alcohol.
  10. Define the following: lymph, corpuscle, cardiac, vertebra, tendon


  1. Define agriculture.
  2. Define humus. Name several kinds of soil.
  3. What are some of the importaint elements that plants require from the soil? What is meant by the term “texture of the soil”?
  4. What is irrigation? What do you understand by the term “dry farming”?
  5. What is soil mulch? How is it obtained?
  6. What plants are called root crops? Name some plants having tap roots.
  7. What three conditions are necessary for germination? How should a seed bed for wheat by prepared?
  8. What is a cutting? What plants are propagated by cuttings?
  9. What are fiber crops? Cereal crops? Name the most important ones of United States?
  10. Name the different classes of insect pests.

Wyoming Civics

  1. Name the three departments of the state. Of what does each consist?
  2. Who is our governor? Give the length of term, salary and duties.
  3. Who represents our district in the state legislature? Give the length of the term of office.
  4. How often does the legislature meet? Give three of its powers.
  5. When was Wyoming admitted as a state?
  6. How are the public schools supported? What subjects does the school law require taught in our public schools?
  7. Name and locate the state buildings.
  8. Define treason; bribery; alien; citizen; jury
  9. What is meant by equal suffrage?
  10. Who is the judge of our district? What are his duties?
List of questions given (WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools ledger)

This set of questions was used at 10 schools in the county in November 1913, including Sundance, Hulett, Alva and Rifle Pit Schools. 
(WSA Crook County Superintendent of Schools ledger)


  1. What is geography?
  2. Describe the motions of the earth.
  3. Explain the cause of seasons.
  4. Name the grand divisions in order of their size.
  5. Compare North America and South America in reference to position; drainage; climate; people.
  6. What is the leading production of [the] United States? Brazil? Germany? Cape Colony? Australia?
  7. Where and what are the following: Gibralter? [sic] Popocatapetl? Bombay? Shasta? Afghanistan?
  8. Bound the United States. Name and locate five of its leading cities.
  9. Name the states of the United States bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and give their capitals.
  10. Sketch a map of Wyoming and show the Principal mountains and rivers; a place noted for scenic beauty; locate the capital and two largest cities.


  1. Give two rules for spelling.
  2. Define prefix; suffix; affix; antonym; homophone
  3. Give the use of the hyphen

Detach these and pronounce:



  1. Reduce to decimal fractions: ½, 1/5, ¼, 7/8, 2/3, 2/5. Find the least common multiple of 3, 5, 8, 15, 24
  2. Find the sum of 2/3, 2/5, 7/8, 13/15, 5/24. How many feet in a mile?
  3. A man bought a hat for $3 and sold it for $4. What was his gain in per cent? One of these hats was damages and he sold it for $1.50. What was his loss per cent?
  4. What do you mean by saying that a fraction in an indicated quotient? Multiply 25 ¾ by 45 2/3
  5. Write a negotiable promissory note. How many parties to a note? What is each called?
  6. What sum put at interest January 1, 1909, will amount to $343.75 February 1, 1911, interest at 7%?
  7. A square field contains 622521 sq. rods. Find the distance around it.
  8. Find the cost of flooring a bridge 60 feet long and 12 feet wide with boards 2 inches thick, costing $40 per M.?
  9. Define mixed number, fraction, percentage, insurance, commission.
  10. Find the interest on $144 from August 1 to December 1. Find the interest on $8100 for 179 das. At 4 ½% interest.


  1. Name and define the parts of speech.
  2. What is a sentence? Classify sentences according to use; form.
  3. Parse the underlined words:The spider’s web is a wonderful piece of work.
  4. Write a sentence using a personal pronoun, second, singular, as an attribute complement.
  5. Distinguish between regular and irregular verbs and illustrate.
  6. Give the principal parts of the verbs: see, sit, lay, lie (to recline)
  7. Write a sentence using “they” as the subject, object, attribute.
  8. Write the possessive plural of these words: wolf, donkey, sheep, man, I
  9. Give three uses of a noun in the nominative case and illustrate.
  10.  Analyze or diagram: As we traveled onward many important places were pointed out to us.


  1. Describe briefly the life, manners and customs of the inhabitants of North America at the time of discovery.
  2. Name four explorers of different nationalities; and tell what each of them did.
  3. Name the thirteen original colonies and tell about the settlement of one.
  4. Give the direct cause of the Revolution. Name three generals on the American side and give an event in which each was an important actor.
  5. What was the Constitutional Convention?
  6. How was slavery introduced into United States and how was it abolished?
  7. Name four territorial acquisitions of the United States of which Wyoming was a part.
  8. Name four inventions of the nineteenth century. Which do you think was the most important and why?
  9. Who were the Hugonots? [sic] Pilgrims? Quakers?
  10. Name the cabinet offices.


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Starting a New Chapter: Curtis Greubel to Retire After 29 Years

On June 1st, we will be saying good-bye to one of our long-time supervisors and archivists, Curtis Greubel. He will retire after 29 years here at the Wyoming State Archives. Before he turns his computer off and reshelves his last box, we asked him to share some memories:

How did you become associated with the Wyoming State Archives?

I received an MA in History from Colorado State University, with an emphasis in archival management, in 1985, about the time job opportunities for prospective archivists became scarce (after a hiring boom).  I kept busy with volunteering and part-time jobs at CSU, the Fort Collins Museum, and with a microfilm / records storage business.  In 1987 I found out that the Wyoming State Archives was seeking an archivist for a grant funded position.  I applied for the job, which involved the arrangement and description of records from the State Engineers’s Office and records of Wyoming’s governors.  I was hired and worked on two grant-funded projects before I was selected to fill a vacant permanent position.

Carl Hallberg and Curtis Greubel processing records and updating FAs at AS, 1990s

Curtis (right) and Carl Hallberg updating finding aid binders and processing collections in the mid-1990s.

How has the WSA changed over the years? How did your duties change?

Of course the amount of material managed and stored has grown many times the amount the Archives had when I started.  The use and management of technology has been a major change.  When I started we typed letters and finding aids on typewriters.  Staff had to share our first computer.  Now most information is created digitally.  Managing, preserving, and providing access to digital records has been a big challenge for archivists.  My duties initially focused on arranging and describing collections, as well as assisting the public with access to information.  Early in my career I was also being steered toward a focus on electronic records, but these efforts were stymied by lack of funds for equipment and training.  When I became a supervisor my duties broadened to overall collection management issues, developing procedures and planning, and personnel matters.  I continued to assist with processing new collections, which I enjoyed doing.  Later on, the supervision of microfilming and scanning operations was assigned to me.  Managing the increasing volume of information in all formats has been a constant challenge.

What do you see as your legacy/greatest achievement of your career at the WSA?

I don’t know about a legacy.  I’ve been involved in the continued effort to improve how we manage and provide access to information, and how we meet the needs of our constituents.  The records at the Wyoming State Archives help document who we are and where we’ve come from.  I think that knowledge is very important, and therefore the preservation of the historical record is very important, as is maintaining personal information needed by Wyoming’s citizens. Being involved in that effort has been rewarding. 

crop, Records Management Day event, 4-5-1995, Curtis Greubel answering phone

Curtis pauses during a reception in the Reading Room to answer a call from a researcher.

Do you have a favorite collection? Project?

A favorite collection is tough. There are so many interesting ones. What comes to mind at this time is the Campbell Collection, records relating to the lives of Wyoming’s first governor, John Campbell, and his wife, Isabella.  The collection includes their diaries.   Isabella Campbell’s diaries contain entries recorded when she resided in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. during the years 1864-1866.  Though most of the entries deal with personal and family matters, the diaries also reveal something of what life was like in mid-19th century America, and provide a few glimpses of civilian reactions to Civil War events and the assassination of President LincolnGovernor Campbell’s diaries, 1869-1876, cover his years in Wyoming Territory, and almost two years after he left the Governor’s Office.  The collection also includes letters to Governor Campbell from family, friends, favor seekers, and business and political acquaintances.   There are references to and correspondence with Wyoming’s political leaders and United States government and military leaders.

Favorite projects include writing administrative histories for state agencies for a Guide to the Archives of Wyoming, planning and organizing events for the grand re-opening of the Barrett Building, where the Archives is housed, after it was renovated, planning for various Archives Month activities, and being involved with strategic planning for the agency, to name a few.

What is your favorite memory/story?

 A humorous story involves co-worker Carl Hallberg.  In the mid-90s Carl and I were in Rawlins at the State Penitentiary, reviewing and boxing records for transporting to the State Archives.  It was a long process and we were there during the lunch hour.  A Penitentiary staff member suggested we have lunch in the cafeteria, which also served less risky inmates.  The food was free and we didn’t have to leave the site so we agreed.  We arrived in the cafeteria toward the end of when lunch was served.  When the last inmate left, the guard, apparently not noticing us in our corner, locked up the facility.  When we finished our lunch, Carl and I discovered we had become inmates.  Fortunately, a trustee who worked in the kitchen was still on duty and eventually discovered our plight.  He led us through the kitchen to an exit door.

Wyoming State Penitentiary Administration Building, 1980s (WSA P2012-6/4)

Wyoming State Penitentiary Administration Building, Rawlins.
(WSA P2012-6/4)

Overall, visiting many of the state’s historic sites, museums, and historical records repositories as part of the job has been enjoyable.

You have written many posts for our blog over the years, do you have a favorite? Were there other topics you would have liked to explore? Did/do you enjoy writing?

My favorite was probably the one about Tim McCoy.  His story is quite remarkable.  I also enjoyed the governors’ birthday series.  Like McCoy, many of these men started life in very humble situations, but they took advantage of opportunities available in Wyoming, worked hard, and occasionally benefited from fortunate circumstances.  The last couple of posts I wrote dealt with lesser known collections.  I probably would have continued to write about those.

What was your least favorite task/project?

As I mentioned, the first project I worked on was the organization of State Engineer records.  This included a very large amount of general correspondence that needed to be put in alphabetical or chronological order.  This tedious task took many months to finish.  I was glad to move on to something else.

Do you have plans for your retirement?

I’ll be assisting my wife with her business, working on honey do’s, and maybe doing some writing. 


Thank you for the memories, Curtis. We’ll miss you but hope you enjoy a long and well-earned retirement!

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LibGuides Are Here!

Researching in an archive can be daunting. So can tracking down primary sources on a topic. Sometimes you just have questions about where to go for more information or how exactly to request information. Thankfully, help has arrived!

The Wyoming State Archives is rolling out a new resource for how-to and bibliographic information called LibGuides. These guides are a part of the Wyoming State Library‘s growing collection of guides on a variety of topics.

This month, our first four guides are now available:

  • Wyoming Vital Records – Need a Wyoming birth or death certificate? Perhaps a marriage or divorce record? Wondering what to expect in it? Find out here.
  • Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming – Since 1869, Wyoming’s women have been guaranteed suffrage: the right to vote in elections and hold public office. They were the first in the nation to be granted this right. Learn more in this guide about women’s suffrage in the state.
  • World War One and Wyoming – Learn about Wyomingites who fought “over there” and those who stayed on the homefront during the Great War. This guide also includes a bibliography and where to find additional information on Wyoming and World War One.
  • Tom Horn – Learn more about the infamous Tom Horn, his trial and execution in 1903. This guide also include a bibliography and where to find additional information.

Each guide is tailored to the topic it covers and answers questions like: Where do I find ___? Is it a primary/secondary source? How can I request a copy? Where can I find more information?

Information about births from the Vital Records guide.

Information about births from the Wyoming Vital Records guide.

Several of our new LibGuides also contain bibliographies. These are lists of archival collections, manuscripts, photograph collections, maps, books, articles, etc. on the topic of interest. Links are provided where the resources are available online.

Bibliography section of the new World War One and Wyoming LibGuide

Bibliography section of the new World War One and Wyoming LibGuide

Check out the guides and let us know what you think of them! Have a suggestion for a guide? Tell us what you’d like to see in the comments below.


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An Overview of the Poll Tax in Wyoming

The poll tax was an integral part of Wyoming since the territory’s inception.  The Territorial Legislature required counties to impose a poll tax of two dollars ($25.94 in 2015) for each adult.  Initially, it applied only to individuals over the age 21.  In 1873, the territorial legislature limited it to individuals between the ages of 21 and 50.   Later, firemen and their wives and veterans were exempted from the poll tax.

Money raised from this tax was delegated to funding schools.  This provision would be incorporated into the state constitution.  In 1909, a new statute allowed county commissioners’ could institute a special poll tax to pay for roads.

The (WSA Session Laws of Wyoming, 1873)

The statute passed by the 1873 State Legislature limited those responsible for the poll tax to citizens over the age of 21. It did not specify what the money raised would be used. The only penalty for non-payment was a seizure and sale of property to pay the tax by the sheriff or collection agent. It does not appear that non-payment threatened the individual’s access to the polls on voting day.
(WSA Session Laws of Wyoming, 1873)

The poll tax seems to have elicited little discussion in Wyoming circles. Elsewhere, it was a serious matter.   In many states, particularly in the South, failure to pay one’s poll tax resulted in the loss of voting rights.  In Wyoming, failure to pay a poll tax put an individual on a delinquent list.  If still unpaid after a period of time, a person’s property could be seized and sold or wages garnished.

Legislation already defined in broad terms, who could and who could not vote.  Moreover, there is no connection between paying a poll tax and the right to vote.  It seems that the only connection between poll taxes and voting was that poll tax records were used to compile a list of qualified voters.  

In 1890, the state legislature passed legislation that made it unnecessary for individuals to pay their poll tax in order to vote.  One can only guess at the legislature’s generosity.  Maybe they saw this as a way to push the process of statehood forward.  We may never know the true reason.

Telegraph from ___ to Governor Hansen  (WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

Telegraph from US Senate leadership to Governor Hansen urging him to ask the State Legislature to discuss ratification.
(WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

In 1962, Congress passed a resolution to amend the US Constitution by barring the poll tax as a requirement for voting in federal elections.  In January 1963 Sen. Gale McGee fervently encouraged Governor Clifford Hansen to get Wyoming to support the amendment.  McGee believed that “it would be in the interest of our State to have the legislature consider the proposal during its present session . . .”   Two months later, US Senators Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen also strongly urged Governor Hansen to should push the Wyoming legislature to support the amendment.  In their cable they stated that  “The strength and vitality of our democratic processes rests upon every qualified citizen expressing his views through the ballot – surely in this day, those otherwise qualified to vote should not be prevented from doing so by the anachronistic device of a poll tax.”    

Letter from Sen. McGee to Governor Hansen. (WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

Letter from Sen. McGee to Governor Hansen personally urging consideration of the amendment in the State Legislature.
(WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

Governor Hansen did not share any of the senators’ enthusiasm.  Moreover, even if the political logic seemed to have little effect on him, the matter was poorly timed.  At the time of McGee’s letter, the legislature was already in mid-session.   Hansen acknowledged Magee’s letter and in a dry, dispassionate terms that he had sent a memorandum to the speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to “take whatever action they deem advisable.”  After the legislative session had concluded, he stonily reported that no action had been taken by either chamber.  

Letter from Governor Hansen. (WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

Response from Governor Hansen to Senator Gale McGee.
(WSA RG0001.36, Hansen gubernatorial records)

With the legislative session concluded, the only possibility was a special session, but it did not seem practical to do so.  Unlike his Washington colleagues, Hansen was not inspired by the amendment to take any further action.  

In the meantime, between January and March 1963, 29 states ratified the amendment.  Between March 1963 and January 1964, 9 additional states ratified the measure and it became officially adopted into the US Constitution.  Wyoming is one of 8 states, most in the South, that did not ratify the 24th amendment.  

Wyoming is one of only a handfull of states that did not ratify the 24th Amendment. (map from Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming is one of only eight states that have never ratified the 24th Amendment.
(map from Wikimedia Commons)

To its credit, the Wyoming legislature was not totally oblivious.  From 1957 to 1963, several house members called for repealing the poll tax provision from the state constitution but the issue failed to get the support of the majority of the house members.  

Finally in 1967, both chambers agreed to endorse the idea, and the proposed constitutional change was strongly approved at the general election in November 1968.  The following year, the legislature repealed the poll tax statutes.

— Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist

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