Dr. Peale’s mother chose school mottoes

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.




When Dr. Norman Vincent Peale comes to Findlay for the 50th anniversary dinner of the local Rotary Club next Tuesday evening (in March 1970), he will be coming back home to the community where his mother, Mrs. Charles C. Peale, served for a period of four years on the Findlay Board of Education, during which time she was the one who chose mottoes which adorn the faces of three of the city’s secondary schools.

Dr. Peale will be the speaker at Tuesday evening’s event at the senior high school. His father, who was pastor of the First Methodist Church here from 1916 to 1919, and later superintendent of the old Findlay District of the denomination, was a member of the Findlay Rotary Club during much of his residence locally.

The son, now the famous New York clergyman, pastor of the Marble Collegiate Reformed Church there, is an active member of the New York Rotary Club. He recently was the speaker at the 50th anniversary of the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Rotary Club.

The mother was elected to the Findlay Board of Education in November 1921 for a four-year term. She was one of two members elected at that time, the other being Harry B. Carpenter, then purchasing agent of the Ohio Oil Co., now Marathon. The other three members of the board were Lester Porter, Lawrence J. Crawford and A.O. Hamilton.

Early in Mrs. Peale’s term, the matter of a change in Findlay’s school pattern came up. Superintendent I.F. Matteson proposed the junior high school system be adopted in Findlay, taking the place of the old system which provided a four-year old high school and eight elementary grades. However, this had been modified somewhat back in 1916, when freshmen were taken out of the high school and placed in the new Washington and Lincoln elementary buildings, just opened in that year. Space considerations led to this move. Freshmen living south of the Blanchard River went to the Lincoln, and those residing north of the river to the Washington.

The proposition of a change to the junior high school system went to the voters and they approved. So the two junior highs, J.C. Donnell and Glenwood, were built and an addition to the senior high to the west was constructed. Seniors, juniors and sophomores continued in the senior high and seventh, eighth and ninth graders were placed in the junior highs.

The matter of placing appropriate mottoes on the faces of the new structures came up and suggestions were asked from the public. Many came in and the board asked Mrs. Peale to examine them and select the ones that would be best or propose some of her own. She did so.

On the new portion of the senior high school the motto “Education is the Key to Success” was placed at the far west end. The board decided to keep the motto, “Our Youth, the Hope of our Country,” on the portion of the old high school which still stood. This motto had been placed there when it was built in 1901. The words “Dedicated to” have been added.

For the Glenwood, these mottoes were selected: “Education is the Safeguard of Liberty” and “Arts are but the Servants whom Wisdom Commands.”

For the Donnell, the mottoes chosen were: “What Sculpture is to Marble, Education is to the Human Soul” and “Wisdom Contains within Herself the Sum of Excellence.”

When the additions to the two junior high schools were built in the 1950s, it was necessary to cover up one motto on each structure, because of the location of the new construction. On the Glenwood, the motto still remaining is “Education is the Safeguard of Liberty.” On the Donnell, the remaining one is “Wisdom Contains within Herself the Sum of Excellence.”

When the original high school was replaced by the new wing on the east in the late 1930s, a new motto was placed on the east side of the new building. It reads “Knowledge Adorns Riches and Softens Poverty.” Mrs. Peale, of course, was not on the board at that time.

The information as to the two obliterated mottoes comes from George R. Constien, former assistant superintendent for business affairs of the schools, who checked the minutes of the Board of Education back in the 1920s when Mrs. Peale was a member.

Mrs. Peale was vice president of the board of education for some of the years of her incumbency. She did not run for re-election as a board member because she and her husband were leaving Findlay for a new pastorate.


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