San Francisco Genealogy
Girls' High School, San Francisco
Graduates and Programme
May 1865

Theodosia J. CARTER
Lydia A. CLEEG
Sarah M. GUNN
Frances HOLMES
Evelyn MOSSE
Clara J. NEAL
Philena T. SHERMAN

First Annual Commencement of the Girl's High School.
. . .
The exercises were opened with a prayer.
1-- Chant, by the School.
2--*Essay, "Each One a Mission," Helen M. Dickerman.
3--*Essay, "Beauty of Forms," Susannah H. Lankershim.
4--Essay, "The Society of To-day," Kate Bonnell.
5--Essay, "English Poets," Mary A. H. Estabrook.
6--Essay, "Our Trials," Maria E. O'Connor.
7--Music, (Duet and Chorus.) "Pleasures of Spring."
8--*Essay, "Before and After." Evelyn Mosse.
9--*Essay, "Our Dead," Frances Holmes.
10--Essay, "Borrowers and Lenders," Philena T. Sherman.
11--Music, Patriotic Song.
12--*Essay, "Candelight, Sunlight and Starlight," Thedosia J. Carter.
13--*Essay, "Birds of North America," Mary J. Bragg.
14--Essay, "Each One a Benefactor," Eva G. Smith.
15--Essay, "Our Success in Life," Lucy V. Smith.
16--Music, (Chorus.) "Hark, 'tis the Curfew Bell."
17--*Essay, "Then and Now," Clara J. Neal.
18--*Essay, "Devotion to County," Ellen Holmes.
19--Essay, "Public Schools," Mary E. Weygant.
20--Music, (Chorus.) "America, I Love Thee Still."
21--*Poem, "Inspired Volumes," Helen M. Satterlee.
22--Essay, "Hope," Grace W. Wright.
23--Music, (Chorus.) "Hunters' Song."
24--*Essay, "Shams," Sarah E. Porter
25--*Essay, "Prison Walls," Lydia A. Clegg.
26--Music, "Hear Me, Norma."
27--*Essay, with Valedictory, "After Darkness, Light," Sarah M. Gunn.
28--Address, Rev. M. C. Briggs.
29--Music, (Chorus.) "Home, Fare Thee Well."
30--Presentation of Diplomas, Giles H. Gray, Esq.
31--Music, "Closing Song," by the graduates.
. . .
*[Not given due to lack of time.]

Source: Daily Alta California, San Francisco, 31 May 1865, page 1.


Girls' High School Commencement.

Never was Music Hall filled with a finer looking or more respectable audience than last evening, on the occasion of the first Annual Commencement of the Girls' High School of the city. Only those who had tickets were allowed admission, and yet the large hall was filled with repletion, many ladies even having to stand during the entire evening. The stage was occupied by the pupils, the graduating class, numbering 20, all dressed in white, filling the front seats. Members of the Board of Education, clergymen and others, were also on the platform. A band of music was in attendance, under the direction of Prof. Mitchell. The programme of the evening was literally carried out. The exercises were opened with a chant of one of the Psalms by the pupils, followed with prayer by the Rev. J. H. Brodt. The twelve essays marked on the programme were then read in their order, music and songs being freely intermingled throughout. Want of space forbids any review of the essays in detail. They were all good, and appreciated by the audience present, as frequent applause gave evidence.

Each One a Mission, by Helen M. Dickerman, was read in a loud distinct manner. Beauty of Forms, by Susannah H. Lankershim, was turned to practical account, as comparing different styles of architecture with different phases of character. Before and After, by Evelyn Mosse, was quite humorous, as showing the hollowness of professed friendship in some circles of genteel society. Our Dead, by Frances Holmes, contained glowing eulogies on the characters of King, Everett and Lincoln. Candlelight, Sunlight and Starbright, by Theodosia J. Carter, was not a disquisition on the chemistry of light, but used as figures to show the variety of character in the world. Gen. Grant was regarded as the triple star of America. The Birds of North America, by Mary J. Bragg, on account of her felicitous character, was the most warmly greeted essay of the evening, and an effort was made to have it repeated. Grant and Sherman were regarded as the two great army birds. The former must be a perfect monster, for he has often demanded 10,000 men before breakfast, and taken large numbers of prisoners for future repasts. According to the telegrams, one of the wings of the “Sherman” bird at one time was 17 miles long. In the navy, the “Porter” bird was not satisfied with taking the fish, but took the “Fisher.” The “Lincoln” bird was regarded as the king bird, for he had set all the blackbirds free. The “Chase” or “Secretary” bird was supposed to be the father of a large number of birds having “green backs,” which have beend devoured by the carrion bird, “Shoddy.” The “Davis” bird had been hitherto regarded as a game bird, though it was notorious that all it wanted was to be “let alone.” It was hard telling whether this bird was a species of the magpie or California road-runner. The incredible short space in which it recently changed its plumage had created a serious doubt whether it was a male or a female bird. At all events, it is now a caged bird, and it was hoped that it would soon be a hanged bird. The disloyal birds have gray backs, and are called “Jayhawks,” etc. The time was coming when they would all be gobbled up by the “Loyal” or “Bluebirds,” who will then assist Juarez to take care of Napoleon’s pet bird, “Maximillian.”

The next essay, entitled Then and Now, was ready by Clara J. Neal, in a distinct tone of voice. Devotion to Country, by Ellen Holmes, recapitulated some of the evidences of this trait was developed by the present war. Beautiful allusion was made to that exhibited by the soldiers, and the late Commander-in-Chief, who had been cut down by the cowardly hand of the assassin. Helen M. Sutterlee then read a fine poem on the Inspired Volumes. Shams, by Sarah E. Porter, was what might have been expected from such a subject. Prison Walls, by Lydia A. Cleeg, referred more particularly to mental than material enclosures. Up to the present war, the prison walls of slavery had debarred 4,000,000 of human beings from the rights and enjoyment of liberty. After Darkness, Light, by Sarah M. Gunn, was kindly received by the audience, both for its own sake and the manner in which it was read. The addresses by the Rev. M. C. Briggs and Giles H. Gray were listened to with remarkable attention, considering the lateness of the hour at which they were made. Diplomas were then distributed to the Graduating Class, which embraced the following persons in addition to those already named as reading essays: Kate Bonnell, Mary A.H. Estabrook, Maria E. O’Connor, Philena T. Sherman, Eva G. Smith, Lucy V. Smith, Mary E. Weyant, and Grace W. Wright.

At 10½ o’clock the exercises, which had been under the direction of Mr. Lynch, as President of the Board of Education, were brought to a close by staging the Battle Hymn of the Republic by the pupils, in the chorus of which the vast audience joined. All went away seemingly gratified with the entertainment, and proud of the public school system of the city.

Source: Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, 31 May 1865.

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