Miss Emily Jane Schrader, She Was Larger Than Life
In 2009 the Southampton History Museum was preparing for an exhibit about women who made a difference in Southampton’s history. We reached out to the people in this community and asked them to share information, photographs etc. about local women who they felt were significant. We received the following letter from Howard McElroy.
Mr. McElroy was born in 1934 and grew up in Southampton attending the Southampton Public Schools. His letter was about Miss Emily Jane Schrader who was an English and Latin teacher at the Southampton High School until she retired in 1952. This letter was of particular interest to me because Miss Schrader lived alone in an upstairs apartment just a couple of houses down from where I grew up in the Southampton Village. I remember walking up a steep, dark back stairway to visit her. She had already retired when I knew her. As far as I know she never drove a car, but walked to do errands in the village and to visit friends. She seemed to have many friends.
What caught one’s attention was her size. She had to be close to 7 feet tall. When she walked she swung her arms. To a young curious child she seemed like a giant. I don’t remember being afraid of her or any conversations that I had with her. She had a reputation about town of having been a mean strict teacher. She must have mellowed with age. My father remembered how mean the kids in school were to her. Because of her size, they often taunted her as kids will do.
When Miss Schrader was a teacher, female teachers did not marry, (If you married you retired and became a house wife.) They were expected to dedicate their lives to teaching and that is just what she did. She never married or had children.
It’s sad when one’s whole life ends up in a small document box in a museum’s archives. That is where I looked and found personal photos and letters that once belonged to Miss Schrader. Her parents were Wilford O. and Rebecca Frazer Schrader. She had one brother, Loftus. As far as I can tell Emily was born around 1892. She attended the State College for teachers in Albany, NY, and graduated in 1914. While attending college she was a member of the YWCA, College Club, Promethean (Literary Society) and Borussia. Her senior quote, “For good or ill she is to-day What she was yesterday And will remain to-morrow.”
I always encourage people to share the knowledge that they have worked so hard to attain. Otherwise that hard work will be for naught. Miss Schrader gave 100%.