Norman Rockwell Visits a Country School

In this feature from 1946, Norman Rockwell illustrated scenes from a one-room school house in Carroll County, Georgia.

Norman Rockwell's illustration of a one-room schoolhouse, where children gather around their teacher who's reading a story.

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Seventy-five years ago, Norman Rockwell decided to paint the students at Oak Mountain School, a one-room school house in Carroll County, Georgia. In this four-page spread from November 2, 1946, Rockwell illustrates the daily rhythms of the school, from spelldowns to wash-ups.

Oak Mountain had one teacher, Mrs. Effie McGuire, who taught all of the children in grades 1-7. The school lacked many modern comforts: “The plumbing is outdoors, the washbowl is on the porch, someone has to tote coal for Big Joe, the stove. The pay is thin soup; it has been as low as $420 a year, and even now is only $878.”

While these buildings were once the heart of many rural areas, their numbers have dwindled just just a few dozen. As with other moments captured by Rockwell, much has changed in 75 years. And while many aspects of education have been altered for the better, no doubt there are folks who have fond memories of learning in just such a school house.

First page of the article "Norman Rockwell Visits a Country School"
Read “Norman Rockwell Visits a Country School” from the November 2, 1946, issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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