Watchtower History Gem: I Found When Maria Got Her Teaching Certificate

by Wild_Thing 19 Replies latest jw friends

  • Wild_Thing

    I consider myself an amateur Watchtower history buff. I have always read that Maria Frances Ackley Russell, Charles Taze Russell's first and only wife, went to a teacher training college and was a teacher for a number of years before marrying Russell. But, I have never seen proof that she truly did finish college and became a certified teacher. Here is proof! This is significant because it is proof of how much more educated she was than Russell, a man who would go on to create an organization that rallies against higher education.

    Maria is certificate number 660.


  • dropoffyourkeylee

    Awesome! I had heard/read that she did some of the early writing in the Watchtower magazine.

  • Tara N Seals
    Tara N Seals

    Good find.

    She would have been 20 years old in 1870; her writings attest to her intelligence and education.

    Incidentally, she was almost 2 years older than Charles, and much more accomplished than he.

    I'm sure that didn't set too well with CTR.

  • scratchme1010


  • Wild_Thing

    Awesome! I had heard/read that she did some of the early writing in the Watchtower magazine.

    Yes, she did. If you compare writing styles of the early Watchtower writings, you can tell which ones she wrote and which ones were penned unedited by CTR. His had a lot more grammar mistakes!

  • steve2

    An amazing find that no one appears to have unearthed before - even in any of the detailed histories of the Watchtower Society!

    Wild_Thing - were you looking for this - or did you happen to find it whilst looking for something else?

  • Wild_Thing

    I was researching Maria Frances Ackley Russell. I have gone down a rabbit hole lately and have been interested in her life and the part she played in the early Watchtower that the society would like to sweep under the rug.

    There is a record of her being a student at Pennsylvania Central High School when she was about 16, which had a free teacher training program, but during the Russells divorce proceedings, she said went to Curry Normal School for her teacher training, which a teacher program that required tuition. I was looking for proof that she attended Curry University when I happened upon this gem. I am still not sure at which institution she studied at to become a teacher. Perhaps, it was both. More research is needed.

    I have found records of Maria being listed as a teacher at the First Ward in Allegheny for the 1868 and the 1869 school year. That would have been when she was 18 and 19 years old. I need to do more research on teacher education from that time period. It is possible she was in training and didn't have her "permanent certificate" when was teaching in 1868.

    I found another website that is researching her. They have a LOT of information:

  • jwleaks

    Great historical find.

  • Tara N Seals
    Tara N Seals

    From the truth history blog, there is an 1878 newspaper account of schoolteacher Mariah being accused of cruelly whipping a child.

    The chlld's father, a Mr. Knorr, lodged the complaint.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if that Knorr is related to N. H. Knorr?

  • slimboyfat

    Didn’t Maria claim to have written the Studies in the Scriptures during the divorce case? Does technology exist yet to be able to analyse and identify authorship by comparing texts?

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