Most schools in central New York did not issue report cards to students in the mid-nineteenth century. If students performed well in school, learned and recited their lessons properly, and exhibited good behavior, they received merit slips, or Rewards of Merit. The teacher wrote the student’s name on the pre-printed slip and signed it as the student’s reward.
Ceramic Prize Cup
This ceramic prize cup was awarded to someone for his or her accomplishments in raising chickens, ducks, turkeys, or other birds. This cup was probably used as a prize at a county fair or agricultural exhibition.
In 1859, W.H. Slingerland received this medal for raising and showing a “Bull Calf” named Morgan. Awarded by the New York State Agricultural Society, this medal shows Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture, on one side, and the winner’s name and accomplishment engraved on the other.
Tea Spoon Set
Not all awards were in the form of ribbons and medals. This set of tea spoons was won by Amy Dunham in 1817, at the first Otsego County Fair. She was awarded the set of spoons for a “double damask tablecloth,” which she had woven. Made of silver, the spoon handles are engraved with her initials, A.D.