This cabinet card offers a glimpse back into historical times of the American education system. This image dates back before “teaching for the test” was standard policy for many school districts. Sixteen children are posed in front of their schoolhouse. Their young teacher stands behind his class. The children seem to have dressed nicely for “picture day”,  but at least a couple of the boys are barefoot. F. H.Svoboda was the photographer of this image and his studio was located in Prague, Nebraska. At one time, Svoboda published the first, and only,  Czech juvenile magazine in Nebraska. He was a school teacher and later engaged in photography. In 1909, he began to publish the Schuyler Messenger, which existed until 1920. The Messenger was a weekly newspaper in Schuyler, Nebraska. The town of Prague has an interesting history. Its early inhabitants included many Czech settlers who arrived in America seeking prosperity during the 1880’s. In 1887, the town was built to support a newly established railroad station. The town was built by the Lincoln Land Company and became a thriving community catering to the agricultural economy of the area. The largest business in the town was a lumberyard. The town’s name, Prague, is named after the capital city of Czechoslovakia.

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That is a great image, and it is perhaps telling that it was a teacher – or former teacher – who took the group portrait. Interesting, since I posted an article about another teacher who turned his hand to photography on Photo-Sleuth a couple of months ago.

  2. Quite an industrious man.

    Good research!

  3. Incredible photo. Good quality school photos are hard to find. One of the things that interests me is the fact that so few of the students actually went barefoot to school – for photos. It is either and indication of poverty or the fact that the kid did not tell his parents about the photo.


  4. This is social history at it’s best! What a photo!

  5. I believe that my grandfather is in this photo! He was born and raised in Prague, NE (born in 1889). The boy in the back row-second from left looks just like him.

    • It is terrific that you were able to find this image of your grandfather. A surprisingly large number of people have found relatives in the cabinet card gallery.

  6. I believe that my grandfather is in this photo. He was born in 1889 in Prague, NE and was raised there. The boy in the back row–2nd from the right looks just like him. Very cool. Is there anything written on the other side of this photo-a year perhaps? 🙂

    • Unfortunately there is no insription

  7. Thank you so much for checking. This is so cool nonetheless. It made my day! 🙂

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