Antedating of "Junior High School"

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 11 14:56:01 UTC 2010

Wouldn't a better place to look be education books and journals of the 1900s? I'd think that there would have been a good deal of theoretical discussion before a political body took action.

Just curious about the methodology here
------Original Message------
From: Baker, John
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Antedating of "Junior High School"
Sent: Jan 11, 2010 8:00 AM

Most of the newspaper examples are too brief to be sure what is intended, though it is usually clear that there is a Junior High School involved.  According to, the first junior high school was authorized in Columbus, Ohio in 1909, which would seem to support Doug's point.  I don't know how reliable that source may be.

However, I note that the newspaper examples all seem to be from Ohio (although Doug's 1904 Google Books example is from New York State).  At a minimum, that seems to suggest that "junior high school" was an established term in Ohio in 1909, even if there were aspects of the Columbus approach that were novel.

John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Douglas G. Wilson
Sent: Sun 1/10/2010 11:02 PM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Junior High School"

Baker, John wrote:
> Various antedatings of this are available via Access Newspaper Archive, ....

Some of these are ambiguous, and I think mos, t or all of the pre-1900
examples refer to something different from what is now called "junior
high school". Some refer to a part of high school, sometimes years 9-10
of 12 (with "senior" for years 11-12),_maybe_ sometimes year 11 of 12
(like "junior class/year" now). Some early instances of "junior high
school"_may_ mean "limited school extending only through grade 10" or
something like that.

At G-books, there is a 1904 example which explicitly refers to years
7-8, similar to the modern sense (although here not obviously involving
a separate school building or administration):

Some of the earlier examples_may_ have the same sense, but I haven't
seen one I'm sure of.

-- Doug Wilson

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