In a forgotten corner of The Washington D.C. Public Library, a photo archivist has discovered what may be a momentous piece of history.
It’s a list of signatures from public figures of the early 1800’s, including President Thomas Jefferson, offering their own money for a seemingly humble proposal: to build a simple pair of elementary schools. But Jefferson’s ultimate goal, we learn, is far loftier. With this venture, he is quietly floating his plan to launch the nation’s first public school system.
Eventually he would go broke through such acts of charity, but Jefferson’s ideals of public education would transform the nation. Could it all have begun with a modest $200 pledge?
History Detectives investigates the beginnings of public education in the United States.
- Also in this episode Dempsey Fight Bell Is this the bell that sat ringside at the world's first boxing superstar's legendary match?
- Also with Wes Cowan Valley Forge Map Did George Washington use this map during the American Revolution?
- Related Investigation Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
- Also with Wes Cowan Texas Servant Girl Murders Years before Jack the Ripper, did a serial killer walk the streets of Austin, TX?
- Related Investigation Bonus Army Stamp Is this stamp connected to a moment when the U.S. Army fought fellow soldiers in the nation’s capital?
- Also with Wes Cowan Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa? Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared without a trace in 1975. Was he murdered? If so, who killed him and why?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.