Esther J. Pratt


”Live with youth from day to day, realizing that the boy or girl is more important than subjects taught.”

That had been the creed that guided Miss Esther Pratt, for 37 years English instructor at Carthage High School. She was the daughter of William A. Pratt  and Catharine Henry, and was born Sept. 16, 1863 in Nova Scotia, Canada.  She immigrated to the United States from Canada in 1869 with her parents and brother.

 She received her education in the public schools of Massachusetts and Missouri. She attended the Grand River Academy and College, the Campbell Normal College, the M.S.U., Chicago University and the universities of Colorado and California.

 Her teaching experience was in Missouri.  For several years she taught in the rural schools in north Missouri, two years at Bethany and was principal of the high school at Salem four years, from there going to Maryville where she organized the first English department in the high school. Leaving there, she began her career in Carthage in 1897.

  One school activity dear to Miss Pratt was The Carthaginian, the high school yearbook. From 1916 to 1934 she was the directing genius behind each annual. Prior to that time she assisted in supervising high school publications, but the last 18 years of her career, the sole responsibility had been hers. Under her guidance The Carthaginian won recognition as one of the outstanding high school yearbooks in the country and won awards in national competition.

   She supported the philosophy of what she referred to as the “Intangible Gold Cord” that binds all together – school spirit. Not merely the outward form that cheers athletic teams to glorious victories, but another enduring form – respect and honor for established traditions, standards and laurels, cherished in the hearts of graduates. She displayed a real interest in her students’ problems, had absolute fairness at all times, and good, sound advice.

   Miss Pratt always was a student. She was a member of the suffrage committee of the women’s committee of National Defense of the Red Cross. She was one of the founders of the Women’s Community Club and of its successor, the Y.W.C.A. in Carthage. She also was a member of the Alpha Society in 1902.

 After a 37 year career with Carthage schools, she retired at age 71 at the end of the 1934 school term, passing away January 25, 1947 in Washington, D.C.  She is buried in Park Cemetery in Carthage.