Monday, June 26, 2017

Flavel Moseley Social Adjustment School at 24th Street and Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

A year after Montefiore was opened, the Flavel L. Moseley School was designated as a second "social adjustment school." Moseley was built in 1856 at a cost of $25,445 ($734,000 today) and was the oldest school building in the Chicago public system. 

Flavel Moseley School was named after the first president of the Chicago school board and founder of the high school library system. The 10 room building had an initial enrollment of 600 elementary pupils in classes which started in February 1857. When an addition was built in 1857, the Moseley school became the south division high school. 

According to Edward Stullken, Isabella Dolton (the assistant superintendent of schools), promoted the establishment of additional social adjustment schools, "but the politicians got control of the system in 1933 and controlled the budget. They also bounced her out, demoting her to the principal of Farragut High School." However, she (and other "forces") was successful in getting the Board to establish a special school in the heart of Chicago's "black belt" (the original site of the Moseley was 2348 South Michigan Avenue.

In fact, with the establishment of Moseley as a second social adjustment school, a rough dividing line was initially drawn: Montefiore receiving transfer students from those schools North and West of the Chicago River and Moseley receiving transfer students from schools South and East of the river at Cermak Avenue. Personal interview with Lawrence J. Casey. (Casey retired from the Chicago Public School System in 1976, having spent 45 years in the system, 40 of those years at Montefiore.) However, even in its first year of operation as a special school, the Moseley transferred students to (and received from) Montefiore; as it would continue to do, until the Fall of 1980. 
Moseley School. The photo was taken on 24th Street and the Wabash Avenue side of the school. 1922
Class in session at the Moseley School, 24th and Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. 1900
The school building was demolished in 1959.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. My father, William L. Ayers, graduated from Moseley School on 1-27-1912 according to a letter he wrote to his mother on that day.

  2. What is the reason for the unusual garment worn by the students? ...,,...Chicago author HENRY Blake Fuller (1857-1929) attended this school in the 1860s. S Thomas

  3. With the windows open, I suspect this was an Open Air Classroom.... a classroom for pupils with mild cases of TB. The thinking in the early 20th century was that having these students study with the windows open (even in the winter) would toughen them up. That would account for the identical heavy garments provided by the school.

    1. The school was for juvenile delinquent children.

    2. Yes, Mary Garzino, and not just to toughen them up: it was believed that fresh air was preventative and curative. This idea was widespread and affected architecture at the time, which included large radiators to compensate for open windows in winter, and not just in TB facilities.

  4. i remember a moseley school drill team that was a big hit of the bud billiken parade in the late 40's or early 50's. it was a all boys school for troubled boys.i thought it was on the west side of chicago but not sure.they were like the south shore drill team of today with thier coordination.does anybody else remember this.they were black. evelynn234

  5. My grandfather , Howard Bradley Smith was the principal of Moseley for several years circa 1930-1960. Do you have any record of this? He was friends with the head pastor of the black episcopal church across the street - was there a relationship where students had to attend the church or work at the church?

  6. My husbands grandmother was an adjustment teacher there in the 30s 40s and 50s.


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