Genius school, 1948

Some time ago I posted Nina Leen’s photos of 1940s teenagers that I had come across during research. Well, the other day facebook kindly showed me a link to these photos of a 1940s Genius school for gifted children that I had never seen before, and I love them! I have always thought that old time children look really serious. I’m not talking about Victorian kids who had to stay still for a long time so that the photo wouldn’t be blurry, I’m talking about kids from my parents’ generation, who knew faster shutter speeds but still look strangely serious in most of their photos. Maybe it is because, compared with the way kids dress these days, children from past decades look like little adults, or because photo opportunities were few and far between and they had learnt not to waste a photo by pulling stupid faces, or because they were taught to be serious in front of their teachers, I don’t know. Anyway, in the case of these gifted children I was totally amazed by how adult-like they seem to be, they look focused and determined, even their play looks like serious play! Here are some of my favourite photos, you can see the rest and learn more about the school here.

nina leen genius school 1940s

This one’s my favourite, a 5-year-old who taught himself to read checking out this book from the library!

nina leen genius school 1940s

It looks like they bumped into each other on their way to a business meeting.

nina leen genius school 1940s

I wonder what would happen if you taught young children how to order wine in French in this day and age…

nina leen genius school 1940s

nina leen genius school 1940s

This kid is teaching others to play chess!

nina leen genius school 1940s

nina leen genius school 1940s

Building blocks are a serious business.

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