C. G. LAWRENCE
A PROGRESSIVE EDUCATOR
Among South Dakota state offices, second only in popularity to that of the governorship (in its lasting
influence it greatly outclasses the latter) is the Department of Public Instruction.
This year the republican party of this state, by their selection made by popular vote of the party at the
primaries held in June, presents to the people of South Dakota for endorsement by their ballots at the
November election, as their candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, a man of sterling worth,
endowed with great natural talents, enriched by education and experienceone whose record as an advanced
thinker in the educational world and whose activities in the superlative execution of his ideals, have already
found concrete expression in the schools of Lincoln countyProf. C. G. Lawrence, of Canton.
LAW OF PROMOTION
Inasmuch as the work of the state superintendent is largely supervisory of the work done by the various county
superintendents, it is but natural that an out-going county superintendent should aspire to the state position.
Fundamentally, a man cannot inspire another man to do a thing which he himself has never done and which the
one whom he is directing has reason to believe that the one giving the instructions is perhaps not able to do.
The principle holds true in every walk of life. The successful military commander is he who rose from the ranks.
The successful district superintendent (formerly designated a "presiding elder") is he who has been a successful
preacher first. The successful sales manager is the man who was first a successful salesman. And so on through
the various activities of life.
There are of course exceptions to this. South Dakota had one rare exception to the rule in the services of
Hon. G. W. Nash, a former Superintendent of Public Instruction. Nash was distinctly and decidedly a college
man. He was college bred and had taught only in college, without ever having served a day as county superintendent.
(And, by the way, he too, hailed from Canton ) Yet he gave to the state one of the most successful
administrations of her educational affairs that she has ever enjoyed. In fact Nash was so "large," and
he filled the office so full, that he could be seen projecting out beyond it, on all sides of. it. But, again
we emphasize, he was an exception.
The Scandinavians are among the most progressive and intelligent citizenry of the state. Their numerical
strength at the polls is so great that no party or faction dares now to go before the public for endorsement
without reckoning on the Scandinavian vote. One of the most successful governors the state ever had or ever
will have, Charles N. Herreid, came from this lineage. Hon. Hans Ustrud is of the same stock. With the state
strongly "progressive" in politics a "stalwart" scandinavian H. B. Anderson, of Mitchell, in the primary
campaign of this year, won out by 7,000 votes over his opponent who had everything but nationality in his
favor. Clay county the hot-bed of "insurgency," but peopled largely by Scandinavians, went over to Anderson
who is of their own blood. This political adhesion is but natural.
Just so with Superintendent Lawrence. Born of Norwegian parentage he commanded the united Scandinavian vote of
the stateand won. Married to a Scandinavian lady, he had in his family affairs, proven his loyalty to
His father came to America in 1843, and afterwards taught school for many years in Wisconsin, and in Illinois.
One of this distinguished ancestor's teacher's certificates, secured in Illinois, is still held as a sacred
momento in the Lawrence home. It is dated 1854. It will thus be seen that the subject of this sketch came
honestly by his Educational proclivities.
Professor Lawrence was born January 12, 1871, at Madison, Wisconsin. His early education was acquired in the
public schools of that place. Later, he was graduated by the University of Wisconsin, taking his B. L. degree.
In 1896-97 he did post graduate work in the same institution.
He was married August 22, 1900, to Miss Gunda Jacobson, of Canton, his assistant principal in the high school
of that place.
Mrs. Lawrence is a graduate of the Madison, South Dakota State Normal School. Therefore, the schools of Madison,
Wisconsin, and of Madison, South Dakota, gave to us the two educators who will, in all probability, lead in the
educational thought of the state for the next two, and possibly for the next four, years. To this union have been
born two boysone nine, and the other six years of age.
LAWRENCE, THE EDUCATOR
The best endorsement any man can have is the longevity of his service in a certain position or with a certian
firm. No word from his employers can attest more truthfully to his worth than the fact of his long continued
employment by them.
Hoff has been city superintendent at Mitchell for seven years. His predecessor, the lamented Quigley, held the
same position for ten years. Strachan has served for twenty continuous years as superintendent of the Deadwood
city schools; while Cook is rounding out a quarter of a century as president of the Spearfish Normal.
We perfect this line of thought by citing the record of him who constitutes our theme. After teaching two
months in a rural school in Wisconsin, he was called to Augustana College, Canton, S. D., in 1894, where he
served four years on the faculty of that school, and then yielded to the request of the citizens of Canton to
become the head of their public schools. He held the latter position for eight consecutive years; and only
surrendered it in 1906 to become a candidate for superintendent of Lincoln county. He was elected, and
re-elected in 1908.
PROF. C. G. LAWRENCE
Recapitulating, we give a resume: two months teacher in a rural school, four years a college professor, eight
years city superintendent, four years county superintendent. Fine record! eh?
AS COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT
It was not until Lawrence entered the county superintendant's office, got out among the people of his county
and the educators of the state, that his real work began to be known. True; he had attended district and state
educational gatherings and had read some able papers before them, but the "bigness" of the fellow,
aside from his domineering six-foot-four stature, had not commanded general attention.
Entering upon his duties as superintendent of Lincoln county, he took one year to get his bearings and to find
out the necessities of his schools. Then, his convictions crystalized that when a child comes into the world,
it begins to move and to use its tiny hands; that as soon as it is able to sit up, if given blocks, it will
begin to build; that at a later age it longs to mix mud pies and to cook; that its whole tendency is one of
physical usefulness; that as soon as it enters school we begin to educate it away from the use of its hands
which should by their economical use, earn its bread and butter for life, and instill into it the idea that
its brain and not its hands were intended for use only, and that the latter should not be soiled; that the
whole underlying scheme is wrong.
And there was plenty of evidence. Not a girl could be found who would condescend to do house work. She had
been educated to think but not to act. Hotels were putting in Japanese waiters and negro cooks, because
American girls had been taught not to soil their hands, but to preserve them for piano use. The farmer, taking
advantage of our state law which compels his school district to pay practically all of his son's high school
tuition, had sent his son away to school, the lad had failed to return; he had been taught to think while his
hands hung idly by his sides. The "dignity of labor" was unintentionally assailed and credence given
to the old Chinese proverb, "Those who labor with their minds govern others; those who labor with their
hands are governed by others."
Lawrence said: "Halt! We'll 'about face' and go at this thing right. Lincoln county has as rich soil as
to be found on earth. Our boys should learn to till it right and to love to do it. Our big buxom farmers'
daughters, pictures of health and strength, should be taught economy in their houschold work, and be instilled
with the idea that there is nothing better."
Accordingly, for the past three years he has carried on in Lincoln county, in addition to his regular educational
work, boys' corn-growing contests and girls' sewing and baking clubs. True; South Dakota has a common school
course of study which by law county superintendents are compelled to require their teachers to follow.
Lawrence abridged it. He went beyond it. He put domestic science into his schools and demanded that each
teacher in the county give to the girls in their respective schools instruction for one and one-half hours
every Friday afternoon, in sewing and preparing themselves for the responsibilities of a practical and happy
life; while special instruction was given to the boys in the soil, the germinization of cereals and the care
they demand through the period of their growth, in order to harvest a full crop; the value of birds as insect
destroyers, etc. As a climax he has arranged for a short course in Agriculture and Domestic Science to be held
at Canton in December of this year by six experts from the faculty of the South Dakota State College, at
Such is the leadership and such is the man (in the natural order of events if the republican party is
successful at the polls in November and it is generally conceded that it will be) upon whom the eyes of
the state will be centered after January 1, 1911. Talented, educated, experienced, cultured, he brings to the
position an intellectual equipment that bespeaks success, and a moral and mental force that never knew defeat.
[P. S Lawrence was elected by an overwhelming majority and re-elected in 1912.]