•  Humble ISD History

     1920s Timeline


    WOMEN VOTERS -- Women won the right to vote in 1920 with the adoption of the 19th Amendment.

    TEACHER RAISE IN PAY --  In January 1920, the new school board gave their first significant raise to teacher.  The Humble teachers received a 12% raise, which raised the minimum teacher salary from $80 per month up to $90 per month.1  The school board members gave the rise to slow the amount of teacher turnover that had been taking place during the previous years.

    THE FIRST MAY FêTE -- For the first time in the history of Humble, a May Fête was held on Saturday, May 1, 1920.  Organized by the Humble High Schoolers, it began with a parade, led by the May Queen, her attendance, and a procession of floats.  Following the parade floats were clowns, farmers, fairies and various other characters. After the parade, a program was given in front of the Humble High School building.  A large crowd of students and townspeople attended the fête.2  A fête would be held each May at the schools for decades to come.

    The May Fête held the following year (1921) was organized by Miss Mildred Sage, supervisor of public music in Humble.  The corwning of the May Queen was accompanied by the rendering of students singing choruses from the Japanese operatte "THe Garden of Japan."  THere was also a juvenile operetta in four acts given by students of the Humble Grammar, entitled "Jack and the Beanstalk." Students at the Woodward School included songs and dance interpreatations.3

    GRADUATION CREDITS -- In the early 1900s, high school was viewed as a prepratory step to entering college.  Most students that participated in public education never went past the seventh grade.  In Harris County, to continue past the seventh grade required successfully passing a county scholastic exam.  Asa result, most students enrolled in high school in the 1910s did so to continue study onto college.  The high school curriculum was focused on skills necessary for college, and offered the classical (Latin-scientific) curriculum, including Latin, some French or German, English, history, mathemetics and science. 

    High schools that attained state credit for these courses were more appealing to students and families. When Humble ISD formed in 1919, Humble High School had 11.5 state credits.  In July 1920, the state awarded the school 8 more credits.4  Before the start of the 1923-1924 school-year, Humble High School received another 2.5 credits, boosting their overall credits to 22.5  This made it possible for Humble High School graduates to enter Texas colleges without having to complete an entrance exam.  It wasn't until the 1920s that a shift occurred across America where high school was seen as a means to employment, not necessarily college.6

    NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE -- The National Football League is founded as the American Professional Football Association.  The name is changed to the National Football League (NFL) in 1922.


    COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES -- Commencement exercises were held at the end of each school year for 7th grade and for high school Seniors (11th grade).  It was common for most children to only attend school through seventh grade if they had no plans of attending college  (going beyond seventh grade required the student to pass a county exam). For the 1921 Commencement Exercise in Humble, County School Superintendent W. G. Smiley address the students and distributed certificates to the seventh graders.  P. W. Horn, Superintendent of the Houston schools, delivered the commencement address to the seniors.7

    RECOGNIZED LECTURER -- Professor Claudius W. Rice, an African-American lecturer who had been lecturing to assemblies of African-Americans in Houston and Harris County for several weeks on "Good Citizenship" closed his talks with an appearance at the Colored School auditorium in Humble on September 25, 1921. Prof. Rice was formerly connected with the Texas State Department of Agriculture in the interest of better farming methods, thrift, and economy.  While in Houston, he had been speaking under the auspices of the Negro Minister's Interdenominational alliance.8

    Claudius C. Rice Claudius W. Rice

    COMPULSORY SCHOOL-TERM -- Texas first implemented a compulsory school term in 1915.  In that year, while schools was typically open from September through May, all students were required to attend school for at least 60 days.  By 1917, the compulsory term was 100 days.9 While the Humble schools were opened much longer than that (September through May), the district still had to specify which part of the school year was designated as the "compulsory term."  Children who were only going to attend school as required by law had to attend during that designated compulsory term. In 1921-1922 school year, the first day of school was September 21st and the last day of school was May 26th, but the compulsory term was the first five months of the school year.10

    PRIMARY SCHOOL BUILDING -- In 1921, a new Primary School was opened on Avenue F, across the street from the Humble Grammar School.  The district spent $5,000 to purchase the lot, construct the building, and provide equipment.11  It was used as a Primary School until around 1929.  After that the building was used for various projects, including as a government sewing rooms 9part of the Works Progress Administration) in the 1940s, and as the Vocational Agriculture building in the 1950s.

    BASEBALL ON THE RADIO -- Baseball's World Series is broadcast on the radio for the first time.

    HIGHEST ENROLLMENT OF THE DECADE -- Humble ISD reaches it's highest enrollment for the decade with 1,512 students during the 1921-1922 school-year.


    AVERAGE TEACHER SALARIES -- In 1922, the average teacher salary for a high school teacher (grades 8-11) in Humble ISD was $150-$175 per month.  The high school Principal earned $222 per month.  The average salary for a teacher in the lower grades (grades 1-7) was $115-$125 per month.  A Principal in the lower grades earned $160 per month.12  The superintendent (E. E. Bagwell) earned $266 per month.

    HUMBLE GETS A BASEBALL FIELD -- The sport of baseball was really making a strong showing in Humble by 1922.  The town built a nice baseball park that opened on April 25, 1922.  The park had an 8-foot board fence around it, and a large grandstand that would seat about 300 poeple.  The field was used by the town's baseball team, as well as by the Humble High School babseball team.13

    Humble Baseball Field Humble Baseball Field

    SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER -- Miss Katie Daffan made the commencement address for the May 1922 Commencement exercises. She was an author, teacher, journalist and clubwoman.  She was the first Vice-President of the Texas State Teachers Association.  At the time of her commencement speech, she was the literary editor for the Houston Chroincle, and had authored several books, including New Orleans (1906), Woman in History (1908), My Father as I Remember Him (1908), The Woman on Pine Springs Road (1910), As Thinketh a Woman (1911), and Texas Hero Stories (1912).14

    Katie Daffan Katie Daffan

    MILITARY DRILL A PART OF SCHOOL WORK -- For the 1922-1923 school year,the Humble ISD School Board implemented military drill in the schools.  The exercises were held in two different divisions: the first division was comprised of boys and girls in the Humble Grammar School from 8:30 AM to 8:50 AM, while the second division was comprised of boys from Humble High School, including those in seventh grade.  The High School division exercises were held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.15

     KING TUT'S TOMB -- The undisturbed tomb of Egyption Pharaih Tutankhamun is discovered by Howard Carter.

    HIGH ENROLLMENT FOR THE 1920s -- The 1921-1922 school-year was the highest enrollment year for the 1920s:  1,512 students were enrolled in the Humble schools that year.  The lowest enrollment year of the 1920s was the 1928-1929 school-year, with just 1,200.


    HITLER JAILED -- Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years in jail after he tries to take power by force during the Beer Hall Putsch.

    FAILED BOND ELECTION -- The district successfully passed a $15,000 Schoolhouse Bond election in March 1923.  The bond passed, with 136 citizens voting for the bond, and 122 against.16  However, Humble resident Alfred Lambrecht (1876-1962) challenged the election.  Lambrecht claimed the election was invalid since some of the school board members had been appointed by the board due to vacancies, even though ability to appoint board members was not specifically granted in the school district's original charter.17 A District Court judge agreed, and the election was voided.18  To solve the problem of ambiguity in the original incorporation of the district, it was necessary for the 38th Legislature to pass Senate Bill No. 56 in 1923, which amended the original Humble ISD charter and bestowed additional powers upon the School Board.19  As part of the Re-Authorization process, an election was required for all 5 school board seats. 


    SUPERINTENDENT HIBBETTS --  Humble ISD Superintendent E. E. Bagwell resigned at the end of the 1923-1924 school-year to accept a position as Superintendent of the public schools in Yorktown, Texas.20  The job of Interim Superintendent was eventually offered to David Robert Hibbetts.  Mr. Hibbetts earned a Masters Degree from the University of Texas, and had also taught in Bay City.  During the one year he served as Superintendent, he also taught German in the high school.

    David R Hibbetts Humble ISD Superintendent David R. Hibbetts

    CLOTHING CONTEST -- Six girls from Humble High School attended the annual Clothing Contest held each year by the State Education Department.  At the context, the contestants exchanged ideas and competed with each other for the honors given by the State Home Economics Department for the best work and the most suitable dress for a particular situation.21  Attending the contest from Humble High School were Miss Mattie May Glover (the Home Economics teacher), Melva Matthews, Christa Bell Uzzle, Estha Hammill, Gladys Hester, Catherine Penn and Geraldine Varner.

    J. EDGAR HOOVER -- J. Edgar Hoover is appointed as the head of the Bureau of Investigation (predecessor of the FBI).

    AUTO MECHANICS -- Humble was one of the earliest schools in Harris County to offer classes in automobile mchanics, starting the program at Humble High School in 1924.   The first year was spent solving many difficulties associated with the program.  The primary problem was securing old cars to work on.  Next was getting ahold of new parts for the repair work.  Mr Henry Cathriner provided parts to the schools at a 25% discount. For citizens that wanted to allow their cars to be used for the program, there were certain conditions: (1) that car would be in the shop for at least two months, since it was being used for instruction, (2) that the owner pays for the new parts that the instructor sees fit to put in the car, and (3) that the owner pay the list price for everything bought for his car, including gasoline and lubricating oil.  The Texas State Department of Education priased Humble for the quality of the school's Auto Mechanics and Manual Training program.  While it was a successful program, the district eventually closed the program in 1927 due to the low number of student enrolled and the high costs of th eprogram.22

    Humble Automechanics Auto Mechanics program in 1925

    Humble Automechanics

    Auto Mechanics program in 1927


    TAKING THE HORSE TO SCHOOL -- During the 1924-1925 school year, the Grammar School had one pupil that traveled quite a distance to get to school.  Louise Kelley rode on horseback from Harmaster each day, the journey to school being 8 miles.  He left his home about 7 A. M. and was rarely ever tardy.23

    HUMBLE HIGH SCHOOL SONG -- The student body listened to possible school songs presented at an assembly, and voted using a secret ballot.  The song chose as the school song was one that was that was based on the tune "Pickaniny Lullaby," with words composed by the senior girls with the help of two junior girls.24

    In dear old Humble Hi School,
    Beneath the Texas sun,
    Where, when our work is finished,
    Our time is spent in fun.

    We love to work, we love to play,
    Spending many a long happy day.
    The faculty that aids us to reach a higher aim
    Will share with us  the glory of Humble's future fame.

    We always like to strive and try yo keep our High Schol's ideal high;

    We strive together, work, and we help each other true,
    In basket ball and football,
    In track and tennis, too.

    We crown ourselves with glory bright,
    For the fame of purple and white,
    And in those later days when our lives have just begun,
    We always will remember what our dear school has done;
    And we hate to think the time is nigh
    When we part from dear old Humble Hi.

    MARRIED TEACHERS -- The School Board passed a rule in April 1925 that when a lady teacher marries, she automatically waives any right that she might have to claim a contract.25  Typically, this meant that she could no longer be employed as a teacher.  Rules similar to this were passed during the 1920s and especially during the Great Depression.  They were aimed at ensuring that jobs were available for men during hard economic times.

    SCOPES TRIAL -- The trial of the State of Tennessee vs John Thomas Scopes, otherwise known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, takes place in Tennessee.  The trial was concerning a teacher that violated Tennessee's Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution.

    SUPERINTENDENT BARDEN -- David R. Hibbets was not given the permanent job as Humble Superintendent.  In his place, the School Board hired Earl Kilbe Barden as the 5th Superintendent of the Humble schools.  Originally from Indiana, Mr. Barden  had previosuly been Superintendent of the the schools in Dayton, Texas.  He took over as Superintendent of Humble ISD in May 1925.  In 1928, he also served as President of the Southern Association of Teachers.

    Earl Kilbe Barden Earl Kilbe Barden


    40-HOUR WORK WEEK -- The Ford Motor Company became one of the first companies in America to adopt a 40-hour work week for its workers.

    SINGLETON SCHOOL CLOSES  -- The School Voted to close the Singleton School due to low enrollment.  There had only been 7 students enrolled in the school at the time.26  The building sat empty for many years, but was sold in 1937 and partially demolished in the 1940s. The site is now part of the Waste Management Landfill on Atascocita Road, near Wilson Road.

    SURVEY OF THE HUMBLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS -- In May 1926, Sam Houston State Teachers College (SHSTC) released "Report of the Survey of the Humble Public School."  The Department of Education at SHSTC had been invited by the Humble Superintendent to conduct the survey, looking at supervision (superintendent & Board of Trustees), business operations, efficiency of instruction, achievement in all subjects, as well as the physical status of the buildings.

    Some of the notable observations made by SHSTC: (1) cows and hogs were found to be straying over the campuses; (2) sand comes through the drinking water fountain; (3) the schools are not fireproof, have no panic bolts on doors, and no fire escapes; (4) children tended to catch minnows in the ditch on the side of the primary schools; (5) the outhouses did not have enough toilets; and (6) Humble needed a junior high school building.27

    STATE INSPECTOR VISIT -- On December 2, 1926, Mr. Knox, a supervisor from the Texas State Department of Education, visitied the Humble Schools.  Mr. Knox visited most of the classes of the high school, a several classes in the elementary schools.28  In his report, he commended the schools for the improvements made on the elementary buildings, the club work organized in the high school, for work in the high school science department, and for an unusually good faculty.29

    That same month, another group visited the Humble P. T. A.  This group consisted of Mrs. S. M. N. Marrs (State educational secretary), Mrs. Charles Anderson (Harris County P.T.A. President), and Mrs. George Pope (County extension chairman).  Mrs. Marrs was the principal speaker and gave a talk on what a P. T. A. can do for a school.  At. the end of the meeting, the Humble P. T. A. took a vote to send delegates to the State P. T. A. convention in Fort Worth.

    NATIONAL ACCREDITATION -- Humble High School was received as a member into the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges in December 1926.  Only one other school in Harris County has received this affiliation.  Membership meant that any student that graduated from Humble High with at least 16 accredited courses can enter any college, not only in Texas, but in any Southern or Western State without taking an entrance exam.30


    MOVIES WITH SOUND -- The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson is released.  It is the first motion picture with sound, and marks the decline of the silent film era.


    MICKEY MOUSE IS BORN -- A new character, Mickey Mouse, is featured in Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie. 

    THE TEXAS TORNADO -- Claude Bracey, Jr. (1909-194), a graduate a Humble High School, competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. He was an American sprinter and was referred to as the "Texas Flyer" and the "Texas Tornado." He also won the 100-yard and 220-yard sprints at the 1928 NCAA Men's Track and Field Championships.


    LOSS OF THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL -- The Humble Grammar School burned down in the pre-dawn hours of January 26, 1929.31  To replace the Humble School, the School Board decided to build a new Junior-Senior High School Campus that would house grades 6-11, and to remodel the old Humble High School building for use as an elementary school for grades 1-5.32

    Humble Grammar School Humble Grammar School

    The district hired architect Harry D. Payne.  They asked him for a smaller version of his latest building, Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown.  Mr. Payne's design for Humble centered the building around a 450 seat auditorium.33

    To pay for the new school, the school board held an election for a $140,000 school house bond.  The amount was staggering for the little town at the time, considering that the most expensive bond ever passed for the Humble schools was only $10,000.  However, the Humble citizens voted in favor of the bond, with 312 voting for the bond, and only 36 against.34

    The school was named for former Humble lumber baron Charles Bender, in honor of the Bender family support and donations over the years.35

    MAJOR FLOODING PROBLEM -- Harris County, and the Humble area, experienced some major flooding at the beginning of June 1929.  It was considered the worst flood in the area in the past quarter century.  Streets in downtown Houston were flooded, and the city's main water plant was put out of commission.36  The Buffalo and White Oaks Bayou both left their banks after a foot of rain fell. Property damage in Harris County from the flooding was $1.4 million.  The San Jacinto River was more than 30 feet above normal, and the tracks of the Houston East & West Texas Railway were flooded for about a mile north of Humble.37

    DEDICATION CEREMONY -- On September 28, 1929, the district held a dedication ceremony, and the laying of the cornerstone, for the new Charles Bender High School.38

    STOCK MARKET CRASH -- A severe economic depression gripped the United States starting at the end of October 1929.  Known as the Great Depression, it began with a series of stock market declines on Wall Street on October 24, 28 and 29. It had world-wide effects that would last throughout the 1930s. 

     -- Dr. Robert Meaux
    Last updated 05/14/2018 10:27 AM


    1. "Humble School Teachers Granted Wage Increase." Houston Post, 01/30/1920, page 8
    2. The Gusher, 1919-1920.
    3. "Queen of the May Is Crowned by Admiring Subjects at Humble." Galveston Daily News, 05/09/1921, page 2.
    4. "Humble High School Gets Eight Additional Credits."  Houston Post, 07/18/1920, page 40.
    5. "Humble High School Granted More Credits." Houston Post, 09/01/1923, page 5.
    6. Goldin, Claudia. 1998. America's graduation from high school: The evolution and spread of secondary schooling in the twentieth century. Journal of Economic History 58(2): 345-374.
    7. Humble High School Commencement Friday." Houston Post, 05/20/1921, page 8
    8. "Negro Lecturer to Speak Before Humble Audience." Housotn Post, 09/25/1921, page 17
    9. Cox, Patrick L. and Michael Phillips. The House Will Come to Order; How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. University of Texas Press: 2010, page 29
    10. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 09/12/1921
    11. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 04/07/1921
    12. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 05/22/1922
    13. Humble Gets a New Park. Humble Spotlight, Volume 1, NUmber 6, 04/27/1922
    14. Handbook of Texas Online, Andrea Ivie Webb, "Daffan, Katie Litty," accessed March 22, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fda02. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on December 14, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
    15. Humble Spotlight, Volume 1, Number 3, 12/22/1921
    16. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 03/10/1923
    17. "Charge Illegal School Election," Houston Post, 5 April 1923, page 1.
    18. Humble Independent School District, "Minutes of the School Board, 19 April 1923."
    19. "Texas State Legislature, database (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/sessions/sessionYears.cfm) SB 56, 38th 2nd Called Session: "An Act to Amend An Act entitled 'An Act Creating and Incorporating the Incorporating the Humble Independent School District in Harris County.'" 
    20. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 03/12/1924
    21. "Humble Girls Attend State Clothing Contest." Houston Post, 10/25/1924, page 3
    22. "The Humble Automotive Trade School." Humble Hi Spotlight, Volume 2, 12/18/1924
    23. "The Grammar School." Humble High School Spotlight, 02/12/1925, Volume 2, Page 1
    24. "Students Select High School Song." Humble High School Spotlight, 02/26/1925, Volume 2, page 1
    25. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 04/25/1925
    26. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 09/17/1926
    27. Montgomery, T. S. director. Report of the Survey of the Humble Public Schools. Sam Housotn State Teachers College: Huntsville: May, 1926.
    28. "State Inspector Visits Humble Schools." The Spotlight, Volume 3, 12/08/1926.
    29. "State Supervisor's Visit." Spotlight, Volume 8, 01/20/1927.
    30. "Humble High School Attains Coveted Goal." The Humble High School Spotlight, Volume 3, No. 2, Page 1
    31. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 02/05/1929
    32. "Humble School Bond Election will be Held." Galveston Daily News, 03/01/1929, page 5
    33. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 02/13/1929
    34. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 03/12/1929
    35. Humble ISD School Board Minutes, 03/28/1929
    36. "Houston Takes Stock of Damage as Crest of Flood is Passed." Galveston Daily News, 06/02/1929, page 1
    37. "Houston Suffers Flood Damage." Corsicana Semi-Weekly Light, 06/04/1929, page 6
    38. "Cornerstone of Humble High School Dedicated." Galveston Daily News, 09/29/1929, page 8