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In his school report for 1879, page 40, in speaking of teachers who had resigned that year, Mr. Cogswell says:

One resigned after a service in the schools of Cambridge of more than thirty years. When I say that she was associated with me as head assistant (having charge of the English) for twenty years in the Putnam Grammar School, it will not be deemed inappropriate that I speak of her more at length.

Miss Sarah M. Burham, having taught for two or three years in what was known as the Eastern Primary School (where she went after leaving Somerville), was appointed during the year 1848 a teacher in the Putnam School, which position she held till her resignation, June 1, 1879. She was a conscientious teacher. She did not allow, as is too often the case, outside attractions to engross her mind, or tax her strength, so as to unfit her for the daily work of the school.

During all these years, except when abroad in Europe, by permission of the School Committee, she was almost without exception at her post, efficiently discharging her duties. Not content with doing the ordinary daily work of the school, though she did this most thoroughly, she sought to awaken in her pupils a desire for a wider range of studies. Her cabinet of minerals, the many books her scholars read, the drawings upon the blackboards, bear witness to the success of her efforts. Though her term of service was long, it was one of increasing value, and one of the secrets of this is, she was a constant student. No year was allowed to pass that she did not mark out for herself a definite plan of study. Miss Burnham carries into her retirement the respect and esteem of her many pupils and of all who knew her intimately.

After giving up school work she devoted herself to authorship, and among her works I have learned the names of the following, most of which may be found in the Somerville Public Library: ‘History and Uses of Lime-Stones and Marbles,’ Boston, 1883; ‘Precious Stones in Nature, Art, and Literature,’ Boston, 1889; ‘Struggles of the Nations,’ Boston (two volumes); ‘Pleasant Memories of Foreign Travel,’ Boston, 1896, Lee & Shepard were the publishers.

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Isaac F. Shepard (1)
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