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The Comstocks of Cornell-The Definitive Autobiography$
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Anna Botsford Comstock and Karen Penders St. Clair

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716270

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716270.001.0001

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Anna Botsford Comstock—Childhood and Girlhood

Anna Botsford Comstock—Childhood and Girlhood

(p.59) Chapter IV Anna Botsford Comstock—Childhood and Girlhood
The Comstocks of Cornell-The Definitive Autobiography

Anna Botsford Comstock

, Karen Penders St. Clair
Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the childhood and girlhood of Anna Botsford Comstock, recounting the story of her family and heritage. Her parents' earlier marriages complicated Anna's relationships and greatly enriched her life. Anna was taught to work early, and she learned to sew before she was four years old and to knit when she was six. In Sunday school, she asked puzzling questions, which were answered by some quotation from the Bible, instead of reasonably. Thus, Anna came to regard the Bible as a refuge for ignorance and a stifler of reason, a prejudice that remained a secret in her mind until after she too reached the age of reason and came to realize its majesty and beauty. The chapter then looks at Anna's experience studying English Grammar, which she hated until she came to appreciate it after she studied Latin. She also attended a “select school” in Otto wherein she took a few drawing lessons. When Anna was fourteen, the teacher in the primary room of their village school took ill and had to leave six weeks before the term ended; she was asked to take her place. She then attended “Chamberlain Institute and Female College” at Randolph and started for Cornell University in November of 1874 wherein she studied both botany and zoology.

Keywords:   Anna Botsford Comstock, Sunday school, Bible, English Grammar, select school, Chamberlain Institute and Female College, Cornell University, botany, zoology

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