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Sunday, January 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Anti-Catholic group blamed for departure of school principal

The Guardians of Liberty were called an “anti-Catholic” group by the newspaper and blamed for the resignation of Bertha Storey, principal of the Horace Mann School, on Nov. 30, 1919. (S-R archives)
The Guardians of Liberty were called an “anti-Catholic” group by the newspaper and blamed for the resignation of Bertha Storey, principal of the Horace Mann School, on Nov. 30, 1919. (S-R archives)
Jim Kershner

A group called the Guardians of Liberty, “a secret anti-Catholic organization,” was responsible for the loss of Bertha Storey as principal of the Horace Mann School in Spokane, reported The Spokesman-Review.

It was not because Storey was Catholic — she was not — but because she had asked that her school janitor, F.M. Taylor, be dismissed. Taylor was a member of the Guardians of Liberty, and was well-known for selling the group’s newspaper, The Menace, “a particularly bitter anti-Catholic publication,” on Spokane’s downtown streets.

Taylor even brought his campaign into the school. Taylor “greatly annoyed the teachers with his continued propaganda” and forced the children to take home his literature. He was also a poor janitor.

Storey apparently told the school board that she would quit if the board rehired Taylor for another year — but they did anyway.

The result was that Spokane schools lost the services of “one of the most efficient teachers the Spokane school system ever had,” said the paper.

The S-R said that at least one school board member was a member of the Guardians of Liberty, and that several others were running for the school board in the next election.

“Should the Guardians of Liberty … obtain control of the city’s schools in the next election, a general overturning of the administrative school heads will follow,” warned school officials.

From the aviation beat: Spokane’s fledgling passenger air industry received a boost when it was selected as a transcontinental “air route station” for the Lawson Airplane Co.

“The company plans to install a regular coast-to-coast passenger service next spring, using a 26-passenger plane, which has already been tried out in a 2,500-mile flight on the East Coast,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

However, it appeared that Spokane would need to come up with a bigger airfield than the existing Parkwater field east of the city.

“A field at least a half-mile square is required by the huge machine to land and ‘take off,’ ” said the company.

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