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Christine Shearer and Irma Schultz scrapbooks


Held at: Worcester Historical Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 112, Lansdale, PA, 19446

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Worcester Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Christine Schultz Shearer (1884-1968) and Irma Anders Schultz (1894-1980) were sisters, born on the family farm in Norriton Township, near Norristown, PA. (In 2012 the farm site is in East Norriton Township.)

Christine Shearer was educated first in a Norriton Township public school and then at Perkiomen Seminary in Pennsburg, PA, where she graduated in 1904. Her education continued at Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, MA, where she was a member of the class of 1908.

While at Perkiomen Seminary, she met her future husband, Herbert B. Shearer. They married in 1908 and lived in West Philadelphia, while he was a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Shearer accompanied her husband during his service in the U.S. Army in World War I, working for the Red Cross and as a hostess in the Soldiers’ Club when her husband was stationed at Camp Grant, Rockford, IL.

After the war, Dr. and Mrs. Shearer moved in December 1919 to Worcester, PA, where Dr. Shearer practiced medicine until his death in 1956. They had two adopted children: a daughter Ann Louise Kohne, and a son, David W. Shearer.

Mrs. Shearer followed her training in oratory as a book reviewer from 1908 until the last year of her life. In some years she filled as many as 40 engagements as a speaker for church and school organizations, women's clubs and civic groups.

For many years, she served as the correspondent for The Times Herald of Norristown for the Worcester area.

A life-long member of the Schwenkfelder denomination, she taught a Sunday school class of young girls in the Norristown Schwenkfelder Sunday School in 1916–1917, and was the teacher of the Women's Adult Bible Class in the Central Schwenkfelder District for more than 40 years. Among her major contributions of service in the Central Schwenkfelder District was that of president of the Ladies' Aid Society of the District for 28 years. She served on the Mission Board of the Schwenkfelder denomination for many years, succeeding to membership on the board following the death in 1926 of her father, who was board president.

She was a charter member and past president of the Woman's Auxiliary to the Montgomery County Medical Society; a member of the executive board of the Children's Aid Society of Montgomery County, a member of the Norristown Garden Club; a fifty-year member and past president of the Norristown Reading Circle; and a member of the Monday Morning Reading Circle of Worcester

Much interested in local history, she was a member of the Montgomery County Historical Society and honorary member of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Inc. She was the first woman recipient of the Award of Merit presented by the Goschenhoppen Historians in April, 1967, "in appreciation of her faithful service in furthering the aims of the Historians."

Irma Schultz, like her older sister, was educated in a Norriton Township public school and Perkiomen Seminary, where she graduated in 1912. She went on to Peirce Business College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1918. She also attended courses at Drexel Institute, Philadelphia.

Irma served as secretary to the headmaster at the Perkiomen Seminary, 1919 to 1924. In 1925 she became public relations secretary at Drexel Institute; in 1935 she became assistant director of public relations and then served as director of public relations from 1938 until she retired in 1945 to start her own antiques business. She lived with the Shearers in Worcester and had her business in the barn on the Shearer property. She resided with the Shearers until her sister died in 1968. Following the sale of the Shearer property, she moved to Harleysville, PA, and continued her antiques business until her death in 1980.

She was a newspaper correspondent, reporting Worcester news for the North Penn Reporter of Lansdale, PA, and the Times Herald of Norristown for many years.

A member of the Central Schwenkfelder Church, Worcester, she served as a deaconess and was chairwoman of the publicity committee for the ladies' aid society, 1946 to 1972. She was publicity chairman of the Montgomery County Council of Christian Education for many years and served on the board of publications of the Schwenkfelder Conference.

She was a member of the Goschenhoppen Historians, receiving their award of merit in 1969. She was also a member of the Montgomery County Historical Society, the Towamencin Historical Society, the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania German Society. Active at the Perkiomen School, she received the Perkiomen Key from the board of trustees in 1977 for her many services.

--David Dambly

The bulk of this collection is ten newspaper clippings scrapbooks, 1949-1965, centered around Worcester events. Of special interest are three scrapbooks, 1935-1959, about jingle-writing contests entered and won by Mrs. Herbert B. (Christine) Shearer and Irma Schultz. There is also one scrapbook of clippings not related to Worcester, but pertaining to Christine's and/or Irma's broader interests, such as historic mills in the Bucks/Montgomery area and famous contemporary figures (including Henry Luce), circa 1950s to 1960s.

Christine Shearer began entering jingle-writing contests in the 1930s, and as she wrote in a newspaper article in May of 1949, "since then I have been unable to resist the statement which says, 'Finish this sentence in twenty-five words or less,' and if I do so in rhyme I quite often win a prize."' She entered and won numerous such jingle-writing contests for over 25 years; her sister Irma also entered jingle-writing contests, although not as frequently. These scrapbooks include correspondence with the contest-funders and clippings featuring winning jingles. Embedded in these scrapbooks are several fascinating narratives about the 1930's-1950's: consumer product inventions, changing marketing trends, the development of an advertising industry, and the way women's widespread participation in these contests counteracts contemporary advertisers' notions of women as passive consumers.

Gift of Irma Schultz.

Worcester Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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