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School merit certificate

 Collection — Folder: S1529
Identifier: S1529

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a "20 Merits" pre-printed certificate (circa 1850-1900) with space for the pupil's and teacher's names and this printed inscription:

Would you excel--you must labor.

Would you be beloved--you must love.

Would you be respected--respect yourself.

Would you have others' smiles--impart your own.

Look up, and press onward!


  • circa 1850-1900

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical note

During the ninteenth century, rewards of merit were a popular way for teachers to recognize students' good behavior and academic achievement. Early certificates were often hand drawn, but as printing techniques improved, preprinted certificates with colorful images became more common.


American Antiquarian Society. "Rewards of Merit." Accessed December 19, 2019.

Onion, Rebecca. "School Certificates of Merit for Good Little 19th Century Boys and Girls." September 14, 2015.

The Henry Ford. "School Reward of Merit, 1850-1900." Accessed December 19, 2019.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of one item.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/12/19 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2019/12/19 by Laura Eliason.
School merit certificate
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.