Clearly my great grandmother Fina Tomlinson Slater had fallen prey to the Little Lord Faultleroy fad still lingering after the publication in 1886 of Frances Hodgson Burnett's sentimental tale of a darling little boy in a black velvet suit when she dressed her youngest child for his visit to the photographer, probably around 1896-7.
[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]
[Little Lord Fauntleroy, Burnett, Frances Hodgson. New York, Scribner’s, 1886.
Illustrated with drawings by Reginald B. Birch. (Large 8vo) original pictorial brown cloth.
Custom clamshell box. First Edition. Source: book-aesthete]
History is silent regarding little Cecil's opinion of his garb in this portrait and I haven't identified any other early pictures of him.
In 1905, two years after his father's death, 14-year-old Cecil passed an examination and was awarded a diploma from the local Severy common school but he hadn't finished his education. No occupation is given for him in the 1910 U.S. Census when the family was still living in Kansas, by 1911 Cecil had probably begun his studies at the University of Colorado in Denver.
[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]
The scholarly portrait below appears to have been a Christmas present from Cecil to his mother. On the back he wrote:
To My Dear Mother from her
youngest son, Cecil, who hopes
to graduate from the University
of Colorado June 1914.
Motto - "The first Slater to
graduate from a higher institution
of learning but by the power
of the living God not the last."
Lewis Cecil Slater
December 23, 1913
[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]
After receiving his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1914, he went on to get his masters in chemistry and engineering from Louisiana State University (LSU) the following year.
The next record we have for Cecil finds him listed as a chemistry instructor in 1916 at LSU's Audubon Sugar School.
[Catalogue of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1916. Source: Google Books]
Although this photo of a chemistry lab at the Audubon Sugar School was taken in 1909 I doubt if much had changed by the time Cecil was teaching there.*
[Laboratory for Qualitative Analysis, Audubon Sugar School of LSU in New Orleans, 1909. #a50000342 LSU Photograph Collection, 1886-1926, Louisiana State University Archives, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA. Location: Range AA:29, Box 2, Folder 1 [Audubon Sugar School] "The Science of Sugar" blog post: news.blogs.lib.lsu.edu/2015/01/14/science_of_sugar_lsu/ Images from LSU University Archives concerning Audubon Sugar School located in the Louisiana Digital Library.]
Sometime between 1917 when he registered for the draft and the 1920 U.S. Census, Cecil and Clara Eloise Ethridge got married and were living in rented rooms in Baton Rouge. He was still teaching at Louisiana State.
[Registration State: Louisiana; Registration County: East Baton Rouge; Roll: 1684672. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.]
[Enumeration District : 0025; Description: Baton Rouge City, Ward 2 (part), Precinct 1 (part), Police Jury Ward 2 (part) including St Joseph Orphan Asylum?, from north side of Convention to north side of Main and from Mississippi River to west side of St Anthony. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. ]
By 1929 Cecil and Eloise had moved back to her father's house on Wood Street in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, where he worked as a manager at the National Investment Company and she taught at the local high school.
[Title : Monroe, Louisiana, City Directory, 1929. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.]
And a year later, in the 1930 U.S. Census, Eloise was still teaching but by then Cecil was reduced to working as a bookkeeper for a service station and in 1933 the city directory listed his place of work as North La Motor Co. with no indication of what his role there was.
[Enumeration District : 5; Description: MONROE CITY (PART) BOUNDED BY (N) RAILROAD TRACKS; (E) 8TH; (S) OAK, OAK EXTENDED; (W) OUACHITA RIVER. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.]
[Title : Monroe, Louisiana, City Directory, 1933. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.]
In the 1940 U.S. Census, Cecil and Eloise were still living at the same address although her father was no longer listed as a resident and her mother (who did not appear in the previous census) was now head of the household. Eloise was still teaching at a local school and Cecil had returned to teaching at LSU's Junior College.
[Enumeration District : 37-5; Description: POLICE JURY WARD 3, MONROE CITY BOUNDED BY (N) ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD; (E) 8TH; (S) OAK, OAK EXTENDED; (W) CITY LIMITS; ALSO MONROE CALABOOSE, OUACHITA PARISH JAIL, ST. MATTHEW´S PAROCHIAL SCHOOL. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.]
Here's Cecil's 1942 Draft Card:
[Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration. Full Source Citation.]
In 1950 Cecil became the third president of his college,** which describes his career thus:
Slater joined the Northeast Center of LSU staff in 1938 as head of the Department of Biology and Natural Sciences. Between teaching assignments, he was the chief chemist for Bogalusa Pulp and Paper Company and the Bastrop Pulp and Paper Company. Slater was named president of the newly-designated Northeast Louisiana State College, a four-year institution, in 1950. He retired from the institution in 1958.What the above paragraph doesn't say is that Cecil was forced to retire and later sued to be returned to the faculty which I've just learned through reading old newspaper reports. I think this deserves a closer look so I'm going to finish my great uncle's story at a later date.
*Flickr has a collection of 58 images from LSU University Archives pertaining to the Audubon Sugar School and Experiment Station located in Audubon Park, New Orleans, 1887-1925.
**Now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe; you can read about its history here.
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