Carlos Slafter was a Dedham educator from 1847 till 1892. He began his teaching career in Dedham as an instructor at the Second Middle School, later renamed the Dexter School where, during winter breaks from his Dartmouth studies, he taught four consecutive winter terms. After a brief stint as master of Framingham Academy and High School, he was hired as master of newly established Dedham High School in 1852 where he was principal for the next 40 years. During Slafter’s four decade career in, School Committee adopted many of the Common School era reforms, such as graded schools, public high schools, and predominantly female teachers. And starting in the late 1870’s, partially in response to the influx of immigrants working in local mills, Dedham school leaders, began to adopt some of the so-called “New Education” practices. These included the hiring of school superintendents to further centralize system administration, hire and train teachers, select school texts, design new courses, and adopt educational innovations such as Kindergarten.
In addition to his educational duties, Slafter was ordained in 1865 as a deacon at Trinity Church in Boston which provided him with appropriate credentials for service as chaplain of the Dedham-situated Norfolk County Jail and House of Correction. Slafter also wrote multiple historical works, including a history of Dedham High School and after retirement he produced a voluminous compendium of short biographies of all Dedham teachers from the founding of the first public school in 1644 till 1904, from which the passage below is excerpted. He died on 18 July 1900 in Dedham at the age of 83.