On January 15, visitors came to MMI Preparatory School to explore the difficult and dangerous lives of miners, breaker boys, dumpers, blacksmiths, slaters, and other various mining occupations during a free presentation.
“Anthracite Folklore” was held in the Joseph A. Turri ’45 Library and Learning Center on the school’s campus at 154 Centre Street, Freeland. The event was free and open to the public. Light refreshments were served, and it was a night of vivid storytelling commemorating the trials and tribulations of the lives of these brave men and boys through songs, poems, and narrative. Guests learned about the grueling lifestyle lead by the jig runners, laborers, machinists, and more.
Historians Karen Esak and Bryan Dunnigan of the Sophia Coxe Memorial Foundation and Education Center presented the event. Mrs. Coxe was the philanthropic wife of Eckley B. Coxe, the school’s original founder. After his death in May 1895, Mrs. Coxe took over control of MMI Preparatory School and became known as the “Angel of the Anthracite.” This occurred during the turn of the 20th century, a time of great change for MMI, from increased enrollments to new buildings and of course, the introduction of a college preparatory curriculum.
Mrs. Coxe also helped subsidize tuition costs, opening the school’s doors to people from all walks of life. Sophia Coxe passed away in March 1926, but her generous spirit lives on through the hard work of the students, faculty members, and administrators that all contribute to MMI Preparatory School’s continued success.