What would you do if you had a dollar?

Teachers posed that question to Akron students for an assignment in May 1897, and the Beacon Journal published the answers all month.

The responses were whimsical, earnest, innocent, poignant and occasionally surprising, and they provided an unusual glimpse into the minds of young pupils from the late 19th century.

Adjusted for inflation, an 1897 dollar would be worth over $36 today.

Here are some of those answers from long ago. Would today’s kids want any of these things?

BOWEN SCHOOL

Theodore Turner, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a lamp for my bicycle so I could go riding nights.”

Fred Manthey, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy the book of Robinson Crusoe or a pair of pants.”

Alice Gohlke, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for flowers for sick people.”

Frederick Seiberling, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for shoes.”

Maudie Hiller, 12: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a dress.”

Carl Pettet, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a ball.”

Charles Piske, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for the poor.”

David Duncan, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a slate sponge.”

Ernest Ault, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a white shirt and a collar.”

Harry Houghton, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a present for papa of mamma.”

Mabel Cummins, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy my aunt a new dress to go to Cleveland to see my uncle Will who is sick in bed.”

Irena Mueller, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy meat, bread, potatoes, salt, sugar, celery, coffee, milk, butter, soap, cake, cookies.”

SPICER SCHOOL

Albert Dirret, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would keep it.”

Ola Werden, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would make good use of it. I would not spend it for anything foolish.”

Harry Hoffman, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would pit it in the bank till I was a man.”

Herman Bartels, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would give half to my mother and I would have the rest and buy me a pair of skates.”

Fanny Loomis, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some ice cream soda, some dolls and some candy. I would buy some popcorn and some ice cream.”

Kinyon Edgar, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a hat.”

Eddie Wach, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would ride out to Summit Lake and have a nice time.”

Pansey Williamson, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would give my sister half and keep the other half and when my sister’s birthday came, I would buy her a present.”

Grace Anderson, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some cloth for a dress and give it to my mother and she would thank me for it. I would get a picture for her, too, and she would be pleased.”

Millie Edward, 12: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for a suit of clothes.”

Helen Foltz, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would get a nice doll and a pair of slippers and some baby ribbon for it.”

Carl Adams, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a pair of pigeons, a ball and a bat. I’d go downtown and buy me a hat. Then I would buy a bag of candy and a quart of ice cream. I would buy a book with the rest of the money.”

KENT SCHOOL

Willie Sadler, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a horse.”

Alma Lutz, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some flowers for the soldiers’ graves to put on Decoration Day.”

George W. Green, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would go to the show and save the rest of it.”

Clara Bendina Benson, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some flowers for my mother.”

Bert E. Davis, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would spend 25 cents and buy some candy and some bananas and save 75 cents.”

Maud Maxam, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would send it across the ocean to the heathen children to help build them a home, for their fathers and mothers sell them for 10 cents because they have no homes for them.”

Kurt Arnold, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would divide it with my brother and sisters.”

James Parker McDonald, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would put it in the bank downtown with my $50.”

Clarence Craig, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would get me a pair of pants.”

Ella Tibbs, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a bat.”

Olga Johnson, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy things that were needed.”

Ida Williams, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would save it till I get lots of money. Then I would buy my mamma a new dress.”

PERKINS SCHOOL

Grace Rice, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would go to Cleveland on the streetcar.”

Arthur Snead, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a dog.”

Agnes Kempel, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a doll.”

Artie Schutz, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would save it to go to the circus.”

Harry Ferbstein, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would give it to my mother, and if I would need clothes, she would buy me some with the dollar.”

Carmie Zehnder, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for a tricycle.”

Edna Fleming, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would get a pair of slippers.”

Gladys Brownell, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would give it to the storekeeper for a picture.”

Abraham Squire, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for some candy.”

Earl Groesel, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would keep it for Christmas.”

Marta Habicht, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a pocketbook for my mother.”

Earl Beynon, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would see if there were any poor that needed food or clothes.”

LEGGETT SCHOOL

Arthur Burgy, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a pound of sugar and 20 cents worth of tea.”

Jacob Hiefer, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a geography book.”

James Dorrance, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy an air gun.”

May Brown, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy two flags for Memorial Day and some flowers for my mother’s grave.”

Miles McCornnaughy, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a straw hat for me to keep the sun off my face.”

Willie Seidle, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would get me a ring or a pin with it”

Ida Howe, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a new dress.”

Oscar Olsen, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a new slate and a little wagon and a tin horse.”

Martha Kammel, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would save it.”

Logan Wolfsperger, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would give Mother it.”

Herman Endres, 7: “If I had a dollar, I would give it to the poor people.”

Emma Herthneck, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy something for me.”

GRACE SCHOOL

Jesse Shook, 13: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a drum.”

Bessie Leopard, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some good actions.”

Geoffrey Swain, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would keep it for a long time.”

Bertha Mellinger, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would save it until I got $2 and I would get a nice chair for Papa.”

Ellen Barber, 12: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a new dress.”

Mary Fish, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy some plants for Stella’s grave. She was my baby sister.”

Ina Reifsnyder, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would get a new pair of shoes.”

Ruby E. Gibbs, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a new hat.”

Muriel Heitzer, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would save it.”

Daisy Rex, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it.”

Raymond Waltz, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would put it in my bank.”

Garret Mason, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would save it and wait till I had $10 and then I would buy a bicycle to ride on.”

HENRY SCHOOL

Marguerite Harris, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a pair of doves and give them to my sister and she would put them in a cage.”

Rolland Patton, 12: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a goat, a wagon, 10 cents worth of candy, a 5 cent ball, a 2-cent kite, and I would put 1 cent in my bank.”

Harry Lamson, 7: “If I had a dollar, I would have somebody give me two half dollars and spend one for candy and save the other half.”

Helen Gertrude Harter, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it all for candy.”

Sidney H. Wright, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would get a gun and some shot.”

Adolph Harwig, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a bunch of bananas and a ball glove and ball. They all cost one dollar.”

Otto Schaefer, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a top and apples and a book and a wagon and cherries and a flag and I would save 30 cents and that is all I would buy.”

Harvey Myers, 12: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a bell, coasters and a brake for my bicycle.”

Bessie Ames, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would give it to my mamma or papa because I would not know what to do with it.”

Hazel Usner, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy my little sister Eva a rocking chair, and a dress.”

Ezra Wright, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would save it and spend a little at a time and when it was gone, I would earn some more and I would save all that money.”

Etta Ruvinsky, 10: “If I had a dollar, I’d spend it on Christmas and buy a doll or dishes and I would play with those things and then I would take a table out and have a party with all my dishes.”

Rosie Roder, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would go downtown and spend it.”

HOWE SCHOOL

Dennis Holcomb, 11: “If I had a dollar, I would save it till I had enough to buy a house.”

Jacob Shoup, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would buy four hens and I would build them a coop and make a nest for them and give them fresh water every day and get them some green grass, too.”

Cora Lutz, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would get a present for my teacher.”

Richard Hanson, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a pair of rabbits.”

Nellie Harvey, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy me a nice new dress to wear on Sunday.”

George Falor, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a brown hat for 75 cents and a straw hat for a quarter, and give the brown hat to my brother that has a brown suit and give the other hat to my brother that has a light suit.”

Margaret Flickinger, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would give it to my mother.”

Odessa Geary, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for a blackboard to play with at home. At night, I would play school with it when I had no school.”

Victor Montenyohl, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a necktie and give the change to the poor.”

Mary Addler, 10: “If I had a dollar, I would spend it for some shoes.”

ST. BERNARD

Louise Dull, 9: “If I had a dollar, I should buy a statue of the Blessed Virgin.”

Eddie Seiller, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a prayer book and I would give the rest to our new church.”

Adolph Sattler, 9: “If I had a dollar, I could give half of it to the new church and the rest I would give for flowers for the altar.”

Ida Hock, 9, “If I had a dollar, I would buy a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Louis Pfeil, 8: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a rosary and give the rest to the poor.”

Jeannette Kimphlin, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a nice statue of St. Joseph.”

Frances Fischer, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would buy a statue of St. Anthony.”

Eva Wyble, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would give 50 cents to the church and 50 cents to Sister for teaching us.”

Martin Gressing, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would give half of it to the new church and the other half for the heathen children in Africa.”

Katie Esper, 9: “If I had a dollar, I would put it in my bank.”

Mark J. Price can be reached at 330-996-3850 or mjprice@thebeaconjournal.com.