Will You Sign My Yearbook - May 2016

Think about your high school yearbook. If you are like me you probably looked at it for a few days after you received it, reminisced about the moments captured in the pictures, complained because you didn't get voted 'Most Popular' and then put the book on a shelf to never be opened again for 20-30 years. Sound like you?

Yearbooks are an amazing time capsule. It's a book that you don't feel motivated to revisit and open every day but you also don't want to throw it away. And although we take for granted the information that is captured inside, they contain an amazing amount of historical information.

I've used yearbooks forever in researching different historical items but recently when reading a great article by local historian Becky Gaines where she took a look at the 1936 New Palestine High School yearbook it dawned on me that I've looked over the very important time capsule of history........the yearbooks themselves.

So I'm looking for the very 1st year a yearbook was published for Greenfield High School. Does anyone know? Schools were formed in Greenfield as early as the 1820's. Laws adopting free schools in Indiana were passed in 1852. Most schools were only in session for nine weeks during this time. Articles as early as the 1860's can be found with citizens complaining of the lack of a proper free school in Greenfield. Finally in January 1870 Greenfield opened its first free school and it was known as the West School. So it's safe to say that yearbooks could have also began at this time.

The first yearbook collected at the Hancock County Public Library is from 1910. It's been reproduced and rebound in hardback. I'm quite sure that the original was a paperback version. The next several years are paperback.

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Image of the 1911 GHS Yearbook. The 1910 Yearbook most likely looked similar.

 

The yearbook starts out with several business advertisements. This is one great resource to find out what businesses were around in specific years. In this one you'll find ads for Capital State Bank, A.P Conklin Lumber Co., A.P Gappen Bicycles and Sports, and many others. What I did find interesting is that there were ads from business outside of Greenfield. Furnas Ice Cream, which was based out of Akron, Ohio but had factories in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Anderson, Ft. Wayne, Danville and Columbus. Indianapolis Chocolate Co. and the National Candy Co. out of Indianapolis also had ads.

 

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Next in the book came a section titled "In the Beginning" The opening paragraph stated: "It has been our desire that this book would be a literary and artistic success, and a credit, not only to the Senior Class publishing it, but to the whole school. This work has been a means of developing our class name without the class scraps and other methods distasteful to the patrons of the school. We hope that in after years this may be a pleasant pathway to the memories of our care-free days in old G.H.S".

Turning the pages I found pictures of the faculty. WC Goble was school superintendent. Arthur Konold, Principle. There were also individual pictures of all the current teaching staff which included: Fred Shaffer, Francis Doun- English teacher, Edna Carter – German teacher, Etta Barrett, Mrtlye Woodson – Music teacher, Lena Foote – Latin teacher and Mrs. Ed L. Rickard – Science teacher.

 

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The Senior Class Council was next. Russell H. Strickland was class President. Gertrude Cooper was Vise-President, Naomi Goble was Secretary and Carl Brand was Treasurer.

Then they moved on to each individual class starting with the freshman class which totaled 54 students. They listed the names individually followed with a group class photo. That was followed by the sophomore class which had 44 students with the same names and pictures format. Then the junior class, with 31 students was next and then finally the seniors. The senior's had individual pictures and their names and a brief statement.

The Class History was next. Two pages of memories for the class from their first days walking through the door as freshman to the last time they walk out as seniors.

The Department of Music followed. This included the Nordica Club, which was a quite extensive organization taking in nearly all of the girls in the school. The purpose of this group was to the development of the musical taste and cultures. This was the fourth year for the club. During this time the club has performed the cantata, "King Rene's Daughter." The second year apparently the group struggled and did not perform. The third year they came back to perform the operetta, "The Gypsy Queen." It did not state what they performed in year four but it was simply stated that it was "far superior to any previous year." The also showed a picture and names of the school orchestra, the Boys Quartette and the Girls Quartette.

The Literary Society followed next with pictures and names of those individuals.

The Athletic page was next. Football was the only sport apparently played that year. The team played only 6 games. Losing to Richmond 0-15, Beating Greenwood 16-0, Losing to Richmond again 21-0, Losing to Rushville 10-0, Brownsburg forfeited netting GHS a victory and then a game against Alumni which the young guys won 11-0.

Team members were Emmet Choste, Ralph Tapscott, Richard Millikan, Rondal Mannon, Hubert Morrison, Waldo Ging, Raymond Orr, Lowell Smart, Harry Bennett, Verlin Wheeler, Charles Arnold and QB and Team Captain Robert McGaughley. Manager was Van Tuyl Oxer. It does not list a coach but my guess would it was Arthur Konold because in following high school athletics at the time the schools principle was also the coach of all sports. And yes those names are spelled correctly! You got to love old names!

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GHS 1910 Football Team

 

"After Dinner Mints" followed next. This was a fun page that the students wrote about a variety of events or remember when's.

Last was a showcase of literature stories, which was exactly the goal of the yearbook as stated so in the opening pages. A story entitled "An Incident in India" was written by Senior Lillian Goble. Another story, "A Morning in the Metropolis" written by Senior Lolita Binford was next. Then a several page story entitled "Hereafter", which was apparently written by several students. This was a fictional story about the class in the future.

The entire yearbook covered 56 pages. It's interesting to look at the hair and clothing styles of the men and women. It's also very interesting reading their short stories and reading their use of words and language of that time.

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Greenfield High School constructed in 1895

In the following years the yearbook expanded to 81 pages. The first hardbound yearbook was 1916. Although they returned to paperback for a few years and return back to the hardbound books after that.

Yearbooks are a great time capsule of history. They contain tons of historical information. They can be useful not only for educational history, athletic history, business history, Club history, genealogical research and who knows what else you might find.

So the next time you are thinking about throwing away your old yearbooks stop yourself. Donate it to a local historical society or library. It's a time capsule of history that we can't lose.

 

Greg Roland

References:
Greenfield High School Camaraderie Yearbook

 

 

More Greenfield History