Have you ever used a yearbook to help with your genealogy or local history research?
Yearbooks can be a great tool to learn more about your ancestors, their interests and the school they attended. Yearbooks can also provide insights into how high school students initiate and respond to changes in their community and the world.
Are you looking for photos of your ancestor? Many yearbooks contain photos of students who attended the school.
In this example from the 1924 edition of the Lake View High School yearbook, the Red and White, each student’s senior portrait is featured. If your ancestor is listed in this yearbook, not only can you see their photo, but you can learn about their interests. This edition tells you what clubs each student belonged to, the name of the elementary school they attended and their post-graduate plans.
By looking at the photo below, we learn Leslie Johnson’s post-high school plans were to attend Madison University and to "break a world’s record in swimming." Verna Johnson was part of the Community Co-operation and Home Charities clubs and a member of the Honor Society. Helen Johnstone attended Waters Elementary School and her favorite quote was, “[B]y wisdom wealth is won.”
Yearbooks often list the types of clubs and sports that are offered at the school. In the 1926 edition of The Forum from Senn High School, you can find group photos of the school’s extracurricular activities, such as the Hikers’ Club listed below. The names of the club members were also listed.
What did the classrooms look like when your ancestor was in high school?
In the 1936 edition of the Viking, Amundsen High School’s yearbook, you can see the library (top photo) and the typing room (bottom photo).
Yearbooks can also show researchers how high school students adapted and responded to changes in their communities and in the world.
In this example from the June 1918 edition of Lake View High School’s Red and White, Lydia Trowbridge wrote an article called, “War work for Women and Girls,” in which she highlighted ways they could help the war effort by doing farm work during summer vacation, working with children, teaching English in factories, writing articles and typing wartime bulletins, speaking to women’s groups about the war effort and child welfare.
Lake View students also joined together to help with the war effort during World War II. The “Our Scrap for the ‘Scrap’" article from the 1945 Red and White highlights the monthly paper drive the students held.
The student council set a quota for students to encourage them to participate. The students who gathered the most paper won prizes. The photo below shows the students posing with bundles and weighing all the paper they gathered.
The Northside Neighborhood History Collection has yearbooks from several Northside Chicago high schools. Please see the chart below for a listing of schools and years.
If you don’t see the yearbook you are looking for, Ancestry.com has digitized many yearbooks from schools all over the United States. Ancestry.com Library Edition is accessible for free on Chicago Public Library computers.
For help or questions, please email email@example.com or call 312-742-4455.
|Chicago High School Yearbooks in the Northside Neighborhood History Collection at Sulzer Regional Library|
|Amundsen High School||1936-1939, 1946, 1971, 1973-1977, 1979-1981|
|Gordon Tech High School (now DePaul College Prep)||1983, 1985|
|Foreman High School||1939|
|Immaculata High School||1948|
|Lake View High School||1906-1910, 1912-1978, 1980-1981, 1984, 1986-1988, 1992-1997, 1999, 2001-2002|
|Lane Tech High School||1924, 1951-1959, 1961, 1973-1983, 1987-1988, 2007|
|Madonna High School||1982|
|Marshall High School||1926, 1930|
|Roosevelt High School||1930, 1932|
|Schurz High School||1930-1932, 1935-1936, 1938|
|Senn High School||1926, 1947, 1949, 1951|
|Steinmetz High School||1937-1938, 1941|
|Sullivan High School||1942|