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Yearbooks

Virginia Polytechnic Institute, The Bugle, 1905

High school and college annuals, or yearbooks, offer more insights into a time and place than mere lists of students and snapshots. Social historians study youth culture through the clothes they wore, the clubs they formed, and the themes of the dances they attended. Genealogists use yearbooks to help establish timelines and locate photographs.

This is part of our Take a Closer Look series. This regular feature offers a behind-the-scenes view of some of our hidden treasures in our library and what they reveal about our shared past.

Yearbooks record a transitional period in one's life. Moreover, in smaller communities, educational institutions figure prominently in the social fabric of residents' lives. Consequently, the memories and emotions evoked by yearbooks rival the nostalgia of family albums. The Virginia Historical Society has high school and college yearbooks from across the Old Dominion in our published collections.

Search for books, manuscripts, sheet music, maps, and broadsides in the VHS Online Catalog.

Kaleidoscope, 1893, of Hampden-Sydney College Enter Fullscreen More information
Kaleidoscope, 1893, of Hampden-Sydney College
This early yearbook from Hampden-Sydney College features many drawings but only a few photographs—including an image of the editors. (VHS call number: LD2101 H65k)
The Tiger, 1964, of Central High School, Charlotte County, Virginia Enter Fullscreen More information
The Tiger, 1964, of Central High School, Charlotte County, Virginia
In the mid-twentieth century, the "Last Will and Testament" became a popular feature of high school yearbooks, and many schools emphasized their scientific prowess in the midst of the Cold War. (VHS call number: LD7501 C598 C397)
Battlefield, 1970, from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, Fredericksburg Enter Fullscreen More information
Battlefield, 1970, from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, Fredericksburg
Now known as the University of Mary Washington, the coeducational school was once an all-female branch of the University of Virginia. While traditional photographs of campus activities abound in yearbooks, in the late twentieth century current events increasingly crept into the pages, like these images related to the Vietnam War. (VHS call number: LD7251 M225 B2)
The Web, 1976, of the University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia Enter Fullscreen More information
The Web, 1976, of the University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia
Yearbooks, like The Web from the University of Richmond, eventually took on more artistic flourishes, as students exerted more control over the content of the pages. (VHS call number: LD4711 R45 W3)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, The Bugle, 1905 Enter Fullscreen More information
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, The Bugle, 1905
Bound to resemble a haversack, The Bugle emphasizes Virginia Tech's early history as a military school. VPI mandated participation in the Corps of Cadets until the 1960s. (VHS call number: LD5693.V25 B75)
VPI Cadet Band Enter Fullscreen More information
VPI Cadet Band
VPI mandated participation in the Corps of Cadets until the 1960s. The photograph captures the Cadet Band. (VHS call number: LD5693.V25 B75)
Kaleidoscope, 1893, of Hampden-Sydney College
Kaleidoscope, 1893, of Hampden-Sydney Coll
The Tiger, 1964, of Central High School, Charlotte County, Virginia
The Tiger, 1964, of Central High School, C
Battlefield, 1970, from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, Fredericksburg
Battlefield, 1970, from Mary Washington Co
The Web, 1976, of the University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia
The Web, 1976, of the University of Richmo
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, The Bugle, 1905
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, The Bugle,
VPI Cadet Band
VPI Cadet Band

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