Among the aisles of stacks at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center are two shelves dedicated solely to the way Americans like to immortalize our high school education – the high school yearbook.
On these shelves are a variety of editions from 42 schools in Delaware County from the 1962 Charles E. Ellis School for Girls to an 1895 copy of the Lansdowne-Aldan High School to a multitude of editions from Pennsylvania Military College, the predecessor to Widener University.
Some of them are quite ornate, including the Chieftain of 1947. This deep maroon edition features an embossed image of the profile of a Native American all across its front. This was published by the students of the Glen-Nor High School in Glenolden and this copy had at one time belonged to June Bishop of North Llanwellyn Avenue. The notes written to her by friends and classmates remain etched on its pages.
There are yearbooks from schools such as Glen-Nor and Lansdowne-Aldan, which are no longer open, in the collection. Over time, these schools either merged to create others or closed their doors in perpetuity.
The Halcyon of ’99, published by the Swarthmore College class of 1898, features illustrations of women in dresses that trail to the floor and men in formal attire. Yet, there are similar items to the yearbooks of today, such as classes, fraternities and highlights of special events like receptions and class suppers.
Chester High School is also represented solidly, with the earliest yearbook in the collection from 1914 and the most recent being 1999. There’s even a purple-hued tome from 1988 that has a large hologram splashed across its front cover.
“The Last Round Up Thirty-Four” from Darby High School’s class of 1934 has the logo on the dark blue front.
And, several editions of the “Sabre & Sash,” one of the premier publications of the Pennsylvania Military College, are in the collection.
Members are welcome to peruse any of these yearbooks housed at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The museum’s telephone number is 610-872-0502. Parking is free on the society lot behind the building or across the street in the municipal lot.
Membership in the Delaware County Historical Society ranges from $10 for students, $27 for individuals to $250 at the patron level. It includes free admission to the society’s Chester museum and library at 408 Avenue of the States, the society newsletter and preferred reservations and discounts for lectures and events. To join, please visit www.padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832.
Yearbooks such as these can be seen at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center.