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Reflections on Times Past: High School Yearbooks

Jun 4, 2010 2:58 PM | 3 comments

June is upon us and it brings with it a most important milestone in teenage life: "HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION"!

Thinking about my own graduation and all of the people I graduated with led me to the Brooklyn collection morgue and our collection of High School yearbooks.  We have yearbooks from a few Brooklyn high schools, for example the Flying Dutchman from Erasmus Hall, The Blue & Gold from Girls High and an almost full run (1901-2006) of the Polyglot from Poly Prep.  The Prospect, the yearbook of  Manual Training High School, is the one that whetted my appetite for exploring the collection.  Manual Training opened its doors in 1894 on the corner of Court and Livingston Streets.  The first class consisted of 125 boys, the principal and 5 teachers.


In 1895 girls made their appearance at Manual Training and became an important part of the student body.  The first athletic championship won by the school was the Girls' Basketball Championship in 1900.  In January of 1905, Manual Training moved to its current location on 7th Avenue in Park Slope.  Manual Training became John Jay High School in 1959. In 2004 John Jay was dismantled and the building now houses three smaller schools: the Secondary School for Law, the Secondary School for Journalism, and the Secondary School for Research.

As each decade passed, The Prospect reflected not only the students' interests but also what was going on in the world.  In 1919, after World War I, the school held a Victory Pageant to Honor and "Welcome Home the MANUAL 'BOYS' (sic) who helped to make the world safe for democracy."


 The Prospect also reflects how fashion and hairstyles have changed over the decades.








If you want to take a walk down memory lane, or if you know the High School that your parents or grandparents attended, give the Brooklyn Collection a call and find out if we have their yearbook.  If you like, you can also donate High School Yearbooks to the collection so that one day your children will be able to visit the Brooklyn Collection and tease you about your hairstyle or the clothes you wore in the "old days."


6/7/2010 11:10:22 AM #

Great post and images!


7/7/2010 11:27:54 AM #

I am looking for a guy named Esau Whitehead, Jr, who joined the Marine Corps in 1967 and was KIA in 1968.  Not sure what Brooklyn HS he went to so if anyone can help me out, I would appreciate it.



8/29/2012 6:51:51 PM #

I have my mother's 1937 yearbook, diploma, small pennant and a newspaper clip from her year. i would like to donate if you are interested?

Gail Grattan