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Maryland Yearbooks are in Demand

Posted In: Behind the Scenes, Collections, State Library Resource Center
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By Jeff Korman

Each month the managers of the subject departments at Pratt review the number of times the web the pages linked to their sites are viewed. In the Maryland Department popular pages include our guides on genealogy or searching the history of a house. Makes sense. These are topics included in the collection that are always being used. There is however, one page that turns up as one of the top five without fail. Is it the War of 1812? The directory of historic Maryland newspapers? Edgar Allan Poe?

Guess again—it's yearbooks. That’s right. During the first eight months of 2012 the Maryland yearbooks page has received more than 2700 views, an average of roughly 335 per month.

In the past there had been some use the small collection of yearbooks in the Maryland Department. People generally want to view their relatives or perhaps their own graduation picture. It’s great fun just to look at the hairdos and clothes from your high school or college era not to mention the quotes and messages written in the books. But they can be used for other research too.

William Donald Schaefer, LL.B. - "Don"...Treasurer of 2nd year class...Clever...His playfulness and jovial disposition are a source of delight to all...Ambition is to practice law successfully..."Full of life, and the joy of living"
The late mayor and governor, William Donald Schaefer.
From the 1942 University of Baltimore yearbook, The Reporter.

 

We recently had an out-of-state customer who was adopted at birth call to see if we had a yearbook photo of the man she had identified as her birth father—a Johns Hopkins graduate. Also, a British writer emailed looking for a photo of a lacrosse coach who taught at the University of Baltimore in the 1940’s and 1950’s. No problem—we had the yearbooks for both.

The Cracker, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1972
The Cracker
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1972

About fifteen years ago that we began soliciting for donations of yearbooks to broaden the range of schools and time periods. Donations have poured in fairly steadily for some years. Most times people give them to the Library when they’re downsizing or cleaning the attic but of late we have a few customers who are on the lookout for old yearbooks to give to the Library.

We have done our best to spread the word across the state—we need your old yearbooks! Our appeal has resulted in much better geographic coverage than our original Baltimore-centered yearbooks. We now maintain more than 1200 high school and college yearbooks that date from 1878 and cover Cambridge to Oakland and Westminster to La Plata.

We’re always looking to add new yearbooks. You may contact the Maryland Department if you are interested in helping the collection grow.

Next time you receive an advertisement online to find your classmates or buy an old yearbook, give us a try first. Our holdings list is always up to date and easy to use.


Hi there: I have been searching for one of my mother's yearbooks from Eastern High School in Baltimore. I got my hands on a 1941 edition, but she is not in that book. She is 90 years old and cannot remember start dates for school, etc. She did not graduate, but may be featured as an underclassman from years 1937 to 1940. If you have any of those editions, I would greatly appreciate it if you could, when time permits, glance through them. Her name is Joan or Johanna Chmielewski. At that time, ethnic names were sometimes changed temporarily, so she may have been known as Joan or Johanna Miller. Thank you so much!
Posted by: Donna at 6/20/2014 2:03 p.m.


Hi Donna. The Maryland Department has the Eastern Echo yearbooks for 1937, 1938, and 1940. Give us a call at 410-396-5468 and we can take a look for your mother for you. Thanks for reaching out to us.

Caprice DiLiello
Assistant Manager, Maryland Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Posted by: Caprice at 6/21/2014 2:27 p.m.


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