Yearbooks are a venerable tradition in high school. They collect and hold memories of a formative time in our lives. Yearbooks also serve as resources for research. They document trends in education, sociology, and demographics. The Digital Library Center recently partnered with Leon High School–the state’s oldest public school–to digitize and make accessible their yearbooks from 1926 to 2013.
One event you can witness through these pages is the integration of public high schools. Leon High School was integrated for the 1963-64 school year. The Leon High School Student Government Association produced this video documenting this change:
Leon High School has also been the home of many notable alumni. In addition to her many academic awards, actress Faye Dunaway was given the superlative “Best Personality” by her class in 1958. Many future politicians, professional athletes, and an X-Games gold medalist have spent time in the classrooms of Leon High School.
As a student assistant in Special Collections, one of my projects this summer was to go through our inventory of duplicate yearbooks in preparation for a digitization project. Beginning with our earliest yearbook, the 1901 Argo, and continuing through with the Flastacowo, Tally-Ho, Artifacts, and finishing with the Renegade, I picked out the most pristine copies void of extensive writing, cut out pictures, and missing pages. What I found throughout my search was much more than digitization-ready pages but a student history defined by humor and personality.
I came across many pictures that, more or less, slowed down my progress because they were so entertaining to me! I am sharing a few of my favorites here.
With that said, a gap seemed to close on the differences between today’s FSU community and that of over a century ago. I enjoyed witnessing the certain eagerness that accompanied new technologies and advancements within the campus, such as the Fade-Ometer from 1952.
Though the styles and trends consistently fluctuated as the years progressed, I found validation in the fact that FSU has and will continue to foster an overwhelming spirit carried on through the students whose paths have led them through this institution.
I’m very excited about this project and cannot wait for others to enjoy these yearbooks as much as I did when they become available as an online resource.
I have worked at Special Collections for two years and am pursuing my Masters of Science in Library and Information Studies. I will be transferring to Heritage Protocol as a Graduate Assistant and am thrilled to continue working with materials regarding the history of FSU.