For years the Society has worked to build a large collection of yearbooks as these volumes, which call up memories from decades ago, make valuable research resources for individuals working on a family or local history project. Cover-to-cover there are portraits of each student, plenty of anecdotes, brief essays, highlighting specific memories, advertising, photos of activities, and school antics while many contain hand written notes to teachers and friends.
Since a large run of these titles has been assembled at the society and they span a considerable part of the 20th century, they are yet another valuable resource researchers can turn to. We are fortunate to have such a large records group, which now consists of 308 Cecil County volumes. Tome School issued the oldest title we hold in 1906, while many of the public high schools started publishing the annuals in the 1940s.
Nate Schwartz volunteered this summer to reorganize the collection, update our inventory, and create a finding aid. The Tome School sophomore has carefully repositioned the volumes, updated the holdings records, and is now beginning to enter the titles in PastPerfect, software for managing museum collections. The Society appreciates Nate’s work and researchers will find it valuable as they are now easily able to determine the current status of our holdings. Click here to see the finding aid, Nate created and determine if we have something that will help you with your investigation.
The core of the collection came about when retired Cecil County educator, A. Rebecca Smith, having taught in the school system from 1935 to 1976, donated 33-years of Elkton High yearbooks to the society, in order to assure they would have a permanent home. After that another volunteer, Kyle Dixon, worked to expand the A. Rebecca Smith Collection and obtain volumes from all the schools in the county, with a goal of creating a complete runs of the titles. It’s a project we’re still working on and Nate has moved it to the next level, as we continue to seek volumes to fill the gaps. Thanks Nate.