• Kristin Wenger

Say Yes to Yearbooks!

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

My last post, “Back to School," focused on one-room schoolhouses, a common experience for many children during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. As time went on through the twentieth century, it became more common for students to continue their education by attending high school.


The high school yearbook is an amazing source of photographs, insight into personalities, activities, young romance, future plans, and more. If you haven't explored historic yearbooks, you are missing out!


Take, for example, these sample pages from the Lititz High School yearbook for the class of 1920. My oldest child will graduate from what is now Warwick High School in Lititz in 2020. I thought it would be fascinating to take a look at the students in our town a century ago.[1]


I am sure long-time Lititz dwellers will recognize this building that is no longer in existence.



Yearbooks are not only for students! Note the list of faculty and board members.

Photos of some of the teachers are also included in the yearbook.


A sample page of senior students with biographies


This page speaks for itself. What a goldmine!


Don't forget about the ad pages for great insight into the local community and businesses.

I chose this page because it features the beloved chocolate factory in Lititz combined with "We pay high cash prices for dead animals." I'm guessing that ad would not make it into the 2020 yearbook!


This yearbook collection is so much fun to search. Because it includes relatively recent years, you may just find yourself or your parents! (Ancestry.com is currently offering five free yearbook records without a subscription through September 7th, 2018.)


Another great online source to try for yearbooks is found at the Ancestor Hunt.


Of course, don't forget about your local historical society, library, or school district. They likely either have local yearbooks in their collection or can point you in the right direction.


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Source:

[1] All images from “U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900-1900,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1265 : accessed 21 August 2018) > Pennsylvania > Lititz > Lititz High School > 1920.

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