Want to see photos of your ancestor? Learn her interests and activities at age 18? Discover the local student hangouts? Flip through the text and ads of a school yearbook.
The Newberry holds numerous yearbooks from the Midwest and beyond. Take a look in our catalog using the subject term “School yearbooks – (name of state) – (name of city).” The catalog is available at the upper right of the Newberry’s home page and at https://i-share.carli.illinois.edu/nby/.
You can take photos for personal use with a camera (no flash), or order photocopies of just the pages you want for $.10 each. Digital images are also available, see prices at http://www.newberry.org/rights-and-reproductions.
Classmates.com is a commercial site that displays digitized yearbooks from all 50 states and all types of schools: public, private, vocational, elementary and high school. Its site says it adds 5,000 more titles a month to its collection of 300,000.
To search for a specific school, go to www.classmates.com/sitemap and select a state from the Classmates school directory. Then select a city and school. Yearbooks, if available, appear as the first entry on the school’s page. You’re able to see a small-size preview without registering. To see a full-size version, sign up for a free membership, providing your graduation year and high school. (When and where you graduated doesn’t have to be the same as the yearbook you want to see.) The yearbooks are searchable by name. You can’t print or download the book, but numerous pop-up ads give you the opportunity to purchase a softcover reproduction for $79.95 or a hardcover one for $99.95. Occasionally there are promotions for $20.00 savings and free shipping. The process takes two to four weeks, and all sales are final.
Alumni associations and local libraries and historical societies are also good sources for yearbooks. Ask about their reproduction policies. No matter where you find them, yearbooks add valuable context and biographical information.