By Annie Roe
Union Station Archive Blog
Last week, I found a small collection of Ogden High yearbooks while exploring the archives. Well, they’re not exactly yearbooks. There are 4 of them, from the years 1907, 1909, 1911, and 1936. The official title written on all of them is Classicum. In fact, the only one that looks like what we today think of as a real yearbook is the 1936.
The 1907 and 1909 Classicum are both a small book that has thick paper covers and bound with ribbon or cord, so it’s more of a souvenir pamphlet. There’s hardly any pictures in them. Instead, they’re full of stories and essays written by the students. On some pages, it talks about sports and what happened that year. Here and there you’ll see a picture of a team or a group of students. The picture pages are quite interesting because there’s one page, and they just fit the faces wherever they can on the page. There’s little captions underneath that tells you who’s who.
The other thing about the 1907 Classicum that’s sort of surprising is their graduating classes. There were 2: the 1907 and the 1906 ½. (I’m still not quite sure why there was a ½ class, but it continues all the way through the 1911 Classicum.) There were only 29 seniors in the class of 1907. That amazes me. In some of my classes at school, which is just a portion of the 8th grade, there are quite a bit more than 29 students. The 1906 ½ has even less: just 15 students.
At the very back of the Classicum, there are quite a few ads. The best one is for the “Honeymoon Terrace.” So many people were getting married right out of high school that the company thought it would be a good idea to put an ad in the high school’s yearbook. The other ones include suits, gramophones, and pianos.
The best part about the 1909 Classicum was a story written by E. E. Carr. It’s called “In the Year 1999 A.D.” and is the author’s prediction about what life would be like in the 1990s. I’m sorry to say not all of the guesses occurred, but it’s hilarious to read what this person thought. In the story, the people ride in airships that go up to 2,000 miles an hour. It’s incredible that the author was imagining this as airplanes were only invented 6 years before.
Planes going three times the speed of sound, Mach 3, are going faster than 2,000 mph, so this finally happened.
The story describes flying long distances to run errands very casually. Today, it’s possible to travel quickly on an airplane, but it’s a long process. No one flies internationally just to pick something up. The main character’s plane seems similar to a car. It is used to transport small amounts of people wherever they need to go. Sadly, personal airplanes still haven’t happened. My family doesn’t take an airship to get groceries.
It also talks about the use of condensed gasoline. To my knowledge, there is nothing described as condensed gasoline used to power planes or cars, for that matter. According to the story, it’s much better to use. If the author’s prediction is correct, there might be a million dollar idea there.
The 1911 Classicum looks more like a modern book. There’s still some stories, but this one includes a lot more about sports and other things happening in the school. There’s a few little comics drawn in that add some humor. The 1911 Classicum is also the first one to include individual pictures of the students. Every senior has a picture and a quote by their name.
Right after the pictures, there’s a page called “Class Roll”. There’s a column for each student, and it has funny little predictions of nicknames, appearance, hobby, and even predictions of how they all die. For example, Clyde Woodcock’s nickname is Casey, his appearance is mild, his hobby is getting sick, and he will die in the chemistry lab. It might have been 100 years ago, but those seniors knew how to joke around.
The 1936 Classicum looks like a real yearbook of today. There’s pictures of all students, sports teams, and clubs. There’s a lot of activities I’ve never heard of, but there’s also ones that I do at my school. It was really cool to look at how the yearbooks have evolved and I’m excited to see how they’re going to keep changing. Digital yearbooks on iPads? We’ll just have to wait and see.