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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Class of 1939

Class of 1939

The Riverton School 8th grade class of 1939. The Riverton, New Jersey, school looks the same, but doesn't allow dogs due to potential lawsuits. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Integration in New jersey

In Camden, south of Riverton, the neighborhood schools were segregated, but we all came together in Junior High in 1936. We got to know some fine young people who stayed our friends through High school and afterward. Three of my six best friends in Woodrow Wilson High were dark skinned and that matter. I will always remember what fine young men they were.

What Spectacular Clothing

Looking at the 3rd and 4th students from the left in the middle row, I'll bet those dresses are quite an eyeful in color. Even in black & white they look presciently psychedelic. I don't believe I've ever seen that broken diagonal plaid pattern before.


I think pre-WWII integration may have been common in the North. Even Topeka, Kansas, which was involved in Brown v. Board of Education after the war, had integrated high schools. Only Topeka's elementary schools were segregated.

Mom and Me

This is my mother's class and if I remember correctly the dog was the valedictorian. I graduated from Riverton School in 1965 and my class picture is definitely not as cool as this. As far as integration, the school has always been integrated.

Class of '39

Looking at that picture, I saw all the "types" I went to school with, by their postures, their smiles. The girl on the lower left is the only one holding something--an award? Top of the class? And the guy in the dark coat/jacket in back is the only one dressed like that but there's some definite body language between him and young Wallace Beery there.


Even though the location is New Jersey, I am surprised to see black and white 8th-grade students learning and growing up in the same school. I did not know pre-war America was "ready" to see its children integrated in an official setting. Does Riverton remain a progressive city? (I thank anyone for the enlightenment he or she might give.)

Flower Pot tie clasp!?!

Young man on left - second row appears to have a "flower in a pot" tie clasp. Could you please zoom in and validate? He also has quite a smile. Also note that the onset of puberty appears to be much earlier these days.

Batman really begins

The second tallest kid in the back bears a striking resemblance to Christian Bale.

Dah Dog ?

Whats with the dog? How many times has he repeated the class?

Bad Teeth

The kid on the bottom row third from the right looks like he has some dental problems.

Striped socks

Three visibly striped socks, in the front row. Two more with a single stripe. I had no idea that was a fashion in '39.

Class Analysis

Third from left, front row - that girl is the class tattletale.

Top row, far left - that boy was bullied.

Middle row, far right - that youngster needs a manssiere.

Thirty Carefree Youngsters

If this was September of '39, which it may be, the Germans are invading Poland and the rumblings of W.W.II will begin soon. If they were thirteen or fourteen in eighth grade, they had just four or five years left to be "kids" before being drafted. A smart looking group and a great picture. Thank you.

No kid left behind

The two guys in the back row must be repeating the 8th grade for, about, the 3rd time. Teachers?

K12 School

The front of the building is the same, but the trees and shrubs have gotten huge:

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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