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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

The Graduates: 1927

The Graduates: 1927

"Class of 1927. Holton-Arms School graduation." Where cut roses compete with coiffed tresses. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Looks like my graduation

I went to Ursuline in New Orleans and we wore long white dresses carrying roses.

Retro-Retro

It's fun to see how styles of one era influence another. The girl in the back row, second from left, could be a sister of Twiggy or Judy Carne.

I Spy the flapper!

The girl in middle section, 2nd from right, has her hair bobbed, and has a much more current dress than the other girls. Her shoes are a different leather too. She's clearly making a big splash with her tantalizingly short skirt and cascading hemlines. I wonder if the other girls envied her freedom and if after graduation they all ran out to get their flapper kit together?

I visited Holton-Arms once about 25 years ago. It seemed to be filled with mean girls and really a really harsh head of school.

Amazing shoes...

Great shoes. Great dresses. The bobbed hair, some with waves (weren't they called marcel waves?) must have been the hot thing.

Beautiful graduations still exist!

My niece attended Meredith College, an all girls school in Raleigh NC where traditions are held quite dear. Their graduation service, held on Mother's Day, reminds me of the graduation photo shown here. The sophmore girls are "little sisters" to the seniors. They wear white dresses & carry thick long greenery garlands intertwined with flowers & sing as they walk down two sets of steps outdoors at an amphitheater that faces a lake. They circle the center of the amphitheater & spell out the graduating class year with the flower garland. It is really lovely - sweet & sentimental.

Tidal Wave

Most of these hair styles are marceled -- deep waves set by hot curling tongs. Miss Second-From-Right-In-Front is sporting what would probably be called a Tsunami today.

Bulbs

I wonder how they held up in the rain.

Susan Boyle?

The girls look older because we associate this look with women we knew from that era, who were, obviously, old. They also appear unattractive to us because we have become so inured to makeup, which can do a lot to make an average girl look like a pretty girl. Also, eyebrow management? They weren't into it.

Dignity

That's what's present in this picture and lacking at most modern high school graduations.

Makeup!

Woof.

Back row, second from left

Has to be an ancestor of Donald Trump.

100 years old

It never ceases to amaze me, looking at these lovely fresh young faces, graduating from high school. If any of them are still alive, they'd be 100 years old now. I know a woman who is soon to be 97, so she'd be a freshman when this was taken, and she's so very very old. Just wow.

Yup

You've got seven young ladies with "short legs" and one young lady with a short skirt. They go well with all the short hair. I trust that, shortly, they all went on to live illustrious lives, hopefully not short in duration.

Most of those girls

have gone to the same hairdresser, and look way too old to be graduating high school. Some look like they could have been somebody's mother a few times over. Way too severe, but that was the times I guess we could say.

No longer girls

Presumably these ladies are 17-18 years old but they certainly look a whole lot older than my graduating class (a long time ago) and even my grand-daughter's. Wish I knew why.

Get that thing out of the foreground!

I just don't understand why the photographer left that column in the foreground. It's really distracting and there must have been some way to move it or at least use it as a mono pod. I guess I have to give him/her the benefit of the doubt and believe that there was no way around including it.

I've looked at it again, and I think I'd crop it out when printing -- so, in my opinion, there's no excuse for that fuzzy blob of a thing in the foreground!

[The excuse is that this isn't a print. It's the original negative, inverted. - Dave]

How charming they all are!

And somehow, not one of them is the size of a full grown cow. Why can't young ladies now manage to take the fork out of their mouth? Last I went to the mall the girls had more rolls than a bakery, and plenty of spandex to show it off. In 80 years what will people say about pictures of our gargantuan teens?

Hairstyles

I'm no fan of the hairstyles from this period but jeez, what kind of style do you call the front row, second from the right?

Guessing game

Ok now which ones are really boys in drag?

Don't Smile

"Photographers now are constantly trying to get everyone to smile - sometimes a serious mood is warranted"

Like for Police mug shots.

So lush

It would have been deliciously painful to see this photograph in full color; we'd have had to have worn eye-condoms or some such. Really, there is some serious blooming going on here -- and I'm not just referring to the trellis, the boxwood hedge or the girls' bouquets; everything and everyone within sight looks as though they're about to explode -- in a reserved and self-controlled way, of course. Lovely, lovely photo -- and what a perfect prelude to one of the loveliest months of the year -- May.

Short hair

Interesting that by 1927 short hair had become standard and respectable for young ladies. Only one of these girls appears to have long hair (parted in the middle - sort of like the kind at my high school graduation in the 1970s!) I like the quality of seriousness in older pictures by the way. Photographers now are constantly trying to get everyone to smile - sometimes a serious mood is warranted. Graduating from high school is a serious thing!

Who? Him?

'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.

Middle Class

Only one of the girls parts her hair down the middle, and she's the prettiest one.

The raven!

There's a wooden raven or crow in the trellis vines... Top left. What's that about?

I'll just be getting my hat...

Were the all the pretty girls in a different photo?

How did Sigourney Weaver get in there?

Back row, 4th from left.

Why is no one smiling?

I notice in a lot of these pictures celebrating special occasions that the mood is very serene. Although you can clearly see the joy in the eyes a few of the ladies. Top row, 3rd from left and 5th from left are clearly subduing a grin. Lovely photograph all the same!

I hope, I hope, I hope

...I haven't torn the knees out of these silk stockings...Mom will kill me....darn photographers!

(I will take Miss 2nd from right, front row left)

Lighten up, girls

I shudder to think of how gloomy the young ladies who failed to graduate must have looked.

Those naked bulbs

give just the right unvarnished touch.

Siggy

I think I see a young Ridley ... pre-Alien, of course. Find her and she's your date for the prom. If you can handle the challenge.

Those shoes

are exquisite. Real leather top and bottom, no "man-made uppers" for these girls. If I had a time machine, I would go back to 1927 and buy some.

Snapshot

What a strange range of expressions. Was the photographer holding a gun?

Some of those girls

have really short legs.

 
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