“The Cardinal endeavors not only to record a year in our School’s history, but to serve as a stimulus for recollecting our thoughts in future years. This book is merely a printed symbol; the memories which it represents are within us.”
This quote from the 1938 Crandon High School yearbook evokes the value of historical materials as something other than documentary evidence. Old yearbooks, scrapbooks, letters and photos also have the power to elicit personal memories and feelings. In fact, “a stimulus for recollecting our thoughts” is exactly what we hope the Recollection Wisconsin website will provide for our visitors.
The Crandon Public Library in the northeast Wisconsin community of Crandon (Forest County) has recently brought online a wonderful vehicle for inspiring personal recollections–yearbooks published by the local high school from 1938 into the 1960s. Every page of each yearbook has been scanned and made fully searchable, a great boon to genealogists with Crandon-area ancestors but also a compelling browsing experience for anyone who attended high school in Wisconsin in the mid-20th century.
We asked Crandon Public Library director Michelle Gobert to highlight a favorite discovery she made while digitizing the yearbooks. She wrote: “My favorite is the 1958 yearbook because the yearbook staff at that time thought it important to document the early history of Crandon. Imagine my surprise at finding historic photos of Crandon (1908) in the 1958 yearbook!”
Michelle also offered some words of wisdom to other libraries or historical societies considering making their local yearbooks or other historical collections available online: “The words ‘digitization,’ ‘metadata’ and ‘shared hosting’ may sound intimidating to some, but preserving local history and providing access to local history materials is a relevant, rewarding service for our community.”
To search and browse the Crandon High School Yearbook collection, visit http://content.mpl.org/localhistorycrandon. And stay tuned for a new digital project from the library: photos and correspondence between a Crandon High School teacher and her students in the year 1923 and their shared project to document the early settlers of Crandon.