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Last Friday we took a look at some of the ways that Virginia high school yearbooks have celebrated their graduates in the past, but there were so many unique and interesting ways we couldn’t fit them all into one post. Enjoy some more unique yearbook images but be sure to also visit our new Virginia Digital Yearbook Collection LibGuide to learn how to easily find the yearbooks you are interested in.


How you see yourself might differ from how your classmates see you however. Class prophecies (and wills, see below) were a hallmark of early, smaller high school classes. Generally written by one or two people, they did tend to cast their classmates in the best positive light…most of the time…John Gilliland’s classmates at Naruna High School in 1947 prophesied that he would become something even worse than a bootlegger, an unsuccessful bootlegger.

Class Wills

Wills were also very popular until around the 1950s when most schools became too large to devote several sentences to each graduate in addition to their picture. Everyone leaves a little bit of themselves behind when they graduate, class wills let each student list something specific (often humorous) that they left to underclassmen.

Senior Superlatives

Senior superlatives have lost favor in recent years (some older volumes have some less than complimentary categories) but they have a very long history in yearbooks complete with amusing photographs that allow students to show themselves in a more relaxed pose.

Free Expression

Sometimes that relaxed pose made it into the senior photos itself. In some of the smaller schools of the ‘20s, seniors were pictured in both posed professional shots and candids. Many schools in the ‘70s and ‘80s melded the two and went for a more relaxed, outdoorsy look for their senior photos, forgoing what had become by then the more traditional drape and tux or graduation gown.


Collages were also an easy, (and space-saving) way to introduce more casual images. You can make them into artistic masterpieces or even use them as the cover for the whole yearbook as Patrick County High School did in 1999.

Baby Photos

Roulette, Petersburg High School, 1926

And of course, the whole idea is to celebrate how far these graduates have come – so why not show where it started? Collages of baby photos are always a favorite!

Our new Virginia Digital Yearbook Collection LibGuide lets you easily browse the yearbooks available via County/City and High School to find editions that were donated for scanning by public libraries all over the Commonwealth. New books are added on a regular basis so be sure to check back soon if you do not currently see yours.

Jessi Bennett

Digital Collections Specialist

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